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"Archbishop reaffirms resurrection" reads the headline on p. 5.
Thereby hangs a tale. It is important in
view of the tail end.
THE WORDS AND THE MEANING - OF THE ARCHBISHOP ?
Whatever this particular archbishop may or may not believe is not our present concern. The principle of the thing within Anglicanism, this is.
Thus, firstly, we note the ambiguity of the reaffirmation as provided. This merely shows what CAN be done, and indeed WAS done in N.Z. in 1966, by playing with words. This may be innocent, THAT was not.
Thus the statement "we cannot with the same certainty say that we know He was raised by God from the dead," was the quotation attributed to the archbishop. The same certainty as what ? as that He died.
That was the point made. In seeking to rescue the statement from misinterpretation, the report is interesting.
Thus, this archbishop said "in his 1998 Easter sermon, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? They were looking in the wrong place. Death could not stop Him; he was risen ... the challenge therefore for us as His Church is so to convey the good news of the risen Christ that they find Him in the joy of our lives, in our services week by week...' "
Such a statement as that, however, is quite capable of being made by people such as those, in NZ in 1966, who REFUSED the bodily resurrection of Christ. The 'right place' would then be in their own hearts, which would then reflect some sort of spiritual result. Again, our interest here is NOT what the archbishop here believes; it is what CAN be said with such a totally opposite meaning, the subtlety of phrasing disguising the brutality of the reality of unbelief.
It was indeed in 1966 that the PC NZ (in that
the 1967 Assembly did not radically change things) AFFIRMED some sort of
resurrection. This one ? It was a nice commodious sort
of a thing, including within its verbal bounds,
those who considered the dust of Christ's body resided in
What sort of resurrection it is which leaves what was buried where it was, what sort of glory shares the flesh with the worms, or what power is shown in the vanquishing of life in the flesh, by flesh, of blood by murder, it is not at all clear to find! How death is beaten when death wins, and how flesh is vindicated when flesh fails, or how it is reassuring to find that the tomb is womb for mortality: again it is not at all clear. When imagination rules, facts are not in vogue.
How revitalising to find that the murdered form was indeed finished, that the One who could and did raise the dead lacked this work in His own particular case, and that man could after all dispose of God on earth's surface, though God made it, and have the last word on the body devoted! If that is revitalising, then so is vomit, so is explosion, so is the tortured remnant of courageous workers, left bedraggled in the torture chamber. Of what then does that reassure ? that power is corrupt, and that that is that!
How fine to know that one can feel happy about it all! What sort of happiness visits the broken heart, what sort of vindication arises in this world to attest the power of God (Romans 1:4), when the power of man leaves it merely the vitality of memory, perhaps assisted by the splendour of discordant inspiration of some kind, within! Disbelief founders at its very foundation in this arena, the only delusion in the minds of those who imagine so botched a scenario, outrageously contrary in all things, to what it is to account for!
What kind of explosive vindication, authentication and vitalisation arises from ABSENCE of the body which was to rise; what kind of hell appeals to lying disciples, mythicising a sodden coup which ostensibly included soldiers who risked their lives for gross negligence and then reported what happened in their sleep! or who did so yet more surely, for the sake of corrupt collusion in illicit corpse evacuation, in an aroused city, where twice doubled justice would be given for this, as for negligence:
Motivation was everywhere to prevent it, from the watchful eyes and fearful wills of vulnerable parties; and the prediction which aroused them, only added to it (Matthew 27:64), that on the THIRD day He would be away! but on His own legs. It is this which happened; which was thrust into the wild and earlier frenzied mob, on fire for His evacuation from this life by refined and slow butchery, amid a people who had observed His deeds, received His therapy, witnessed His miracles, to whom Peter spoke in just such terms, appealing not to cynicism, but to knowledge: THESE THINGS Christ had manifestly done: and now, this! (Acts ). That moved in his message. It was, like His seamless robe, all of one piece...
How peaceful the military outcome for the soldiers in their ludicrous story, sleeping witnesses; but there was soon to be one world-echoing result, the torrent of truth thrusting aside all fabrication like molten lava to scorch conscience and make for action, that action which led ot the sure establishment of the Christian church: repentance and faith.
No! no fact could be induced otherwise to relieve the astonished city! (cf. SMR Ch.6 ). It rubbed its bewildered eyes in amazement as the fact, the amazing and triumphant, the persistent and all-resistant fact began to emerge, fearless in the face of fear, guilt and promulgated despite motivation of another kind!
To achieve this result, nothing less was needed. On that first Sunday morning, evil was smiling, smirking in bloody triumph.
Only reality could awaken
now, and only power could convince.
This is precisely what it did.
But this! it is merely the beginning. The ludicrous distortions of corrupted imagination, grating like an exhaust pipe touching the road behind a derelict vehicle: they are merely the negative.
The raising to walk away was not only a fact. It was also a predicted fact, and God had given them over 1000 years to prepare for it: either to abort it, if they would and could, or to receive it. His plans are open, and His power readily able to match against counter: for you see, it is yet the simpler, for He ALSO knows the countering efforts in advance, and instead of discounting THEM, can account for them and overturn them with the same ease as that with which He predicts in the first place!
