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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sydney Episcopalians Evade Blessing and Honour

"Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. 'Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?' they asked. 'Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?' And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, 'Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.' And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." Matthew 13:54-58

"Familiarity breeds contempt" or so the saying goes. This is clearly demonstrated some 2,000 years ago when Jesus of Nazareth returned to his hometown and, despite their knowledge of him performing miracles post commencement of his ministry, his former neighbours could not believe he was of God, neither would they listen to his teaching. According to Matthew, their lack of faith prevented them benefiting from miracles of healing at the hand of God.

Apparently, that Jesus came from a family who were all known to them, that they had seen Jesus and his brothers and sisters grow up in the house of the town carpenter and that this family were seen to be "as common as mud" was sufficient barrier to prevent the people of Nazareth experiencing one of the greatest privileges any town, in the history of the world, could enjoy. Here among them was the Son of God - God in the person of the Son but they would not know it. As theologian D.A. Carson put it "Obviously some of the questioners' motivation springs less from a serious desire to know whence Jesus derives his authority than from personal pique that a hometown boy has outstripped them." This is sad story. No doubt there was an expectation of Messiah but Messiah did not come to them in the form they expected so the people of Nazareth missed blessing and honour.

The negating of blessing and honour experienced in Nazareth may well be occurring in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney today. In one sense it may be worse in Sydney. Though the people of Nazareth did not heed what he said at least they allowed Jesus to teach in their synagogue. Were it that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, walked the Diocese of Sydney today it is distinctly possible that few Clergy would let him into their pulpit. Why? Because he hasn't come from the desired sources.

Similarly, few Clergy in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney will allow Biblical Creationists into their pulpit. By my raising it here they will be less likely to do it but that is just their sin having its way. Because I donated a small sum to the ministry of Creation Ministries International, the major Biblical Creationist organization in Australia, I receive their ministry diary. It disappoints me to consistently see so few ministry events appear in Episcopalian Churches in Sydney Diocese. As has been said several times on this blogspot, the Biblical Creationist of today is in agreement with Martin Luther, John Calvin, Puritan writers and Sir Isaac Newton (the greatest scientist in the world according to most scientists) on the doctrine of Creation. Why then is an organization like Creation Ministries International so despised in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney? Because its speakers are not in accord with the doctrine of Creation taught nowadays in Moore Theological College, the Diocesan theological institution.

Biblical Creationists trust the word of God in Genesis chapter 1. Moore Theological College does not. Oh, the latter say they do and they say that all views are presented but the "proof is in the eating." Why is it that most graduates of that institution today advocate a departure from a historical prose reading of Genesis chapter 1? Why do they see devices within the passage which lead them to believe the Holy Spirit is concealing truth in Genesis chapter 1? For the graduate today there is something hidden or mystical because of the structure and content of the passage. Further, why do graduates of Moore Theological College, when in ministry, deny the pulpit to those who, like Luther, Calvin, the Puritans and Jesus Christ (Mark 10:6) regard Genesis chapter 1 as historical?

Sadly, most Clergy in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney commit a similar offence as the people of Nazareth by setting up a barrier to those they scorn as being not of their expectation, not of their class. Their means of discernment is built on shifting sand. They deny those who come in the name of the Lord and they deny the congregation under their pastoral care blessing and honour.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Prominent Atheist Has Moment(s) of Goodness Without God

Recently I wrote of criticism directed at Atheists by journalist, Andrew Bolt, following the Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia. I noted that the comments made by the Atheists were not in keeping with "Being Good Without God."

I have thought a little more about it and, with particular consideration of Professor Richard Dawkins, I now declare there can be moments of goodness from Atheists. Experience now tells me this.

Since writing my blog I had occasion to read a super book "Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Human Genome" written by Dr. J. C. Sanders, Cornell University Professor for more than 25 years.

