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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Simple Mind.

In 1859, certain parts of the world became marked scenes in the long war that had been taking place in the heavenly realms. For the Evil One, the occasion was publication in England of "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" by Charles Darwin. For the Lord our God, it was the Awakening of souls to salvation in America and parts of Britain.

The Evil One's work continues to have its effect through that book today while the work of the Lord our God continues on a different scale to the intensity experienced in 1859 (and a couple of years prior) in certain places. The Province of Ulster in Ireland was the scene of great blessing in that earlier time and at least one striking incident, to my mind, deserves mention here. The township of Broughshane had come under deep impression of the Holy Spirit. A public prayer meeting was the scene for many testimonies of lately converted people - many of whom ordinarily could not put more than a few articulate words together - and yet they spoke on this occasion with words, though brief, which cut to the heart of hearers. One such speaker had, until the week before been a drunkard. He stood up and trembled as he spoke:

"Gentlemen, I appear before you this day as a vile sinner, many of you know me, you have but to look at me and recognize the profligate of Broughshane, you know I was an old man hardened in sin; you know I was a servant of the devil, and he led me by that instrument of his, the spirit of the barley. I brought my wife and family to beggary more than fifty years ago; in short, I defy the townland of Broughshane to produce my equal in profligacy, or any sin whatever; but ah, gentlemen, I have seen Jesus, I was born again on last night week, I am therefore a week old today, or about; my heavy and enormous sin is all gone, the Lord Jesus took it away, and I stand before you this day, not only a pattern of profligacy, but a monument of the perfect grace of God! I stand here to tell you that God's work on Calvary is perfect - yes, I have proved it - his work is perfect. He is not like an architect who makes a drawing of a building, and then he looks at it, and he takes out this line and that, or makes some other alteration, and frequently alters all his plan, and even when the building is going on he makes some other change, - but God drew out the plan of salvation, and it was complete, and he carried it out with his blessed Son Jesus; and it is all perfect, for had it not been so, it would have been incapable of reaching the depth of iniquity of - the profligate nailer of Broughshane."

That testimony of a simple man some 150 years ago in the back blocks of Ireland, for much of his life dead in his sin but in delivery of the testimony new and alive in Jesus Christ, is most instructive. He rightly acknowledges the perfecting manner in the way Jesus Christ completed His salvific work and its immediacy in a receptive heart of man.

Upon receiving Jesus Christ we are fully justified and sufficiently sanctified to eternal life. Though there be degrees of sanctification and a work of Holy Spirit to lift us to higher holiness, that is not to deny the sanctification sufficient to eternal life received upon new birth.

The manner in which our Lord works in salvation is no different to the way he worked in Creation and will be no different in our Resurrection. In none of those works is our Lord like some architect, even a great architect, who would do so much of a work only to step back, review, alter, move on only to stop, review and alter his plan again and again. Sin in regenerate man necessitates a work after sufficient sanctification to help us all the more enjoy the way of new creation but this was not the way in pre-rebellious Adam who was made without sin in the first place.

To inflict upon our Lord the notion of him creating - through means of evolution - a manner so far removed from the revelation of Himself in Being and history is a grievous hurt to His nature, works and glory.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 5 of 5)

This is the final instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992:

"III. The Higher Critical Movement has been Guilty of Robbing us of our Glorious Theological Heritage in this Country

It is no accident that in proportion as the Higher Critical influence in this country grew, so interest in our great heritage of classic Reformed theology declined. It is entirely understandable that this should have been so. If the new criticism which swept through the land in and after 1860 was true then the older writers are worthless. A new theology had to be written in the light of the critical alterations to what were now outworn creeds of earlier centuries.

This was what the scholars attempted and we need not be afraid to say that the attempt has proved a lamentable and a conspicuous failure. Once the Bible was set aside as no true textbook of theology, it was left to the ingenuity of men to reconstruct a theology for the church. It was not long before the church's creed therefore began to shrink drastically until today we have something like the following: A human 'Jesus' without a Virgin Birth, without a bodily Resurrection and without miracles. We have a God who is 'love', but neither just nor holy. We have a 'gospel' which is so atrophied that it might easily have been invented by a pre-Christian Greek philosopher who had never heard the preaching of the Apostles at all. We have a new morality which condones promiscuity, social abortion and even sometimes homosexuality.

