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It is not so now, but the impact is made.
It is so with spiritual things. They do not boast, bellow and broadcast themselves. They appear. You can see if you look, if you are at all observant, if your eyes are not closed with preoccupations or troubled by too many tasks. There is a difference, like salt on steak. That, it is a great one, but given certain troubled states of mind, it is indeed possible it would all be taken for granted, not noticed except absent, and even then, only vaguely.
The difference between kindness and policy of self-interest cunningly concealed; between love and efforts to be agreeable; between honesty and integrity, and profitable motives finding that certain things are simply too dangerous; between friendship and mere utilisation of acquaintance, between fearlessness and brashness, between courage and egotistical self-advancement, between radiance of heart and brightness of manner: it is profound. It is as great as that between light and darkness. But some will not have it so.
They are too cynical to believe even what they see (cf. Luke ). Thus in the case of the parable of Lazarus, so true to life, Christ narrates how Lazarus wanted, in hell, a special envoy to go to his brothers, in order that they might escape his placement in the ire of the lost, permanently, wilfully lost. Christ has Abraham say, in the story as it unfolds, that such an envoy would be useless, and that they would not repent even if he were to be sent from heaven to them.
"If," the patriarch continued, "they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead."
It has a wholesome irony about it, this statement of Abraham in the parable. CHRIST rose from the dead, the case is overwhelming, the facts unerring, the alternative oblivion as has often been shown, as by Sir Norman Anderson, quondam Professor of Advanced Legal Studies in the University of London, in his "The Evidence for the Resurrection" and well exposed by Frank Morrison in his "Who Moved the Stone ?" It has indeed been covered on this site numerously, without option for alternative, cumulatively, in such areas or arenas as the following:
· Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix 3,
Alpha and Omega - Jesus Christ
· The Magnificence of the Messiah, Endnote 1,
· Joyful Jottings 25,
Out for Christ
Old and New
There have been endeavours as in the fallen Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, as it was in 1966-67, categorically, to avoid the scriptural fact, but the author had the privilege in 1966 on the floor of the Assembly, of showing the contrary, without the slightest answer to his presentation, except that of negation by vote. On that occasion rubbish was not absent, such as the claim that if the bodily resurrection would occur, then people with bad legs would continue in heaven with this affliction! A short reference to Philippians 3:20-21 or I Corinthians 15, might show the ignorance of this, if the numerous other considerations did not!
One could scarcely conceive
of the degree of irrelevance, folly, absurdity and distortion used in that evil
campaign, which led, over the author's dead body, if you will - for it meant
losing two delightful churches - to the affirmation in the Assembly that the
resurrection in that church's mind, did not REQUIRE
the body. People could have Christ's dust somewhere in
They did not answer, except by force, the Presbytery (which the Clerk of Assembly had darkly told me would "take care of you", after my Assembly confrontation)*1 in fact eventually coming, with a public announcement in the popular, secular press to this effect, to examine the charge and the author's 'handling' of it. A medical specialist on our Session, who was not immune to their inequities, left the meeting which was convened my absence, after I had indicated that the attack on the supernatural which was joined to this resurrection false teaching, made the body which tolerated it worse in that respect, even than the Moslems. YOU, he told the Presbytery, gave him 5 minutes, and have presented your attack over some 30 minutes. Is this equity ? Words to this effect having been pronounced, he separated from such a Presbytery, and joined me 'outside the camp'. The congregation soon split.
An effort to arouse Presbytery to vote for the bodily resurrection lost by one vote, that one vote being to the point, that of one Presbyter who said that he had found on examination of the text that it was so, the body had risen, but he did not like the confrontational mode of meeting the case, adopted.
That is the point. If the "body of my Lord" as Mary Magdalene put it, is to be carried away, not putatively by the gardener, but by some professor, and there is no confrontation, outrage, horror, and challenge fit for the ears of heaven, to repudiate such folly, then where is the tongue of the church, and what is a 'church' which at such a time cannot find it.
If this is not outrage, the phenomenon does not exist; if this is not dereliction of duty, anything always is tolerable. Consult Jude in the context of Korah! and the summary dispensing with that rebellion; and the characterisation of those who reject the authority of truth, of Christ, but waylay the church, raging waves, for whom is reserved, writes the brother of the Lord, darkness forever; consult II Cor. 10:5, where Paul is "casting down imaginations" and "bringing every thought into captivity to Christ", consult his actions in the synagogues, reasoning even amid near riots at times, but steadfastly, that all is demonstrated, Jesus is the Christ, and all that this entailed, as seen in such careful documentations as Romans.
Consult Jude again, FIGHT earnestly for the once-for-all-delivered-to-the-saints- faith (that is the word order, in their flexible grammar!). As the New Testament Greek Dictionary of Arndt and Gingrich declares, it is obvious that the translation must be thus (cf. News 43, 88; Things Old and New ... Ch. 2, End-note 2; Jesus Christ, Defaced ... Ch. 3; 1496). Indeed, the whole book of Jude is one of JUDGMENT on the marauders, FIGHTING for the faith, exemplification of just and severe judgment on the aborters of it, with provision for the relish of the mercy of God, available in no other way.
