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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jehovah Jireh

It's been a while since I posted here but couldn't help thinking when reading the following words in Deuteronomy 6:10 to12:

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Everything was provided by God for Israel complete, intact, functioning when entering and commencing life in the Promised Land. Reminds me about the Creation where everything was provided by God for man complete, intact, functioning at the commencement of life on earth.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Greg Clarke is an idiot.

Greg Clarke is an idiot.
Greg Clarke is an idiot.
Greg Clarke is an idiot.
Greg Clarke is an idiot.
Greg Clarke is an idiot.
Greg Clarke is an idiot.
Greg Clarke is an idiot.

The question that we have before us today is, Is Greg Clarke really an idiot?

In order to answer this we must set aside, for the moment, our limiting pre-postmodernal preconceptions that would entail taking these words at face value and concluding that the author is literally claiming that Greg Clarke is actually an idiot. What we must do is to examine the evidence, not on a literal level, but a literalistic one. Hence, let us deconstruct the message by taking the priority of form over content. In other words, to garner support from Marshall McLuhan’s famous maxim we can claim that the medium is truly the message.

First, note the repetition. The writer, by claiming seven times that Greg is an idiot, is underscoring a claim of perfection, not Greg’s perfection, of course, but perfection of the message.

Further, each instantiation of ‘Greg Clarke is an idiot’ contains seven syllables, making 7 x 7 or 49 interconnected modules. We can recall from the Old Testament that 49 was traditionally the number used when one wanted to signify divine completion over an extended period of time. Thus, the author of this message is clearly emphasising divine sanction of Greg Clarke being an idiot.

One could go on and on about this pithy declaration, its internal structure and whether or not Greg Clarke is a literal or literalistic idiot. Possibly some background detail may assist our endeavour.

This month in the Christian newspaper Eternity Greg Clarke claimed that young earth creationists, apropos science and the Bible, are not realists but are “head-in-the-sand, plug-the-ears-idiots”. Now, try as I might, I found it impossible to uncover any literary devices in his statement so I was forced to take it straightforwardly and conclude that Greg Clarke really meant that I and others were genuine, unadulterated 100% idiots because we hold that God created everything in 6 days. That is, I, my friends, men like Calvin, Luther, Aquinas, Theophilus, Lactantius, Paul, Jesus, the Disciples, the majority of the Church and extremely clever boffins, like the triple-earned biochemistry PhD A.E. Wilder-Smith, are literal idiots for believing that God was speaking without literary devices when he declared to Moses that,

“Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
" 'Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.' "
When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.’
(Exodus 31)

Unlike Greg Clarke, whose doctorate is in English literature, I have real faith that God is the first and only Person to be trusted with regard to ultimate things, such as origins, not the speculations of sinful men. Greg Clarke prefers to believe that the mutable philosophies of post-structuralism and the like, wedded to the contemporary creation myth of evolution, are a surer interpretive tool than God’s plain revelation.

Is Greg Clarke an idiot? Good question and one deserving an answer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh, How They Love Them, How They Adhere to Their Teaching!

"Abraham is our father." (John 8:39)

"Are you greater than our father Abraham?" (John 8:53a)

So responded the Jews to our Lord Jesus as he attempted to show them their misunderstanding of who he was and how they had got their understanding of the knowledge and will of God wrong.

They revered Abraham. They believed their knowledge of him and the promises of God to him assured them they were right with God.

"We are disciples of Moses!" (John 9:28b)

So, again, the Jews responded to our Lord Jesus avowing how strictly they adhered to the faith of their father - this time their father in faith, Moses.

History shows the Jews had it badly wrong. They did not recognise their Messiah, the one through whom the promise to Abraham and the one through whom the law of Moses would be fulfilled. Sadly, they got it so wrong they crucified their Messiah.

How could they be so removed from the faith of Abraham and Moses when they worked so hard to maintain a faith centred on those two greats of their history? Although they claimed to be wise they became foolish. Their knowledge was not, as they claimed, rooted in the faith of Abraham and Moses but was the product of their own devices.

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

Such was a quote provided by Neil Moore some time back where the Principal of Moore Theological College was declaring one of the foundations of the theological seminary of Episcopal Diocese of Sydney. But how far they have shifted from from the faith of Luther and Calvin?