One section of the book took my thoughts immediately to an interview of Richard Dawkins in a DVD called "From a Frog to a Prince." During the interview Professor Dawkins was asked to give an established example of a mutation actually adding information to an organism. There followed an extended period of silence with the camera showing Professor Dawkins thinking hard for eleven or more seconds without providing an example. I understand the period of silence had to be edited down because it actually went much longer and this did not facilitate good production ends. His eventual answer was no answer at all.

What was Professor Dawkins to do in this situation? He did not have knowledge of a mutation which added information. He was on camera, expected to have an answer and exposed to potential embarrassment. Time was passing at an agonizing rate. To his great credit Professor Dawkins was not prepared to fudge an example. He would not lie his way out of this dilemma. Silence in this situation was commendable and all the more so because you can see from the DVD that he was really trying to think of an example.

I hope readers will agree with my view that the actions of Professor Dawkins in the situation were praiseworthy.

Returning now to the writing of Dr. Sanders I quote an excerpt which underlines the difficulty Professor Dawkins had in producing an example of a mutation adding information to an organism. On pages 26 & 27 of his book Dr. Sanders says the following:

"Bergman (2004)* reviewed the topic of beneficial mutations. Among other things, he did a simple literature search via Biological Abstracts and Medline. He found 453,732 "mutation" hits, but among these only 186 mentioned the word "beneficial" (about 4 in 10,000). When those 186 references were reviewed, the presumed beneficial mutations were only beneficial in a very narrow sense and consistently involved loss-of-function (loss of information)changes. He was unable to find a single example of a mutation which unambiguously created new information. While it is almost universally accepted that beneficial, information-creating mutations must occur, this belief seems to be based upon uncritical acceptance of the Primary Axiom [Evolution] rather than upon actual evidence. I do not doubt there are beneficial mutations, but it is clear they are exceedingly rare - much too rare for genome-building.

In conclusion, mutations appear to be overwhelmingly deleterious, and even when one may be classified as beneficial in some specific sense, it is still usually part of an over-all breakdown and erosion of information. As we will soon examine in greater detail, mutations, even when coupled with selection, cannot generally create new information. The types of variation created by mutation are more like the dings and scratches of life, and cannot be seen as life's spare parts (spare parts are designed). Mutations are the basis for the aging of individuals, and right now they are leading to our death, both yours and mine. Unless selection can somehow stop the erosion of information in the human genome, mutations will not only lead to our personal death, they will lead to the death of our species. We will soon see that natural selection must be able to simultaneously select against extremely large numbers of nearly-neutral nucleotide mutations in order to prevent genomic degeneration.

Sanders and Bergman have identified the problem facing those who promote the evolutionary paradigm. The very mechanism required by the paradigm is not observed in science. Mutations which add information are not evident. Little wonder advocates of evolution struggle when asked to give an example of a mutation adding information to the genome.

It is to be hoped that there will be an outbreak of honesty and the public informed of the genetic reality that humanity is not evolving to a higher state. Rather, it is deteriorating to extinction and, as explained by Dr. Sanders in his book, we are unable to prevent this.


(* Bergman, J. 2004. Research on the deterioration of the genome and Darwinism: why mutations result in degeneration of the genome. Intelligent design Conference, Biola University. April 22-23.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Episcopalian Error Revealed in the Light of Day

Every now and again you run into an Episcopalian who is troubled by the appearance of the sun on day 4 of creation week and from this presumed difficulty finds it easier in conscience "to run with the world" rather than hold to a straightforward reading of the word of God in Genesis Chapter 1.

Biblical Creationists see no difficulty at all with God using the light created on day 1 of creation week to provide the light component for 24 hour days (as we experience them) during days 1 to 3.

Why God chose to switch from one light source to another during the course of creation week is an interesting question but uncertainty as to reason ought not be a barrier to acceptance of the proposition. It is essential for the Christian to have faith in the word of God. As with reason for Job's suffering, explanation can often come later.