Even if some may be snatched from their doom, one must as it were, be clad in asbestos ("pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh"). There is room for differentiation, but where the case is clear, as in false teaching, it is as Romans 16:17 affirms, and Ephesians 5 requires, a case of NO FELLOWSHIP ensues, and more than that, fighting for the faith as Paul did, and separating as Moses did from Korah (cited by Jude, see Numbers 16!).
Faithful people, such as the elders called by Paul from
, are made to realise as the apostle taught (Acts ), that "savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." What did Paul himself do when so confronted in the circumcision matter, when some Jews, not content with the New Covenant had languishings after the format of the Old, where it was fulfilled (Acts 15:1-3) ?They had "no small dispute with them" and soon found themselves at Jerusalem, where the issue was soundly resolved. Ephesus
Or did he delay, for less wait ten years ? Not at all: in fact, declared the apostle, explaining a development:
· "this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), TO WHOM WE DID NOT YIELD SUBMISSION EVEN FOR AN HOUR, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" -
· Galatians 2:4-5. There you see the motive, the message, the example and the result! That is how it is, with Christ. That is the example to study, provided in Christ by this apostle (cf. II Corinthians 11:1), as also Christ Himself met the Pharisees and Sadducees with such vigour as to constitute an unsurpassed condemnation in severity and finality of their leaven, their evils and their ways (Matthew 23!).
· Thus again, Proverbs 28:4 declares:
· "Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
· But such as keep the law contend with them."
There is no greater doctrinal abasement and degradation than this failure to defend, treasure and uphold the faith, seedily accepting the insidious, and failing to rectify the basic differentia of the devil, as he seeks his own.
If it were so, that this infiltration could be accepted, new christs proliferating at a word (cf. II Corinthians 11), the crucifixion performed in mind as well as it was in body, then the religion would be a word thing, a mouth operation, a non factual elaboration, God would not have defeated death, love would not have come from His heart to the body to the obedience to the death (as in Philippians 2 in its grand coverage, before the arena of heaven, and the very eyes of hell), for it would all have been a fraud. No more would Psalm 16 be fulfilled, even that which predicted that his flesh would rest in hope because 'His holy One' would not see corruption, and Peter would lie at Pentecost in saying this, that "death could not hold Him", and Luke in the statement that Christ said, "A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have", and this, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see..." Nor would He have eaten before them nor provided pieces of fish to them (Luke 24:43, John 21:11-14).
Nor would Paul rightly have indicated, as Machen points out, in I Cor. 15, that He was buried and arose the third day, for of a certainty, the thing in question is WHAT WAS BURIED, and the step which follows of this thing, is this: that it AROSE on the third day. Nor would the third day prophecy be fulfilled, nor would the disciples be other than liars, gaunt, giant, a cartel of liars, willing to die for the lie, to live daily in duplicity for the lie, to find hell for their trouble, to work miracles with their deceit and ... to deceive the most potent intellects of the time, fully embracing the evidence, for ever, by their heartless folly, irrational madness, their hell-bent deception and their ludicrous antics. Few if any ever attempt to present such a case.
But if the concept in view, weakly be turned to delusion, in desperation, then the evidence of factuality, practicality, stubbornness before believing (Luke 24, John 20), logical force and spiritual felicity is bypassed the more ludicrously yet again, and merely adds to the anguish of the concept of liars, this, that they would also be infantile in intellect, unable to tell of Aunt Jane whether a nice feeling that she rose from the dead ought really, or ought not, to make one put flowers on her grave!
Indeed, public exposure of doubt in terms of empirical challenge
to make digital examination of wounds (John 20:24ff.), is no more the
laboratory of delusion than is ice a source of warmth.
A synthesis of deceit and delusion is merely a romance in words. If deceitful, you twist, but are not fey; if fey, you are not in delusion deceitful, but abhor evidence, facts, power, verification and public exposure of your treasured lapses, like rats in a spotlight, scurrying.
The apostles were bold under spotlight, unanswerable in diction and conviction, enabled in power to perform in the name of Jesus Christ the Messiah, precisely what was expected, and to continue to do so (as in Acts and in the action of history), so making their crowds grow, the church form in multitudes, cover new lands, and the conception take form in dynamics of love, courage, grace and endurance, mixed with power and candour.
From the early days of the testimony of the resurrection of the
body of the Lord, in
Thus neither reward nor arms could harry, deter or detect any error, or deflect their advance. The guilty powers-that-were, outfaced before a different sort of Nuremberg, where deeds counted, and contradiction was discountenanced by the whole array of the unanswerable, could not stop it, even by murder; and in this case, murder was the one thing that was fatal, for an unanswerable resurrection was precisely what the powers of Christ to raise the dead and heal such multitudes of the sick, every one (as in Matthew 12, Luke 7:11ff, John 11 cf. Acts 10).
