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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Fight of Faith (Part 2)

This is the final blog on the subject introduced last week. I reproduce the words of Iain Murray in his biography of "Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones - The Fight of Faith 1939-1981" - pages 668 to 671 refer.

"Few voices were to be heard in support of ML-J's contention that the drift within evangelicalism was following the mood of the age but two testimonies from a few years later are worthy of note. In the opinion of Francis Schaeffer: 'A significant section of what is called evangelicalism has allowed itself to be infiltrated by the general world view or viewpoint of our day."¹ What he called 'The Great Evangelical Disaster' was the acceptance of the mentality of accommodation: 'in the most basic sense, the evangelical establishment has become deeply worldly'.²

A second testimony comes from a less expected source. Dr Carl Henry was Editor of Christianity Today and a leading figure in the Billy Graham organization during the period when that organization was commonly regarded as the epitome of the new evangelical strength. ML-J, as we have seen, spoke alone in that period when he expressed to fellow ministers his conviction that the Graham programme was actually weakening historic evangelicalism. Carl Henry's book Confessions of a Theologian is a revealing book in this connexion. Henry saw the image building and the concern for influence with non-evangelicals at close quarters and came at last to the conclusion that 'the evangelical movement looks stronger than in fact it is'.³ 'While evangelicals seek to penetrate the culture, the culture simultaneously makes disconcerting inroads into evangelical life.'4 The truth, as he wrote in 1986, was that evangelicalism was no longer definite about its own message:

The term evangelical during the past fifteen years has become ambiguous through deliberate distortion by critics and needless confusion invited by some of the movement's leaders ... Many evangelicals now measure growth mainly in terms of numbers; distinctions of doctrine and practice are subordinated in a broad welcome for charismatic, Catholic, traditional and other varieties of evangelicals. Theological differences are minimized by evangelical publishers and publications reaching for mass circulation, by evangelists luring capacity audiences and even by evangelism festivals seeking the largest possible involvement. Church growth seminars have even embraced 'miracle-growth' churches that claim to raise the dead and to reproduce all other apostolic gifts. Numerical bigness has become an infectious epidemic.5

This brings us to Dr Lloyd-Jones' second reason for the drift in evangelicalism. The compromise with worldly standards of thought had occurred because of the basic spiritual weakness within evangelical churches themselves. In other words, it was ultimately the old problem upon which we have heard him speak repeatedly in these pages. 'Evangelism' and 'influence' had become ends in themselves instead of being seen as the results of the church being true to her calling: the acceptance of expediency and compromise could only mean that prayer, confidence in Scripture and dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit were no longer the great priorities. Evangelicals had ceased to say 'that, if we are faithful, the Holy Spirit has promised to honour us and our testimony, however small our numbers and however despised by "the wise and prudent"'.6

Carl Henry's book gives indisputable evidence on this point. It confirms that the overall policy of the Graham organization (closely parallel to the policy taken up by Anglican evangelicals at Keele) was to attain 'prestige' and influence for evangelicals.7 To do this there had to be a successful image and that would not be possible, it was believed, unless every effort was made to avoid a division with those who did not believe the Bible. Henry speaks of the church's credibility being 'compromised by an evaporation of discipline' and regrets that Graham did not call evangelicals to 'a long, hard look at their need of more comprehensive unity and at the neglected issue of evangelical ecclesiology'. But Graham could not do this because it 'would have seriously complicated relationships of his crusades to ecumenically oriented churches, since he exacted their endorsement as the price of city-wide meetings'.8 The Graham organization, for precisely the same reason as the Anglican evangelicals, was unready to 'forfeit dialogue with the ecumenical leaders and churches'.9 It feared a loss of influence. So it also said one thing and did another. The Berlin Congress of 1966, says Henry, 'exposed the speculative philosophy that underlay pluralistic ecumenism' but, simultaneously, the Graham Crusades were committed to such ecumenism. The direction was set long before the American Festival on Evangelism of 1981, where the participants, writes Henry, included everyone from 'partisans of traditional papal Catholicism' and '150 Protestant denominations' to 'charismatics and establishment conservatives'. In a major understatement, he concludes, the Festival 'did little to clarify the identity of evangelicalism'.10

So ends my citation of Iain Murray's helpful study of the climate within evangelicalism observed by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Dr Carl Henry late last century.

