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Treating Sects at the Basis
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Recently, someone asked me whether I knew of any meetings or seminars on sects.
We have presented on this site two places where you can research this, and some allied topics, by using scores of hyperlinks to different sect matters.
These are ERRORS and SECTS.
However, it seemed good to add to these, in SECTS, where now this file is linked, a very short coverage, to get to the essence of things quickly, and hence to help anyone who is short of time to cover the issue shortly, and deal with such detail as desired, later if needed.
It is so simple. The sects are judged by their evil words, for they dare to create another Jesus, not the One of the Bible, whose works attested His words and whose words attested His status.
As Colossians 1:15-16 shows clearly, ALL creation is wrought by Him, all has been done by Him; and as John 1:3 shows, NOTHING MADE is not made by Him. If it is something that once was not, and then was created, once was not made and then was made, firstly, HE is not included, and secondly it is HE who made it. Creation is exclusive of Christ since it is in its entirety the result of His work, and being there in order to do it and before its institution, He is therefore NOT CREATED, NOT A CREATURE, insulated from the order of creation by having it in its entirety according to His word, His will with its being utterly dependent on His action and wrought by His wisdom.
Hence, as God (Philippians 2, John 8:58, Hebrews 1, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10), He was in the FORM of God (Philippians 2) and not in the form of man or of any other created thing in the beginning, and before time itself (Ephesians 1:4, John 17:1-3). Thus beyond time, in Himself, but merely entering it in our world for a season, He is utterly removed from being a component of creation, God not having to wait for anything, but everything having to wait, even for its existence, for Him.
How many Gods are there ? In Ephesians 4:4 we find there is one. In Isaiah 45:18, we find that God created the heavens, and formed the earth, and in Isaiah 45:12 we learn that the entire universe is what He, in a personal fashion that is intimate to Himself, with His hands or power, so designated. Similarly, He created men. In Isaiah 43:23-25, it is declared that His action if instituting the heavens was without aid from any other party, and His action in making the earth what it is, was done by Himself. In Isaiah 43:10, we find that neither before was there any god, nor will there be afterwards.
How many times does God need to say it in the Bible, for people to realise that
|if they say there
is, has been or will be more than one being to be called God, one being of
the stature of BEYOND, BEFORE and OVER creation, which is a work of His,
|then they are
enemies of God, at war with His word; and if they claim to have a
to the Bible, then to pretend it is something other than war, becomes a moral evil added to unbelief.
Thus there is ONE GOD, always will be, always has been, and there is creation and that is all there is.
As to the ONE GOD, there is a singularity as Creator, since ALL creation is His. As to Christ Jesus the Lord, He has precisely this unique status, and as He declared, He and His Father are one, He does all things the Father does in the WAY the Father does them (John 10:30, 5:19-23), and will judge all men (Acts 17:31, John 5). Hence the one God exists both as Father and Word, the One who commissioned and the One who performed creation, and their intimacy is infinite in deed and in word.
As Paul says moreover in II Corinthians 3:17, the LORD is that SPIRIT. He is sent by the Son from the Father and attests the Son (John 14-16). To speak blasphemously against that Spirit is the utmost of sins (Matthew 12:31-32), and it was the SPIRIT of God which moved creatively on the face of the waters in Genesis 1, just as it is He who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and is the SPIRIT OF TRUTH. Christ IS the truth and this is the Spirit of truth. Hence God is a trinity.
As to Being, one, as to Persons, three, he consists in this unitary manner.
The Biblical status of Christ at once removes from consideration as conceivably biblical, the Masons, who conceive the Koran a holy book just as is the Bible, and contemplate One architect with mankind with several faiths: for that removes the criterion of the Word of God, Christ as for all time for all things and in all things, the true God. It removes by flat contradiction, the Jehovah's Witness body, the Christadelphians and the Mormons. It removes the Unitarians, by definition. Since Christian Science declares that Jesus is not God, it removes it also.
The Seventh Day Adventists have not only taught that "Christ partook of our sinful, fallen nature"*1 but they sought to give a reason for this, stating that, "if not, He was not "made like unto His brethren" (Bible Readings for the Home Circle, 1915).
To be sure, they expunged this teaching in 1945, some decades later, but any body teaching such things is blaspheming against Christ to the uttermost, and this is only part of their inheritance. Again Mrs White, their leader and founder, declared that the Jewish atonement use of a scapegoat, on which sins were placed, and which was then sent away into the wilderness, "typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the penitent will finally be placed."
