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CHAPTER 10

DANGEROUS INVOLVEMENTS IN ECUMENISING

Like Mixing Water with Cement

and

DECISIVE DIRECTIONS FROM THE WORD OF GOD

 

APOLOGETICS AND ITS SCOPE

There remain some matters of perspective*P, following the review of method in our Biblical Christian Apologetics coverage.

While this work has been associated with a wide dispersion of interest, from political to theological, to linguistic,  to translational issues,  to that of scientific method and applications in various sciences, to the contents of the Bible to the Gospel in particular, as to its application, historical exhibition  and application and many more, there are some phases of the RESULTS which may be considered briefly here.

There are issues, already extensively covered, of method, verification, validity, detailed investigation, resolutions of many issues from the biblical perspective, so that no unconforming issue of principle can be found to remain, so illuminative is the word of God. It is so dispersive of mists is what God has to say, if only  it is taken ALONE as the written basis in Christ, and is not made either a mere launching pad for whatever attracts the butterfly danger in man, to hop around amid the flowers of imagination, or a site for imports of alien pageantry and drivel. Imaginative flurries can be fine, but not when you are bent on understanding the word of God, and instead mingle amid the other flowers, enraptured by their perfumes or stench.

This brings up the first point, the theological aspect of the RESULTS of the object of biblical Christian Apologetics, namely what you do about it. There are other aspects in view, namely the methodological, the verificatory, the validative, the transformative, that of obedience, but these being often noted, we come now to what remains. Actually, it combines the last, obedience to the word of God so  located, to the theological, conformity to its teachings in practice. With this, secondly, we will  DV come to that of the mode of controversy, in its major outcomes and quality, which in turn as the word of God has things to say, has a theological element.

Let us take the second first. The words of Paul, the apostle who told us this: "imitate me, just as I imitate  Christ," I Corinthians 11:1, come  into sight. In context, this was in the interests of peaceableness in procedures, but in a larger context of telling them how to conduct the Lord's Supper with spiritual decorum, not indulgent abuse, together with applications concerning the roles of man and woman. In II Corinthians 12, he makes it clear that authority is indeed in the Church when it comes to slanders and gossips, noting the power given him by the Lord, in this way, for correction:

"For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but shall live by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith... ," II Cor. 13:4-5.

He proceeds, "Now I pray God that you do no evil, not that we should appear  approved,  but that you should do what is honourable, though we may seem disqualified."

The glory of the Gospel (cf. I Cor. 15) does not mitigate the need for disciplined lives and attention to the apostolic word. Discipline should be gracious and gentle, but it may have to be firm, and declarative indeed, as with Paul's example, found in Galatians 3!That is the way of it: "why do you call Me Lord, Lord and not do the things I say!" Christ once expostulated (Luke 6:46), for the word is left beggared without the conformity. We are all sinners, but it is a very different thing when we ignore directions of God, even in principle!

This as shown in SMR pp.1032-1088H for example, is the problem with the Romanist body, which has three idols in procuring the majestic and unique prerogatives of God, the Pope as teacher, Mary as Saviour of sinners and bearer of such titles, and the mass of an inanimate object raised up for worship, without any skerrick of textual justification, as disclosed and condemned for the last 500 years more emphatically, in what is called the Protestant Reformation, in terms of which and many allied disclosures and condemnations, churches like Lutheran, Church of England, Presbyterian arose, indeed a whole phalanx. While a reform movement must never be conceived as infallible, only God and His written word as expounded on this site so often, and from so many angles, having that role, yet in history from an early phase, heresies have arisen and as Paul notes, I Cor. 11:19. It is a fascinating point: "For there must also be heresies among you, that those who are approved may be recognised among you." Tests are all in order, and derangements need to be exhibited as such.  God operates in the light, and IS Light (cf. I Timothy 6:16).

 In other words, in the tumult which may come with truth, as dim and ill-conceived mis-instruction comes surging in at times, there comes a time for testing the strength and stability of the practical structure in a church; and this is no oddity. Such surges and errors will come in as discursive thinkers inject their own ideas, often without realising it, or reject the word of God in their aspirations to autonomy, or even do so with tenacity, based on tradition or compulsive manipulation, depending on the case. It must be dealt with; and Paul for one did not hesitate. In fact, so far from doing so, he would  not give place to such innovative infections for ONE HOUR, as he discloses in Galatians 2:5.

The matter needed resolution, and could not be allowed to rest in a hinterland of obscurity, or of assertion; but as it was requiring immediate action, so this came. The boldness of Paul is one of necessity, and not personal exaltation (II Timothy 2:25), as you see from these declarations; but HOW bold he is, not on his own behalf, where he is the opposite, preferring rehearsal of evidence, but on another matter. What is this that so arouses his spirit ? It is his work on behalf of the Gospel, of the word of God, and of Christ. Indeed, in II Tim. 2:26 we see clearly the vast significance of his efforts, often theologically a matter of life and death, so that such people awry, "may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been captive by him to do his will." There was nothing diffident about Paul concerning the purity of the truth; and indeed in my own ordination I was to seek purity in the Church, and so charged, a matter highly relevant ever since.

Paul's bold efforts in this field were at times amazing, as in the case in his early missionary journey in Cyprus. Here he proceeded as follows, being filled we are told, with the Holy Spirit, and looking at the sorcerer intently:

"O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness,
will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord ?"

He proceeded to announce a temporary blindness that would follow for the inwardly blind guru. Again, he reasoned boldly in the synagogues or those emanating from them (cf. Acts 9:29, 13:46, 14:3, 18:26, 19:8). While apostles had multiplied gifts, yet they are part of the body; and though they led in many things, there was only ONE teacher (Matthew 23:8-10) and one Father. The tenor of things in principle and in practice is to be observed. Not least is this seen in II Corinthians 10:5, where Paul describes his work in terms of

"casting down imaginations {arguments}
and every high thing that exalts itself
against the knowledge of God,
bringing every thought into obedience to the captivity of God."

