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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A test for orthodoxy?

Occasionally there’s a Jehovah’s Witness outside Central Station spruiking her heterodox, Arian-resurrected theology. As she’s a true believer, I’ve given up talking to this woman but the other day she was there discussing matters with a man that I’d not seen before. I just had to insert myself into the conversation.

Although not a JW, the man was clearly an Arian. I asked him if Jesus was the Creator. He replied that he wasn’t, that the Father, or as they claim, Jehovah God, is the sole creator. I then cited Colossians and John 1 where Paul and John state that through, for and by Christ everything has come into existence. The man then said that Christ was creator by virtue of the Father handing that responsibility to him. I expressed how queer that was, that someone is called a creator, the Father, yet does not create. I argued that it would be like my hiring someone to design a house but calling myself the architect. He tried to extricate himself from this impasse by claiming that no matter who the Father gives it to, he still remains the creator. Of course this is pure evasion and intellectually dishonest to boot.

Thinking about it later I could see similarities with Peter Jensen’s position. Peter, as has long been known, is an evolutionist*. Quite naturally Peter, along with all theistic evolutionists, has to play some irrational semantic games and alter the meaning of words in order to mould Scripture to fit a pagan worldview. Somehow – the details, scientifically or theologically, never exactly laid out – God is able to allow chance to create while never surrendering his office of creator. At this point I tend to think that Peter and the others are trying to turn a circle into a square but still have it called a circle. Beats me!

Anyway, the point I want to make is that Peter’s allegiance to evolution puts him outside of Christian orthodoxy, by a theological mile. If a metaphysical principle is creating the enormous amounts of novel biological information that life requires, then it isn’t our Lord doing it. New biological information is the product of thought, of teleonomic conception, not the randomisation processes being acted upon by natural selection that evolution posits as being its source (This is superbly argued in the triple-PhD Wilder-Smith’s book, God: To be or not to be?). Peter can’t have his square and circle be the one object: Either Christ, acting through will and thought, brings forth biological information, and thus life, or it’s chance randomisation of matter, the metaphysical principle of materialism. The two are incompatible and irreconcilable.

* Lest it be said that we are misrepresenting Peter’s views, the following is a quote from Doctrine 1 while he was principal at Moore College: “There is a division of opinion about how God created the world [Actually, there isn’t, Peter. The difference lies between those that truly believe the Bible is God’s unchanging revelation to mankind and those, like yourself, that believe it can change as science, so-called, “proves” God has less and less to do with. Just ask Jack Spong.]. From the standpoint of these notes the ‘theistic evolution’ account offers the best understanding….By ‘theistic evolution’ we mean that God created the world through the process of evolution [there’s that square-circle again folks!].” Doctrine 1, Unit 7, p. 105.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chaser chases Peter

I saw an old Chaser (Chaser's war on everything, an ABC TV show) where one of the chasers was doing just that: chasing...Peter Jensen.

The object of the chase was asking Peter to explain his response to Leviticus 20:13.

Peter grinned and walked on.

What a great way (NOT) to deal with an evangelical opportunity on national is Peter really he ready to represent the faith?

So, what could he have said that would have had evangelical intent.

Here's a thought:

"If you were an ancient Jew, it would be worth talking about that quote, but you're not are you?"

"I'd be more concerned that you find the God who wants to put our selfishness to one side so we can be with him forever in real love, not the hot panting of males missing the point."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Defence of Natural Theology

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring'." (Acts 17:24-28)

It was Neil Moore who a while back posted a blog linking wisdom with science. That set me thinking and I picked up something while recently reading the gospel according to Matthew. But first I need to set the scene with some comments about Paul in Athens.

Several Christian writers have used Acts 17 to encourage Christians to engage in evangelism. For brevity I have not quoted the entire chapter. I leave it to readers to do that. If they do, and do so without scales on their eyes they will see what Biblical Creationists have seen for some time. There are many people in the world for whom the preaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is nothing more than babbling. They are not ready to receive the message. Further preparation of the 'soil' is required. The Apostle Paul quickly realised this in Athens and amended his preaching to what is today called Natural Theology and then Paul brought into his conversation the resurrection of Christ. This approach attracted some sneering but others said "We want to hear you again on this subject." (Acts 17:32) - a marked improvement on the prior condition.