I was interested to read last week of a posting at ICR
which, pardon the pun, sheds a bit of light on subject of light before the sun. For the lazy I will quote part of the posting here:

"The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun." (Psalm 74:16)

One of the traditional "discrepancies" attributed by the skeptics to the Genesis account of creation is the fact that there was "light" (Hebrew ôr) on the "first day of creation week, whereas God did not create the "lights" (Hebrew mā'-ôr) to rule the day and the night until the fourth day.

However, It is interesting that modern evolutionary cosmologists find no problem in having light before the sun. According to their speculative reconstruction of cosmic history, light energy was produced in the imaginary "Big Bang" 15 billion years ago, whereas the sun "evolved" only five billion years ago. Thus, even in their attempts to destroy the divine revelation of Genesis, they inadvertently find it necessary to return to its concepts. Light energy somehow had to be "prepared" before the sun and other stars could ever be set up to serve as future generators of light energy. The fact that light is an entity independent of the sun and other heavenly bodies is one of the remarkable scientific insights of the Bible. As the basic form of energy (even Intrinsic in the very nature of matter, as expressed in the famous Einstein equation), it is significant that the first recorded word spoken by the Creator was: "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3).

This is an interesting observation. Something I had not considered before. Caution needs to be taken in applying a historical application to poetic language but it appears to me the psalmist was firm in mind as to there being two distinct fiats regarding the creation of light and the sun and, consequently, the psalmist had a concept of the one not being dependent upon the existence of the other for it to be a reality.

Most bible translators have accurately translated the Hebrew correctly in their bible versions but, sadly, translators of the New International Version have ducked for cover. They have interpreted this passage with culturally influenced minds. Instead of "light and sun" they introduce "sun and moon" with no warrant.

Translators of the New International Version like many alleged evangelicals of today play "fast and loose" with the word of God just to fit in with the world. The alleged issue of the sun being created on day 4 is no issue at all for understanding the passing of 3 days (as we experience them today) beforehand or for accepting Genesis 1 as historical narrative or prose. Episcopalians - drop it! You are making yourselves look silly.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Evolutionary T-shirts

A while ago there was an atheist's convention in Melbourne; couldn't make it myself, but if I had I would have had T-shirts for sale with slogans such as:

Support evolution eat plutonium.

I use Dioxin for my mutations, how about you?

or: Mutate faster, drink Dioxin

or: Evolve faster, drink Dioxin (Dioxin clearly has lots of mileage here)

A mutation a day brings the doctor his pay.

Check the latest mutations, visit a hospice.

Don't ask me, I just evolved that way!

Wrong!? Just wait until some other morals evolve.

Help evolution, move to Bhopal.

Chimp operas: only 2% worse than humans'.

Now, prizes for the best contributions in comments (the prize is I won't trash your comment).

Leupold Genesis part 30 Tiamat??

In fact, whatever efforts are made to throw light upon the matter by drawing upon Babylonian myths, and particularly upon the monstrous deity Tiamat, only confuse the issues. Those who at once identify tehom with Tiamat do so without any warrant. The mere similarity of names does not make the Biblical account a derivative from Babylonian sources. As K. W. rightly remarks: "The spirit of the Old Testament has disavowed the personification of the term as well as its mythological implications." The holy writer was not going afield among the grotesque mythological figures of the Babylonian pantheon. His statement is too sober and the term employed quite uncontaminated by crude heathen notions. If any connection exists between the true; sober `Biblical term tehom and the mythological Tiamat, the latter in the sober light of facts must be a derivation form the former during the process of the degeneration of the original truth possessed by mankind. Tiamat lies so much farther down the scale as to appear as a very manifest corruption. That mere "waters" are meant here by tehom is also apparent from the next clause, where the term "waters" is actually substituted for it.