It is therefore necessary to "withstand in the evil  day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore..." the apostle exhorts.

It is accordingly necessary when one meets the triple idolatry*1 of Rome (cf. A Question of Gifts as marked), each part a contradiction of what is written, concerning these three, the memorial supper using bread and juice, the one Teacher and the only Saviour as shown in the work cited,   to  expose it and not to sleep on the matter (as in I Timothy 4:1-6).  A good minister does not become shiftless here, then, but vigilant and instructive, even if his praise is of God and not of men.

 

EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER

How long should one dally ? Not even ever so shortly, with Paul's not for one hour kept for type, in mind: to take accurate heed and carefully effectual action is an imperative when such cases arise, whether in the primary onset or the lingering fires. Indeed, the more so in this case, in that there have been 500 years since the main matrix of exposure of these things reached a climax, in the Reformation, with much of the type preceding this period.  When therefore a Romanist theologian has his work referred to as that of "the leading systematic theologian and apologist of that period," the leading exponent in these fields in the Middle Ages, it is time to acknowledge the rupture and ruction with the word of God, by which alone greatness or heresy is to assigned, whatever the product. Heresies deep and truculent do not make for leadership in theology,  and their defence is rather far from providing a leading work in apologetics. One flaw can crash an aeroplane and when the Gospel is concerned, vast is the sensitivity to repeal, annealing and jamming any of its signals.

Unhappily this description of Thomas Aquinas (cf. Department of Bible Vol. 6, Ch. 8) appears in CMI's  Creation magazine, Col. 36, No. 2, 2014 in an article on stars, p. 40. It is the sadder  since  so much excellent work in their own basic field has been  wrought, with no small address and imagination; but the best of engines must not have a crack in the radiator, let alone ignore such perils. Let us then look at the matter of leading theologian... is it to lead many ? and  is leading the action in  view here, descriptively ?

Thus Stalin made a killing in terms of pushing his ideas into a vast empire, and enslaving men's minds, in many cases; but this is only from his own viewpoint of airy nothings as the basis of all things, a logical absurdity*2, inventing its own laws (if it could be bothered) from a nebulous basis, itself with no basis, and inheriting many constraints. In terms of objective reality, so far from this being a killing, in the  sense of an adroit attainment and remarkable progress, it was literal murder for tens of millions, through torture, with or without starvation, with insanely devilish procedures. He was a great leader ? or was he nearly the focus leader of his corrupted times, and thinker ?  Could morbid inurement to delivering torment be part of a great leader, an outstanding one even, and a major part, not a mere anomalous episode at that  ? One of our own ex-PMs from memory while he was still PM,  actually had the enormity of calling Mao, with a similar sort of killing record,  a great leader.

It is indeed not only what different parts of this alienated Romanist body, intent on its own programs, had been doing in doctrine and killing, even in war on Christians, as with the Waldensians, pursuing them murderously into the mountains, but what Thomas himself prescribed. It is the BIBLE ONLY which is the Christian handbook. It needed no introduction. But he said this (Summa Theologica Vol. IV, p. 90:

"Though heretics must not be tolerated because they deserve it,
we must bear with them till  ... the second admonition ...
But those who remain obstinate... must be delivered to the secular power
to be exterminated."

The power to make the religious body self-propelling, its decisions anointed without biblical proof and in defiance of it, with unctions from such as those of Aristotle (cf. Ch. 9, Appendix, above ) made two more degrees of horror in the violation of the persons over whom, members or not, they had no authority in their points of departure from the Bible. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who  obey Him, and for the rebellious priests he had this (Malachi 2:2), "I will curse your blessings." It is not the name but the obedience which gives authority, as Wycliffe so emphasised. Malachi makes it clear that th is is far from  all: such  cases NOT ONLY lack authority, but are in God's own authority subjected to curse, even their blessings! This case must always be guarded against, lest the Demetriuses of this world, domineer and direct amiss (as in III John).

Again, as in Jeremiah 23: Not only did the Lord NOT send such contesting false prophets, while yet they still ran, but if they had stood with Him in the way they might have turned people from their evil way. But it was not so that the Lord had enacted it in His knowledge: though this does nothing to remove the guilt of the self-propelled dissident prophets!

You say, If you lead people effectively with you, then you are great, or a good expositor. or a leading one. Good, leading ? in what sense ? Commendable ?  Notable ? to be admired ? If your leading is to  force, as with Aquinas' direction, not least, then by all means use a new way to indicate 'leading' which is actually in  fact a matter of heartless push. It is no leading. If some body actually attacks the Waldensians and proceeds for centuries of self-indulgent arrogance and  murder (cf. SMR pp. 911ff), to the end of the Reformation, making many pay without enthusiasm, or acceptance, but in horror of body and mind: are this then to be outstanding as a leader ? or  are any popular in such work to be noted as such! In what direction are you leading, is a necessary question ? Is force a leading ?

Again, if you incinerate simplicity and require concurrence at the will of a spiritual monarch, is your religion great ? at what ? If your theology is flamingly  contrary to the Bible, so that bible reading itself is even to be discouraged by the pent-up princeliness of Romanism's dogma, is that a base for the work of one to be called a leading apologist,  when the leading is in that branch of theology ? (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H, 911ff., 950ff.)! The Bible WILL not be led; so if you are a leading pusher of your ideas in conjunction and out of conjunction with it, in the midst of a regime of such pushing, then you may push many, affront and confront more, but you are a director, and no theologian at all, if the purpose is to follow the Bible, without wavering into such ways as adding to it (forbidden in Proverbs 30:6).