In fact, Psalm 16, quoted by Peter at Pentecost, makes it clear that "my flesh" shall rest in hope, and that the Holy One would not suffer corruption. Peter brings it out with frank and direct force, relishing it, applying it (Acts ). Here was the ineradicable, the foundational, the cardinal FACT: David's body rotted, he being a prophet, Christ's body did not rot, He being the one prophesied.
In simple terms, that Greek verb means 'ROT'. Now if flesh is to rest in hope, and the One of whom it is written, is not to rot, that is perfectly clear. A thing may rot, and if not, remains unrotted. This is of course not the fate of the flesh which does NOT have this provision!
As to that, it rots. In Psalm 16, we find this, that neither hell nor rotting is permitted to seize the Holy One, so that His flesh rests in hope! and as to David, of course, by virtue of the Holy One, his flesh can do the same, even though in his case, it would first rot, since the Messiah, though his descendant on the mother's line, is also his Saviour! 'Let's be clear!' - in effect, Peter says (Acts 2). DAVID's flesh rotted; but the Psalm is written of Christ, that HIS FLESH WOULD NOT ROT! THIS, said he, is the case!
Contrasting the Messiah with His maternal forbear, Peter states that the non-rotting, NOT applicable to David who merely predicted it, to David whose flesh did indeed rot, IS applicable to the Messiah.
NOTHING COULD BE CLEARER: the terminology, the contrast, the promise, all is there. You see that it was 'concerning the resurrection' that it was written that "His flesh did not see corruption". The non-rot program related to the body of which resurrection was the stated end. It did not relate to some other body, some other person, some other time. It related to the Messiah, to the One whose body was massacred, to the flesh which had a divergent destiny from rotting. Indeed, as Christ so often showed, it related precisely to the third day after the crucifixion, with a stated time for a stated body doing a stated thing! (cf. Matthew 17:22-23).
Peter the fisherman was not in the business of having nice little 'lifts' from rotting flesh, and reflections about it! On the contrary, he spoke of the promised and prophesied power of God which, with the Messiah, did precisely the OPPOSITE to the norm, to the case of David's flesh, and raised Him, Christ, from the dead.
As a result,
Peter advised them to repent: for not only was Christ raised, but raised to be
Lord. In view of it, without more ado, the multitude began to repent, and to
cry, "Men and
brethren, what shall we do ?" (Acts ).
THE WORKS AND THE WITNESS OF CHRIST AS RESURRECTED
careful. He made sure He ATE fish in the presence of the disciples (Luke
The resurrection was so in bodily FACT.
He with resolution addressed the hearts and consciences of the disciples on the Emmaus road, showing them clearly at length that both SUFFERING and GLORY were the dual lot of the Messiah, so that His suffering should NOT have blinded them to the practical realities of power which were to occur on the third day (Luke 24). It was then that He broke bread with them, and evidently the WAY He did it had a bearing, for they then realised that their discouragement with death was to be replaced with delight at resurrection. The resurrection was so IN BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE and PRACTICAL PERFORMANCE ALIKE.
When in Galilee, as per program (cf. Mark 14:28, Matthew
28:7,10), He made sure that He not only had a fire ready, but fish to hand, and
that once again, they had a meal, Jesus GIVING the cooked fish into the
disciples' waiting hands (John 21:13), along with bread. It was then that the
famous incident occurred when, with John near to Christ and Peter, the latter
indicated John and sought understanding on John's future. Christ replied to
indicate that Peter would die before John, so leading to an understanding among
the disciples (John 21:20ff.). So the program of eating and cooking, of
speaking and reasoning, of interactive communication among the watchful
disciples, and discourse that each could see and hear, of teaching and
THE WORDS OF OTHER ANGLICAN BISHOPS
Whatever then the archbishop may or may not have meant, there is no doubt about some of the others, according to the reported words. Their views ? One, Bishop of Worcester, "described the event as ...not 'filmable' "
Although he uses the word 'mysterious' - all
according to the report, yet there is nothing mysterious about what the
Anglican word here has to say: the implication is that the resurrection is NOT
It is not a matter of light-reflecting flesh and blood. THAT body which Peter affirmed risen, would be, on such a basis, happily rotting. This is a rejection of what is necessary for salvation (Romans 10:9, I Cor. 15:1-4, 12-17), 9), namely belief in Christ as bodily resurrected, according to the scriptural definition of the term. Thus if a bank wants interest on your loan, you cannot change happily from the document's definition and say, 'Ah yes, but what I myself mean by interest, is a pat on the shoulder. It is the essential thrust that matters, that the bank FEEL good!'
Whittling with words is a game, and it is not that religion of truth and factuality which the Bible repeatedly stresses (Proverbs 8:8, John 3:11, Acts 4:19-20). Indeed, it is precisely in the case of the VISIBLE, filmable healing of the visibly lame that Peter affirmed this.
