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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

War on God and the Bible

James Kidwell Popham was born in Lancaster, England in 1847 and died in 1937. He was Editor of the "Gospel Standard" from 1905 till 1935. For some years he was active with the Trinitarian Bible Society. He preached at Galeed Chapel more than 50 years. Speaking of his conversion he said "On a never to be forgotten day as I was walking along a road the word, 'Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God', was borne in upon my heart with an amazing power. The view of divine holiness filled me with alarm. I saw the uncleanness of my heart; then His divine justice flashed into my conscience and I saw my sins."

James Popham is a hero of faith. Like Noah he was a Preacher of Righteousness. Noah experienced a world prior to its destruction, lived through its destruction and experienced a new world which we now inhabit. James Popham lived prior to Darwinism, experienced the intrusion of Darwinism into Science and later infiltration of Darwinism into Christianity. Darwinism is destructive to Christian faith.

Late in his ministry, James Popham was horrified to hear the Bishop of Birmingham preach to a young audience in Westminister Abbey (the burial place of Charles Darwin) a sermon which was the fruit of receiving Darwinism into Christianity. James Popham made certain the young audience would not be left without correction. He preached a sermon on John 8:24 and gave it the title "War on God and the Bible." It was a lengthy sermon and space prevents me repeating it all here. An extract is provided and I just make comment that James Popham was in no doubt that diminution of the integrity of Genesis has its consequence for knowledge and trust in Jesus Christ. I hand over now to James Popham:

"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).

How the world came into existence, whether by the immediate creating word of God, "Let there be", or by what is called evolution — with this we are brought face to face. How man came to exist, whether according to Genesis, And God said, "Let Us make man"; or whether there has been a development, a growth covering millions of years, so that from a bit of jelly (protoplasm) we have risen and risen and developed and come to be what we are today — is a question that is openly propounded, and I feel it behoves every minister called by grace and sent to preach, to set the trumpet to his mouth and blow an alarm with regard to these things.
"Science, falsely so-called", as the Apostle Paul speaks, is now very loud in its utterances and has become most daring in its opposition to God. It starts of course with cutting away from us the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture. That inspiration is denied, and when a man denies the inspiration of this Book he is at once adrift and where he will go, how he will end, rests with God. The state today of this nation and of the whole world is terrible, and no wonder that the name of God no longer inspires reverence; no wonder that the inspired writers are regarded as ignorant men and as writing accordingly, and that Jesus Himself is accused of being a Jew speaking under the influence of Jewish prejudices. For there being no inspiration there can be no proper regard for the Bible and no belief attaching to the writings. And for you, my dear friends, especially for you young people, I have a strong feeling of sympathy. What God is to do with this nation is not for me to say, but we have this before us:" Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" He has given us in this our beloved nation the greatest of blessings — the gift of the Reformation founded on His holy Word. He gave a race of ministers mighty in the Scriptures. But the Reformation is now forgotten or derided, and the Reformers and Puritans, mighty in the Scriptures, have passed away, and we are in an exceedingly low condition.

Now as I see these things, there is a war being made on God and His inspired Word. Men in high places, religious teachers, are not afraid to speak of Him as if He were one of themselves, and of His Word as in parts unhistorical, contrary to fact, and therefore not to be relied on. Against this unbelieving attitude I speak to you, however feebly, and I take up the following positions:

1. First, I start with this, that this Bible is inspired, that it contains what the apostle speaks of to Timothy — "all Scripture", and that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God". What is signified by inspiration is stated thus by Scripture itself: "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:21). That is, the penmen of this Book were so instructed by the Holy Ghost as to express the very words of God; not to write in their own words the thoughts suggested to them, but to write the words given them (2 Sam. 23:2; Acts 1:16). And truly if they were, as the anti-Scripturist says, "ignorant men", how necessary was it that they should have the very words given them to write and not be left to express thoughts in their own language! Who could depend on the Bible if it were but a transcription of thoughts, and the words left to the choice of the writers? Here we stand this morning: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine" — may we never despise doctrine; "for reproof — God grant we may never turn our ears from reproof; "for correction, for instruction in righteousness" — how a man should live and how a sinner should be made righteous; "that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim.

2. My second position is, that the infinite God created heaven and earth and all that therein is, and the sea and all that is therein; that He rules in heaven and earth; that there is nothing hid from His gaze, nothing free from His control, nothing moving of itself absolutely; that God is "God only wise", the "I AM THAT I AM".

3. My third position is, that this God did for about thirty-three years walk on the earth in our own nature; that the Man Jesus is this God and that He is now in heaven in that same nature, even our own nature. And this God speaks in our text and says to His enemies : "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins".

Now we are brought face to face with two facts, namely, God speaks, and there are men who speak against Him and against His Word. You cannot open your newspaper today without seeing that His name, His word, His work, His glory are trampled under foot; and you, with myself, must more or less perceive that there is an imminent danger to us if we are left at all to receive the things which are taught by them of the Scriptures.

