Search This Blog

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sydney Episcopalian Diocese Exposed

When Episcopalian Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen and adherents propose evolution as the means by which God created what are they saying?

In spite of what complimentary biblical accounts Gen 1, Ex 20:11 and Ex 31:17 record of the creation of the world, these latter day interpreters propose some creative means far and away in contradistinction. Indeed, to propose as they do they must force the texts to say something that the texts clearly do not say. So what is it that Archbishop Jensen and others are saying?

How do we interpret the actions of those who promote themselves to the world as being guardians of evangelicalism and rigorous defenders of the integrity of Scripture? What are we to make of those who on issues such as ordination of women, marriage, adultery, homosexuality, leadership of the Church, stand against the world in applying a straightforward reading of Scripture yet force Scripture on the issue of origins so as to accommodate the world's view?

There is only one conclusion to be drawn but a little background is helpful in the first instance.

Evangelicals through the generations have at least one thing in common. They will not consciously trifle with God. They are respecters of God, even fearers of God. When God speaks they listen. Consider your uneasiness when reading of Moses inciting the anger of God by baulking at God's request to lead Israel in contest with Pharaoh (Ex 4:13-14) or Job's encounter with angered God (Job 38:1-3 and 40:1-2). From where I sit the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese appears to hold the same fear of God and, on issues I've mentioned already regarding Church order, they have acted with reverence.

So what is going on with the issue of origins? Our Lord Jesus Christ alludes to what is going on when he says "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master." (Matt 10:24-25) Well then, we need only look to the teacher and master of Archbishop Jensen and adherents on origins - Charles Darwin.

On 24 November 1880 Charles Darwin wrote to Frederick McDermott and said "I am sorry to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God." Charles Darwin's erroneous perception of the order of life took him from being a candidate for 'Cure of Souls' to rejecting Scripture as divine revelation. This then exposes the position of Archbishop Jensen and adherents. They do not regard Gen 1, Ex 20:11 and Ex 31:17 as being divine revelation. They cannot, otherwise they would respond with reverence and acceptance of what God is saying. Instead their reverence and acceptance is toward Charles Darwin inasmuch as they honour his mechanism albeit with God superimposed over the mechanism.

What else are we to conclude but that Archbishop Jensen and adherents accept some Scripture as divine revelation but not all Scripture. Those passages of Scripture which, by straightforward reading, present God, through Jesus Christ, creating the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is in them in six days (as we experience days) only thousands of years ago are not, according to Archbishop Jensen and adherents, divine revelation. In all all honesty, they wouldn't tamper with it if it were, in their mind, divine revelation would they?

This is a sad revelation which, unless sufficiently corrected by Archbishop Jensen and adherents, must stand.

I invite Archbishop Jensen to correct my perception of the situation if I am in error or repent of this heresy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tree deracinated...the show to watch

A show to watch: the tree of life maybe topples.

Hey atheists [and theistic evolutionists], guess why?

As reported in Monday’s Jakarta Post, Kaing Guek Eav is the only Cambodian from Pol Pot’s killing fields who has confessed to his crimes. This 66 year old, better known as Duch, is on trial for being the former superintendent at the S-21 torture centre. Here they routinely tortured and murdered, inter alia, new-born infants, anyone wearing glasses and soft-handed people. The other co-conspirators still insist that they did nothing but right. Given this anomaly, one should surely enquire why Duch is up until now the only one of this regime to have expressed his guilt and contrition. The answer is quite easily discovered from his comments: He has recently become a Christian. His former colleagues in crime, partners in, arguably, the most violent social experiment in human history, remain atheists.

Atheists would reject the idea that “as a man thinks, so he is”, yet here is living proof that this is all too true. It’s not that atheism qua atheism makes a man necessarily inhumane…it’s just that there really isn’t anything in atheism as such that necessarily makes a man a good one. Chesterton stated this well when he said that when a man disbelieves in God it isn’t that he believes in nothing, but that he will believe anything…including the mass murder of his fellow human beings.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 10 documentary rebuttal