As to Peter: he was not stating that he was unable to do other than follow an inner light. He was unable, in the process of healing a lame man, to do other than talk of what he perceived in terms of the actual name he had used in the performance, that of Christ. Facts were facts, and no nonsense could evict Peter from their clear testimony. As we have often seen, in Isaiah 41,43,48, God insists that His prophetic word is ALWAYS right and that NOTHING and NO ONE else can duplicate His factual precision in making future things appear in words that do not fail. Go back, go ahead is the challenge of the Almighty: FIND ANYTHING which matches what I AM TELLING YOU! Of course, they could not. That is a crucial test. The Christian religion, moving from and with the everlasting God whose testimony has never lacked, is not about vapours.
What else have Anglican bishops to say that is a variant from the Bible, on this basic necessity of the Christian faith, then ? Another one is cited as saying, "I'm happy to accept that there was a physical resurrection. My job is to teach the faith of the Church and not my own opinions."
Really ? One should have thought that the FAITH involved should first and foremost be that of the believer, and in this case therefore, of the bishop! IF his OWN faith was not the same as that which he perceived to be that of the church (by whatever process of inference), then of course he would be an unbeliever and wholly unfit to be on the roll of members of any Christian church, let alone a bishop. Now he may not have meant this; but it is exceedingly difficult to see what his 'business' relative to the Church's teaching has to do in this duality, of HIS private opinions on the one hand, and ITS public statements on the other, unless there is a distinction!
Imagine Peter saying this: 'My business is to say what the other apostles thing on the topic of the bodily resurrection of the Lord, not to give you what I personally think!' It would be a riot! The faith would be wholly diverse from what it is, if that were the manner of things. In fact it was the transforming, irradiant certainty of simple reality which made each apostle's statement like faggots on a fire.
Even in the case of Thomas
In fact, Thomas' decided simple practicality was of much service, and it enabled Christ to make the principle plain (John -29) for all time: THOMAS had the opportunity to perform the most radical physical test. THEN he believed. THAT is the term Christ uses here! It is a question of believing or not believing in the most generic sense.
Thomas needed to be able to probe. OTHERS would believe without this DIRECT method being available. Blessed were they! Thus this became a touchstone of the resurrection, in turn, a touchstone of the faith, a minimal pre-requisite of salvation, for another Jesus does not save (II Cor. 11), and not believing is not believing; whereas THIS SAME JESUS so rose. This indeed is the GOSPEL to be believed (Isaiah 53;1) as in I Cor. 15:1-4, where Paul makes it clear as Machen emphasised: THE THING THAT WAS BURIED WAS THE THING THAT ROSE. What was this ? In fact, His body.
Again, in I Cor.
15, Paul makes it evocatively, provocatively, incisively and decisively clear
that WITHOUT the resurrection, so defined, there is no faith, there is no
clearance from sin, indeed people would still be in their sins. IF the
resurrection (so defined) HAD NOT happened, then says Paul, what is the good of
saying one believes in it! ( I Cor.
15:14). If there is NO resurrection, HOW is Christ risen!
( I Cor. 15:13,16). If Christ is not risen, how IS there anything to believe in, for faith is then cancelled! Like a barrister, he leaves no standing room. It is all or nothing. A non-Biblical, anti-prophetic, anti-apostolic, Mark 1 Thomas 'resurrection' is good only for damnation. It leaves people in their sins, it does not clear the books, it makes Christ into a fraud, God into a humbug, prophecy into a muggins, the faith into a fiasco.
"Only a few Western bishops would want to deny these truths. The resurrection is something a bit unusual that we as Christian sometimes have to convince people of" - says another Anglican official. ONLY A FEW! IF ANY deny it, as was the case in NZ in the Presbyterian Church, which rightly set about resolving it, but wrongly denied its necessity as bodily: if any should deny it publicly and clearly, then as in the case in NZ in 1966, there is only one option. The Church dies or the person ceases to hold office! How then is this so ? Why it is so simple: IF the PRINCIPLE is such that the church says this: Resurrection, whatever you like to mean by it, take your pick, you MUST believe in, but as to Christ's body, we hold no particular position in this, so that someone in our teaching ranks can deny the bodily resurrection, then the stage is set.
Then the CHURCH'S POSITION, its MINIMAL REQUIREMENT, its overall consensus and policy and place is that the resurrection MAY/MAY NOT have been bodily. On Paul's own testimony such a body is not a church. Imagine Peter preaching : 'Now as to Christ, I personally have an opinion about this, although we have friendly divergences one with the other, and some say one thing, some another, for it is really quite hard; but overall, I should think the general consensus should be that we believe in a resurrection. Certainly it is most important that we should.'*1
What then of such a dead church ? The ONLY WAY it could be 'resurrected' would be by repentance, clearly expressed, not some refuge in nuances and ambiguity (I Corinthians 14:8), and return to the faith. NO CHURCH has ANY POWER or PLACE or POSITION except in this, that it testifies to the truth. As even the apostle Paul said, I have no power against the truth, but only for it ( II Corinthians 13:8).