While SDA leaders have stated that the idea of Satan as sin-bearer is repugnant to them, the fact is that this is the second derogation of the work of Christ, since what "typifies Satan" in the work of divine redemption, has NO place. The sins of the penitent will NOT finally or at any other time be placed on Satan, since this is contrary to all scripture, such as Isaiah 53:6, Acts 4:11-12.
Trade, commerce or traffic of ANY kind in sin-bearing, sooner or later, has nothing to do with Satan, who is the adversary, not the target, and Christ has by ONE sacrifice put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself- there is NONE LEFT; for by one sacrifice He has perfected for ever those who are sanctified (cf. Hebrews 9-10), having achieved eternal redemption. There is nothing unpaid, nothing otherwise borne, there is no other Saviour, no other recipient, but the one who became a curse for us.
This second error, which no words can expunge, but only rejection as of extreme heresy, and rejection of their founder as a supreme heretic, relates quite closely to their other and third error, that although there is now forgiveness of sins, there is NOT final blotting out of sins until the final time. Thus the death of Christ on the Cross by which the "handwriting of ordinances which was against us, which was contrary to us" , He has "wiped out" and "taken ... out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
Hence there is NO CONDEMNATION to those in Christ Jesus, and those who heed His words and believe in Him who sent Him DO NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION, so that there is nothing whatever to be learned or obtained; and in fact, we who are Christians were so far from being found by investigation by some imaginary work of Christ now, known before the foundation of the world, before time was (Ephesians 1:4).
Thus the desire to delay the final purgation of sins, to leave them 'on the books' while a non-infinite Christ occupies Himself trying to find out the results, and has not removed them as far as the East is from the West, always the promise of God (Psalm 103:12 - not future, past), and the achievement of the atonement and reconciliation (Hebrews 8:12). If God SAYS He will remember their trespasses no more, then there is no thought of their being still on the books, which would be a mode of remembrance.
Thus the confusion about the scape-goat, and about a bearing of sin in any sense, by any other than Christ, is supplemented by a non-effectual and postponed atonement on the Cross, since authority must on this heresy, still pronounce expunging of sin, just as it is abutted by the Saturday worship idea, which is the third derogation of Christ, by making the day in which the CREATOR died for men, less important for worship than the time when He finished His Creation, which involved no sacrifice, and is in the Old Covenant, just as the blood of Christ is central in the New Covenant (Matthew 26).
Indeed, it is the New Covenant in His blood which now rules and as Paul declares in Romans 4:25, He was delivered up for our offences, and raised up for our justification. Sunday, therefore is the new rest, since only then was the work of redemption formally attested, and that by the presence in Person, as resurrected, of Christ Himself that He MIGHT be worshipped! It was then as Paul states in Romans 1, that Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power.
Just as they then and THEREFORE worshipped Him on that day, since only then was He there, and just as Thomas was there for meeting with Him on the next Sunday, not Sabbath, and just as Christ then appeared, in the first weekly anniversary of His resurrection, and just as they took up collection on the Lord's day (I Cor. 16), the first day of the week, so is this New Covenant equipped with a worship which shows that it is the covenant in the blood of CHRIST, whose actions as Saviour are THEREFORE pre-eminent.
The Church which is Christ's therefore has Sunday to secure the eminence to Christ, who as God has now surpassed the creation; if this is bypassed, then so is the eminence of Christ, equal with God, and now having performed His greatest work, by resurrection giving the very confirmation of justification which can never end (Romans 8:29ff.).
Making Christ subordinate, and His New Covenant, in effect, not the final one but eclipsed by the Old, contrary to Hebrews 8:13, the topsy-turvy sect makes many co-ordinate errors, suppressing some, leaving some.
We find then, the initial failure of Mrs White's idea, taken from Miller, of an 1844 return of Christ, in false exposition of Daniel 8*2 (cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 10, The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4), by which she became a false prophetess, since there is nothing secret about His return, but rather it is with the clouds of heaven and the tribes of the earth mourn (Matthew 24, Revelation 1). He simply did not come back then. She would by any Christian body be repudiated as a false prophetess on that ground.