If a theologian, however, even in the setting of what claims to follow the Bible (with other things) is to be liberated from actually working with the Bible, so that like contrary currents, you have a frothing whirl-pool (as in Canon Law*3) of oddments all asserted with authority, then we have moved from one type of thing to another, the two confused, a slip, a logical slide or even  slither in what is in mind, resulting in more or less fracture. Define a theologian as one talking systematically about a being associated with the term "God", and Thomas was a theologian (but far more, because of force thrust into the issue). If however a theologian (in context of the Church, or what claimed to be it,  which was a very various thing indeed by the time of Thomas) is represented as keeping strictly to the Bible, and not gainsaying its requirements, or breaching its requirement not to add to the things presented in it, as in Revelation 22, or to the Gospel as preached by Paul, as in Galatians 1, then Thomas was an anti-theologian or neologian.

 

DETERMINING ISSUES

It depends on your standards. A heavily ecumenical understanding of massive and systematic contradiction of the Bible as being acceptable, would underline such an approach to Thomas. A strictly biblical one, in type and detail (as in  SMR pp.1032ff.. 912ff.) makes him  merely a false prophet, biblically defined, certainly not a theologian, but a deployer of false doctrine, seeking to systematise it, and by many lauded for the lordliness of it.

When sheep act the goat in THIS way, and start tearing the other sheep, their fangs readily betray the wolf, the clothing being extensive, but the fangs being lethal to lambs and affliction to those
 "delivered to the secular arm....," for what ? The word in the Summa Theologica was "extermination."

You can keep to the Bible or not; that will define your use of terms.

Well before the time of the theologian cited in Creation magazine as leading, pope Boniface VII issued his incisive, striking statement about the two 'swords' the pope's and the State's betokening the power of the Romanist Church in general, with priests major operators: "the latter is to be used for the Church, the former by the Church; the former in the hand of the priest, the latter by the hand of princes and kings, but at the nod and sufferance of the priest"; and not seldom in the tormented times of the Middle Ages and what followed, were those nods given! Even a King could be disciplined, in the exalted notion of the Romanist body's power, indeed rebuked for not doing what he was told, like poor English King Henry left in the snow for disobedience to the sword, or at his wielding of it at the priestly nod.

Boniface VIII went far further,

"How shall we assume to judge kings and princes, and not dare to proceed against a worm! Let them perish forever, that they may understand that the name of the Roman pontiff is known in all the earth, and the he alone is most high over princes," as found in Schaff's History of the Christian Church, Vol. 6, p. 16.

This was uttered with the already long established mass (see SMR pp. 1086 -1088D), where it being deemed a 'real' body due veneration meant that not only was  Matthew 23:8-10 rubbished, but John 6:62ff. also. Indeed, as one martyred by Romanism pointed out, this dismissal of what was in fact Christ's explicit interpretation was in effect making Christ commit suicide at the Last Supper: for as a genuine man, He had one body only (Hebrews 2).

War, murder on a grand and sustained scale, torture of both men and texts in the Bible flat rejection of its teaching on authority vested in any one person, these were its vestments. Misuse of the abominable rule to dominate even princes, rejecting in all reality Christ's words against  using the sword even to defence the Prince Himself, far less the people, in the interests of religion, while inheriting the prediction in their murders, made by Christ in John 16:2: these were its non-attire of the gospel of peace for their footwear.  Was it not enough that it dominate what it deemed the Church (though many who died to differ, for Christ could never agree, as befits the saints) that it must dominte the world as well. And this, it is when Christ,  asked by Pilate if He were a king, declared that there was a reason why His servants did not fight (to have some parity with this world, or to protect His Person).

The reason for this absence of fight was a direct, clear and simple one: such fightings are the ways of this world indeed; but HIS KINGDOM is NOT of this world. It is an entirely different thing. The time of judgment will come, but the time of test and truth, faith and love, being where your heart is, that is NOW, and this, His essential and freely based kingdom is of another type entirely from those of this world, and in particular, those who fight by contention to gain ascendency, trample or manipulate, push or thrust their neighbours. So far from heeding these fundamental strictures and characterisations from the mouth of Jesus the Christ,  Romanism did precisely the contrary.

It was John Huss who was  one of thousands, in many lands, executed with glamorous apostasy by those inventing for themselves a moral grandeur the direct opposite of their fallen, rebellious, degraded and murderous deeds, their tortures and their twistings even of the mind of poor, berated prisoners. What is it like ?

It is like saying that 2 + 2 = 3.167, and making p equal to minus 4, the square root of minus 1 equal to 2, or a circle equal to an oblong and a triangle equal to a square. The words do not fit the referents.

Such ruinous collision of word and deed errs in basic facts theoretically, doctrinally, practically, personally, psychologically, doctrinally and its workers appoint an ecclesiastical power, not to HELP with HUMILITY others to find the truth which is CHRIST (John 14:6), as one among brothers, infinitely below the Lord Himself, all the rest no masters but numbered merely as each as ONE OF THE BROTHERS. To each as non-masters and not-the-teacher there came whatever functions as each has, seen for example in I Corinthians 12; but to torture, kill, squash, impel and impose, securing the power of the 'sword' of potency, to impel others at will, according to the philosophy which for this result, had to replace the Bible ... what of that ?

It was an invasion not only in historic terms of this or that land, but of truth with corruption, and of the heavenly with the earthly. To be sure, you cannot get into heaven that way; you can move out of its precincts utterly and entirely in such antics, as if Christ's mouth had been blown away. You can choose your religion, perhaps, but you cannot choose another Christ and use the name of the original founder and precise fulfilment of divine diction in the books of the prophets! Paul is strong about this (II Cor. 10:12 - 11:13).\

On this topic, he does not dither; but on the contrary is incisive, decisive and dynamic. It is crucial.