No voice could overturn their claims, even in the very heart of Jerusalem, centre of the Lord's earlier actions, by simple reference to well known facts; and they themselves so specialised in facts in their recountings fearlessly and practically, in word, as actions in deed to support, that there was simply no answer, neither could it come, nor utter its voice with any shadow of reality, of evidence, of body, of blight, of exposure. Only threats could be issued (as in Acts 4 and 5), or more murder (as in Acts 10), or more persecution (as in Acts 12). And this ? it was merely a beginning, soon to be continued with rollicking Nazi-like thoroughness in Rome, and this, not only famously under Nero; for it came in waves, in the reign of this and that Emperor. Christ forbad His servants to fight for His own deliverance, as He went, a sacrifice for sin, in grim humour, effecting this role by 'courtesy' of the killers (cf. I Cor. 2:8).
In fact, the whole might of
Put simply, it did not work!
The word of God as always, ruled, and fool's paradises were as lovely as those of the Kremlin. Like that imposing relic of aristocracy, which came to house the nobles of Communism in their luxurious squalor (for the few, the very few, by that elaborate irony so often seen in history, when men act as if to mock God, and climaxing in the crucifixion and resurrection, on schedule as to date - SMR pp. 886ff. - as predicted, with the result predicted, of the laughter of God, ringing, as predicted, in their impotent ears.
That is the way of such things.
The only answer, it appears, to those concerned, was to be murder, then as with Christ Himself, as in Stephen (Acts 7), and James (Acts 12) and the sundry threats and mouthings with which, from Communism and Nazism, we are now so very familiar. This was unable to stifle truth, merely to make more bodies. The body of the Church, however, grew prodigiously, taking a great company of priests (Acts 6, and 2), as well as mounting thousands from the first, who, persecuted, spread the gospel to the empty world.
The body of facts remained undisturbed, just as the power of the resurrection was unleashed.
· the magnificent synthesis of divine principles
· just as earlier irrevocable perfection in Christ Himself, in the criteria of deity manifest in the flesh,
· a thing most readily dismissed when the 'deity' is NOT the Almighty! but never dismissable except in the sacrificial death pre-planned as a means of grace (Acts 2:23 cf. Joyful Jottings 21-25), when as ONCE ONLY, it is HE, the I AM (John 8:58), who did not leave man lonely but came as one of them, consummately providing comfort and redemption, in one,
· of the predicted Gospel fulfilled in deed and preached in precisely the prophetic words,
· the enormous prophetic constraints for word and deed, laid on the Messiah Himself,
· duly met and never deniable in any event, before a critical audience (cf. The Magnificence of the Messiah, Appendix IV, Biblical Blessings),
· and channeled by promise in the Messiah as the foreordained, explicit exposure of God as man, through virgin birth (Isaiah 7, Psalm 40, Isaiah 11, 41-42, 40:10, 9:1-7, Zechariah 12:10, 9:7, 2:8 cf. SMR pp.770-774, Divine Agenda Ch. 5),
· and all this in the face of the Gentile and Jewish powers of subtlety or imperial arrogance, so much as to arrest His body in its courses:
All things in concord, with no part astray, it is just the leisurely perfection that truth has, fearless of exposure, and exposing exposés. It simply confirms all over again, as one finds in every field of VERIFICATION, the preceding DEMONSTRATION of the Bible as the word of God (SMR esp. Chs. 1-3, 10), in quality and control, impervious, unchanging, without need to accommodate the centuries in its integrity.
But let us revert to the resurrection. The two propositions, deceit and inanity, liars and delusion, alike in divorce from any interface with factual reality, as from trade with evidential attestation, suit a novel, a romance of the imagination; but not this alone. They cohere in fantasy of the irrepressible, the consciously devised kind, like Alice in Wonderland: possessed of a deliberate sense of the disjointed, the absurd, the counter-actuality genre, the non compus mentis variety. They stand only where the domain of exposed actuality is purposefully dismissed. They quiver together like two stalked young deer, exposed; neither can stand alone, and together they are merely the more pitiful.
They cohere in flightiness, as indeed, to perfection with the clamour about soldiers, on guard, confessing sleep (Matthew 28:13 gives a source version of this tale), while at the same time attesting that the disciples stole the body while they slept! (and hence could not stop them!).
What other disciples, if
they could seek hell for their labours, could so
convince witnesses confessedly asleep! and who else, even opportunist atheists, could seek by
transposing a corpse under the sleeping eyes of those liable to death if not
guarding, to fire fiction against
Will roses then use bayonets and will daffodils sing!
Who else could flip the
fingers at Rome, for once paired with the religious authorities of Jerusalem,
when warned both from antiquity and from the lips of Christ Himself, of what
would happen ... to His body. Sleeping guards, sleeping minds, sleeping
strategies cannot awake the dead, or avail themselves
of rational hope. A gutted guru is no base for belief in God Almighty come in
flesh, and now continuing His work, with the bodily resurrection the key. WHO
else could do such a thing ?
for no human agency could proceed in such a hocus pocus of pretence ?