We have, in a word, a Christianity which is shorn of all that is distinctive and unique. It is a travesty of the New Testament message an little wonder, therefore, if the people of this country have turned their backs on it in favour of Roman Catholicism, Islam, the New Age Movement, one or other of the cults, or, more probably, upon the age old Hedonism which says, 'Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die'.

My argument is that the Higher Critical movement has to bear a very great proportion of the guilt for these changes which have occurred over the past hundred years in our beloved land. Our far-sighted forefathers in the Faith who began this Bible League a century ago saw all these evils coming. C. H. Spurgeon saw these evils looming up in his day and so did other spiritually-minded men and women of that age. It was a dark day of unbelief and an age of apostasy. It was a guilty undermining of all that God had said in his Holy Word and the effects are with us all in our nation today: chaos in the religious world, chaos in the moral realm, chaos in the family, chaos in the pulpit and chaos in the pew.

C. H. Spurgeon, you may remember, said towards the close of his life that he expected to be 'eaten of dogs' for the next fifty years. That was to be a very accurate prediction. His reputation fell far in the decade following his death. But in the 1950s a change came. Spurgeon's sermons began again to be reprinted. At the same time, Mr Geoffrey Williams, the founder of the Evangelical Library, was exerting his influence to bring back God-honouring books to the attention of his generation. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, more than any other man probably in this country, was also powerfully drawing attention to the conservative theology which had once been the glory of this nation. Mr S. M. Houghton of the Bible League and others became indefatigable servants of Christ, buying up books in second-hand shops and promoting by word of mouth and by their pen a knowledge of that stronger and greater theology which had been almost lost in this country for the past fifty years.

A new day was beginning to dawn on this country. Spurgeon's word had been prophetic. He was 'eaten of dogs for fifty years', but a later generation was beginning now to vindicate him.

The spectre of Higher Criticism still lingers everywhere: in universities, in divinity departments, in school classrooms, in teacher training colleges, in BBC religion, in many lukewarm churches of our land today. But the Higher Criticism for all its wide presence in the nation is without a message and without a sense of direction. Its books languish unused in libraries and are sold for next to nothing in second-handhand bookshops.

On the other hand, the old Reformed theology is gaining momentum. In May 1992, one hundred years after the Bible League was founded in defence of the Word of God, we are, I believe, at the beginning of a new movement of the Spirit of God to recover truth and righteousness for our beloved Britain again - and for the world.

May God be thanked for his goodness to us and may his kingdom come in power and in demonstration of the Spirit

Maurice Roberts' optimism twenty years ago has not been realised as yet in Great Britain and is not seen in Sydney. All applications of Higher Criticism can be found in the attitude of most Sydney Episcopalian (Anglican) clergy and theological professors toward the reading and understanding of the Genesis creation account. The problem does not end there. Having taken a weak stance on the reading of Genesis it is understandable that some now have moved on to superimpose human reason over the Word of God in other issues eg homosexuality. Many pewsitters will be shocked in, coming years, to hear opinions emerge from some they have regarded as evangelical leaders.

It is noteworthy that Maurice Roberts saw the period around 1860 as the time of full scale assault of Higher Criticism on the Church in Great Britain. It does not require much thought to realise that Higher Criticism came then with a strong ally - the Theory on the Origin of the Species etc.

Could you imagine Israel under King David receiving even one of the surrounding nations if they came armed upon Israel as a pair? Not at all! But the Church in Great Britain received one or both, as has the Church in Australia. Even to receive one is to receive both. It is then just a matter of time before the job of each is done - a decimated Church of little worth to the nation and of no glory to God.

Sam Drucker

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 4 of 5)

This is the fourth instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As you read, bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1:

"Take, for instance, these words of Professor H. H. Rowley in 1951: 'Many of the conclusions that seemed most sure have been challenged, and there is now a greater variety of views on many questions than has been known for a long time.' So much then for the much-vaunted claims that Criticism was giving us some 'assured results'.

