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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sydney Anglican Diocese - A State of Unbelief

How can it be? The largest conservative Diocese of the Anglican Church in the world, the Sydney Anglican Diocese, launches a huge initiative to connect with the unchurched (Connect 09) as part of an even greater plan to get 10% of the population within the diocesan boundary into bible believing churches. But, on the eve of Connect 09 there is a global financial crisis which, as the year 2009 unfolds, has a devastating effect on Diocesan investments. Severe cutbacks are anticipated, with Southern Cross, the Diocesan newspaper announcing a 50% reduction in staff and reducing by about half the pages of the August 2009 edition. Ministry in many areas will experience cutbacks.

Attempts to connect with the unchurched via Connect 09 produce no reports of substantial increase in church numbers let alone the vital cause of regeneration in Jesus Christ.

All this is not what the Diocese would have hoped for when first contemplating the Archbishop's charge to the Diocese to reach people in the Name of Jesus Christ some years ago.

Well, in this writer's view the problem can be found at the top and in many avenues flowing out from there. Archbishop Peter Jensen has made it known in the past that he is sympathetic to a Theistic Evolution view of the origin of life. In his time as Principal of Moore Theological College there would have been many graduates of the College who entered ministry, are now 'at the coal-face' and hold to Theistic Evolution as an explanation of the origin of life.

Theistic Evolution is untenable with the nature of God Incarnate and His written Word expressed.

In such a circumstance what does the Lord God do? How does He respond to the many prayers for involvement and blessing upon Connect 09?

By events thus far observed are we seeing how God has responded?

Perhaps we gain further insight through the musings of Anglican Bishop J. C. Ryle in the 19th Century when he considered the gospel writer Luke's account of the angelic announcement of a son for aged Zechariah and his barren wife, Elizabeth. (Luke 1:5-25)

"What a striking example we have here of the power of unbelief in a good man! Righteous and holy as Zacharias was, the announcement of the angel appears to him incredible.

A well-instructed Jew, like Zacharias, ought not to have raised this question. No doubt he was well acquainted with the Old Testament. He ought to have remembered the wonderful births recorded there (Gen. 18:11-14; Judg. 13:2-3, 1 Sam. 1:5,19) and that what God has done once He can do again. With Him nothing is impossible. But he forgot all this. He thought of nothing but the arguments of mere human reason and sense. And it often happens in religious matters that, where reason begins, faith ends.

How exceeding sinful the sin of unbelief is in the sight of God! (v.20) The doubts and questionings of Zacharias brought down upon him the heavy chastisement peculiarly suited to the offence. The tongue that was not ready to speak the the language of believing praise was struck dumb. For nine long months at least, Zacharias was condemned to silence, and was daily reminded that by unbelief he had offended God.

Few sins appear to be so peculiarly provoking to God as the sin of unbelief. It is a practical denial of God's almighty power to doubt whether He can do a thing when He undertakes to do it. It is giving the lie to God to doubt whether He means to do a thing when He has plainly promised it shall be done.

Let us watch and pray daily against this soul-ruining sin. Concessions to it rob believers of their inward peace, weaken their hands in the day of battle, bring clouds over their hopes. Unbelief is the true cause of a thousand spiritual diseases. In all that respects the pardon of our sins and the acceptance of our souls, the duties and trials of our daily lives, let it be a settled maxim in our religion, to trust every word of God implicitly, and to beware of unbelief."

How more simply could God have rendered His account of the creation of the world and everything in it? (Gen. 1) How more clearly could He have substantiated that account as He did? (Ex. 20:11 and 31:17-18) How more demonstrably could He affirm His nature and capacity to create in past, present and future than He did Incarnate?

To reject injunction such as this is no different to Zechariah's unbelief in the message of God delivered through the angel. As such, the 'mouths' that attempt to deliver the initiative of Connect 09 will seem, for a time at least, as 'dumb' to the intended audience.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Moore Theological College - Warning - Code: Red

Sad that I should have to write this but the truth must come out.

In the August, 2009 edition of Southern Cross, the Sydney Anglican newspaper, the Principal, Dr John Woodhouse, was given a double page opportunity to promote the Diocesan theological institution, Moore College.

