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Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Light for Our Time

Three cheers for Penrith Episcopalian Church (Sydney Diocese) who I understand hosted Biblical Creationist ministry today.

Word has reached me to say the good folk up there dedicated the five services normally held on Sundays to hearing the message of how the Word of God can be trusted entirely and, specifically for today, the Word of God recorded in Genesis Chs. 1-11. Such an uncommon event for Episcopalian churches. Well blow me down!

I have to go on second hand reporting but I understand the message was well received with no dissensions, the resident priest fully on side, helpful questions in Q&A (one saying "I had these questions all my Christian life which no-one could answer but they have been answered today!") and much interest in resources available to help Christians defend the faith in which they believe.

This all presents as a blessing. May it be that seeds were sown for Biblical Creationist ministry to come to the aid of believers in other Sydney Episcopalian Churches in Sydney Diocese.

Sam Drucker

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apostasy From The Gospel

Had occasion on Saturday to attend a 'Truth of the Gospel' Conference at St John's Park Baptist Church. Keynote speakers were Iain Murray, Editorial Director, Banner of Truth Trust, and Mike Trollope, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church. Much to encourage the soul, not the least being the hymn singing in resounding voice.

I thought I would share headline points and a few anecdotes of Iain Murray's talk on Apostasy:

Signs of Apostasy

Self Confidence of a Wrong Kind

Widespread Worldiness in the Church

* Satan seeks to blur the distinction between the world and the church

* Luther said the Flood came not so much because of world corruption but because of compromise of Seth's righteous line with ungodly line of Cain

Poor Church Attendance

* If morning service is excellent people will desire to return for evening or other service

* Horatius Bonar said "Old Rome died mad with music"

The Church Forgets the God of its Fathers

Causes of Apostasy

In Every Body of Christians there are those Unrenewed

The appeal for Success

Unbelief is Present in Every Christian

* The distinction is that a Christian is aware of the danger of unbelief and opposes it.


* Conscience is God's watchman

* Apostasy arises when conscience is abused

When Satan Seduces

* Try the Spirits

Judgement of God

* Without the Holy Spirit Orthodoxy Dies

Our Duty in Times of Apostasy

Be Aware of Erroneous Teaching

Need to Emphasize Progress in a Christian's Holiness and Godliness

Uphold Brotherly Love Toward Those With Whom We Disagree

I hope I have done justice to the recording of Iain Murray's discourse.

The last point is one requiring more attention on this blogspot and I seek to bring myself under that injunction. Readers will see signs of Apostasy in faux Evangelicals of the present age. Certainly, one or two of the signs mentioned have been observed by this writer in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney.

Sam Drucker

Friday, March 16, 2012

How do you spot a liberal wolf in conservative clothing?

You ask them something pertaining to the historicity of the first 12 chapters of Genesis.

Here's an excerpt from a thread on the real Sydney Anglican Heretic Blog over yonder at the SAD. For the full comedic story, see here

Andrew: “Does a literal reading of Genesis 5:29-32 interpret Noah as being a real, historical man who lived on the earth?

Michael Jensen: “ It might do. It would depend what kind of literature we were talking about and what kind of relationship the ancient people understood to pertain between their texts and history.”

Andrew: “Michael, in reference to your comment at #5, the kind of literature I'm talking about is the book of Genesis in the Bible. I'm interested in your response to the following question:
Does a literal reading of Genesis 5:29-32 interpret Noah as being a real, historical man who lived on the earth?
Your response of, "it might do", is, in my opinion, a non-response.”

Michael Jensen: “It isn't a non-answer. It's a refusal to be drawn into a rather petty either-or. And a refusal to avoid the actual work of listening to the text itself. That isn't the end point of hermeneutics mind you; there's still more to do to put the text in the context of the whole Bible, too.

Andrew: “Either Genesis 5:29-32 is indicating that Noah was a real person like you or I, or it's indicating that he wasn't a real person like you or I. Or are there other options that I've overlooked on account of my lack of sophistication? I don't take you seriously, Michael.”

Michael: “As you wish Andrew. But this is indicative of precisely the problem of the literalist.

Genesis may be indicating the Noah was a real person, but that not be the main point of the text.

Job is perhaps a better example. I think a good case can be made for the claim that the plain reading of the book of Job is that he is a literary figure rather than a 'historical' one. Even if he was a historical figure, his historical existence is not really the point of the story. Saying 'There was a man named Job' is neither a claim to his existence (it could hardly be a claim for his non-existence) nor is not such a claim.”

Michael: “Well there's no 'one-size-fits-all' answer. Rather, to change the metaphor: you have to play each ball on its merits.

The person saying that about the Devil is making a theological mistake about accountability as much as a textual mistake. It seems to me that the Scriptural testimony over a number of books in different contexts about Satan is that he does exist.”

Andrew: “This article and this thread absolutely encapsulates why I left the Anglican church twelve years ago. One weekend, I realised that I couldn't listen to another academic sermon painted in different shades of grey. Alot of Anglican ministers preach with no power because half of you don't even believe what the Bible says.

