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Friday, April 22, 2011

Christian Darwinism

No need for any comment: just hop over to this blog on Christian Dawinism. Just as oxymoronic as 'theistic evolution'.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anglicanism: Just another word for paganism

Paul's background offers up insight into the reasons why God chose him to bring the Good News to the Gentiles. While studying under the rabbi Gamaliel provided Paul with a strong grounding in Jewish law and theology, it was his coming from Tarsus, an important university town renowned for its Stoic philosophy, that gave him a first-class education into the pagan mindset. Acts 17 records an incident in which Paul called upon this training.

While preaching and reasoning to the passers-by in an Athenian market-place a group of Stoics and Epicureans took him to task over Jesus and the resurrection. Luke only records a fraction of the debate, and despite his freely quoting Aratus, Epimenides and, quite possibly, Cleanthes, Paul nevertheless saw their philosophies as standing in distinct opposition to the Creator God of the Bible. Few Christians ever investigate precisely what these philosophies stood for, so some quotes from these ancient world-views would be of considerable aid to comprehend why Paul so unequivocally took issue with them.

The Epicurean belief was distinctly evolutionary. While gods may have indeed existed, they did not truly interact with the world. Equally certain was the Epicurean belief entertained no Creator God who used His wisdom, demonstrated by rapid and accurate completion of task, to bring nature and life into existence. Rather, large amounts of time, unfolding an uncountable number of material permutations upon permutations, eventually brought forth the world as we know it. Time and accident were the factors drawn upon to transform God into a superfluous hypothesis.

Lucretius, in his De rerum natura, states “When bodies are being born by their own weight straight down through the void, at quite uncertain times and places they veer a little from their course, just enough to be called a change of motion. If they did not have this tendency to swerve, everything would be falling downward like raindrops through the depths of the void, and collisions and impacts among the primary bodies would not have arisen, with the result that nature would never have created anything.”

Epicurus, in his Letter to Herodotus, lays out his belief in the eternity of matter, the epistemological prerequisite for materialism: “The atoms move continuously for ever...There is no beginning to this, because atoms and void are eternal.”

Central to any materialist account of origins is that life on earth is merely an outcome of probability. Lucretius states, “For so many primary particles have for an infinity of time past been propelled in manifold ways by impacts and by their own weight, and have habitually travelled, combined in all possible ways, and tried out everything that their union could create, that it is not surprising if they have also fallen into arrangements, and arrives at patterns of motions, like those repeatedly enacted by this present world.”

The Stoics, despite being materialists, held that there was one principle which permeated all of reality, Reason, which gave rise to everything else. If 'God' were mentioned it was rarely, if unambiguously ever, referring to a personal deity, let alone a Creator of the magnitude unveiled in the Bible.

Aetius, reporting on Stoic belief, states that they “made god out to be intelligent, a designing fire which methodically proceeds towards creation of the world, and encompasses all the seminal principles according to which everything comes about according to fate.”

Cicero relates how Chrysippus held that “divine power resides in reason and in the mind and intellect of universal nature..the world's own is the common nature of things..the force of fate and necessity.”

Both of these ersatz explanations remove God's presence as much as possible. By this I mean that theological considerations are weakened to the extent that a fully-blown materialism is the final result. While Epicureanism relied on chance as the universe's creative metaphysic, Stoicism embedded an ordering principle within nature that tamed chaos and directed it to complexity.

Luke's specific mention of these pagan philosophies and Paul's counter to them contains an important lesson for us today. These two counterfeits are perhaps the most logical replacements for the Christian Creator Jesus and both have resurfaced, not without, but within the Church. Leading theologians have stripped the pagan philosophies of their inherent atheism but taken on-board their ultimate reliance on chance, deterministic law and matter. According to their quasi-scientism, God, when he is presented, has brought together this faux trinity and allowed the universe to itself unravel from the Big Bang to the present.