Well, things have not improved to the present day. Indeed, going beyond Dr Henry's point we are left to say that evangelicalism does not penetrate the culture but the culture penetrates evangelicalism. It is all a one-way street with a dark and murky end.

This is a sorry state. It is death. It is death like that of Adam's when he sinned against God, he seemed alive but was estranged from the source of life and, eventually, he was no more. The day fast approaches when the present remnant of evangelicalism still holding to its its original tenets will be a valley of dry bones. What is needed is regeneration, for God to call and empower men to preach to open hearts, hearts receptive to the Word of God to the exclusion of the world's seductions, hearts abounding in number that the culture is overwhelmed by the authority of the Word of God. There has been such activity of God in times and places past. Let us pray earnestly for God to so act now. Lest us pray for an increase in faith - faith in God as he has revealed himself in Word written and Incarnate.

Sam Drucker


1. The Great Evangelical Disaster, 1984, p. 51.
2. Ibid, p. 142. 'What is the use,' he asks, 'of evangelicalism seeming to get larger and larger if sufficient numbers of those under the name evangelical no longer hold to that which makes evangelicalism evangelical?'
3. Confessions of a Theologian, 1986, p. 390.
4. Ibid, p. 388. See also Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism, p. 275.
5. Confessions of a Theologian, p.387.
6. Puritans, p. 147.
7. In the years when 'the new evangelicalism' was first being heard, Edward
Darnell of Fuller Seminary wrote to Henry: 'I want to command the attention of Tillich and Bennett; then I shall be in a better place to be of service to the evangelicals. We need prestige desperately.' Marsden's book, op. cit., details the effects which this priority came to have in the history of Fuller Seminary, where Dr Graham was a prominent member of the board of trustees.
8. Confessions of a Theologian, p. 384.
9. Ibid,p. 293.
10. Ibid ,p. 351

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Fight of Faith (Part 1)

We press on with understanding drift evangelicalism into demise and advise that we have to look back at past events to see how the decline has taken effect. Earlier blogs went back to the Nineteenth Century but more recent blogs draw from events surrounding a key figure in the evangelical church in the Twentieth Century.

Such a figure was most certainly Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and the excellent biography of Dr Lloyd-Jones by Iain Murray (subtitled 'The Fight of Faith 1939-1981)gives important insights into why the evangelical church in England and even as far away as the Sydney Episcopalian Church is today in such poor health. I provide an extract from pages 665-668 in Part 1 now and Part 2 from pages 668-671 shortly. I shall not provide my own comments until Part 2:

"When major changes occur in the history of the church such as the doctrinal slide in England of the 1960's and 70's there are always major reasons. In ML-J's view two things principally explained why this occurred as it did.

First, it happened because of the degree to which the spirit and attitudes of the world had penetrated the church. It was no accident that evangelicalism began to favour openness and to repudiate 'exclusiveness' at the very period when the prevailing climate of opinion was against dogmatism in every field of knowledge: even science had lost its one-time near infallibility. The contemporary mood was against all absolutes. Almost all beliefs in society at large had become of only 'relative' value, none could be said to be definitely right or wrong. Religion was acceptable in terms of human experience, not in terms of any revelation from heaven. 'Experience', not truth, was now central. Describing the general situation as he saw it in 1971, Dr Lloyd-Jones said:

There is a very obvious reaction at the present time against intellectualism. .. This is found among the students in America, and increasingly in this country. Reason is being distrusted and set on one side. Following D. H. Lawrence many are saying that our troubles are due to the fact that we have over-developed our cerebrum. We must listen more to our 'blood' and go back to nature. And so turning against intellectualism, and deliberately espousing the creed of irrationality, they yield themselves to the desire for 'experience', and place sensation above understanding. What matters is feeling and enjoyment; not thought. Pure thought leads nowhere

