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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


neil moore said...

Sam, while Sydney Anglicans of Theistic Evolution persuasion will recoil with claims of unfairness at any suggestion they cut Genesis 1 out of the Word of God I put this suggestion to you and them.

There are two ways I am aware of to castrate a man. The old method was to just cut out the testicles. The other more recent method has been to inject with chemicals to produce a sterilizing effect.

I suggest Theistic Evolutionists within the Diocese operate on Genesis 1 in a manner similar to the latter method. They inject all kinds of extraneous ideas into the text so as to sterilize it of its potency.


Anonymous said...

"Spirit of Marcion Remains Abroad"

Thank God!