This, however, is turned into the entirely unscriptural notion of His being occupied with the clearing house of sin, which is the second heresy, and ludicrous for the infinite Almighty, which Christ is (cf. Revelation 2:8, Isaiah 44:6), so that 'in some sense' He is held to have come, even though manifestly He did not do so. That separately reduces His deity to comedy for an Almighty Being, who knowing all is Judge, and has chosen His own BEFORE TIME BEGAN.
Then thirdly, their long held idea of His being a sinner fitted quite well with these other travesties of Christ, as a new one was made; and though after decades, that explicit folly was removed, yet it was for long part of a multiple heresy. It is not adjustment but rejection of heresy that is needed, and a new beginning with the churches which were for so long utterly condemned in terms of worshipping on Sunday.
That error of 'scape goat' remains, however, and until it is condemned as utterly wrong, it is part of their inheritance. Fourthly their Saturday derogates Christ by implication*3. These then are four changes to Christ, one arising from false prophecy, their 'Christ' having already come, and this still continues, making two basic follies. Of the other two, one was belatedly removed though it matched too well the derogation of Christ, while the other 'interpreted', though it is incompatible with scripture; and must be rigorously condemned, exposed and deleted, since it merely buttress the other error. Again, the Satan idea fits too neatly with the other heresy of the extermination of the wicked, which is contrary by flat contradiction with Mark 9.
Thus they have a Christ returned, though it is not so; a Christ taking care of judgments not blotted out, though they are so and He is not so, but in heaven until the times of restoration of all things (Acts 3:19-21); a Christ for whom Sunday worship as a criterion is too much; a Christ still related to Satan in some sense as carrying away sin and ultimate repository of sin, though he is not, and this is mere invention contrary to the end for the wicked themselves, who are not exterminated, for their worm does not die, nor is their flame extinguished. That makes five cardinal errors concerning Christ.
Another Christ with another task and another atonement coming at another time is merely an invention, and so Seventh Day Adventism is merely one more sect.
Thus they are removed from the scope of people who accept the Bible with the rest. This is the wrong sort of conversion, not of the sinner to the sinless Lord of Creation (Hebrews 7:26) by His atonement made once and for all, eternal redemption already attained (Hebrews 9:12ff.), from whom nothing is hidden (including the elect Ephesians 1:4, so that all that the Father has is His). Rather it is the conversion to a Christ of another kind, with another Gospel, by which you do not know that you are saved, have eternal life and are to be kept by the power of God. It is this uncertainty, very like that of Roman Catholicism, which is in itself an unspeakable error, wholly contrary to John 5:24, Ephesians 1:11, I Peter 1, Romans 5:1-11, 8:29ff., II Timothy 1:7ff. and so on. (Cf. Christian Assurance.)
It is essentially the case that the sects simply do not accept the following: GOD as one, unique before time and through it and after it; plus Christ as God, to be honoured EQUALLY with His Father (John 5); plus the Holy Spirit as the Lord, and equally God.
In fact, of the above, not one accepts in biblical terms, Christ as the one, eternal, unchanging God (Malachi 3:6, Haggai 3:6, Psalm 102, Hebrews 1), according to His word, revealed not thought out, exposed in life and in the Bible, not in the minds of men as sponsor, author or derivation source.
KEEP HOME AS HOME, A HOMELAND FOR CHRIST
Thus they are not Christian.
This presentation is intended to make things simple, before any interest any may have in any sect of the above nature is considered. In this way, it is merely an academic exercise to find their other errors, or one to help any who are willing to listen. The FIRST BIBLICAL REQUIREMENT for any sharing with one in a sect is this, that they do not COME to you as PRESENTING truth, or the Bible, but as willing to learn what it says. It is necessary to remember Jude 20-23 and Romans 16:17, II John. FELLOWSHIP is prohibited.
One must ask, moreover, any man: Would you have fellowship with someone who called your wife an adulteress, if this be not true, and indeed outrageous to the uttermost degree ? Of course not, since it is a) a lie and b) an effrontery and c) a defilement of the name of one whom you love.
One must ask the same of any woman.
If then you would not entertain fellowship in such a climate of assault on what you hold dear, and an atrocity of intrusion, would you even consider it with those who derogate CHRIST in this way, either to make Him a sinner, and hence not God, or to declare it more openly yet, that He is not God ?
The sects are only one of the defalcations from the word of God, the Bible.
