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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

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