In April 2009, Terry Mortenson of the Creation Museum in America, said: There are literally thousands of scientists around the world that believe the Bible. There is an organization in the United States with 700 scientists who have a Masters or Ph.D. in the hard sciences.
[Enlarged September 5, 2009 (first published August 8, 2009) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -]
High Schools, colleges, and universities typically teach only one theory of origins, that being evolution, and the students are not presented with a creationist viewpoint. In fact, they are often given the idea that no true scientist today is a creationist. When the National Academy of Sciences in America published an educational tool in 1998 entitled Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, they posed this question, Don’t many scientists reject evolution? The answer was, No; the scientific consensus around evolution is overwhelming.
Richard Dawkins, a brash atheist and anti-creationist, says in his recent book The Greatest Show in Earth, Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact. … Evolution is a fact, and [my] book will demonstrate it. No reputable scientist disputes it, and no unbiased reader will close the book doubting it.
According to Dawkins, if you reject evolution, you are unintelligent and your sanity should be questioned, and he proclaims that no reputable scientist disputes it.
In fact, modern science was invented by men who believed in divine creation. In his book Refuting Evolution, Jonathan Sarfati, who has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and is a national chess champion, says:
It is fallacious to claim, as many evolutionists do, that believing in miracles means that laboratory science would be impossible. In fact, most branches of modern science were founded by believers in the Bible’s account of creation.
Consider some samples:
Physics — Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kelvin, Joule
Chemistry – Boyle, Dalton, Ramsay
Biology – Ray, Linnaeus, Mendel, Pasteur, Virchow, Agassiz
Geology – Steno, Woodward, Brewster, Buckland, Cuvier
Astronomy – Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Herschel, Maunder
Mathematics – Pascal, Leibniz, Euler
In 1979, Science Digest reported that scientists who utterly reject Evolution may be one of our fastest-growing controversial minorities, and stated that, Many of the scientists supporting this position hold impressive credentials in science (Larry Hatfield, Educators Against Darwin, Science Digest Special, Winter 1979, pp. 94-96).
Dr. Sarfati continues:
Even today, many scientists reject evolution. The Creation Ministries International staff scientists have published many scientific papers in their own fields. Dr. Russell Humphreys, a nuclear physicist working with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has had over 20 articles published in physics journals, while Dr. John Baumgardner’s catastrophic plate tectonics theory was reported in Nature magazine. Dr. Edward Boudreaux of the University of New Orleans has published 26 articles and four books in physical chemistry. Dr. Maciej Giertych, head of the Department of Genetics at the Institute of Dendrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, has published 90 papers in scientific journals. Dr. Raymond Jones was described as one of Australia’s top scientists for his discoveries about the legume Leucaena and bacterial symbiosis with grazing animals, worth millions of dollars per year to Australia. Dr. Brian Stone has won a record number of awa rds for excellence in engineering teaching at Australian universities (Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Evolution, 2007, pp. 26-28).
I guess Dawkins forgot about those scientists.
The man behind the Apollo moon mission, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, believed that God created the world.
Duane Gish has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and worked for many years in pharmaceutical research at Cornell University, the University of California, and the Upjohn Company. As a biochemist, he has synthesized peptides, compounds intermediate between amino acids and proteins. He has been co-author of a number of outstanding publications in peptide chemistry. Gish lists the following scientists who reject evolution and believe in creationism. Let’s see if any of them might be considered reputable.
While it is true that creationists among scientists definitely constitute a minority, there are many creation scientists, and their number is growing. Among these may be numbered such well-established scientists as the late Dr. W. R. Thompson, world-famous biologist and former Director of the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control of Canada; Dr. Melvin A. Cook, winner of the 1968 E. G. Murphee Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and also winner of the Nobel Nitro Award, now president of the Ireco Chemical Company, Salt Lake City; Dr. Henry M. Morris, for thirteen years Professor of Hydraulic Engineering and Head of the Civil Engineering Department of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University, one of the largest in the U.S. Dr. Walter Lammerts, geneticist and famous plant breeder, the late Dr. Frank Marsh, Professor of Biology at Andrews University until his retirement; the late Dr. J.J. Duyvene De Wit, Professor of Zoology at the University of the Orange Free State, South Africa, at the time of his death; Dr. Thomas G. Barnes, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Texas at El Paso; Dr. Dmitri Kouznetsov, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., winner of the Komosmol Lenin Prize in 1983 as one of the two most promising young scientists in the Soviet Union, and winner of the Council of Ministries Prize of the USSR in 1986 for his research in biochemistry (Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No, 1995, pp. 13, 14).
A.E. Wilder-Smith (1915-1995), who defended creationism against evolution in his many books, had three Ph.D.s, one in physical organic chemistry from Reading University, England, one in pharmacology from the University of Geneva, and one in pharmacological sciences from ETH, a senior university in Zurich, Switzerland. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a NATO three-star general, Dr. Wilder-Smith was an expert on chemotherapy, pharmacology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.
Raymond Damadian, M.D., biophysicist, is the recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Achievement Award as the man who invented the MRI scanner. In 1988, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology, America’s highest award for applied science, and a year later, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame, an honor he shares with Thomas Edison, Samuel Morse, and the Wright Brothers. The first MRI scanner that Dr. Damadian and his colleagues built in 1977 resides at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Damadian is a Bible-believing Christian and attends a Baptist church in Long Island, New York. Dr. Damadian has stated that the highest purpose a man can find for his life is to serve the will of God.
Richard Lumsden (1938-97), Ph.D., converted from Darwinian atheist to Bible-believing Christian at the apex of his professional career when, challenged by one of his students, he decided to check out the evidence for himself. A professor of parisitology and cell biology, he was dean of the graduate school at Tulane University. He trained 30 Ph.D.s., published hundreds of scholarly papers, and was the winner of the highest award for parasitology.
Lee Spetner, author of Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, has a Ph.D. in physics from MIT. He was a researcher with John Hopkins University from 1951-1970.
James Allan has a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Edinburgh and was a senior lecturer in genetics at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He is an international consultant in dairy cattle breeding. The testimony of his Christian faith was published in the book In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation.
Jerry Bergman, co-author of the book Persuaded by the Evidence, has five masters degrees and two Ph.D.s, one in human biology and another in measurement and evaluation. He had a 4.0 grade point average for both Ph.D.s and close to a 4.0 for all five of his masters degrees.
The Creation Research Society membership consists of more than 600 men and women who hold advanced degrees and are committed to biblical creationism.
Frank Marsh has a Ph.D. in biology and is emeritus Professor of Biology at Andrews University. He is the author of Variation and Fixity in Nature: The Meaning of Diversity and Discontinuity in the World of Living Things, and Their Bearing on Creation and Evolution.
Joseph Mastropaolo, who has a Ph.D. in kinesiology from the University of Iowa, has taught biomechanics and physiology at the University of Chicago and California State University. He holds the patent for crew conditioning for extended manned space missions. He is adjunct faculty at the Institute for Creation Research.
The speaking staff of Answers in Genesis includes 10 men and women who have earned doctorates. David DeWitt has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Donald DeYoung has a Ph.D. in physics. Jason Lisle has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. David Menton has a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University. Tommy Mitchell has an M.D. from Vanderbilt University. Terry Mortenson has a Ph.D. in the history of geology. Gary Parker has a doctorate in education in biology/geology. Georgia Purdom has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics. Andrew Snelling has a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Sydney.
In April 2009, Terry Mortenson of the Creation Museum in America, said: There are literally thousands of scientists around the world that believe the Bible. There is an organization in the United States with 700 scientists who have a Masters or Ph.D. in the hard sciences. The largest creation organization is not in the United States. It is in Korea, with over 2,500 Bible-believing scientists, over 250, the last I heard, with Ph.Ds.
Of course, even if NO scientist disputed evolution, does not mean it is correct. The Bible says, let God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4), and Jesus said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes (Matthew 11:25).