There are other evils as great, with bodies not always called sects. These include Roman Catholicism*4, which having a Christ who can become a piece of bread, in the will of men, , which is not the mode of the incarnation and is a change of form not authorised in the Bible, and would imply that on His Last Supper breaking of the bread, He committed suicide, as one of Romanism's martrys pointed out before being killed, is contrary to the Bible. Moreover, this 'Christ' is one who can be represented on earth by a pope or 'father' who can declare any doctrine in His name, without being limited to the Bible, and hence comes into conflict with the word of Christ that NO MAN is to be called Master but One, who is Christ, and that ALL the rest are by contrast brethren merely.
Such a Christ is not the Lord who was incarnate, and being someone else, is not God, for God is One, and Christ is He.
Islam*5 is much the same. It has a Christ who is NOT God, and although it has much of Christian and Jewish concept within it, on this ground it is dismissed as simply one of the earlier sects, wishing to have a Christ who is honoured indeed, but not as God. Christ required that He be honoured equally with the Father, so this is at war with the bible, while using some of its ingredients and seeking to use Christ; and constitutes a sect.
NEVER CONFUSE HOME WITH ABROAD
What IS a sect and its teaching ?
One could define it as any body of doctrine, or of people, taken corporately in conception, which makes any claim concerning Jesus Christ, such as would honour Him within the field of their religion, and yet does not follow the biblical teaching*6 concerning Him.
On that basis, Liberalism is a sect. Whether or not it says this or that concerning Jesus Christ, one thing is clear. It is the essence of Liberalism that it pays significant homage to the Bible; but does not trust all it says, and acts as its judge and censor; that in so doing it departs from the biblical Christ.
They move from the Christ who in Matthew 5:17-20, Matthew 24:35, makes it clear that the Old Testament and His words are not subject to alteration; and in John 16, shows that His own words will be brought to the remembrance of the apostles, while in the same passage, He declares they will be led into all truth (John 16:8-15, 14:26), stating that "all things that the Father has are Mine", and that therefore He had said to them that the Holy Spirit will "take of Mine and declare it to you. " Moreover He stated that this Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.
It is inconceivable that the Old Testament before the Incarnation which revealed God in human form and showed the purchase of redemption in detail, should be more true than the New Testament, where the very Spirit of truth in just those terms is sent and where the apostles are to be led into all truth. It is impossible that they should have His words by the Spirit brought to their remembrance and yet be wrong. Man, as Christ told the devil once and for all, is to live by every WORD (particle) which proceeds out of the mouth of God, and He proceeded to use the Old Testament, accordingly, in decisive precision in refuting the devil. If the word is not true, how should one live by every particle of it! Since it is, one must.
Hence Liberalism also has another Christ. He is swallowed up in the sinful imaginations of man, just as in the Seventh Day Adventism case, where it is explicit.
Does this seem severe ? Yet one is not playing God, but showing what He says. If someone thinks that God is severe, that person might do well to ask, WHY do I think so ? Is it because you do not wish God to define Himself, man and man's whole duty, and to speak as the truth ? If so, how can you worship Him ? If it is for some other reason that someone does not wish it, this first result still applies; and once you see it, it is time to receive the point. If you are to follow Christ, you follow His words, and make the Bible in all its parts not your playground or fellow, but the word of God which directs your thoughts. On this see SMR Appendix C and D . The Jews defined the Old Testament (Romans 10), and the Church defined the New Testament as you see there.
The word of God has not been left to chance: its identification is part of being led into all truth. While it is true that when Christians are in glory with Christ, current knowledge will yield to consummate knowledge, so that we KNOW as we are KNOWN; but this in no way lessens the fact that what we have is TRUTH, from the Spirit of Truth, and that the One we serve has told us the truth (John 8). It was for that reason that they did not believe Him, and it was the man who told them the truth that they desired to murder, He told them (John 8:40,45).
These issues are simple and clear. God is One, and Christ is His eternal Word, and the Spirit of Truth also is God: He is a trinity in person, who constitute one Being. He has long told the world just what He wants in a precision which is incomparable, so that He confronts Israel with this fact, that just what He says, is just what happens (Isaiah 41, 48), and that He frustrates bogus pretensions of coming from God on the part of foolish peddlers of religion (Isaiah 44:24-25), just as He did when on earth as Jesus the Christ (Matthew 22:46). It is He to whom, as the one God who alone is God, alone is Creator, every knee shall bow (Isaiah 45:22-23, Philippians 2:10).