God could so act. In fact, He demonstrably had SAID, as so often, what HE WOULD DO, and WHEN. (Cf. SMR Ch. 6), on the third day. You see that reflected not only in Matthew 16, but in Luke 24:13ff.). Naturally, when God acts, there is nothing that man can do; and that is precisely what men did - nothing. Absurd stories contrary to facts at every point merely discountenanced the pretence that He had not risen, while the Church attested by its behaviour and its power, not merely that they so believed, but they had the power which coursed in His resurrection, available for His work. It was not without suffering, for the servant, as the Lord Himself declared, is not greater than his Master; but it was without failure.
But alas for the
perpetrators, even if with hideous failure, the actual executors of the divine
plan, via their rushed execution of Christ, had implemented the word of God!
What of these who wrought evil with misplaced power ?
Pilate and Caiaphas were rewarded for their thoughtfulness, the one out of fear and arrogance of controlling things, the other out of fear of falling from his post. Their jointly contrived murder was for their parties, a costly one!
Thus history closed the circuit, and the Gospel, precisely as predicted, coursed the globe, grasped kings among the Gentiles (as foretold in Isaiah 52-53), moved among the distant places, cradled the earth with its antidote to sin, its salvation from being lost to God, and under curse, its kindness and its comfort, its words always like vast waters, surging past the strongholds to check, overflowing and passing on. Israel languished as foretold, till her time came as pre-announced (Luke 21:24), and the various signs of terrestrial decay, in false churches, false christs, false prophets and false politics, in rampant wars and heated fears, indicated that Jerusalem was not the only one to sin, nor would it be the only one to suffer.
This time the whole world is the site, and the scene is perforce no more the crucifixion of Christ, but the crucifixion of logic, of truth, of reality as far as may be (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7), in flirtations with fancy so ludicrous, in endeavours so brazen and so blocked (as for ever seeking in billions, the missing life on Mars). Religion increasingly is that WITHOUT THE POWER of God, while human satisfactions, hopes and romances, make it despicable (as predicted in II Tim. 3:1ff.).
In its elaborate endeavours, the world sours as it powers to self-fulfilment, and its powers are tinged with pollution, opened to madness, filled with desperation, as nearly every conceivable power and place surges into insurrection, ignoring the God of majesty, having none of their own.
There is no need to pretend, nor occasion for it, nor is there ever any, before the God of truth. Either this Messiah is received by faith, or rejected despite reason, the One so capable and unanswerable by all records, that death was the only option for those who did not desire His rule, whether only in fear of Roman conquest of their "King" and His kingdom (John 11:49ff. - despite John , Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount ), or for other and more obviously self-centred reasons of desire for power and authority, and for traditions dear to their hearts (Mark 7:7). Dear to the hearts of man are his traditions of religion, very often, but when it is presumed to add these to the word of God, to limit its expression to their ministrations or mullings, they are NOT so to the heart of God, who regarded them as presumptuous and more.
They, these traditions, were in Christ's eyes, works of intrusion so bitter and invalid, that they "reject the commandment of God that you may keep your traditions" - Mark 7:9. When God speaks, if you can merely add your thoughts, the result is neither godly nor good, but a lie. The infinite counsel of the Almighty might as well parallel, but only in a minute part, the endeavour to have an infant debate with Sir Isaac Newton. This is the way of human tradition daring to set itself near to the word of God. Repugnance to God is at a height (as in Jeremiah 23). They are abhorrent, if not exercises in arrogance, then in a profusion of intrusion and a mire of pride.
They were so then, they are
so now, whether in the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, so highly and
indeed categorically required by Pope John Paul II, or in Pentecostal excesses.
In such, they may be found, on occasion, speaking multiply in tongues, and that without interpreter, or in some cases, even intoning, 'Thus says the Lord,' of their own pastoral pronouncements, not deducible in the least from the Bible, contrary to Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22, and the canon accepted well over a millenia ago, as the Lord led His people.
It is thus all or nothing.
You have either nullity, vacuity, a place for the book of truth in the library of your life, left vacant, a heart for the God of creation left alone; or you have the Lord of the Bible, and the Bible of the Lord, revealed by His power, by His grace, through His mercy, so that "holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" - II Peter 1:21, the word for 'moved' being used likewise of the ship of Paul, DRIVEN by the tempest. They did not give simply an individual's interpretation of the truth, says Peter, but spoke as moved, driven and activated. Indeed, as Paul puts it, both the substance of the matters seen, and the words with which to present them, the expression necessary were granted from God.
THUS says Isaiah 8:20, if they do not speak ACCORDING TO the law and the prophets, there is NO LIGHT IN THEM. It is God or man, or devil, or delusion. There is no other option. Not merely is there not TRUTH, absolute and arresting, at all, without God, or even any possibility of it, since it would not exist, but merely responses, reactions and stimuli, with no perspective in charge or actual, or even possible, in the gamut of events, the activities of whatever it really is, doing whatever it might be, for whatever reason (and to say 'no reason' is to show expertise in the matter, which being denied in the absence of absolute truth, is a contradiction in terms no less than anything else in that genre of thought). Not only is this the case, but there is no knowledge of it, even if it were there, without God's revelation, above and beyond the powers of man, and hence as a datum neither distorted by their 'reception' nor static-ridden with their improvisations, additions, contractions, limitations, retractions, conscious, or unconscious or both or other!
is no truth, or God's truth. There is no other option. As we have demonstrated
repeatedly especially in SMR, God is and His truth is both necessary and
necessarily revealed; and research confirms what reason requires. It is there.