Note well that we have above carefully avoided that rendering of the last clause of v. 2 which makes the verb involved to mean "brooding." A good example was set by the Septuagint translators who used the term epefereto, "was borne along"; "moved" (A. V.) is less colourful but not wrong. The verb rachaph from which the piel participle is used, mera (ch) chepheth, signifies a vibrant moving, a protective hovering. No single instance of the Biblical usage of the verb would suggest "brooding," a meaning which was foisted upon the word in an attempt to make it bear resemblance to various old myths that speak of the hatching out of the world egg--a meaning specially defended by Gunkel, the strong advocate of mythical interpretation. (De 32:11) surely will not allow for the idea of "brooding." An eagle may brood over eggs but not over "her young."` The fact that the Syriac root does happen to mean "brood" cannot overthrow the Biblical usage, which takes strong precedence over mere similarity of root in kindred languages. Koenig (K. W.) rightly shows how such similarity may mislead. The Syriac and the Aramaic melakh, which is the Hebrew malakh, means in Syriac and Aramaic "to give counsel and incidentally "to rule," but in Hebrew it signifies "to be king." Comparative philology has its limitations. Or the Arabic hsslika, "to perish," appearing as the Hebrew verb halakh signifies "to go."

But what exactly is "the Spirit of God"? Since in this account the noun for God 'elohim is without a doubt definite, the word "spirit" also becomes definite, according to a simple rule of Hebrew syntax. Consequently, the thought must be ruled out that we are dealing with some such concept as "divine Spirit." It must definitely be rendered "the Spirit of God." Nor is there any warrant for rendering ruach as "wind" in this instance. The verb with which it is construed implies too much to let the statement merely mean that a wind fanned the face of the waters. Since, then, it actually is God's Spirit, the question might definitely be formulated thus: "Does ruach `elohim mean God's spirit or God's Spirit? Is it a mere potency in God or is it the Holy Spirit who is involved?, Or does the term refer to a principle or to a person?" We must guard against overstatement of the case, but we maintain very definitely: the Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity. For all the attributes ascribed to this divine person in the Old Testament agree fully with what is revealed in the New Testament concerning His person and His work. Absolutely none other than the Holy Spirit is here under consideration. Yet it would be inaccurate and premature to claim that this passage alone conveys this fact clearly to the mind of man. It may have been much later in the course of the fuller unfolding of divine revelation that the truth came home distinctly to the mind of believers that God's spirit was God, a separate person or hypostasis. Yet the harmony of the Word within itself and its inspiration by this same Holy Spirit necessitated that the statements made in earlier stages of revelation, nevertheless, are in accurate and full conformity with the truth. It may require the full light of New Testament revelation to enable us to discern that the Spirit of God here is the same as He who in the New Testament is seen to be the Holy Spirit; but having that light, we need not hesitate to believe that it sheds clear light back on the Old Testament usage of the expression. Davidson and Koenig in their Theology of the Old Testament may deny this. Even Oehler may hesitate to make a clear-cut assertion. This explanation, nevertheless, does better justice to the facts. Does it not seem reasonable that the Spirit of inspiration should have so worded the words that bear upon His activity that, when the full New Testament revelation has come, all statements concerning the Spirit are in perfect harmony with this later revelation?

We could never believe that this hovering of the Spirit over the face of the waters was idle and purposeless. From all other activities that are elsewhere ascribed to the Holy Spirit we conclude that His work in this case must have been anticipatory of the creative work that followed, a kind of impregnation with divine potentialities. The germs of all that is created were placed into dead matter by Him. His was the preparatory work for leading over from the inorganic to the organic. K.C. feels impelled to interpret this "hovering" as "an intensified and vitalized type of vibration." We should not be averse to holding that the foundation -L-or all physical laws operative in the world now was laid by this preparatory activity. Other passages relative to the Spirit as "the formative cause of all life" are to be found: (Job 26:13; 27:3; Ps 33:6; 104:30; 143:10; Isa 34:16; 61:1; 63:11).