The reasons advanced for the separation of the whole into four major documents are again mainly four. First and foremost to this day the use of the divine names is a mark of authorship. Thus: the Jahvist (or Yahwist) uses the divine name Jehovah or Yahweh almost exclusively; the Elohist uses Elohim, the common name for God in the Hebrew; the Priestly writer also prefers Elohim; the Deuteronomist is marked by other characteristics. Secondly, each of these writers is said to have developed a vocabulary which is distinctly his own. However, in the case of J and E this is not as prominent a feature as in reference to P and D. Thirdly, certain types of subject matter are found quite regularly in certain of these original documents: J likes narratives whose scenes are laid in Judah; E prefers those that played in the territory of the Northern Kingdom; P deals with matters of legislation; and D is hortatory in his treatment of all he presents. Lastly, the style of these four presents quite naturally four different aspects: "J excels in picturesque `objectivity' of description"; "E, on the other hand, frequently strikes a vein of subjective feeling, especially of pathos"; P is precise and formal; D is the orator. It must be admitted that an imposing array of arguments confronts us here. Certainly, an immense amount of labour has been expended on these studies. Many of the issues involved are of a so highly technical nature as to confuse the layman, especially when Hebrew terms multiply, that he believes the issues must be left to professional theologians and is all too ready to follow their guidance if they adopt, as is often the case, a tone of utter finality.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frame Frames it Fittingly

Well, not quite, it’s a bit of an each way bet!

Tom Frame, previously bishop of bullets and guns and now bishop of books and writing has run an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on the limits of Darwinism.

One of my favourite review lines applies: “there’s a lot to like about this article” but, and there’s always a ‘but’ after ‘there’s a lot to like’, he runs an each way bet by standing up the variety of Christian views of origins, irrespective of the degree to which they strain their connection with Genesis 1.

He has a slam at Dawkins, which is always fitting, because Dawkins’ usually acts like a bit of a loon; others however, have slammed him more effectively in the past. But I expect Frame was running against the word ration the SMH gave him.

Tom has a number of quite amusing things to say:

“Evolutionary theory does not explain everything we want to know about the natural world or human life, and some of what evolutionary theory purports to explain it hardly elucidates at all. While we might know how some things occurred we still want to know why. Most importantly, why is there something rather than nothing?”

Well, the truth be known, evolutionary theory explains nothing at all. From Darwin on its been smoke screening, equivocation, and argument by personal credulity (Darwin’s Origin is full of it, as Dissenter continuously shows. In thrall to idealism (the dominant philosophy underpinning contemporary theology, in my view, but in vigorous rejection of any biblical realism, the philosophy that should underpin theology), Tom thinks that the basic existiential question can be answered apart from the question of origins, which leads directly to the answer to the basic existential question. I raised my eyebrows too!

In the very next paragraph, Tom asks, as though the question is decided: “So how does a Christian account for the origin of life and the emergence of religious faith in the light of evolutionary theory?”

Well, this Christian is relieved of the conundrum. How does a Darwinist account for the origin of life and the emergence of rationality in the light of there being no evidence, no mechanism and no theoretical means (no, I mean a real one, not the string of empty words that Dawkins and his ilk string us along with) in a materialistic paradigm?

Tom lets us in on the trade secret of modern theologians:
“Evolutionary theory requires creation to be understood as a continuous process rather than an isolated act in the distant past. In this view, God creates in and through natural processes.”

Sure, it’s a view, and its an interesting theological point as to whether God creates in and through natural processes, or by speaking, as Gen 1, 2, John 1:1-3 and Hebrews 11:3 tell us. Here’s the choice: Tom or the Holy Spirt. Any thoughts Tom? And what about continuous (in this 'view') vs Genesis 1: '...and it was so'. Continuous process seems to be at odds with the kinds of actions described in the in the six days and the way the creatures made are described. But then, facts, no matter how perspicuous, have never been successfully able to obstruct the vain speculations of much modern theology.

I could go on and on, but will spare reader and self that detail.

So, the best one for the last:

“I share the conviction of Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeontology at the University of Cambridge: nature controls the course of evolution but convergence, implying a higher purpose, controls nature.
Conway has argued evolution is not arbitrary and if life were to evolve again, it would look very much as it does now.”

Good, Tom. Now, what experimental evidence do you, or Simon have for this? I could ask much the same question of Barth, who decided that nothing in the real world, could affect the faith world. Did Karl do any experiements...ah, theology is so easy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Big Day In(spirational)? I Don't Think So.

In comments to the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Charles Darwin on 7 February 2009, the Sydney Episcopalian Archbishop, Peter Jensen, said such things as "Does evolution exclude a God whose loving rule extends to the natural world? Some would say yes, but not because the theory of evolution requires it. Science neither proves nor disproves the existence of God ... Faith in a divine Creator and belief in an evolutionary universe can coexist."
If science, among other things, is the study of the creation then Archbishop Jensen has set himself against the Apostle Paul who at Romans 1:18-23 makes it clear that the study of the creation will reveal the Creator. I would throw myself into the camp of the Apostle Paul and leave the Archbishop to run last in his theology at this point.

As Neil Moore astutely observed in relation to Sir David Attenborough in a recent blog, there is no connection between a "loving rule" and a Creator who uses evolution as a creative process from the beginning.

There is no coexistence between the God of the Bible and a God who uses evolution as the means of creation. World history as recorded in Scripture makes this clear.

