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GOING WITH GOD
THE CHRISTIAN ABIDING: THE LORD PRESIDING
The Brighter Way for the Declining Day
The Judgment of a judge and
The Judgment of the Judge
Do not Agree
The Australian, July 3, 2008
TRUTH AS SUCH IS INTOLERANT OF ERROR:
IF IT MIXED WITH IT,
THEN IT WOULD NOT BE TRUTH
In The Australian, July 3, 2008 we read of a certain Judge in Australia, due for retirement before long, but who is far from retiring when it comes to criticising the Bible: at least in the present instance.
Let us seek to judge his judgments on this topic from the Bible, for after all, while justice is his field, the Bible quite evidently is not. This will have two advantages. The Bible has a better track record than any mortal, being some 3500 years of age, with accounts never falsified and predictions always fulfilled. It has a certainty as to its validity, and an incapacity to be deleted*1. It is therefore a good place to go. Secondly, this will remove any possibility of miscarriage of justice in any claim against it by the simple device of checking it!
What, the (mortal) judge asks in critical vein, of the Biblical position on those who differ in religion ? A nice dose of stoning to death does not appear to him even thinkable in terms of justice, or enlightenment or tolerance. Hence he appears to be suggesting in this, that the Bible is a source of evil: at least this would seem to be the view. He obviously does not like it and his standards are not met by what he provides as if from the Bible.
As to the modern enlightenment, if this be taken as the criterion of morality, this is certainly, on this approach, not up there with the murders of scores of millions by the free enterprise of Communism, or the strong and modern disciplinary measures of Nazism, or the glorious fold of Islamic indifference, in the case of terrorists at least, engaging with some apparent indifference at times, in the slaughter, total or partial, of children, with emphasis on Israel, as if to keep up in that ladn, the godless traditions of the pogroms and abuses of the past into the so glorious present.
To this, this Age of pseudo-enlightenment is now adding in educated, sophisticated, elevated democracies, the use of fire-arms IN schools BY children: such is the wisdom of our impeccable ways. By their fruits, you shall know them! said the Saviour. There is certainly a lot of fruit, but it is its nature which is the problem. The French poet, Baudelaire spoke of flowers of evil, and this is fruit of evil.
As to what is seen in Israel, in the blood-letting on school buses and in pizzarias, such things not without applause on the part of some. It seems they are met with rejoicing by many. Nevertheless, it is somehow commendable, this civilisation of ours, and the Book of the Lord meets with no small amount of thumbs down.
Returning to our topic of the judgment of the Judge against the Book: No, this ancient book, he seems to think, is far from acceptable.
If then the modern facts and acts, Age-Etching cases in their scores of millions of slaughter by dictators in our Age of light, with covert dictators adding to the millstone of just judgment are scarcely to be the criterion, being in a mountain to a mole-hill proportion numerically to any cases of stoning in the far past, and these modern and increasingly modern products both ruthless and barbaric, then to what standards does he refer ?By what basis does he make his judgments on the Bible ? It CANNOT be those of this present world compared with those of the Bible, for the former are filled with atrocities, disorders, men hunted by armies, corps, cadres, human impressionists who paint in blood, who appeal to ideologies both irrational and immune to fact!*2
He does appear to have however in view something a bit more refined. Not the atrocities, but the toleration which has learned, with understanding it appears, though of what kind it is unclear, to allow the new, the different and so on, this may be the standard proposed for judging the Bible.
What then is this toleration ? It is to be toleration of same sex action ? That species of tolerance is most clear, since the toleration of this biblical critic does not appear to extend so far as to those who do not deem this contra-design function to be agreeable or desirable, the more especially in the Church of Jesus Christ! It seems therefore a partially intolerant tolerance, a hybrid, for allowance for some, against it for others, but on what grounds ?
Certainly, it not on the grounds of the Bible itself, which is the doctrinal source book of the Christian Church, bound into the canon of the Old Testament (cf. SMR Appendi C and D). Is there then some other book of reason, evidence, verification and demonstrated validity ? None is to be found, the Bible in this being in a class of its own *1. It is indeed in the Church, already built even in the day of Paul, on the foundation of Jesus Christ the cornerstone, and the apostles (Ephesians 2:20ff.), whose book and prophets, such as Moses and the apostle Paul are so vigorous in the condemnation of such things as are deemed upright and good and to be received, on the part of this current critic of the Bible.
While, then, these are to be received with the arms of toleration, those who adhere to the repeated, vigorous, age by age moral commandments of the Bible, are apparently intolerable in their obfuscation. It is therefore, and cannot be, toleration which is the ground of the criticism, for here it comes and it goes, like fluctuating night and day.
It is a surprising thing, this form of enlightened toleration which is to judge the Bible.
It does not judge the sodomy, but it does judge those who are against it. Why ? Is there some rationale to so variable a criterion as this, that it is tolerant sometimes, but intolerant at other times, with both cases occurring in the same field, the former to those who want to go contra-design (cf. Deity and Design...), and the latter towards those who desire in the Church of Jesus Christ, which actually used HIS NAME, not to have this thing approved. We must remember that it is the Church which is the topic of dissatisfaction, when it does not adhere to this new form of toleration, and not just the world. The world is going its own way; but there seem to be those who would like the Church to oblige by joining with its throng.
Jesus was never tolerant of revisionists of the word of God, since as the Truth (John 14:6), He would be untrue to Himself if He were, whose Spirit gave the commandments (I Peter 1:10ff.).
This Judge in our day, however, appears in wide contrast to Christ here. He is intolerant, it seems towards those who think and state
|that the apostolic
faith should not be changed while the name is kept,
|that the word of
the Bible should not be aborted,
simultaneously with the clear design format of human sexuality.
He does not seem to find toleration to be the correct approach towards those who think that if you want to change a religion, you should consult with its contents, and instead of altering it to your taste, consider on whom and why, it is founded, and on what or whom else you want it to be founded, and if this diverges in grand contrast to the founder, why you want to use His name!.
It would appear better by far not to traduce the word of the centuries from God (and if this were not from God, reason itself would fail, but it is precisely reason which attests it - The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy); but simply to found some group of persons
who do not like
|the specifications of
Paul, of Moses, of Leviticus, of I Timothy, of I Corinthians, and thus
|the approach of Paul
as giving the commandments of the living God (I Corinthians 14:37),
|the Gospel of the same
which has these underlying ingredients,
and which is one of the things commanded (Galatians 1, Romans 1-3), and
who prefer to dismiss the apostle's
|statement that the
Gospel cannot be changed and his
those who will come and seek such changes (II Timothy 3-3, I Timothy 4),
the Ephesians elders with the exhortations in Acts 20, and
|the words of John
in Revelation 22, and
|the portent of those of Christ in Matthew 5:27ff..|
If they reject the teaching of the Lord in this, so abundantly safeguarded in the Bible, then they reject IN PRINCIPLE the authority of the Lord, and so, as He put it: why call Him Lord at all (Luke 6:46). "Why," He asked, "do you call Me Lord, Lord and not do the things that I say."
In His view, if you CALL Him Lord, you are bound to OBEY Him.
Thus in this approach, we have not only a different Bible, new apostolic authority denying the old, but a different Christ divorced from the apostles, rather than He who commissioned them concerning the truth (John 16:13), a rejection of fundamental biblical basics; and as to different Christ, we there run into a whole scorching rejection once more, as Paul exposes the baseless mutations sought by some intruders into the Church of Christ, as seen in II Corinthians 11. So vast was Paul's horror and concern for the Church that he called such deceitful apostles, and agents of Satan.