Ashamed of Jesus
is to be ashamed of what HE IS, not of what He is NOT! What shame and shambles
is a ghostly, ghastly thingummy residing in clay and
vision! Ashamed of that fiction, that libellous
discord with the testimony of truth and the sanction of reality! Exceedingly so. But of the One whose resurrection confounded
all His enemies and thrust home the church like lightning in its song: of that
one, never! To be ashamed of that actual Christ is to court His shame in the
judgment! (Luke , II Corinthians
11:1-15), and indeed, Paul brings the matter of variation from this same
Jesus, to the very domain of devilry.
If someone insists, being warned (Ezekiel 33:1-11), on staying where Christ is not given His place, so that it is another Christ, where the faith is not required, so that this or that one may preach some other faith, hence some other gospel, then it is merely to stay where death replaces life, where rebellion replaces obedience, and as to rebellion, the Bible says this: "Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft" - I Samuel 15:23. What about being obstinate and doing it anyway: "And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." Idolatry of course is what excludes from the kingdom (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
Christ is not a plaything, a toy, but a Person, the Truth. To play about with truth is to invite falsehood; and faith it is which is required, foundational in Christ, in His words, in His works: in HIM!
THIS is the resurrection preached, this is the resurrection which took contemporary Jerusalem by storm, which captured the minds of thousands who had heard and seen what Christ did, in their own day, and continued to do through the apostles (Acts 1:1). In the Gospels, we read as Luke here shows, what Christ began to do; in the Acts, of the continuation of His work through the Spirit. Like His own, it was spiritual AND practical, and in both cases, the dead were raised (John 11, Acts 8), the sick were healed (Acts 9, Matthew 4:23ff). ALL POWER, said Christ, is given to Me in heaven and in earth. THAT was and is the position. It is NOT the power of a dictator, but of the Saviour (John ) and it continues till He comes, King not only over death, but manifestly over life. In nothing is His word broken, in no place is resort or crevasse, cavity or qualification to be found. That is the way with power, when it is also the truth.
AN EXPLORATORY EXCURSION IINTO
THE BACKGROUND AND NATURE OF THE PHENOMENON:
and allied elements
jangling jitterbug and solemn truth
about the joy of justification)
What is required: Action
*I In the Anglican case, the church is hierarchical, with bishops, archbishops, and collective, having synods with authority. It is in much a useful example to give a basis for application to other denominations.
Thus if any one communion or church grouping, national or whatever be the integration adopted, should leave a publicly known case of a cleric denying the bodily resurrection, or refusing to affirm it when asked, then that communion, national or of whatever proportion or dimension, is one in principle accepting that it is not bound by the doctrine. It is optional for it.
Hence one remaining in such a communion becomes partaker of its sins - if competent to know the case as it has developed. It does not take an Einstein to know what it is to rot. That is the question. We all happen to have bodies. When we lose them it tends to be traumatic; it is one of the chief problems of man that death and judgment remove him from the normal interplay of things; exams come up; assessment has its day. Christ in removing death, abolishing it and bringing life and immortality to light (II Timothy 1:10), has done the greatest thing since creation, and when the sin-cancelling iniquity bearing of the cross, done on behalf of all who come, offered sincerely to ANY, is added, this IS the greatest thing even INCLUDING creation.
THIS is what the Lord has done. This is the acme, the criterion, the wonder: HE BOTHERED, HE BORE, BE BROKE DEATH. HE is practical as well as loving, death defying as well as life affirming, an as author of death - as well as life - has a heart that cares, as well as ideals and principles which do not vary or corrode, is incorruptible and merciful (cf. Romans 3:25ff.).
He who dwells in light unapproachable, has come to earth as man to be approachable, and in this humble and serviceable state, He has borne scorn as well as sin, rudeness as well as disease, scoffing as well as contempt. It quite swallows the imagination, for it is He who made it, who does these things. Love, power, mercy, grace, strategy, triumph - they are all there, to be the criterion of each!
In denying to Him His attainment, in limiting in this puny and anti-Biblical way His atonement, making it a thing of the febrile wit, not the flesh sovereign affirming what He took away, this is the last scoffing, the final contempt, the utter torture, as it were, beyond death: if the implications and not the power of man's action be taken into account. HE cannot be touched; but IF He could, this is what is kept back for Him till last! THIS is the choicest wine of death, like the arsenic laced wine evidently served by the French to Napoleon, to remove perhaps, a diplomatic problem in his person.
And justification ? "It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised because of our justification" - Romans -25.
HE was not delivered up in theory, in symbol, in feeling, but in lacerated flesh, that harbour of the spirit, in cumulatively tortured brow and beaten back. He was not raised up in symbol, in theory, in concept: He did not go to the cross in spirit and He did not leave death in spirit, some floating ghost, but all that He did, He did as sovereign: LAID in the tomb, He was RAISED from it, as Paul explicitly asserts in I Corinthians 15. Hence this is nothing less - this denial of the bodily resurrection - than a scenario storming, a grand parade disruption, a victory song invasion, and that it CANNOT affect the result does not disguise the fact that for the malefactors, it not only CAN but DOES. Without this, no justification, for it is its stated vehicle and partakes of its ground.
