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Sunday, February 20, 2011


My final visit to John Bright's Kingdom of God reveals his words found on pages 73 & 74 where he observes the state of Israel resulting in the judgment of God. Somewhere in the picture of Israel is, at some stage, the evangelical church of this generation and no less represented by the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney. Bright's words are provided to help the reader imagine the state of things today:

No less menacing than the international situation was the internal decay of Israel. The book of Hosea is the best possible commentary upon it, and it deserves a whole chapter. For Hosea lived through the collapse, and it tore at his heart. He pictures graphically the political vacuum, the mad plotting for power, the collapse of law and order, civil anarchy in which life is no longer safe (e.g., 4:1-2; 7:1-7; 8:4; 10:3). Even worse, the heart has gone clean out of religious faith, and there is complete moral decay. The priests are timeservers who utter no moral rebuke but who are, through the practices they countenance and abet, themselves the corrupters of religion (4:8-9; 5:1; 6:9-10). Instruction of the true religion has lapsed, and with it all knowledge of the God of Israel; the land is permeated with the poison of paganism. Parents set for their children examples of immorality which the children only outstrip (4:6, 11-14). No more revolting or truer picture than this could be drawn of what the breakdown of religion really means. Nor did this sick nation know any way to cure itself save by political maneuvering (5:13). Yet even here was its bankruptcy evident. They trimmed their foreign policy to every political wind that blew, and they were always wrong - because they were morally wrong. Israel is a half baked cake (7:8); "a silly dove without any sense" (7:11), fluttering and cooing this way and that in a panic; a worn-out roué who will not wake up to the fact that he is growing old (7:9). Israel is done for!

Clearly there could be no peace between Hosea and such a nation as that! But Hosea's attack differed somewhat from that of Amos. Although it moved from the same theology, it was delivered at a different point. Hosea has less to say of idle luxury and unethical behavior - although he is well enough aware of these things. After all, he spoke not to national prosperity but to national collapse, and his message was shaped by his own peculiar temperament. The target of his attack was idolatry, Baal worship, apostasy. This is the seat of the disease, the sin in which all sin consists, the poison in the body politic. It is this that has separated Israel from her God, and is the cause of all her calamity. An apostate nation cannot be the people of God.

Most interesting of all is the formulation Hosea gave to the covenant bond which bound Israel to her God. It is a formulation which became classic, and which was taken up by many a subsequent prophet - particularly Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The covenant is a wedlock; in it God "married" Israel and made her his "wife." To worship other gods as Israel has done is plain "adultery," and, if no sincere reconciliation is effected, the end of it will be "divorce" - national ruin. God demands of his people hesed, that utter loyalty which is the only proper response to God's hesed, his covenant favour. No amount of protestations of loyalty through the external forms of religion can play substitute for it:

For it is hesed that pleases me, and not sacrifice;
And the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings(6:6)

Rather than imposing upon God a corrupt form of creative process (evolution); rather than trusting in the corrupt interpretation of God's direct utterances by weak willed men, wouldn't it be desirable for the Church today to respond to the love of God with faith or loyalty to the nature and word of God?

Learn a lesson from an adulterous Israel.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Leupold Genesis part 50 verse 19

19. Then came evening, then came morning--the fourth day.

Cf. v. 5 and 8.

In this connection one particular problem still requires our consideration, and that is the computation of the light years by which the distance separating the earth from certain stars is measured. Some claim that then, of necessity, certain stars now visible could not yet have appeared to our first parents. If the astronomical calculations involved are correct, what if all stars were not at once visible but have only become apparent as time went on? Such a situation is not out of harmony with the Creation account; it would indicate merely a greater vastness to creation's work than man had first surmised. Where, however, it is claimed that this situation involves a greater antiquity of the earth than our construction of the Mosaic accounts allows for, we on our part still believe that the laws of light refraction in the interstellar spaces cannot be asserted to be identical with those prevailing under conditions as we know them. There still is the possibility that the tremendous spaces and the times resulting from certain astronomical calculations are based on assumptions whose correctness will always be only in part demonstrable.