No problem with that but some things said by John Woodhouse are frightfully wrong. Amid the spruiking of an alleged world wide fame and distinctiveness for Moore College are comments like the following:

"At Moore College the curriculum is not only permeated through and through by the Bible (it is that!), but God's written word is honoured by being firmly believed, and properly understood in relation to its climactic centre: Christ Jesus the Lord. The teaching at Moore is thoroughly 'biblical' in this important sense: each part of the Bible is understood in the context of the whole Bible."

In all frankness this is false. God's written word is not honoured because a student is not encouraged to trust God's word written and uttered in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:11 respectively. On last report, a student could leave Moore College believing anything but the creation of all things by and through the Word in six days as we understand a day. More so they would be discouraged from accepting the biblical chronology which points to the creation event occurring something around 6,000 years ago.

What a student is more likely to be left with after time at Moore College is an adulterated perception of the glory of Christ which attributes to him a death, dead-end, disease and suffering riddled creative process and, if students thought hard enough, a question as to why it was necessary for the Word to become flesh to die on the cross if death was the instrument of His creative process.

Dr Woodhouse goes on:

"Furthermore Moore College is known around the world for standing firm, faithfully teaching and defending the evangelical and reformed Christian faith."

Either a serious error or a lie! Moore College has separated itself from the position of Luther, Calvin and the other Reformers on the doctrine of origins viz six day, young earth belief. I am not aware of one Reformer who would agree with what is presented to students at Moore College on this subject.

Moore College has cowered in the face of the world and left the Reformers to their own. So much for standing firm.

My last quote from Dr Woodhouse is:

"While students come to Moore from a wide range of educational backgrounds and academic abilities we are serious about learning well and thoroughly. Faithful servants of the gospel must have their thinking (about everything!) comprehensively renewed by God's word. We do not hide from hard questions and dodge difficult data. We must learn openly and honestly, humbly confident that faith and truth are friends, not enemies."

My challenge to Dr Woodhouse or his appointed representative is this:

Please come onto this site and dialogue with civility (it is our promise to respond likewise) and explain how it is that a student entering Moore College with an evolutionary long age view of origins does not graduate from Moore College with a six day, young earth view of origins?

Further, please explain why Moore College students are not encouraged to hold to the Reformers belief in a six day, young earth (ie approx., 6,000 years)?

Finally, please explain your basis for shifting Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:16-18 from their traditional genre of historical narrative?

Without these matters being clarified here let the world understand that Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia, is a dangerous place for faith in the Word of God.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 16: outline

7. Outline

Of course, the book naturally is divided into two halves: the first (chapters 1-11) dealing with the general history of mankind; the second (chapters 12-50) with the special history of God's people. Going into greater detail, we could devise many other subdivisions. However, the author himself has provided an outline indicated by special headings, for he uses the heading 'elleh toledoth, "these are the generations" (A. V.) =" this is the story," ten tiptoes and actually treats under this heading the story indicated by the heading, as of Adam, 5:1-6:8, etc. This is more than a formal division. If the inferior elements receive but scant consideration, viz. Shem, Ishmael, and Esau, in some cases, in fact, only about seven verses, that merely indicates that there are things of minor as well as of major importance to be treated in a work such as this. If the author provides an outline and clearly indicates what it is, why reject it and try to devise a better one especially in an inspired book? In the following outline we have merely shown the subdivisions of the ten toledoth or the Ten "Histories."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Connect 09 Dali Lama Style

Here's how PJ connects09...oops, I mean connects 1678! No sense dealing with what people are really interested in!

Now, here's how the Dali Lama connects 09: takes up people's issues.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's about time, folks

Our pals over at Moore College insist that the question of time and the age of the universe is a non-issue when it comes to building a theology on the biblical data; such a non-issue that they vigorously defend axiomatic atheism's take on time! How cute. Just like their neglect of the implications of death and the fall for its cosmic effects, setting Paul neatly to one side. Double cute.

So, in this connection, this review of a book on Hutton, the man who found time, is worth a look.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Warwick alerted readers here to the film "Expelled" produced by Ben Stein. I had the opportunity to see it tonight.

