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Scene of Combat, with the Lord the Leader
will contend with Me ?
Let us stand together; who is Mine adversary ?
let him come near to Me" (Isaiah 50:8)
(prophecy concerning Christ, who acts for His Church)
Christ on earth lost His adversaries, and we read they no more questioned Him! He has given grace to His servants to continue the testimony in His own name, and it is one of the many testimonies to His greatness, that He still shows His truth and power, under challenge and test, to the adversaries of His name (cf. Luke 21:15, I Peter 3:15). It is His power and His will, and to Him is the glory; but He HAS given on earth the testimony, and He does sustain it.
We need in this particularly to remember that it is not just that Christ is an option, that God attests; by His New Testament word, as we shall see in this chapter, and by His Old Testament word not less, there IS NO OPTION. It is irrationality or Christ. The will may dither or deny, but the truth is not available as an optional extra. It is Biblically as clearly attested as inviolable and inescapable, as it is by logic.
In this chapter, we trace, suppressing the identity, the words and assault on teachings of the Bible, of one who had heard of Christian things, and left them, and who was psychologically not willing to have it said that the truth was certain, that Christ only was the way to God, the way, the truth and the life. It was indicated that he would, if he wished, demolish this.
Here, below, we see in what is an instructive episode, the way the matter developed and ended, in this attack. It ended, "I give up." Praise God however, that HE does not! It is because of this that anyone is saved at all!
It is likely that some others will find empathy or some kinship with the feelings and difficulties of X, and profit by considering the Biblical and logical responses given. The word of God is the book for all occasions and what does it say:
It seems best then simply to relay the correspondence, minus items which could help reveal the identity of the writer, or are clearly irrelevant to the structure of what, Biblically, is the syndrome causing the affliction: the former are replaced by X, or other single, capital letter, as part of the WWWW policy concerning attack forces, unless there is a desire to be made known. The latter are marked by * and here occur in the last letter, where they are indicated clearly.
However, nothing material to the point is omitted. It is believed that some of these things are so typical of what occurs in many instances, that it may be edifying to many, and for different reasons, to consider the interplay of considerations which often exercises various minds; and the outcome. May the Lord who was in the midst in this thing, and humbled Himself to help in a very notable way, in great grace, patience and faithfulness, bless those who consider these contemporary issues.
The First Letter
Although it is clear that you consider your arguments compelling, I just thought I'd drop you a note and mention that my extensive education in Christianity leaves me a deeply committed Jew. I have a Bachelor's degree in A, a Master of Y from (X) Theological Seminary, and a Master of Z degree in B from (Y) University in C.
Now, I must acknowledge that I have not read every last shred of your 'evidence' as you have presented it in such wordy fashion at your site and through your books, and I must admit that after all the studying I have already done, I have no great interest in slogging through so much material which largely looks like a rehashing of that with which I am already intimately familiar.
However, I offer my insights to you as a resource. If you would like to learn how a person with such an extensive acquaintance with Christian thought could rationally dissent, we could try having a conversation, and I could try to dissuade you from your, well, arrogance. Note, I do not wish to dissuade you from your Christianity; I merely wish to convince you that non-Christians are not necessarily committing a logical error or overlooking some crucial fact in declining your invitation to convert.
If you wish to have this conversation, please do not blast me with the wordiness that your site employs. Let's pick some element that you consider particularly compelling, I'll tell you how I understand the argument and why I'm not convinced of the conclusions you reach.
We might both learn something.
(Name withheld as part
of WWWW policy.)
The First Reply
WORLD WIDE WEB WITNESS
Feb. 18, 2000
It was good to hear from you, and we at WWWW welcome your communication.
Just for interest, are you in the Rockies region ? I worked in Colorado at one time. It was particularly lovely in Boulder. The University looked so snug in its vast setting, and I knew a Minister there. However it is rather hard to tell sometimes, on the Internet where the correspondent is! I shall indeed look forward to hearing more from you.
Thank you for some of the opinions which you offer. They are of interest to me, since gratuitous 'flames' as they are called, in my experience frequently develop from inadequate capacity to deal rationally with a topic. On this site, they are excluded from all argumentation, as stated.
However, we will not haggle about your free offers of such words without evidence, a feature in which your letter is not deficient. Let us then examine your points in detail, since this is conversation, so that we may proceed to the point at issue.
You do not wish to dissuade me from Christ ? That is like saying: I do not wish to dissect out your genes (cf. I John 3:9). Daily I am confirmed personally, in prophetic fulfilment, in internal power and enablement, in Biblical fidelity, in its internal consistency, and its omnipresent adequacy in meeting each option with amazing logical force. In this, in one sense, I am an observer. It is rather like trying to persuade someone lost in awe and wonder at the marvels of a jewel, of its flaws.
Again, your reference to arrogance - since it apparently relates to the presentation of what the Bible indicates is obvious - can only, as far as current evidence from you goes, be transferred to my Boss, whose 'conviction' I share and apply. If you regard the Christian God as arrogant, it is exceedingly interesting to think how He would regard you. That however is His business. Perhaps your imagination will, for the moment, allow you to consider Christ as true, and Paul as uttering the commandments of the Lord. If you can manage or contrive this, then you can see that to call arrogant what God (in this model) calls obvious, in the Bible, giving reasons, is simply a word misapplied. You are in that case designating an operator accorded instructions from another, with what is required by that other. The diplomat at work in the name of deity is infinitely beneath the deity. This does not alter the claims put forward in the latter's name, or His power to meet them in any way which He chooses. That is His prerogative. This has been made very clear on the Web. He is indeed 'irresistible' (the actual title) though not 'irresistable' (the one queried), this not being a known verbal option.
Of course you may find some further element, not the mere assertion of logical monopoly on truth by God in Christ, to be arrogant. I do not know what you really have in mind, except quite obviously one thing, that it is not to your mind. Are such responses as those themselves, then, 'arrogance' ? Far be it from me to trade insults. I do not know. The human heart is desperately wicked, and it is not for me to take over the Lord's prerogative of plumbing it! (cf. Jeremiah 17:9-10).
It is not, as Paul indicates, anything but a small thing with me for your judgment to shine forth; yes I do not even judge my own self, as he says, and I follow him (as he directs in the Bible) in so doing (I Cor.4:3-5). You may prefer the prerogatives of God: I do not know who your god is, if any. A deeply committed 'Jew' can mean liberal, orthodox or other. It can involve new gods, freshly arrived (as Moses exposed in his day in Deuteronomy 32:17,21). You can of course advise me of your God or gods if you wish; but for the moment after reading a number of Jewish assessments on Jews, I am unable from your words to know to WHAT precisely you are deeply committed. However this is not essential for me to know. Nevertheless, if it suits you, it would be very pleasing to me to know more about you, your work and career. If not, never mind. Once, at first, I thought one Israeli who wrote to us, to be a teen-ager, at his first short letter, when he later advised he was a father of sons grown-up!
Having passed by these various issues beside the vital point, to bring it back to that point, and looked at some opportunities, I come now to the pith and substance of the exercise.
You acknowledge, in your inimitably goading seeming way, that you "have no great interest in slogging through so much material", and yet you wish to exhibit error. Now it may be that is like saying you have no great interest in slogging through the calculus' system, but you have a few words to address to the matter, and are not persuaded of the grounds given. This could border on farce. You will have to show better than this. We are dealing with a system in the first instance, and unless you know it, you are not in a position to refute it. It is a coherent, sequential matter. It is firstly direct proof, then verifications in very numerous fields, which, being both scholarly and detailed, involve work of parallel character. Aspects are expanded and itemised in various cases. You have to know what you are talking about, before talking. In talking, you use words. One of the ways you show you know, is by using apt words concerning what it is you wish to overthrow, in this case presentation of the demonstrability of the Bible as the sole written word of God to mankind, and so forth.
If someone does not like someone else, you will normally find that it is a tedious task indeed to wade through many letters from this person; but if they are in love, it may be quite the opposite, and so subjectivity enters. The topic can be a task-master to the imagination. (Incidentally if you really disrelish extensive disquisitions, try Augustine, and Chrysostom! )
Again, you have, it seems, the temerity to set out conditions for the discussion which one understands you want: not of course for a display of your justly despised 'arrogance', but for some other purpose. After all, if your view, whatever it may be, is felt to be one that OBVIOUSLY is going to stand up, you are, shall we say, assured ? Indeed, you state that one may "like to LEARN how a person ... could rationally dissent" (italics added). I could not learn it if it were not the case. So this is something different from what you dislike ? …
Perhaps there is a secret reason for this ? It is not for me to say... or perhaps you may realise that apart from all else, conviction is not arrogance, but unclouded persuasion; and reason given is not presumption, but something with which you need to DEMOLISH by its use, before you justly can comment on its MISUSE. That however is something to be PROVED, put to the test, verified in practice.
Now my dear X, I realise that answering you according to your mind in these matters, may rile you. But do not let it do so. I merely want you to realise in advance that
1) ANY conclusion to which ANYONE is committed, who is not God, may be held with sincerity and modesty, apart from all else, if the REASONS for it are valid; and ANY failure to make some message clear, when it is CRUCIAL, may be a lack of HONOUR, INTEGRITY and CONCERN. In medical analogy, does one see a person in danger of death, and pretend that the necessary cure is not good, when one knows why and how it works! I think not. I believe God, the God of the Bible. In this case, the Bible indicates God is the only alternative to irrationality and I declare it from there, believing both the Bible and this fact; together with providing opportunity of challenge, since it is Biblical to provide a reason for the faith to anyone who asks, and this site is such a provision setting forth the normal, formal logical criteria for action. Provisions neglected, are still given. It is God who will assess who has done which ... with what.