The following is by the late Davis Huckabee:
New Testament churches do not naturally die; they are so constituted that they cannot die a natural death. They may, however, be killed, but even in this, they can hardly be killed by outsiders except by the annihilation of the entire membership. Churches are most often killed from the inside; their own members kill them. A church is not just an organization; it is also an organism — a living thing, and as such, it has the potential of either growing and thriving, or of languishing and dying. The Lord promised that His church, considered as an institution, would not die, (Matthew 16:18), but this only means that there will be a continuity of churches like the Jerusalem church until His return; it does not guarantee the continued existence of any individual church.
How then may a church be killed?
I. BY STAYING AWAY FROM IT
The Scriptures liken church members to the members of a physical body, (I Cor.12:12ff), and just as certain organs of the human body cannot be removed without death coming to the body, so it is with the church, the body of Christ. When the members of the church start staying away from it, this soon leads to its death.
This is generally a gradual thing, starting first with the neglect of the business meetings because “it doesn’t matter whether I am there or not. The others are going to run things to please themselves.”
The night services are really the acid test of a church member’s love for the Lord, for many people come to church for the morning services simply because there is nothing else to do except stay home. Of course, many professed Christians who will even forsake the House of God Sunday morning in order to sleep in; these are the very most unfaithful kind. But of those who attend the Sunday morning services regularly, many could not be gotten out for evening services for anything. But the same excuses that are thought valid for staying away from church services, will not do when one is invited to a party, or when money is to be made by being in a certain place, etc. But the Lord will one day settle up the accounts. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits” Prov. 16:2.
Some church members permanently forsake the church, never more to return; but if we consider the connections between the two verses in Heb. 10:25-26, we find that this is an indication that the individual was only a false Christian. The same is true in I John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
2. BY STARVING IT
Starving the Church through Lack of Converts
A church lives and grows only by conversions and the additions of those converts to its number, and therefore if it is not nourished by conversions as a result of preaching and praying, it will soon die off from lack of additions. Souls being saved are a blood transfusion to any church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” Acts 2:47. God does the adding to the church, yet He does it through the prayers and the preaching and the witnessing of His people.
Starving the Church through Lack of Spirituality
A church may be killed by starving it of spirituality; we must remember that the degenerate Church of Rome was once a New Testament church until it lost its spirituality. Heresy in doctrine is first preceded by heresy in practice; i.e., by a carnal life. How may this be prevented? By its members living a sanctified (dedicated) life from day to day (not week by week, nor month by month). But dedication requires self-denial, and all too many professed Christians are unwilling to do this.
Starving the Church through Lack of Prayers and Finances
Then it is possible to starve a church to death by not supporting it with one’s prayers and finances. A church is a business — the grandest, most worthwhile business in the world, and therefore it must have money to operate. Because it is a heavenly business, it needs, in addition to money, the prayers of the Lord’s people. Some professed believers are much more diligent in running down the church, the pastor, and those who are faithfully working in the church, than they are in praying for these and helping them. The same thing is true of Christians as it is of mules: THEY CAN’T PULL WHILE THEY ARE KICKING, AND THEY CAN’T KICK WHILE THEY ARE PULLING.
As to the failure of God’s people to support the church financially, Malachi 3:8-10 is still in the Bible, and it calls the withholder of the tithes and offerings just what he is — a thief. Nor will it do to say “But that is in the Old Testament.” The division of the Bible into the Old and the New Testament is strictly a man-made division; the Scriptures themselves know nothing of this. But in any case, I Cor. 9:1-14 obligates believers to support the church in precisely the same way that the Tabernacle was supported — by tithes and offerings. See especially I Corinthians 9:14.
3. BY STRIFE IN IT
Strife has probably killed almost as many churches as any other one thing. When two people are in disagreement, and both are utterly selfish, it will cause a strife which will grow until it consumes the whole church, unless the church takes steps to end the strife. Strife is a mark of spiritual immaturity and carnality: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ … For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” I Cor. 3:1,3.
Strife generally has its roots in pride, for where there is strife, both parties proudly assume that they are right, and will not admit even the possibility of being wrong. At the same time, neither will try to see the other’s point of view, nor will either admit that the other could be right in the least degree. It is a fortunate church which does not have such an undercurrent of strife.
Strife is also promoted by self-righteousness in that one looks down upon others, while exalting self in his own mind. He takes the attitude of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9. Pride stands in the way of humility, which is always the first step toward repentance.
One of the most tragic forms of church strife is when a member, or group of members, get their feelings hurt by the preaching (which is very common when the preacher is faithful to preach against sin, and to declare the members’ duties). Often the dissident members will mount a campaign to run the preacher off, and the most common excuse used is that he is a “dictator.” Now we have no sympathy with a genuine dictator in the pulpit, but ere a man of God is stigmatized as a dictator, men had best consider what the preacher is commissioned and commanded to do: he is to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” II Timothy 4:2. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear” I Timothy 5:20. “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” Titus 2:15. “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that the y may be sound in the faith” Titus 1:13.
On the basis of these, and the many other similar texts, the preacher has a duty not only to declare the truth, but also to rebuke those members who are living wayward lives, and no one has a right to call him a dictator for only doing his duty. This is not to say that he may use the pulpit to chide members for personal differences of opinion, nor that he should jump upon and spur every one for every little misstep. The wise pastor will quickly learn to use Christian psychology even in the most serious breaches of Christian ethics, and that “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger,” Proverbs 15:1. A belligerent or overbearing preacher will produce only heartache for himself and discouragement for the church.
Strife between the members of a church and the pastor often destroys a church for the simple reason that by rebellion against the pastor, the members are rebelling against the Lord, for though the church may vote to call a man as pastor, yet if they are led of the Lord in doing so, the pastor is made the superintendent or overseer (Greek “bishop”) over the flock, Acts 20:28. Not only so, but the preacher, when he stands to declare the gospel, is an ambassador for Christ, beseeching men in the stead of Christ to be reconciled to God, II Corinthians 5:18-20. And yet more so, when he preaches Christian responsibility to believers, they are obligated to obey and submit themselves, for the pastor is accountable to God for them, and thus it is a solemn thing to disobey when the pastor is only endeavoring to lead one on to serve the Lord better and more faithfully. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they th at must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you,” Hebrews 13:17.
Some churches degrade the pastoral office to that of a mere figurehead, and treat the pastor with less respect than any layman in the church; sometimes they let their independency and autonomy go to their heads, and they think they can run the preacher off any time they don’t like what he says. But it is noteworthy that the Scriptures give not a single example of the dismissal of a pastor from a church, nor of a church even challenging the authority of the pastoral office.
It is to be granted that the church has authority over its members, including the pastor, but it is also true that the pastor is a man specially called of God to his office, and he stands in a special relationship to God, and while on rare occasions it may be necessary to dismiss and exclude a preacher because of immorality or heresy, yet a church should be very slow to take any action against one of the Lord’s prophets without good reason. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses” I Timothy 5:19. “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” Psalms 105:15.
4. BY STUBBORNNESS
In the Scriptures, stubbornness is a sin that is compared to witchcraft and idolatry, I Samuel 15:22, and yet some people seem to delight in stubbornly resisting all spiritual progress and activity in the church. It is no virtue to be so set in one’s ways that one hinders a church from changing for the better. No church was ever so perfect when it started but that it has room to change for the better. Indeed, sanctification is itself a progressive changing for the better of individuals, and if the members daily change for the better, so should the church. The sin of the Sardis Church was that it stubbornly refused to repent of sin, Revelation 3:3, and consequently it slowly died on the vine, all the while refusing to admit its cold and indifferent state. There is such a thing as dead orthodoxy — a doctrinal soundness which is devoid of any real love to Christ.
Some say, “Well, it is my life, and it is my business whether I repent or not,” but this is not true, for every person is an example to someone else, and his bad example will lead others astray, perhaps concerning something much worse. Besides, the corruption of a church member is a corruption of that much of the church, and “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” I Corinthians 5:6. No one can afford to indulge any sin, because sin in church members is what kills churches.