Without this, no viewpoint, no option exists, and even the attempt to make it
agnosticism is only rather worse, for in that case, the concept of not being
able to know is itself an ASSERTION PROFOUND AND INCISIVE of absolute truth;
and even if it be said, one does not know, but conceivably could know the
truth, that too is fictitious, if there were no God, for CONCEIVABLY that is
PRECISELY then what one could not do.
THE QUALITY WHICH QUALIFIES IS NEVER
NOT THOUGH THE EARTH DEPART
But in the truth, there is only one body of writing which qualifies, only one Person who qualifies, only one presentation which reaches to those heights, never varying in its promulgations, never retracted but only fulfilled (Matthew 5:17ff., 26:24,56), only one contender before the bar of reason, which so overwhelms its requirements as to make it seem, though justly given to man from God, a mere student.
As to reason, the truth meets it, overcomes it, and leaves it the mere product of the Producer, whose realities - on inspection, available in vastly greater depth when one knows Him and sees for oneself His works and ways, which indeed never change, but are precisely recorded in the Bible - are like those of seeing life, after previously watching a play. Though the play, in artificial light and with great skill performed, is wonderful; the thing in actual life is more intimate, more arresting still. Thus Peter in II Peter 19 says just such a thing as that.
PROPHECY, he indicates, is like a light in a dark place (and that dark place, believe it, is THIS PRESENT WORLD), on which the dusk is already falling in a history not entirely distinguished, for sin steals the hearts of men in multitudes, and abases them more and more as the end draws near, their powers increasing and their wisdom static, and often void. It does so "UNTIL THE DAY DAWNS and the morning star rises in your hearts" (caps. added). Indeed, this done and the necessary actions on earth complete, the whole heavens and the earth depart, for there is no place found for them (Revelation 20:11, II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 23:37). But first, HE is to come. There is no oddity about it.
How lightly do those take these things who imagine that the God who is there is the God who acts as if He were not, must not act as He did at Bethlehem and at Calvary, and must be altogether so muffled and so marred, not only at Calvary, but for ever afterwards, that not a thing is to be found in Him, but inaction.
It is the precise contrary which is, and always has been, true, yes and will be. HE ACTS. HE indeed is the GOD who ACTS for those who wait for Him as the NKJV correctly translates Isaiah 64:4. In fact, He works, and who will restrain it! (Isaiah 43:13). He comes to create, to manage, to redeem, to realise, to resurrect, to depart with mission implanted on earth, to return for the results.
That, the coming of Christ, who in heaven is the Temple and the Light (cf. Revelation 21-22): it is certainly the finale for the Age, after the resurrection of His body, the necessary testimony to Thomas, so methodical, but to all (Romans 1:4) in authentication of His claims, not only those of Psalm 16 for the One who would BE the Messiah, but those of His own lips (cf. Luke 24:25-26,21, Matthew 16:21). The latter is the episode in which Peter tried the pope-act, and was to hear, "Get behind Me, Satan. You are an offence to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men" for his pains, as in Matthew . The word of God, on the one hand, and the works of God, of which creation is one (John 1:3), indeed that by God the trinity (John 1:1-3), for there IS no other God as repeatedly shown on this site: these are not available for comment, commentary, equivocation, fibrillation through fiascos of fear for one's life, or desire for one's own authority alike!
One can indeed EXPOUND them, but as to instructing God, it is an insanity so profound that God in fact refers to such activities as a form of madness (Hosea 9:7), and the source, false prophets, do not have to believe in this or that, but merely to speak against God, what they will as if they could know the truth, the perspective of reality, and its grounds and government, rather than merely attest that this or that happens if you do this or that, for the time being anyway... (cf. the full Nelson on Hume, whose exhumed philosophies die again on inspection: SMR Ch. 3).
In SMR Ch. 6 we trace the follies of the liar hypothesis and its impossible outcomes in detail. But even ordinary common sense can see that no motive, no method, no gain, no result, no power is available for it. Without God, you cannot imitate God Almighty, and Christ expressed just that for years. It is hard when against the truth, to utilise it. It is impossible to continue the works of Christ (Acts 1:1ff.) by the power of His Holy Spirit so as to convince thousands of close observers of the Christ Himself, that it is indeed authentic as He was, when the power of God is against you, or you know nothing, have nothing and merely energetically defy the observable facts before you! It Impossibilities merely mount, psychologically, dynamically, physically, orally, socially, evidentially, to verify the demonstration made in SMR Chs. 1-3, in this as in other areas and arenas, categorically as one could please.