Instead of seeing the danger, evangelicals accommodated themselves to the change as though it could serve the interests of their own cause. The popular culture was openly appealed to for justification of major change in the life and witness of the church. The old 'written culture', it was said, was dying. There had to be a new appeal to the eye and to the senses: 'It is surely the job of this generation of Evangelicals to recreate the dramatic and poetic means of passing on guidance in the spiritual, ethical and social life of man.'² The leading role in the introduction of this change was taken by David Watson of York who saw 'the potential for marvellous communication' in music, dance and drama. 'The reason why I travel with a team,' he later wrote, 'gifted as they are in the performing arts, is that they are able to communicate the Gospel much more effectively than I could with mere words.' He criticized 'much western Christianity' for concentrating 'almost exclusively upon the mind'. 'Most churches rely heavily on the spoken or written word for communication and then wonder why so few people find the Christian faith to be relevant.'³

There were many variations in this new emphasis. In the groups where tongues-speaking was prominent the anti-intellectual approach disarmed any criticism of the widespread use of 'language' which no one understood. Hocken represents a common view in regarding 'baptism with the Spirit' as of divine origin because its reception bypassed the mind: 'Not being first mediated through human understanding, it involves a directness of encounter with the living God'.4

This same influence not only switched attention from preaching to 'sharing', it came to justify a massive change in what was now considered warranted in the singing and music of services and evangelistic meetings. Worship was 'liberated'. It was plausibly proposed that sound, rhythm and the form of lyrics be brought closer to what was popular in the everyday world. The early development of this change drew some critical comment in the Christian press. 'Countryman' wrote of how the Filey Christian Convention in 1967 had become 'Swinging Filey', 'with a Sunday afternoon sacred concert; a fresh beat to the music and a drum-roll in the middle of "Praise my soul, the King of heaven".'5 At the Evangelical Alliance Assembly meetings in London the following year, the platform was given one evening to the youth who presented the 'Why Generation'. Commenting on this event, Tim and Doreen Buckley, instructors in music at the London Bible College, wrote in The Life of Faith of the impression gained by friends who had attended: 'The programme was intended to show how to communicate in the '6o's, but the decibels of sheer noise made it impossible to distinguish either the tune or the words of the first three items. If this is '68 communicating, our friends, who are not "squares", were not communicated to . . ."6

But criticisms such as these were few and far between and the 1970's saw changes in the content and conduct of public worship on a scale scarcely imaginable a few years earlier. ML-J traced this same change to the effect of a popular culture which wants 'sensation' and feeling and is against stress 'on the intellect and the understanding'. Speaking on one occasion of how this spirit 'militates very much against the kind of thing for which we stand in the Evangelical Library' he went on:

In this country the form which it takes, perhaps most of all, is what is known as the charismatic movement. . . The emphasis is upon experience and feeling, and a type of service with much singing, but not the singing of the kind of hymns that are to be found in the Evangelical Library, nor the hymns written by the men whose biographies are in the Evangelical Library! They have their own hymns and choruses . . .7

Making a similar point about the way in which Christians were being influenced by the spirit of the world, he said at another Library meeting:

The days in which we live are characteristic of superficiality, the cry is for entertainment and endless meetings, music, drama, dancing, etc. but a solid life and witness cannot be built up that way."8


1. The State of the Nation, BEC Address, 1971, p.16.
2. Evangelicals Today, p.101.
3. David Watson, I believe in the Church, 1978, and You Are My God, 1983, where these themes are pursued at length. For ML-J's opposition to this see his address on 'Preaching' in Puritans, p. 373.
4. One Lord, One Spirit, One Body, 1987, p. 44
5. English Churchman, October 13, 1967.
6. The same writers urged readers to obtain the WR for October 1968 v8 v
contained ML-J's sermon, 'Melody and Harmony' on Ephesians 5:19 (preached
in 1959); it 'leaves one in no doubt as to where this preacher stands as regards modern trends in music'.
7. The Evangelical Library Bulletin, Spring 1978, pp.9-10.
8. Ibid, Spring 1975, p.6.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"You travel over land and sea to win a single convert ..." To What?

