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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Mistaken Christ.

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever " - Hebrews 13:8

Our Lord Jesus Christ by his nature, by his activity, by his word - all recorded sufficiently for there to be no mistake (only devices would lead to the contrary) - stands irrefutably an argument against any suggestion of an evolutionary process as means of the creation coming into existence - either by chance or by guiding mind.

The point has been made here before and, were he alive today, would be made by John Charles Ryle, former Bishop of Liverpool and author of many works of help to Christians in the 19th Century and subsequent centuries.

To grasp his thinking I have extracted some of his words on the passage of Scripture "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8)

"What of this very world in which we live and move and have our being? It has stamped upon it the marks of a tremendous change; it is no longer the same as it was in the beginning. It cannot be that fair creation of which God pronounced every part and portion to be very good. Doubtless we are not ignorant: it is still a beautiful world, clothed with all that is lovely to the eye, furnished with all that is necessary to our comfort, stored with everything that can make life enjoyable. You may see everywhere the traces of a Father's hand. But still, we repeat, this world is not what it once was: it is no longer the same—no more the same than the gallant ship which yesterday did walk the waters like a thing of life, and today is dashed high on the beach and lies there a wreck, dismasted, shattered, and forsaken—no more the same than the ruin of some ancient house of God, which in days gone by was set apart and hallowed for religious services, and now stands desolate and silent and alone, with weeds and briars creeping over its floor, and ivy hanging about its broken walls like a widow's garment. Just so this world has gone through a blighting, withering change; and therefore it is we see so much of lusts unbridled and tempers ungoverned and passions unrestrained and intellects degraded and affections misplaced and powers misapplied, and God neglected, dishonored, and lightly esteemed. The sicknesses which devour their thousands, and the wars which cut off their tens of thousands, and the graves of infants snatched away in the springtime of life, and the tears and distresses and troubles and sorrows and afflictions which God never placed in Eden, but of which we now hear continually—all these tell you the same tale. The world is no longer the same. All these are the handwriting on the wall to remind us that man, like an unfaithful steward, has marred and spoiled his Maker's handiwork by his own sin, and so put the creation out of order and course ...

But we have not time, beloved, to compare earth as it is with earth as it was before Adam fell; it is enough to know that by his transgression all things suffered, for after his transgression all things were altered. We would rather go on to set before you proofs which are more under your eyes and come within your own observation. We wish you to feel the full force and blessedness of the character St. Paul has given to your Lord and Savior in our text; and in order to this we think it of first importance to establish in your minds this grand point—that there is nothing on earth of which you can say it is unchangeable, it is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever ...

We would remind you, then, that Jesus has always been the same in His office, person, and nature. In these latter days He has graciously made plain to our eyes the way of salvation, by coming upon earth to teach, to suffer, and to die; He has proved Himself the Son of God with power by rising again from the dead. But still we would not have you forget He was always the same—yesterday as well as today ...

Before the mountains were brought forth, or the earth and world were formed, from everlasting Jesus Christ was, like the Father, very God. From the beginning He was foreordained to be the Saviour of sinners

Oh, that the Episcopalian Church of today were not predominantly blighted by degenerate thinkers occupying positions of influence over the mind of people earnestly seeking to know their Creator, Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Oh, that they would have faith in the word of God!

Oh, that there were a proliferation of clergy and theological seminary lecturers who are of the stamp of John Charles Ryle who was far closer to the doctrine of the Reformers and Puritans than the present generation is ever likely to be! How much healthier would the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney be under such thinking and teaching? How much more likely would the Diocese have been able to avoid the financial crisis which demonstrated our being too nearer to worldly thinking than the mind of God? How much more effective in evangelism would the Diocese be than the failed Connect 09? (I know the Archbishop sensed a slight swelling in our numbers but I expect the swelling will soon be seen as nothing more than a body of air which, like a burp, will soon be expelled from the body).

To restate John Charles Ryle: We would remind you, then, that Jesus has always been the same in His office, person, and nature. This Jesus is the Son of God who once created all things out of nothing in an instant, albeit different orders on different units of six consecutive days in the beginning. This same Son of God Incarnate, some 2,000 years ago, performed all the acts one would assign to the Creator and all in the sight of many earthen witnesses. This same Son of God will one day raise up, fully formed and in an instant, all who have ever lived though they be so long departed from this world that their remains are now as nothing.

If only the many in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney had as much faith in this Son of God as they have in the world.

Sam Drucker

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