There are many ways to kill a church, but the important thing to notice is the solemn consequences of tearing down a church of the Living God. “If any man defile (the Greek word is the same as that translated “destroy”) the temple of God (a church, as the preceding verse shows), him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple are ye” I Corinthians 3:17. It matters not what excuses may be given, if an individual or group of individuals so conduct themselves as to cause the death of a church, they had better prepare to shortly face the judgment of God in the loss of their physical lives.
A church is of more importance than the collective rights of all the members, for a church exists, not just for its own present members, but is a witness to many who may never join it, but who may be led to the Lord through its ministry. Not only so, but the rights of future members must also be considered when taking any action that might be detrimental to the church. Many carnal church members, in their zeal to get their own way, justify their own sins, sooth their own pride and hurt feelings, do not care that they may quench the only faithful lighthouse of the truth in their community. They care not that future generations may not have opportunity to hear the gospel and to be saved because a church was destroyed by the carnality of its members.
The attitude of some is “I’m saved, so let the rest of the world go to hell for all I care.” Such an attitude hardly evidences genuine salvation. If it be true that “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” I John 3:17, how much more so is this true of those who have no concern for the welfare of the souls of others? God pity the man who destroys a church: if he is saved at all, he puts himself under the judgment of physical death for putting his own selfish wants and will above the welfare of a church of the living God.
5. BY SELFISHNESS
All of the foregoing points may be summed up in this one, but we venture to make a few more comments which fall specifically under this heading. We live in the most affluent age that this world has ever known. Add to this the fact that this generation has greater means to get the gospel to every race, nation and tribe of people than any previous generation. Radio, TV and the press make evangelism possible as never before. But what happens? Instead of using these means for the glory of God, men become so selfishly involved in them that all of these become definite detriments to the truth.
It has been found that people [in some countries] spend hundreds of times more on pets than on all religious enterprises combined, and Newscaster Paul Harvey reports that for every dollar that is spent on churches, $12,000 is spent on crime. It should be obvious from this that we are working at the wrong end of the problem.
Giving to missions is the thermometer which shows the spiritual atmosphere of a church. It is generally the gauge of godliness in the church. Call it home missions or whatever one pleases, but the selfish use of the Lord’s money for the gratification of the members of a church will kill that church as quickly as almost any one thing. May God give us more sound and serviceable churches by stirring up church members to be more dedicated and obedient.
Are you killing your church by your sinfulness by your selfishness, by your neglect? Then repent before both the church and yourself are destroyed.
The following article is reprinted from The Fundamentalist Digest, Nov.-Dec. 1997 (Don Jasmin, editor)–
In reading a copy of the Baptist Magazine (London, 1820), the writer read correspondence indicating that around the years 1819-1820 there was a group of 100 seminary students at the Andover Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts, who met regularly for the sole purpose of collecting material “concerning missions” to “enable each member to determine whether it is his duty to become a missionary.”
These students prepared dissertations on missions regarding various foreign countries from the materials collected and then read them to the entire group. The Andover Seminary library was also seeking periodicals and books dealing with missions to add to its collection so that the above-mentioned students would have larger resources from which to draw, as they pondered God’s will for their lives.
Could a group of 100 students be found in any fundamental Baptist seminary in the USA today who have banded themselves together solely for seeking God’s will concerning missionary service? Christian writers termed that era “the Age of Missions.” That pioneer missionary spirit needs to be revived in our fundamental Baptist circles today. [No Baptist seminary existed at that time; Andover was an orthodox Congregational seminary where the Baptists in America sent most of their students until the founding of the Newton Theological Institute later in 1 the 1820's-editor]
Have You Knelt At Gethsemane?
Matthew 26:36-46 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done. And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh He to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me.
Gardiner was the last to die. One by one he and his companions had been weakened through starvation, cold, and disease until they could no longer stand. In vain Gardiner watched and prayed for the supply ship from England until his eyes, too, were dimmed in death. The last entry in his diary reads, ” Great and marvellous are the lovingkindnesses of my gracious God unto me. He has preserved me hitherto, and for four days, although without bodily food, without any feeling of hunger or thirst.” Forty-six days later a British navy ship dropped anchor and sent a boat ashore, only to find the bodies of three of his companions lying unburied on the shore. A storm drove them away before they could search for Gardiner and Maidment. It was to be another three months before they were discovered near their wrecked boat at Banner Cove. The supply ship did not arrive until some months later.
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee,
and the books, but especially the parchments.
2 Timothy 4:13
Of all the gifts I receive I like books the best. It’s a simple fact of life, books make the best gifts. Chocolates? Soon eaten and forgotten. Tools? They rust. Money? Too quickly spent. Shirts wear out or get stained and socks tend to go walkabout and lose their mates. Ties? Got a thousand. Books are best.
I was given a book the other day and I can already tell it is going to be a great friend. It is a book of sermons by Robert Murray McCheyne, the youthful preacher whose fiery soul flamed forth and illuminated Scotland for eight brief years. Every preacher ought to buy a book of McCheyne’s sermons and bask in the light of his fire for God. The liveliness of that 19th century Presbyterian puts to shame many inert 21st century Baptists! His boldness in confronting the indifference of his people, the clarity of his gospel messages, the humility displayed in handing his church over to the interim pastor under whose preaching revival had come, all these move the reader of McCheyne nearer Heaven.
If our ministers would only read the old books, the books that take a year to read because we have to stop and think for a day or two about a truth that pierced us through and through. And if we would read them with the fear of God, such light would burst forth as to scatter the creeping darkness in our souls! In our day, good reading seems to have “fallen in the street.” We tend to read trivial, frothy palpitation pulp, bound in hardcover and priced way above the value of its content. The entertaining, “feel good” books written by the megachurch gurus are selling millions of copies this year, but will be forgotten next year. They do not contain enough solid truth to stand the test of time. Pragmatism (Big is good!) and its paparazzi have become the pied pipers of evangelicalism. (Ah, if only we had eyes to see past the apparent to the actual.)
It is needful for us to pause for a moment and consider this category of books. Books that are good enough to give to others belong on a special shelf. One book given to me now rests on a shelf far away, but I will never forget it. It was the first book anyone gave me after the dear Saviour found me, the life of Nate Saint, called Jungle Pilot. The giver has been in Heaven many years, but I will always remember them. Another “given” book taught me about living by faith. It brought me to my life verse, II Cor. 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” It was the Life of George Muller by Basil Miller, and was a gift from an old Dutch preacher. He had been trying to give it away, but God wouldn’t let him give it to anyone but me. I stayed up all night reading it and went to bed as the sun came up, a changed man. Given books are special books. I have been given a book on the life of Elijah, and a book on God’s wonderful preservation of the Received Text, and a book by Spurgeon on eccentric preachers, and a book on the attributes of God, and a book by F.W. Boreham, and dozens more. These gifts have blessed and changed and guided my life, gifts that broadened my horizons, gifts that enriched my preaching. Given books, blessed books!
Now, there is a text we ought to consider before we wander off to find a book to read. It is Acts 20:35, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We all know this verse, but I must confess I didn’t know that these words of our Lord are nowhere recorded in the gospels. The Holy Spirit has preserved them for us in the counsel of the apostle to the Ephesian elders. It is the truth of the verse we need to heed. It really is more blessed to give than to receive. I know, it flies in the face of a covetous, welfare oriented society, but it is true. This is not a worldly proverb. This is the word of God. There is more blessing in giving than in receiving. There is a love for others in giving. There is a level of spiritual maturity in making the necessary sacrifice to give to others. There is a good conscience in giving. The clear sighted wisdom in knowing what to give, who to give it to, and when to give it is a gift from God. The sharing of a treasure is a blessing. And then there is the sweet assurance that giving is sowing, and the harvest is always larger than the sowing. At least in God’s paddock. These are blessings that come to the giver. Admittedly there are blessings in store for the receivers of our gifts, but the blessings for the giver far outnumber those awaiting the receiver.
Have you given any books away lately? There is a blessing waiting for you.
Just yesterday a precious little granddaughter asked for a book of mine. It is a book of missionary stories written by Dr. Ben Kendrick. It is the book her mum was reading to the kids when her eyes were opened to the gospel, and she wanted to own it. What a joy to give it!