This blogspot is critical of Moore Theological College - the theological seminary of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney. Our concern is the College's handling of Genesis on Creation but, primarily, the problem is deeper than that. That erroneous teaching is a symptom of the Cancer that has eroded the evangelical church in Western culture for more than a century. It is a pursuit of the same error found in Higher Criticism and Liberal Theology which places the thoughts of man above the Word of God.

It is not as if the evangelical church has not had sufficient warning in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We have publicised some of the warnings that people concerned for Christ's Church broadcast last century. The Cancer continues with little abatement. Closer to home Moore Theological College lures students from many parts of the world, proselytizes via its distance studies course - PTC - and spews its converts into evangelical churches around the globe.

We publicise here now more sampling of earlier warnings of the Cancer diagnosed last century and, despite proud protestations about its purity, is manifest in 'evangelicalism' today - no less evident in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney via it's theological seminary.

Upon hearing of the proposed retirement of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1968 a Suffolk pastor wrote to the doctor and thanked him for the help received when he and his once fellow students of Richmond College wrestled with the compromised teaching at the college. He said, in part:

"I have just seen the notice of your resignation as minister of Westminster Chapel. At such a time I feel that I must tell you what a very great help your ministry was to me and to several other theological students while we were studying for the Methodist ministry at Richmond College. Often, at the end of a week of lectures which sometimes left us wondering just what we could believe, we would go up to the [Westminster] Chapel, as we called it, and there we would receive food for our souls, and would catch a fresh vision of the power and relevance of the gospel we had been called to preach. We came to see that God was greater than we had ever imagined before, and that the Bible was indeed His Word to us, inspired and wonderful in all its teaching."

It would not have been Richmond College alone which has compromised the Word of God because there was a broad departure from the Reformers and their principle for understanding the Word of God. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones alludes to this when he wrote his 1967 annual letter to the members of Westminster Chapel on January 1, 1968. I cite part of his letter hereunder:

"When one turns to the more general position however, the situation is very different. Here, the main impression is one of confusion, uncertainty, and divided opinions. This is true not only in this country but throughout the world. This is something that one expects in 'Christendom', but in the past it has not been true of those calling themselves evangelical. This is the new feature which is so disturbing. No longer can it be assumed that to be evangelical means to accept the authority of the Scriptures on matters of history, and on the creation of the world and man, and at the very lowest to be sceptical about the theory of evolution. In the same way there has been a recrudescence of denominationalism and an entirely new attitude towards Romanism.

It is, alas, a time of conflict and of trial, indeed a time of tragedy when old comrades in arms are now in different camps. It is not that one in any way questions the honesty or the sincerity of such friends. There is only one explanation and that is, 'an enemy hath done this'. Never has that enemy been more active or more subtle . . .

What the outcome of the present upheaval will be no one can tell. Our duty is to be faithful knowing that the final outcome is sure

Well, the upheaval has continued inasmuch as 'evangelicalism' is being turned on its head. As in the past, where certain institutions commenced with sound biblical principles but later turned to an opposite principle, 'evangelicalism' is abandoning its primary principle founded on trust in the Word of God.

Ecumenism may have lost momentum but just as Israel longed to return to Egypt when faith in the Word of God waned so it is likely that many who call themselves evangelical today will, one day, desire to return to Rome as loss of faith in the Word of God runs its course. The disease is there, all that is awaited is its consequence.

The lost of the world are in desperate need of a strong evangelical church but all they have tottering before them is a diseased and ever diminishing church.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, December 16, 2010

No he couldn't!