Martin Luther said this, "He [Moses] calls 'a spade a spade' i.e., he employs the terms 'day' and 'evening' without Allegory, just as we customarily do ... we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e, that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit." 1 Luther also said, "We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago."2

John Calvin said this, "For it is not without significance that he divided the making of the universe into six days, even though it would have been no more difficult for him to have completed in one moment the whole work together in all its details than to arrive at its completion gradually by a progression of this sort."3 Calvin also said this, "They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation of the universe."4

That faith in Genesis 1 is not taught at Moore Theological College today. The teaching of Luther and Calvin, principals of the Protestant Reformation, are not adhered to as Reformed Church in its infancy did. It was not always like it is today. In fact you only need go back a few decades for something of the faith of Luther and Calvin taught at Moore Theological College.

It [theory of evolution] is against the evidence; for example, the evidence of the fossils which show that living organisms are in their final form when they first appear. Evolution is also against common sense. Take the problem of the wing of a bird which is a very intricate aeronautical structure. It is effective only in its completed form; how can it get built up little bit by little bit by a staggering number of minute accidental variations, none of which is of any use until the final form is reached?

Such were the thoughts of David Broughton Knox, former Principal of Moore Theological College. He was, at least until recent years, much revered in Sydney Episcopal circles. This reverence is due most to his biblical scholarship and faith.

What I have quoted is an extract of an essay he wrote "Not By Bread Alone - God's Word on Present Issues." Broughton Knox said there was no evidence for evolution. The situation remains the same today yet much of the Episcopal Diocese of Sydney distances itself from Broughton Knox's belief on this issue. They have moved while hypocritically revering Broughton Knox as a father of their theological seminary.

The sad but spectacular failure of Connect 09 to achieve it purpose toward getting 10% of the population of the Episcopal Diocese of Sydney into bible believing churches by year 2010 must be weighing heavy on the hearts of the Archbishop and others. Surely, they are asking themselves "Where do we stand in relation to the will of God?" The silence within the Diocese on this issue is as deafening as a loud trumpet (or a stadium full of activated Vuvuzelas) but no-one is willing to go into print about it (except us). Let us then defer to Broughton Knox, again from his quoted essay:

"We need to renew our faith in Christ as Lord and in his coming kingdom.

This can only be as we recognise our need to deepen our own subjection to the Word of God in Holy Scripture; and as we understand that it is the failure to believe in the authority of Scripture which has led to the now general failure of faith. The great truths and facts of revelation must be restored to the forefront of our minds. Then we will have something to say to our God-forgetting community. But let it be remembered, we cannot generate faith out of our own resources. Faith is a gift of God and we need to call upon him both for ourselves and others. Our heavenly Father remains sovereign over his world and his ears are open to the prayers of Christians, so that we should pray constantly that his Spirit may revive us, as in the time of the Reformation and the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the Evangelical Movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When his Spirit begins to work, then faith in his Word will become strong once more and the conscience will accept Scripture as the standard for the Christian's life

The Jews revered their fathers of faith but moved from the faith of their fathers. Many Sydney Episcopalians likewise revere their fathers of faith yet move from the faith of their fathers. The parallels, including the consequences of this shift, are striking.

Sam Drucker

1. Martin Luther in J. Pelikan, editor, "Luther's Works, Lectures on
Genesis" (St. Louis, MO) (Concordia Publishing House) 1958 Chs 1-6, 1:6.
2. Ibid page 3
3. J. Calvin - "Institutes of the Christian Religion" J. T. McNeill, editor
(Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press) 1960, 1.14.22
4. Ibid 2:925

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 34 verse 5 'day'

Extensive discussion has centred around the last statement of v. 5: "Then came evening, then came morning--the first day." To try to make this mean that the day began with evening, as days did according to the later Jewish reckoning (Le 23:32), fails utterly, because verse 5 reports the conclusion of this day's work not its beginning. Or again, to make this statement refer to two parts of a long geologic period: the first part a kind of evening; the-second a kind of morning; both together a kind of long period, runs afoul of three things: first, that "evening" nowhere in the Scriptures bears this meaning; secondly, neither does "morning"; thirdly, "day" never means "period."