John Polkinghorne, a greatly admired and quoted Anglican priest and physicist, has stated that "[n]ecessity is the regular ground of possibility, expressed in scientific law. Chance, in this context, is the means for the exploration and realization of inherent possibility, through continually changing (and therefore at any time contingent) individual circumstances. It is important to realize that chance is being used in this `tame' sense, meaning the shuffling operations by which what is potential is made actual. It is not a synonym for chaotic randomness, nor does it signify just a lucky fluke.... I am still deeply impressed by the anthropic potentiality of the laws of nature which enable the small-step explorations of tamed chance to result in systems of such wonderful complexity as ourselves."

He also argues that “[a]t the heart of evolution is the interplay between “chance” (the contingent detail of what actually happens) and “necessity” (the lawfully regular environment in which events occur). It takes place “at the edge of chaos,” where order and openness interlace. If things are too orderly, they are too rigid for anything really new to emerge. If they are too haphazard, nothing that emerged could persist.”
The evolutionary palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris, also a Christian, writes that “[f]or all this exuberance and flair [in evolution] there are constraints[but] there is also a patent trend of increased complexity.” He also states “[t]he complexity and beauty of ‘Life’s Solution’ can never cease to astound. None of it presupposes, let along proves, the existence of God, but all is congruent. For some it will remain as the pointless activity of the Blind Watchmaker, but others may prefer to remove their dark glasses. The choice, of course, is yours.”

As an aside, Morris is regarded, by some, as an expert on the Burgess Shale, despite admitting its fossil remains being so pristinely preserved “by as yet largely unknown mechanisms”. He writes that “the processes of rotting and decay have been largely held in abeyance so that the true richness of ancient life is revealed: not only are there animals such as trilobites and molluscs with tough, durable skeletons, but completely soft-bodied animals are also preserved. These remarkable fossils reveal not only their outlines but sometimes even internal organs such as the intestine or muscles.” Any chance the early chapters of Genesis provide an explanation, say, a worldwide flood destroying practically all life on the earth?

The perspicuous absence of any mention of Christ's role in the creation by these Christians makes their explanation no better than a pagan one. Particularly counter-productive, with respect to a truly Christian world-view, is the preponderate dependence of their explanation for the creation's existence on the creation itself. What principles are supposedly made manifest in the world are made to substantiate the world itself. That is, the marriage of chance and law, evolution, is entirely able to account for the world's and its occupants' being here.

No where to be seen is the direct link Paul and John make between the world and Christ the Creator. Both make it plain that the creation cannot be explained without Christ's visible input. If nothing that exists can be made without him, then nothing that does actually exist can have their ultimate existence put down to principles operating within the creation. If chance and necessity are sufficient, then Christ can be struck out with an Ockham resolve.

More worryingly is the attitude that the creation cannot directly point us to the Creator. No longer is it “in Christ all things consist” and that we can “attain to all riches of the full assurance of understanding”, but rather it comes down to a preference because nothing can, as Morris believes, prove the creation's ultimate dependence on Christ.

Whenever men subscribe to a metaphysical belief that it is principles upholding the creation, and not Christ, then Paul's daily reasoning in the marketplace against the pagans appears a futile exercise. It now seems that Stoic and Epicurean ideas have well and truly taken hold of Christian men's minds. If these non-Christian philosophies are representative of the church – and I believe they are – then the paganisation of the Church is almost complete.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Clarion Call From Scotland to the Episcopalian Church of Sydney (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of a blog based upon an article written by R. A. Finlayson in the September 1976 issue of The Banner of Truth Journal. The article was titled: HOW LIBERAL THEOLOGY INFECTED SCOTLAND.

Finlayson completes his article here following and I will make a closing comment:


The disease spread rapidly through the ministry of the Free Church, as could be expected with A. B. Bruce in the Glasgow College, A. B. Davidson in the Hebrew Chair and Marcus Dods in the New Testament Chair in the New College, Edinburgh, and Robertson Smith's successors in Aberdeen. The present Century opened with the blare of trumpets sounding the victory of Liberalism, and the complete rout of 'Traditionalism'. Prof George Adam Smith, in Glasgow, himself in the front rank of destructive critics, declared confidently that the battle was over and there remained but the fixing of the indemnity. The Rationalism that had entered so stealthily into the Colleges had by 1900 captured most of the pulpits of the Disruption Free Church, and not a few in the State Church and the United Presbyterian Church, and when the Union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church was consummated in 1900 on a basis of theological indifferentism, a remnant of the Free Church - 27 in number - decided to abide by the evangelical traditions of the Free Church at its inception, and on that foundation it exists to this day.