Which book given to me has been the best? It would have to be the book given me by the pastor of the church I attended as a child. When I graduated from high school and blundered off into a dark world, I took that book with me. It wasn’t very big and I didn’t read it very much until my world started to crumble. When I did start, I read it in stops and starts, here a bit and there a bit. All unaware of its influence, I began to think on the things of God, and was soon converted. Its title? Surely you have guessed by now. It is called The Holy Bible. Thank you, Bro. Henderson, for sowing the best of all gifts into my heart. Untold blessings have come from that one gift. Blessings for the giver and blessings and for the receiver. I expect one day soon the giver and the receiver will worship side by side before the throne and rejoice together in the blessings of giving.
So Bring the Books. We can give them to others.
By Buddy Smith
(Used With Permission)
John Bunyan’s name is familiar to most Christians. Some months ago I came across one of his short books, ‘The Acceptable Sacrifice’. It was originally a sermon based on Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”. It was his last book.
My heart was deeply moved by this book. Not only is the content impressive, weighty and convincing, but Bunyan’s grasp and use of Scripture is amazing. The book is absolutely compelling simply because of his knowledge of the Word of God. This was no contemporary sermon consisting of a joke, three points and a poem; this is a cobalt bomb in hardcover and the reader stands at ground zero.
My heart began shouting questions at my mind. “How did he write such a sermon? Where did he get such substance, such wisdom, such power? What did he use for study aids to be able to compile such a masterpiece?” In the midst of these questions I realized Bunyan had almost none of the resources we use everyday. Strong’s Concordance was 200 years in the future, Cruden’s a hundred.
Thayer’s, Gesenius, Robertson, Wuest were all unknown. Bunyan’s biographers mention Luther’s commentary on Galatians, Foxes Book of Martyrs, and an anonymous concordance. We suppose that Bunyan, the prolific writer, would be a voracious reader. But there is the one resource book, his chief study aid he mentions again and again. Hear him: “As I was sitting by the fire…suddenly…this word sounded in my heart, ‘I must go to Jesus’. I said, ‘Wife, is there ever such a scripture, I must go to Jesus?’ Thus unexpectedly questioned, she cannot tell”.
“Therefore,” says Bunyan, “I sat musing to see if I could remember such a place. I had not sat above two or three minutes but it came bolting in upon me, ‘You are come to Mt Zion…and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament” – Heb. 12:22-24″. This, then, was Bunyan’s chief resource, his chief study aid, the Holy Scriptures themselves, taught him by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
He thoroughly knew the Scriptures. He memorised long passages. He meditated much upon the Word. He looked and longed and lingered until the Holy Spirit brought to mind the needed truth for each crisis. He knew by daily experience the truth of John 14:26, “But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost…He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance…”
Bunyan used this resource when discouraged. He used it when he prepared sermons. He used it when he stood before magistrates, accused of preaching without a license. He used it when in jail where he began writing Pilgrim’s Progress. He used it when he preached from his cell window. He used it when he pointed the lost to Christ. This is Bunyan’s secret: the Spirit and the Word – the sufficiency of Scripture! The Comforter, who is our tutor, was Bunyan’s best study aid. His utter dependence upon the Word of God and its Author is what gave his life and literature their impact.
What a contrast he makes with the modern minister! Somewhere between the TV sports show, the trip to the airport, and the golf game, he must prepare his message. No problem! Just light up the new IBM (Inspired Business Machines?), and open up the Super Sermon Maker Program. Memorisation, meditation and midnights are displaced by gigabytes, nanoseconds and mousy sermons. No blood, sweat, no tears, no Bible, no prayer, no blessing, no people, too bad, so sad! (“No message tonight, folks. The computer is down.”) Study aids? Sure, but used sparingly remembering that no man’s thoughts, programs, floppies, or CD ROMS can ever compare with the Word and the Spirit.
Bunyan’s computer is still available, but it’s expensive. It will cost the user time. Time in the Word. Time waiting on God for truth.
Is the price too high? Not if your sermons are to be still a blessing after 300 years.
(Used with permission)
Occasionally I hear it said, “Somebody ought to write a bookâ€¦”. We tend to use that phrase when we come across a subject it seems no one has ever addressed. I can suggest a few titles for the brave author who would undertake such a task. Somebody ought to write a book called “Untouched Texts in Scripture”. Another good title would be “Unsung Heroes of the Bible”. Or maybe “Unpopular Truths From Heaven”. But my favourite would be “Topics I Never Heard Preached Among Fundamental Baptists”. And the first chapter of this book should be called “Grace Displaced”.
We Baptists can sing all the verses to Amazing Grace blindfolded, and we know Ephesians 2:8,9 (but not verse 10) frontways, backways and sideways and quote it at least twice in any sermon. There might just possibly be a fundamentalist somewhere in Godâ€™s creation that has read a book about grace. But thatâ€™s just about the limit to our knowledge about Godâ€™s grace.
For instance, just to illustrate our ignorance of grace, letâ€™s try a little quiz on the subject:
1. Which New Testament writer uses the word “grace” most frequently? (That wasnâ€™t too difficult, was it? Of course, it was Paul.)
2. How many times did he use “grace” in all its forms in his writings. (Would you believe 139 times? Peter, once; John, four times; and Luke twenty four times.)
3. How many definitions of “grace” are listed in ISBE (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)? (Five. Another author lists seven.)
4. What is the most common definition of “grace” among Christians? (Unmerited favour)
5. What is the great error of Roman Catholicism regarding “grace”? (Roman Catholics believe that observance of the sacraments brings “infused” grace through which God empowers them to do works acceptable to God. This “infusion” of grace must be a continuous experience, which makes it impossible for a Roman Catholic to ever be able to say he is saved.)
6. What is the great error of Protestantism regarding “grace”? (Protestant theologians tend to believe that grace is effectual in salvation, actually justifying the believer, but they do not generally believe that grace enables the believer for service.)
These are some of the questions which provoked a study on the subject of Godâ€™s Grace. Consider with me a few of “the exceeding riches of His graceâ€¦toward us through Christ Jesus”:
I. The Unexpected Kindness of the Grace of God
The Grace of God includes the unexpected kindness of God. “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:7 As members of a fallen race we rightly deserve the judgment of God, but His Grace is shown in His great kindness toward us.
There is the “prevenient” (before salvation) kindness of Grace bestowed upon all men. Paul refers to this aspect of Grace in Acts 17:25 when he says, “â€¦He giveth to all men life and breath and all things.
There is the kindness of “saving” Grace in Titus 2:11, “For the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
And there is the kindness of “heavenly” Grace in Eph. 2:7 “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward usâ€¦”
A lovely illustration of the kindness of Godâ€™s Grace is seen in King Davidâ€™s treatment of Mephibosheth. The Jebusites had taunted the King with the boast that the citadel was so strong that the lame and the blind could be left to guard the walls and gates. So angered was the king by this that he declared that the lame and the blind would forever be excluded from the kingâ€™s palace and its environs. But when the King sat upon the throne, grace prevailed and was displayed in his kindness to Mephibosheth, the crippled grandson of Saul (II Sam 9). So, too, we will enjoy the kindness of the Great King at His banqueting table, trophies of His Grace. The Grace of God is seen in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
II. The Limitless Generosity of the Grace of God
There is no text in Scripture that teaches the generosity of Grace more clearly than II Cor. 8:9 , “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich.” What a wealth of truth there is in this verse! The pre-existence of Christ is in this text, else when was He ever rich? The impoverishment of Heaven for the enrichment of earth is here. Here is the humiliation of Christ that men might be glorified at last. Here is a parallel text to II Cor. 5:21, “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Surely with all our sins laid upon Him, in Godâ€™s sight He was (for a few hours) the most “sinful” man that ever lived, that in Godâ€™s sight we might become the most righteous men that ever lived. (By this I mean, not that Christ literally became a sinner, but that our sins were imputed to Him that the righteousness of God might be imputed to us.) This is the generosity of Grace!