It is the same in the creation-evolution matter (cf. That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 8, SMR Ch. 2, and pp. 931ff.), where the realities of evidence are as clear as the sunshine at high noon in mid-Summer in a cloudless sky, where pollution is not known, and the light of verifications never dims.
BUT THEY ARE NOT DESIRED.
Never has one found an answer in any of these things. People turn away, discontinue, mouth and run; but the truth remains.
Never could there be any valid answer, for validity itself as SMR Ch. 3 and That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5 and Ch. 10, inter alia show, is dependent on absolute truth being available and sent, verified and confirmed, operable and functional. There is simply no other place.
Now all this is for one object, today, to show once more, but with highlighted background from some areas in particular, that it is necessary to be clear about things. You may EITHER serve the Lord Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh, the Word of God incarnate, as the Redeemer of your sins as He is for all who come by faith to receive Him as such, according to His word, as the Lord of your life, as the ONLY way to the Father in heaven; or you can live in logical squalor, sans truth, sans grounds, sans reason, sans validity, mouthing what you cannot know, a sort of disestablished wreck, a car yard residue.
Again, you can either do this WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND SOUL AND MIND AND STRENGTH, as He himself required, or at least set your spirit to this with all sincerity, or you can elect what you will. The later is the more conscientious nullity.
It is followed by
millions, it seems, who lose the joys of this life in Christ, as well as the
consummations of the next. Divorced from God, alien in sin, alienated by
desire, they slander God by their presumption, innovate for life the ways He
has not given, and with self in the centre, and sin in the self, with whatever
blind idols of desire or worship, proceed like rudderless ships in an
irrational ocean, a tumultuous vainglory, or a settled dismalness of spirit,
like fog that never lifts ... perhaps at times, glaring with the emptiness of
imagination that lifts nothing of the confusion.
CHRIST OR CHAOS
It is CHRIST OR CHAOS, as
Peter Marshall, chaplain to the US Senate once put it. It is LOVE OR LIE. If
you do not love WITH the love of God, you do not reach near to the perfection,
purity and divinity which love is, and your purely
human substitute lacks. Sin obscures its beauty, self-will defiles its purity,
other things nullify its dimensions, obscure its perspective, localise its grandeur.
Thus it is NOT the case, as one writer seemed keen to assert, that those who believe the Bible tend to be careless about suffering. WHY do we write of the dangers of
to China ? Taiwan
For fun ?
or is it because certain actions may facilitate that charming and delightful thing, FREEDOM,
in terms of which people may HEAR the Gospel and find GOD,
and without which,
the case of suffering so profoundly increases,
so that SOME atheists (by profession, in Communism's system of fiction) can forcibly interfere with ... not only the FREE expression of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, with all its love and service, but the PROCLAMATION of the GOSPEL by which alone people may find the Lord (Romans 10:11ff).
As Paul is inspired to write:
"How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed ?
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard ?
And how shall they hear without a preacher ?
And how shall they preach unless they are sent ?
As it is written,
'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!' "
It is indeed primarily because of the Gospel and the hope and the word of God, and the abhorrence of the inhuman persecutions which have come to Vietnam since Dr Kissinger won the Peace Prize... and such things, that such things needs exposure, challenge, and people who affect to love the Lord, need reminder. Slaughter a beautiful deer in its gloss and tenderness, and it is wound to more than flesh... but slaughter a nation by careless indifference to its cause, and this is another matter, whether the action be taken because of economic gain, diplomatic selfishness or for other reasons.
Freedom gives access to the gospel, and though it be misused, or partially suppressed, as may be occurring in electronic media soon in Australia, of which warning has duly been given as all too possible earlier; and though it may be misused by the very people who have it, ungrateful for such a grace: yet efforts to annul it can be but the torture chamber built by the ungodly, not wanting what they lack, to be found by others.
Therefore, when the repression option is to be misused systematically and certainly in terms of the people who DO NOT have the truth, whatever their pagan projections of power and their oppressions, and by whatever name these be given, then there is an attack on God and an invasion of His creation. On the other hand, when it is present, its scope opens the way to salvation the more readily.
Whoever, then, the presuming lords and mentors, who abhor the truth, and whatever their squalid denials of liberty to those whom THEY did not MAKE, yet PRESUME to seek to control, it is clear that pity and need alike drive one to seek the deliverance of those whom they shut in. And HOW would they shut them in ? It is as if knowledge were as big a bane as ever Romanism made of it, in preventing the reading of the Bible, in its own more lusty days, its prohibitions and inhibitions still not entirely extinguished in some countries (cf. Their Blood Cries Out, Paul Marshall, p. 137). World War II, in fact, saw things of this nature on a bigger canvas, in Yugoslavia (cf. Ravening Wolves, Monica Farrel, and Ch. XXII, Vatican Imperialism in the Twentieth Century, Avro Manhattan), where twentieth century blood flooded the history of untutored horror with new entries, in the time of (later!) Cardinal Stepinac.
, Islam with its Rome and ( Mecca or) Moscow , they make an axis illiberal, historically and dynamically. They are not alone; but they have much to share. Beijing
The tyrannies change, but the object remains.