True, there were lone voices in the unbroken Free Church that, for some years, pled for sanity and for the retention of the foundation truths of Christianity. But even they were heavily committed to the new order, and for the most part they had a foot in both camps. Their case is sad indeed to relate, and it can be done only to sound a note of warning to the present day. Dr James Denney, who was at heart an evangelical, came, as B. B. Warfield observes, 'under the narrowing and clogging influence of the Apologetic School which Dr Bruce unfortunately founded in Glasgow', so much so that when his valuable work on The Death of Christ came to be reissued by The Tyndale Press, it had to be edited in considerable part and some of its statements excised. Of some others in the forefront of the movement, it can only be said that there was a breakdown in character as well as in faith, over which the veil of charity must be drawn. As sad a case as any was, perhaps, that of A. B. Bruce, because of the early promise of his work on the teaching of Christ; and yet at the end of the day one of his closest friends commented sorrowfully: 'Sandy Bruce died without a single Christian conviction.' It is true that some of the Higher Critics adopted a plan of spiritual survival by developing a dual standard, of piety for their private lives, and of destructive criticism for their professional work. Wellhausen, for example, had a Pietist background and upbringing, and it is said that he retained this pietism in his private life, while he was at the same time making havoc of the Faith in his teaching. How often have we been told of some prominent critic: 'You should hear Prof. . . . conducting a Communion Service, then you could see the real man.' Of Prof William Barclay, lately retired from the Glasgow College, it can be said that he paid exquisite attention, and employed great teaching skill, embellishing the superstructure of Christianity after he had removed the foundations. It is surely a schizophrenic character who can reconcile such contradictions, and indulge in such self-deception!

But it sounds a note of caution to us who profess, and seek to defend the evangelical Faith. There are ominous signs that history, even ecclesiastical history, teaches nothing, except that it teaches nothing! And yet there is a monotonous sameness about the enemy strategy: 'Yea, has God said ?' There is the wisdom of much sore experience, doubtless, in the Apostolic injunction: 'Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, AND HAVING DONE ALL TO STAND.

Well, R.A. Finlayson provides a helpful analysis of the cancer that entered the Free Church of Scotland more than a century ago. But what does all that mean for the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney and its theological seminary - Moore College?

The answer is "It's on!"

The slithering approach of Scottish academics to conceal their abandonment of trust in the Word of God was effective. Just as a snake moves slowly and concealed toward its prey so the Scottish academics, except for one or two overanxious, introduced their new approach to the Word of God with stealth. Students and congregations, save a few alert, were inwittingly seduced into abandoning their evangelical heritage.

It all starts in the Old Testament and spreads to the New Testament.

This is happening in Moore College where the approach of Luther, Calvin, Puritans and the majority of Church Fathers (who commented on the subject) to Genesis 1 is no longer applied. Instead, a student is carefully led to consider the employment of literary devices and other creation narratives.

The fruit of this is ordained ministers rejecting the traditional evangelical acceptance of Genesis 1 as historical narrative or prose and consequent avoidance of the convictive of the passage. This then is passed on to congregations and the cancer is well and truly established.

There are many examples but I will cite just two. The author of one blogspot was recently asked by an inquirer whether he thought the mention of Noah in the genealogy contained in Genesis 5 meant that Noah was a real person, the author replied something to the effect of "We can't be certain." Hullo! What is a genealogy for?

Another, when asked to explain why he held to Exodus 20:11 being only figurative language, his reply was something to the effect of "Whatever God was saying there I will not accept that the world is 6,000 years old." Sad, God cannot tell him only the world can!

These two incidents are sufficient to grasp that the rot is on and that there will be many more within the Diocese who are or will be like minded. And, just as with the calamity within the Scottish Free Church, the cancer can be dressed in a cloak of piety so that it will be difficult to assess just who the Christians are, even for the one committing the offence.