We can unhesitatingly state that the Higher Critical movement made claims that were bogus and which turned out in the course of events to be unsubstantial and worthless. All this has led the Christian church of that time and subsequently into great scepticism and ignorance.

The Higher Critics were also not above using the tactics of the bully against those who disagreed with them. They could, of course, point on their side to a list of impressive scholarly names: T. K. Cheyne, S. R. Driver, A. S. Peake, A. B. Bruce, W. R. Smith, Marcus Dodds' and many others. So they tended to write off the opposition as unscholarly.

This was the case, for example, when Alfred Cave in 1888 attacked the Graf-Wellhausen theory. They simply dismissed him as an ignoramus! Unfortunately for them, they could not do this with a scholar of the stature of Professor B. B. Warfield of Princeton. So in his case they simply held a conspiracy of silence. They could not evidently answer Warfield's strictures on the Higher Critical theories and so they simply ignored him!

My point is to show that the Higher Criticism with all its high claim to objective scholarship was really guilty of a great deal of dishonesty and even deception. For all of this it is chargeable with guiltiness in bringing great harm upon the Christian church from that day to this.

As we have seen, the Higher Critics scoffed at the doctrine of the divine inspiration of Scripture. They resorted to caricature by terming it 'the dictation theory' or 'mechanical theory'. But this is not what the church of Christ has taught by its doctrine of inspiration. The style of Bible writers is distinct and personal to each man. The God who formed the personality of the writer and gave him the gifts, so influenced his activity that he wrote down words which were Scripture. The precise terms, words, phrases, expressions and syllables in the original languages were written just as God intended them to be written.

Then, too, the Higher Critics charge evangelicals with reasoning in a circle. They put it something like this: 'You evangelicals prove the Bible to be inerrant by quoting two texts from the Bible itself. But that shows that you are assuming from the start the thing you are attempting to prove.' And that,' they conclude, 'is circular reasoning.' The answer, of course, to this Higher Critical charge is that they themselves are guilty of the very same thing in reverse. They assume the validity of the critical method and so they come to their conclusion that the Bible is not inerrant because it does not conform to their own first assumptions.

The fact is that all reasoning is 'circular' in that sense, and it has to be. As Aristotle taught the world over two thousand years ago, syllogistic reasoning has a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. Everything depends on what your first premises are. If you start with an infallible Bible you end with one; and if you start with a principle of human scepticism entitled 'Higher Criticism' then you end inevitably with an unreliable Bible.

The difference is that we, on our part, have the explicit words of Christ and of the apostles on our side and we have also the explicit testimony of the church's most trusted spokesmen throughout nineteen hundred years of her history. They, for their part, have little more than their own subjective theories as to how the Bible came into existence. The Higher Critical movement as a whole has been guilty of contradicting the explicit Word of God and should now be abandoned.

Interestingly enough, we have an academic witness to this very assertion. I refer to the recent conversion to Christ of a brilliant Bultmannian scholar named Eta Linnemann. Dr Linnemann was for years a scholar working with Rudolph Bultmann and other eminent New Testament scholars, as they are called. She was a member of the Society for New Testament Studies - a highly prestigious society - and was appointed as Professor of New Testament at Philipps University, Marburg in Germany. She was a woman who rose very high in the Critical circles of this present generation.

But Dr Linnemann later had a deep spiritual experience which led her to see that her 'Historical-Critical' theology was a lie and that God's Word is truth.

In 1978 she literally threw her own highly rated books into the waste paper bin, resigned her professorship and went to the Far East as a Bible Institute teacher. She has recently written a book as a humble Christian and says she is very conscious that her previous teaching was sinful and that she was one of the 'blind leading the blind'. She is now eager to warn others away from the precipice of that error that she had fallen into herself. Her book appeared in 1990 under the title 'Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? Reflections of a Bultmannian turned Evangelical'.

This remarkable occurrence in the providence of God brings to our attention what is one of the most central lessons to be learned from the whole episode of the Higher Critical and Liberal movement from its inception to the present day. It is this, that the most brilliant minds cannot understand the Bible unaided by the Holy Spirit.