From the grammatical point of view it may be remarked that the participle mera (ch) chepheth refers to the past in a context which refers to the past (K. S. 237 a). Besides, as a participle it embodies the thought of continuation as well as the idea of repetition (K. S. 238 a). This "hovering" was not a single and instantaneous act. It rather describes a continued process. Mssyim, "waters," is plural of extent not dual (K. S. 259d). The article before "waters" is the of "relative familiarity."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Connect '09 - Was God Listening?

Faithfulness brings its reward.

Recently, I was blessed to see the Lord our God at work in the lives of believers. But first, understand where I had to come from to experience that blessing.

My mind for a couple of years has been occupied with the buzz of promotional activities rallying the troops of Sydney Anglican Diocese toward Connect 09. The year 2008 saw encouragement after encouragement from organizers of Connect 09 to be praying and preparing for the big event the next year. This was to be the event crucial to getting 10% of the public within the region into bible believing churches by year 2012. That 10% were not to all enter those churches in 2009 but 2009 was the year the big connection was to be made from which would flow exponential growth in church numbers.

While unbelievers were celebrating the introduction of the New Year at 00:01am on January 1 2009 the organization team for Connect '09 were undoubtedly filled with excitement in anticipation of what the year would bring. Here was the largest evangelical Anglican Diocese in the universe about to, well, evangelize. But this was no ad hoc isolated exercise, it was to be a unified campaign where ideas would be shared. The Diocesan Newspaper would be the medium for encouraging parishes to adopt the initiatives of others. That same newspaper would carry constant motivational urgings from the Archbishop.

Well, year 2009 came and went but not without a flurry of activity albeit some parishes more active than others. Contacts were made, this cannot be denied. Some people who were not attending church decided to go to church. The name of the parish church was brought to the attention of many in the community. Added to that was presentation to many of the gospel according to Luke under the banner of "The Essential Jesus." Again, a lot would have read this and some motivated to inquire further. However, if it was not obvious beforehand, it became obvious in the latter part of year 2009 that the scale of response to Connect '09 was underwhelming - far below what was needed to predict achieving the target of 10% of the population in bible believing churches by year 2012. In the latter part of the year there emerged utterances urging continuation of Connect '09 into year 2010 and beyond. Read from that enthusiasm emanating from the success of Connect '09 or a statement that results lack fruit? I read the latter! It would be an error to confuse a flurry of activity with an ongoing connection of large numbers of people with the church.

Don't just take my observations. You can read the report on the effectiveness of Connect '09 in the latest edition of Southern Cross. I urge you to read beyond the soothing words which try to reach equilibrium between positives and negatives. Be in no doubt, there are unstated negatives.

Something presently is dreadfully wrong with the capacity of Sydney Anglican Diocese to impact the community with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was prayer. There was a lot of prayer and it was directed to our Lord and God. Remember our Lord's words? - "I will build my church." (Matt. 16:18) Since the work is the Lord's work the obvious question is - "Was our Lord listening?"

I now want you to contrast that background with my recent experience of blessing.

I just happened to visit a church out of my area during its evening service. It was not Anglican. Upon arrival I noted the church building was small. It was one of those buildings which arose on the landscape of greater Sydney in a time when faith in our Lord was far more widespread in the community and each suburb was well represented by varying denominations. This building had served - how shall I say it? - a minor denomination and the dimensions of the building were sufficient for the cause. But, in year 2010, our Lord's church is, across the board, not as dominant as it was in days past. Many similar church buildings to this one had gone by the wayside, either demolished for development or sold and modified for other use by the new owner. What hope could I have for this little building or, more responsibly, the expected small body of believers who meet within it's walls? I soon found out.