2) Minute dissertation in many fields of many aspects of something which contains and comprises the basis of all things OUGHT to have much to say, if it does not merely lightly pass over the detail it 'arrogantly' dismisses! At all events, at least, one may say that humility is willing to WORK, and hence to EXAMINE, and in things which relate to the mind, use WORDS. That is why you have some writers with many books on this subject. On this particular site, there are over 2000 topics and sub-topics. Explication in detail is often needed because obscuration is so common that philosophical clichés are accepted like air. It may also be hard to understand a topic if one is directed amiss in one's studies, so that exposition and correction may both be needed. This is not the less apparent for one who is also a teacher. Crash repairs operations have significant differences from the making of cars, and can be exacting.
In general, it may be hard to know the MANY purposes a writer has, if you do not read what they are.
3) The MODE of speech and address is adjusted to the target, topic and its disciplinary demands. We do not use clubs because you like them, or consider my bow and arrow obscene. We are free in logical combat. If you are too weary to bother; so be it. I am not.
Now finally, as to method, there is something - and yes, of course for Christ's sake and for yours, I am willing to discourse with you, and that with very great pleasure. I do indeed hope we shall both learn something, and for my part, this would be a better understanding of what you are thinking, and how you dispose your personality in discussion, after what might at least seem rather bizarre a start! What I have done is as stated on the site, PRESENT REASON FOR FAITH. What we have CHALLENGED in the FIRST INSTANCE on the Web, as in my printed trilogy and in my CD-ROM, is for anyone to OVERTHROW the reasons being given and the replies which accrue. This you are quite as welcome to seek to do as anyone else (and on the same terms as noted, through SWIFT WITNESS and what it shows -5, in Action Kit, margin).
No one has done this, in the sense shown on our site, in nearly 50 years. It should however be added at once that this is NOT because of any knowledge of mine or ours, or wisdom or skill, or anti-skill or whatever of a purely personal character, for one or any of us: it is NOT that any more than it was that when Joshua overcame the resistance. It is of the Lord. It is for a testimony. It is indeed a GLORYING, but one in the LORD. That is where it begins for me, and where it always ends. HE is my assistant in this, for I AM HIS SERVANT. I find it very exhilarating serving Him, as one of His redeemed, because HE is exhilarating. He acts as He will and is limited by nothing, by no system or construction, uses what He will; but since it is His own, He keeps His word. The Lord I mean is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the one of those I mean is the one who is detailed in the New Testament, and in such other places as this assigns. HE is my stay and always has been since my conversion to Him in 1952. It is HE who reveals secrets, and demolishes bastions (cf. II Corinthians 10:5).
YOUR TASK, then if you really want to win the challenge that has been out for years now, and used in the University of Adelaide for several years ON SITE, without successful resistance - is to SHOW that the SYSTEM presented is fallacious and cannot stand, and that the reasons you are given do not stand, and cannot be made to do so. If you do not KNOW what it is which is facing you, then you will obviously be at a disadvantage. If you do not bother to read what is there, you will be hard put to show its errors. If you merely find what it 'looks like', you have yet work to do to show that this is so, to yourself or anyone else; and the relevance of such a thing, for that matter, if it were so. However I for my part lay down no procedure for you except the one stated on the site, and this for the reasons there shown. In any such argumentation, PERSONAL INSULTS AND ATTACKS are excluded. They are a waste of time. Who is perfect, that he might seriously imagine he can dismiss and judge his neighbour by the reams of his own subjectivity! I could characterise that, but I won't. It is more profitable not to do so, since the subject is the point. One is not helped in that sort of activity, in Christ (where I am), because it is simply forbidden (Matthew 7).
If you can keep that rule, then the real logic of the situation will not be clouded by logical irrelevancies, or ad hominems which are in themselves, listed amongst the fallacies, formally.
Incidentally, as noted in the site, this which has been presented is merely one system; others could quite well lead to the same end. It has the advantage of having been preceded by many, being forced to conformity with none. Nor are we limited to any system, but only to the Lord. This is noted, in some detail, on site under APOLOGETICS APPROACH in the margin, which should be read carefully, to the end. It will almost certainly save time in the end.
The other thing, in principle, is for you simply to know enough about your topic (the proofs) to be able to show accurately from the text as presented, and the replies as given, that the claims made on site concerning the ONE God who has given ONE written authority to man, the Bible, and ONE necessary Saviour, Jesus Christ, are indeed false: that is, that this CANNOT be shown to be true.
If this is too much for you, I do not apologise. Those are the conditions. You can put it in any words you like, so long as you have the studious faithfulness to SHOW that the words in which you put it are indeed JUST and ACCURATE to the text and position you are seeking to demolish, overthrow or whatever, and to the replies you may be given. That of course is a scholarly norm; and without that, it is merely a matter of word throwing, like javelin throwing by Saul, getting nowhere, meaning nothing to the just point. Christ is far too precious to me, and His answer is far too necessary to others, for me to waste my time in this sort of verbal spectacular. I have dealt with all this in depth, so that it may be the LAST time we deal in these purely personal, PROCEDURAL areas. In that way, the call of the topic for zealous thought, according to the laws of logic, can be given full attention. We are giving here REASON for the faith (not delicacies for titillation).
To that, I challenge you in Christ's name.
Now, if it seems after you have exposed your assault topic or topics by email, that we can make a real back and forth conversation, following the logical stringencies as set out, great. The line of communication is open. Let us begin where we are in this requested conversation. It is easy by email.
The task is one of reasoning, and the method must be conformed to that.
Finally at this level, please do not merely react or respond to the fact that answers to your preliminaries required me to remind you (if you have read it) of the logically careful way in which any debate is to be carried out in this site (as specified on it), and that this has taken a little time.
It is like a surgical operation. The TIME and the EFFORT taken to scrub up, and sterilise the instruments, and arrange the procedures, and have all the facilities, personnel and knowledge at hand, is WELL WORTH IT, when the patient lives. There is nothing personal in this. I genuinely look forward to reasoned exchanges, and am not troubled by a few initial words amiss! The subject is infinitely important, as may be also the results at the personal level; and it is my concern that it gets the care it deserves, in general, in detail and in manner.
VIVA LIFE! VIVA the patient. Let us then take care. If your arguments are good, they will, rest assured, need no help from bellicose words directed at the speaker. To slap the face does not aid the argument.
If it stands, let it, with hands to one side! Christ had more than His face slapped and we who are His servants at this site, want to get on with His work with as good an understanding as may be, between persons.
On the other hand, by all means let the argument be put with whatever VIGOUR and RIGOUR you like, the more the merrier! That was the way it was in philosophy school, and for my part I endorse that part. If a proposition needs to be THOROUGHLY EXPOSED and ground into the dust, do it, if you can! Hold nothing back towards the PROPOSITION.
I do not! Why should you not try! A vigorous discussion on the topics in view and their necessary implications at ANY level, would be delightful, one in which all the efforts are directed to the topic and to its due and true outcome.
As to academic degrees, ALL of mine were gained for ONE reason: the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In my testimony which He has sustained against many scholars, some my professors, for decades, many things became necessary, and degrees were amongst them, with one qualification needed to aid 'tent-making' in teaching, to assist the ministry; and I have chosen lecturing and teaching. The doctorate came because the head of a Doctrine Committee in one of the Presbyterian national bodies was impressed and wanted the work to be recognised. In fact, I tend in these fields almost to anti-value academic degrees, for the current culture is so corrupt that the misuses of reason have become at times hilariously ludicrous, the eyes of many academics, as Christ indicated, being blind. Sometimes indeed, they virtually note this of each other. That is why logic is so vital. It is a common ground. As for my own school, it is Christ, the Master indeed; and His recommendation is the Bible. So it is for me.
To the task then, if you will. Let us have your logical demonstration, if you are able, that some necessary, systematic point in the argumentation of the site is illogical, invalid, unsustainable and cannot be developed. It is the Biblical truth, as demonstrable, which is to stand, and we shall see how your assault fares.
If you can, do it. If you cannot, then do not bother. It is entirely up to you, for your own initiative, to launch any assault, attack on what has been provided and is or will be available. You want to prove it wrong that Jesus Christ should state that He is the truth and no man comes to the Father EXCEPT BY HIM, or some allied or parallel propositions ? Then of course you address the servant, who will be working with his eternal Lord and tell Him the point of your attack. We, through His mercy, are inseparable (Romans 8:38-39, John 10:27-28), the Redeemer and His redeemed. I as a servant of His, act only for Him, and my enablement is from Him. You can work in whatever name you choose, and I shall go in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Incidentally re your letter, I do not (in my frame of reference) invite to convert! It is not something you can do. My appeal is to find God through Jesus Christ (as in John 15:16).
With all good will,
(for World Wide Web Witness Inc.)
The Second Letter
Dear Rev. Donaldson,
I have quickly read through your lengthy response. As I understand it, where I had asked you to pick a point which you considered particularly convincing, you have replied that I should choose an area wherein I find fault. Fair enough. I may go to the trouble of doing so, I may not.
Please consider the following two claims:1) "Christian faith is demonstrably reasonable," and 2) "The claims of Christianity can be (and has been) proven to be true."
Now, my understanding of Christian apologetics has been that it generally limits itself to the former claim, defending the legitimacy of the faith against challenges to it. The latter claim is *much* stronger, and it is because I read your site as making this latter claim that I initially wrote. If I have misunderstood, and your agenda is merely the former, then we have no quarrel. However, the latter carries with it some correlaries (sic) : 3) Anyone who does not believe the truth-claims of Christianity is in error, and 4) it is an error either in failed logic, incorrect grasp of the facts, or a combination of the two.
I hope you can understand how a highly educated non-Christian (such as myself) might regard being told that she or he is making an intellectual mistake, that she/he *must* have some flaw in his/her logic or to have overlooked some obvious facts, as something of an insult. It is in response to this perceived insult that I named your position and tone arrogant.