If then an Anglican, or indeed ANY OTHER COMMUNION or church body, great or small, tolerates this denial in its clerics, its clergy, its pastor or teacher, or their body, if numerous, that is no church: IT MAKES WHAT GOD DEMANDS AS ESSENTIAL, FROM HEAVEN, THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO DISAFFIRM, OR DE-AUTHORISE AS ESSENTIAL, ON EARTH. That rapidly becomes an anti-church. Of small account the English desire to accommodate, the Anglican 'genius' for compromise. Compromise with the cross and resurrection of Christ and you are like a woman who, having sold her virtue, wishes not to appear in public without gloves. It is odious disproportion. If the foundations are destroyed, where then shall the righteous flee (cf. Psalm 11:3). NOT to the rubble!
THEN it is time to leave the ruin. It is useless merely to accept some other diocese. The structure is ONE, organic, hierarchical, collective, be it national or other. IF ONE dissident is accepted, then the WHOLE is implicated in the DECISION to accept, or NOT TO CORRECT (contrary to the stringent and clear word of Titus , and of Romans ). THUS the foolish can become partakers of other men's sins (I Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 4:29-5:7, Revelation 18:4-5), and what allows what God cardinally REQUIRES, to be removed, is an authority AGAINST CHRIST, a servant who dismisses the majesty of the Master, an intruder, be it for the sake of one or many.
There is one other option to departure from such a mess. It is this. Restore the church concerned to its foundations in Christ, reform it, revise it, insist on a restoration of reality, of the bodily resurrection in its place in that grandeur amid humility seen in Christ, relent from folly, practice righteousness. BUT IF the church will not hear you, leave it. You have no other option but rebellion.
Christ may be denied in many ways: if you must 'hate' father and mother and so on (Luke 14:26), in the sense of letting THEIR CLAIMS ON YOU have no competition with those of Christ, then how much more must you 'HATE' in the sense of allowing no competition, the claims of what is NOT MERELY a natural desire, which must be kept in place as inferior to the claims of Christ, but a wayward and even rebellious wish, to sanctify man more than God, the people of God more than Christ, and the action of a church more than the action of Christ! Fail here and Christ says (and He, you will remember, is the One about whom it all works, for whom it is made, by whom it has come to be, who has given it His OWN name), and "YOU CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE."
Christianity is not a social game but a spiritual calling.
Such a thing is contemptible to such an outrageous degree, that falling into this pit is a thing to be viewed with horror, a matter for anyone seeing it to warn of, lest the end of the thing be that the soiled spirit become the poodle of flesh, not the servant of God. What is ordered is not an option.
If they "teach otherwise" (I Timothy 6, eterodidaskelei: engages in heterrodox teaching), NOT following sound words, those of Jesus Christ, the immovable standard: then it is a principle of universal application which is being breached, and if it cuts in smaller things, what shall its breach in the great things require! The principle once broken, means that the proponents are
the Biblically depicted nature of false teaching,
not according to godliness, unapostolic.
What does it require for such a case ?
It requires this :
"from such withdraw yourself" (I Timothy 6:5).
If then they "teach otherwise" and not according to the words of Jesus the Christ, this requires departure from their midst (Romans ), if they will not come; and even if they will, you must take care as you draw them from the fury of folly (Jude 22). It is then a work of deft rescue, not sharing in squalor of unspirituality, as if some other dynamic, some other preference were working your mind, moving your legs and activating your conscience. Let Christ suffice you, and His word rule, as was the intention of so many of the martyrs and workers who started the Anglican church. Yes and the case is not diverse with many other churches.
If you do not, are you then not also a rebel, and is not Balaam with his own wishes, oh though he seemed ever so orthodox, becoming the role model! Do what you want in the very face of the known will of God, and see how far you can stretch it! And he, Balaam (Jude 11, II Peter , Numbers 22) - was rebuked by an ass, confronted by an angel, and has left his name as the very sobriquet of deviousness, the badge of spiritual decline, the path of corruption.
The resurrection! Yes but there is far more
In the World Council of Churches,
(for example, Liberation Theology, putting Christian doctrine into secular terms, with redefinition);
construct new Bibles and new doctrines as if philosophy,
like mistletoe had invaded the grand eucalypt forest with its cheap bedraggled parasitism,
contributing nothing, merely drawing nurture from what is not its own,
The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission
So the Anglican movement goes on its long and odious path back to the tyrannies disenfranchised by the Bible (I John ) and odious to God (Matthew 23:8-10, II Cor. 11:1-11). So too the gift of primacy of the word of God becomes shunted onto the side-rails, while on rushes the new express train of false prophets who do not bow to the word of God, but rather add to it, contradict it (cf. Jeremiah 23:16-21#, SMR pp. 1042ff.). Meanwhile, the world Anglican movement resides squarely in the WCC.