I hesitate to attempt an illustration of this generosity, as no earthly thing can truly compare to Godâ€™s Grace. But suppose for a moment you are walking down the footpath one day, and you are utterly penniless. No food, no shelter, your clothing is in tatters, and you have no prospects but starvation. A stranger walking toward you with a leather pouch in one hand addresses you with gentle words, “Here, hold out your hands.”
And when you comply, he opens the bag and pours your hands full of pearls, real pearls, hundreds of pearls, a kingâ€™s ransom.
While you stand in shocked silence, he turns away and approaches another poor wretch and repeats the act, impoverishing himself in order to enrich others.
Such is the generosity of the Grace of God. Limitless, abundant, and available to every poor sinner who will receive “His unspeakable gift.”
III. The Divine Enablement of Grace
Here I must make a confession. It is a confession of great ignorance on my part. Thirty seven years ago the Saviour found me and saved me, but I must confess that I never heard or read until recently that the Grace of God enables the believer in Christ. By this I mean that God graciously provides the ability and power we need to serve Him acceptably. (I trust many of you are way ahead of me on this.) Consider these verses:
I Tim. 1:12, 14, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministryâ€¦And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
I Cor. 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Gal. 2:8,9, “(For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John , who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”
In each of these portions of Scripture there is reference to Grace being Divine enablement. In fact, the apostle uses the very word “enabled” in I Tim. 1:12, and it is related to Godâ€™s grace in verse 14. If we read these verses carefully and thoughtfully, we will see the enabling aspect of Grace.
Another text that describes Divine enablement (without using the word “grace”) is Phil. 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Enabling Grace is here described as that working of God in us which causes us to desire and do His will. The willing and the working, both come from God. That certainly excludes boasting, doesnâ€™t it? I like the definition of enablement which says, “It is God doing in and through me that which is impossible for me to do naturally.”
If you are like me, you are wondering whether this could be true. (After all, we werenâ€™t taught this in cemetery. Oops, I meant seminary.)
Well, then, why not run it through the grid of Scripture? Where did Samson get that superhuman strength if not by God working in him to will and to do His good pleasure? And where did Moses acquire the leadership skills needed for the Exodus of Israel from Egypt? And where did Joshua learn to be the military leader he was? Or how did David compose the inspired songs for his nation? And tell me, please, how Paul, a former blasphemer and persecutor of the church, became the pioneer missionary of the New Testament? These exploits of faith did not arise from personality, intellect, or university degrees. In every case it was the Grace of God enabling them to do Godâ€™s will.
IV. Examples of Grace
If it is true that Grace enables the believer to serve God, there should be evidence of it in the New Testament. Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the evidence is abundant. The bad news is that Fundamental Baptists seem to be lacking in enablement. You be the judge.
Examples of Divine Enablement:
1. Acceptable Service to God â€“ Heb. 12:28
2. Spiritual Gifts â€“ Romans 12:6
3. The Fruit of the Spirit â€“ Gal. 5:22, 23
4. Understanding of the Scriptures â€“ I Cor. 2:7-16
5. Godly Speech â€“ Col. 4:6
6. Preaching Christ â€“ Eph. 3:8
7. Godly Use of Natural Gifts â€“ Col. 3:16
8. Giving â€“ II Cor. 8:1
9. Right Responses to Suffering â€“ II Cor. 12:9, I Pet. 2:19,20 (Look up the words “thankworthy” and “acceptable”)
10. Ministering to the Helpless â€“ Luke 6:33 (look up the word “thank”)
A careful study of these passages of Scripture will reveal several surprises. In most of the verses will be found a direct reference to the Grace of God. In some examples (Spiritual Gifts, Giving, Right Responses to Suffering, and Ministering to the Helpless), the examples themselves are called “graces”. In other verses the word “grace” is not used in the text, but the examples are clearly the workings of God in the believer. A relevant text is also found in Acts 11:23, “(Barnabas) came and (saw) the grace of Godâ€¦” Just think of that! Visible Grace! So what did he see? He saw at least some of the “graces” listed above. Oh, to be part of a church with visible grace!
Over the past few years, I have come to the conclusion that there is no acceptable worship, work, or witness that does not come through the enabling Grace of God. All of our service for God must have His working in us. Scripture records numerous attempts by men to serve God without grace. We dare not assume that God will bless our ambitious, self-centred, vain glorious, profit seeking, carnal efforts to appear religious to others. Sooner or later we must learn the lesson that “strange fire” is not acceptable to a holy God.
Applications we must make
Evan Roberts once described a meeting he had with a group of Baptist ministers in Wales. I was especially struck with his comment that one of the ministers was “destitute of grace”. It has been some years since I read that comment, and I have puzzled over it, wondering what it meant. I think I may have a clue. I think it means that the minister gave Evan Roberts the impression that he did not need Godâ€™s help to serve Him acceptably. Enabling grace had been displaced. Displaced by some modern humanistic substitution.
In our churches grace is often displaced by pretence (as in drama), or by professionalism (as in background tapes for a special item), or by entertainment (as in humorous sermons). The indictment of our Lord against the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1), “â€¦thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” may apply to us. This was the church with the wrong name. I wonder if that could apply to us? Should the church I pastor be called “Graceless Baptist Church”? (Or should yours be called “Faithless Baptist Church”?) Have we displaced the Grace of God by trusting our own abilities, rather than casting ourselves upon the Lord helplessly and depending entirely upon Him for the enablement we need?
The church is thrilled to bits when some brave saint “jumps over spaghetti”. In other words, he or she has done some small thing anybody could do. In their own strength. Without Godâ€™s help. But God hasnâ€™t called us to “jump over spaghetti”. Heâ€™s called us to “jump over the moon”, so to speak. And none of us can do that in our own strength. The callings of God require the gifts of God. We have forgotten the words of Dan. 11:32b, “but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”
Our Bible Colleges
Our Bible colleges are not exempt from the displacing of Grace. Many of our Bible College principals have the two volume biography of Charles Spurgeon on their shelves. (They are called “The Early Years” and “The Full Harvest”.) It would do us good to pull them down (and blow off the dust), and read what he says about the men he accepted into his college and the ones he refused. (You will find his words in chapter 27 in the first volume, and chapter 7 in the second volume.) It is striking that Mr. Spurgeon took no one into the college who had not already demonstrated a call from God to preach His Word. In other words, the Divine enablement had to be there first before a man could begin his theological studies. In our day we no longer look for the Divine enablement before we accept a man. If his body is warm and he is literate enough to fill out an application, we will have him.
Two great errors have spread through the ranks of Fundamentalism as a result. 1)We have encouraged our people to believe that preaching ability (enabling grace) is something you can get from an institution of higher learning. We donâ€™t find that in the Bible. That error came from a desire to copy the seminaries that gave modernism to the churches. 2) We have men without Godâ€™s enablement standing in the pulpit, men who completed their studies, received their diplomas, and went out to pastor unsuspecting churches. Their feathers are all permed and perfumed, and they seem to have all the “manners” a minister ought to have. But Grace is lacking. (Compare this situation to Paulâ€™s words to the Corinthians in I Cor. 2:4,5, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of manâ€™s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”) The lack of enabling grace for the ministry is evident in the lack of proficiency. Many of our ministers have no help from God, and their churches are dying. Oh, we have drama, and entertainment, and programmes, and promotions, and organisation, and fellowship meetings, and websites, (and sometimes big crowds!), but somewhere along the way we have lost that Unction which comes only from God. Many of our ministers do not have the enabling Grace of God. I solemnly fear that we pastors and missionaries and evangelists and Bible college principals will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ in shame because we have encouraged men to train for the ministry who evidence no call and no grace for the ministry. How much better it would be for us to be lovingly honest with our men, men who aspire to the ministry, but do not display the grace needed, and to tell them truthfully, “Brother, I do not see evidence that God has graced you for the ministry. Let us ask the Lord what He does want you to do instead.”