Great blog over at the staid Anglican origins site: check it out: its about people who say that God could have used evolution to 'create'. Well, the answer very simply is NO HE COULDN'T!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 46 verse 14

But the luminaries have functions other than to divide day and. night. The fourteenth verse alone expresses two more general functions. The first of these two is so broad in scope as to cover four items, expressed by the terms, "and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years." A wide diversity of opinion exists as to the actual enumeration here given: are these two, three, or four distinct objects? Nothing very vital hinges on the answer. For though we stated above that four purposes are here listed, we could readily from one point of view consent To reduce them to three. For the preposition "for" (le) is used but three times and has a double object in the last instance--the closely related terms: "days and years." Others, like Koenig, make a double hendiadys, thus, "for signs, as well for seasons as also for days and also years." This again, depending on the individual's, viewpoint, might mean either three or two purposes. But though hendiadys is a common enough figure, we feel that nothing definitely indicates its use here; and also we notice that such translations push the independent meaning of the word "signs" too much into the background.

Now "signs" ('othoth) is here used in the broadest possible sense. Indeed, the luminaries are signs from various points of view. They are "signs" to devout faith, declaring the glory Of their Creator (cf. Ps. 8 and-19).--They are "signs" by which men get their bearings, or the point of the compass by day or by night. They may convey "signs" in reference to future events (Mt 2:2; Lu 21:25). They furnish quite reliable "signs" for determining in advance the Weather to be expected (Mt 16:2, 3). They may be "signs"` of divine judgments (Joe 2:30; Mt 24:29). That they may well serve in all these capacities is clear both from Scripture and from experience. Dwelling only on one scriptural parallel, Skinner, pointing to (Jer 10:2), where "astrological portents" are referred to, misconstrues the use of the word when he claims to find a similar use here, "though it is not quite easy to believe the writer would have said, the sun and moon were made for this purpose." But (Jer 10:2) does not identify the expression "signs of heaven," with "astrological portents." These signs become such portents only by the fact that the "nations," who are "dismayed at them," make them to be considered such. Skinner construes the forbidden abuse of "signs of heaven" as: the normal meaning of the expression. How Procksch injects the meaning "epochs" into the term is more than we can discern. The fact remains that men always have and in manifold ways still do regard and use luminaries for signs.

Besides, the luminaries are "for seasons." A certain brevity of expression obtains here. We could supply the implied term quite readily, for "fixing seasons, days and years." But without this added term the expression is not unclear. But "seasons" are called mo'adhim, from the root ya'adh, "to appoint"; therefore, "appointed time." The luminaries do serve as "indicators" (Meek) of such fixed, appointed times, whether these now be secular or sacred. To attempt to exclude what we are specifically wont to call seasons is unwarranted and grows out of the assumption that the hypothetical author P has a special interest in things ritual. Therefore, "seasons" or times in the widest sense are to be thought of: agricultural seasons (Ho 2:9, 11; 9:5), seasons for seafaring men, seasons for beasts and birds (Jer 8:7), as long as they are times that are fixed and come with stated regularity.

To complete the list of the things determined by the luminaries the divine command adds "days and years." These are respectively the shortest and the longest measures of time definitely fixed by the movement of the heavenly bodies. What "day" yom, is (here the whole twenty-four hour day) every one knows, and yet the etymology of the term is entirely unknown. The word for "year" (shanah) seems to be traceable to the Assyrian root "to change."

Note that after the imperative "let there be" there may follow a converted perfect wehayu (K, S. 367 c).

When now v. 15 says distinctly that these luminaries are to be "in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth," this plainly indicates that from the time of this creative work onward all light that the earth receives is to be mediated through the luminaries. How light functioned in the universe prior to this time we shall never know. How the regular alternation of day and night was regulated will forever escape our discernment. What we know is only that as day and night now follow upon one another due to the light centred in luminaries, is an arrangement which God ordained on this day. It all certainly is a marvellous and praiseworthy work, but that is all that these luminaries are appointed for, as far as we are able to discern.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Understanding - The Difference is Chalk and Cheese.