One major difficulty lying in the path is the attempt to make this whole statement like a problem in addition: evening plus morning, result: one day. Luther's translation, somewhat free at this point, seemed to support this view: da ward aus Abend und Morgen der erste Tag, i.e. "evening and morning went to make Up the first day." In reality, a vast absurdity is involved in this point of view. An evening may be stretched to include four hours, a morning could be said to be four or even six hours long. The total is ten, not twenty-four hours. The verse, however, presents not an addition of items but the conclusion of a progression. On this day there had been the creation of heaven and earth in the rough, then the creation of light, the approval of light, the separation of day and night. Now with evening the divine activities cease: they are works of light not works of darkness. The evening ('erebh), of course, merges into night, and the night terminates with morning. But by the time morning is reached, the first day is concluded, as the account says succinctly, "the first day" and everything is in readiness for the second day's task. For "evening" marks the conclusion of the day, and "morning" marks the conclusion of the night. It is these conclusions, which terminate the preceding, that are to be made prominent. They are "the terminations of the two halves of the first day" (Procksch).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spirit of Marcion Remains Abroad. (Part 2)

"Watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." (Matthew 7:15-18)

In Part 1 of this blog I cited extracts of Rev Michael Jensen's opinion piece in the June 2010 edition of "Eternity" a publication disseminated around the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney. Rev Jensen dealt with the struggle of some to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with God revealed in Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Rev Jensen recalled Marcion in the 2nd Century AD who rejected the God of the Old Testament and chose only selected texts of the New Testament to have a faith of his liking. Marcion was labelled a heretic but that did not stop adherents over several centuries pursuing beliefs he espoused. Rev Jensen presented an acceptable case against Marcion and his like but some phrases he used jolted my attention because they have application to a pitiful aspect of current day theology within the Diocese of Sydney. I'll repeat them in part hereunder and point out current day comparisons:

"Marcion's project was essentially two pronged. On the one hand, he challenged the integrity of the source of our knowledge about God, the Bible."

On the subject of Creation the overwhelming trend with students coming out of the Diocesan theological seminary is to dilute the message of Genesis 1 of its strength. Instead of accepting the traditional reading of Genesis 1 from the early Church, the Reformation, the Puritans, the Great Awakening of 18th Century to well into the 20th Century; latter day influences such as Kline, Blocher, Wenham and Kidner have caused many within and outside the theological seminary to strip Genesis 1 of its genre of Historical Narrative or Prose. This hatchet job on the first book of the Bible opens the door to all manner of propositions as to what the author (God through Moses) is saying. Hence we have assertions such as: Genesis 1 only teaches the Sovereignty of God and nothing else; Genesis 1 is a reaction to Enuma Elish the Babylonian creation myth; the repetitions, rhythm, numbers and chiasmus make it "mysterious" and "a historical;" and, finally, the disjointed "framework hypothesis" propounds theme at cost of detail.

This is all what you would expect to see arising from the "Eclipse of Biblical Narrative" as observed by Hans Frei who I cited in Part 1 of this blog. Further, it has one purpose and that is to accommodate Darwinism in one form or another and the popular form is Theistic Evolution.

Further, this is all an attack on the nature of God revealed in Jesus Christ. I quote again from Rev Jensen so readers can see his inconsistency:

"They [Theologians like Irenaeus of Lyon] realized that Jesus was not revealing a new God but the same creating and law-giving God. Whatever Christian theology did from that point on, it had to do with the creator and law-giver as identical with the God revealed in Jesus. Marcion had (it turned out on a closer reading of the Bible) drawn a false contrast between the God of Israel and Jesus Christ."

Theistic Evolutionists, whom Rev Jensen gives aid and comfort to in other places, either consciously or unconsciously draw a false dichotomy between the Son Creator through whom all things were made, and Incarnate Son. They say the Son Creator used a slow, death and suffering filled, dead-end riddled process which continues today yet they acknowledge the Son Incarnate undertook miracles wholly and instantaneously. What they fail to acknowledge is that the miracles undertaken by the Son Incarnate were of a nature, process and design to affirm his Person as Creator. How can Theistic Evolutionists miss this obvious connection? Because they have an a priori, a commitment to Darwinism to the relegation of knowledge of Jesus Christ , the Word, the Son and Creator.

As such, they repeat the errors Marcion. Like Marcion, they reshape parts of the Bible. Like Marcion, they emphasise, almost to the exclusion of all else, "a faith of the resurrection and the Spirit". They fail to preach all of Christ.

To cite Rev Jensen again:

"Though it [the Church] had to—and still has to—manage some tricky parts of Scripture, it had far more to lose by going with Marcion than it stood to gain."