Michael, I couldn't be bothered pitching any more questions to you. Your answers are equivocating and ridiculous.

On the positive side, this thread has exposed the foundational problem with the Sydney Anglican church (which has to do with the interpretation of the Bible) and I can guarantee you guys that until you fix this problem, your church is going nowhere. Certainly I won't join the Anglican church again until you guys fix this problem.”

Michael: “Thanks for Andrew.”

Andrew: “You guys want to invite people to church and tell them the gospel. Then, when they start to grow in their faith and start asking questions about the Bible, such as, "Did God speak to Moses in an audible voice?", "Was Noah a real person?", "Was there a real flood?", "Was Adam a real person?", you leave them hanging out to dry. It's a tragedy.

The Anglican church left me hanging out to dry but I was right and the Anglican church was and is WRONG. It's time to fix the problem so that you're not in this same position ANOTHER twenty years from now.”

Michael: “ I never said Noah wasn't a historical figure. What I am trying to do is to ask us to think about the nature of the text so we can read it better. That is: more 'literally' in the strict sense!

[And] Andrew - do you always shout louder when you don't like what you are hearing? I don't like have guns pointed at my head.”

And now we pause to meditate upon the inner, abstruse meaning of an interjection (and general suck up to the heir apparent) from our old-time SAD favourite, Intergalactic mutational gamma ray Dave Lankshear: “ [Hey] Andrew, sadly I think it is meaningless. Taunting someone as not believing the bible because you cannot comprehend their interpretation of it is meaningless: you are attacking something that may not exist, a shallow straw-man of your own construction. Slow down, breathe a little, and try and think about what Michael is actually saying.”

Michael: “The statement that Moore lecturers think Genesis is poetry (as opposed to describing in literary form events that actually took place) is not correct.”

Roll forward a year or so and here we have an example of Michael's evolution: "This meshes with the idea I have had for a project on theological anthropology which would engage with the great literary genres as alterative or overlapping mythoi in comparison and contrast to the Biblical mythos."

Got that guys? I know I haven't. And I guess, even if I could understand what he's saying, will it help me evangelise?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Skid Row"

Those who declare themselves Evangelical but are, in fact, faux Evangelicals because of their trust in the world ahead of the Word of God on Origins delude themselves into believing all is well. They need to get their bearings by comparing the position they take and that of those who have gone before them.

An article which appeared in Torch and Trumpet in October, 1970 describes the experience of a young man in Germany at that time and gives clear insight into the church's march into declension. We take up his story after he has set the scene of his attendance at Kirchentag, a huge church convention attended by some 20,000 over a period of four days and by special request the Confessional Movement included the topic 'Streit um Jesus:

"This was meant to allow the discussion in depth of the newer theological approaches to Jesus, the denial of his divinity, the question of the reliability of the gospel accounts regarding him, and other matters. A panel of three proponents and three opponents of the new theology presented their viewpoints and engaged in debate. The Confessional Movement, by the way, had consented to be present at the convention only if opportunity for this kind of discussion would be provided. They had boycotted the meetings held two years previously when it was detected that modernist tendencies were in control.

As it turned out, the topic as indicated drew the largest crowds. No less than 8000 people braved the heat of these summer days and attended the discussions pertaining to the Person and Office of Christ. One of the first church papers the present writer ran across in Germany, called Church and Man, August 1969, commented rather sourly on this achievement. They called this whole discussion a question of Rechthaberei [I am right and you are wrong], and changed the title of the topic from Streit um Jesus [Struggle About Jesus] to Streitereien um Jesus [Petty Quarrels About Jesus]. This is a rather clear indication of how this discussion struck the editors of Church and Man. After all, were there no more important questions to discuss than the divinity of the Saviour and his atoning work?

The above reaction to the discussion of such a vital subject as the Person and Work of Christ is typical of the conflict situation in which the German Protestant church, and not only that church, finds itself. Another vivid indication of this conflict is a full page ad which the Confessional Movement published in many daily and weekly papers during the 1970 passion season. The tone of this moving manifesto is robust and prophetic. It decries first of all what the document calls the 'breach of the dam', namely the despising of the moral order, the rejection of authority and the loss of norm-consciousness which characterizes our times. The document deplores the fact that governing church bodies do not wish to utter an unambiguous 'no' to the disturbing tendencies of our day. By refusing to do so, thus the document maintains, the church has lost its credibility in this world.

The manifesto furthermore points an accusing finger at the widespread use of historical-critical methods in the interpretation of the Bible methods which, so it is pointed out, are often based on philosophical rather than Biblical presuppositions. This method has been guilty of proposing hypotheses as scientific facts and has thus reduced the Biblical tradition to a mere heap of ruins. Other parts of this courageous document speak of the decline in ecclesiastical journalism. There has been a surrender to the 'both-and' spirit. Error and truth are printed side by side. The document also refers to many future ministers who appear no longer to have a living personal relationship to the Bible as God's Word but consider the Bible to be nothing more than a discussion partner. These same aspirant ministers, so the document charges, are out to restructure the church, which will result in its destruction."