Now, what do you mean by proof? Perhaps if you gave me an analogy. Is your 'proof' of Christianity's truth claims analogous to the Pythagorean Theorem (or if we want analogous length, Fermat's Last Theorem?), or proving the Earth revolves around the Sun rather than vice-versa, or is it more like proving that O.J. Simpson was at the crime scene? Is it like proving that there were Norsemen in North America prior to Lief Erikson?
Is your claim that those who disagree with you like those who think the world is flat, as deeply and as culpably in error? Proof is such a strong word that this is approximately how I read you. Can you wonder why that sounds insulting, how I would hear the speaker as arrogant? Well, arrogance is neither here nor there, really. I felt insulted, you felt insulted, neither of us really cares about that very much. Please clarify what you mean by proof or direct me to the appropriate specific material on your website, if you prefer.
The Second Reply
World Wide Web Witness Inc.
Reply to the Queries and Requests of the Letter
Thursday, February 24, 2000
of Thursday, Feb. 17, 2000
Thank you for your letter, which I was pleased to receive. We at WWWW welcome your response. It may be that we can now more usefully correspond.
In reply to your questions and concerns, there are a few segments which have required attention, so you can examine them at your leisure under the various headings.
Incidentally, it could also be helpful if you cared to let me know your work, your site and your approximate age, information which could aid avoidance of misapprehensions and forward flow of thought. Nevertheless, you have at least exposed one difficulty with some features noted. This forwards things; and to this accordingly I have given some space. As often with the answers to questions, it takes rather more to show the result than to ask for it. You have to be prepared for that. At least it is shorter than many! And it will not take 2000 years (see later!).
appear to have given no less than 11 questions or requests, and as at
an Army store, the fulfilment of these requisitions requires a vehicle.
Imagine the recipient complaining at the gear, that it requires transport! These questions could readily occupy a half-semester in one subject; but with the Web home site coverage available to you, I can meet them more shortly, without lacking in conscientiousness.
On another point which you mention: No, actually I could have put 'insulting' in my letter, but decided not to do so. That was not really the point. Rather, this type of thing - personal flames, when really a merely subjectivistic excursion or a personal aside - is too unwieldy and futile for the purpose in hand. That is the formal, logical norm, that is all.
Personal things of that type can be a distraction which ends useful argument, and the topic is far too important to suffer the liability of volatility. It needs to be sound. If we suffer things manifestly invidiously subjective, this can become, as in politics, a substitute for thought, an example for other discourse where it matters, a degrading of calibre, and so on. So I am glad to look for the exclusion clause there.
This area did however lead to the question of your own attitude towards the declarations of God, in the Biblical model! That too, it was useful, and will bear examination. Reaction to these, the declarations of God, is frequently something approaching a fazed reciprocal, one that can be strange_ when the parties are so unequal in so much, and never to the credit of man. Malachi exposes something of that spirit in Ch. 2. Of that, we shall see further later.
Also, if you in fact read references given to the site, where you have the need, and the letters in answer to your requests, this makes for clarity and helps avoid repetition, and thus the length, to which it appears you are rather sensitive. Such things as these will enable our conversation to be effective, shorter and of deeper value. In all this, I am delighted to help in any way, by the grace of God, I can.
YOUR POINTS considered in the contemporary field
It was good to hear your 1) 2) 3) 4) points on what you have found. I should think that this is fairly much to the point in this century. The number of times one reads that Christianity cannot be proved, is perhaps almost parallel to those in which one reads how nice pre-marital sex is, how clever divorce is and how everyone and every nation of course seeks his/her/its own interests. The nauseating monotony of this type of propaganda makes itself almost a cult, as well as part of culture.
Now in your studies at X it is just possible that you did not meet anything more like Christianity, Biblically defined, as the basis, than you would anything like free enterprise systems, if you studied 'capitalism' in Moscow, say during the seventies. I do notice in one book providing some compendium on US Colleges, that it is marked out as exceedingly radical and a leader in that field. If so, this will obviously have had a bearing on the input you have received, to some extent, just as my time at Westminster had a bearing on mine. However the colleges may be, this is not the issue nor is any assumption here made, except that here is a topic for relevant thought when you consider what you personally have FOUND, as in your 1) 2) etc. presentation.
In my case, the US seminary was chosen because in Melbourne, the Presbyterian seminary was attacking the Bible, almost on a daily basis, whole books at a time, inventing a new 'Jesus' from the irrational philosophies of preference, pumping in the principles of puny, self-contradictory ideologies, like a dredge operation in reverse, the cultural clutter of the reckless, heady day, and imagining it had something to do with Christianity and so on. I could not be interested in such presumptuous idolatry or debased denial, having found the pearl of great price, and surrendered all things for Him, nor was it wise to spend time on pieces of frivol and trivia, cut-glass with the label of authenticity pasted over the analysable chemical impurities! The pearl carried free redemption and perfect purity as part of its lustre, and vanity becomes yet more vain when it is seen in the plain light of common day.
Therefore I challenging logically as trained, enabled and permitted, succeeded too well, and transferred to SOME SEMINARY which would PURPORT at least to expound what was in the Bible, giving reasons for it. I was a Christian, and not interested in wasting time on the manifestly self-contradictory, the inadequacies of subservience to the futile idiocies with which worldly philosophy labours (cf. I Cor. 1:18-20, Isaiah 28:9-11, Hosea 9:7); and, indeed, finds itself lampooned, one generation by the next, and often all too justly!
That particular frustrated phenomenon, that endless, age-long circling around a beach never available for landing, in the sphere of philosophy, itself requires a reason; and the Bible covers that excellently (cf. I Cor.1:20-21,25, II Cor. 10:12; Isaiah 29:9-14); as well as characterising this quality in that field. 2000 years + have not sufficed for such philosophy. This is not merely an abundant verification of the Bible, but a necessary consequence of its statements. With the Bible, the case is the opposite to that of philosophy: What it denies, is denied; what it affirms, is affirmed (cf. Isaiah 34:17, 59:21), as history like a flowing stream, catches up with the bank of time noted by the predictive and analytical word of God. It stands. Philosophy wavers like a leaf in the wind. You would almost think the dancing of the philosophy of this world was consciously following a directed impresario, a scripted choreography, the motif evanescence, the script, the word of God.
Yes, then, your second item 2), is a correct evaluation of what is being said, to a point, on the site: except in this, that it requires more definition. The same is true of your 3). Substitute for your phrase 'Christian faith' in 1), 'Christianity' in 2) and your phrase 'The truth-claims of Christianity' in 3), with the following words, and it will be sound: "The Biblical teaching in its 66 books. " This, your 2), then becomes: "The Biblical teaching in its 66 books can be (and has been) proven to be true." (This way we can keep your 'have' since in my reformulation, the subject is indeed singular.) That is what my site has to say, and we had better keep to it, in view of your project's nature. Naturally, further developments can be added when people do not see points, and this aspect is covered on site also. This however will be the sense of the term "Christianity" later on in this presentation (p.12). But now let us return to the character of your basic assertions or suggestions as numbered.
If you look at the Approach to Apologetics location in the margin, you will find that for long this more stringent claim, re demonstrability, has been the direction in Presbyterian Apologetics in some of its most distinguished proponents, some of great repute internationally. The L'Abri centres, in numbers of countries, relayed this teaching. (Unless advised to the contrary, I shall simply assume you have read this Approach, as otherwise the position is vague, and hence not apt for logical analysis.) Far earlier, the Presbyterian Charles Hodge of Princeton, of great name and fame in the last century through his enormous labours, indeed declared of the Bible that "its claims are authenticated by an amount of evidence which renders unbelief unreasonable and criminal" - Systematic Theology, Vol.1, p.37, publ. 1871. These things are noted for no other reason than to put into a little more perspective historically, the fact that our emphasis on the Web certainly includes this:
Your POINTS considered with the relevant Biblical Teaching
This stringency, to say no more, is certainly the position in the Bible's own claims concerning its teaching, a point to which I shall return. God in the Bible categorically rebukes reckless disbelief, thankless dismissal and outrageous irrationality.
But first, for the sake of this section, permit me to say that, in this discipline, as in most others of any value, it is necessary to cover the topics with appropriate care. Millenia have not passed on this much trodden religious arena, so that skeletal notes can, for all, be wisely concocted for a few moments attention! Advisedly, then, I like to deal with aspects and elements in full detail, and to leave nothing to presumption, frequently a pathway to peril. I may try to indulge your brevity desire, but only to the extent justice permits. While channels are open, the topic sought has a necessary coverage. At that, there has been curtailment where it has seemed feasible.
Disciplines require time and effort! Art, architecture and science all demand. Seek and you will find. As one must appreciate, this subject has its own rigours; they are productive, but required. Therefore we shall have to do a little legwork - and not least in our present heading! However, we can summarise somewhat, and essentialise, after a little of this.
In this universe of discourse, then, the Bible itself: your point 3) (as adjusted) has assuredly as decisive a confirmation as Christ made it in John 8 - cf. vv. 45-47,58 with 12:48-50, 5:45ff.. (I have detail prepared on this, which you can have if needed.) Emphatically so! Your point 4) suggestion is however wrong, not so much in its interior idea, as in the scope of the thought itself. The consequence you here are seeking IS indeed INCLUSIVE of those two errors which you mention, but it is FAR from these alone; and it is not mainly these. Logic is immensely important, but life is vastly more so. You cannot think without life ( I do not say physical life, but life). You can have something ape the externals of thought, but I refer to the human imaginative capacity for ideational enterprise and so on.
It is, then an error of SPIRIT, and of LIFE, of PERCEPTION and UNDERSTANDING, like that of a student who without mathematics finds himself with Professor Einstein in the 1940's, auditing lectures. The logic-fact errors may be assured for that student in examination; but they start from a spirit which is blind and dead in the analogy, to the special field of mathematics, relatively speaking. Likewise, outside the analogy, in Biblical terms, the attitude concerns one blind more absolutely towards God (John 9:39-41, 8:43).