Scripture can be tricky according to the degree of faith. There are degrees of faith. Pray to God for greater faith. Coming to terms with God who made the covenant through Moses with Israel and the new covenant ushered in by Incarnate Son is limited by us, not by God. There is a big plan of God which angels long to look into (1 Peter 1:12) and even those of us mortals who have God's Spirit dwelling within can be left wanting. Notwithstanding a desire to know more I will now venture to offer some thoughts on the nature of God revealed in the Old Testament and his dealings with man. To help me in this I will cite some words uttered by Rev William Romaine, 1714 - 1795AD when he preached on Psalm 107:10-16 during the period of the Great Awakening in the 18th Century.

The ministry of William Romaine occupies a chapter in J. C. Ryle's "Christian Leaders of the 18th Century" and the author makes the following observation about him:

"I turn from Whitefield, Wesley, and Grimshaw, to the fourth spiritual hero of the last [18th] century - William Romaine. In doctrine and practical piety, the four good men were, in the main, of one mind. In their mode of working, they were curiously unlike one another. Whitefield and Wesley were spiritual cavalry, who scoured the country, and were found everywhere. Grimshaw was an infantry soldier, who had his head-quarters at Haworth, and never went far from home. Romaine, in the meantime, was a commander of heavy artillery, who held a citadel in the heart of a metropolis [London], and seldom stirred beyond his walls. Yet all these four men were mighty instruments in God's hand for good; and not one of them could have been spared. Each did good service in his own line; and not the least useful, I hope to show, was the Rector of Blackfriars, William Romaine."

The writer of Psalm 107 knows something of the nature of man and God and how God responds to those willing to turn to him out of their rebellion. The first and great rebellion came from our ancestor Adam and has characterised man ever since. I defer now to some advice from William Romaine:

"And God had given to Adam greater gifts and abilities, with innocence to enable him to use them aright, than to any of his descendants; and had, with the most tender affection, counselled him against that very temptation by which he was most liable to be seduced - therefore when he rebelled against God and contemned [sic] the counsel of the Most High, it was the most horrid rebellion that a creature could commit against its Creator. And it was far from cruelty in God, it was an act of justice without severity, to suffer him to fall into the pit which he had dug for himself, and there to be taken by the enemy, and committed a prisoner to darkness and the shadow of death, and to be fast bound with misery and iron. But it may be enquired, why are we subject to his misery? Because we could not but be involved in his guilt. His treason corrupted his blood; and being corrupt in the fountain, it could not but be corrupt in the streams which issue from it. We see a standing instance of this in the book of nature; a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. And we have a clear evidence of it in the book of God; which declares, that coming from a corrupt stock, we are altogether corrupt and abominable, being by nature children of wrath. And we have incontestable proof from the equity of our own laws, which not only punish treason with the loss of life in the traitor himself, but also with the loss of honours and estate in his descendants to the latest posterity."

All descendants of Adam bear this stamp - like Adam we have our being as a thought (concept) from the great I AM i.e. Father, Son, Holy Spirit (in base term - Life). Speaking of all creation, the Apostle Paul says "in him [the Son] all things hold together." (Col. 1:17) Our being depends solely on him who is good and all he created was good, even very good.

Sadly, our ancestor Adam rebelled against the great I AM thus separating himself from Life. This is death and we, as descendants of Adam, bear the same rebellious nature and condition. It has been a mercy of the great I AM to continue a sustaining of the contaminated creation through the Son (Col. 1:17) so as to work a good work - a new creation inhabited by those who turn to him in true repentance.

I regard the Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) as an excellent picture of our plight and the love of the great I Am. Read it.

Did you understand this? This son already wants the portion of his inheritance. In Bible times after the father died, the eldest son received two thirds of the inheritance, and the youngest son received one third. So it was a worthwhile portion to receive. However, the younger son cannot wait for he wants it now. We may say, he actually prays for the death of his father. He is also one who has rights, for he asks for his goods. Then he does not come as a beggar, but comes as one with a right. "Give me my goods." But let us not be hasty to cast stones, for indeed, the lost son dwells very close to us, "My goods!" Yes, we too have received many goods. Our good health, our daily life, our gifts and talents. And for what purpose do you think we have received all this? We have received this in order to serve the great I AM in this world, and in order to one day receive the full inheritance.