I ask all to trust God. Come out of error. Consider seriously John 17:17.

Sam Drucker

Friday, April 15, 2011

Leupold Genesis part 54 verse 24

24. And God said: Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, domestic animals, reptiles, and wild beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so.

We have come to the work of the sixth day. The nobler and higher forms of animal life are to be brought forth and finally man himself. We have a kind of mediate creation as on the third day (v. 11), for the earth is bidden to produce them or bring them forth--totse'-- cause to come forth." The situation is really very simple, as far as the text is concerned. God could have called forth these creatures by His mere word; instead He speaks the word that enables the earth to bring them forth. They are to have such kinship with the earth that they may again be able to return to the earth. There is no confusion here of two points of view, which P here fails properly to reconcile with one another: namely an old view, which is the outgrowth of some ancient natural philosophy, and a higher conception of pure creation by the word (Procksch). That both types of creation here flow into one is the simple fact noted by the text. To create artificial difficulty and to pose as having ability to detect strains of older and imperfectly assimilated elements of tradition, merely serves to make the unlearned suspicious without reason and is proof on the critic's part of not having fully comprehended what the author said.

On the shortened form totse' see K. S. 189.

The "living creatures" brought into being on this day are first described by this general title, which we have noted above (v. 20) to mean literally "soul of life," because the animating thing, the soul (nehesh), is the most prominent feature about them. Let it be remarked separately at this point that according to the Scriptures not only man has a soul but also all living creatures even down to fishes and birds. However, the soul as such is then regarded merely as the animating principle, the thing that causes them to breathe. Yet the soul of other creatures is not the same as that of man; it originated in a manner which makes it inferior by much to the animating principle in man, as a comparison with 2:7 indicates.

These "living creatures" now are of three classes. First we find "domestic animals," behemah, which may also be translated "cattle." According to its root, "to be dumb," this classword describes these creatures as dumb brutes. Used sometimes in reference to all animals, it is here employed in reference to cattle or domestic animals because of its manifest contrast here with the wild beasts. Yet "cattle" is still a bit too narrow a term; "domestic animals" (Meek) is better. The second class is described as remes, which comes from the root meaning "to move about lightly" or to "glide about." "Creepers" almost covers the term, however, "creeping things" is too narrow (A. V.), for it does not seem to allow for bigger creatures like reptiles. "Reptiles" (Meek) again is too narrow, for it does not allow `for the smaller types of life. Everything, therefore, large or small, that moves upon the earth or close to the earth, having but short legs, may be said to be included: The third class comes under" the head of "wild beasts of the earth" (chayyath ha'ssrets). This is an appropriate designation from two points of view: the original comes from the root chay, to live, for these beasts are wild because "of their vital energy and activity" (B D B), an abundance of life throbs in them; then the modifying phrase "of the earth" is added to their name, because in a sense different from the other two classes these beasts have freedom of movement upon the earth. The first time this name is used in v. 24 we have the archaic connective, a remnant from an old case ending chaytho and the word 'erets without the article-- poetic--making a more solemn and dignified double term coming from the lips of the Almighty (K. S. 268 and 292).--When the narrator continues his own account, he lapses into the unarchaic prose chayyath ha'ssrets (v. 25). A double "after their kind," first applying to "the living creatures" as a whole then to the three classes separately, impresses this distinctive limitation upon all these creatures--a truth amply confirmed as not to be eradicated, as all who have engaged in crossbreeding of animals can abundantly testify.

The three class names are in the singular, collective (K. S. 255 d).

An unwarranted critical verdict in regard to the three classes just mentioned is rendered by Procksch, who calls this classification "very imperfect, based half on the history of civilization half on natural history." It certainly is uncalled for to expect a writer of hoary antiquity to operate with the specific scientific nomenclature of the twentieth century. Without a doubt, all readers who perused the accounts in a sympathetic spirit clearly detected that this popular grouping was sufficient to call to mind all types of living creatures as men not trained scientifically are wont to think of them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Clarion Call From Scotland to the Episcopalian Church of Sydney (Part 1)

This is the first of a two part blog based on an article written by R. A. Finlayson in the September 1976 issue of The Banner of Truth Journal. The article was titled: HOW LIBERAL THEOLOGY INFECTED SCOTLAND.