Quotes a) Iain Murray (biographer) b) Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones found on pages 546 & 547 of the former's biography on the latter:

"At the next meeting of the Westminster Fellowship on July 3, I 1967, he also gave an address which concentrated on the nature of the unity to be sought among those who were agreed in their opposition to ecumenism. At this point they faced, he believed a danger which was the very opposite of the threat from ecumenism. Ecumenical leaders worked on the principle of minimum doctrinal statement, they sought to say something so loosely that no one is excluded. 'Among us, on the other hand,' he went on, 'in our desire to safeguard orthodoxy we tend to become too precise. We go to the opposite extreme of the ecumenical mentality. Even the detailed statements of the 16th and 17th centuries have not been able to safeguard the faith. You can never safeguard the truth by statements on paper or guarantee continuing orthodoxy by paper declarations.'

Two main things, he proceeded, should govern our attitude:

First, it is spiritual life, the experience of the grace of God, which creates the desire for fellowship (Acts 2:46). This was primary in the unity of the early church. If we do not say this we are in danger of scholasticism. An interest in theology which is not based on life is dangerous . . . Such was the position of the Pharisees and of many since. Sound theology can be taken up as a great system in the same way that some people take up crossword puzzles.

Second, the seriousness of schism, rightly defined and understood. Schism means separations among those agreed on fundamentals on account of secondary matters. It is constantly condemned in the New Testament. Unless we have a burning desire to preserve unity we are in a dangerous position.

He believed that the crux of the present position had to do with the recognition of the distinction between truths which are essential and those which are not essential. To be anti-ecumenical was essential because the ecumenical movement was deliberately guilty of doctrinal indifferentism. Its chief concern was a kind of organisational fellowship.

'Ecumenical thinking is to take the churches as they are and to bring them all together. So they take up a minimal statement of faith and even that they do not apply .. . The first thing we want to know with regard to a man who comes to us for fellowship is. What is his attitude to this. To have fellowship with men who deny the truth is to deny the truth by implying that the truth does not matter.'

Foremost among the doctrines he listed as 'absolutely essential' was the sole authority of Scripture in faith and practice. We do not receive tradition as being a subsidiary authority. There must be a full acceptance of revelation: 'We have no fellowship with a man who does not submit himself as a little child to Scripture. It is no use for a man to profess he believes in the "supreme authority of Scripture" in general and then question the foretelling aspect of prophecy or the historicity of creation and of Adam as the first man.' A new tendency to do this among evangelicals he described as 'one of the saddest things I have known in my ministry'. Then among the chief doctrines taught in Scripture he specified: the Trinity; the devil and evil powers; the plan of redemption; the person and work of Christ; man (born spiritually dead, having died in Adam); regeneration by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit; justification and sanctification, with the necessity of good works.

He then turned to non-essentials, which he did not understand to mean truths which are unimportant, 'but they are not so important as to divide us'. 'You notice that I did not put in my list of essentials the doctrine of election. I believe the doctrine of election. I cannot interpret Scripture without it and I preached it last night as one of you has ever done, but I cannot say that a man who does not believe it is not a Christian, or that I cannot have fellowship with him. I say he is seriously defective in his understanding. I do not say that Arminianism is "another gospel". It is rather another understanding of the mechanism of how salvation is given to us.' Among other subjects upon which Christians differed in their understanding he instanced views on baptism, assurance, church polity, unfulfilled prophecy and charismatic gifts. 'On such issues we may hold to our convictions, but with love and patience towards others. We must not break fellowship. We must condemn all wrangling. We all realize that we are saved in spite of ourselves. Not one of us is perfect in our understanding of these matters.' He concluded:

I have never proposed a united evangelical Church. What I have believed in is fellowship for mutual edification and encouragement and perhaps certain other activities. There may be groups of churches even in such fellowship who are disagreed on some of these non-essential matters: I cannot see the impossibility of a loose fellowship including those who are Presbyterian, those who are independent, and those with varying views on baptism."

Note the distinction between the man used mightily of our Lord in bringing glory to Himself in the salvation of sinners compared to the diluted opinion of moderates within the current Episcopal Diocese of Sydney on essential understanding of the historicity of creation. The latter regard the issue as secondary.