Our Church Members
The saddest result of all is that our church members have come to believe that they, too, can serve God acceptably without His help. From the ministers who are “destitute of grace” the church members have learned how to “make a fair shew in the flesh.” (Gal. 6:12) The desire to be seen, to appear successful, and to achieve impressive results have motivated the microsaints with minimal grace to seek positions of influence in the churches. But their gifts do not match their positions. The present day slide of the church into cheap theatrical events, gross worldliness, and the complete lack of interest in prayer is proof positive that individual believers no longer believe in the utter dependence of Christians on God for enabling Grace.
Is there any hope?
There is always hope for those who are willing to look only to the Lord for help. The words of James 4:6 are a great help to us, “But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Here is a verse that contains three promises. Note the last promise first, “(God) gives grace to the humble.” Heavenâ€™s abilities are available to us on a daily basis, but there is a condition. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up,” James 4:10. If we would have God to work in us, we dare not boast in our own abilities or have confidence in the flesh. The second promise is, “God resisteth the proud.” Literally, God “raises up an army” against our pride. Has he laid siege to the citadel of your proud will? The wonderful, enabling Grace of God is not available to proud saints, only to the humble. The third promise is, “He giveth more grace.” Grace is not a once only gift. There is more grace available. It is a perpetual supply, available at a momentâ€™s notice (Heb. 4:16).
There is a great golden tap beside Heavenâ€™s gate, and thereby all the needs of the saints are met. The sign above it reads, “Grace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” The path that leads to the tap was once well trodden, but now is all overgrown. Methinks I see the saints following another path, a path that leads them to the broken cisterns of the world. Why is the abundant supply of Godâ€™s Grace neglected? Simply because the tap is set very near the ground, and everyone who would partake must kneel to fill his vessel. Grace is available only to the saints with dusty knees.
Seven Signposts that Point the Way
How does this work out in practical, everyday life? I confess again to you that I am but a recent traveller on this path, and am still making new discoveries everyday. Thus far I have found seven signposts that mark the way to Grace Abounding. If we would have great grace in the churches again (Acts 4:33) it will be necessary for us to follow the signposts (and add to the list any signposts you discover for yourself).
1) We must cease admiring the “successes” of religious leaders who employ the wisdom of the world to build their ministries into “mega-church” empires. (“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” I Cor. 1:19)
2) We must abandon all hope of serving God or doing His work without His help. (“â€¦for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5)
3) We must believe that God alone has the ability to equip us for service, and that He knows best what we should do for Him. (“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” I Cor.12:11)
4) We must seek to learn in which areas God has given us enabling grace to serve Him. (“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3)
5) We must be content with His gifts and callings for us. (Take note that John the Baptist never aspired to be an apostle.)
6) We must be willing to stand alone in our (grace enabled) service for God if necessary. Sadly, it seems that every denomination is riddled with Pharisees who praise the dead saints and persecute the living. Only let a child of God set his foot on the path to Abounding Grace, and all the Shimeiâ€™s of Israel will arise to “curseâ€¦, cast stonesâ€¦, and (slander)” him (II Sam. 16:5-8). If you would have enabling grace, you may have to leave the crowd behind.
7) And we must pray that God will give us more Grace. His resources are infinite, and His supply is in proportion to our humility and faith. “He giveth more graceâ€¦” James 4:6a
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” II Cor. 9:8
(Used with permission)
Theological dinosaur fossils discovered in Canberra Seminary
“A complete fossil skeleton has been unearthed at Unity Theological Seminary in Canberra,” The Rev. Dr. Ms. Barbarous Theorem commented to the press, “This is the most exciting discovery in the history of the Seminary. We have cause to believe this is the first complete skeleton of Pulpitosaurus Extinctus ever to be found. She identified the excavation site as being beneath the Seminary chapel platform. The chapel, sealed up for almost fifty years, was opened only recently for research purposes.”
After reading the above article, Mr. Steadfast, reporter for The Pilgrim Way, requested an interview with Ms. Theorem, and we print the following:
PW: “Ms. Theorem, can you give our readers any details as to the site where Pulpitosaurus Extinctus was found?”
MT: “Yes, but I should fill you in on the background first. We have an excellent history professor at the Seminary named Dr. Revision. He and some of his post grad students have been wanting to have a look in the old chapel for a couple of years. When permission was granted recently, they went right to work. He consulted me, and asked where he would most likely find remains of a theological dinosaur if there were any to be found. I told him that I had read in the Seminary archives that the chapel platform had been their domain, and would be a good place them to begin.”
PW: “What do you mean by ‘their domain’?”
MT: “Hmmm. I see I’m going to have to tell you about the early days of the Seminary. It was not always as broadminded as you see it at present. Many years ago it was a training college for the Baptist ministry. The founders were all Pulpitosaurus Extinctii — real living fossils, theological dinosaurs. We call it ‘The Dark Ages’. They were stuck in the swamps of primitive methods, old fashioned doctrines, and fire and brimstone preaching. Thank goodness, those days are gone forever. We are much more enlightened now. For instance, take the Feminar (Feminism Seminar) recently held here at the Seminary. We had almost 2000 women ministers, we dedicated the new meditation centre to Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, and had tremendous media coverage. I was privileged to chair the meetings that met to discuss re-imaging God, and to promote the new Politically Correct Bible Version (PCBV).”
PW: “I see. But I still don’t understand about the chapel platform being the domain of Pulpitosaurus.”
MT: “You men are all so dense. Didn’t you understand what I just told you about the incredibly old fashioned beliefs of those relics of a bygone age? They used to stand on the chapel platform and roar at the poor helpless students. They actually thought the Bible was true. They believed in all those hopelessly outdated theories of inspiration, atonement, forgiveness, holiness, heaven and hell, etc. And they didn’t just keep it to themselves. They tried to get everyone else to believe it as well! And they used the platform in the chapel to actually shout their beliefs at their hearers. That’s why we describe it as being their domain. Is that simple enough for you?”
PW: “Yes, I understand it better than you think. Can you describe the Pulpitosaurus to our readers? The artist’s sketches don’t give much detail.”
MT: “Gladly. The head of our Evolution Department, Dr. Darwin Huxley, has written several books on Pulpitosaurus. He says he believes this species had the largest backbone of any dinosaur, and that it had only three vertebrae, making it almost impossible for it to bend. It also had a really large chest cavity. Some of his colleagues think that indicates it had a very large heart. Others are of the opinion it had four lungs instead. The neck structure was such that it probably had a very efficient voice box and could project its cries for great distances. The capacity of the skull, according to Dr. Huxley, was quite small, leaving hardly any space for a brain. And he said one specimen even had a piece of very thick skin still attached.”
PW: “Thank you for that interesting description. The old fossil must have been quite an impressive sight. Can you tell us about the subspecies that have been discovered?”
MT: “We are still collating much of the information that has been sent to us, but I can tell you about three subspecies of Pulpitosaurus we have identified so far. “The earliest relative was called Pulpitosaurus Apostolos. It had the longest legs of any theological dinosaur we have discovered, and covered great distances quickly, leaving offspring everywhere, Fossil remains of Apostolos have been found in the Himalayas, the Indus Valley, the Andes, Siberia, the Aleutian Islands and the Australian deserts.”
PW: “Very interesting! What was the second subspecies?”
MT: “Actually the second and third subspecies seem to have developed simultaneously as offspring of Apostolos. The type most common seems to have been Pulpitosaurus Pastorus, He was amazingly prolific. Some nest sites discovered indicate the Pastorus may have cared for hundreds, even thousands of offspring at times. This species exerted such a great influence on their environment that whole primitive cultures were altered.”
PW: “Amazing! And what about the third subspecies?”
MT: “This is the one that gives me nightmares! When reports first began to come in on this old fossil, we didn’t know what to call it. We finally decided on Pulpitosaurus Evangelisticus. It had really sharp teeth, its voice box was the largest of all and its backbone had no vertebrae at all! Some researchers believe it was capable of breathing fire, and it was good at stirring the nests ruled over by the Pastorus. Amazingly, its visits to the nesting sites appear to have resulted in a great increase in the number of eggs that hatched out into Evangelisticuses and Pastoruses.”