It was the sin and tragedy of the Higher Critics that they did not approach the Bible in the correct way. When men come to the Scriptures with some ready-made theory of their own, or when they suppose that they can pontificate on the meaning of Scripture without first bending their knee before God for his gracious teaching, they automatically disqualify themselves for that grace of illumination which is dispensable to the Bible student and to the Bible scholar. It is all too evident from the writings of Higher Critics that they did not excel in this virtue of self-abasement in the presence of Holy Scripture. For their arrogance they are chargeable with serious guilt

Final instalment in a few days but I would just add that in my observation of many Christians (including myself) that the awakening experience of Dr Linnemann is what they experience when they leave off what the world is telling them and, instead, trust the Word of God in every respect, including the straight-forward reading of Genesis 1.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 3 of 5)

This is the third instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As you read, bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1:

"There were these two main elements of major difference and emphasis in the new view of revelation. First, the history and religion of Israel were now regarded as a thing which had progressed by natural evolution and was shaped specifically by the eighth-century prophets. Secondly, revelation was redefined as a subjective phenomenon. The Bible, they said, is a record of God's revelation but is not identical with the revelation. The lines were now drawn, and as time went on this new view became progressively entrenched in the academic circles of our country.

In 1889 another Liberal book entitled 'Lux Mundi' came out. This was a collection of essays by several Oxford men and confessed to be an 'attempt to put the Catholic faith into its right relation to modern intellectual and moral problems'. It was to have a far-reaching influence in this country. Its new emphasis was on the implications, as they supposed, of the Incarnation upon the Person of Christ.

The theory went like this: When Christ endorses the Old Testament Scriptures, he is speaking from the standpoint of a Jew, and as a man. The Incarnation, they said, involved Christ in self-emptying (in Greek, kenosis) and therefore his knowledge while on earth was natural and fallible. So what was emerging was not simply a different view now of the history of Israel but a new attitude to the very person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The view then could be summarised like this: The Jews had a mistaken idea that the Old Testament was verbally inspired and inerrant. Christ endorsed this mistaken idea because through his Incarnation he took on human infirmity and ignorance. The Christian church in previous centuries had also ignorantly taken over this same view of an inspired and infallible Bible from the Jews and from Christ. But now mature nineteenth-century man with his scientific knowledge knew better than Christ or the Jews, and was therefore in a position to reject the old theory of verbal inspiration. Man was now in a condition in which he could seek to find the abiding 'principles' of truth by a rigorous application of the 'critical method'. Incidentally, S. T. Coleridge, the poet, had had a similar view earlier in the century, but now this theory was to become very widely held.

In a sense, 'Lux Mundi' only said what many had been saying a little before this date but its massive influence lay in its being a statement made by men of learning and prestige, and because of the clarity with which the book was written. It was to set the stage for later attacks upon the Person of our blessed Lord himself, such as Adolph Harnack's 'What is Christianity?'.

Jesus' life was now stripped of the miraculous and the supernatural. 'Jesus,' they said, 'never spoke of any kind of creed'! The next step was that of the dismal era in which men went out on a 'Quest' for the 'historical Jesus'.

I have spent some time speaking about the details of what happened a century ago because that era was the turning point which led to the chaotic ignorance of Christian doctrine and Christian religion in this country.

We need not hesitate to say, surely, that the Higher Critical movement was guilty in the way it acted. It was not above making claims which were unreliable and irresponsible. Let me give one or two examples of this.

First, the leading scholars of this new school were fond of talking about 'the assured results' of the new criticism. But that was a complete myth. The fact is that the so called 'experts' could hardly agree on anything among themselves. That is what made it so hard for orthodox scholars in Princeton in America, and in this country, to write what might be called a definitive and final answer to their novel assertions. The critics were for ever altering their positions and shifting their ground. This is not my view only. It is the confession of men who were basically sympathetic to the critics themselves

More around the middle of the week.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 2 of 5)

This is the second instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As the instalments unfold I suggest you bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1. Instalment two commences herewith:

"II. A Survey of the Higher Criticism shows it was Guilty of Undermining Confidence in the Scriptures

The year of noticeable change in Britain apparently was 1860. Before then it had been in Germany only that the Higher Critical movement received acceptance amongst a large number. But events in Britain were to alter public opinion in favour of the Higher Criticism. One influence was the publication of Darwin's 'Origin of Species' in 1859. Then in 1860 came a book entitled 'Essays and Reviews'. This comprised seven essays. The essay by Benjamin Jowett entitled 'On the Interpretation of Scripture' gave special offence even after it was modified at the suggestion of the poet Tennyson. But Jowett's essay shows a typically low view of the Bible.

