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Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Critical Perspective

I, Neil Moore, attended a Christian Meeting last Thursday and a friend shared a message I thought worthy of publication.

Based on an essay by David Coppedge in – Feb-06

The religious elite vs persecuted minority: same old story continues
Anyone who has read the Bible from cover to cover has undoubtedly noted a recurring theme: those who fear God and trust His word are often a persecuted minority, even within the sphere of “religious” people.

In the Old Testament, “true Israel” (those committed to God’s word) was a small subset of “political Israel”. In the remarkable chapter 9 of Romans, Paul reminds us: “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel”.

In the New Testament, false teachers and heresies quickly emerged, just as Paul predicted. By the late middle ages, the “church” was burning at the stake saints who wanted to distribute the word of God to the common people.

So the most influencial opponents of God and his will on earth are often not the rabid atheists or pagans: it is the corrupt religious leaders: the progressives who call themselves followers of God but take liberal liberties with God’s word:

* After the Exodus, there were the elders who made a golden calf in the name of Jehovah, trying to show that there was no dichotomy between the Lord and the gods of Egypt.

* There was Jeroboam – the first king of Israel after the split from Judah – guided by apostate priests, setting up two golden calves, spin-doctoring this blatant idolatry as being performed in honor of Jehovah with: “Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt”.

* There were the false prophets who opposed Jeremiah (Jer. 23), to whom God said: “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture…. These lying prophets prophesy the delusions of their own minds… they do not benefit (my) people in the least”.

… And in Ezekiel (Eze. 13), there were the “foolish prophets” who supposedly spoke in the name of the Lord but again spoke out of the imagination of their own hearts and in doing so even fooled themselves – listen to this!: “They say ‘The Lord declares’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled.”

The most telling example of all is how the religious elite treated Jesus Christ himself. Here was the Messiah, the Son of God, the LORD incarnate standing in front of them… and look who stood in His way. Who opposed him and accused him of getting his power from the devil, and ultimately crucified him? The scholars – the learned class, the elitists – the scribes and Pharisees against whom He leveled the most biting accusations: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matt. 23).

What do you think was the root evil corrupting these people? I think it was pride. Rather than humbling themselves before the word of God, they elevated their own reason, tradition or status as more important than understanding and obeying God’s will as expressed in his word. (In the Pharisees’ case, though they almost ‘worshiped’ the Torah, they took liberties with the meaning and added profusely their own rules and traditions with the end result of contradicting the clear meaning of the text. In the Sadducees’ case, their love of power and prestige led them to either ignore the word of God or take a more “progressive” interpretation guaranteed to preserve their status and political power.)

Firstly, these historical lessons remind us that there’s “nothing new under the sun” when it comes to a minority of people being true to the faith while the many others persecute them (it’s a spiritual battle after all!).

Secondly, it reminds us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, as Solomon said. I’m sure we all have that fear of the Lord, if not we wouldn’t be here tonight. Let us never fear man and his fashionable idolatries more than we fear God!

By the way, isn’t it encouraging to hear of eminent Christian Bible scholars who are willing to change their minds on the creation issue, and thus risk criticism from men? Del Tackett and R.C.Sproul come to mind as folks willing to change their minds on this issue.

So let’s pray that the Holy Spirit convicts more and more people of the need to submit to God and his word.

I, Neil Moore, wonder what traces of the Pharisaic attitude "though they almost ‘worshiped’ the Torah, they took liberties with the meaning and added profusely their own rules and traditions with the end result of contradicting the clear meaning of the text." have manifestation in the Sydney Anglican Diocese today concerning Genesis 1.



John said...

How dare he accuse us! We are graduates of that most holy institute, Moore College, and we have studied for 4 years to really understand God's Word. And if we have a disagreement about a passage's true meaning, then we are free to choose among several. We don't want to be seen as intolerant, especially with regards to Genesis 1, do we?

sam drucker said...

John, the Archbishop is waiting for your reply in the comments section of the earlier blog!

Sam Drucker

neil moore said...

John said "And if we have a disagreement about a passage's true meaning, then we are free to choose among several."

By having several interpretations or meanings you conveniently open the door to all meanings having as much value as the other. Truth or the intention of the original writer of the text is thus obscured if not lost altogether.

And that is the state of Moore College.