And now in this parable we see the father is silent. That is something very striking. We see here offended love, which also a silent love. No there is no one who can feel what that was for that father; his son before him in the room, a son no longer content with his father's love. He steps upon his heart, upon his heart of love and now adds to the grief of his silent father. There in Eden, we trampled upon the great I AM's heart of love. We did that willingly, there was no reason to stray from the obedience to the great I AM. Do you know what the worst is? There is now a breach which cannot be repaired by us. Returning now to the parable, now the father silently gives the goods to his son. The sin is so great, now things can never again come aright. He has offended love, he has despised love.

There he goes, where to? Well, to a far country, yes? How far away from his father? Over there, one lives with sports and entertainment, and here, another keeps himself busy with his religion - a religion not born of God. Thus man dances through this far off land, without the great I AM. But this world is not just a dance. It is a school. A school of suffering and we learn this until we draw our last breath. We have to learn who we have sinned against, we have sinned against the great I AM's love! Now what that love accomplishes at this school is what we learn in the continuance of this parable. The lost son finally realises his sorry state and sees that even as a servant he is better placed in his father's house. He resolves to return in full repentance and faith.

While yet a distance away his father sees him coming and, with tears, runs to his son. He meets him, throws his arms around him and kisses his returned son. The great I AM does this for you and I in his Son, Jesus Christ. He meets us while we are yet far off. More than this, we are made clean. We are made fit to live in the presence of the great I AM. As the father in the parable has the best robe placed upon the returned son so you and I who return are washed by the righteous blood and clothed with the righteous garment of the Son (Rev 3:18). Only by this means are we admitted to the Father's house yet it is offered willingly by a loving Father. In receiving we are adopted into the Son. What privilege! What an inheritance!

What, I hear you ask, about the Amalekites, Canaanites etc and false teachers within Israel whose being was cut short without more time to turn to the great I AM in repentance? He knows the heart of all. He knows those who will turn. He knows too what a snare those people would be to Israel in their relationship with him. We see a picture of this within our own body. We know today that a mutating cell within our body can be a cancer which grows to suffocate life from the body. The best means of dealing with cancerous cell(s) is to get to it early and cut it out completely even taking some of what may be healthy cells to ensure that all the cancerous cell(s) is removed. This is done by Physicians in love is it not? In a like manner, Israel was to remove from its nation and surrounds that (those) which was a hazard to the life of their relationship with the great I AM. In his love, the great I AM was prepared to help Israel in this.

Well, this posting is quite long. I must end it. In closing, I urge readers who are in the Church to test the spirits. Beware of those false teachers who tamper with and excise passages of Scripture. Every tree is known by the fruit it bears. Test the spirit of understanding in the work of the great I AM in creation. Was the order of creation a process of faulty, mutation riddled life forms including vegetation (bad fruit) by a "bad tree" or was it an order of whole and very good life forms by a "good tree" (later spoiled by sin of the creation)?

Sam Drucker

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spirit of Marcion Remains Abroad (Part 1)

"Watch out for false prophets, they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit." (Matthew 7:15-18)

Our Lord Jesus renders a caution to all who are his. From the inception of the Church his words have required constant consideration and application.

I am reminded of this in reading the June 2010 edition of "Eternity" a paper put out from sources within the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney. On page 8 an opinion is offered by Rev Michael Jensen on the question "Can we get rid of the Old Testament God?" Rev Michael Jensen is son of Archbishop Peter Jensen and was one of the "young bucks" who railed with venom (although Rev Jensen has since claimed his words were misunderstood) on Biblical Creationists who argued their case on a "Your Sydney Anglicans" online forum in 2006 on the subject "Peace with Evolution".

In his "Eternity" article, Rev Jensen quotes from 1 Samuel 15:2-3 where God is recorded as having ordered the complete destruction of the Amalekites - men, women, children and animals - and then Rev Jensen raises the subject of Marcion and the struggle the early Church had in dealing with a breakaway group who would not have the God of the New Testament identified with such a God of the Old Testament.

Briefly, Marcion lived in the 2nd Century AD and was considered by some historians to be the son of the bishop of Sinope (now Sinop in modern day Turkey). Marcion rejected the Old Testament and almost all of the New Testament, including the accounts of the incarnation and the resurrection, basing his teachings on ten of the Epistles of St. Paul and on an altered version of the Gospel of Luke. His tenets included a belief in the eternity of matter, which was later developed by the Greek teacher Hermogenes, and a dualistic interpretation of God, whereby God is divided into the just God of Law, who was the Creator of the Old Testament, and the good God, the infinitely superior deity revealed by Jesus Christ. As such, Marcion was denounced as a heretic. Nevertheless, in adherents, Marcionism flourished and was second only to the established church until about the 4th Century AD whereupon it commenced fading away over the course of several centuries.