It is difficult for us to understand, perhaps, how prominent churchmen at that time were developing attitudes to Scripture which were so much at variance with the church's dogma concerning an infallible Bible. But it is necessary for us to understand something of the change that was coming and I give one example drawn from 'Essays and Reviews'.

Frederick Temple, who was Headmaster of Rugby School and later Archbishop of Canterbury, in his essay, used this misleading comparison to illustrate the nature of God's revelation to mankind. He compared the human race to a colossal man who went through three stages: childhood. youth and then manhood. According to Frederick Temple, God adapts his teaching to mankind at each stage of man's development. In the childhood of the human race, therefore, God reveals to mankind how to live by laws. In the youth of mankind God taught us to live by examples but now that we have come to our manhood as a race, God teaches us by principle.

In the Scriptures, he says, are to be sought these principles by which nineteenth-century mature man is to live. If 'careful criticism' should 'prove that there have been occasional interpolation and forgeries in that Book the result need not be unwelcomed. The teaching of the Bible remains unaffected by any changes in the idea of inspiration which present knowledge necessitates'.

By 1861 'Essays and Reviews' had already passed into its tenth edition and was having a widespread and harmful influence on the attitude of churchmen in this country and elsewhere.

In 1862, Bishop J. W. Colenso of Natal, South Africa, produced his notorious book 'The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua Critically Examined'. He rejected Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and pronounced the Bible to be no infallible book. He then used a phrase which Professor F. D Maurice, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge some years later, had used and which was to become a favourite with Liberals for decades to come. The Bible may not be described as being the Word of God but may be allowed simply to contain the Word of God.

In 1881 William Robertson Smith, Professor, I am afraid I have to say. in the Free Church of Scotland College in Aberdeen, brought out his book 'The Old Testament in the Jewish Church'. This was to mark a new era. Smith was popularising Old Testament German criticism. Following the notorious German critics Graf and Wellhausen, Smith gave wholehearted support to their critical approach to the Scriptures and to their theory that Israel's religion came not by divine and supernatural revelation but by gradual process of evolution. Smith had to leave his post in the Free Church of Scotland and he took a Professorship in the University of Cambridge. But his influence lingered on in Scotland and did further harm.

He gave popular lectures in Edinburgh and Glasgow to large audiences of lay people, and in the short space of fifteen months 'The Old Testament in the Jewish Church' sold six thousand five hundred copies. It is astonishing to us to realise that he was arguing that the new approach to Scripture could be carried out in a way fully consistent with the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms of the Puritans! We know now looking back from our point of view that this optimism was misguided and ludicrous.

It is important for us to grasp that an entirely novel view of revelation had been that God had deposited his mind in a Book and that the words of this Book as originally given were verbally reliable. But the new view was that revelation was something subjective. They said that revelation was God revealing himself to persons in their own subconscious mind. Consequently, the Bible was now said to be, not God's revelation itself, but only a record of that revelation to man. But since it is a record given by men of God's revelation it contains verbal and historical errors.

So the new view of revelation was not that it was something objective but subjective. The Bible, in other words, was now to be considered not as an infallible Book, but as something less than that. Least of all, they said, was it to be thought of as teaching a set of theological propositions.

This note needs to be made very clear here. W. R. Smith was everywhere recognised as a man of remarkable brilliance and indeed genius, and because this attitude to Scripture and revelation was to become the general one from that day to this in most academic circles, we cannot too clearly inform ourselves as to the origins of this changed attitude

More in a few days.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney.

In my previous blog I alleged many Sydney Episcopalians (Anglican) have adopted a Higher Criticism approach to Genesis. In five instalments I am reproducing a speech given by Maurice Roberts at the May 16, 1992, centenary meeting of the Bible League in England. He called his speech "The Guilt of Higher Criticism". As you work through the four instalments over the next week keep in mind the responses you get from Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on the issue of Origins. The words of Maurice Roberts commence here:

"We have come here today to thank God for one hundred years of faithful testimony to Holy Scripture made by the Bible League, which was started on May 3rd 1892. Not many religious organisations manage to adhere for one hundred years to their principles. But by the grace of God the Bible League has done so. All praise and honour be to Almighty God for that.