The Orthodox churches with their worship of bread, their mass, are in it too. Idolatry is placed within the religious synthesis of the World Council therefore (cf. SMR 1088B-H). It is all there, in your WCC synthesis.
If this is not
Church, like the
The charismatic liberty movement, conjoined to unbiblical excess, with its autonomous abuse of tongues (as distinct from the true and restricted Biblical provisions for the work of the Lord as He sovereignly will, I Cor. 12:11,30), was a further ecumenical exercise showing 40,000 people on their feet with joy as to the group, the largest single part being Roman Catholic, the preacher cried, "Let’s stop the competition…", or as he might have put it, let’s stop fighting for the gospel and go lock-step with the body which insists on no change but only the changes it makes! And this beyond the Bible, the Lord and the salvation which is by grace through faith, apart from works!
All these things show the direction of ecumenism
to retreat from that vital gospel stand which, since the days of the apostles,
has brought so much evil from the aroused field, to the faithful preacher, so
much good to the listener, as the world oppresses (John 16:2). Convenience is
the password, human aggregation the name. Now is the time of compromise, of
The same back to Rome thrust appears indeed in the American Baptist Churches USA at one of their biennial meetings having a Roman Cardinal preach to a plenary session, from this appearing the extent of the holocaust of holiness (Foundation, July-August 1999, p.11). Swallowed up if not in the WCC then in other ways, the engulfing continues.
now the Lutheran World Federation is reported unanimously to have approved its Joint Declaration with Roman Catholics (June, 1998), a Cardinal noting
later, that this "virtually solved" the long standing question. We
have dwelt on this in an earlier report, but shall deal with this degeneration
of doctrine anew, since it is so basic, in our wider survey of developments
among churches, of ecumenical energies and enervations in some of the religious
spheres. The joint declaration on justification was of course a
joint betrayal, made broader in the return to the vomit of virtue which the
works-related, incremental and slow working dogma of
To the contrary, Paul in Galatians 3 marvels: IF YOU RECEIVED THE SPIRIT WITHOUT ALL THIS ‘WORKS’ BUSINESS, WHY BRING IT IN NOW! he expostulates. It was by the "hearing of faith", you entered: so continue! Law is irrelevant to this issue. You have been saved by predestinated counsel of the Lord (II Timothy 1:9-10, Romans 5:1), so why bring yourself to the shameless carnal elevation of adding anything of your own or a priest or a church, as if your place depended not on Christ and Him crucified, "placarded" before you, as Paul puts it (3:1), but on the sweat of your spiritual brow. This ? It has its place, but not in grace.
This is for sanctification, but not for status. This is for growth, but not for adoption. As a child of God, you are eternal by guarantee (Ephesians ), not by dictation, direction or imbuement. "You are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus," says Paul to these souls in danger (Galatians 3:26), and as to that, "He who is born of God, his seed remains in Him" - I John 3:9, so that John assures the believer that his is eternal life, that he wants him to KNOW this (5:12), that he will be raised up as such on the last day (John 6:51-50), so that he lives forever (cf. Philippians 3:20-21).
This conditional hypothesis is a child of philosophy, a nemesis of grace, protagonist of flesh, father of folly, at war with salvation, propounded by enemies of the cross, however sad it is to have so declare it (Philippians 3:18). They are on the one side, the certain resurrection to the presence of the Lord by faith, on the other. So speaks the apostle; and it is by the cross and resurrection (Romans -25), not by other ecclesiastical innovation, as though churches could escape by being many, for even wolves can hunt in packs.
WHAT IS by the cross and the resurrection ? JUSTIFICATION IS THERE DECLARED TO BE: "He was delivered up for our
offences and raised up for our justification." So what ? So this: "Having been justified by faith, we
have peace with God" (Romans 5:1).
Do you, reader ? If so, rejoice, and if not get it
quickly, for on this doomed airliner, there is in the end, only one finale:
Are they then deluded ? certainly, but their teeth are just as sharp, the flesh is just as soft, and the folly of not heeding just as sure. Hear Paul:
says Paul any glorying EXCEPT in the CROSS. Not in mass, in men, in priests, in
world thoughts, in ecclesiastical compromise, in a unity like that of many in
God is not men. God was never begun and is the judge. He neither sins nor can sin, for it is foreign to Him in whom is "without iniquity" ( Deuteronomy 32:4). No one can replace, impersonate or operate as He. His is not the gift of authority: HE IS AUTHORITY, and "ALL AUTHORITY," says Christ, "is GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH".
How much is left then ? Is not the papal language as far as possible from this: not merely contrary, but contradictory! (cf. SMR pp. 913-916). Even Paul could act only FOR the faith, not against it (II Cor. 13:8), and even Peter was "also an elder", and elders ? "examples to the flock" not those with dominion over your faith, or lords over His heritage (I Peter 5:3), while Paul again with his company, is so acting that they do not "have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy" (II Cor. ). This is personal provision direct from the Judge, and those won through it have NO OTHER GLORY, NO OTHER NAME (Galatians 6:14, Acts 4:11-12).