It is not that NOTHING is known, but nothing well. Indeed it was
"...BECAUSE I tell you the truth, you do not believe Me" - John 8:45! (emphasis added).
Similarly, for that matter, it was "BECAUSE" He had done no violence, "neither was any deceit" in His mouth, it is written in Isaiah 53, that He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death.
For many, the Christ charged, it was precisely the truth of His claims that was intolerable. God was NOT to be desired (cf. Isaiah 29:13, 5:4), despite anything and everything. THIS was the stated position for learned, sophisticated, zealous people who objected to Christ's claims. HIS rebukes include as can be shown (see above) charge of wilful distortion, devilish disregard, distancing from evidence, a life in this sphere, where lies are the milieu, where truth is not present in the outcome or the spiritual input. Logic is the victim. Spirit is the hand that kills. It is precisely parallel to the Lord's indictment so often in the Old Testament. It echoes like a resonance chamber.
YOU DO IT! Get your idol to do it! Show your godlike powers! Be impressive.
HE is unimpressed. Christ on earth was similarly unimpressed (John 8). There the realities, reactions and opportunities were vastly intensified, manifest was the response and immense the result.
Sometimes scathing in irony, God is remorseless in challenge, as you see there in Isaiah (e.g. in Ch.41, cf. John 8:43-45), recalling the past (Psalm 78, 105,106), declaring morality (Jeremiah 7:9-23), forecasting the future, recasting the past, essentialising the meaning, dismissing the logical impotence of claims of flesh (cf. Psalm 78:8-11,32-33, Isaiah 43:8-13), assigning to nations what is to be (Jeremiah 25).
"You," He says, "are nothing, and your work is nothing. He who chooses you is an abomination." Isaiah 40:25-26 provides the necessary contrast, and only source of validity, evidence and relevant power (cf. also Isaiah 40:13ff., 41:21-22, 43:8-11, 44:8, 45:11-13, 45:21-22, 46:10-13, 47:8, 48:3-8, 50:10-11, 51:10,16,20, 55:7-9, 57:12-13, 15-16, 59:4,13-15,18, 64:4-5, Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Lamentation 2:17, Hosea 4:6, 7:10-16, Micah 2:10-11, 3:5, Zephaniah 2:1-3, 3:4, Jeremiah 4:22, 4:4, 2:13, 20, 28, 4:14, 5:12-13, 5:21-23,30-31, 6:10,19-20, 7:22ff., 8:7-9, 8:22, 9:3-6, 10:1-16,23, 23:18,28-29). "Through deceit," says Jeremiah, "they refuse to know Me" - Jeremiah 9:6, and they are exposed in rambunctious irrational folly and futile pretence (Jeremiah 16:10-13, 23:16-18): backed by nothing, based on nothing, worth nothing. Any value God sets on man is accordingly by grace (Isaiah 61:10, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 5:15, Hosea 13:14, Psalm 49:7,15).
Of immense importance empirically, is this, that when you go into things in full, as in immense scope of presentation in Leviticus 26 in the word of God, there is the far greater exposure to and scope for :
1) disproof among the many propositions presented in the text, and the perspective in view; God is lavish in that innocence of truth which has no confines or concerns to limit it;
and on the opposite side,
2) verification which mounts higher, the higher is the perspective in distinctiveness, the level of causality appealed to, and the power and characterisability of its source.
In this case in Leviticus, it is God, who characterises Himself, His nation and His attitudes to them, together with the read-out of prospective action, including some predicted developments, and outcomes. WHAT, WHY and in what environment of terms, it is to be: it is all there. This is the divine deposition in the Bible, as it presents it - detailed, decisive and defined.
This is one example of the vulnerability of the detailed and precise word of God written, matched by its relentless continuance; just as above we saw that even greater case of the exposed, at its height in the human format of Christ, the living word of God. The procedure in pointedly dismissing all attempts to dismiss Him or any of the multitudinous claims concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament regarding Him, is the further testimony of the divine sovereignty. The creation of new 'christs' (as in Matthew 24:24) is not merely further leisurely fulfilment of His words, but a compliment to His name, however perverted its format. It ALL goes EXACTLY to pre-announced plan (as in Amos 3:7). It covers Jews; it covers Gentiles, all.
EVEN however in such circumstances as these, where things designedly under test, are peeled, skinned and exposed to tempests, nothing moves. The word of God stands for ever unchanged, unchangeable. In this, it is in the most marked contrast to the theories, scientific and other, of men, whose rate of change is greater than even that in the basements of New York sky-scrapers.
Let us now revert to Leviticus 26 in its vast coverage. Despite these sensitive criteria, accordingly, the prophecy was not at all exposed as in error, but on the contrary, maximally verified. This moreover is a relevant example, for our present purpose in view, of the divine assessments of the grounds of the divine distaste for the wreaths of human waywardness which God specifies, and that cumulatively in Leviticus 26!
Hence in your part 4) I should not put it (since you ask) quite as you do. It is not that there is involved any less error than you suggest, but rather far more, with that to be construed in a specific perspective. It is indeed a generic situation, not merely a personal one.
It is, if you like analogy, like saying that particles behave in a certain way quite different from normal, if they are exposed to a powerful electro-magnetic field. This is NOT normal behaviour; but it IS when the field is present. You see this in Isaiah 6 and in Matthew 13:13-14 as well as in John 8. This people's heart, says Christ, has become gross... they have closed their eyes LEST ... Isaiah's lamentation is also profound. Even religious activities have become abominable (Ch.1) because of their spiritual fraud underlying. Overall disregard of the whole concourse of logic and testimony is charged! (Cf. Psalm 39:4-11, 139:1-6, 25:14, Isaiah 41:28, 42:18-20, 40:13, Job 29:20-28, Isaiah 55:8-9, Jeremiah 10:23, 23:16-23, cf. II Corinthians 10:12.)
Perhaps it is like a girl being given an engagement ring by a man at that time committing adultery. A ring ? yes. Then ? no.
This is not just some ancient phenomenon: nor does the Bible present it as such (cf. Isaiah 30:8-9, II Timothy 3, Romans 1). When you have, as I, over decades, in numbers of oh, so different nations and cultures, in various churches and dynamic arenas of historic action in changing denominations, SEEN the Assemblies, the professors, heard the lecturers, seen the betrayals of truth and heard the reasons, watched it all over and again, bizarre, belittling to truth, morally anaemic, twisting reality with blind, drugged hands, it is no longer in the least strange. The Germans followed Hitler in much that is all but incredible; but when certain manipulative forces arise, strange things may happen. It is not because man per se, is good. That Nazi case was politics with an EXPLICIT spiritual dimension. This is the spiritual dimension itself.
It happens, happens often, like breathing - be it conscious or unconscious. Betrayal of truth for self-love, self-esteem, comfort, companionship with preferred mortals, place in society, love of the honour of men and so on is one frequently found symptom, like the bugle to the war horse. Sometimes it is said, at others, just done. It has happened for generations; it is wild now. It stands in vivid contrast to being 'crucified with Christ' as many spiritually have been, and Biblically should be, in spiritual terms (Galatians 2:20). Christ specifically charged this sort of fault as of significant application in John 5:44ff., and reviewed some results of such things in John 5:19-23, 36,40, 8:40, 44, 10:37-38 and then with judgmental severity, 12:48-50. It did not only happen then or in any one race or nation. There however it was given direct commentary. Spiritual disorders induced perceptive remoteness and undisguisable distortion.
It is a gross and obvious thing, where people (or nations) scorn or ignore their Maker, break their vows, twist their commitments, mislead the churches and betray the Lord, while smiling on His name; it is fascinating and admonitory, to see the profound parallel with the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah, as Gentiles storm to their own - this time world-wide - tragedy, in vast masses scorning the word of the Lord. When indeed YOU yourself are the one betrayed in certain cases, you can see the Judas like gleam of moral collapse and watch the tormentor in torment with his soul, see the stages to some extent of decline and consider the high tone at first, and what is to be gained at last.
The Biblical becomes then the empirical. The Bible acts now as a laboratory handbook! It also explains how such things could be. It further indicates that they will be, and will augment (Matthew 24), and in what near terminal circumstances in the Age, this is to be. It further gives reasons for this. It is the way it is: encompassing in coverage, with unstressed sovereignty. Nor are all the events so dramatic; but on the contrary, sometimes in the stealth of silence, mist of thought, or thrust of will, such things can be wrought, and afterwards fulfilled. They can come either through active evil, or passive receptivity to it (cf. Matthew 12:43-45).
It is thus a spiritual malady, Biblically defined (as here and in Ephesians 4:17-19, Isaiah 1, Isaiah 30:8-10). In this last instance, Isaiah 30 (you may care to look at the context), the case is absolute. The people, designated as a nation, are Biblically stated to be:
averse to hearing the law
sneerers at seers
dictators to the prophets of God, who are to convey HIS thoughts,which are not desired
directors to God's spokesmen, to decamp, desist or depart
declaimers against the very presence of God... prophetically expressed.
Indeed, the judgment is expressly long-term. This compares closely with Christ's words in John 8, addressed to contenders with the word of God. These are of two basic types: those who pretend with their lips, and those who add or amend with their lips (Proverbs 30:6, Jeremiah 23). Both stray.
Beyond the lips, God reads the heart, watches the actions (Psalm 11:4), rejects the pretensions of autonomy (Psalm 49:7-20) as ludicrous (Isaiah 2:12-22, Isaiah 46:5,8-10,12, 47:10-13).
Some have repented and found the Lord, accepting His remedy (cf. Isaiah 6, 8:16ff., Psalm 51), and as to these, they are not different in need, but delivered in time.