What then ? In being a leading exponent and propellent advocate of Romanism, Thomas Aquinas, in biblical terms, is an heresiarch, like Arius, definable simply by collisions with the Bible and continuance in a system in ardent and active practical and doctrinal collision with the Bible, using such other resources as it saw, or would see fit. It is God or man, in the last analysis, God or God plus people defined to be godly, when they speak as in Canon Law. However the Gospel was already definitive in the day of Paul (Galatians 1), long before the first stirrings of the theological supremacism of Romanism and its prelates, and choices.

IF then the Bible be the determinant, no theologian is even sound, even tolerable, even acceptable, who fails in the area of collisions in spirit and word and attitude with its statements, orders, declaration and characterisations. You could be a great heretic to be sure; and none denies Thomas such a right. You could be a great formulator of philosophical opinions, and some might accord him this. Biblically however, he leads only to the collision with the Gospel and the liberty from the Lord, even Peter being subdued by the rebuke of Christ (Matthew 26), or ready to be scolded by Paul (Galatians 2).  Collisions at that level were by all means to be avoided, and Peter learnt this early: intentions are not equivalent to performance, and nice ideas to the will of God.

As the formulator for the time of the ideas of a new religions, post-Christ, Aquinas might be a leader, though only in terms of the formulation effort, not the product. Since however in reality both are together, and the Bible does not move, to call Thomas Aquinas a 'leading theologian' relative to a whole era or major characterisable time,  is a great error, confusing the religions, despite 500 years of exposure, and going back to Wyclif, more like 800, and back to the Waldensians, 1000: a millenium of vice and evil. What then about good works as a justification for the approach of Aquinas ... he meant well, it may be stated ? Peter with 'good' intentions tried to spare Christ's life on earth, and his actions  were seen  as allied  to those of the devil, who suffered vehement rebuke.

'Good' works are no more good when they disobey the God of eternity and the Teacher for all time. They merely disturb the faithful or distort the truth or compound the will of God with the will of man (Jeremiah 23:21-30), an error Paul piercingly exposes (Galatians 1). Such innovators and purveyors of additives do not at this time murder Christ as the prelacy once did in Israel, to be sure:  but  to attempt sending tanks of untruth through the wall of the word of God or flame-throwers of combustible spiritual elements of man, becomes worse than any defoliant, the foliage the living word of the changeless God who executes His word, including that on adding to it! (cf. Deity or Design ... Section 9).

Biblically, therefore, Aquinas was a neologian, not a theologian, and as such a leader for others in his wanderings; but as a theologian in biblical terms, he does not exist. ONE spreading error can lead to immediate division as seen in Galatians 2:5; how much more a whole family, with its subgroups. Would Paul call those with one division, circumcisionists those spying out liberty in Christ ? what then of those doing so for invasive and deadly centuries, on multiple decrements from the Bible!

In the preceding Creation magazine to the one above noted, there is an article entitled, "What about bad things done by the Church ?" Grievously, the errors of a body strongly and multiply in contradiction of the word of God at its foundation, and for centuries so, mounting up to triple idolatry as in SMR pp. 1032ff., are confused with those of the Church. This is no more the Church than is the harlot of Revelation 13, 17,  (John's word, not mine), who is Roman in emplacement (cf. SMR pp. 946ff.), and near the terminus of the Age, in time.

To put the blame for the enemies of the word of God, at their chosen points, and major disjunctions, who murdered for centuries those who loved Christ and would not leave that self-same word, as if evils BY the Church is an odd disjunction and reversal. To do this concerning a period just as the evils were coming into their pungent flowering season, is an assault on the testimony of Christ, in this, that what suffered for Him is placed in a bin with what CAUSED that suffering. Of COURSE those who have left the doctrines of free and sufficient grace, as pointed out in the reference above, will be expected to be so centrifuged than many things can happen, contrary to the word of God likewise. Indulge in idolatry and many are the evil results; but in doing so, to insist that others follow, as was often the case, on pain of death, this reverses reality to blacken what was bloodied, and to allow in what had excluded itself not only in murders but in the principles as in Aquinas, on which they were based!

 

CRUCIAL DIFFERENTIATIONS

Such abominable actions have NOTHING to do with the Christian Church, and in  fact the errors of the body which for many centuries did such things, represent a confirmation of its groping for diversified teachings, and roping of the saints. Some new thing has been the roll call as at Athens, but with the difference that an ostensibly accepted old thing is mixed up with the innovations.

In fact, many were the Bible believing Christians assaulted, tortured, tormented, imprisoned, harassed, looted in lawless trials; and to put to the Church's account the horrors of the defiled assault on the Church is to injure the good name of the Lord, and to make their sufferings not a testimony of wonder, but of understandable error.

This says nothing about the motive, known surely only to God; but is necessary in protecting the sufferings of many from being made their own responsibility, and thus indirectly a failure in the actual Church, not a confirmation of the errors of what in doctrine biblically, is as far from it as the false is from the true, precisely as happened in Israel before Christ, as attested by Jeremiah. 

Error it is, and the Bible remains despite any culture as the standard, and it does not move; so excuses are absence for its violation because of any culture; but in general, making the 'Church' the body blamed for what in fact it suffered faithfully, becomes an account in reverse of reality. It mischaracterises much of what faithful Christians suffered at the hand of a regime using Christ, in contrariety to His teaching, even many of His servants. These were frequently caught, imprisoned, tortured, hatefully despised and verbally assaulted to the uttermost in pseudo-courts, in an almost infinite departure from Christ's requirements, while fulfilling the evil He had proscribed but predicted for those misled, leading misleaders.