Better then, than trying to keep the name of Christ, or of a Christian Church, which really includes His name, those who want to change all this might find some other foundation and present its credentials in competition with those of Christ, and without any reference to Him at all, as to grounds for following them and their words, make their way as they may. This is not to endorse it but to discourse on it. If you want that, the CHRISTIAN Church way cannot be it. It is a matter of the Lordship of Christ, the integrity of the Gospel and the basics of Biblical authority, specific commandment and clear cut claim that God has given in His Son and His Book, the account of what he wants.
Indeed it is GOD HIMSELF who challenges would-be challengers to HIS challenges in the Bible, to present their grounds, their evidences in competition and contrast with His own, His predictions, His power, and show their wares if they can. His view of the competition, as is any objective view of efforts to match His verbal products and their impact on history, indeed history's conformity to them, is that the very attempt provides an eloquent answer.
The word of God in the Bible makes this comment on would-be new issue reformers in this way, that after bringing on the concept of challenge, and the credentials of those who make it, He makes this declaration:
"Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods: Yes, do good or de evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing and your work is nothing: He who chooses you is an abomination" (Isaiah 41:23-24).
The same theme occurs in Isaiah 43:8ff., 44:24-26 and 48:1-8.
Like scalding water on dirty dishes, this divine irony is so intense that it almost burns the page on which it is written; but it has therapeutic intent; as we see for example in Isaiah 48:9-11, 45:21-23. It is as so often in medicine, the diagnosis must be accepted if the prognosis is to be favourable. The wrong in the body must be righted, and it must be realised first. Such is the biblical depiction in any such mutative approach to the word of God, the Bible (cf. Isaiah 8:20, 34:16-17, Revelation 22:18-19).
One has found pharmacists to have a somewhat similar approach to their calling. If the doctor prescribes this and not that, then THAT and that precisely is what is to be given. Again, manufacturers of medicines appear much the same: the contents are this and not that, and impurities are a major issue. If you want this medicine, this is it; if you want that, that is it. Let us have no mixing. Indeed and further, if you want this amount, and that is on the prescription, neither more nor less is to be the product presented. If in bodily matters there is such care, because of the nature of the body, how much more is there such an emphasis when the entire direction and nature of the use of the body, the mind and the spirit of man are in view! This indeed is what you would expect, and this is what you find!
This merely accentuates the necessity, if you want the name of Jesus Christ at all, to keep to the specifications and not to use it for something imagined, far less for something contrary to the scope of His presentations, requirements and explicit provisions.
No, the just and prudent way is to establish this strange-seeming toleration, which is now intolerant, now tolerant, depending on what is the apparent direction of flow of the things to be judged, for whatever it is worth, and to found some group based on such a philosophy. In other words, if you want to contradict the Bible, its commands, its features, its morals, its Lord, then the Christian Church is the last place to seek to present your wares. IT is cautioned to be wary of any such wares and to reject them not in this non-theocratic Age, with stones, but with decisiveness of spirit and mind.
Christ make it clear who He was by His power, His healings, His words, His fulfilment of each prophecy concerning Himself, His resurrection, the history which followed Him and His divine intolerance to what contradicted the word of God in the Old Testament, and the word in His own lips; while PERFORMING ANYTHING which the case required, in terms of His being the Messiah, the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh. This He did EVERY time He met opposition, confrontation, challenge, whether it was to raise the dead, heal the sick, expose the slick, overcome the learned argumentations of the mighty. When your claim is to fulfil the prophecies of the coming of God to man, as in Ezekiel 34, in the flesh, then the standard is not only 100% but it is this even in the realm where only a miracle would do.
The foundations are not feeble, and the word of God is never aborted by history nor does it cave in to pressure.
ABOVE IT ALL
If anyone wants to correct God, Christ, His words, then this is a position in which such a one is putting himself, or herself, above the God of the Bible. This is a plain confrontation such as is perfectly normal in this world, and has been for millenia; and it must of course establish its credentials to be even arguable, and then its following and start where such things must start, on their merits, if these can be found. It is of course impossible to put such a rejection into a Christian Church, of Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the apostles, of the Bible. But it could become some sort of philosophic push. It could try its wares in the market.
For the Bible-based Christian, the Christ-based disciple, there is another course to follow. The warnings of the apostles about precisely this sort of transmutation of the Christian faith, as a thing to come, are too clear to allow confusion. The warnings of Christ and those whom He authorised to act, these are to be seen in Matthew 7 and 24, and those of the apostles in such places as II Peter 2, I and II Timothy, I Corinthians 5 and 6 and others noted. Even in the market place, however, there is the intensive practical reality which always comes when you found yourself on yourself, as Paul puts it in II Corinthians 10-11. There is the other problem of the requirements of reason both to FIND the Bible and to verify and validate it, which here find unique satisfaction of its demands*1.
But let us come to the objection from the judge, concerning death by stoning for someone not adhering to the faith of Israel, as in the day of Moses. In fact, of course, he is forgetting or ignoring the perspective in view. It reminds one of someone, of green thought, but little relevant education, complaining of the mass slaughter of flies, as inhuman in bestiality. That is, the person would not be aware of the perspective in which flies are seen, and the reason for this. Such a person, however, when he learns that this is an option in the field of saving humans from filth and disease, and that flies are not equipped with human souls, but are spoilers, and when he further finds that this is one of the elements of curse which has stricken the world (cf. Egypt and Modern Times), then he might reflect a little more and say a little less.
Now let us look at the case in view, which surprising as it might seem, is distinct from our own open democracy, and had its own standards. It might judge us, we might judge it; but whoever judges what and whom, it is best to know the case, and so realise what is the topic in review, and not confuse topics. In a simple parallel, it would not be to the point to compare the total bodily power to lift on the part of women in general, and that of men, with any thought of discrimination about either, without taking into consideration in any judgment about the issue, one simple question. It is this. In what way do men and women differ, what are their functions, their differentials, their diverse capacities and how does strength performance relate to this entire spectrum of capacity.
Apples and pears, both fruit, are yet not the same, and to judge the one by the other may become merely a matter of taste, literally! The question is this: What are they for ?
In the case of Israel, it was a VOLUNTARY THEOCRACY. Our country is more and more a voluntary absentee from its Christian base, and thus quite the opposite. In such a case (and in Joshua as in Exodus you see the extent of the free commitment to the God of salvation, by whom the entire nation escaped imperially imposed slavery), there was a commitment to the will, word, ways and course of the word of God. That was the way the nation had wanted it, and that was their course, place and purpose. Thus they went from slavery, and thus did the Lord deliver them when the engines of war of their Imperial Possessor raced after them to the Sea.
Again, in the end of the book of Joshua, we read of the entire people being warned in the strongest possible terms of the consequences of such a commitment to the God of the Bible. It would be impossible to serve Him (that is, with a heart of flesh that weeps for its self-indulgence, as Israel so often in effect did, on its way from Egypt to the promised land), they were told; but no, they HAD to be committed to the God of the Exodus, even if He DID discipline the follies that made it outlandish to be called His. They resisted warned, they insisted on following the Lord, they recounted His power and protection, they sought His presence and accepted His insistences.
DOWN TO DETAIL
Emphatically, vociferously, we find this: that they DID want to continue with Him and His word, whatever might be the difficulties and the conditions (Joshua 24:15-22).
Indeed, it might be well to see those words, since a lawyer is involved in this attack on the Biblical text.
"Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!
"And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord,
choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,
whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River,
or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.