Initial arrivals were elderly, about ten of them and each 60+ years of age and of Anglo-Saxon appearance. Signs were not good. Then a mixture of middle aged Asians along with more Anglo-Saxons of middle age and young Asian adults and young Anglo-Saxon adults. Then, finally, 20 to 30 teen to young adult Asians made their way into the building. Seating was almost fully occupied - I counted 56 late teens/adults in attendance. Despite this number, one elder of the church expressed to me later his disappointment that numbers were down on expectation because many students, who would normally be present, had examinations the next day and were 'cramming' for the exams. Only old hymns were sung and each with gusto - far more than most contemporary songs sung these days in Anglican churches. There was a buzz of life in this place. Why? The story is this:

A few years ago this was a dying church. The ten or so congregational members were elderly and the church was going to die with them. However, they had faith in our Lord and a desire to participate in the Great Commission (Matt. 28). Their meeting place is situated a few kilometres from a major university campus. The university is attended by many Asian students on temporary visas. This church decided to acquire a mini bus, advertise on campus the provision of free English lessons, a free meal and free transport to these benefits. There was a quick uptake to the offer. Students were also offered free transport to the Sunday services and this too was well received.

This was a missionary work because most students would be returning to China after completion of studies. Our Lord was at work here because, in the few years since commencement of the mission, there have been a minimum of 50 adult baptisms into our Lord Jesus Christ from within these citizens of largely atheistic China. I was not in a position to test the validity of conversions but discussions with congregational members during the after service supper convinced me they were able to discern a living faith.

This night of my visit was occasioned by a visiting speaker from Creation Ministries International - you know, those Biblical Creationists who, like Whitefield & Wesley a little more than two centuries ago, are refused entry to most Anglican Churches. Anyway, this little church, I learned later, had engaged Creation Ministries International speakers on previous occasions and had been delighted with the effect of the ministry.

On this night it was a long service, far longer than, in my experience, was acceptable. It went for two hours. The reason, it seems was that the church had requested showing of the film "Darwin - The Voyage That Shook The World" as well as a talk from the speaker and other aspects of a church service. Despite my reservations about the duration of the service the audience sat attentive and actually applauded the speaker at the end.

I felt I had to remain for the supper despite it being conducted in a somewhat awkward, I thought, location in an upstairs room. It was crowded and abuzz with conversation. I engaged a Chinese girl in conversation. She spoke in thoughtful, precise English verbiage. I asked how long she had been attending the church. She replied that it was her first time because tonight was the first time she could fit in the mini bus. Earlier attempts were thwarted by those who, on this occasion, were absent due to exam requirements. I also asked her what she thought about the film and speaker address. She replied "It was very interesting because, you know, we have been taught evolution in China. I have to look and consider this." I later stood by to see her collect some literature from the Creation Ministries International people and obtain from them their website details.

Just before supper was over I got the speaker aside and, in an attempt at encouragement, passed on my account of the conversation with the girl. He responded with an account of a conversation he had with a young man earlier. The young man came up to him and thanked him. He then said words to the effect of: "Tonight has been an eye-opener for me; I have to rethink so many things. This is the first time in my whole life I've heard anyone speak against evolution. Your presentation was excellent. I want to thank you very much for doing that."

I later left that little church elevated in spirit. What was, in effect, a few years ago virtually a "valley of dry bones" is today full of lively flesh filled with Holy Spirit. Who can account for the 50 or more (and counting) largely atheistic Chinese citizens coming to Australia, encountering love and hospitality from a church of senior citizens who "[We] demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and [we] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)

May our Lord continue to bless the faithfulness of this little church of missionaries - not the least, their faithfulness to the Word of God in Genesis through which they introduce our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator, Saviour and King.

I am left to ask, has the same activity of Holy Spirit been present in Connect '09?


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Hey ... Teacher ... Leave Those Kids Alone!"

"Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there

Matthew 19:13-15

As most Christians know and as Theologian Don Carson agrees, "Jesus does not want the little children prevented from coming to him (v. 14), not because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them, but because the kingdom of heaven belongs to those like them (so also Mark and Luke, stressing childlike faith): Jesus receives them because they are an excellent object lesson in the kind of humility and faith he finds acceptable."