The claim of Skinner must yet be disposed of when he maintains that the Genesis account presents a "religious advance to pure monotheism" over against "the idea of them (the heavenly bodies) as an animated host" as it "occurs in Hebrew poetry (Jud 5:20; Isa 40:26; Job 38:7); but here it is entirely eliminated." We do not grant that the passages cited are earlier than Genesis 1. But they are poetic and, when rightly construed, offer no other view than that which any enlightened Christian now holds. They are far from teaching anything about heavenly bodies as "an animated host." The attempts of the critics to prove evolution of ideas where no such evolution occurs are unconvincing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Victory to Atheists! (Albeit Temporary)

Atheists should be readying themselves for occasions of debate with alleged defenders of the Christian faith. Opportunity exists to knock over your opponent by destroying his or her theology.

However, the opportunity is a key and it works only on a certain lock. Nevertheless, that lock is a very commonplace lock - wide spread throughout the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney and rife throughout the evangelical church worldwide. The lock gives appearance of being secure but it is not secure at all. It is the heresy of Theistic Evolution.

All that Atheist debaters need do is a little probing to ascertain whether their opponent is a Theistic Evolutionist. Once confirmed it is all easy from there. You can play with your opponent for as long as you like - as a cat does with its prey - until you go for the key and bring undone your opponent. The greater the earthly stage the greater your earthly triumph.

Before proceeding further I have to set down some background.

Immediately prior to the Incarnate ministry of the Son of God there came John the Baptist proclaiming words to the effect of "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [God] is at hand." (Matt. 3:2) Later the Son of God Incarnate had occasion to say " ... the Kingdom of God has come to you." (Luke 11:20)

It is the Kingdom of God upon which all Israel's hopes rested and it is the Kingdom of God which the Son of God Incarnate ushered in - though not yet fully realized. It is not the State, it is not the church visible nor is it any one or more denominations of allegedly Christian churches, though several members of the Kingdom may be present within those bodies (or not). The Kingdom of God is not visible.

For more understanding on this premise I quote from John Bright's work "The Kingdom of God" page 92. (Bright's work was once necessary reading at Moore Theological College) Referring to the message of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, Bright says:

"It is the Kingdom of God toward which all history moves. There justice shall reign (11:3-5); there peace will be unbroken (Isa. 2:2-4, Mic. 4:1-3). There Israel shall find at last her destiny to be a blessing to the entire world (Isa. 2:3, Mic. 4:2; cf. Gen. 12:3). God is the real ruler of that Kingdom. The Prince of David's line is imbued with God's spirit, and by that spirit he rules; he is God's own charismatic [Judges-like figure] (11:2). He stands before us as no fierce warrior, but as a little child (9:6) established in his rule by God's power (9:7). He reigns over a people transformed through their obedience to the divine Will. It is God's Kingdom and it will endure forever (9:7).

And, then, with a change of imagery that Kingdom is described not as a transfigured age of David, but as a recovery of the lost bliss of Eden. An Edenlike peace reigns in all the earth (11:6-9): peace among men, peace in nature, peace with God. The balance in creation, upset so long ago by sin, is now restored—for God's law is supreme. If the prophet had said that there will be a new Eden, a new Adam, it would hardly be surprising. He did not, of course, but the idea is there. Keep it in mind! We shall in due time hear of a new Adam in whom all are made alive (I Cor. 15:22, 45-49)."

While some other aspects of Bright's work are questionable his explanation here of the activity of God since the Fall of Adam is soundly in tune with Scripture and Reformed doctrine pertaining to the restoration of the Creation through the Kingdom of God fully realized in the coming again of the Second Adam - the Son of God.

This restoration activity is the Achilles' heel and key to undoing the heresy of Theistic Evolution. The Atheist need only ask his or her debating opponent "If, as you say, your God used evolution to create all things, to what then is the creation being restored or regenerated?" (Matt. 19:28)

Any reply allowing for an evolutionary order is contrary to the order of creation envisioned by the Spirit led prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 11:6-9) because evolution provides death, suffering and competition in, at least, the animals before sin entered the world. Any reply excluding an evolutionary order exposes an inconsistency in his or her present world view. It does not take much mental exercise for the Atheist to develop the argument from here. The squirming of the Theistic Evolutionist will be palpable as his or her theology of the New Creation, the Kingdom of God fully realized, indeed his or her whole theology will dissemble before your eyes.