Between us, as we hope, believers in the Word and in the Being of God, and the scientist preaching his "science falsely so-called ", there is a great gulf. He cuts this Book away as to its inspiration; we believe it to be inspired. He derides creation work; we believe in it. He says we men have always ascended and are ascending. We say we descended in the Fall terribly; that man was made by the immediate operation of God in the image of God, his body formed out of the dust and his soul breathed into that body; so he be-came an immortal person, "a living soul". Sin has destroyed the life of the soul, but not the immortality of its being; and the life of the body is destroyed but for a time, for the day is coming when God will raise the bodies of both the righteous and the wicked. I say, there is a great gulf between us and those who deny the inspiration of Scripture and its testimony.

Now this Man who walked on the earth a poor Man, a broken-hearted Man, but a Teacher, an anointed Preacher of righteousness (Isa. 61:1), having the law of God in His heart (Psalm. 40:8) which He came to obey and fulfil — this Man is the only begotten Son of God, and He is the Word. You will find the same Person is spoken of as the Creator. In the first chapter of Genesis you read: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". In his Gospel the Apostle John says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." In the Hebrews the apostle says: "God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds". And of the same Person it is said: "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth". And again: "No man hath seen God at any time" — that is just what the Lord said to Moses, "No man can see Me and live" — "the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him". His oneness with the Father, and therefore His eternity, are expressed in this Gospel by the Lord Jesus Himself. When answering Philip's request, "Show us the Father", He said: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. We are so one, one in nature, only distinguished in Person; so one that you cannot see Me without seeing the Father." The question of apprehending and seeing them both is another question which belongs to experience, but the fact, the truth, is that you cannot see Jesus Christ without seeing His eternal Father. And the Spirit is in them both and proceeds from them both.

James Popham proceeded to propound the saving work of Jesus Christ and the blessing of the Trinity being present in all who receive Him. These things are not yet jettisoned by Evangelicals so, for the sake of space and that they are not disputed, I have excluded them from this blog. Popham moves to the end of his sermon:

"If ye believe not that I am He" in these particulars, "ye shall die in your sins." Then this follows — that when a man, when a sinner does believe that Jesus is the I AM, that He is what the Scriptures declare Him to be, that He did what the Scriptures say He did, that He is where the Scriptures say He is, and is doing what the Scriptures say He is doing, he shall be saved, he shall not die in his sins. The sinner that by precious faith — faith which stands in the power of God, fixes here, stands here. casts himself down here before the God-Man Jesus Christ, he shall be saved, he shall not die in his sins.

So far I have set before you, as God I hope has helped me, fundamentals gathered up into one fundamental. We are face to face today with the most appalling infidelity, but let all the many that stand on the side of that terrible word uttered by a bishop in Westminster Abbey, "If there be a God" — let them approve of evolution and the destruction of theology, we have this BOOK, and we believe some have the Holy Ghost who spoke by holy men of old. We have His word for our teacher and our guide. Stand here, dear friends. Young people, you have much to meet with, much to contend against, if you fear God; but Stand fast by this, and remember one thing if you can—that when the Lord Jesus was tempted of the devil He said, "It is written, it is written". Say that also if and when you are tempted. If a subtle argument is brought to you, reply "It is written". This Book is written, these instructions are written. This Jesus is given, God sent Him. He freely came, He lovingly came. He freely, lovingly died; He rose again. He is in heaven. "It is written." That, if you are enabled to hold it, will keep you. The word of Jesus' patience will keep you, and you will keep it; and in the end this will be your blessed happy lot: "Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".

Now I have delivered what was in my mind. Last Monday morning when I saw the terrible thing that the Bishop of Birmingham said to boys in Westminster Abbey, 0 how I felt for those boys! I felt such indignation and sorrow in my soul that made me cry to God to arise and vindicate His name and honour. And my mind has been with you young people more or less all the week. I have felt for you, and I feel for you. It may be that as I am an old man, God may remove me before the terrible day that is coming; but depend on this — you will meet with much "opposition of science falsely so-called", and if you have faith you will need it. Christ said to His disciples, having taught them many things: "Let these sayings sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of men". As if He should say: "When I am weak, when I am crucified, when I seem to have no power, then remember I have taught" you these things". God help us to believe and to remember. Amen

I can hear the Theistic Evolutionists of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney saying "Amen, we are not on display here." Wrong! You are included and exposed in your nakedness. Satan does not always come with a "club" as he did with Job. As with our Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane he may come with a kiss. You may say that you hold to the inspiration of Scripture but what you ignore is that you have been seduced to embrace the world. In your inflamed ardour, an ardour excited by having a love additional to your stated love of the Word you engage in deceit and secrecy. With subtlety you twist the the intent of the Word so that you can accomodate your adulterous relation with the world. This is sin. This is unfaithfulness.

Sam Drucker


Eric said...

Sam, thanks for putting this up. It grieves me that Peter J. can make the statement that we quote at the head of this blog, but fail to deliver with the conviction that this sermon has to stand with the word of God against the words of men which tend to obscure rather than spotlight our creator.

sam drucker said...

Eric, it is such a shame that we confront such an inconsistency.

Each public statement he and his colleagues make concerning avowed adherence to inspired Scripture immediately sends shudders through me. Why? Because it is a false statement being made by hierarchy of the church.

Sam Drucker