It runs for about 90 mins and because the group of friends I was with had a lot of things to do on the night we decided we would watch 45 mins tonight and the remainder another night. However, so riveting was it that we watched it all the way through in one sitting.

Ben Stein is such a disarming interviewer he got opponents of Intelligent Design to expose their motives and the paucity of their explanation of evolution by natural selection as the means of the origin of life. It is clear that the paradigm is sustained by rhetoric and not evidence.

Of particular interest is the last few minutes of the film when Richard Dawkins, the guru of world atheism, is interviewed. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it yet, suffice to say that Richard Dawkins was interviewed in "From a Frog to a Prince" and "Expelled" and unwittingly does a hatchet job on the paradigm of evolution. All one has to do with this guy is ask the logical questions rather than ask "Dorothy Dixers!"

I thoroughly recommend "Expelled" for viewing.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Matthias Media and its Sin

Eric's recent blog about Matthias Media prompts me to express what I see as a sin of Matthias Media. But first, for our International and National readers an explanation. Matthias Media operates from within the Anglican Church, Sydney, Australia. It publishes literature and tracts and regards itself as reformed and evangelical.

Now, back to the extracts of Matthias Media that Eric has drawn attention to in his blog.

One only need to draw on esteemed Puritan Theologian, John Owen, and what he says in his work "The Holy Spirit - His Gifts and Power" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd reprint of 2007) to find a suitable comparison for our study.

In addressing the work of Holy Spirit in 'evangelical holiness' on page 249 of the book, Owen has this to say:

"It is our duty to inquire into the nature of evangelical holiness because it is abstruse and mysterious, and (be it spoken with the good leave of some, or whether they will or will not) indiscernible to the eye of carnal reason. We may say of it, in some sense, as Job, of wisdom:

'Whence cometh wisdom,
and where is the place of
seeing it is hid
from the eyes of all living?
Destruction and death say,
We have heard of the fame thereof
with our ears.
God understandeth the way,
and knoweth the place of it;
And to man he said,
Behold, the fear of the Lord
is wisdom,
and to depart from evil is understanding.'
Job 28: 20-23, 28

This is that wisdom, whose ways and residence are hidden from the natural reason and understanding of men, and therefore it is no wonder that it is despised as an enthusiastic fancy. Hence it often happens, as it did among the Pharisees, that those who are most zealous for a legal righteousness, walking in a strict attendance to duties, are the most fierce and implacable enemies of true evangelical holiness. They know it not, and therefore hate it, they have embraced something else in its place, and therefore despise and persecute it

So said John Owen and I urge all to examine closely the reasoning he applies.

What is wisdom? The general and brief explanation offered is that wisdom is knowledge and understanding.

Consider then - What is science? Among other like descriptions, Wikipedia defines science as follows: "Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge and understanding through disciplined research."

The point I want readers to see is that wisdom and science are related, if not the same, and I venture my abbreviated explanation of wisdom and science as being - knowing the order of all things or how they relate and function.

We get a glimpse of one who had wisdom when we view aspects of the life of King Solomon, son of David. Read the gift of God to Solomon in 1 Kings 3: 11-13 and the application of Solomon's wisdom in 1 Kings 4: 29-34 with his capacity to explain plants and animals to the world and you see one who might well have been the greatest scientist to have ever lived.

However, as suggested by Job, there will be limits to what man will discover. No more is this better demonstrated than in the science of origins but the book Job, once again, points us to one who who has the answers. Job 28:24 (NIV) reads "for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens" and Chapters 38 & 39 make it clear that God was there at the beginning and it was He who created. No more reliable witness exists.

What has all this to do with Matthias Media? Well, the subject organisation is an example of much (or should I say 'mush') that passes for evangelical Christianity today. Unlike Solomon who had wisdom from God and unlike Christians who were scientists such as Galileo, Newton, Pasteur (and others) who trusted the Word of God, folk like those over at Matthias Media have deserted the quest for wisdom and understanding and take their lead from those who know not God. Matthias Media has gone outside the Word of God for wisdom and understanding on origins.