The spirit of irrational rebellion, seducing if possible, the very word of God (cf. Psalm 2) even at its sent source and uttermost height in Christ (Philippians 2:1-10, Isaiah 48:16), may indeed have been led by the highly educated, mingled with fraudulent exponents (cf. Jeremiah 5:31). In that case, weakness becomes strength in cultivated wickedness, the moral stature suppressed (cf. Romans 1). Vile violences of mind and heart infect the spirit, disturb the vision, usurp the truth and lust for eminence no reason can provide or life endorse (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch. 8 : The Spirit of Envy - and the God of this World).
Faults with more power are added perils. The more powerful the misdirected sports car, the worse is the devastation liable to be. It needs to be pointed with knowledge. Without it, its shame appears (cf. Daniel 12:1-3). The greater the privilege, the more the shame.
You get something similar to all this in Hosea where the whole people is compared with a harlot, ensnared to the detriment of the honour of her 'husband', a miscreant in need of ransom (Hosea 13:14) which indeed God undertakes to perform.
There is then not merely
a congenital, but a preferred darkness (John 3:17-20, Isaiah 8:20, 59,
64) in their metaphysical, religious and spiritual midst. It is unseemly,
destined to doom and eminently deserving of it (cf. John 8:24, Deuteronomy
18:15-19). It is in fact a failure to heed the facts (Isaiah 41:21-26),
in an impudently insolent way almost past belief or comprehension, a preference
for the myths and idols of naturalism of some kind, adorned or not with
imagined additives (Jeremiah 2:27, 10:11), such that the Lord scorns their
folly (as in Psalm 2); while wilfully, with a sort of ecstasy of ingratitude
and spiritual insanity (Hosea 9:7), they have forsaken the known and experienced
power and presence of God who predicts and carries precisely (Jeremiah
"They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return, the wise men are ashamed,
They are dismayed and taken.
Behold they have rejected the word of the LORD;
So what wisdom do they have ?"
This is done through their make-believe things that do not work (Isaiah 55:2, Jeremiah 2:13, 44:16-17,4, 44:28), do not sustain, do not provide, are impersonal or polluted or both, are deemed ludicrous, an insult to intelligence and exhibit to history. Daniel in Ch.9 confesses the depth of it; as Nehemiah in 9 (e.g. vv. 18-20, 26-28).
Isaiah 55 expresses its pathos, rather poignantly.
In Malachi 3-4 one sees that there is to be a coming, commanded research that will annul
self-righteousness entirely, and burn to the uttermost all facade and falsity (Malachi 2:17, 3:13-14), which does not (Isaiah 66:2ff.) _
Sacrifices will depart as the means, animal sacrifices will go (Isaiah 66:1ff. with 53-55, cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13, SMR pp. 755ff.). The very ark will cease to be pivotal or crucial at all (Jeremiah 3:16). Indeed it will not come to mind; but the Messiah will, who redeems (Psalm 72) and HIS NAME will endure and His kingdom will not end (Daniel 7:14). As the nation had lain in the integumental realities of God in its past - reviewed not a little in Psalm 106, so its ways for the future (as indeed is true of the avenue of the future for the nations), are forecast, in its time. Thus does God confirm forwards, as already backwards, in the majesty of singularity and the wonder of omniscience (Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 49, 46:10, Matthew 24, Micah and Zechariah cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock - 'SMR' Chs. 8 - 9).
Nor is it a mere exercise in divulgement technique, but a declaration incisive, decisive and pointed to the uttermost, not least against the overbearing ostentation, the woeful pride of flesh against its Maker. Thus step by step in Lev. 26 it gains its increment in denuding all vainglory (cf. Isaiah 2:22).
As the nation had lain in the integumental realities of God in its past (as in Psalm 106), so its ways for the future, and indeed the future of the nations, is forecast, in its time, to confirm forwards, as already backwards (Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 49, Matthew 24, Micah and Zechariah (cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock - 'SMR' Chs. 8 - 9).
This is the divine indictment in both testaments. The cost of the cure is a testimony to the gravity of the condition! (cf. Biblical Blessings 7, Beyond the Curse; Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17).
This divine assessment is not insulting; it is devastating. It is what the Bible says. To one as to all, there is but one remedy. It comes to a summit in requests to repent and offers of intensely loving restoration spiritually (as in Hosea 14, Micah 7, Jeremiah 17, Jeremiah 31, Isaiah 66). Meanwhile, it speaks in Amos 4, Isaiah 2, 24, of the state of the world in DIRECT consequence of chronic anti-truth prejudice, in multi-stages, but with an end in view, which if not interrupted by repentance, is permanently fatal!
It leaves nothing autonomous, no faculty of man: in MIND "all ungodliness and unrighteousness" is blasted, that of men who, mentally active, in spirit and will "suppress the truth in unrighteousness". The figure relates to that of a wrestler. The knowable is MANIFEST. So far the spirit, the will and themind are indicted. It is an impudence of personality "because God has shown it to them." It is ethically a self-asserting ingratitude, darkening the heart, propelling even those greatfaculties and human facilities which the Lord made into the performance of "fools", who worse yet, at the very same time "profess to be wise". They were also soul merchants, who "exchanged the truth of God for the lie", so disoriented that they "worshipped and served the creature (creation) rather than the Creator". Did they perhaps overlook it! Some sale! Its common bodily and social manifestations (Romans 1:26-30) are symptomatic: an unnatural outcome of an unnatural spirit that denies its own Creator, shaking off judgment as a dog its fleas (and with even less success). The pathological milieu is addressed in terms of condign judgment for soaring spiritual wickedness.
Deuteronomy 32:15-21 is similarly severe with imagination run riot, saying "they have provoked Me to jealousy with that which is not God!" (emphasis added). Some 'mistake'! A failure to discern the difference between the finite and the infinite! It is scarcely an A pass for the student of the universe_ What rating could depict such a performance! What power is needed to deliver: this is the power of God (Romans 1:16) and HIS wisdom (I Corinthians 1:20-25,30-31). God assigns maximal discredit for such performances, so construing, so depicting, and in such terms judging.
The sequence given, then, point by point, is found in Romans 1:18-25. The substitute served for the Spirit of God, the Almighty, the King of eternity, may be inanimate or animate, mythologically deemed a god, or not: it is all in the realm and orbit of creation, not Creator. As to Him, as noted in Deuteronomy 4 and 12, His word is such that one is not free to add to it, or diminish. Much the same I imagine applies to anything YOU write, or I! It is just that we are infinitely less than this one, God. That increases the horror of it, if it should be done. It is the same in the New Testament as in the Old, just noted, as in Galatians 1 where NO liberty in Gospel creation and variation is the exact amount provided; NO departure from the precision of law and prophets, except in fulfilment which is no departure but consummation, is correct (Matthew 5:17-19), and where Christ's own words will judge (John 12:48-50). When God speaks, He does not mess around. What would one expect ?
Even an engineer does not take kindly to ignorant folly with the motor; and our 'motor', who can understand it but God! (cf. SMR Ch.4, Jeremiah 17:9-10, II Corinthians 10:12). There is great liberty with God for His servants (II Corinthians 3:17), but NONE for being co-creator, co-saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11) or co-authority. That of course is "the lie" (preceding page) - there is but one God, one Lord. This is what is being taught in both testaments of the Bible. As to Being, God is ONE, and there is NONE at ALL like Him (Psalm 89:6). Dependencies to have meaning and power and capabilities in the truth, need to start there, finish there and continue in that place (cf. Psalm 91). Out of it, man is in the end not a maestro but a maelstrom.
As one example of the darkness-desire syndrome in action, Paul (as Saul) himself, educated to the last point and utterly eminent in the matter, was FOR THAT REASON the more in chains and folly of thought, bringing physical force to bear as if that solved the problem. But he changed, being made aware. (Cf. Galatians 1:11-16, Ephesians 2:1-10.) He was saved despite his demerits and his delusions, by grace (cf. Isaiah 55:1ff.).
Thus Paul in Romans 1 speaks similarly to the Gentiles of their gross failure to acknowledge the utterly obvious (Romans 1:17ff.) and their grotesque, illogical consequences. Jesus indicates, as does Isaiah in 1, the enormity of the religious extravanganzas, even in the temple, when the honour of men is with many the incentive (John 5:44ff.), which He says, BOTH prevents belief in Him, and follows from implicit disbelief in Moses, who spoke of Him. Isaiah 24 speaks of the whole earth in such a state; Jeremiah of the deep distorting force within (Jeremiah 13:23, 7:9-11, 17:9). Romans 8 develops the theme, while the book of Revelation articulates the consequences further. Paul, in II Cor. 11, even speaks of the sublime idolatry/blasphemy of manufacturing some 'other Jesus', some 'other gospel' or dealing with some 'other spirit'. God making machinery spins, like that for bread; only this for the bread of life.
It is the exercise of man's will, not his mind, which is given the effective negative option; but in the intense wonders of that divine creation, freedom, the mind CAN, like a surging, pilotless car in traffic, speak and talk, without logic, in defiance and deviousness, which however, cannot and does not stand. (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 16, cf. SMR pp. 623ff., 620ff., 822ff., Repent or Perish Ch.7). The exercises of autonomy are not void in force, but in truth.
Little is more devastating to the divinely rebuked arrogance of human self-assurance than Isaiah 59 and Ch.24 with 2:12-14; and Matthew 23 does likewise and perhaps more so (cf. Isaiah 59:16, John 15:5, 14:6, Deuteronomy 32:15-21). Christ in Matthew 24 and Luke 19 denounces yet with poignant anguish, and announces that ONLY by return to HIM as Messiah, is there hope (cf. Isaiah 61:10); and that first there would be a devastation of proportions such as Daniel indeed had forecast in 9:24ff. (cf. Luke 19:42ff.), before He Himself should return. The physical then mirrored the spiritual and the mental, the former inviting disaster, the latter responding under God, to the RSPV.