I repeat the article because it provides parallels with a slide taking place in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney through its theological seminary - Moore Theological College. The article commences herewith:

To many it will seem strange indeed that some 20 years after 'the glorious Disruption', in which the majority of the ministers of the Church of Scotland severed the ties with the State on the ground of spiritual liberty and fidelity to the Evangel, the Free Church, thus formed, should be the body first infected by the Liberal virus that was playing such havoc with the Protestant churches in Germany. That, however, is the historical position, and it requires some explanation. The fervour that accompanied the Disruption of 1843 was strong and widespread. The mere spectacle of 474 ministers in serried ranks marching from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland - leaving less than a hundred behind - was something that touched many hearts, especially when it was known that they were leaving, not only their legal stipends, but the manses that were home to themselves and their families. It was left to Lord Jeffrey of the Court of Session to give expression to the feeling of the moment when, on hearing the news, he sprang to his feet, and explained: 'I am proud of my country. There is not another country on earth where such a deed could have been done.'


The popularity of the movement was very apparent throughout the whole of Scotland. And there lay the seeds of spiritual pride and rapid spiritual deterioration. The newly formed Free Church was ambitious to justify its stand for spiritual liberty by all means within its power, eminence in scholarship being one of these. She was not content with opening three Colleges, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, but her theological students would not deem their course complete, or their standing in the Church assured, without a post-graduate course of one or more years in one of the more famous Colleges in Germany. From that folly, the product of spiritual pride, the Free Church was to reap a bitter harvest. Germany, then, was the nursery of Liberal Theology, which was spreading like prairie fire through the Protestant churches of Europe. Its popularity was, perhaps, at its height in the second half of the 19th Century, with which we are now dealing.


What the Critical Rationalism of Colenso, Kuenen, and Wellhausen had originated, the more plausible teaching of Schleiermacher, Ritschl, and Troelsch propagated, till it took firm hold of the Reformed seminaries of Europe. Its main premise was that Christianity could no longer be held as rooted in divine revelation, but as the product of human reason and cultural evolution. The Bible had authority only as the repository of religious sentiments borrowed from many ethnic religions. Christianity would, therefore, have to be regarded as merely a variety of religion in general. There was no room for the supernatural, and so divine revelation, miracle, and personal redemption were but expressions of the universal religious consciousness. The fact so difficult to understand is that this barren nationalism captured so many of the Reformed Colleges within a few decades, and that Church leaders, professing to be evangelical, could not see that it could produce only bankruptcy in the realm of faith, and complete sterility in the life of the church. Our concern, at the moment, is with its rapid progress through the Scottish Divinity Halls, as they were then called.


It is indeed a strange fact that the new unbelief in the Free Church of Scotland should have raised its head first of all in the classroom of Dr John Duncan, the saintly Rabbi whose piety was as deep as his scholarship was extensive. But the good man - no mean judge in such prognostications - was quick to see the course it was likely to follow. He is on record as expressing to his students, as early as 1867, his opinion that 'the attempts are mainly on the Old Testament. It needs more charity than I possess to believe that some of the critics do not know where all this will lead us. The Person of Christ, his Work, his Salvation, are the things against which these attacks are really levelled.' And so it proved to be. What he could not foresee was that the rot would start his own classroom.