I wish to take as my subject today the theme 'The Guilt of the Higher Critical Movement'. In the course of my remarks I shall, of course, be positive as well as negative. But I take the subject I have announced because I feel profoundly that the Higher Critics have perpetrated a great crime on the church and, indeed, on the world. Their influence has, from the standpoint of the present day, been a decidedly harmful and a negative one. I am prepared to believe that not all of them may have meant to be negative. But I am entirely convinced that one hundred years of their ascendency in the church in this land (to look no further afield) has been little short of catastrophic. As we look at the average pulpit today we are reminded at once of the words of the great prophets when referring to the false teachers of their day:

'The prophets shall become wind and the word is not in them' (Jer. 5:13).

The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart' (Jer. 14:14).

'Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord' (Jer. 23:1).

'0 my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths' (Isa. 3:12)

In the light of such Scripture I am bound to say that we cannot but look on the whole Liberal and Higher Critical movement as a guilty backsliding away from God. More than that, it has been, I believe, a movement of apostasy. And the tragedy is that it has had a most corrosive influence on the life of the church and of society as a whole. It has taught our nation to have low views of Christ and of the gospel. It has taught congregations to condone false doctrine. It has taught preachers to speak falsehoods in the name of the Lord. All of this is evident enough to any reader of the current religious press. As I see it, there is great guilt lying at the door of those who, one hundred years ago and more, advanced these Higher Critical theories and who introduced them into the church of Jesus Christ.

I. The Higher Critical Movement has been Guilty of Rejecting the Testimony of the Church to the Infallibility of the Bible for the previous 1900 years.

A century ago Dr W. Sanday, himself an eminent British scholar but one sympathetic to the Higher Critical movement, could frankly admit that the early church fathers were all unanimous in their view that the Bible is inspired and entirely trustworthy: 'Testimonies,' he said, 'to the general doctrine of Inspiration could be multiplied to almost any extent; but there are some which go further and point to an "inspiration" which might be described as "verbal"; nor does this idea a come in tentatively and by degrees, but almost from the very first' (Inspiration, p. 34).

This is easily verified by reference to the church Fathers. I give just a few brief examples to show that our view and, I may say, the Bible League's view of the holy Scriptures as verbally inspired and inerrant, was the view of the early church:

Origen stated: 'The Holy Spirit was co-worker with the Evangelists in their composition of the gospel, and that therefore lapse of memory, error or falsehood was impossible to them.' [On Matt. 16:12; and John 6:18].

Irenaeus, a pupil of Polycarp, affirmed 'The Scriptures are perfect, seeing they are spoken by God's Word and by his Spirit (Adv. Haer. 11.28).

Augustine said he 'firmly believes that no one of their authors has erred in anything in writing'. This was the universally held view of the great martyrs, theologians, writers and preachers of the early church (Ep. ad Hier., xxxii.3).

And so it was, too, at the Reformation.

Let me give one or two direct quotations from our Reforming fathers:

(i) Luther declares that the whole of the Scriptures are to be ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and therefore cannot err (Works, St Louis, xix, 305).

(ii) Calvin says that the Scriptures are to be received by us with the same reverence which we give to God 'because they emanated from him alone, and are mixed with nothing human' (Inst. 1:18, and Commentaries on Romans 15, etc.).

(iii) Samuel Rutherford states that the Scriptures are a more sure word than a direct oracle from heaven (Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience, p. 373).

(iv) Richard Baxter declares 'All that the holy writers have recorded is true' (Works, XV.65).

(v) Westminster Confession: 'All [the sixty-six books of the Bible] are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.' 'The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.' The Confession adds later: 'The Old Testament in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek .. . are immediately inspired of God.'

This view was held by the medieval church also, and to this the Council of Trent bears witness when it says that God is the author of Scripture. Even the first Vatican Council of 1870, which made the odious dogma of papal infallibility (and is therefore anything but the mouthpiece of 'Fundamentalism'!) could say this: 'The church holds the books of the Old and New Testament to be sacred and canonical . . . because . . . , written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author'.