PW: “I wonder if you could tell our readers why the Pulpitosaurus became extinct?”
MT: “Most of our faculty hold the view that it was simply unable to evolve. It couldn’t keep up with the changes happening all around it. One of our faculty members, Dr. Maverick, thinks it died out because it changed its diet from meat to milk. He thinks the latest specimens show symptoms of malnourishment and vitamin deficiency.”
PW: “What creatures replaced them?”
MT: “Our research indicates the next step up the evolutionary ladder was much more sophisticated. Thankfully, it did not have a backbone at all, or teeth, or a thick hide. It didn’t breathe fire or produce fear in others’ hearts. Rather, it moved with the tide, adapted to its culture easily, and preferred lukewarm conditions….”
PW: “Pardon me for interrupting, but what you are describing sounds awfully like a jellyfish….”
MT: “You might say that. It has nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Evangellyfish … Hmm, I think that might be the very name. It conveys the thought of softness, conforming, drifting with the wind and current. Quite a suitable name that is.”
PW: “I want to ask your opinion about this. From time to time we hear reports of living specimens of Pulpitosaurus Extinctus. Do you think it is possible that there may be some of these theological fossils still alive?”
MT: “Oh, no! Definitely not! Those are just unfounded rumours. People with small intellectual capacity will believe anything. Admittedly, some eggs were found recently in quite good condition. (Of course, the Board of Regents had them put in cold storage.) Pulpitosaurus Extinctus alive? It’s not possible … at least, I certainly hope not! Oh, my. that’s a horrible thought! Modern society couldn’t stand the shock. Dear, dear … surely not! Oh, my …”
PW: “We had some other questions to ask, but the Rev. Dr. Ms. Theorem became so distressed she had to take some Prozac and lie down. We will keep you informed as to any further developments.”
TheÂ article is by Pastor Buddy Smith <email@example.com>, Grace Baptist Church, Malanda, Queensland, Australia:
(Permission obtained by Buddy Smith to use this article.)
IS IT RIGHT:
To Judge, To Expose Error, & To Call Names?
By Pastor E.L. Bynum.
Tabernacle Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas. USA
Many today believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name names. Liberals have always seemed to believe this, but in recent times it has been widely espoused by evangelicals and charismatics. Now we are seeing the same fatal error being declared by those who profess to be Bible believing fundamentalists. Those who are faithful in exposing error according to the Bible are now being widely denounced, and are accused of being unloving and unkind. We intend here to present the teaching of the Bible on this vital subject.
I. It Is Right To Practice Biblical Judgement.
One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, â€œJudge not, that ye be not judgedâ€ (Matt. 7:1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v.1 is referring to hypocritical judgement. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye. The lesson is plain, you cannot judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin.
Those who cling to â€œJudge not, that ye be not judged,â€ to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, â€œBeware of false prophets, which come to you in sheepâ€™s clothing…â€ (v.15). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to warn the sheep of these â€œravening wolves?â€ All through the Bible we find proof that they should be identified and exposed.
â€œYe shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruitâ€ (v.16,17). Did the Lord mean that we could not judge the tree (person), by the fruit of their life and doctrine? Certainly not, for you cannot know without judging. All judgement should be on the basis of Bible teaching, not according to whims or prejudices.
â€œJudge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgementâ€ (John 7:24). Here our Lord commands that we are to â€œjudge righteous judgement,â€ which is judgement based upon the Word of God. If judgement is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matt. 7:1. Websterâ€™s Dictionary says that a judge is â€œone who declares the law.â€ The faithful Christian must discern or judge on the basis of Godâ€™s inspired law, the Bible.
A fornicator is described in 1 Cor. 5:1-13. Paul â€œjudgedâ€ (v.3) the man even though he was absent, and he told the church at Corinth that they were to â€œjudgeâ€ (v.12) those that were within. The Greek word for â€œjudgeâ€ is the same here as in Matt. 7:1. Paul did not violate â€œjudge not, that ye be not judged,â€ in judging the man, nor in instructing the Church to judge also. All of this judgement was according to the Word of God.
A person who is able to discern between good and evil, has at least one of the major marks of spiritual maturity. â€œBut strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.â€ (Heb. 5:14). W.E. Vine says of the meaning of discern, “a distinguishing, a clear discrimination, discerning, judging; it is translated `discerningâ€™ in 1 Cor. 12:10 of discerning spirits, judging by evidence whether they are evil or of God.â€ Strong also agrees that it means to judge.
Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning or judging between good and evil are in this manner revealing either their disobedience or their immaturity.
II. It Is Right To Expose False Teachers.
False teachers are free to spread their poisonous doctrines today because there is a conspiracy of silence among many bible believers. Wolves in sheepâ€™s clothing are thus enabled to ravage the flock, thereby destroying many.
John the Baptist called the Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious leaders of his day) â€œa generation of vipersâ€ (snakes) (Matt. 3:7). Today, he would be accused of being unloving, unkind, and unchristian.
Jesus said to the religious Pharisees, â€œO generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speakethâ€ (Matt. 12:34). To many evangelicals and some fundamentalists, this would be unacceptable language today, but it is biblical language and it came from the mouth of the Son of God.
Standing face to face with these false teachers, Jesus Christ the Son of God, called them â€œhypocrites,â€ â€œblind guides,â€ â€œblind,â€ â€œwhited sepulchres,â€ â€œserpents,â€ and â€œye generation of vipersâ€ (Matthew 23:13-33). Yet, we are told today that we are to fellowship with men whose doctrines are just as unscriptural as those of the Pharisees. Some who say they are Bible believing Christians insist on working with Roman Catholics and other assorted heretics. Yet, according to many, we are not supposed to rebuke them for their compromise.
Near the beginning of His ministry, â€œJesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changersâ€™ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Fatherâ€™s house an house of merchandiseâ€ (John 2:13-16). Our Saviour is presented today as one who was meek, lowly, kind, and loving, even to false teachers, but this is entirely false. When dealing with false teachers and prophets, His words were sharp and His actions plain.
Near the end of His public ministry, Christ found it necessary to cleanse the temple once again. The exposure of false doctrines and practices is a never ending job. At that time He said, â€œIs it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thievesâ€ (Mark 11:17). Is it any different today? The thieves come into the house of God, and rob Godâ€™s people of the Bible and peddle their perverted Bibles instead. At the same time this den of thieves rob the people of the doctrine of separation and the doctrine of sanctification. Then you can hardly tell Godâ€™s people from the people of the world. In all honesty, should not these thieves (false teachers) be exposed?
In our day these false teachers have come into the churches with their books, literature, movies, psychology, seminars, and have turned the Fatherâ€™s house into a den of thieves. It is time that men of God stand up and expose their errors for all to see.
The Bible Admonishes Us To Expose Error.
We are to TRY them.
â€œBeloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the worldâ€ (1 John 4:1). All doctrine and teachers are to be tried according to the Word of God. â€œTo the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in themâ€ (Isa. 8:20). Every message, messenger, and method is to be judged according to the Word of God. The church at Ephesus was commended because they had â€œtried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liarsâ€ (Rev. 2:2). It is never right to tolerate false teachers, but they are to be tried by the Word of God, and exposed. Of course those who want to disobey the Word of God will seek by every means to avoid this teaching.
We are to MARK them and AVOID them.
â€œNow I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid themâ€ (Rom. 16:17). Those whose conduct and teaching contradicts the Word of God are to be marked and to be avoided. This requires discernment and judgement in the light of the Bible. The ecumenicalists, new evangelicals, and compromising fundamentalists will resist any effort to obey this Scripture. They cannot be marked and avoided, unless they are judged according to the Word of God.
We are to REBUKE them.
â€œWherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faithâ€ (Titus 1:13). This was written to Titus, because there were those going from house to house and subverting whole houses with false doctrine (v.10-16). Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Rodney Howard-Browne, Pat Robertson, and others are subverting whole houses with their false doctrine today. Are we to sit silently by, while they do this, without rebuking and admonishing people to avoid their teaching? No, the faithful servant of the Lord is to be â€œHolding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayersâ€ (Titus 1:9).