It is the same in disputation, in debates and the like,  as noted earlier. While humble must be the PERSONAL demeanour of those called for the defence and confirmation of the Gospel (Philippians 1:7), yet bold their testimony as with Paul. Casting down theories and bringing such thoughts into subjection to Christ because of truth, not soldiers, has its own style.

Leaving things on superficial bases, like presuppositions, as if this is yours and that is mine, can be useful as a start, but in the end, it is needful to demolish as Paul did, the entire basis and leave nothing standing, truth in its own terms the victor. Meanwhile, numerous actions set to kill it,  as in even pseudo-secular society often by law, as now in many schools,  exposed to the uttermost, do not hesitate to discriminate wildly against any equity for students in their various interests, slave-driving them into anti-creation modes with a blithe seeming irresponsibility that accepts no debate - with occasional relaxation more informally - and dragoons the student minds in ways so contrary to scientific method as to become in one aspect,  a secular substitute for the Inquisition (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!).

Would children have less done for them that a decisive counter-thrust in terms of truth, empirical and heuristic facts, one thrust home!  for the corruption of the minds of youth taken to the uttermost part is then confronted utterly to show its outrageous failure and indefensible character before demonstrable truth. Would adults have less done to protect them ? Is a contra-scriptural stand-off, where defeat is needed, to become a new way!

No, certainly not, for the reality of the faith is manifest, only revolt its detractor. This response is not force, but logic; not compulsion but propulsion; not an option but a need; for  wolves, and the devil are assuredly behind the assault on the word of God; they are not to be treated with a paw shake, or a strange placidity. That may be neo-evangelic, but it is not angelic, or even conforming to the biblical requirements and examples, metamorphosing at worst to winning people by psychological tact; but tact is no substitute for truth, which is to be taken to the uttermost, in its own terms (as in Acts 13:40-42). The spirit of this Age yearns for step by step take-over and needs to be met: a battle may be long, but decisive the testimony as it proceeds; for evil is never done  till judgment, but the insurgencies of wolves as in Acts 20, means not only good treatment of sheep and their instruction, but exposure to the uttermost of the wolves, as Paul hastened to do, exposing it in Galatians 2, following his count-down on spiritual fraud, in Galatians 1.llf

In Paul, it not only a matter of death in  spiritual thrust,  to the errant and erratic cultures of this world, but to sin itself; and anything which raises itself up against His word, is to be regarded as a serpent, of which it is better to be aware, rather than to attempt any dance, as it sways. Friendship with this world is enmity with God as James points out, and the word of God is ultra-cultural in direction, though using whatever is desired, to illustrate or to approach.  To the thing itself, this world's groundless guessings, as a ground of faith or conduct, it yields nothing,  far less such as could be taken as excuse for murder, its tolerance or acceptance of its bases as credibly compatible with Christianity, if not to be desired!

Distortion as of the face of Christ from which His mouth speaks His word, as now rabid in society, reminds one of the crucifixion. In so many ways, now, the only remaining crucifixion is available, comes as the word of God is made distorted or ditched, and deeds of demonstrable creation on the one hand, and folly on the other, judged by other means, with neither example or principle to support them. Of course, disqualification of high school results where the governing philsophy is njot followed is a useful added burden, and removal of opportunity in advanced degrees. The trends increase in severity and in boldness.

If they want to crucify, that is their prerogative, answerable to God; but the least one can do is be decisive and cast down false theories to the uttermost, with no place left for their dignity or function, using use the Bible only as criterion, with of course reason for the faith, but the mode without  concession. Ancient Israel was frequently making alliances with what did not know God, having this or that concession or reception from them, and HOW the Lord denounced such things (cf. Isaiah 30:1-4).

 invasion of the minds of youngsters with what one learned Professor saw might well appear as just-so stories is like shearing lambs, with ultra-sharp clippers and rough handling, before the protective cladding is well-grown. There is one Lord, who says this: "Why do you call Me Lord, Lord and not do the things I say!" Luke 6:46. Many are the home-schooling parents who seek to apply this.

What then is the character of the need in meeting the invasive forces of the evil one in his various academic, professional and invasive modes ?

Love is the motive; clarity is the atmosphere; logic is a precision instrument; the word of God is the judge both of the doctrine and of the means to confirm it. The defence and confirmation of the Gospel is crucial now as before; and its proclamation is the joy which moves amid the other functions, just as the apostles showed for them, Christ exhibited indeed, and His word in principle depicts.

See also What is New ?

If you are then doing good in some field, do you need to regard the methods of procedure and the style of the thing ? If it is in the word of God, assuredly you do.

It simply is not the case that the pursuit of a specialist occupation or pre-occupation gives reason  for disobeying the Bible on questions of fellowship  and praise where shame is due, or tole ration where condemnation is required. The WAY of life as well as the WEIGHT of life has to be considered; there are standing rules, and to break these is to  allow zeal to outrun knowledge, and where praise replaces exposure, be it implicit or explicit, there is a heavy biblical burden (Proverbs 28:4).

Seeing a 'good'  thing is not the same as being directed to ignore orders in the way it is to be done, and not done; and to expand liberty, till human wisdom sounds like a bell tolling, warning of danger in the land is unwise. From such steps, we must be warned.

See what is new link as above, where a biblical treatment of fellowship to the point, is provided by hyperlink. In particular note: creation is commonly a topic treated with an all but incredible disregard of actual facts, as shown in The gods of naturalism have no go! Helping to banish such misconceptions and to provide correctives is very good; and the apologetics that is decisive, is even better, bringing the thrust home from the beginning. However, raging ecumenicity is no less a portent of pollution, no less a danger than myths about the founding of this world. BOTH have to be watched, the Scylla as well as the Charybdis. Those concerning receiving the word of God given, need to see what it says and its wonderful penetration and reliability not only as to foundation but as to function and as to fellowship. Being on the rock, is not only a stable place, but one with many contemporary hazards: but what does it matter if like those slain from the first, we endure to the last in the ways biblically declared. There is neither amelioration in doctrine NO in conduct, the wisdom or in the way for it.