Perhaps about a millennium prior to that scene in Athens there was, ruling in Israel, King Solomon who possessed a knowledge of the creation which set him over and above everyone else in the world. News of him spread far and wide. The Queen of Sheba heard the reports and went to Jerusalem to test Solomon with some hard questions. What she heard and saw overwhelmed her. She remarked "Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness." (1 Kings 10:9)

Don't miss the point here! The Queen of Sheba, along with observing how God had blessed Solomon with wealth, found Solomon to have an understanding of what is today called science which was far superior to anything or anyone she had known. She tested it against her own understanding and, we ought expect, in its outworking in the world around her. It proved right and played a major part in her praising God. Here was so-called Natural Theology as an instrument in the salvation of the Queen of Sheba.

Salvation of the Queen of Sheba?

What else can one conclude if our Lord Jesus Christ, when speaking of the wicked and adulterous generation of Pharisees and teachers of the law, says "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here." (Matthew 12:42) Who else is appointed to judge and condemn the world but Jesus Christ and those who are adopted into Him through repentance and faith. (1Cor. 6:2-3)

Note also the distinction our Lord makes between the people of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom (Matt. 11:21-24) and the men of Ninevah at the time of Jonah's preaching and the Queen of the South. (Matt. 12:41-42) The former group are said to be under judgment (albeit a degree better off than Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum) whereas the latter are said to perform a role as judges. At one particular moment the citizens in the capital city of one the cruelest nations on earth (Assyria) were recipients of the mercy of God through the preaching of the word of God and their response of repentance. Also, the Queen of Sheba, outside the covenant of God with Israel, hears reports of the wonders of a man (Solomon) blessed of God and she goes to test the veracity of the reports. R. D. Patterson and Hermann J. Austel, commenting on the reaction of the Queen of Sheba in being "overwhelmed" after testing Solomon, say "This last is literally 'there was no more spirit left in her,' which indicates extremely strong emotion." It presents to me that this spiritual state of the Queen of Sheba is like that of conversion experience. This view is reinforced by our Lord Jesus' words when, at Matt. 5:3, he says "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Where then does this all lead us?

Clearly, the maligning of Natural Theology within the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney is misplaced. There always has been and always will be a place for rightly explaining the Creator God and the order of creation. Obviously we are today under a covenant ushered in by Jesus Christ and being brought into that covenant relationship involves explanation of and reception of the redeeming work of Christ. However, the covenant relationship offered by God today, through Christ Jesus, is not so restricted by explanation as to leave out the creating work of God through Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

That the order of creation is lightly regarded in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney is indicative of a workman who has no confidence in certain tools of his trade. Those not understood or less regarded will not be employed. Further, holding to a Theistic Evolution view of the order of creation leaves the advocate with an explanation overloaded with words such as "maybe", "possibly", "mystery" and "uncertain." In such circumstance you would be reluctant to employ it or, as hearer, receive it.

Solomon's understanding of the order of creation was an instrument in the salvation of the "Queen of the South" and the Apostle Paul's successful resort to the order of creation when his message of the resurrection was confused by the Athenians are sufficient cause to reject the unhelpful notions of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney toward Natural Theology.

To rely on Natural Theology (or order of creation) alone today is an incomplete theology just as much as not including it. A caution exists. In employing Natural Theology you are only offering empty rhetoric if what you present is not in accord with the clear word of God.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"God is Not Your Dog"

Episcopalian Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, in the Feb 2010 edition of Southern Cross, wrote an article entitled "God is not your Dog."

The thrust of his article was a tendency for people to domesticate God as they would a pet dog.

His motivation for this article seems to have been summer vacation reading, with one author doubting the trustworthiness of the Bible because he, the author, found it difficult to accept that God would direct ancient Israel to destroy the Canaanites. To quote the Archbishop "The God this author believes in could not possibly order the destruction of a civiliation with all its people. Naturally I agree that this is a particularly confronting part of the biblical record."