"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
"So the people answered and said:
'Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods;
for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight,
and preserved us in all the way that we went
and among all the people through whom we passed.
And the Lord drove out from before us all the people,
including the Amorites who dwelt in the land.
'We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.'
"But Joshua said to the people,
'You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods,
then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.'
"And the people said to Joshua,
'No, but we will serve the Lord!'
"So Joshua said to the people,
'You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.'
"And they said,
'We are witnesses!'
'Now therefore,' he said, 'put away the foreign gods which are among you,
and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.'
"And the people said to Joshua,
'The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!'
"So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day,
and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
"Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God.
And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak
that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said to all the people,
'Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.'
"So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance."
Anything more reasonable and exposed, informative and voluntary, as to its induction into a situation, or as here, to continuing in one; any group better warned or more doughtily made aware of what they were doing, it would be hard to imagine.
Now therefore the comparison implicit in Justice Kirby's words, and the criticism apparent are found both astray. He is not seeing the case in its historical garb. It was first of all
|a) a religious nation, by voluntary and repeated commitment, freely and fervently made.|
|b) it was one which not only knew OF the God to whom they so committed themselves but freely APPROVED of His practices which they had had decades to experience in the most rigorous conditions. They WANTED these in their midst, with Him whose they were.|
|c) they were aware
of the fact that though His word is law, yet the laws of the land of their
servitude from which He had rescued them, and the treatment given,
were far worse
than being required to be moral by divine standards,
for there they were not conceived as citizens at all, but slaves at the whim and fancy,
the punishment and the ploys of their masters.
Further the power and pity to deliver them, on the part of the Lord, were there to be seen, and
they desired His continued work in their midst, EVEN IF it were on HIS terms, which did not
seem to them at all strange. If you want divine omnipotence, and pity, then obviously it is God
who is in view as Lord, and not yourself.
If therefore this was what they wanted, who is that critic who implies or seeks to reason that they were in a heavily discreditable position! If you want to criticise their CHOICE, then that is one thing. But the question is this: Was it right for them to make it ? Is some dictating directive to be found which will rebuke them for seeking the solace and protection of their proven deliverer ? On what grounds of reason ? If purity and performance were to be insisted on, as part of the power and the ground of peace, then there was ground for their choice, and the matters of white-anting their position were treated as white-ants are, in spirit.
Who would not rather be there than in the USSR in the days of slaughter and anguish for daring to own land and to work it in various areas ! and who like Solzhenitsyn, with his concern for truth, would not prefer God to man! In what epoch we were born, this is still that of the same God; in what phase of His actions we find ourselves, it is the work of this same Being. We do not have to abide in former times, nor they in later ones: but where the case is in a given form, so it must be considered.
To be sure, as Paul explains in Galatians and in Romans 7, those in the day of Moses, these were indeed in a special mode, phase of history in the education of God (not of God by man, but of man by God! there is quite a difference as Paul notes in Galatians 1:10, and wise is he who understands it)! The Lord was bringing man from follies beyond belief as in Genesis 6, when the entire world narrowly escaped destruction, and was leading him back to the ways which make of life a worthy and a beautiful thing, instead of a design-defying, creation ignoring fiasco, where evil thoughts were endemic and in plague proportions.
Hence, as Paul explains in Romans 7, of the days of Moses, God was showing them the exceedingly great sinfulness of sin, using law and sacrifice in the process; and the fatal results of sin were played and replayed over and over in sacrifice, while in certain national disciplines and disciplinary measures, death also could occur.
SPECIAL TASKS HAVE SPECIAL DISCIPLINES
"Choose this day whom you will serve!"
In other words, if you wanted to be a nation of God, a theocracy, one following the KNOWN God in KNOWN ways to a KNOWN future, then there were conditions, of which Joshua as well as Moses had been a most eloquent depicter. IF you did not want these, as Joshua showed, then you would do well to keep away from God. If you want to be a doctor, then in this land you have to be willing to have an amazing work load in your first professional year. If you do not want this, then it would seem best to keep away from following the rules, rigours and requirements of this way of living. You would go elsewhere or choose something else. Cases have their requirements.
You do not HAVE to do this course in Australia; though some choose to do it. Israel did not HAVE to choose to serve God; but they did. Who then is this who demeans the conditions of so great a service to man! If you want to be free from the slavery to sin, and to know God, if you want the only rational recourse and the only verified religious way for living, as shown in the many volumes on this site*1, then there is payment in terms of what is required. Nowadays, repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, THE Lord Jesus, not an imaginary one, the Biblical One, not a foreign investment, this is required. It DOES have a death in its field.
Putting to death the concerns of the flesh is one of these dynamics. It is not easy. There is a war between flesh and spirit, says the apostle Paul, but putting to death the desires of the flesh is part of the life of every Christian, we find in Galatians 5:24. What THEY may want for their bodies and minds and spirits, as if autonomous, this is not to the point. Being WITH Christ is being WITHOUT this. There is thus a certain moral continuity, though there are political differences of form from the day of Moses to ours, in this, that Israel was, and we are not, a theocracy.
Then, in Moses' day, the preliminary mode, there was required the same practical faith, in same God, the Saviour (cf. Deuteronomy 32, and 29). You had to trust Him and to obey Him. As in athletics, there was a training and a comfort, mixed, and some things most difficult were required as for an examination; and even in failure, there was redress for those whose hearts were in it (cf. Isaiah 63:10-14, Ezekiel 20).
Then the perspective had as one central feature, the prospect of the Messiah to come (Deuteronomy 18, Genesis 3:15 cf. Barbs ... 17, Creating Waves); and part of this time came as an explicit prelude to this. As such, it had a pageant of ceremonies and symbols, which depicted things to come.
With this, went a theocracy which kept that nation intact spiritually, an applicable base for the coming of the Lord, for the production of the Bible first leading up to Him and then coming through Him and those called to this. In those preliminary days, if you did not want this, the place to be was anywhere other than Israel. If you want to hear, the place to be is not the eye, but the ear. They have specialised functions and you need to be where you belong.
The choice was large, therefore. If you wanted the pagan god, Baal, many were the places for it. If you wanted a choice, Babylon was an exponent of multiple choice. But what of Israel ? From the earliest days of one's life, the requirements were extravagantly plain. Many did leave Israel, but if you stayed, then this was the condition. It was, for all its failure, in principle a DEDICATED NATION; and just as in an army, there were conditions if you chose to be in it. It was the same in other ways, when Israel was being re-estblished in the 20th century, with kibbutzes a strong option, in this recent agricultural resettlement of Israel.
What it took, you had to give. Many would be expected to go in that day, to such places.
So much for the strangely irrelevant concerns about death for defiling the covenant with God which Israel had made, those doing so WILFULLY and seductively, as the text in Deuteronomy shows. For this, there was the maximal rebuke, or near it, if the religious plague were to be stayed. Now in Australia, we are subject to a new disintegrative and demoralising plague, dismissing increasingly imperiously, the morals and the worship of a former day, with grand re -orientations and mutations of attitude, which as in Israel of old, some wish to extend to the point of re-educating the God of Israel, here the God of the Bible, one God (cf. Matthew 5:17ff.), in effect drafting as we have seen, a new christ.
This is explicitly warned against by the actual Jesus Christ, whose works have resounded in history for millenia, and by whose words its direction is controlled. MANY said JESUS Christ (Matthew 24:24) will be the false christs and the false prophets as the time for His coming proceeds to its episode of power. Following HIM as criterion, HIS words as commands thus becomes one path; and having some other criterion of authority, some other basis becomes an option not merely divorced from Him and the word of God which foretold Him (Matthew 5:17ff., Luke 6:46), but one crashing into the barriers He erected, ignoring the warnings He deposited and without rational foundation as well.