With such a threat to the survival of the Church in Germany one is left to wonder what would be the outcome there and the rest of Europe? Fast forward to 2011 and eavesdrop on a conversations between so-called Dutch Christians and a BBC journalist here and you will get a devastating perception of the state of mainstream church in The Netherlands and potentially much of Europe.

The first successful insurgency for the historical-critical attack on the Word of God well more than a century ago was the Old Testament, particularly Genesis, but you see that this 'Cancer' will not contain itself to the Old Testament. It is the entire Word of God it seeks to destroy and Christianity with it. Faux Evangelicals today who have capitulated to the world on Genesis have set the foundation for a later generation to reach the state of disbelief described here in Germany forty years ago and in The Netherlands today.

Sam Drucker

Friday, March 9, 2012

An Eventful Encounter

I heard an interesting testimony on Wednesday. Some years ago a man, who was not a Christian, was walking along a street and saw a banner on a building saying there was to be speaker at the premises speaking to the issue of Creation vs Evolution. The man thought it might be interesting so he went in.

He was so impressed by the argument presented by the speaker in favour of the universe and all in it being created in six days about six thousand years ago that it was influential in him recognizing the Creator, his own parlous condition before the Creator and ultimately receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

After many years the man is now Pastor of a Congregational Church.

So much for those within the Church who say this is just a side issue.

Sam Drucker

Monday, March 5, 2012

"I am Not a Scientist"

"I am not a scientist!" said a notable of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney when very briefly addressing the debate over Origins at the CMS Summer Camp at Katoomba this year. Putting it simply, there is no change in his acquiescing to the worldly view on Origins and massaging the Creator into that picture. He admits of his lack of scientific qualification and defers to the majority who have such qualification and who theorize to the negation of the Word of God.

All that I have seen and heard from the many in the Diocese is that one's position on the subject is simply a matter of conscience and that we all should respect each others position and let it rest at that. Yet it appears to me that errant decisions of conscience in the history of the Church have been abused to the extent they have become the order for faith and practice.

Regardless of what denomination of Christianity a person may participate, the Christian ought to be able to say Amen to these words of the Westminster Confession [Chapter XX, 2]: "God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship."

Looking back at something dealing with matters of conscience I found an essay by Donald MacLeod, former Associate Editor of Banner of Truth Journal. The essay appeared in the July-August 1971 edition. Having informed his readers of two of three theological grounds for the liberty of conscience the Christian has through Jesus Christ (the first being our sonship in Jesus Christ and second being that God alone is Lord of the conscience) MacLeod moves on to the third ground and says:

"Thirdly, and above all, Christian liberty is based upon the supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture as the only rule of faith and life. It is here that the heavenly Father reveals His will and that the Lord of conscience expresses His authority. All that is revealed in Scripture is mandatory. We must believe and obey. Our consciences are bound. But nothing that is contrary to Scripture can bind us; and where Church or State violate this principle the Christian believer has no choice but to state emphatically, 'I must obey God rather than men.' But we must go even further. The Christian is free not only from precepts contrary to Scripture but also from precepts which are beside it in matters of faith and worship. This is the so-called Puritan principle. Certainly it was the kernal [sic] of Puritanism, which was primarily not a theological or doctrinal tendency but a very definite ecclesiological stand-point. The Church must have positive Biblical warrant for all that it prescribes in the realm of faith and worship. It cannot bind the consciences of its members by saying, You must do this because it is not forbidden by Scripture. It must be able to say, You have to do this because it is commanded in Scripture."

To quote MacLeod further: "There is no need to linger over the practical outworking of this principle. It applies, first of all, in the realm of doctrine. The Church cannot impose as an article of faith anything contrary to the Word of God or anything not revealed in the Word of God."

Despite the wisdom espoused by MacLeod the Church has not been listening. One recent example of a matter initiating as a matter of conscience but later taking on the order for church life has been that of ordination of women as priests in the Church of England. The ordination of practicing homosexuals is to play out the same. To hold a contrary position on the basis of the Word of God will not suffice.

All the signs exist for the Biblical Creationist position on Origins, as held by Luther and Calvin, to be so estranged from accepted doctrine that proponents will be exorcised from the church. No longer will the position taken on Origins be a matter of conscience but only that which incorporates much of the worldly view will be acceptable.

I have to rely on the word of someone who was there but I understand that when discussion occurred in recent years at the Synod of the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney on criteria for appointment of the next Archbishop, one influential person - a Theistic Evolutionist - said what candidates believed on Creation ought to be considered. I am sure other readers can cite further examples of the cramping to the later extent of exclusion of Biblical Creationists from the established church - Episcopalian or other.

I remind all concerned that God is the Lord of conscience and one risks censure from God for any breach of conscience from the express Word of God.

Sam Drucker