Sam Drucker

Friday, December 10, 2010

God's got it under control

It never ceases to amaze me that 1. questions of faith and religion get such huge airplay in the media (see the number of religious questions mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald's blogs) and 2. the silence of the SADs in really trying to address them (and in a non-preachy 'I'm a smarter man than thou' manner; naw, that would be asking too much.

The topic of 'adverts for God' came up in a recent blog: it was about God loving us; of course he does, but the semi-sceptic of the blog asked about young death in its face:

Well, I don't think that the Bible has God 'in control' like the theo-controllers seem to think (Romans talks about his active involvement: relationship, not 'control'), and the SADs are completely disempowered in dealing with evil, because most of them say that it's 'natural' or is inherent in the world as we know it (they have to because they are unreconstucted evolutionists: whereas the Bible is not). And that stops any evangelical response to death in the world stone dead: its a gospel killer, as the theological contrast the Bible has is denied!

Thanks guys, and thanks from all the questioning people who are thus short-changed.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Gathering of the Mob at Lausanne

Interesting to see in the December 2010 edition of Southern Cross (Sydney Episcopalian Newspaper) that Bishop Glenn Davies returned from the Lausanne Conference on Evangelism with some pluses and minuses for what he observed. His positive mark for the conference was the broad commitment to evangelism. His negatives were not identified.

The Lausanne Conference is a periodic event having the stamp of Dr Billy Graham. Dr Graham had approached Dr Lloyd-Jones around the middle of last century for his involvement in a similar type conference in Rome but Dr Lloyd-Jones declined. In considering the later Lausanne conferences it is difficult to see what benefit it provides other than as an opportunity to 'back-slap' and encourage one another in the great commission we ought to be doing anyway compelled by love for our Lord Jesus Christ, to see God glorified and a concern for the lost.

Reading Part 2 of Iain Murray's autobiography of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones has given me some insight into the good doctor's concerns about an aspect of Dr Billy Graham's ministry and aspirations for the Church in the 20th Century. By and large the Church was on the slide in that century and it was a time when Evangelicals were failing on many fronts to the extent that the Church lost its impact and influence of society generally (I posted blogs a little while back citing - "The Decline of Evangelicalism in Nineteenth-Century England" by R. J. Sheehan in Issue 278, November 1986, of The Banner of Truth). Obviously the rot had set in during the 19th Century and it continued to eat away in the following century.

The great concern for Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the strong push toward ecumenism in the United Kingdom and, one after another, Evangelicals were being seduced into embracing Liberals for the cause of unity at the expense of the authority of the Scripture. Such an outcome was to show the soft underbelly of those who professed to be Evangelical and, in effect, it showed they were not truly Evangelical. The same situation applies today and I suspect what Bishop Glenn Davies was reluctant to comment upon has its nexus in the same bondage of Evangelicals and non-Evangelicals that Martyn Lloyd-Jones had concerns about last century.

That said, the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese is not without question as to what side of the fence it rests. I am certain Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones would have problems with the Diocese based on his address to the Westminster Fraternal at Welwyn on 19 June 1963. Quoting Haggai Ch 1, Dr Lloyd-Jones raised a series of issues for the Church and I cite them from point 5 to quantify my charge:

"(5) The blatant unbelief in the official churches is coming into the open. And there is evidence of a subtle change of emphasis in evangelical thinking — an acceptance of looser views of the early chapters of Genesis and of miracles, a new atmosphere in book-reviewing, a disinterest in doctrine and a tendency to gloat in scholarship. (6) There is the whole moral condition of the country. There is need of prophetic statement but we seem to be living in our 'cieled houses' [sic]. (7) There is an appalling need of evangelical preaching. Evangelicalism is concentrated in the Greater London area. We forget the appalling conditions that prevail in the great bulk of the country.