Connect 09 kicked off officially yesterday with live broadcasts into Episcopalian congregations around the Diocese. If presentation is a sign then I fear a flop. It was uninspiring. Words uttered were out of sync with lip movement. I hope this is not a symbol of the rhetoric of Connect 09 not matching action.

Sam Drucker

Saturday, February 7, 2009

On History

My recent reading in some commentaries on Classical literature (the Romans, not the Greeks) has lead me to one writer who made the claim that the Hebrews did not write history; but their books (in the Old Testament) regarded as 'history' are in fact not history as western tradition has come to understand it.

As I thought about this, I think I could see the author's viewpoint.

History in Ancient Rome was concerned with polemic to a large extent, as one example to grab from the shelf: Caesar's history of the Gallic Wars. For instance, the Wikipedia entry says: "This military campaign is painstakingly described by Julius Caesar himself in his book Commentarii de Bello Gallico, which still is the most important historical source. This book is also a masterwork of political propaganda, as Caesar was keenly interested in manipulating his readers in Rome."

Other historians had other things to say, argument or portrayal regarding factors and players, the forces that did or did not result in an event or outcome, etc. Western History has tended to follow in this fashion, with some modern writers even picking up the Ancient's tendentiousness. See for instance Windschuttle on the fake history of oppression of Aboriginies.

But OT history is not like this. Indeed, as the commentator I refer to above claimed, it is not history in our sense, but more a chronicle or explanation of the acts of God in bringing about the effects of his covenant. A very directed and purposeful relating of events that bring to life his overarching act in Christ.

So, extending this line, one could wonder that, if the Hebrews did not weave literary speculation into their history, but sought to chronicle the acts of God, often in a rather blunt and unadorned manner, then it would be highly unlikely that Genesis 1 would be the literary 'art' formulation that some (the so-called 'genre' critics, for instance, John Dickson, bete noire of this blog) make it out to be, and thus overturning their claim that it does not refer to the events that it describes, but some other events which it does not describe (astonishing but true) and is a literary representation of how we should think of God; not, mind you because of what it says, but I guess, because of what it doesn't say!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sydney Anglican Archbishop Stumped

The following is an extract of a recent article which appeared in the U.K.'s Guardian Newspaper.

"Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week's Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: 'They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance.'

Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give "credit" to God, Attenborough added: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator."

There are two things to say about Sir David Attenborough's comments.

First, if he is accurately quoting Christian Creationists who contacted him then shame on them. It is not theirs or our place to assign people to heaven or hell. It is a matter for the Lord and, from what we observe in Scripture, it depends on the person's relationship with Creator, Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The second thing to say is that the Most Rev Peter Jensen, Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, has nothing convincing to say to Sir David Attenborough that might help Sir David come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is this so?

Sir David has 'observed' that by evolutionary process a worm has evolved which has no other means of survival than to burrow through the eyeball of a little child in east Africa. Sir David concludes that a god who could create this scenario is not a god that he wants anything to do with. The problem for Most Rev Peter is that, being a Theistic Evolutionist, he also believes that the worm evolved that way and that the god he espouses is the one who did it. Most Rev Peter can't really introduce the Fall as explanation because, according to his theology his god had been creating in this way both before and after the Fall.

So here we are launching into Connect 09 under the inspiration of the Most Reverent Peter Jensen but if Sir David Attenborough were to stumble into Sydney there is nothing Most Rev Peter or many others in the Diocese could say to connect with Sir David. Amen, Sir David.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 9 criticism

6. Criticism

Unfortunately, in the field of the Mosaic writings negative literary criticism--higher literary criticism so called--has wrought incalculable confusion and still is the bane of fruitful investigations in this field. Therefore it behoves us, first of all, very briefly to summarize the critical position in reference to Genesis or, for that matter, in reference to the entire Pentateuch. This summary is designed primarily for non-theologians and, therefore, makes no claim to completeness.

Critics speak with much assurance, as though the proof for their position were unassailable, , of the various sources that have been worked into the Pentateuch as we now have it; and they assure us that this composite work was finally compiled by an editor- commonly called Redactor (R)--after the time of the Exile perhaps as late as 400 B. C. The four major documents that have been worked into the Pentateuch are not only occasionally discernible in the work as a whole, but the cord has, as it were, been unravelled, and the four strands that compose it are laid before us side by side. The names given to these four documents or their authors are: (a) the Elohistic document, written by the Elohist--abbreviated designation E-;( b) the Jahvistic or Yahwistic document--described as J; (c) the Priestly document or P; and (d) the Deuteronomic document--or D. Some critics consider E, J, D, and P as persons, others regard them as literary schools.