Worse still, they are a fierce discouragement to those within Christianity who seek to reclaim that which has been lost in the past century. In this I remind readers of how John Owen likened the search for understanding of the nature of evangelical holiness to Job's search for wisdom and the impediments to this search:

"This is that wisdom, whose ways and residence are hidden from the natural reason and understanding of men, and therefore it is no wonder that it is despised as an enthusiastic fancy. Hence it often happens, as it did among the Pharisees, that those who are most zealous for a legal righteousness, walking in a strict attendance to duties, are the most fierce and implacable enemies of true evangelical holiness. They know it not, and therefore hate it, they have embraced something else in its place, and therefore despise and persecute it."

Matthias Media despises Biblical Creationism (the ordering of life) as an enthusiastic fancy. They know it not, and therefore hate it, they have embraced something else and will not receive Biblical Creationism.

Allow me to give you anecdotal evidence. There was once a man who frequented campuses of Sydney University and the University of NSW. His name was Marc Kay. I haven't seen him on campus for a few years but in earlier years he would take opportunities to argue the Reformation position on origins i.e. Biblical Creationism.

I remember a conversation with Marc Kay where he divulged the outcome of an attempt to correct Matthias Media in its position on origins. His communications concerning the integrity of the Genesis account of a six day Creation ended with a sharp note from Matthias Media making mention of the observations of the world and the words "We don't know how God created and neither do you!" Can you believe it? Despite the clear Word of God in Genesis 1 and again in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, Matthias Media refused to believe and went even further to discourage inquiry into the way of the LORD. In my opinion, this is obstinate unbelief. Matthias Media had made up its mind and it had more to do with the world than the Word of God.

How far removed was the response of Matthias Media from the response of the Apostle Paul when he heard of the faith of the Christians in Colosse and wrote saying " ... we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God ... " (Colossians 1: 9,10). I suggest John Owen would have said likewise.

That Matthias Media responded the way it did brings to mind the incident of the man born blind but healed by our Lord Jesus on the Sabbath (John 9). The man who could not see was given sight but the Pharisees would have none of it. They questioned the man and all he could do was report the actions of the Man who had healed him and what He said. Still they would not believe. They questioned him further but this man who had spent his life up that time in darkness showed greater wisdom and understanding than his questioners. Finally, his wisdom was too much for them - their response "You were steeped in sin from birth; how dare you lecture us!" (John 9:34)

I trust you will see the similarities with the actions of Matthias Media. Such is the fruit of unbelief and rightly does John Owen caution against it in favour of faithful inquiry.

There is a treasure of knowledge and understanding of the creation to be unearthed and the key to it is the fear (appreciation or reverence) of the LORD. Laying hold of that key first requires the activity of Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus Christ and the life and light found in Him. Perhaps Holy Spirit might use, as an aid, the words of one Reginald H. Fuller, who said for Microsoft Encarta:

" ... in the christological hymns of the Hellenistic-Jewish church, Jesus was identified with the Divine Wisdom, or Logos. Philosophical Hellenistic Judaism had conceived of the Logos as the personified agent of the divine being, the agent of creation, revelation, and redemptive action. The earthly Jesus was now seen as the incarnation of this preexistent wisdom or Logos (see Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3, John 1:1-18). Early Christians appropriated this Jewish speculation in order to emphasize that the God they encountered in Jesus was not an unknown God, but was the same God they had previously encountered in creation, in human religious experience, and in Israel's salvation history. In the Johannine writings Jesus' Father- Son relationship with God is projected back into eternity, and this equation of the Son with the incarnate Logos results in the use of the predicate 'God' for the preexistent Word (see John 1:1), the incarnate Son (see John 1:18), and the risen Christ (see John 20:28). But 'God' in this context is carefully nuanced: The Son is not God-in-himself. Rather, through the Son, God 'goes out of himself,' communicating himself in the action of creation, revelation, and salvation. Consequently, 'Son of God' and 'Son of man,' which were originally terms expressive of Jesus' role in salvation history, acquire a metaphysical import and come to denote his divine being."

It comes as no surprise, disappointing as it is, that Matthias Media continues in its way of hindrance to a greater knowledge of God. Having submitted to the "eye of carnal reason" on origins it will not encourage inquiry into the knowledge of God revealed in Genesis and other relevant passages of Scripture. Instead, Matthias Media diverts attention away to those extracts of the Word of God it does have confidence in.