This is a great challenge and unique opportunity. It is we alone who can give the message. But we seem to be ineffective and silent. . . Our Statements are tepid and harmless. Evangelicals in all the major denominations are in the same position
." (see page 413 of the autobiography)

Because of the current failure of Moore Theological College (the Diocesan school of thought) to uphold the Word of God on origins it places itself and the Diocese in the same camp as the wilting band of so-called Evangelicals of the 19th and 20th Centuries which Dr Lloyd-Jones had concerns about.

Rev Michael Jensen counts regard for integrity of God's Word in Genesis Ch 1 (and, by extension, Exodus 20:11 and 31:17-18) as a secondary issue and is thus prepared to allow Jesus Christ, Creator, to be robbed of his glory in creation. Given that Bishop Glenn Davies is of the same school of thought he ought not be pointing out the splinter in the eye of non-Evangelicals at the Lausanne Conference without taking the plank out of his own.

It remains for me to find the plank resident in my own eye.

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 45 verse 14, 15

14, 15. And God said: Let there be luminaries in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years; and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth; and it was so.

It at once stands out in reference to the work of this day that the purpose of the things that are made to function is stated in a far more detailed fashion than is the ease in regard to any other of the creative works. Nothing in the text explains this greater fulness of statement, but the suggestion advanced by Dillmann and others may be as satisfactory as any: "is there perhaps a silent contrast involved with the superstition of the heathen that is wont to attach itself to the stars?" The statement, therefore, is unusually exhaustive in order to show what purposes the Almighty fixed for the heavenly bodies and to leave no room for heathen misconstruction.

At once now the next problem suggests itself: how do the "luminaries" stand related to the light which was created on the first day? With this is involved a second question: how do these luminaries stand related to the heavens, which were created on the first day (v. 1)? The analogy of "the earth" created simultaneously with "the heavens" (v. 1) and its equipment and arrangement up till this point through v. 2-13 points in the proper direction. In other words, the earth is created in the rough, subject to certain deficiencies or incompletenesses which are removed one by one through the following days; similarly the heavens are created in the rough, heavenly bodies in vast spaces, not yet functioning as they shall later. What still remains to be done in and with them is now completed on the fourth day. The sun, moon and stars were in existence but were not yet doing the work which gets to be theirs in the fourth day's work. Light was in existence, but now these heavenly bodies come to be the ones that bear this light in themselves--"light-bearers," "luminaries," me'oroth. Heavenly bodies were in existence, but from this point onward they begin to serve a definite purpose in reference to the earth. Consequently, we are out of keeping with the plan according to which the course of creation has been proceeding if we separate the elements of 14a so as to make a definite pause after the statement, "let there be luminaries." This would imply the initial creation of all heavenly bodies. Rather, translating still more literally, the thing that is to transpire is this: "Let there become luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to divide the day from the night," etc. This really involves a double achievement: the non-luminous heavenly bodies become bearers of light, and this for the purpose of dividing the day from the night. The expression, "let there be lights"( A. V.) and Lichter (Luther) is inaccurate and misleading. "Light" in Hebrew is 'or; here stands the word ma'or, "light-bearer." This does not, however, now mean that "the atmosphere being completely purified--the sun, moon and stars were for the first time unveiled in all their glory in the cloudless sky" (Jamieson), for such a result would have been achieved automatically without divine fiat by the work of the second day. More reasonable is the assumption that the existing light, by being allocated to the sun, was tempered specifically to the needs of plant and animal life upon our planet. In any case, the purposes following arc definitely tied up ; with having the sun in particular function, as the primary light-bearer.

Consequently, though day and night following one another in rotation function satisfactorily as day and night without sun and moon, from this point onward the dividing of day and night is tied up specifically with these luminaries. So this purpose is stated first. The adverbial modifier "in the firmament of the heavens" shows the relation of the fourth day's work to that of the second. The firmament prepared in advance had to be thus prepared, otherwise the light of these luminaries would have failed to benefit the earth. The singular verb yehi is followed by the masculine plural (feminine only as to form) me'oroth, according to general Hebrew practice of letting the most general form of the verb begin the thought (G. K. 145 o).