To  mix, if so be, the biblical METHOD in dealing with creation with a different approach in so doing, at the attitude/fellowship level means, whatever the intention,  to pollute the concept of conformity to the word of God, already weakened. It strengthens relativism in things spiritual, disregard in things culturally misleading many, and goes beyond the collegiate needs of the rest of the affairs of the body of Christ, and the modes for one as for all, on each topic, on one as on all.

It tends to strengthen, perhaps even radically, the impact of the absorptive syndrome, the synthesis desire now culturally eminent, allowing for take-overs in this and that field, while another disregards the atmosphere or the associations involved in various ways. It is like burning a  newspaper where the tinder is dry and drought reigns.

The results can be reminiscent of a sort of leprosy, leading to  the loss of joints through misuse, as Dr Paul Brand points out, in the medical field. To avoid pollution of one thing by another, one should keep to ALL the commandments, whether concerning teaching and diligence, or purging and exposure, the latter something light does and darkness ignores. All  scripture with all care and  all diligence is what is needed: it is like an operation. Just  don't start innovating for the sake of some specialist procedure that flaunts its wares and ignores due cares. The wares may be good, but they must be used prudently, not with passion alone, that all the warnings and exhortations be kept, with attention to detail,  even when its import and importance may not yet be realised. It is like driving ever so well, EXCEPT when doing right hand turns. This one oversight however, may ruin more than the car, in rather short order.

In all things CHRIST must be exalted, and that includes all parts of His word, for it is His.

 

 

NOTES

 

*P

Taking a biblical perspective is itself quite thrilling, and some of this is given here in an excerpt from Deity and Design  ... Section 9. This present Chapter deals more with the perspective in terms of apologetics and testimony, and their ways.

The design for man revealed in this witness, the Bible, is quite simple. In this, it is in maxi-contrast to the design of man, by which he lives. In that design, that combination of imagination, language and implementation of an integrally coherent body which has functional focus as well as productivity mutually of parts, there is provision for the automatic, the programmed, the semi-automatic, but also the locus for intervention either by direct will  or by will in part, and the intervention of the voluntary. In the arena of the voluntary itself, the opposite of the material, which has its own thought forms implicit in its creation, its own logical requisites and coherence-validity stress, there is design for designation. While the body has opportunity in part, and overall greatly, for access by the voluntary, the organ of volition, the spirit of man *1 has its own base and basis, volition and powers to implement.


That means this: there is a provision, by means of a working and functional design for personality*1A, for self-expression which reaches right up to the height of expression relative to the Designer. The felicity of man's intellect, imagination, power to declaim and to deceive, both  in himself and others, enable this metaphysical nicety, that man beyond the mere routine of complicated ruminations of material reality (seen here as an offshoot of the mind of God and hence while not directly ruminative, expressive of what is so) can in principle sack God from his life, but not from the World He made.

God has designed man so that he able to do this, for if not, he would not have the functionality and felicity for fellowship with God. God is the ULTIMATE in autonomy, expressing Himself indeed in His eternal Word, who incarnate is Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14, 8:58, 5:19-23, 16:15 -"All that the Father has is mine", "Before Abraham WAS, I AM" providing the divine contrast). Man however has mere intimation of autonomy, the facility to reach for it, and while not being God, yet is enabled to draw near to the power and function source he desires.

Ultimately (though there are many mediating steps available), this is God or else the Antagonist, the devil, the Satan. The latter may come in moral misfits, as an angel of light, in similitudes of virtue, or pulsating pride or in low-key imitations of normalcy, like a stuffed frog. Its deadness is however in such cases merely plausible. The alien power is always operative*1B . There is a sufficiency of power to make evil obtainable, just as there is a sufficiency of sin in the squalor of misused will, to make it desirable for many. The tests are extremely adequate! The realities have force, and the truth and misologies alike are before man, though his fall has made the latter the more easily loved, and the ready torment.

What then if man, designed so that he may designate, and in his design having designating power attached should elect to use this to spurn, even in God's own omniscient foreknowledge, God Himself, to deflect from himself, what is of God, even His sacrifice, His redemption, His salvation in Christ: that One who is duly verified, validated, ratified and confirmed by subsequent history as by that before*2, *4 ... what then ? Then man becomes a defective delinquency from design, and is in turn - following his own designation of 'deity' (whether true, but superficial and without faith, dysfunctional, or else directly false) - himself designated toward, or actually in the fitting destiny!

What then if man so moves in negation to the uttermost ?

This brings a totality of confrontation, or else again in principle, access to an eternity of a bliss founded on the fact that God is INFINITELY more creative than man, and man in himself is colossally so, though a midget compared to God, such being the grandeur of God's creation. This subordinate but impressive power accorded to man is a SPIRITUAL design testimony to the art of the Creator. 

Why however does one say of access to the divine eternity for environment on the part of man, only this:  'in principle' ? Quite simply, it is because man being not at all what he was made in that he has had ... a psychic accident, a little incident in which he effectually divorced himself from the wisdom and will of his Creator, has lost the power to understand, and tends like a car with twisted steering mechanisms, to twist anything concerning God, even if the irrationality - say as in Jonesville - is all but past credibility (Ephesians 4:17ff.).

In such affairs, his credulity is more impressive in quality than the greatest mammoth in quantity, his gullibility is like that of a frightened mouse or a rampaging bull.

In this field, erratic, errant, rebellious, he becomes a desperado, and will believe virtually anything, since his whole meaning is to be believe in God, and failure to do so robs him so notably of all and any meaning*2A, that being divorced, he will in this sense marry ... all but anything! (cf. Things Old and New Chs.  2, 5 , and Appendix).