Sadly, certain Sydney Episcopalians fail to demonstrate the humility and faith our Lord finds acceptable because of their treatment of the word of God in Genesis 1. Worse still, they discourage and isolate those who bring humility and childlike faith to understanding Genesis 1. Like the misguided disciples exposed in the incident described by Matthew, Mark and Luke, certain Sydney Episcopalians would sooner put away those who have the humility and faith our Lord finds acceptable.

It's as if they have marched in unison out of their oh so precious Moore Theological College to put obstacles in the way of faith. Instead of reading and understanding Genesis 1 as it reads the children of faith are urged by these men and women to look elsewhere for understanding. The children of faith are urged to seek a hidden message invoked by rhythm, parallelism, repetition, chiasmus, number symbolism. Further, Genesis 1 is to be stood alongside the pagan myth "Enuma Elish" and interpreted in the light of the 'wisdom' emitted by the latter.

Little children don't be deterred by these troublers. Blessing from our Lord awaits. Hold firm in your humility and faith. Our Lord is true. His word endures forever against all assaults of his enemies. Trust his word as it reads in Genesis 1.

Sam Drucker

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Lord Save Me!"

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I, Don't be afraid.'

'Lord if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.'

'Come,' he said

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'

Matthew 14:25-33 (NIV)

This is a favourite story for Sunday School children. Nevertheless, it is as much an historical event as the creation of the universe described in Genesis 1 and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth described later in Matthew's account of activities surrounding the Christ.

Truly, a miracle occurred on this otherwise normal night some 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. Laws of Physics repeatedly observed in our world tell us the event described by Matthew was out of order. The physics are just not right for men to walk on water. The choppy waters only added to the difficulty. Yet there it was, it happened and, in the mind of eye witnesses it was as much an unlikely event as we would expect today.

Laws of Physics were overridden and capacity for this rested in Jesus of Nazareth. For Simon Peter to walk on the water required faith that Jesus of Nazareth had capacity to order him to walk on the water. In declaring this, Simon Peter was declaring that it was not just a carpenter and religious teacher from Nazareth before him but one with capacity to order creation.

Simon Peter acts on his faith and is enabled to walk on the water. It is then that problems arise for him. Simon Peter begins to feel the force of the wind and its effect on the waves. His faith in the word of Jesus is eroded by the seeming strength of the natural world around him. He loses heart and begins to sink into the water. Thankfully, he knew who to call upon for help. He calls to his Lord, Jesus. It interests me that Jesus did not respond with a word of order such as "Come" as he did at the outset but instead extends his hand to pull Simon Peter up from the water. Why?

Simon Peter set out on his walk with his Lord trusting in the the word of his Lord but the influence of the world caused him to falter. His condition became a sorry example of faith to those around him. His example was a discouragement to others who may have wanted to step forward trusting in the word of the Lord. One can only imagine his colleagues becoming stilled in helplessness as they watched their colleague slowly sinking in the water.

As already indicated, Simon Peter had sufficient faith to know who to call to for rescue from drowning. He called to his Lord Jesus. Jesus responded in mercy but not with a word of enablement but a hand of help and a word of chastisement for Simon Peter's now exposed doubt.

I cannot help viewing this incident without seeing comparison with many Episcopalians in Sydney. They set out in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ with a declared faith in his word but, unknown to them and to others, there exists a certain shallowness in their faith. Buffeting from the world soon exposes their weakness. They falter and prove themselves a poor example for others to trust implicitly in the word of the Lord. Many, I expect, trust sufficiently to call on the Lord to deliver them to the Father's 'safe shore' but what example have they been to others to trust in the word of the Lord? To what extent have they quenched the Spirit of the Lord? To what extent have they been a handicap to the growth of the church?

No clearer example of faltering faith in the word of our Lord is found in their treatment of Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 for understanding Origins. We here seldom agree with Richard Dawkins but he got it right when he recently said words to the effect of "The writing is on the wall for those who try to make the Bible compatible with Evolution." The notion of Evolution is a dead hand for Christians. It is, as Richard Dawkins says, incompatible with the Bible. To embrace it exposes a distrust in the word of God.