In 1863 the Rev A. B. Davidson was appointed Colleague and Successor to Dr Duncan in the Chair of Hebrew and Old Testament Literature in the New College, Edinburgh. Dr Duncan was by then elderly and in feeble health, and his appearances in the College were few. Thus Prof Davidson had the field to himself, and he made the fullest use of it in a subtle way. Deeply versed in the German theology, he gave it to his students with the caution: 'Be careful to give this to your congregation in small doses'. [This given to the writer on the witness of one of them]. But the leaven was working, and the first public evidence of it was the notable Church case of Professor William Robertson Smith, who, while still a student-probationer, was appointed in 1870 to the Hebrew Chair in the Free Church College, Aberdeen. He had been a student in the New College, Edinburgh, under Prof A. B. Davidson, and afterwards in Germany under Prof Wellhausen in the University of Greifswald, and what he had imbibed of the destructive Criticism from his first master, he had it strengthened under the second. Wellhausen's opinion of Robertson Smith, expressed when he had gained prominence, is memorable: 'Smith was not a scholar, but clever at presenting other men's views the very man to do the job in Scotland! But clever or not. Prof Smith's lack of caution came out in a particularly offensive insolence. Articles of his in a new issue of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1875 on 'Angels' and 'The Bible' brought it all, in its most offensive form, into the open, and the reaction of the older section of the Free Church was quick and decisive in the presence of what they termed 'the cold and poisonous air of negation, irreverence, and pride' seen in his articles. Robertson Smith was not without his friends, and, in the first instance, the Principal of New College, Dr Robert Rainy, gave him considerable support, and, stranger still, Prof James Candlish of the Glasgow College, made it known that that, in his opinion. Prof Smith's views could be reconciled with the Confession's Doctrine of Scripture, on the ground that our belief in the authority of Scripture is said to be derived from the inner witness of the Spirit and is, therefore, 'independent of criticism.' But after an admonition for his first article Robertson Smith, with all the brashness of youth, was more offensive still in his second article, and the General Assembly had to take action. It was for the deposition and dismissal of Prof Smith, the motion to that effect being supported by Principal Rainy, a shrewd but very inconsistent ecclesiastic, who was well able to assess which way the wind was blowing. Where did Prof A. B. Davidson stand in the crisis that his student was passing through? Silent as usual. It is reported that Robertson Smith approached him on his lack of support, and used the argument: 'I learned all this from you, and you are sitting safe in your Chair', and that Prof Davidson replied, in somewhat undignified terms: 'And why did you not keep your blethering tongue to yourself?' These were the high ethics of the new Modernism of the day!

Part 2 of the blog will be posted in a few days and I will comment then.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lost in a Lost World

One good thing to come out of recent dialogue with the manager of the These Infinite Spaces blogspot was his frank admission that no matter what the Word of God says (via myself and another quoting the Word of God) he would not believe that the world is about 6,000 years old. Although he has since deleted all comments on the topic there are a few witnesses who can testify that he made the statement. What was helpful was that he was actually blurting out what a lot of Sydney Episcopalians hold close to their chest - their lack of faith in the Word of God.

Aside from other problems already addressed in comments and blogs here there is another potential problem in embryo. It was picked up in a review published in the British and Foreign Evangelical Review in January 1868. It is was unsigned but suspected as having been authored by George Smeaton. The review was headed Some Lessons From The History of Rationalism and an extract is provided herewith:

The simple assertion of the Bible alone as the religion of Protestants, might seem to afford a foundation for such a via media [between Rationalism and Roman Catholicism] as we are in quest of; but when brought to the test, it will prove as treacherous as that of the Tractarians. Its danger,however, comes from the opposite side. It is safe enough as against Rome, and far enough removed from that extreme, but it lacks any sufficiently strong barrier to secure us from gradually and insensibly sliding into scepticism. The Bible is accepted as authoritative; but as we have seen it must be both authenticated and interpreted, and for these ends, unless I am simply to acquiesce in some Protestant council or confession instead of that of Rome, I have only my own faculties to use; I set out indeed with the full purpose of using them always in subordination to Scripture, and not as the Rationalist does as its judges. But how do I fare as I proceed ? In examining the evidence for the books of the Bible, I may not be able to acquiesce in the received canon; I may like many learned critics have doubts about the Second Epistle of Peter, or like Luther reject that of James; and if the evidence in their favour does not convince me, I have no alternative but to use my own judgment and reject them. Then I come to the contents of Scripture. I have been led to recognise it as divine partly, perhaps mainly, by the heavenliness of its teaching. But I find some things which seem to be unworthy of God, and inconsistent with his character; I cannot receive them. I endeavour to evade the difficulty by modifying my view of inspiration, and supposing there may be errors or inaccuracies in some parts of the Bible, I have recourse to forced and unnatural interpretations, to avoid what I cannot receive; but presently I find that neither of these expedients will suffice, and I must admit, that the Scriptures do teach these obnoxious doctrines.