READ-OUT FOR YOU
Of your numbered proposals then (AS RE-DEFINED above):
1) is correct but not all that is being said.
2) is correct - except grammatically, they 'HAVE' BEEN PROVED.
3) is correct.
4) is inadequate, but
the truth incorporates these in a broader picture.
What do I mean by proof ? It is as rigorous in these things as in geometry. In fact, geometry was one of my special joys when doing mathematics. This our topic however is more certain, because it ends (if you care to follow the text provided at the outset in SMR Chs. 1, 3, 10) in God, and He is shown to be insusceptible to change by human OR other forces, and to be always the SAME. This apologetics considers the outcome of reason, and hence offers proof. It USES the integrity of logic to REACH the Bible as demonstrably the word of God (you see this in Ch.1 of SMR and see sadducaisms or casuistries dealt with in Ch.3). WHEN it does so reach this destination, the Bible, it EXAMINES what that book says and finding by reason, the repository of ABSOLUTE TRUTH, then enjoys UNIQUE validity. All this may be dealt with in detail in the text on site.
That follows since for truth to be ASSERTED, it must be known, and to be known, it must both 1) EXIST and 2) be divulged in such a way that the warping, cultural conditioning or personal rationalisations, assumptions etc. etc., the limitations of order, inadequacies of concept and discernment and the disposition of psychic self-interest and pre-dispositions, ignorance of status, engulfment in relativities and so on, become irrelevant. It requires a living basis who divulges it with such sovereign power that it does not depend on man. That is what is needed for any CLAIM re TRUTH (as distinct from mental convenience). Einstein saw his own logical deficiencies because he saw that he lacked something of this kind, a defect which he did not apparently remedy (SMR pp. 299ff.). He has a pleasant candour in this. The deficiencies of the relative have to be raised to the indefectible and indefeasible absolute.
The claim to supernatural revelation in propositional form may be found prima facie within Christianity, the Judaism of Christ's time, and Moslem belief patterns. 'Truth', however, if indistinguishable by any critical test from non-truth, has the same disabilities, as does 'truth' incoherent with itself (cf. John 14:11, Isaiah 41,43,48). The power correlative to the quality is needed. If we are dealing with reason, then reason must be met. What aborts it, it aborts. What singularly meets it, it endorses.
As shown in SMR and
indexes), the MOSLEM is discounted utterly in that it has no attestation
which would enable the speaker to identify himself against millions of
pretenders, justify God in good time, and for other reasons given in the
index: attestations such as these, on this topic, commenced in Ch.1
What is the conclusion in this schema, when it is in due course carefully followed ?
It is this: Hence 'Christianity' ALONE CAN BE TRUE. The teaching of the Bible, you recall, in its 66 books is true.
It is demonstrably true. It can be and has been demonstrated. Its platform and power is incomparable, because of the One whose word it is.
This gives you some elements of perspective with which to begin study to the point. That is indeed what is said, on site, and in the Bible as defined. You see a short statement of some of this in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 7, which for that very reason should appeal. (For this and all books, see LIBRARY in margin, and hyperlink to any book, any chapter at will.)
That gives you some sense of what is MEANT BY PROOF, and it is
OVERVIEW including that of 'proof'
What, then, I have given you in this letter is not a proof, nor was this requested: it is an indication of what is meant by proof, which was requested, including its relationship to cited relevant areas in the Bible, and places on site places on site where some of the proof may be found, its overview in some measure, and its direction. This present communication is a help to the site which deals with the issues, provides the proof and invites challenge to those wishing to make it, with provisions for response with whatever developments seem needed.
where some of the proof may be found, its overview in some measure, and its direction. This is a help to the site which deals with the issues, and provides the proof. Another cardinal area for this purpose is That Magnificent Rock, Ch.5, headed VALIDITY (through Library on margin), together with a special place in SMR which helps perspective (other than the Approach to Apologetics mentioned last time, and which it is necessary to read from the site margin) - namely pp. 315C-316Cff.. To this may be added Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium, Ch. 16 and Repent or Perish Chapter 7. In this connection also Ch.3 of SMR should be read thoroughly by anyone wanting an exact, expounded expression of the proof concept.
what is likewise supported in verification enabling continual confirmation, and is capable of explicating mysteries chronic without it (cf. SMR Ch.5).
Uncalled for magnitudes and effects of the word of God (as in 2) above), in verification, are also noted on the site, a sort of exuberance fitting for the Majesty of Truth (John 14:6, Psalm 119:30,142-144,172).
For examples, see SMR p. 873, and Stepping Out for Christ Ch.5, esp. pp. 50ff.. What in men is exaltation, in God is humility, when, without flaw or limitation, the truth, He became man: the acme of humility and the obverse of arrogance. For all that, being Himself, He could not deny Himself (cf. II Timothy 2:13), and exposed the follies of flesh to its crucifying face. He did not however, fail to get crucified, in the intense beauty of that majesty (Daniel 9:26, Isaiah 53, Matthew 26:52-56), with the exactly consonant expression of majesty and purpose, at the same time, as you see there in Matthew. This is one of the continual contemporary verifications of the incarnation.
Of course, there is also the 'continual contemporary verification' in another sense, in the redeemed, where available are the power and promises of God, which, beyond formal identity as a child of God, brings personal acquaintance with the God whose child one is. (Cf. SMR pp. 347-348, Biblical BlessingsCh. 11 - from Library on margin of Home Page.)When a thing is true before, and comes from God, there is no limit to the accumulations which come, from sources expected, unexpected, with all the unconcerned irrepressibility of reality, not merely as autonomy conceives, but as Majesty depicts and permits to be studied in the whole domain of the material, mental and spiritual. There is a singularity of quality as well as of form.
Overall in this letter, one has sought
1) to remove your apparent misconception of the nature of the imputation which Biblically concerns those who reject Christ. It is not as crass as your thoughts seem to indicate; and on the other side, it is far more deeply an indictment of the race, educated or not, than might have been thought. Education can readily reinforce negatively in this area, and formalise the alienation from God, in many cases, stifling thought and inculcating mental reflexes, not always openly as in totalitarianism. Culture thus frequently dins in its irrational distancing techniques (cf. Luke 11:52, Jeremiah 5:32, Isaiah 28:9-15, Jeremiah 5:1-7), which is to be expected in view of the Biblical analysis of mankind. Culture makes many sensitive to speaking or pursuing Biblical claims. Having experienced several semesters of this type of thing, and put it to the public test, I am intimately acquainted with it.
On the other hand is the mercy offered, vastly beyond all hope: the divine and majestic prerogative, which, not allaying the folly, has made preparations more than matching any severity, in the severity of the passion and penalty vicariously and graciously assumed, to enable mercy's just conferment (Galatians 6:14, Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 53-55, 59, 61:10, Romans 3:23-28, 5:1-11, Psalm 85:10-11).
2) to indicate what is meant by proof, in outline, with ample provision for you to find the environment more deeply. It is an intense, categorical thing indeed. In its many phases in view, it is found on site, and you may seek amplification if you need it. Further, the Index Volume (see Home Page, where this is available) provides multitudes of specialised references at the touch of hyperlink, to thousands of topics, including Apologetics.
3) to provide a short definitional item on proof, to be read in context. It is vital to realise this, that having demonstrated the Bible to be the sole authoritative word of God to man, we do not in the least pine to interfere with the supernatural source in speech: what is written is true. Purely as a verification, though a prodigiously interesting and satisfying one, is the exhibition of the wonder and beauty of the teaching in its internal system, its depth and irrefragability, in the face of historically numerous and vaunting attempts.
4) to orient you more fully to Biblical depiction in the field of your concern, so that you can relate to the parallel outline in both Testaments of the divine indictment, and so understand its background scope more readily.
5) to show in outline how the Bible declares that it is the failure as in 1) above, which leads to the failure in your point 4 (area, as extended here).
It is like asking how ON EARTH one could have spots on the skin; and being told it RESULTS from the virus concerned.
A virus is so small, to many invisible... yet it acts, and can have remarkable lethal power. Its results can be traced. We have met a plumber with golden staph in his knee joint: he may lose his leg, if the infection cannot be removed. But let us leave the illustration. The soul, this world and a destiny with God are involved here, and His divine protestations in passion, practical action, verifications and straight talk with varied imagery (Hosea 12:10) are on record for thousands of years, attesting His remedy, and the result of its neglect. He did not start yesterday. The Biblical model includes this dimensionally felicitous fact, and the focus on the remedy (see Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, and That Magnificent Rock Ch.3, both in Library from the margin on the home site).
What one is doing on site, in this respect, is verifying the divine claim, and demonstrating that it is true. It is really not in the least surprising, but rather almost to be expected, in view of the One claiming to speak and the nature of those to whom He speaks. It is, as earlier noted, and demonstrated on the site, assuredly warrantable. (If you want more testimony from the Bible concerning its teaching on the point, simply ask.) The justice of the divine claim is all too well attested in appallingly numerous dimensions. God is always vindicated. Alas, with man, this is not so.
As to the demonstration, it seems fewer may be inclined to do this now than in some former times, not least for the reasons noted above, and which are available in Biblical predictions (as in SMR Ch.8); but reading APPROACH TO APOLOGETICS will give you in short outline an indication of some of the recent historical moves that way, and for all the trend, the twentieth century has nevertheless been far from lonely in this regard. Most sizeable and comparatively popular contributions have been made in this area, internationally, with notable stringency concerning the certainty of the word of God, in the realm of reason for one, and in allied realms.
As to the word of God, there is an outcome parallel to and indeed co-ordinate with its trenchancy here. Thus, hell is not presented Biblically as an exercise in divine arbitrariness, but in arbitration, in which the rebellious results of the indefensible rejection of mercy have their true nature expressed without cover or pretence, in everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-3, cf. Isaiah 14:9-21, Matthew 23:23-33, John 15:24-25, Isaiah 45:19-22, Malachi 3:1-3, 3:17-4:1.) The whole being is at fault, and that includes all its components (cf. Isaiah 1:4-5, Jeremiah 17:9, Ephesians 2:3, 4:17). This focusses further the character of the offence.