A swift look at Isaiah 58:5-9 might fortify the understanding in this realm, as it applies to one Christian, and it applies to all! Deliverance is not a thing to ignore, but love desires the blessing of God to all: not by force, but where a person or people can help others to find, then such is the good they may do. Forcible delusion is not possible, but forcible extortion of truth by its suppression amidst a people, this is the ghoulish way of many.
So is there just
concern for the Gospel's entry, and that the command of Christ be fulfilled to
the uttermost, to preach it to all nations.Choosing
for others is a presumption of the utmost, denying them opportunity a jailer's
JAPANESE PRISONERS and FREEMEN of the LORD
Or why are those Japanese prisoners cause of concern, now so many years in prison in this land, despite the numerous appeals and efforts of many, despite their plea of innocence, and this without one being able, after applying to various politicians, EVER to find out HOW it is known that their story of how the affair of drugs in their baggage in Melbourne airport, is certainly false! Most recently, one has had yet one more ineffectual result.
From the Minister for Justice comes a response, this time presented through one's own member of parliament, to request to know the answer to this question: HOW is it known their story is false ? In this case, the Minister simply listed the number of times their appeals have been rejected, including her own refusal to recommend mercy this very year, as if this were an answer. Quite to the contrary, IF there is no adequate response to this question, refusal for 'mercy' becomes all the worse. If on the other hand, there is a demonstration that it is false, WHY on earth is it so many YEARS that NO ONE ever gives to the author that answer ?
Why then does the Christian
have concern and seek for deliverance ?This time let
us hear Isaiah 58:6ff.:
"Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
to loose the bonds of wickedness, and to undo the bands of the yoke,
and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke ?...
Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your healing will spring forth speedily;
and your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rearguard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer ..."
And to whom does He speak ? Is it not to those who had rather been inclined to ignore the faith in the LORD of their salvation, and hence to lack that salvation!
But of whom is it required to act in mercy and concern for deliverance of the oppressed ? Of His people ...
61:10, and who are these but those of whom it is written (53:6),
It is these who are so to act in mercy; and these things,
they are not options for different forms of 'Christianity', that New Covenant
which Ezekiel and Jeremiah speak, in that Messiah of whom Isaiah is so full.
They are COMMANDS of the ONE GOD through the "book of the LORD"
(Isaiah 34:16). If they do not speak according to this word, says Isaiah , there is no light in them.
is the commander (Isaiah 54:4ff.), and this is the way things are in the
kingdom of heaven.
It is at HIS will that His servants move in mercy.
Or why do we all, who love Him, follow Paul, and DIE DAILY (Romans ), and why do we find it acceptable to have so lustrous an example so willingly to follow, despite our many imperfections, as that of Paul who could say ...
· "For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake..."(from I Cor. 4:9-10), and then again, II Cor. 4,
is simply because we love Him. And HOW is He to be loved, in Deuteronomy or
Matthew, do we read ? WITH ALL the
heart and MIND and SOUL and STRENGTH. It is not partial fractions that
are involved. It is a totality, as of oxygen in an oxygen tent, as of flashing
light in a diamond, unobscured.
"And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.
To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!" And what had preceded in the words through the apostle, as he came closer to actual execution in the flesh ? This: "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."
His time was to come, but
then, for the time, until he had completed perhaps the most amazing single
missionary work of all time, since Christ Himself, he had this deliverance from
the God whom He knew, by the risen Christ who had displayed the Father openly,
to the eyes of faith, and to the demands of reason alike, when its enquiries
were not facetious or merely temptings without base:
by the power of the Spirit who worked miracles in or by him as needed; by the
circumstances always under divine control; with the church, though at times he
had to demand action from it;
in the midst of potent difficulty through its being overcome; and in derision by living it through, like a vast liner in the tormenting waves.
So is life in Christ. Suffering is not outside it; but joy is within it, for it is authentic, with God's very own integrity back of it, His love within it, His reality stirring it, His driving force enabling it, His rest never absent, even in the midst of torrents and tumults of work. With suffering within, it is concerned at suffering without, not as if to run the world, but to seek good for all, with goodwill to all, and to deliver some, if by any means the more might find in Christ the relief they need, the power to perform the purities of His desire, and to present the gospel of His grace, by which alone He can be known (John 17:1-3, 14:6, Ephesians 2:1-12).
To know God is the only
knowledge absolutely indispensable, delightful, dutiful and beautiful (cf.
WHOLE-HEARTED OR FOLLY
It is wholehearted, or a mere folly. On the other hand, He does not quench the smoking flax (Isaiah 42); and yet again, He does not quench it WHILE He - for all that - blows on it, to bring it to certain flame, as it is written, He makes His ministers a living flame (cf. Psalm 104:4 - "He makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire" ).