Such contrary measures as these are now, with no small measure of success, destroying the foundations on which religiously Australia was built as British, this land which has been so blessed with a measure of the fear of God, the morals from God, the laws of these morals and the underlying attitudes of tolerance towards variation, and integrity towards principles. One of the main intruding forces of change, but by no means the only one, has been the confused concept often attached to multi-culturalism.
Thus, many seek to lose the valuable distinctives of our more Biblical past in multi-cultural inclusivism. However, it is one thing to be tolerant of those who do things differently, have had a different upbringing, have different genes and hair and skin, have different festivals and have learned to live with different modes of relaxation. It is quite another to imagine wantonly, that this means that one MUST or SHOULD become indifferent about truth, about religion, about God, about gods, about inventing new christs or dumping Him who does not change, and make a point of having no show for faith, no conviction for Christ and no concern for the Bible, since some do not like it!
That would resemble a tolerant doctor, not only making allowances for the very odd sort of manners and speech of a patient, with rueful and indulgent smile, but then translating that concept to dirt, and to being very tolerant of it on his surgical instruments. There is a place for toleration as a grace, and there is a place for truth, and that is every place. There is a place for the fear of God, and for His betrayal, for fidelity and for following the will, word and ways of Christ. Being nice and natural and thoughtful and compassionate is a FRUIT of Christ; trading in Christ for a new Jesus and a new Gospel and a new Spirit, or anything of this type, it is not biblically viewed as tolerance but betrayal, seduction and spiritual squalor of the worst kind. Indeed, II Corinthians 11 brings Satan into it in his cunning transformations, as if to look like an angel!
THE MULTICULTURAL MUDDLE,
POLLUTED WATERS FROM CONFUSION
Thus multi-culturalism, in essence able to be a fine thing, can be deceptively misused to make it become a Trojan horse, letting out troops to push for abandoning the God of the Bible, seeking through unwarrantable misuse of this good tolerance, in practice, to make it a base for relativising religion.
As Australia comes nearer and nearer to self-destructing, so the truth becomes clearer and clearer: if you want something special, then take special care. Of course, in New Testament times, when the special task of Israel for the Messiah and the Bible was finished, when theocracy had left, then the theocratic type of laws concerning it left also. The spcialised point of that period is not at all relevant to the present, any more than tertiary courses are relevant to the ways of a kindergarten. If you want to compare, you have to compare like with like; and if not, then you have to realise that your judgments are entirely superficial, and divorced from the functional requirements for different AIMS!
Justice Kirby also refers, in terms of the Bible, to slavery. As to slavery, which this time more fairly, he states some have used the Bible to defend: this too is not to be extended, by an illicit logical slide, to the proposition that the Bible defends it. Many can use all sorts of things, such as marriage as a cover for adultery, for a given purpose; but this does not mean that marriage justifies adultery. It merely may hide it.
Slavery is as near to loving your neighbour as yourself as the sun from the next star. There is an obvious thrust, clear in Paul's epistle to Philemon, that there is to be a mutual caring as before God which some may see as incompatible with slavery; but the social revolution, as in the USA in the civil war, could be both costly and little understood, with confusion breeding hatreds and weakness. The PROCEDURE in the Bible was to require attitudes to each Christian completely incompatible with harsh treatment, and to establish a long term movement to the abolition of this situation, as time allowed it to be quietly put to rest. In the meantime, totally unmaster-like behaviour was required of those who had slaves, so much as to enable the master to love the servant as himself. Loosening the underlying realities, it would at last remove the difference of form.
Meanwhile, patience was needed, and spiritual equality was REQUIRED in the love, and hence in the actions involved. As James shows, these could not be superficial, but had to be practical. Loving your slave as yourself obviously means being concerned for him as for yourself, and as you would not like such subjugation and chattel-like situation, that aspect would be inclined to stop at once. It would take evaluation, assessment, hypocritical formulations might be made; but that would be the spirit of it. It was backed by GENERIC command regarding all men, and so was obviously applicable. The form would be dealt with later.
Hence the Bible was a massive slave-delivering source. It started within, as always, and with strict covenant and command for the individual Christian; not revolution.
Christ's forgiveness of the adulteress as in John 7, did not mean that the Bible justified adultery. It DID mean that it had another and more penetrating method, now that the sinfulness of sin was clear (Matthew 7:13), to deal with the heart of those who, so acting, repent. With Christ dying for sin, the use of pardon was very fluent!
Thus the Judge's comment that even hardline believers "tend to skip over the passages in Deuteronomy", that is, such as the stoning to death as penalty for the denial of God and the seduction from Him, of misleading people in that regard, invites consideration. Presented in a flurry of words which seem to suggest allegations of hypocrisy, rather than a judicious acceptance of the step by step divine procedure in bringing of people to the path of salvation, it is not only erroneous; it is regrettable in the extreme.
It is like taking the case of someone who has fractured bones, and seeing a doctor sawing these to enable immediate surgical results in the presents of excessive splintering, for an extreme case, and objecting, condemning in a clatter of distaste. As the surgeon's 'case' is reviewed piously, as by someone outside the case and the situation, it is found that we would scarcely, even the most prejudiced, be willing to tolerate this sort of thing in our (so clean, and unstricken) households. WE would NEVER saw a bone under ANY circumstances. How benighted that surgeon!
It is merely to ignore the situation and to apply retrospectively from another situation, what applies here; but did not there. Discipline, let us repeat it, is part of the need if you have a special intention; and if, as in that voluntary case with Israel, quisling activity to subvert, abort, the things chosen occurs, then discipline results. This is not a simple matter of religion-change; it is moving in the direction of subversion into religion EXCHANGE amid the people of the already committed land.
If you want that, then HERE you cannot be. That was the position then, in that phase of the program of bringing the Gospel to this world, in Israel. If you CHOOSE to remain in so contracted a nation, then you ask for the results, precisely as if you chose to go to Tiananmen Square in 2008 and talk about a certain incident at an earlier period, seeking to solicit interest in it, in your speech, you might find a certain intolerance of your endeavours. It is not that in that case it might be bad, or wrong to condemn what had once occurred there; but it would seem to equate to a death wish to act in this way at this time in that place.
Perhaps you might choose to speak elsewhere.
This is NOT to justify ANY special intention at all, far less that in Tiananmen in the day of that outrage; but when it is the plan of God for a people that is in view, and when moreover it has been accepted by that people, then this is the way of it. There can be results at movements to subvert our special task, to which you are honour-bound in the interests of the grand deliverance to be made available on vast scale, to all people.
Otherwise, the nation which had been delivered already from possible extinction by the power of God, from the land of Egypt in the Exodus, would not have His power to deliver again, just as an increasingly non-Christian Australia is asking for something much less favourable in the future than it has known in the past. Indeed, already in some of the ways, this movement is disclosed in Hallowed Be Thy Name. We are beginning to find this out!
That is nothing to do, of course, with Australia as a theocracy. It never was what Israel was. It is however to realise that whether or not a nation be a theocracy, and now this is NOT an option, since the new covenant is international and reaches to all directly, the movement from the ways of the God of the Bible is asking for disaster. The people of Britain have been blessed from the Spanish Armada times, to the present with amazing deliverances, including Dunkirk, but now the EU and the Chunnel are like a funnel for the fluids of grace to depart (cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Ch. 3, Divine Agenda Ch. 3). Indeed, many are the channels to which the chunnel so aptly leads and so symbolically expresses.