This having been done, we return to the aspect of our special interest, from the realm of its entourage, its co-ordinates and its conspectus.
Proof ? I mean by proof what the Bible in both testaments
In what it claims, results superabound. Logically, in this arena, nothing else is left standing. This is nothing comparable or competent in all areas (cf. Isaiah 40:6-8,14,18,21-28,41:11,21ff.). You are free to attack that position if you wish, summonsing any aspect of the argument to be found on the Web site, to which one could then reply; and many in this field have tried from the days of the prophets (quoted) till now to overthrow these divine claims, and many have been the methods, though one is the result. You are free and very welcome to discuss it if you prefer. I hope this helps you understand what apparently troubled you. The issue is with God, not man.
Good hunting for good game.
for World Wide Web Witness
Rev. Dr. Robert Donaldson
The Third Letter
At this, we received
a letter headed "I give up", in which the matter was closed without reasoned
answer to the presentation, and indeed it was indicated that a provable
God was not desirable. For this one can only glorify God, whose truth now
as always, is such that there is only one wise course, to 'give up', and
then indeed to surrender to Him. Not all who do the first, do the second.
However, read Proverbs 1 and consider! The reply to this is given here,
as the point of error here is worth attention.
The Third Reply
REPLY FROM World Wide Web Witness Inc. February 29, 2000
You have given up, you say. So be it. Your logical involvement is cut. Your seemingly cynical situation, which your phrases and waftings of emotion appear to transmit, is sad to behold, but not hopeless to consider. I have already prayed for you, and not without hope, let me assure you.
By all means discontinue. You do appear, in any case in your last, in giving up, to have forsaken the necessary logical norms for discourse, as noted on the site! For my part, I am steadfast and immovable as I ought to be (I Corinthians 15:58), do not consider Christ an intellectual option but a spiritual necessity and a logical certainty; and if that arbitrarily removes what you think of as authenticity, so be it. If that is the case, you would not want any God who was not at your own say-so, a regrettable situation. Mine is at HIS say so, and what He says leaves no excuse for His neglect, which, as demonstrated, is the constant message of both testaments. Man’s say-so gods are too small. We must look to His sublimity.
Let me hasten to add, that this immovability, as far as I am concerned, is ONLY because of the direct intervention of the Glorious Truth who is so capable in all areas, so that I remain in experimental awe of His magnificence, in perfect parallel both with my doctrinal commitment in Biblical words which mirror His wonder, and with His promises which are (I shall say it, since it is objectively true) wonderful, reliable and practical.
What then! I do not trivialise electricity if I note its indubitable power, but if any would erratically make it a mere freak, he deceives himself. It points to equations; just as the inimitable and infinite God points to the word of God, readily identified, uniquely and necessarily. And that ? It is HE who provides it. You object, it seems, that this is derogatory! Of what? Not of God. Reading His attested communication reveals His true greatness, in word, as the universe, in works. Let Him speak!
Your apparent misconception and incorrect indications of method here, then, appear due to overlooking in your rapid reading, as you put it, both the express words in Approach to Apologetics, as emphasised to you, and in the last letter. (See below.) The word of God is explicit and in identity, logically irresistibly clear. We find nothing that can stand to the contrary. What it says is His business. If this displeases you, the charges which it makes do not abate, but augment (cf. John 15:21-23).
Indeed, you were evincing some interest in disproving something, and now are not, because it now displeases you so to engage! If it WAS acceptable to show a negative by reason, it is now NOT acceptable to proceed, why ? because there is no evidence that the case is open to alteration! A strange development, but one on which you should indubitably think. I have offered, you have responded, and apparently finding no likelihood of success, you have departed, disdaining such things. It is your preference, but it seems to change…(Logically, this complete transformation in your procedure would therefore appear not so much a ‘slide’, as a veritable glissade!)
The reason for the faith always stands, but faith itself also stands, and God who makes it stand, will assuredly not let it drift. They are different dimensions, each in its own place, and each stands where it is. It is completely hopeless to try to remove my spiritual genes. I am His and not all hell and earth and riches and honour and power will ever alter it, for I am born His child by faith; for Him I live, and there is no other in earth or heaven who has my unlimited fealty (Philippians 1:20, Psalm 73:25-26), who shows His undoubted hand, and has the power to do just that.
He, incidentally, is not my 'self', but my LORD, infinitely above me! It is not my self whom I serve, but Him: this is basic. You have to get things straight (cf. Hosea 12:10). With open conscience, I so have served the Lord in this thing, as I seek to do in all things.
His will is my delight. It is He whom I follow. And He ? He is the truth in which I have consummate joy. He attests it on all sides. If this is not your idea of what is acceptable, I gladly but sadly leave you with it. The God whom I serve, as expressly stated in my site, is NOT provable except in His divine power and nature (Romans 1:17ff., Isaiah 41,43,48), but His word is demonstrably His, and from that, we find the testimony which is His, and all the glory of His infinity AS HE PUTS IT(see a small excerpt from my last letter, below). But would you rather have it as YOU put it! Who then is the loser ? Are you then better than God at God's affairs! Hardly. In short: In works (Psalm 8), He attests what in word (Psalm 119) He expresses. It is HIS name and He insists that none with justice can confuse it. He has made it irresistibly clear. He did not speak in order that He might remain silent!
It is He, not I, who initially insists, that it is demonstrable that He is, and that what He has said is true and stands alone, before any just test; and this in both testaments as shown. I merely believe Him, show it so logically with its corollaries.
If that also is unacceptable, so that the God whom you serve has to be an option not a necessity (and for all that, one in whom faith must be placed), so be it. That readily can become both a blinding and a deafening presupposition, to which logic demonstrably will not bow. The categorical ‘blindness’ as noted, is from the diagnosis of Isaiah and of Christ, both, concerning the rejection of the testimonies which, as demonstrated, even in the Old Testament, require Jesus Christ. It is with them you deal on that.
God however is not so little that He is an option to refuse, for anything but will. Even if you will not have it so, in principle OR in practice, this will not change it. The Sovereign is not miscible with human pride or preference. He is what He is, and announces what He will, including this, His incitement to show He is not alone in evidence and truth (as in Isaiah 41:21ff.) … if you can! HE is very scornful about this. He is infinitely powerful and true. If you scorn His scorn, then you scoff at His discipline and speech; and in any case, you have failed to meet His challenge.
This is what HE says in the OLD Testament as in the New. Take it or leave it; or invent what you will. But invented gods do not save, and are contrary to reason as shown, to all testimony and are a barren substitute for the God who is there (as the prophets show - cf. Jeremiah 2:13, Isaiah 8:20, and Moses Deuteronomy 32, and the Lord Himself, Luke 24, and as hitherto shown).
"1) Demonstration of the actual truth is thus needed, and specifically provided, step by step, LATER RATIFIED PHASE BY PHASE.
2) On the other hand, the danger of determining truth with human invention, and hence "moulding" it by erratic, errant arrogance or blind subjectivity must be removed.
How? By first identifying its necessary source -
irrational invalidity the only alternative,
a denial of the conditions of discourse -
and then reading what is there DELIVERED -
that is demonstrated to be the Biblical revelation, which, in addition, precisely defines its own nature.
Necessarily the word of God, as first independently shown, it then speaks for itself! (See SMR Chs.1, 3, incl. pp. 315Aff. …)" (Italics added.)
In my last letter to you, these words - here an excerpt - appeared, likewise:
"This apologetics considers the outcome of reason, and hence offers proof. It USES the integrity of logic to REACH the Bible as demonstrably the word of God …WHEN it does so reach this destination, the Bible, it EXAMINES what that book says…"
It is vain to depart from what is presented. Straw men don't last long. In fact, God is neither vague nor witless, but incapable of being overlooked by the faculties of those whom He has made, who often appeal to reason to reject Him, and on failing, appeal to something else, anything else (cf. Matthew 11:16-17,20).
It is simply that some people do not want God to be ABLE to identify His word past all quibble, and God in word and deed evidences that He does want so to do. To recognise with inerodible certainty, His infinite greatness as He presents it, is the opposite of diminishing Him. But diminution rather is this: against all reason, to close the infinite wisdom of His mouth by ignoring the attestation by which He has chosen to make avoidance possible, only to arbitrary wilfulness (cf. Hosea 7:10-11, Jeremiah 23:28,32).
to that, its worst feature, almost, is this: it has its own reward, and
precisely eats to the end, its own fruits (Proverbs 1:21, in 1:20-33).
is a taste I do not covet to experience. There is however a better way
than this…Indeed, Proverbs 1 really assaults
complacency! saying, "Because I have called,
and you refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but
you have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I
also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes."
For you I hope some better thing. There is only one place to find it: Christ
Jesus the Lord.
You seem bemused by what I may think. Let me tell you something of it.
I do not attribute your lack of interest to anything but unbelief. It is not very enjoyable at first, when unbelief meets the Lord (cf. I Corinthians 7:10). ...(The next paras, being more personal in tone, are omitted… and similarly later where marked * .)
What I do know is that the reason for the faith stands, has stood, will stand, because the faith is true, and so experimentally always stands. For this I praise God immensely, whom to adore and worship is the joy of the heart at peace with Him. He never fails. As to the faith: What it is, leads to what it does. It does not fall because it has the strength to stand, and has the living God back of it. As to God, He is inexhaustible in strength and wholly reliable (cf. Isaiah 40:26ff.). He is also very generous in using it for His people.