In dealing with how people wrestle with the charge God gave Israel with respect to the Canaanites, Archbishop Jensen offers some helpful comments. He then writes "What we can say is that God has his own good and righteous reasons for what happens and what he brings to pass. The destruction of the Canaanites is a revelation to us of the reality and awesomeness of the day of judgement which lies before us all. It also throws light on the cross and the suffering the Son of God underwent as he bore the penalty of our sins. When we flinch from the story of the Canaanites and refuse to accept it, we are declaring that God will not judge the world and that there is no hell. We prefer to back our own sentimental notions about God and the world rather than the truth. We domesticate God."

Archbishop Jensen then declares the wonder of God drawing near to sinners through his Son and Spirit and establishing a relationship that we may call him Father. He concludes with, "We will always presume on this as part of our attempt to bring God to heel, unless we listen carefully to all he tells us about himself in the Scriptures. When we realise how great he is and how demanding is his righteousness, we will appreciate his grace and mercy. But the way forward is not to deny Scripture and make it conform to the idolatrous dog/god which we would prefer to construct."

Regular readers of this blogspot will know where I am going to take this. It is only right that I do so.

How can it be that the Episcopalian Archbishop of Sydney makes such an astute assessment and criticism of the author of the Archbishop's summer reading on one direct utterance of God i.e. concerning the Canaanites, and yet, when it comes to the direct utterance of God on Creation, the Archbishop commits the very same offence of his targeted author?

It is astounding how hypocritical all this looks and how much ammunition it gives enemies of the Gospel. Archbishop, please, consider what you are saying and what you are doing. There must be consistency.

God is consistent. In Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17, God gives a seamless instruction as to the creation process. In no credible way do these utterances of God allow for the imposition of "Theistic Evolution," "Day Age," Gap Theory" or "Progressive Creation" views of Creation.

Archbishop Jensen believes his author 'friend' domesticates God through sentimental notions about God yet, in holding to a Theistic Evolution view of origins, the Archbishop domesticates God in the same way a suburban resident domesticates the family dog to fit in, to give less offence to community expectations.

Our great, awesome and loving God is not to be reduced to the notions of "this age" concerning the origin of life. Creation was an event God alone instigated and he alone is to be trusted on its particulars.

Archbishop Jensen and others, God is not your dog!

Sam Drucker

Monday, February 15, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 26C verse 1

Now is this first verse a heading or a title? By no means; for how could the second verse attach itself to a heading by an "and"? Or is this first verse a summary statement akin to a title, after the Hebrew manner of narrative which likes to present a summary account like a newspaper heading, giving the gist of the entire event? Again, no. For if creation began with light and then with the organizing of existing material, the question would crowd persistently to the forefront: but how did this original material come into being? for v. 1 could not be a record of its origin, because it would be counted as a summary account of the things unfolded throughout the rest of the chapter. Verse one is the record of the first part of the work brought into being on the first day: first the heavens and the earth in a basic form as to their material, then light. These two things constitute what God created on the first day. The Hebrew style of narrative just referred to may or may not be employed on occasion, depending on the author's choice. Here it does not happen to be used.

Here also the statement may be disposed of which says: The initial creation was a chaos. Such an assertion is misleading. It may be meant in a way which Would be entirely wrong. If it implies that as the record stands v. 1-2 show an unsatisfactory state of achievement, it is all wrong. However, if the disorganized state of the first steps of creation is called "chaos," with the reservation that this implies no criticism but is necessarily only the first and unavoidable step from lower to higher forms, then the statement may be used. Or if it is only intended as a statement which covers what v. 2 covers with other terms, it cannot be said to be wrong.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Knocked out, dazed, but blithely unaware

A couple of items in the press recently present a nice line up of the irrationality of the SADs.

1. One Bruce Haddon is at logger heads with the rector of his parish, Dominic Steele (ex 2GB journo from mem'ry) is concerned by, it would appear, Mr Haddon's disbelief in the virgin birth. The Herald reports this.

2. Atheism's true belivers gather together. In this Herald article we are told that atheists are really opposed to "the denial of the theory of evolution".

Now, if atheists are really opposed to something, you'd think it was because it stymied atheism. On the other hand the SADs, who don't think the notion of organic evolution is opposed to biblical theism, are worried because one man has taken that view to its logical conclusion: only things that science permits can occur!

I'll leave the reader to judge who is reaping what they sow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Oops! There Goes Another 'Proof' For Evolution.