However, your victory here while appearing to knock out Christianity, will not triumph over the Kingdom of God. It is a victory only over a generation of heretics. Even as the apostatizing Israel of old appeared defeated by pagans (aided by God) there was a remnant among the exiled to whom God spoke words of promise towards fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.

Nevertheless, your victory over heretics today has value and ought to be pursued if only for the sake of truth alone.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Baal Bones Found in Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney

Attributing an inferior means as evolution to God is nothing more than adopting a philosophy first then moulding perception of God to conform to that a priori. Such thinking, or any variant of it, is not without precedent in those who purport to be the People of God.

It has been often spoken here that Theistic Evolution has a parallel with Baal worship in Israel of old. A fresh insight into this proposition can be found in John Bright's The Kingdom of God, first published in 1953. In pages 52-54 Bright speaks of the Northern Kingdom of Israel's further descent into idolatry in the time of King Ahab and Jezebel.

I cite a section of Bright's comments and encourage readers to observe some similarity with what is going on in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney under the 'rule' of one or more Theistic Evolutionists.

The danger to Israel was immense. The more we know of Canaanite paganism the clearer this becomes. Here was a paganism of the most degrading sort. Its gods and goddesses - Baal, Astarte, Asherah, Anat, it, and the rest - represented for the most part those forces and functions of nature which have to do with fertility. Its myth was closely linked with the death and rebirth of nature. Its cult was concerned to control by means of its ritual the forces of nature and thus to produce the desired fertility in soil, in beast, and in man. As in all such religions sacred prostitution of both sexes and other orgiastic and ecstatic practices of the most disgusting sort were involved.

Clearly the question, Yahweh or Baal? was not a trivial one. We moderns tend to view it as a sort of denominational quarrel, and to find the prophet hostility to Baal rather fanatical and narrow. But we are wrong. For these were not two rival religions, one of which was some what superior to the other; they were religions of wholly different sorts; they could have nothing to do with each other. It must be understood that Israel's very being as a people rested in her confidence that Yahweh had called her, entered into covenant with her, summoned her to live in obedience to his righteous law, and given her a sense of destiny as his people. Baal, on the contrary, would have been destructive of the very faith that made Israel what she was. Here was a religion which summoned men not at all beyond their animal nature, and even fostered that animal nature; which posed no moral demands, but provided men with an external ritual designed to appease the deity and to manipulate the divine powers for their own material ends; which was incapable of creating community but rather, by pandering to the selfish desires of the worshiper, was destructive of real community. Paganism was, then as now, no trivial thing. As long as men take on the character of the gods they serve, so long does it greatly matter who those gods may be. Had Israel embraced Baal it would have been the end of her; she would no longer have lived as the peculiar people of God. Not one scrap of her heritage would have survived.

Of course the menace of Baal was not new with Jezebel. It had been there since the conquest, when Israel first confronted the superior material culture of Canaan and, in taking over her land, took over her agrarian way of life, her cities, and her shrines. The temptation was always present to imagine that the worship of the gods of fertility was a necessary part of the agrarian life. Many were quick to apostatize to Baal or to address Yahweh as if he were Baal. The incorporation of new blood into Israel no doubt much faster than it could be assimilated, and the tolerant attitude of Solomon and others in such matters, could only have facilitated the process. Baal was no stranger to Israel.

Yet we must not allow this to obscure the magnitude of the threat which Jezebel posed. Here for the first time was an overt attempt on the part of the state to impose a foreign paganism by force. Jezebel, as we said, resorted to persecution, and this persecution had far-reaching effects. It fell with especial force on the prophets of Yahweh (I Kings 18:4; 19:14). For the first time in Israel the prophet was faced with reprisals for speaking the Word of Yahweh. In the face of pressure some of them gave way and surrendered to the state. We see thereafter groups of prophets, in the pay of the court or the shrine, clustering about the king to lick the royal hand and to say- unanimously - what the royal ear wished to hear (I Kings 22). But we see also a succession of lone individuals who like Micaiah, because they refused to compromise their prophet Word, were ever more completely alienated not only from the state but from their fellow prophets as well. To these prophets Yahweh
was against the state.

I leave it to readers who have participated in the life of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney over the past fifteen or so years to see the irony of what went on in Israel of old and what has been recent Sydney experience - some not so dramatic yet difficult just the same and some concern for what the like idolatry produces.

Sam Drucker