His being cries out for meaning, for it was meaningfully created; but his divorced heart cries for the lack of it, or is inured to its absence, so that he dives like a man in 150 degree heat, into the liquid, whether it be hot or cold.

This sort of passing verification is what you expect of truth, and it never fails to evidence itself (cf. SMR Chs. 5-6,8-9, LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST).

That men of power and brilliance of intellect should in this field act in tens of thousands or even millions,  without basic thought, using tedious and flimsy tradition or superficial expedition in the midst of a mle of confusion in profusion and simplistic codes of irrationality in confusion: this is a testimony to the centrality of the fault. It is one he makes in falling from his design, of being impetuously or imperiously moved from reason itself, as he seeks the control or solution of his problem, which is by nature insoluble, since it is fundamental; for by deflection he misses all, by defection he misaligns in heart and spirit as well as in head. How otherwise could the sects from Islam to Romanism, tormented in their invalid premises and unverified protestations, their bread as body and their magical glasses and missing tablets, their unfulfilled prophecies and their flat contradictions of the prophets they affect to believe, their all powerful Allah who fails to control events and gives no verification: how else could they continue!*3

God, needing nothing and providing everything, has expelled man from his presence, just as man by lack of faith impelled towards such a result. He has however not dumped man in the rubbish bin direct, because to say no more,  He values His own productions, the more when they mirror in some kind and mode, in image, in spirit, His very own self. Autonomy is open only to the Almighty, because of the fact of His name, but a certain spirit of independence given to man for enquiry and resourcefulness, for initiative and management, for resolution and delight, directed at its source both evidences it height and evinces its created and derivative estate.

This underlying and original creation fact gives reason. It shows WHY man may at all move in his myriad moods of enquiry concerning God,  and it is a necessary condition of man even thinking about God in any coherence whatever; and that coherence depends in practice on the Bible, without increment or additive or subtractive torment: since only there is rationality and verifiability, with validity, to be found in terms of the Creator's speech*4 , and here is the full stop on authorised divine written revelation (Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22, Matthew 5:17ff., Galatians 1 cf. SMR Appendix C and D).

Only from the very mind of God in the words of God is there security and spirituality, godliness and truth, reality and response for man's need, that is more than surmise, less than presumption, enlightening the created mind of man with the conversation and command, the direction and illumination that is available only where all is known, and the will of God in particular.

Intoxicated with his brilliance, ignoring his ludicrous divorcee status without access to absolute truth, writhing in antics of antilogies and defaming God either directly or indirectly by living in the absence of fellowship with Him who conferred this very capacity on him, not for its abuse but use, man becomes a charter for horror, a medium for murder and a context for corruption: all of which modern history exposes to the uttermost, as foretold (cf. SMR
Ch. 8),and that in detail (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5), as the end of the Age approaches.

What however could be done in the case man when he proceeded into divorce from deity ? What is to be done with a parti-autonomous design which had marred itself by the very height of its gift, through the imperious misapplication of just that measure of critical thought, analytical penetration and imaginative facility which God made to be the lot of man ?

What then of his design ? Its liberty could not be restored, without exploding the psyche itself, by its own will, since that was divorced, thus shattering the very powers of coherent conceptualisation, or leaving them so anaemic that they whirred like some misspent toy (equals philosophy, almost whirring, never concurring with all the evidence, whether that of 'science' improperly so-called, or any other aspect of the perfervid movement of man's mind).

God did then what ONLY the Creator can do. He re-invented man's psyche, his soul. How could this be ? It could be done ONLY by foreknowing man as he really is, beyond his sin and implementing the will of God to restore him by re-generation, to reality that could tune in to the directions, or know the very personal being of God.

How would it proceed ? By His knowledge, God would operate ONLY on those whom He knew to be His, in this grand redemption crusade. WHOM HE FOREKNEW, the Bible declares, THOSE HE PREDESTINATED. It is no 'interpretation' to say this, since it is written in Romans 8.

What in the last analysis, in the very founts of freedom, in His own divine knowledge, WOULD not, then COULD not come. He made new whatever did not - in the final analysis and beyond all disease, in His own ultra-pathological and intra-penetrating sight and insight - prefer darkness to light, or unfounded dubiety to manifest reality (John 3:19). His DESIRE was for all (John 3:17, Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2 cf. SMR Appendix B and Ch. 9 above), His protestations to this effect fundamental and continuously declared in His seeking for the lost from Israel on (Ezekiel 33:11, 34, Hosea 7:1, Jeremiah 17, while even enemies were sought for - Jonah 4, Jeremiah 51:9).

It was not what man would DO, but whom God KNEW: it was this that counted (cf. Romans 9:16). It is only those who God foreknew that He predestinated as Paul declares in Romans 8:29ff., and it was NOT founded on foreseen works of any kind, psychic or material, social or intellectual, imagined or real, but upon grace (cf. Ephesians 2, Romans 5), and the very gift of righteousness is by grace, indeed, it is a gift BY grace as well as a gift (Romans 5:15,17) and it is of HIS righteousness, infinite in purity and worth (II Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 61:10, Psalm 71:16)! It must be received for the glory of heaven to be relevant to the condition of regenerated man. If not ... ?

IF, said Christ, they had not heard the words and seen the works which no other man did, then they would not have sin (equals here, would not be on their unredeemed way to everlasting separation from God). This is found in John 15:22ff..

It is BECAUSE they have both seen and known Him, and yet reject Him, the very Saviour from their situation, that there is no more sacrifice for their sin (Hebrews 6, 10); but God Himself is the unique One to regenerate a design in His own image, equals man. It depends not at all on the disposition of man's will by his own desire (John 1:12, Romans 9:16), since this will is now defunct in the relevant capacity (Ephesians 2, 4, I Corinthians 2:14).