Let God be praised for this fact of life. Now let us be quite clear in reference to your terms. I put no trust in intellect per se, but in the Lord, use what He gives me, and rejoice that He has left whether to reason, to life, or to spirit, only one answer. I have never seen anything else stand, nor is it possible. It was the case yesterday, it is the case today, in this nation, in that, in this experience, in that: everywhere. I would not be looking around for something else: that would be inconceivable. How could I when by His infinite mercy and grace, the pearl of great price is already mine! But what of your own actions ?
It is in Him I glory, Him whom I seek constantly sincerely to serve, the Truth, the objectively revealed God, to whom glory is due (cf. Galatians 6:14, Jeremiah 9:23-24, Revelation 5:9,12); and this I do as a testimony to His faithfulness, who speaks and upholds, now experimentally, as likewise nearly 50 years ago. To reject what even reason shows, is answerable to Him now, as in the days of Isaiah (cf. Proverbs 1!).
On the other hand, to receive the God whom reason attests to be incomparable, is a matter as far beyond our thoughts as He is (Isaiah 55:9), and of illimitable beauty. He however has come near in word and person (Isaiah 40:9-10), with effective and irreducible communication and deeds, so that we who were far might be made near. To ignore this testimony is not wise. For the Christian, that person first comes to Christ (John 5:39-40), following the directions of His word, and then Christ comes to receive His own (Matthew 24:31, I Thessalonians 4). There is a certain reciprocity in reality; but the way must be followed, and the instructions are clear.
In the contrary, the existential or traditionalistic approaches: measuring themselves BY themselves, says Paul they are not wise (II Cor. 10:12, Mark 7:7). If you judge yourself by your subjectively assumed sincerity at all times, your own boss and judge, you express but your own thoughts. What is the objective reality, however, remains quietly in judgment, for the Judge is not ourselves. He demands not self-congratulation but repentance (Hosea 14:1-4, Isaiah 2:17, Hosea 11:1-7, Isaiah 59, Luke 13:1-3, Acts 2:38).
You do not like it ? Nasty, you say, the sinfulness of man ? The Biblical conclusion which applies to all who reject Christ, namely, that there is spiritual blindness is nasty to the unregenerate mind, for it does not want to be like that in His presence, nor does it want to change (I Cor. 2:14, Isaiah 28:15, Psalm 2, Hosea 7:13,15-16, Jeremiah 5:31, Zechariah 13:6, Isaiah 49:7)! Cancer patients don't like their case either, but the real and (may I say) authentic question is this: Does it apply ? If so, act. If reason stands, what causes the distaste and the delay ? Not wisdom! It is you or Christ, for this as shown, is HIS view! (and cf. Luke 14:26b, 33).
Junk reason and you junk also any power even to argue, self-condemned! You PREFER you ? Your record versus His! If reason does not stand, to authenticate His faith as alone authentic, where is this shown, and who can make it known ! Why does all assault fail or withdraw or decline or whatever! Why did it fail likewise in Christ's own day! Why today ! Why did they no more dare question Him! (Matthew 22:26). Luke 21:15 itself moreover attests His present power cf. John 14:12: we who are His, are but servants, commissioned to act by His power and promises, for His name and glory.
However, as put, I shall attribute nothing to you but unbelief, and whatever the Bible puts for such a case * …God be praised. Towards you I feel only warmth and sorrow, and yes, I agree there was coming to be some question as to what sort of conversation this was, when - and this I will say -
after hours of labour to meet your requests, in all sincerity, as before God, on behalf of the Lord, through the strength and grace which the Lord gave, I wrote for your deliverance, and found you had … quickly read through what arrived at your side! Depth is essential, and labour in such pursuits, that comes with all the heart (cf. Jeremiah 29:13).
God is not mocked.
But with God all things are possible *… If what you deem authentic conversation, however, includes the power
Nor is anything comparable in quality, power or peace, reason or blessedness. Nobody finds it elsewhere, because it is not there: and it is where it is, because God put it there. What faith persists in, reason insists on. Nor does it change, or derive from human creation of the creator, but from the Creator’s creation first of man, then of written communication to him, then from the consummation in definitive incarnation, the sending of the Lord of glory to us, whose goings are from everlasting (Isaiah 48:16, John 8:58, I John 1:1-4, Micah 5:1-3).
Nevertheless, faith must be exercised, parallel to but decisively different from reason, as the necessary clean and earnest commitment to Him to whom it is shown to be due, and to whom then one must come as the true and only Saviour, Jesus the Christ, sent for the purpose (John 5:39-40, Acts 4:11-12). Faced with Christ, it is fatal for any to omit this.
Again, the things to stir your imagination, which I have superadded to the logical structure, exactly as in Hosea 12:10 and for reasons not dissimilar, are as a help to bring light. In the end, woefully never satisfied (cf. Matthew 11:17), Israel of old disdained whatever was presented … commands, reason, imagery - only to assure their destruction in the North, though much had come as an aid to understanding, whether or not there was any readiness for it (cf. Ezekiel 2:7).
The Lord left nothing
under-done (Isaiah 5), but they mocked the prophets and told them not to
spout (as in Amos). So be it. That is often the spiritual way. It is however
abundantly well worth it, for any servant of Christ, to endure both mockery
and labour in order to present His word; for the stakes are high and the
love of Christ constrains. If they hear, well; and if they refuse, at least
they are warned. Repentance is the first essential (Luke 13:1-3).
We continue as before. For seekers or challengers, all those who seek the truth unreservedly: in the name of the living Jesus Christ, and in Him, we are ready, delighted and privileged to assist. For these, arrangements may be made. For those who quit, they go at their own will and for these we can only pray; but then, that is not little. We will not forget you. Thank you for writing.
In the name of that blessed potentate and only Saviour, Jesus Christ,
for World Wide Web
Reflection on this Episode
Here then is one more instance of assured assault on the teachings of the Bible, not maturing into dismissal or dispersal of the word of God, or its claims, to the slightest degree. Reader there is ONE claim which only peril would reject: that of Jesus Christ, the only Saviour, on your life, the Lord Jesus Christ on your goings, His word on your will. It is not that He is anything but blessed, but the heart unaccustomed to any yoke, may tremble at His leading. When you know Him, it is precisely this that is invaluable! It is not in man who walks, says Jeremiah, to direct his steps!
This is news in the frantic millenium! It is almost becoming like new, such is the ignorance wrought by
1) OMISSION of Biblical instruction in schools.
2) MINIMISATION of much of it even in many church schools.
3) COMPROMISE in order to gain official acceptance in other religious schools.
4) SUBSTITUTION of abysmally inadequate cultural, psychological and sociological 'norms' for what God has to say.
5) BRUTALISATION of many listeners, through godless propaganda, reinforced by the same in multiple and nauseating onsets, on sensationalistic TV programs.
NEGLECT in homes of both example and teaching of love, understanding and
moral values that make man, in the presence of God, either appealing, or
in any near way, revealing of the glory of his Creator. Sometimes the physical
presence of both parents is a contribution to indoctrination by default.
This millenium, cast in concrete from the closing decades of the last, cracked from the foundation, looks anywhere but to Christ and is at pains in frustrating seekings, like those of Mars, missing links, missing advances in the missing morals of man, accumulated killings, fallacious thrillings sallies with anything from sedition (of morals, of the government, by the government, of churches, nations, of the mind of youth) to resisted expedition to restore, from cold slaughter to hot pseudo-science, always in thrall to the philosophic, constantly seeking for what never comes, diving in symbolism for foggy depths, promising the world deliverance but stranding it on ever new threatened peninsulas as the waters rise.
Diseases once in thrall to antibiotics, now rise again, smiling; man once assured of evolved wonders, now falls again, frowning. Death rushes through the world like a madman given licence (as for grave reasons authorised - see Revelation 6, cf. Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane, 84).
The millenium is busy
That it is there, and the avenue to it is lined with the flowers of grace, put down at enormous expense and maintained with miraculous power, provides the meaning of the universe for man: and He, the Lord, the Saviour and only deliverer - He is always apt, always available until the day comes. As my father-in-law had written large on one of his outbuildings: "SEEK YE THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND" (Isaiah 55:6).
The mentality of the millenium hardly realises in its blindness, that its last hours have come, and the remainder, most likely to be measured in decades, or even less as it appears from the prophecies (SMR Ch.8-9, A Spiritual Potpourri 18, The Other News 5, Preface above), before Christ comes, will be turbulent like the last minutes of an air-liner, destined to crash. It is assuredly time to go to the book, find the Lord, and follow Him.
The Lord Himself is coming shortly, with His own follow-up. He was a long time coming the first time, but gave the date (SMR pp. 886ff.); He has been a long time coming as King, the second time, but gave the scenario (SMR Ch.8), and indicated the time could be long, for a purpose, but that when the scenario was satisfied, it would be sudden. It seems that way, when you wait long. It always seems sudden when it comes.
It had to come; He came. He is sure to come: but always, when it happens, as in Sodom's destruction, the universal flood, the time of the cross when NOW, now one would betray or else follow Him, this was it! the deeds on earth with the fruit to eternity … always, there is that sense of amazement, or consternation or joy! It is here. Remember Peter: he was caught in the sheer suddenness of the onset that seized Christ, though He had warned often enough. Yet the Lord knows His own, had prayed for Peter and even foretold what was to happen. Nothing is left to 'chance'. God rules in any system (cf. SMR pp. 92ff., 88ff.).
When the second world war broke out in September 1939, the author can remember as a child, hearing the wireless (as it was called), announcing the fact. It was so strange. There we were, on a farm on that day, hearing in our peace this disaster, so quietly, with such matter-of-fact tones, announced. It was my first year at a great Church School. The world seemed relatively orderly. Yet it would change vast numbers, lead many acquaintances to death, and alter the world.
that catastrophic suddenness was great, this is so much vaster: that lasted
some 6 years, this leads to eternity itself. Indeed it is so enormous a
thrust into the sinning and fallen human race, that only an imperative
to destruction can numb the senses sufficiently to ignore it.