To the point then, if Israel were to harbour those who would subvert its EXPLICIT COVENANTAL AND FREE relationship with God, then its task could be subverted, its point as a nation lost (as in Isaiah 43:21), and its folly almost unimaginable. IF you did not want this, then all the world was THE OTHER PLACE where you could go. You could then, if you so desired, and your morals permitted this, attack it as Islam does.
That however was alien to the post of Israel. THIS ISRAEL of history had a specialised task, place, function. It is not a cruelty to keep that pure. As to the stoning to death, as in Deuteronomy 13:9-10, this was the case not for a mere change of religion (important as that would be, for the above reasons in that special case of Israel), but for this reason, "because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God." Such a person put in jeopardy the whole nation, and as with some two-timing spy, such as Fuchs of Britain, the thing was a monumental betrayal.
People, they do things differently, and so is it with the nations. However, to suppose that part of a cultural accommodation is to allow anything and everything, including religion and God, to become part of this, is merely humanism invading the celestial, man invading the divine wisdom, and the constructed, created thing assuming outrageous, imaginary proportions for himself, and mixing the idols. Idols ? but of course, if you do not worship God, and DO worship, then what you are worshipping but an idol!
The Bible specifies who God is, what He has done and the grounds of His judgments and pardon. Reject that, and as Paul puts it, you measure yourself by yourself (II Corinthians 10:12), a subjective extravaganza. In the end, you either find God, or imagine things; and if the latter, it is no ground for declaring anything. If on the other hand, you have a basis which excludes either God Almighty, or His self-revelation, or its accessibility to man, then there is no truth at all for you to present regarding these things.
To make the self-contradiction a multi-cultural format, is like having some assassins and some terrorists and some white collar bank thieves, all mixed and imagining this improves their credentials. What man does and thinks and says, is culture; what God says is truth. Put the one against the other and if there is a collision; the multiplicity of error is like the case of a student cheating, and adding to his own false answer to a sum, that of his neighbour.
It does not count for any good purpose.
What however of the special case of the inveigling person in Israel of old, departing from the God of truth and leading others to do the same ? Since it is truth*1 that he leaves, this certainly increases the severity of the case. Since it IS a covenant with God with results, this makes more particular, and since the results may be vast, this is a consideration like multiplied assault.
It is always a mistake to asses a thing on the basis of another model, when the latter is not pertinent to the former. That is not so much multi-culturalism, as multi-partite confusion. What then of this Old Testament punishment ?
PERMISSIVENESS AS A GROUND FOR HOLOCAUST
An exemplary punishment may well be given: IF it has been made clear beforehand that this is a betrayal of the PURPOSE of the nation, the COVENANT with God of the nation, the NEEDS of the nation and is not only divergent, but inveigling, enticing as STATED. In a nation at war, if someone gives out atomic secrets that could kill millions and end the history of a given nation, so bringing a blood bath for thousands of infants and the like, a mode of exhibition of what has been done might well be opted! Permissiveness has limits, and they are reached when what is permitted is an orgy of indifference to known needs of those with whom you choose to be associated, in whose land you choose to live, in the past involvements and present position of which land you are finding your current place, and when the cost of so doing is spelled out with reasons beforehand, giving you abundant notice.
This may not make the land a good one; but it makes your choice a significant one.
You may feel sorrow for those concerned, in ancient Israel; and some today may feel sorrow for someone who hacks to death several wives and the like, feeling he should live in comfort for the rest of his life at public expense; but there is an impediment to madness better clear before it develops and hackings happen. Indeed, it is perfectly certain, that in view of these matters, it would be ludicrous to call it RACISM, that God so chose the Jew, made Israel and used them in the special way which He did. You cannot have it both ways! If it was tough to be in Israel, then the choice of it for this purpose was not favouritism! Actually, there were spiritual depths and dimensions which changed things; but if the eye is closed to this, as seems common, then the deal to Israel was far from jobs for the boys!
Further, the purpose of the theocratic law on such issues was in part to bring the popular conception out of the trance of meaningless permissiveness, to directed thought about aims and responsibilities and results when you play the fool. Mercy is hard to receive when you multiply seek to justify yourself, being immune to conscience, or so addled with false models that you do not even understand grace or pardon for that matter.
Any thought of Bible Christians avoiding such passages as this in Deuteronomy, as the Judge seems to suggest, as if to shrug off these things, seems rather difficult to distinguish from an ad hominem argument, built merely on supposition, just as it fails to take account of the actual facts of the case. Realities, whether of the bodily design of humans, or of the national specialties which may be publicly known, freely taken and long known, REQUIRE certain disciplines; so does the choice of an athlete for his work. So is the case with a spy, who may keep in his mouth at certain times, a cyanide capsule. Such also is the case with a sick person, the stringencies of whose case may require discipline, self-discipline far beyond what any normal person would readily consider.
To inveigle, then, people away from the God of power and redemption, was a fateful step for the whole nation, moving it towards hypocrisy, blasphemy and folly. Like a disease, when hearts were already tested, tempted, it could be a beginning of a moral pandemic. It was, in Israel, to betray the work of God for which that nation had been chosen, and which reciprocally she had chosen, and so to bring Israel into the same pit of pollution which, denying life, asks for tragedy.
WHO IS USING WHAT ? MAN CANNOT MAKE USE OF GOD
SINCE HE IS NOT WILLING TO BE HOODWINKED
Justice Kirby also is reported to have stated that the Bible has been 'used' in the past to justify mistreatment of women. It may have been. People misuse it in all sorts of ways, and one of these is often this: that this perspective sticks in some throats like an ideational fish-bone, that man is a sinner in need of repentance and finding the Lord of his life. Actually, it is not a fish bone which the biblical teaching in this area places, but one which it removes. That ? it is the illusion that man of the 21st century is a god, which is being removed. In all such removals, there is an element of pain ...Let us return now to the particular, the place of women, and with this, to the Bible which ostensibly at least, is here in view.
Once more as Christ showed, the case where a man could almost imitate an Islamic man in divorce, and could dismiss a woman for some impurity: it was permitted because of the hardness of their hearts (Matthew 19:8). Legally you COULD do it, but the love your neighbour as yourself provision made it only a sham, if you used such provisions, short of adultery as the particular ground in view. The spiritual love as in Proverbs 3, is clear-cut and monogamous as the norm, with its values expressed at length, as in the last chapter of Proverbs.
The fact that a man could make a presidential decision in a marital situation by no means authorised any tin gods. In fact, the biblical depiction of the place of women is more demanding, more tender, more delicate and more beautiful than any other alternative. Trying to turn woman into man is contrary to family specificity, and physiological fact. Making sure that a man, if he is to give a ruling, must FIRST sacrifice HIMSELF for his wife, is right there, in Ephesians 5:28-29. What kind of misuse is this ?
If I had a boss who first of all sacrificed himself for me before giving an order, I should tend to be delighted! There are some who are rather like that, gracious souls as employers. Moreover, a husband is far more than a boss, and with such restrictions and restraints as these, much different! Here is a liberation which only love can bring; and this is from this same Bible, the very paragon of beauty.
The Bible sows principles, and people may indeed 'use' it to the contrary, but not sincerely.
Let us take another false charge, if these are meant, as appears very strongly, to be condemnations of the biblical position, approach or perspective.
The hideous error of claiming that the Bible had been used in the past to justify racism is so, IF and ONLY IF it is meant that it gives due ground for such an approach. In fact, of course, it does not do anything of the kind, but is MOST emphatic to the contrary.