FORGET THAT and you are right back in the inestimable
presumptions of self-appointed grace, making self-appointed ways to a
self-appointed ‘Christ’, who is bogus and not the true one, ‘another Jesus’ and not the crucified one, who appointed no such
thing, but "appointed
us to obtain salvation"
(I Thessalonians 5:9-10), "not of yourselves, it is the gift of God", for what ? "For by grace are you saved through faith" - a cycle "not of yourselves" (Ephesians 2:8-10).
How can anything be "not of yourselves" which depends on yourself, pray tell, and while you tell, tell yourself the need to avoid this misalliance like the plague, for innocent is any plague compared with this arrogant assemblage (Ephesians 2:9 - "not of works lest any man should boast") which amongst its own polluted flesh - for all are sinners - would cross in company the very threshold of heaven. IF it depends in ANY way on flesh, on man as worker not as gift recipient, in any way on the manner of his receiving it, or the force of it or the durability of it, or the people from whom (but Christ only is our high priest - Hebrews 2-9) this is work, on the contribution of flesh, in one or many, from high or from low, then it is foreign to the scripture, alien to the gospel, removed from the face of God (cf. Matthew 21:11-13).
If it is the variable input of man which determines the issue - and of course that could be boasted of - for what may not be that one does; if it be this which MAKES ALL THE PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, then Paul is wrong (Romans 3:27-29, Ephesians 2:8-10), Rome is right and salvation is not apart from works. But if God is the source of the Gospel and the Cross ALONE is to be gloried in, then God being the sovereign, sovereignly acts and sovereignly says:
NO! NO! ALL AUTHORITY is given to Christ, as far from ANY MAN as sin from perfection, eternity from commencement (Matthew , John , ). Justified by faith APART from works##, says Paul in Romans 3:23ff., and so it is. God forgives that He may be just; God justifies rather than condemns, that He may be just (I John 1:9, Romans -26). It is HIS WORKS. There is no ‘if’, no ‘maybe’ nor is there a qualification by attainment. It is JUST, for to fail to provide what HE has paid for and so paid PERFECTLY (Romans ) would be unjust. He paid so much in justice; He cared to pay in mercy.
The position of
THE WORD OF GOD AND THE WORD OF FLESH
How accurate is the word of God. It is to
become a vast mystery of iniquity, a multitudinous phenomenon, one moving to
Thus, not only the massive crowds in the WCC
from long ago, but the Lutheran, the Baptist joins in this unholy cavalcade
As to Paul, STAND FAST, he cries, in the liberty to which you have attained (Galatians 5:1), lashing their dangerous scuttlings about (Galatians 3) with incisive challenge:
Are you so foolish ? ... Have you suffered so many things in vain ...?"
"STAND FAST in the Lord," he cries to those to whom he says also this: "Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God" (from Philippians 1:27ff.)
They, standing fast, confronted, opposed and fought against the adversaries. THEY DID NOT JOIN THEM!
ANY CHURCH belonging to, having fellowship
with, tied into the dock by this WCC is in the same position as the Anglicans
with their resurrection laxity, re-introducing a NEW AUTHORITY, that of the
Church, here the Council, to destroy the integrity of the faith by ALLOWING AS
THE WORK OF FELLOWS IN THE FAITH, what is devastatingly, obviously, grossly and
outrageously contrary to it.
If, dear reader, you are drawn to this death, let me warn you keenly against it. What worker likes to see the team in leprosy, in syphilis, and who can see a church or its people drawn to false and spurious alliances, to devious grotesqueries of doctrine as in the WCC, without an appeal, a warning and an exhortation: "COME OUT OF HER!" (Revelation 18:4).
from Revelation 18:4-5.
IF for ANY reason, you prefer the ways of
flesh to those of God, consider whose you are, what you and where you are, and
why others can sacrifice life itself for the Lord, while you dally in this
Sodom of unspirituality, this spiritual city to be
destroyed, its very acme and place marked out, against which the apostles
warned in greatest detail and dynamic, repeatedly. Its forbears reach back to
There is no other leader, and no church which
so presumes is worthy of respect, let alone fidelity (cf. Revelation 2:5, 3:2-3,16-18). Unless you HATE YOUR OWN LIFE ALSO, YOU CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE - SAID THE LORD JESUS (LUKE ); AND REMEMBER THIS, JESUS IS LORD, HOWEVER LORDLY
MEN AND THEIR INSTITUTIONS MAY BECOME; AND WHAT DOES NOT FOLLOW HIM IS THE BUTT
SEEING THINGS IN THE WORD
It is valuable to hear the word of
here Jeremiah 23:16-29:
Thus says the Lord of hosts:
"Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to
They make you worthless.
They speak a vision of their own heart,
Not from the mouth of the LORD.
They continually say to those who despise Me,
The LORD has said,
'You shall have peace';
And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say,
'No evil shall come upon you.'
"For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD,
And has perceived and heard His word ?
Who has marked His word and heard it ?
A whirlwind of the LORD has gone forth in fury -
A violent whirlwind!
It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back
Until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart.
In the latter days you will understand it perfectly.
"I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings.
