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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Division not Peace.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, at Luke 12:51-52, says: "Do you think I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three."

J. C. Ryle, Anglican Bishop, speaking to that utterance of our Lord said "Thousands of well-meaning persons nowadays are continually crying out for more 'unity' amongst Christians. To attain this they are ready to sacrifice almost anything, and to throw overboard sound doctrine, if they can secure peace. Such people would do well to remember that even gold may be bought too dear and that peace is useless if purchased at the expense of truth."

Richard Bernard, Puritan, once said "Too many Ministers are men pleasers, not the servants of Christ." William Gurnall, Puritan, said "A man who fears God will be bold first, in asserting the truths of the gospel ... and secondly in reproving sin, and denouncing judgment against impertinent sinners."

Indeed to preach the gospel earnestly, in all its fullness, is bound to stir passions in the heart of man somewhere on a scale between - agony of soul leading to full acceptance or to anger and outright rejection. Bernard wisely cautions against, for the sake of peace, trying to please all at cost to the truth of the gospel.

And so we must be prepared to stand firm on the truth of the gospel. Now, I remind readers of the words of Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones who said "The gospel does not commence at 'come to Jesus', there is a whole history which comes before." Dr Lloyd-Jones was speaking on the subject of Genesis as history. The good doctor was not suggesting, in evangelism, we should regale a hearer with the whole sweep of biblical history. What he did say was that there were facts contained within the first three chapters of Genesis which we should not shy away from in sharing the gospel.

I would now like readers consider recent events in two Uniting Churches in Australia - one in Sydney and one in Brisbane. I attended one event and someone I know attended the other. The first event, in Sydney, I wrote about a few weeks ago. A Christian woman of only four months, brought to the Lord with the aid of Biblical Creationist resources and speaker, organized a Biblical Creationist speaker for her church. It had to be outside normal church service times - a Saturday evening. The church Minister did not attend nor did most of the congregation. However, fifty adults did attend, most of whom were unchurched. In fact, most were Atheist. The event went very well.

The other Uniting Church, in Brisbane, has a long standing Christian man who felt the church needed to hear a Biblical Creationist speaker. The means to have such a speaker again had to be outside normal church service times. A Saturday morning church breakfast was the means. I am told about thirty-five people, males and female, attended. Again, the Minister was not present but three retired Ministers, three lay preachers and a Choirmaster were present.

The audience respectfully listened to the speaker until question time which became loaded with as many statements as questions from that grouping just mentioned. Despite Richard Dawkins being exposed by the speaker as weak on science one of the group went on for some time praising Dawkins' book "The Greatest Show on Earth". Again the speaker calmly and skillfully exposed the weakness of Dawkins and his book. One retired Minister, most surprisingly, said "Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God created the world in six days." The speaker gently pointed to the relevant passages of Scripture and declared that we Christians stand on the Word of God. More pointed questions/statements were aired and the deliverers of them got heated. One of the other retired Ministers, though not holding to the views of the speaker, tried to calm others down but received criticism in return for his trouble. Things continued to be tense so the Christian man who organized the event had to get up and bring things to a close. In closing, he urged people present to be always willing to examine themselves and what they believed compared to what God says.

Private conversations continued and the speaker was the focus of questions and opinion. I am informed that the speaker, when the organizer later privately apologized to him for the difficulties encountered, said "No, don't apologise, it was great!"

The next day, after the church service, one woman said to the organizer "You really set the cat amongst the pigeons yesterday!" The retired Minister who tried to take the heat out of the discussion at the breakfast told the organizer that he went through theological college with one of the retired Ministers who got heated at the breakfast and said that neither of them heard at College anything such as what the speaker had said.

For me, the two events demonstrate a few things:

1. The absence of the Minister from the event at each church shows they did not support the Biblical Creationist i.e. evangelical, interpretation of the Word of God in Genesis.

2. The Ministers, both serving and retired, are a product of liberal theology at theological college.

3. The means of bringing these churches under the teaching which had been the mainstream Christian teaching up to the last century was through lay members of the church.

4. Any retort that having a Biblical Creationist speaker in a church service is divisive is really an admission that Ministers (and others) are more afraid of men than of God and that such respondents do not have the courage to stand with our Lord Jesus Christ - the Word.

Readers, that assessment can be equally be applied to the bulk of Episcopalian (Anglican) churches in the Diocese of Sydney. The only difference being that the Uniting Church Ministers may be a little more willing to allow the lay people to 'do their own thing' whereas the Episcopalians are more inclined to control all events themselves and that they do this to keep peace with as many people as possible - Christian or not.

Sam Drucker

2 comments:

Ross said...

Hi Sam
Whilst I am totally on board with what you are saying, I think you need to be careful with the first assumption you made - the fact that the ministers were not there does not necessarily show they don't support the "Biblical Creationist" position. Whilst this may be true, there are potentially lots of reasons why they couldn't attend.
Blessings
Ross

sam drucker said...

Funny you should say that Ross.

I had occasion to look at the blog again last night and as I read it the thought occurred to me that I was speaking somewhat blindly as to the motives of the Minister of each church.

I would have thought that had they been on side they would have supported the member of the congregation in the effort to conduct a church ministry event and neither source I have indicates the Ministers had tendered apologies because of the need to be elsewhere at the time.

Nonetheless, it a supposition I have applied and readers should now take that on board.

Sam Drucker