The reported words of the Judge allow a very definite traducing of the biblical integrity, in its general adverse depiction, and this is assuredly one impression of his intention, which is readily gained here. In fact, in the New Testament biblical perspective, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in the unity and acceptance in Christ. That is the statement. Distinction on that basis, as to brotherliness, as to kinship, as to treatment, it is FORBIDDEN as IRRELEVANT. A fine sort of racism, then, this! It is the magnification which reduces, a word out of place.
Quite simply, race is irrelevant in the Gospel plenitude of divine grace, which has provided a world for nearly two millenia, into which Justice Kirby and others have had (in that respect) the good fortune to be born (Galatians 3:27-28). It is difficult to see what kind of racism makes race irrelevant!
As to the divine choice of Israel, this is as far from racism as this world from bliss. It was freely chosen through Abraham, and given escape clauses if it so willed; but it did not act on these, and it could have ignored God altogether, had it preferred slavery in Egypt, which however was not the case. In dealing with persons or nations or God, it is necessary to be strictly factual. So here.
The position of Israel was simply that God, having been patient for 400 years with a guilty Canaan (Genesis 15), decided with His foreknowledge that He would judge it, and at the same time, give to His chosen nation, a place. He knew what He was going to do, knowing as He does all history in advance (cf. Isaiah 46:10) long before He acted. Israel was to be an empowered assailant in a mode of devastating exhibition of the power of God when His ways become so distorted, aborted, avoided, when man becomes so imploded with sin that the continuation of the race may become more a matter of anguish than its removal.
Child by child, precious design by design, conscience by conscience, body by body, is to be corrupted as sin is secularised, iniquity is regularised and the race is translated into a parody. Many have found to their sorrow in the past that the elasticity is not infinite and that judgment is not deferred for ever.
In fact, Ras Shamra has shown that it was no sham to claim that shame was extreme in the land of Canaan.
What then ? If God decides to judge a wicked nation, Canaan, or say Sodom and Gomorrah, how in all the world is this racism ? Would perhaps someone like to be JEALOUS of the Jew, of Israel, in that its persecutions have been horrid, contemptible and continual, from Russian pogrom to French extortion through Louis XIV, from the rebuke delivered to it from Babylon, to the decimation from Assyria: all such cases duly equipped with advance warnings, unheeded, incidentally. Would Auschwitz now, be nice ? or the other concentration camps ? Perhaps now the Romanist Inquisition, which did not spare Jew any more than Christians in principle, this could be regarded as a special privilege granted to the happy nation ?
Well, scarcely. If then God chose to use this voluntary nation for His steadfast purposes, which PRESUPPOSE a wicked world, then this is as far from racism as you could go. It was the selection, with voluntary consent, of a people to do a job. It carried privileges and pains. Many would not even consider such a proposition today. That is scarcely racism, that unreasoned preference for some one race, at the expense of others. It has nothing whatever to do with it, and is far from any such thing, being almost the reverse.
What IS true, is this, that it carried power when the race did what was required, since this played a part of God's section by section plan for providing salvation for man; and it carried devastating consequences, when the race sinned into centuries of folly. This was all highly explicit long before the famous confrontation with Joshua noted above (cf. Deuteronomy 27-28), where the point was wrought out by proclamations from two mountains, each standing for the positive or the negative: Ebal and Gerizim, the curse or the blessing for the covenantal people.
The STANDARDS were applicable to them as to others, and favour was not granted to a class favourite, but to those of this or any other race which sought and found God where He IS to be found (as in Isaiah 56:3ff.). It was EXPLICITLY a matter of law and commandment, ethics and morality, religion and truth, and blessed those NOT of this race who found its pith.
In this text just cited, we see concerning those who come to this actual God, though not actual Israelites, those of whatever race who seek and find the Lord as revealed to Israel,
"even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and name better than that of sons and daughter...."
Racism ?*3 I think not. One would deem it not at all such, but decisively, declaratively the opposite.
SEPARATION IS NOT A THOUGHT ONLY,
BUT LIKE AMPUTATION, AN OPERATION: AND IT HURTS.
SO DOES TAKING UP YOUR CROSS
Justice Kirby, according to the report, had another attack to make, or should one suggest, stone to throw, since that issue has been raised. His idea is that we are learning tolerance, and that understanding helps this, and this is the way to go. To be specialised in ideation, in ideology and in religion, this seems hard to differentiate, at least in general terms, from error which toleration can fix. That seems to be the position.
Now toleration includes two kinds: willingness not to harm those who differ, and willingness to respect or even accredit their views as possibly true and sound: that is, a philosophy of relativism, contradicting itself at the outset, by making it TRUE and SOUND and RIGHT not to project truth, while projecting THIS truth, and making it the desideratum. If nothing is true, how can this be ? If nothing is to be imposed, how can this be ? If truth cannot be found, how can this be it ?
Relativism can never get off the ground; for in its authoritarian pronouncements of toleration and its grounds, it is becoming what it abhors, an instrument of truth, a declaration of authority. In abhorring or at least opposing what is very special, distinctive, having a specific and specialised position, it is claiming just such rights for itself as the alleged wrong of what it opposes. Such very special approaches then, appear at the Anglican level - such as emphasising that the Bible is the word of God, not available for dissonance: and these do not appear to please him. Not only is this so, but as so often, the rationally illicit relativist has in the arena of toleration, what is for all that, intolerable, such as opposition to its own position. It becomes a sort of intellectual chaos, except for this, that it inheres in a system of logic to which it cannot consistently relate.
The case of Archbishop Jensen is mentioned in the article of the Judge, as not conducive to the actual filling of the basic need. This, in short, this conservative style approach, being special, is especially undesirable. Such is the intimation. In fact, however, and alas, reports concerning Archbishop Jensen in Jerusalem this year, do not suggest his to be very clear-cut position when it comes to obeying what is written in one vital regard. In fact, one report cites him directly as making it most clear: he contemplates NO SEPARATION from the Anglican worldwide body.
This, however, is in fact what is biblically required where the empirical case is such as led to the meeting in Jerusalem at all (see Separation infra). Had the reported failure of the Anglican leader even to consider separation from the Anglican mouthpieces that litter the littoral with licence against the Bible in morals and doctrine, been in view, and had the Judge criticised this on biblical grounds, then that would have been consistently biblical. In fact, however, he has taken the opposite position, as if the Archbishop had indeed acted out what the Bible requires in such cases: correct or be elsewhere.
Indeed, a deep sense of outrage from a biblical Anglican at this failure to separate after so prolonged a focus on the Anglican permissiveness in doctrine, to the point the Bible is a mere starting point, could have been not only understood, but applauded in its direction of flow. Mix with unbelievers ? have communion with them ? be in the same 'body of Christ' with them, when it is defined as being under ONE HEAD, and that is Christ, not the Church itself. Confusing the word of man with the word of God, is this then acceptable to those who are required to do the former ? Is there to be a church of faith or of fiction, of man or of God ?
Paul puts the position squarely in Galatians 1. Does he persuade God for men, or men in terms of the word of God! If he WERE persuading God in terms of the will and words of men, then he might indeed be very popular; but it is not his office. He is persuading men in terms of the word of God. To do otherwise, what of that ? It would mean that he was not a servant of Christ! That is the position. ANY Christian Church, based on Christ, that of the Bible, has no other option.
Yes, if there had been Anglican outrage at such a failure to separate on the part of the Archbishop, this would be comprehensible in terms of the requirements of the Bible.