'Interesting to note the undoing of the case for the alleged missing link "Tiktaalik" through the finding of tetrapod footprints dated some '18 million years'* prior to the alleged existence of "Tiktaalik ." See

This undoing has received nothing near the publicity of the orchestrated announcement of the discovery of the "Tiktaalik" fossil. Why?

May I suggest that it makes many proponents of the paradigm of evolution somewhat red-faced. One notable atheist, Richard Dawkins, went so far as to include "Tiktaalik" in his recent book "The Greatest Show on Earth" with the comment "the perfect missing link—perfect, because it almost exactly splits the difference between fish and amphibian, and perfect because it is missing no longer."

Once again, Richard Dawkins has been left exposed as lacking evidence for his views on the origin of life. No wonder the atheists conducting a conference in Melbourne, Australia in March, this year, are fearful of a debate between a Biblical Creationist and their 'great high priest.'

This sort of information is seldom known by Sydney Episcopalians who have adopted Theistic Evolution as their defence position. They only read the announcements promoting the original 'find' which they believe affirms their (false) doctrine. They thus know nothing of the later unravelling of the alleged 'find.' In doing this they show their preparedness to "run with the hounds" instead of the Word of God.

* We do not accept as reliable the assumptions which undergird the dating of rocks in much of science today. We would therefore dispute the dates assigned to the alleged "missing link" and the "earlier" tetrapod footprints. What we note here is the undoing of the original claims about "Tiktaalik" through the proponents own dating method.

Sam Drucker

Monday, February 1, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 26B verse 1

A thought by Procksch should be noted here: "It so happens very appropriately that the first named subject of Genesis as well as of the Bible is `God'."

The verb describing God's initial work is "created" (bara'). This verb is correctly defined as expressing the origination of something great, new and "epoch-making," as only God can do it, whether it be in the realm of the physical or of the spiritual. The verb bara' does not of itself and absolutely preclude the use Of existing material; cf. Isa. 65:18b: "Behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy." Also note v. 27 of this chapter. However, when no existing material is mentioned as to be worked over, no such material is implied. Consequently, this passage teaches creatio ex nihilo, "creation out of nothing," a doctrine otherwise also clearly taught by the Scriptures; (Ro 4:17; Heb 11:3); cf. also (Ps 33:6, 9; Am 4:13). The verb is never used of other than DIVINE activity.

The bero', which Kit proposes in the margin in conformity with the claims of many, for bara', i.e. the infinitive for the finite verb, and which yields the translation, "in the beginning of God's creating," etc., is not only entirely unnecessary but unfortunately, leads to an involved and confused sentence structure in place of a simple and a clear one. Besides, such a change is born entirely out of the desire to make room for a particular interpretation, viz. the interpretation that claims long ages of the earth's existence prior to the creative work here to be described. To use this change of vowels is the equivalent of substituting a confused road for a straight and a simple one.

The object of God's creation was "the heavens and the earth." We should have said, He created: "the universe." Since the Hebrew has no word for the universe and can at best say: "the all" cf. (Jer 10:16; Isa 44:24; Ps 103:19; 119:91; Ec 11:5), certainly the far more colourful "heavens and earth" is to be preferred. Besides, there is a deeper truth involved. In reality the world is bipartite; it is not a unit as far as we are concerned. The two parts constituting the world or the universe were originally in perfect harmony with one another. Now there exists a deep breach between the two. The term shamssyim signifies the "upper regions" (K. W.) and is a plural form, a plural of intensity (K. C.), pointing to the heavenly spheres or regions which rise one above the other. This explanation is to be preferred to the other (e. g. K. S.) which makes this a dual in reference to the two halves of the heavens which stretch each from the zenith to the horizon. The word for "earth," 'erets, bears a meaning which may be "that which is lower," des Niedere.

Over against the claim that "the heavens and the earth" may well be the equivalent of "the universe" it is contended that "heavens" here can only mean the "firmament," as in v. 8, and "earth" can only refer to the "dry land," as in v. 10. But then the very proper question arises: why single out "heaven and earth" in this sense at all and mention their creation in v. 17 Besides, in this creation account another word is used in a broader and in a narrower sense; cf. "day" in 5a with "day" in 5b with "day" in 2:4--actually three meanings.