This, then, was the church's doctrine of the Bible till the Higher Critical movement came along in the nineteenth century. Then everything altered in the colleges, universities and, I fear, in most of the pulpits of this country. It was a mighty and a massive decline from the church's attitude to Scripture during the previous nineteen hundred years. It is something, therefore, for which the Higher Critics must be deemed culpable and guilty

More in a few days.

Sam Drucker

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Defective Gospel.

One serious outworking of retreat from faith in the Word of God in Genesis by the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese of Sydney is to regard Jesus Christ as Saviour to the exclusion of all else of his Offices and Nature.

Though these people claim to be evangelical they expose themselves to be illegitimately claiming the title - being nothing more than offspring of Higher Critics of earlier centuries.

Go back to C. H. Spurgeon of the Nineteenth Century and you find him dealing with the same type of infidelity in the Downgrade Controversy. I have previously provided some excerpts of works addressing the Downgrade Controversy and C. H. Spurgeon's response. Today I provide a small extract of "Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Witness for Today" written by the most respected Iain H. Murray in the January 1992 edition of Banner of Truth.

In one part, Iain Murray said this of Spurgeon:

"Throughout his preaching there runs a concern that God should be known and worshipped - as Creator, as Judge, as Sovereign, as Lawgiver as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had been given to see something of the majesty and grace of God".

He goes on shortly after to say:

"There were those who said, 'We believe in the gospel but we don't believe it is necessary to believe everything in the Bible and we doubt very much whether God, who sent His Son, is a God who would do the things which parts of the Bible say he does'. Spurgeon burned with jealousy for the truth of God. He could say with Paul, 'Let God be true and every man a liar'. He knew that if men were allowed to divide the gospel from the Scripture then they would soon have no gospel left. The gospel can only be seen in the context of creation, and law, and judgment; it is only in the light of those facts that we can understand our need of the gospel. Sin is transgression of the law; Christ died for transgressors of that holy law. Spurgeon saw clearly what so many were failing to see, there is no gospel unless we can depend upon the truth revealed about God himself".

I believe I can assert with confidence that those with whom Spurgeon was contending and those of whom I speak in the Sydney Diocese, and there are many, you only need introduce to a conversation the concept of Jesus Christ as Creator and you are met with hesitancy followed by grudging acknowledgement. For these people the gospel is so narrow it is confined to nothing more than the Son of God crucified and raised to life to give them (and others) eternal life. Completely lacking is the glory of God in Father, Son and Holy Spirit and His Person.

Such lack is not the full gospel and I dare to say a selfish, man centred account of the work of God in Jesus Christ. This is a sorry maligning of the glory of God in order to elevate man.

For the interest of those who haven't seen them elsewhere I provide herewith a link to helpful citings of some of C. H. Spurgeon's comments on Evolution.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, November 4, 2012

When Orthodoxy is Not Enough.

With some discussion by elements within the Episcopalian (Anglican) Diocese of Sydney this year lending support to a step away from 'Inerrancy of Scripture' I thought it needful to add to my earlier words of criticism at such a move by quoting Geoffrey Thomas in the August/September issue of Banner of Truth on "When Orthodoxy is Not Enough."

Thomas says:

"What do we understand by orthodoxy? We mean that the Bible is the supernaturally-inspired self-revelation of God. Its human authors were so controlled by the Holy Spirit that, not as mere automata but as individuals, each with his own background and personality, they recorded the very thoughts and words which God wanted them to record. Therefore the Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts, the 'autographs', and by a wonderful providence God watched over his revelation as it passed through the hands of numerous fallible copyists. So we can say as we hold the Bible in our hands today that this is the Word of God, the one and only infallible rule for faith and conduct."

Yes, only some within the Diocese are prepared to walk away from Inerrancy of Scripture but there is host in the background who have already embarked upon a path of reinterpreting the orthodox reading of the Word of God in Genesis 1.

As Geoffrey Thomas says elsewhere in his article "The antithesis of orthodoxy is heresy."

Sam Drucker