The case however is reportedly far other.
The view which appears from the report to be favoured by Justice Kirby is this: that it is regrettable that 'hard line believers' help to create schism by preoccupations with little things (like sodomy, apparently) when what is needed is to UNDERSTAND and then ACCEPT the changes. Something of the extent of these which are necessarily implied has already been noted. To accept these, is to accept another Christ, and another Lord. It is possible; but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christ of God, the Lord's Christ as Simeon put it (Luke 2:26).
What then of the view that the word of God is not to apply, but to have a tolerant approach to those who hear it, be tamed as it were, to the roar of the human lion. A submissive God for a permissive generation: this appears to be the thrust of the matter. But what has this to do with either the Old or the New Testament. Much: it is the flattest of contradictions of it, the removal of its foundations, the innovation of an unhistoric, imagined Christ, as far in principle at least, from the historical record as that of Muhammad*4.
What then of the proposition that in the Christian Church, we must allow tolerance towards the avowed word of God in the Bible ?
This of course would make the Bible under the judicial hammer of Justice Kirby, or those of such opinion. Why ? It would condemn the work of Moses (as in Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), of Paul (I Timothy 1:10, I Corinthians 5 and 6), and require the Judge or someone or group of others, to replace the God of the Bible who commands, with someone or something else, quite different. It would be to make the replacement with what FOLLOWS their own dictates, declarations and vision. It would mean that instead of the foretold Messiah being He whom to disobey was to be severable from the people (Deuteronomy 18), One who was COMMANDER and leader and witness to the people (Isaiah 55:4), there would be manufactured a replacement christ. His would be more of a socialistic style, so that He might become a follower of those committed to His charge (that is, theoretical socialism, not actual)!
This would be a new christ, created like that of Islam*4: without foundation in testimonials of evidence, but from the mind of Muhammad, and in direct conflict with the Old Testament, although he statedly held those to be prophets whose prophecies lie there (cf. SMR pp. 1080ff.).
This is possible, but not with the Bible as a basis, not with the Christ of the Bible as the basis, not with the apostles as basic in the foundation (as in Ephesians 2:20ff.), already so declared in the day of Paul, with Christ the cornerstone.
It is quite clear that when it is God who is speaking, that nothing is to be added or removed (Deuteronomy 4, 12, Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:18-19, I Corinthians 2:9ff., Matthew 5:17ff., Galatians 1, Luke 6:46, II Corinthians 11, I Peter 1:10ff., II Peter 1:19ff.), and that God will hold responsible those who seek to change what is His word, and hence as near to His heart and person as you could wish. As Gladstone reputedly said, If you want to found a new religion, go and rise from the dead as a start: or words to this effect. Trading on the name and fame of Christ, who was intimately demanding about the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17-20 cf. SMR pp. 1175-1185), in order to displace His words would constitute an impossible synthesis, as well as one forbidden.
It would be like trying to adapt a petrol engine to hydrogen, without bothering to stop the engine. Things would happen; but the two orders do not belong to or support each other.
It is equally clear that if it is indeed God whose words are given, then to add or alter, to subtract or change is a contradiction in terms. Will a man compete with God ? With the creation advise or instruct His Maker ? Will he do so when the covenant Commander says the opposite, and indeed reason itself rebels at the alternative option as ludicrous! You can reject the word of God by your will, but you cannot mould it to your will, or those of others, whose wills and ways constitute a culture.
If the idea were, wholly contrary to the consistent testimony of the Bible from the first book to the last, that some god wafted some ideas to some extent, being caught in culture, and was growing up with the race, then you could have anything. Such a being however would be equipped with potential as he grew, and so merely a dowered specimen, a would-be god, the product of the minds of man in anthropomorphic imagination. He would be precision-honed to be a complete contradiction of the necessities of God Almighty in His creation and His power, in His word. Let us however pursue the outlandish theme, dismissing reason enough to see the model through. Indeed, if God even used such a method, what then ?
That sort of provision would never allow the truth to be known, so that argument based on its knowability would be invalid from the start. An unknown synthesis of the wisdom of God with the variable follies of man, with his limitations and systematic ignorances, not having always been in existence, with his self-assessment and variable will, this would be equivalent to using arsenic and vitamins in unknown proportions, for your health.
It would indeed counter the entirety of the message of the Bible, which is this, that there is ONE ALMIGHTY GOD, who created one universe, in which one race, called mankind, was set in His image (since He is a Spirit, not a physical matter), and being given some autonomy, within limits, transgressed those limits and sought to be equal with God.
There is more in the biblical schema, even at the simplest level.
Ever since man fell, he has had much the same malady, which is to end in just that manner (as in II Thessalonians 2:4ff.), seeking equality with, or even more, to be a replacement model for God. The salvation by God, available to man, is by divine prescription, inalienable, immutable, based on God Himself assuming human form and dying for sin; and those who accept Him are bound to the New Covenant in His blood, and are to receive the commandments as well as the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). That is the biblical specification.
To be sure, they do not keep the commandments in order to be saved, but because saved (as in Ch. 7 of Hallowed Be Thy Name, SMR pp. 524-532, 482-498); but these, His commands are at least as near to the heart as is the liver (cf. Psalm 119:20,32,88, Psalm 1, II Timothy 3:16). The heart, we here learn, is not enlarged (in human understanding for example) in order that it might NOT keep the word of God, but so that it MIGHT. Understanding is crystallised in His word, based on it. God knows; if we know better, we know not at all (II Corinthians 10:12).
Of such, says Paul, "measuring themselves by themselves, they are not wise". This is and has been the biblical position for some 3500 years. It is the position in principle, in commandment, in perspective, in precept, in application, by ironic intimation, by withering scorn (as in Jeremiah 7:9-14 cf. 15:19ff. cf. SMR pp. 100 -101, *30, 31). Even the prophet Jeremiah had to get back to the word of God, and loosing his own grievances, take it or leave it.
The concept of tolerance is good, so long as it is held within bounds. Thus you can be tolerant of someone who may lose his temper, and try to help him overcome this, before he gains power to exercise atomic buttons, as terrorist or statesman. However when you want us to be tolerant of viruses, and not to slaughter the poor, unassuming little things, so VERY small you know, then this is different. Toleration is to be extended to truth, and healthy kindness to people, but toleration of lies and violent follies from the heart of man, his self-elevation to deity without ground, to murders and theft, this is something different. The law applies (cf. I Timothy 1).
Toleration of many religions is part of NOT requiring people to believe (we are not voluntarily in a nation of that kind). That is good and sensible in this setting. Here in Australia, you do not have to go to another nation in order to practise an anti-Christian faith, for example, and many there are who do stay, and who attack the Bible quite freely, though never justly, as one has found over half a century of hearing and meeting and debating and having confrontation with such. Their assaults on the Bible never stand.
That is a kind of toleration in our land, and it enables free speech which enables things evil or wrong or irrational to be exposed, so that those who love truth are free to present it.
When however the concept of religious toleration is twisted, or tormented, or at any rate extended beyond suffering various religions which do not attempt murder or mayhem by decree, into a new realm with a different content, then the case has to be carefully considered. If this is to mean that INSIDE CHURCHES, people who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Everlasting and Almighty God, should be tolerant IN CHURCH MEMBERSHIP of those who are trying to entice others to worship another god, one with electronic leads from the 21st century sticking out from His back, as it were, so that He might cognise our wisdom and accept our conditions, changing though He swears that HE DOES NOT CHANGE: then we reach another realm. Indeed, it is not possible to distinguish this from making a god other than that of the Bible, either making it by some magic, into 'God' or not bothering to do so entirely, and then trying to sell it to the Church, despite the Bible.