Rev Jensen rightly dismisses attempts such as Marcion's to separate the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament. It is, however, with some irony that I read the line of argument employed by Rev Jensen. I cite extracts of his argument herewith:

"What kind of a God is this? Is it possible that the God of Jesus Christ could speak of himself as the author and engineer of evil? Do we read here of the deity authorizing —even commanding—genocide, whose horrors we know only too well? Is he somehow murderous? Could he really have his creation's best interests at heart to be responsible for such chaos and impurity? Does he have a dark heart, a demonic side?

Consider how this contrasts (apparently) with the gospel of love and faith and freedom preached by Jesus and Paul—the words of healing and forgiveness. Can we really accept these as being from the same God


"Marcion's project was essentially two pronged. On the one hand, he challenged the integrity of the source of our knowledge about God, the Bible. While there had been some attempts to collect a list of the agreed and approved books of the Christian Scriptures prior to Marcion's appearance, Marcion was now offering an alternative and established list of writings, held together in his mind by a common theme. Marcion and his followers could, they claimed, point to a common body of teaching in written form. Here, he said, was an end to disagreement about the extent of Scripture. Here was an end to Christian embarrassment about the sheer Jewishness of the Old Testament with its seemingly irascible and cantankerous God.

On the other hand, Marcion had a particular vision about the nature of the Christian faith itself. What he had picked up on was the radical nature of Paul's critique of our natural religious assumptions. He could see the sheer newness that is offered in a faith of the resurrection and the Spirit, which is an end to dead legalism. This was the genius of Christianity, Marcion had decided, and he went about cutting out pieces of Scripture that didn't fit, to such an extent that he was left with not much. It's a strategy that many writers of our own time still try


"Theologians like the great Irenaeus of Lyon (d. 202 AD) now appealed explicitly to the dramatic narrative of the whole Bible to show how Jesus as the second Adam fits in to [sic] the promises and patterns given in the Old Testament. They realized that Jesus was not revealing a new God but the same creating and law-giving God. Whatever Christian theology did from that point on, it had to do with the creator and law-giver as identical with the God revealed in Jesus. Marcion had (it turned out on a closer reading of the Bible) drawn a false contrast between the God of Israel and Jesus Christ.

So, the church chose the harder way: it decided that even if having the whole Bible meant coping with and addressing some apparent tensions, it would have to do this if it were to be a faithful and obedient church and true to its nature—true to its Lord. Though it had to—and still has to—manage some tricky parts of Scripture, it had far more to lose by going with Marcion than it stood to gain

All I have cited from Rev Jensen will cause the hairs on the back of Biblical Creationists to bristle because, while dismissing the heretical views of Marcion, Rev Jensen does not elsewhere apply the argument to Theistic Evolutionists. Instead, he accommodates their Marcionlike mishandling of the Creation account in Genesis 1.

Theistic Evolutionists arrive at their odious doctrinal position by walking a similar path to Marcion and later centuries' advocates of Higher Criticism and Liberal Theology.

Hans W. Frei in his essay "The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative - A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics" published by Yale University Press in 1974 nails the latter day shift in theology. To requote Frei in his introduction, "Western Christian reading of the Bible in the days before the rise of historical criticism in the eighteenth century was usually strongly realistic, i.e. at once the literal and historical, and not only doctrinal or edifying. The words and sentences meant what they said, and because they did so they accurately described real events and real truths that were rightly put only in those terms and no others. Other ways of reading portions of the Bible, for example, in a spiritual or allegorical sense, were permissible, but they must not offend against a literal reading of those parts which seemed most obviously to demand it. Most eminent among them were all those stories which together went into the making of a single storied or historical sequence."