We are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with them.
â€œAnd have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove themâ€ (Eph. 5:11). Reprove means to censure, condemn, find fault, rebuke, and to refute. How can we obey this Scripture unless we try them by the Word of God?
We are to WITHDRAW from them.
â€œNow we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of usâ€ (2 Thess. 3:6). We are to withdraw from those whose doctrine and conduct does not conform to the Word of God. The context clearly shows that obedience to sound doctrine is what Paul has in mind, for he says, â€œif any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet, count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thess. 3:14-15). Paul admonished Timothy to â€œwithdraw thyselfâ€ from those who â€œconsent not to wholesome words … and to the doctrine which is according to godlinessâ€ (1 Timothy 6:3-5). This is usually an unpopular and thankless task but it is the duty of the God-called man.
We are NOT to RECEIVE them into our house.
â€œIf there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deedsâ€ (2 John 10,11). There is no doubt about who John is speaking about, it is â€œWhosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ…â€ (v.9). By radio, TV, and literature, false prophets are brought into the homes of many Christians today. Brethren, this ought not to be!
We are to REJECT HERETICS.
â€œA man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition rejectâ€ (Titus 3:10). We should reject those why deny redemption by the blood of Christ. There are many who deny this or some other doctrine of the Word of God. If they will not respond to being admonished, then they are to be rejected.
We are to look out for those who preach another gospel. Paul warned about those who preached â€œanother Jesus….another spirit … or another gospelâ€ (2 Cor. 11:4). How can we know them unless we judge their Jesus, their spirit, and their gospel by the Word of God? Paul called such preachers â€œfalse apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christâ€ (2 Cor. 11:13). He explains in v.14-15 that these preachers are the ministers of Satan. The God-called man must be just as faithful today in exposing the ministers of Satan.
Paul warned the Galatians about those who â€œpervert the gospel of Christ.â€ He also said, â€œIf any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursedâ€ (see Gal. 1:6-9). Multitudes today are preaching a perverted gospel. Those who teach salvation by baptism, or by works, are teaching a perverted gospel. Those who preach a salvation that you can lose, are preaching a perverted gospel. The charismatics, Catholics, many evangelicals, and many fundamentalists(?) are preaching a perverted gospel. Yet, we are supposed to cooperate with them in evangelism and Christian work, according to many today. If we fail to expose these false prophets, then we have betrayed Christ and His gospel.
We are to SEPARATE from them.
â€œWherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive youâ€ (2 Cor. 6:17). This makes it plain. Godâ€™s people are to come out of apostasy and religious error. How can any Bible believer remain in the National Council or World Council of Churches? How can they remain in the Southern Baptist Convention, or any of the other apostate organizations? How can they remain among compromising evangelicals and wishy-washy fundamentalists?
III. It Is Right To Name Names.
Many mistakenly believe that it is wrong to expose error and to name the guilty teachers; but they are wrong according to the Bible.
Paul named Peter publicly. Peter was guilty of unscriptural practice. â€œBut when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed…But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?â€ (Gal. 2:11-14). The whole issue revolved around salvation by the law or by grace. When the integrity and purity of the gospel is at stake, then we have no choice when it comes to the matter of exposing error and naming names.
Paul named Demas for loving the world. â€œFor Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present worldâ€ (2 Tim. 4:10). Those who forsake the cause of Christ for worldly living and pleasure should be named and exposed.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul told Timothy to â€œwar a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some have put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blasphemeâ€ (1 Tim. 1:18-20). Godâ€™s true servants should war a good warfare, and name those who have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Paul is not here discussing the faith of salvation but the faith was a system of doctrine. These men had made shipwreck of it and Paul exposed them and called their names.
Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus. He told Timothy to â€œstudyâ€ that he might be able to â€œrightlyâ€ divide â€œthe word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth as canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of someâ€ (2 Tim. 2:15-18). False doctrine overthrows the faith of some, so those who are proclaiming it must be exposed.
Paul named Alexander the coppersmith. â€œAlexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our wordsâ€ (2 Tim. 4:14-15). It is clear that this is not a personality problem, but a doctrinal problem. Alexander had withstood the words and doctrine of Paul. He was an enemy to the truth. Godly pastors face the same problem every day. They stand and proclaim the truth, then their members go home and hear this truth disputed by radio and TV preachers. Often times these false prophets are sending their publications into the homes of members of true churches. Then the man of God is supposed to keep his mouth shut, according to many. Only a coward will be silent when the truth of the Bible is under attack.
John named Diotrephes. â€œI wrote unto the church; but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us notâ€ (3 John 9). He related how this man had prated again him â€œwith malicious wordsâ€ (v.10). He further said, â€œBeloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen Godâ€ (v.11). It is not wrong to name those whose doctrine and practice is contrary to the Word of God.
In fact, the whole Bible abounds in examples of false prophets being named and exposed. All this modern day talk about love, used as an excuse for not exposing error, is not really biblical love but is really sloppy agape.
Moses called the name of Balaam. (See Num. 22-25). Peter exposed â€œthe way of Balaam…who loved the wages of unrighteousnessâ€ (2 Pet. 2:15). Balaam was a prophet that was in the work for money, just like some of the TV false prophets today. They beg for money and live like kings, while multitudes of innocent people send them hard earned money. They are always building colleges, hospitals, TV network satellites, and amusement parks that have a water slide for Jesus. And then we are supposed to keep our mouth shut about these religious charlatans. How can we be silent and be true to God?
Jude exposed â€œthe error Balaamâ€ (Jude 11). John exposed â€œthe doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornicationâ€ (Rev. 2:14). This gets right to the heart of the matter, concerning the doctrine of separation. Balaam never did curse Israel even though he wanted the wages that he was offered to do so. The men of Israel committed â€œwhoredom with the daughters of Moab …and bowed down to their godsâ€ (Num. 25:1,2). Why did they do this? Because Balaam taught Balac how to break down the barrier of separation between the Moabites and the Israelites. We know this to be so because it is plainly stated in Rev. 2:14 and Num. 31:16. This sin resulted in 24,000 men of Israel dying under the judgement of God.
False teachers are breaking down the barrier of separation between Godâ€™s people and false religion. There is too little preaching and teaching on the doctrine of separation. Balaam breached the doctrine of personal separation by causing the men of Israel to commit fornication with the Moabite women. He breached the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation by causing the men of Israel to bow down to Baal. This bought a curse upon Israel. Until we get back to teaching the truth about personal and ecclesiastical separation, we can expect the continued widespread havoc that we have today.
It seems to be believed by many that some people are too high and mighty to be named or exposed. Men in high places, pastors of large churches, and those with great radio or TV audiences, are supposedly above criticism. Whatever they may do or say, no matter how contrary to the Bible it may be, is supposedly all right. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Nathan identified the man. There was a man in a very high place who was a secret adulterer. Surely this man who held the highest office in the land could not be rebuked by a lowly unpopular prophet. Nathan went right into the presence of David, revealed the sin in a parable form, and then told the enraged David, â€œThou art the manâ€ (2 Sam. 12:7).
Hanani named king Jehoshophat. In many ways Jehoshophat was a good king, but he mistakenly forgot to practice religious separation. He caused his son to marry wicked king Ahabâ€™s daughter. (See 2 Chron. 18:1; 21:1-6). He made an alliance with Ahab and went to the battle of Ramoth-Gilead with him (2 Chron. 19:2). We have a question for those who insist on working with charismatics, Catholics, and members of the National Council of Churches. â€œShouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?â€
Yes, it is right to expose error and to name those who are in error.
It is right to â€œearnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saintsâ€ (Jude 3). It was once delivered and it has never been recalled for revision. We had better beware of â€œfalse teachers … who privily shall bring in damnable heresiesâ€ (2 Pet. 2:1). Faithful messengers will warn the sheep of these heretics, and identify them by name. It is not enough to broadly hint of their identity, for the young lambs will not understand and will be destroyed by the wolves.
Article Used With Permission.
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