That is what this position readily comes to be.
Though we are not now in a theocracy, the enormity in biblical terms of
|changing gods and
|planing them down, or|
them up, or
|modernising them, or
|culturally conforming them, or
|informing them is now as always,|
contrary both to godliness and to the Bible, to reason and to the revelation God has given in Jesus Christ.
Such action conflicts at once in principle with the entirety of the revelation God has thus given, so that non-god man might become godly, irrational man might become reasonable, and treasonable man might find God, and meet Him where He may be found (Isaiah 55, 24:4ff.). This is where redemption begins, and illusory god-like autonomy, but not freedom, ends, and so, and not in some other way, God has provided: as in Genesis 2:17, or Galatians 1:6-9 alike, or as in Matthew 5:17ff. or Revelation 22, in II Corinthians 10-11 or in II Peter 2, which predicts this infection. The nature of holy health does not change. The nature of mutation by human wisdom: it is divinely associated with plague, as in Egypt, and sickness of heart. To be God, you have to have no beginning, to start with; and trying to start now is ... too late.
IF the Church declares the Bible unreliable as truth in whatever it claims to be true: then to do this, it would have to change its nature, and become an anti-biblical, non-biblical or ultra-biblical church or something of this or that name and type.
Confusion alone would be helped by trying to fudge the issues. By all means, leave God as Israel did: it found out something of His wonder in His absence. It learned something of what it means to be rescued, delivered, by miraculous means and fed, and then to rebel and become self-assertive and insist on unspiritual ways and on gods not God and thus on ways of treating their bodies and minds and spirits, not according to design. If this is done, do NOT expect any help from the God of the Bible, but something of quite another order. If someone refuses to learn from the history of teh Israel, as so often exposed in the Bible, in prediction and in comment, then so be it.
Yet never let this romancing be related to the God of the Bible, to the Bible of God, to the Gospel of the Bible's Christ; and let it once and for all be realised that this is a different religion from that of the Bible. Part of this religion, that of the Bible and the Lord's Christ, moreover, is this, that man is alienated from the life of God, and His understanding is darkened in terms of his current spiritual pathology (Ephesians 4:17-19); and it is not just some individual, but the race which is so afflicted; and it is mercy indeed when ANY ONE of them is delivered. Love seeks to obtain this deliverance, and at times it must expose much for its sake. But what of the other option ?
By all means throw out part or all of the Bible, or just retain the cover, or take whatever other evasive or compilatory step may be desired, but NEVER let it be imagined that this has anything to do with Biblical Christianity. It is a new religion founded on remnants of the God of the Bible, and of the Bible of God, when HE is not willing to participate in such sales and condemns them cordially (cf. Ezekiel 20).
The Biblical Faith and the God of the Bible is immutable (Psalm 102, Hebrews 1, Malachi 3:6, Habakkuk 3:6, Psalm 119). His word abides, never slides. That stays as it is; and just as it has been answerable to any criticism, so it criticises any answer; for the truth and word and work of God, these do not change. In 50 years and 5 since my call to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church, I have never found the Bible to fail, to have no answer to criticism which makes the critics to be shown wrong, uninformed or merely factitious or fractious with meretricious meanderings beside the point.
And what has this so fabulous human race, reputedly gaining in understanding, what has it to offer for its vast and superior knowledge and wisdom, apart from God. So far from supermen, we are not managing anything better, for all our racial - human racial - boasting; indeed we are spawning tyrants in short pants, boy soldiers whose hearts are being excavated, young men who assassinate not statesmen but children en bloc, having no evidenced call but that of their own notions: who call such things some sort of a religion and even dare to use the name of God for it. In fact, it is time for our own nation to repent of its lordly attitude to the Bible, and the Churches, many of them, to repent of their waywardness, by which many have been attacking the Bible in the very seminaries in which they were ostensibly training students for the Ministry.
God is not mocked. If you want to set up a brains trust to judge the Bible, it will not succeed; it never has done nor will it ever*1. The One who made us continues to have the workable handbook, and those who vary continue to fail. History is becoming more and more a litany of various philosophic failures, many given political dynamic to force the issue. Such is the biblical prediction and so it is.
It is pleasant and indeed beautiful in the midst of all this, to know that the God of all understanding and wisdom, who never changes, whose word stands fast and is to be loosed, who has had compassion on our face, and in His goodness and lovingkindness has gone so far as not merely to show precisely who He is and what He wants, but as to constitute in Himself a remedy, and BE the Redeemer.
He has gone further. That same Redeemer has gone to the Cross amidst the cross-fire of godless religionists who could not even see or notice their Lord when they were manhandling Him, and on that Cross He even prayed for them.
On offer to all, sufficient for all, His work limited in assignment to those who receive both it and Him, His portrait inscribed in the record God gave, who did not so send in order to present a changeable photograph or artistic work, but a permanent criterion. Indeed, He sent so that not only should sin be deleted in guilt for the saved, imputed no more, but that salvation should be trully shown even to the reprobate; for God is no respecter of persons.
With this mercy, it is well not to fiddle; but if one wants to fiddle, it is better to use a violin.
On the way of this life, see for example Ch. 9 of Hallowed Be Thy Name, and Ch. 7 of SMR.
For more on separation, see:
Separation 1997, Keys ... Ch. 3,
Hallowed Be Thy Name! Ch. 9 and
The Defining Drama Ch. 4;
Dizzy Dashes, Heady Clashes and the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch. 6 ; and Message of the Words of God to Man in the World Ch. 3;
Keys to the Comfort of the Kingdom of Christ Ch. 3.
See, for example in SMR, TMR, and Design and Deity ... with Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ with The gods of naturalism have no go!), Sparkling Life ... . The logical necessity that the Bible be the Word of God Almighty and that it be true, is there shown. The absence of competition at this level is shown likewise.
See: *1 above, Highway to Hell, Aviary of Idolatry, More Marvels ...Ch. 4, Divine Agenda Ch. 6, SMR Chs. 3, 10, It Bubbles ... Ch. 11, for example.
See Light of Dawn, Ch. 6, *1.
See on this:
More Marvels ... Ch. 4, esp. *4,
SMR pp. 829ff. ,
Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A
Lord of Life Ch. 3 (and force), 1081ff. (and faith), Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 5;
His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch. 4; 3
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8 (in perspective), see also *1,
Divine Agenda Chs. 6, 3 (an overview of religious truancies, including Marx, Darwin and Koran);
Highway to Hell (Koran citations in both, with ideational parallels in perspective, in the former; and in the latter, futile depravities in endless ideologies such as Sudan has shown so significantly, Islam ablaze without glory),
cf. Overflight in Christ Ch. 1 (and the Koran's musings);
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7
BARBLISS 5, Acme ... Ch. 9 , Great Execrations ... Ch. 3, SMR p. 1O88D - three major religions in some ways in concert, astray.
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7, SMR pp. 1074ff., esp. 1079, 1081ff.
These latter show this religion, with the other three major conspiracies towards the ultimate - why conspiracies ? It is because men conspire, or breathe plans together for a control, rule or oversight not ordained by God: these are breaths of man, and the breath that matters is that of God, in and by which all scripture is inspired by Him (II Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 8:20), in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the Bible, and sustained and implemented by Him (Matthew 26:54ff.): other ideas for rule are always unruly, since they always tend to use power for what neither reason nor truth compels.
See also SMR pp. 822ff., 986ff., 1O88D.