Amen. That is the way of Christ; this is the testimony of the ages, when Christ and Christ Himself is the way, the life and the truth: not the traditions of men, not the opinions of innovators in the flesh, not the follies to the right nor those to the left, not the careless indifferentism which allows an archbishop to declare that there are other ways to God than Christ, and to stay in a church*3, and to stay with him, or to deny the necessity of the bodily resurrection, or the truth of the Bible, or the power of God (as predicted in II Timothy 3:5), "always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Tim. 3:7), as is the way of some, increasingly in this generation of decay, and of predicted decline (II Thess. 2).
It is a whole-hearted affair. That is how it works; for God is truth, and confusion, suffusion and profusion of other things, is simply not divine. In divinity, the divine works. He does not work in His sublimity in the minuscule imaginations of the sordid heart of man, be these encapsulated in flesh itself, in mind or in spirit. God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth; and indeed, EXCEPT you forsake all that you have, you CANNOT be My disciple, said Christ (Luke 14). This does not at all imply perfection, for we are all sinners; but it DOES imply wholeheartedness. It is with all the heart, soul, mind and strength that the Bible indicates, one is to love God.
The innumerable easy ways, broad ways, liberal ways, radical ways, all testimonials to the greatness of the wonder which they presume illicitly to seek to imitate: these are as relevant as is hot, fairly concentrated sulphuric acid, when someone asks of a test-tube of this, Why does it not behave as water ? It is water, in part.
It does not work so, for it is acid in substance. All the poor imitations listed by Paul Marshall (op.cit.), including Rome which for some reason he fails in this to list, with their traditions, recent or old, added to or supplanting the word of God, or both, nullifying it as Christ put it, as we have seen above: these are not relevant. A type which says it believes the Bible (often, cover to cover), but does not know Christ, the fellowship of His sufferings or the power of His resurrection (Philippians ), is only one more variant, import, dissidence.
Indeed, Christ without power is like Niagara without water: it is then a place, but not the falls, and it is the falls where the power is provided, literally, but also symbolically, for "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world" as Paul puts it, in the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 6:14).
This is the inherent
birthright of Christians (as in Ephesians 1:17-19), and it is not divorced, for
in Christ there is no divorce, for " I am persuaded that neither death nor
life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things
to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us form the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" - says Paul in Romans 8:38, so that
all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us".
SEEK, then the LORD while He may be found (Isaiah 55)... and CALL upon Him while He is near! He is not found in imagination, but by faith, and not by invention, but THROUGH His word, by which His people indeed are regenerated (I Peter ). You are not seeking a theological system, though you will find one; you are not seeking your own life, though if you indeed seek Him WITH ALL YOUR HEART, you will find it, for it is he who LOSES his life for Christ's sake and the Gospel's, who will find it; and it is he, yes and she, yes again, old and young, who keeps life for personal reasons, who will lose it.
When you have lost it, it does not, of course work. When you have it, it does.
It is not different in this aspect, from an automobile. Word alone does not make it; hope does not introduce it to your garage; it must be paid for AND received, willingly. Christ does the paying, for those who receive Him, and these, they are not even BORN of flesh, or blood, or the will of the flesh (as John relays in John ), but of GOD. When you are born of God, again like a body in this aspect, you GROW. If you do not, you are not alive. That is how it goes, till at last comes age itself, which does not weary to death those who live in Him, since "even to old age, I am He, and to hoar hairs I will carry you" (Isaiah 46:4) and "they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" - Isaiah 40:31.
is the way it is, and practically, that is what happens. You know when you are
there. Nor is it, "been there, done that", any more than the
It had to be made clear in
This refusal to read the betrayal statement of the 1966 Wellington Presbyterian Assembly from our pulpits, it was unpalatable to those whose palates reach for the taste of other brews, made elsewhere than in heaven, and found elsewhere than in the labours of Christ, even in the imagination of the misled hearts of men. The ONLY way for that to happen, for the betrayal of Christ to be read from our pulpits, would be for the incumbent, myself, to be removed. Small wonder the Clerk of Assembly was moved so to speak, in a threatening manner. The Session of the Church had sent the Overture to Assembly; and even though as the cost rose, the body divided, we were for quite some time, still in control.
Eventually, after diligently warning the congregation, and losing one more elder who left the entire Church in appalled horror, to the USA one had to go, no longer with a majority in Session (the body of elders) to a church at that time speaking of being 'true blue Presbyterian', and at that time, this not without some good reason. It was then a relatively small body, perhaps of 100 churches.
One well remembers one of
the seminary professors whom one had the felicity to meet, on arrival from
The only really true blue
is in Him who created the sky, and inhabited the earth, and who inherits the
saints (Psalm 2:8, Ephesians ).
thing have I desired of the LORD, and that will I seek after,
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to enquire in His temple..."
Indeed, the whole Psalm is
of this character. It abundantly repays study by the spiritual, provides
direction to the confused, hope to the seeking and delight
to those who love the Lord.
The issue has to be
resolved, as indicated from the Bible, in this Chapter, and that without untempered delay; or else, the Church left, because of such
a case of uncorrected apostasy, which of course includes the toleration of
frank denial such as this. That simply makes of the faith, opinion, and of
opinion, faith, being in itself, a rank defilement of the