What am I to do now ? is the question. You ought to submit to the Bible, and accept these doctrines in spite of your difficulties, would be the answer given by the orthodox Protestant. Yes, I reply, I would do that willingly, if I was sure that the Bible is the word of God. But it was only my reason that assured me of that at first, and now my reason tells me equally plainly that what the Bible says is not true. I accepted it at first among other reasons because of the doctrine it contained, and now it is this very doctrine that stumbles me. I must go back upon my former admission, and at the very least exercise the right of judging of the character of the Bible and of all its parts, and rejecting any portion or statement of it, not merely on external but internal grounds; and if I hesitated about some books at first, because of a lack of evidence, I may now reject many others because of their contents. I began with a real reverence for the Bible; but having no other witness for it save my own reason, this is what I have come to, and wherein does my position differ from that of the extremest Rationalist?

The only real and lasting security for the continuance of sound doctrine in the Church, is the continual presence and working of the Spirit of truth. The Holy Ghost is the river of living water, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Popery hardens and crystallizes the living stream into an icy mass, making it more definite and tangible indeed, and more bright and brilliant as it glitters in the sun, but withal hard, dead and motionless, incapable of really imparting life; the Spirit is supposed to testify through the outward organism of the Church, and to work only through its ordinances. On the other hand Rationalism, ignoring or denying the work of the Spirit altogether, dries up the stream entirely, and leaves only empty channels that mock the thirst of the beholders. The living water may be something less definite and tangible, not so easy to limit down or portray exactly, but it supplies the real want of the city, as neither her the frozen glacier nor the empty channel can do. So it is not so easy, in some respects, always to realise the testimony of the Spirit, as rely either on ecclesiastical authority or enlightened reason; it requires an eye directed to the unseen, and a heart attuned to the melodies of heaven; it is always an easier thing to acquiesce in the idea that the Spirit speaks through the good and godly whom we can see and hear, and who form the Church, or that the dictates of our own reason are all the voice of the Spirit we are to expect; hence the facility with which either Rationalistic or Romanising principles have insinuated themselves into the Church; but in either of these ways we would be substituting something dead and formal for the Living Spirit, whom the Saviour has sent as the guide and teacher of his Church. This, as we read it, is the great lesson taught us by the history of Rationalism.

Sadly, for the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney, a generation has come through which is on a course toward the barren wasteland of Rationalism through their handling of the Word of God. Even sadder is that they are likely to take unwitting followers with them.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Recent disappointments with a Sydney Episcopalian blogger are a miniature of the bigger problem within the Diocese. It is said that pride goes before a fall but in many instances there is a blow that brings the fall. Nevertheless, that blow can be avoided and the problem of pride rightly addressed.

John F. Brencher became aware of this as did some other notables of the past. Consider the following extract of an essay of John F. Brencher on the matter:

"Dr [Benjamin] Franklin of America related a lesson he had learnt from Cotton Mather in 1724. 'On taking my leave, he showed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me behind, and I turning towards him: when he said hastily - "Stoop - Stoop!" I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed an occasion for giving instruction, and upon this he said to me - "You are young, and have the world before you: Stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps." This advice, thus beat into my heart, has frequently been of use to me: and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people, by their carrying their heads too high.'