On the other hand, in the negative field,  it depends altogether, as known to God, on man's actually foreknown preference for darkness to light that he may be made over to the domain of non-deity permanently, where the meanders of the meaningless inherit their own folly (cf. Proverbs 1, 8). Christ did not come to condemn but to save the world (John 3:17). He does not however declare that their eyes they have closed in order that He might use props to open them; but rather laments as in the case of Jerusalem as they pass to destruction (Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff.), as He did long before by His Spirit, as seen Ezekiel 33:11 and most poignantly in Isaiah 48:17ff. (cf. Massifs ... Ch . 2), for Israel.

In fact, in that very place, amazingly, it is the Lord who is SENT who is talking, and His lament proceeds as that of the pre-incarnate Christ! (see below).

God continually challenges man to believe, laments when he does not, entreats, exhorts, draws, and man most frequently rejects all of this (Matthew 7:13-14, Jeremiah 17, Isaiah 30, II Timothy 3, II Peter 2, Revelation 9), despite as in Jeremiah 1-17, the most enticing and structurally progressive entreaties. God could, but does not, just change the people and make them robots, either in principle or in practice. This manifestly He does not do, as He weeps for their folly (Luke 19:42ff.). On the other hand, man could vainly weep for his exclusion; but this he need not do in general, because he on seeing into the depths of his being, and when he sees this by divine action based on knowledge, the very truth, and repents of it, he takes what is on offer from God. And what is this ?

It is God Himself, manifest in the flesh, Jesus Christ as the self-sacrificing Saviour who bears the sins of many to redeem them. So far from being pettishly or obstructively repellent to man, God has come in the flesh to redeem him, so loving the world. Thus in NOT coming to condemn it :His colours are forever posted. Only vagrancies and conceits of the flesh seek to act otherwise. It is then like citizens in a city who do not take the results of some sacrificial martyr who died to save it, by ignoring what he has effectively done, and proceeding by wilful ignorance, without it. That is the resultant, the residual position in such a case.

It is then quite utterly useless to blame that martyr! Christ. He was more than martyr, and less than ineffective; for though many act as if He had never died for them, proffering His sacrifice in pity (I John 2:1-2), and so never reach the point of His substitutionary sacrifice becoming personal for them, yet some awaken and receiving Him by faith, as He regenerates, become new. The design is then designated afresh, and their wills being released from pathological paralysis in the relevant regard, through the perfect and sublime knowledge of God, consummate the reception of the true and living God as Lord and Saviour: they will as they are foreknown, and are His. It is so very simple (Romans 10:9). The depths are profound; but the entry to His kingdom is simple, because it is entirely paid for, and done visibly, dramatically, historically, prophetically in foresight, empirically before the sight of many, fading not at all, and fulfilled to the last molecule of the stricken body, and to the vast impact of the One who rose WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION, the first-born from the dead.

As sin is the scourge of man, so death is the cancer; but here is the cure. Some however prefer the vapid romancings of rebellion, and to die in them.

To be sure, man may so entangle himself in half-formed wishes that he ends in a state of murkish misfit, and treads underfoot the blood of Christ (Hebrews 6 and 10), but where he comes, he has an anchor inside the veil (Hebrews 6:19), and is covered ONCE by ONE sacrifice for EVER (Hebrews 9:11-12, 10:10-14). The beauty of truth always avail when one is with it, and thus if at ANY time ANYONE calls on the name of the Lord who has so given Himself, and comes to the living Christ, who has so defeated and famished death, then there is no need to hypothesise. The result is secure. The principle is without exception, that so to call and so to be saved are parts of the one reality! (cf. John 5:24, Ephesians 1, Acts 2).

The DESIGN from DEITY found in man is thus one of test and quest, following fall, and deliverance by His paying to the uttermost, as for one in His own image, the cost of reconstruction. This He did, despite over history enduring the unhallowed horror of endless rejections by tempestuous tyrants aflame with their own measure of autonomy, who like frisky horses, or intolerable bulls, bellow or caper about as if life were a joke. He waits till all have come (cf. Revelation 6:11, II Peter 3:9).

It is what you make it, in this, that if you smash the vase, it breaks; and if you place in the hands of the Creator-Redeemer, that same product, yourself, by His enduing grace, then you are bound forever, not to slavery without meaning, the lot of the licentious with spirit, but in ONE forever, and to ONE forever, of which delight,  marriage is merely a symbol (cf. Ephesians 5).

Thus all are designated, to God or from Him,  and the design is so brilliant that this is done without forcing any and with God being willing to forgive any. Thus liberty, freedom, love, truth, majesty, creation and Creator, Redeemer and redeemed, humility and reality conjoin without confusion. Destiny is the result, and it is foreknown (II Timothy 1:9ff., Ephesians 1:4).

 

 

Crux Cruxorum

It is not only a plan, a design, a designation: it is an affair of the utmost profundity of passion.

There is, in the Lord, a passion that is profound, and of this the passions that so often invest or infest the heart of man are expressions, whether in harmony or dissonance. Man is so striving, always arriving only to be searching, discontented with dynamism, that one cannot help but lament for his lack of rest (cf. SMR pp. 570ff., 611ff., Barbs ... 4).

 

 

*1 See for example, A Question of Gifts as marked.
 

*2 See News 98 for example and indexes.
 

*3 See for example, Department of Bible ... Vol. 2, Ch. 2 Appendix.

In SMR, we also cite John Paul II re The Code of Canon Law (prepared by The Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland et al.), 1983, as he states :"It is hoped that this English version of the Code will be a fitting resource for an attentive and fruitful study of the law of the Church...We order that henceforth it is to have the force of law for the whole Latin Church, and we commit its observance to the care and vigilance of all who are responsible."