The utterances of God in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 are as much unmistakable and authoritive as our Lord Jesus Christ's utterance recorded in Matthew 14:29 wherein he says "Come."

Sam Drucker

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 29 verse 2

2. And now, as far as the earth was concerned, it was waste and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was hovering upon the face of the waters.

Of the two parts of the universe mentioned the author abandons the first, "the heavens," as lying outside of the sphere of the present investigation, for of its creation we need not know or perhaps could not understand its details. Moses definitely limits himself to the second of the two parts by emphatically setting "the earth" first in the sentence. This yields a shade of thought which our translation above tries to reproduce by saying: "And now, as far as the earth was concerned." Or one might render: "Now this earth," etc. As has been remarked, from this point onward the point of approach may be said to be geocentric.

By an outstanding double expression (cf. for similar combinations 18:27 and 21:23) an almost onomatopoeic effect is secured to describe the utmost of an unformed and unshapen mass: "waste and void" --tohu wavohu. Tohu is really a noun used as an emphatic adjective (K. S. 306 r), as is also, of course, bohu. The verb "it was," hayethah, cannot bear the emphasis in a sentence where two such significant predicates follow (K. S. 326 b). It must merely serve as a copula (K. S. 338 q). Consequently, all attempts to put into this verb some thought like: the earth then was there, or lay thus for quite a time, are grammatically quite inadmissible. Now tohu as such means originally unformedness (K. W.) and so can come to mean a "waste" only in the sense of being not yet put into shape, not in the sense of having been laid waste by some catastrophe, as all those would postulate who try at every point to make room for geologic periods of development. All later usage of the word points in the same direction. It occurs once again with bohu, (Jer 4:23). In (De 32:10) the parallel thought is "wilderness." Isaiah uses it to describe the unreality of idols. In (Isa 41:29), where it is rendered "confusion," its parallel is "wind," and similar terms are "vanity" and "nought." Similarly, (Isa 40:17) offers as parallels: "nothing" and "less than nothing." Cf. also (Isa 40:23; 49:4; 1Sa 12:21). The passage (Je 4:23) is not at variance with these claims, for though it pictures a state of desolation by the quotation of the whole phrase tohu wavohu, it evidently means that the land is again to be reduced to a state like unto the primeval chaos. (Isa 24:10) is analogous. Bohu is derived from a root "to be empty," therefore "emptiness." It is applicable to a region without inhabitants of any kind. Its thought is clearly distinct from tohu. Both terms together then indicate two directions in regard to which the newly created world will undergo further changes: first, it must be shaped and formed into definite molds; secondly, it must be peopled with all kinds of inhabitants or beings.

The next sentence, "and darkness was upon the face of the deep," indicates the last two deficiencies or incompletenesses characteristic of this newly formed earth--"deficiencies" being here taken not in the sense of a positive defect but negatively as mere want of those things which in the purpose of God were consecutively to be supplied. The verb "was" carries over from the preceding clause and need not be repeated here. All of what had thus far come into being was wrapped in complete and absolute darkness. This is the first deficiency. The second touched upon in this sentence is that which lay under the darkness was "the deep." Yet even here the expression used is not merely "upon the deep" but "upon the faces of the deep." This "deep" had a variety of aspects, "faces." In fact, since "deep," tehom, from the root hum, "to resound," signifies the surging, raging primeval waters, the term implies anything but a monotonous peace and uniformity. Besides, the absence of the article stamps the word as a kind of proper noun, viz. that one and only primeval deep. Whether now this original form is characteristic cf the whole earth or merely of its surface; whether it involved an earth that had, as it were, a solid kernel but merely a disturbed surface; or whether solid matter and water were originally churned up into one vast conglomerate neither solid nor liquid, no investigation on our part will ever determine.