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Friday, May 18, 2012

Theological Smoke Screen.

Biblical Creationists within the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney are ever mindful of the declension which has come upon much of the International Christian Church in the past one hundred years save an occasional localized revival. Within this Diocese, Biblical Creationists experience frustration at hearing and reading things which are a departure from orthodox theology. Attempts to air concerns are so often shut down.

The problem just described is not new. It has been experienced by others elsewhere and I provide herewith an excerpt from an article written by John R. de Witt in the Banner of Truth journal of September 1969 under the heading "Theological Smoke Screen".

"Just recently I came upon an article in a Dutch journal which berated laymen for the questions they are presently asking in the Netherlands. They demand to know of their professors of theology and ministers the answers to such questions as, Was Adam really an historical person? and, Did Christ rise from the dead with the same body as he had before? (a query which seeks to ascertain, of course, the factualness of the resurrection itself). Now it may be true, as the writer insisted, that these questions often represent considerable over-simplifications. There was, for instance, a great difference in Christ's body after the resurrection. But what men are really asking, it ought to be clear to every fair-minded observer, concerns the empty tomb. And one cannot expect from ordinary church members the theological acumen and appreciation for nuances and fine points to be found in a university professor. People are disturbed. They want to know what their leaders are thinking. How else are they to phrase matters that are both intensely personal and also of the utmost religious significance ? It is strange surely that instead of replying to them, in Holland, Britain, America, and elsewhere, a theologian takes up his pen to condemn, not those who have given cause for offence and are responsible for raising the doubts, but those who ask the questions. Accurately put or not, the historicity of Adam and the bodily resurrection of Christ are two of the most crucial tenets in the whole of Christian theology. The fact that queries about them are resented, and that they are answered, not directly, but with censures and hedging, is at the same time still another indication of the camouflage and smoke screen that theologians feel obliged to use (one suspects) to confuse the issues and to avoid a plain statement which would lay bare their own uncertainties.

Well, what can a concerned Christian do? Must he flee away and hide himself from the questions of the day? Has he no alternative to separation and withdrawal into still more tightly closed evangelical ghettos than he has known before? It is not easy to give an answer. And yet, is not flight an ignominious, degrading thing for one whose Father made the world? A final remedy is not at our disposal. Revival and reformation come from another source. But a Christian has some weapons available to him. He can do many things. He can pray. He can be faithful. Faithfulness to the truth and prayer have always been powerful remedies, and the world knows nothing against them. He can also prepare himself spiritually and intellectually, by study, by reading, by attention to the truth. And he can ask questions. God deliver us from so-called Christians with placid, uninquiring minds who believe everything they hear and can even be content with the preaching of half-truth and error!

A point to make is that the recent comment in debate by Sydney Roman Catholic Archbishop Pell with Richard Dawkins reveals some of the fruit of the emerging degenerate theology of the past century. Rejection of the integrity of Genesis 1 can produce a denial of the historicity of the first Adam and resultant false doctrine of the salvation found and the second Adam. There is too a slippery slope on this front which some today are on and their teaching within the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney will, one day, bear fruit of the nature of doctrine espoused by Archbishop Pell.

A final point is that objection to what is going on must continue to produce frustration as obfuscation rules the day. Others before have encountered the same so persevere, pray the Lord and wait on Him in faith for better days.

Sam Drucker

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