There is a general shallowness with respect to our conception of the Person of God and the nature of His providential works. Glibness of speech in spiritual matters is invariably the product of shallow thinking, feeling and understanding in the things of God. There is therefore nothing more contributory to the holy art of stooping than a good grasp of true theology in all the fulness of its biblical extensiveness. Yet today, there is a treatment of Scripture characterized by a picking and choosing which deprives people of the splendour of an expansive sweep of revelation, and consequently gives them a distorted and restricted view of revelation, and consequently gives them a distorted and restricted view of God. If people were not so obsessed by that well-meant but prohibitive cliché the 'simple Gospel', doubtless our churches would greatly benefit from preachers who unleashed all of His dynamic Word and not merely favourite parts. Considering the type of preaching which has been so prevalent it is no wonder that modern Christians have often such a poor conception of the immeasurable greatness of Almighty God! Of course not all people have got the time to examine the Scriptures and their original languages as they would like to do, and because of this full attention should be given to the public exposition of the Word and other allied means of grace. Let all the attributes of our triune God be vigorously evidenced in our thinking and prayers, and let the comprehensive workings of His gracious will be known among His people that we may be increasingly brought into conformity with His image by Christ Jesus. Such a goal will leave no room for shallowness and it will certainly encourage a bowing down of the entire personality.

The Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney prides itself on its theological seminary and its own self as being a bastion of evangelical conservatism in the worldwide Episcopalian church. All along it is flirting too much with the world.

To maintain such a position it engages in an exercise of "picking and choosing [Scripture] which deprives people of the splendour of an expansive sweep of revelation, and consequently gives them a distorted and restricted view of revelation, and consequently gives them a distorted and restricted view of God."

Within the Diocese emphasis is placed on Jesus Christ being the Son of God, Priest and Redeemer but His office as Creator is constrained to being fed through the filter of the world's view on Origins so that a distorted view (if anything) of Him as Creator is presented to the pewsitter and the world.

The Diocese needs to stoop. To stoop in prayer, in repentance, in submission to the clear utterances of God. A 'simple Gospel' is no match for the full revelation of Jesus Christ in all His majesty.

Sam Drucker

Friday, April 1, 2011

Leupold Genesis part 53 verse 22, 23

22. And God blessed them, saying: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and let the birds multiply on the earth.

That this which was last made now actually represents a more important form of life is also made manifest by the fact that God bestows a blessing upon these creatures, a blessing by virtue of which the needed powers for continuance and for multiplying are imparted. The very idea of an initial single pair of creatures of this type is excluded by the statements of v. 20 and 21 where, when called into being, these creatures are bidden "to swarm" and the waters to "teem." But from these copious beginnings these creatures are to keep on multiplying until they fill the earth. Every vestige of emptiness is to be ultimately cancelled. This blessing of God, however, is not a mere wish or a wishing-well on the part of the Almighty. It is a creative word of power which makes possible the things that it commands, and it continues in power to this day. The Creator is glorified by the multitudes of beings which His creative word makes.

It will be worth our while to make a check-up upon what is supposed to be an index of the style of P, to whom critics assign this chapter (P is the author of all that criticism calls the Priestly Codex). Skinner remarks about the double expression "be fruitful and multiply," peru urebhu, that it is "highly characteristic of P" and is used "only three times elsewhere." By such unwarranted remarks are the unwary misled, and by such insubstantial arguments is the case of the source criticism of the Pentateuch supported. B D B lists all the instances of the use of this double expression. The fictitious P is said to have it Gen. 1:22, 28 and 9:1 as well as 35:1.1 and 47:27, yet the last two expressions differ in that one is singular and the other not imperative but future. Yet Jeremiah uses these two verbs jointly in (Jer 3:16) and (Jer 23:3); so does Ezekiel in (Eze 36:11). Is it not an overstatement to call a phrase that one author uses five times and others three, "highly characteristic" of the one? It is not so much a characteristic of style but a case of having the author describe several situations that of themselves demand such a statement. By his statement of the case Skinner would lead men to believe that the so-called P must have used the phrase at least a dozen times.

In trying to make the fictitious P as real a figure as possible and to invest him with distinct characteristics Procksch remarks on this verse: "A tone of solemn joy pervades the knowledge that it is ordained that life should increase; P is in no sense a pessimist." The same note of "solemn joy," if you will, can be discerned just as plainly in chapter 2:4 ff, which is not ascribed to P.

23. Then came evening, then morning--the fifth day.

Cf. v. 5 and 8.