It was not to remain that way. Many contributers to biblical scholarship and many complex threads brought about a great shift in how the Bible was to be read and understood. Dr Conyers Middleton, an English commentator with sceptical leanings, thought that it didn't matter whether Genesis 1-3 were allegory or fact, since its meaning was the same in either case - "that this world had a beginning and creation from God; and that its principal inhabitant man, was originally formed to a state of happiness and perfection which he lost and forfeited, by following his own lusts and passions, in opposition to the will of his Creator."(ibid)

Middleton went on to explain his preference for an allegorical reading of Genesis 1-3, "I am the more readily induced to espouse this sense of it , from a persuasion, that it is not only the most probable and rational, but the most useful also to the defence of our religion, by clearing it of those difficulties, which are apt to shock and make us stumble as it were, at the very threshold."(ibid)

Through the efforts of Johannes Cocceius, professor of theology in the University of Leyden, the two things - literal or narrative reading and historical reference - were beginning to come apart as the concept of 'Salvation history' was advocated. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, 'higher criticism' felt the crucial texts for the hermeneutical question in theology were the supposedly revelatory salvific narratives. Each narrative had to be examined in its own historical context and its own right. Gone was dogmatic unity and authority of the Canon. By this time, the story of Jesus Christ was apparently considered historical but not the Mosaic creation account. However, the story of Jesus Christ was not to remain immune.

Frei observed with the emergence of religious apologetics at this time, the loss of narrative reading. To quote him again, "It is no exaggeration to say that all across the theological spectrum the great reversal had taken place; interpretation was the matter of fitting the biblical story into another world with another story rather than incorporating that world into the biblical story. No one with any sort of theology or religious reflection at all wanted to go counter to the 'real' applicative meaning of biblical texts, once it had been determined what it was, even if one did not believe them on their own authority. Hence the right-wing and mediating theologians agreed that the New Testament made the affirmation about Jesus being the Saviour literally, and that it was to be understood that way (though this agreement did not always cover either the miracles he was reported to have performed or those with which he was purportedly associated, especially the virgin birth; nor as we have noted, did it cover literal acceptance of such Old Testament accounts as the six-day creation or the fall, in the book of Genesis). And those on the left of course denied that one has to or can take this affirmation literally."(ibid)

I'll leave Frei there but allow me a moment to direct readers to the landscape of church scene. What do you see? As one media commentator observed recently "Liberals did not remain in the Church." They do still remain to some degree in the church (notice the distinction between Church and church) but whether they are Christian is dubious. Roman Catholicism was quick to adopt liberal views on Scripture and the fruit of it, in my experience, is that Roman Catholicism is a prolific breeder of atheists. Many atheists with whom I have communicated tell me they were once Roman Catholic and they are today promoters and influences for atheism. The Uniting Church of Australia (ex Presbyterian, Methodist and Congegational) is in serious decline following adoption of liberal theology.

The Episcopalian Church in Australia is divided into high and low church. The high church is characterised by empty pews and abandoned buildings. The low (evangelical) church is characterised by a false health indicator of influx of evangelical escapees from the Uniting Church and genuine health indicator of disappointments in outreach endeavours.

Such a poor state of health resembles the life of ancient Israel when it failed to heed the word of God recorded by Moses and spoken by the prophets.

More can be said but this blog is long enough. I have therefore separated it into two parts. Part 2 will be posted in a few days and will address points raised by Rev Jensen, the nature of God and the present need of the Church.

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kant on Connect09

"Making plans is often the occupation of an opulent and boastful mind, which thus obtains the reputation of a creative genius by demanding what it cannot itself supply, by censuring what it cannot improve, and by proposing what it knows not where to find."
Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (p. 10 in the Bobbs-Merrill edition of 1950)

Somehow reminds me of Connect09....and 'Do it Again in 2000 and Ten"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 33 verse 5

5. And God called the light day and the darkness He called night. Then came evening, then came morning-the first day.

On "came evening" see v. 8; also on the derivation of "evening."

To appreciate what this act means it is necessary to bear in mind what the Hebrew idea of giving a name or "calling a name" to an object implies. For this includes not only finding a convenient label to attach to a thing that it might thereby be identified, but especially the idea of expressing the very nature of a thing. In this act God did not find names for man to use when speaking of day and night; there was not even a man present to hear these names. But this act reports that God fixed day and night separately for their respective purposes. This concluded the first day's work, for now the light prevailed that man might put it to the uses for which God intended it, and night was fixed to fit the general scheme.

In the interest of accuracy it should be noted that within the confines of this one verse the word "day" is used in two different senses. "Day" (yom) over against "night" (lssyelah) must refer to the light part of the day, roughly, a twelve hour period. When the verse concludes with the statement that the first "day" (yom) is concluded, the term must mean a twenty-four hour period. If any attempt is made to fix the time of the year when the creative work was done, the vernal equinox seems most likely to fit the needs of the case.