"Am I a God near at hand," says the LORD,
"And not a God afar off ?
Can anyone hid himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him ?
Do I not fill heaven and earth," says the LORD.
"I have heard what the prophets have
said who prophesy lies in My name, saying,
'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!'
"How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who
prophesy lies ?
Indeed, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams,
which everyone tells his neighbour, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.
"The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream;
And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.
What is the chaff to the wheat," says the LORD.
"Is not My word like a fire ," says the LORD,
"And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces."
Christianity is not a social
game but a spiritual calling.
The case is basically simple: James' topic is bogus and true faith. His concern is authenticity in what is claimed as one's own, that is, faith. Faith has to be authenticated, made manifest, vindicated, expressed sui generis in the works which, for what is a living function, are perfectly sure to follow, to happen, given time. Paul deals with justifying the man; James with justifying the faith. James is against purely (or impurely) nominal faith. Paul is concerned at the transition which faith that is alive, will bring. One is about status, one about function.
One is about a man before God, the other
about faith before men, and indeed, before God.
One is about getting what it brings; the other about bringing what it gets.
One is to justify the man (named
sinner); the other is justify the claim (of faith), to allocate the
expectations. Accordingly, with supreme and withering satire, James makes it
clear that while the gift, like all good and perfect gifts, is from God alone
(James 1:17), yet just since it is so perfect, its work will be impossible to
hide. The car given you will drive well. You can go places in it. If you call a
wheel barrow a car, it will not take you on vacation. That is nominal. If you
get a good car, it will go: that is phenomenal. One is verbal, the other vital,
one is confusion, the other profusion.
Their topics are only marginally related, but where they intersect (verbally), one has to realise the beautiful liberty of the word of God.
James uses the example of
Abraham being justified by faith (as per Paul)
as an exhibit of authentic faith (as per James),
in view of what Abraham did subsequent to this stated justification - as Genesis 22:9.
Not withholding his only son,
a subsequent event to his being justified by God in His sight, as the Bible shows explicitly,
was justifying its nominee as genuine.
But as to that nominee, that child and servant of God, that friend of God, that justified man as he was announced to be by God Himself (Genesis 15:6), he first was planted, then grew (cf. Isaiah 61:3, Matthew 15:13). He first was accounted righteous, and then acted it. His was a faith that works. Faith, says James, always works, because living things have this feature: they function as alive.
Indeed, Christ Himself was speaking just on this, stating that good trees bring forth good fruit, though to be planted, that is an act of the Father Himself on the one concerned (Matthew 15:13, 7:17-18): you are planted, grow and bear in that order. And you do the last because God did the first. Christ is quite emphatic: A GOOD TREE CANNOT bring forth evil fruit. So its genesis is one thing; its execution is another. It is not planted because it bears fruit; it bears fruit because it is planted. It does not achieve status through results, it achieves results through the dynamic actualities of what IT IS, and that is a product (or in the negative case, NOT a product) of the Father's own work in planting.
So John shows this word of Christ: "ALL whom the Father gives me will
COME to me" -John 6:37, while he who
SEES the Son and believes HAS eternal life (6:40), and as to that, "No man knows the Son except the
Father, and no man knows the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son
will reveal him" - and the
"will reveal" is "wills to reveal", in the Greek. See The
(I Cor. ).
This being so, we can see how basically simple it is. Topics intersect, phrases focus various elements. Understand the substance and the phrases are simple. Like a parrot, concentrate on the phrases, and like a parrot, you will understand little. God has given us understanding in order to use it. The very charm of this feature is its lordly simplicity.
Faith, says James, is fulfilled in works; and indeed, it is started in them. It is just a question of whose works.
THAT is how the
children behave (I John 3:7-10).
THIS is how they become children (John 3:1-19).
God in Genesis speaks of Abraham.
Of ABRAHAM, first it is
shown how he became a true, justified child of God;
and then it is revealed how he went on to show how a non-bogus faith lives up to its Lord, since it trusts in Him.
John declares just the same. Practising sin is not an option for the child of God: SIN he will, live by it, he will not (I John 1:7-2:22). Accidents happen, but no reasonable drive will DRIVE BY ACCIDENTS.
WHY does the Christian not LIVE IN SIN, why does righteousness become like a front lawn in suburbia, something normally well-kept: well because he lives there.
WHOEVER IS BORN OF GOD, says John perfectly directly, DOES NOT PRACTISE SIN.
Why ? John at once in 6 words answers: BECAUSE HIS SEED REMAINS IN HIM.
And that ? It is BECAUSE HE IS BORN OF GOD.
It is a question of operational reality, not conditional ground for being planted!
God's 'seed', spiritual operations in a person, to change the soul and life into that of a Christian person, child of God, sealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), with certain inheritance in Christ (1:11) already obtained, justified by faith, brought by one Spirit in one body in Christ (I Cor. 12:13): this gives the person a name. As a result, says John the apostle, HE CANNOT PRACTISE SIN.
Confusing cause and effect is a relatively
simple error. There is a highly complex reason for it in this case. It is