The human culture of our times has loved to make of Christ, something less, and the sects are only one aspect of this ferment. Current culture loves to make of man something greater than he is, the boy from below, and hence to make him more comparable in kind with Christ. Hence it tends to dismiss His deity, or to make it something less than what is God, so that man can share it.
In either event, it is the same: Christ is de-recognised. Sects are simply a subtler way of doing this.
NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR THE LORD
Thus we find that none of the well-known sects bring the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-10). Indeed, the case if far wider than this, including all who depart from biblical teaching while seeking a prominent place for Christ and the Bible, in whole in or part, and constitute a well-known, definable and discernible body.
ANY therefore whatever who find the liberty to reconstruct God or Christ or the biblical teaching, are part of the apparatus of the sect. It is as in II Corinthians 11, where Paul makes it clear that not only is there such a phenomenon as MAKING A NEW JESUS, but also as making a NEW GOSPEL and a NEW SPIRIT, that is ANOTHER! We are all fully aware, surely, of what in World War II was called ersatz, the artificial, the unreal, the mere use of the NAME (say, of coffee), without the reality. It might be somehow brewed with burnt bread-crumbs or who knows what among us! but it was NOT coffee, and it WAS called coffee. What are such people called by Paul – false apostles! Deceitful workers!
Artificiality and human invention have replaced what and who God is, and His self-manifestation and definition; for none can define God but God! We have the testimony concerning His deity and power, but His intimate heart, it is His to declare. Reason (SMR Ch. 1) forces us to the BIBLE, but it is the BIBLE which reveals GOD as He is! Flesh feels otherwise.
Such is the sect: it insists on calling itself by the name of religion, and using the name of Christ within it in some way, but it is NOT the biblical Christ, but one drawn from the controverted and introverted concepts of the imagination. In such terms, GOD is to conform to culture, individual or social, and hence the thing made is an idol. Hence such bodies, and some which were formerly churches have now descended in their new anti-biblical posture, to this level, tend to allow popular abominations, like sexual perversions (contrary to I Timothy 1:10, I Corinthians 6:9 for example), and the teaching of organic evolution in schools (cf. TMR Ch. 8, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3), or even JOIN those who perform such atrocities on the young! They become captives to culture rather than to Christ.
It is not really so difficult, once by grace you are enabled to believe in the Lord, His Christ and His word. If at some time, anyone is confused, remember this, that what is impossible to man, is open to God. Christ brought the truth to bear in the most unanswerable way, BECAUSE HE WAS GOD and knew what was in man, and brought from eternity the things for this world, which being self-pre-occupied, preferred to kill Him, to change Him as some do only with words, but just as illicitly, rather than to change their pre-conceptions, their arrogance and their own self-reliance.
A change of heart is required so that you can understand; and this is not in the least fraction because logic is not uniquely with Christianity (cf. What is the Chaff ... ? Chs. 3 - 4, TMR Ch. 5, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, SMR Chs. 1,3, 5, 10). It is because the restlessness of the unconverted will is like the troubled waters that cannot cease to be turbulent, and it is for many like an affront to the pride of life, to find some MASTER, to find the ONE GOD MANIFEST and HIS WORD TRUE! It clips the wings of pride, and limits the lordliness of desire.
It abases self-elevation and shows to man his place before the articulate God. It is this which causes confusion on such issues.
To be sure there is meat, and this requires chewing, and delightful it is, and a privilege to have such issues in the Bible which on investigation, show without exception the true sweet juice if reality and build the soul; but there is milk, and this enables growth at the outset. It is all good. What is impossible to man, who is ever looking over his shoulder at this philosophy or that, this religion or that, this idea or that, and tends to become both dizzy and confused, is nevertheless open to God.
Once you do know God, it is like the light turned on in your bedroom in the night, when you do not wish to awake your spouse but must arise for some reason or other, perhaps for an early start. You look at this and that in the dim light, and find by touching or looking this article or that; but once the light is on (as from an adjoining room), then it is so very simple.
Sects are only errors in truth, confusions concerning Christ, and although many want to be able to use His name and not accept all of His teaching, this is merely one of the diseases, one part of the pathology of spirit to which man is heir. It is more devious, dissident with more subtlety, rather like Judas who APPEARED to be with the rest; but you see, he wasn't really.
It is worthwhile to ponder this point, since it is by no means merely part of the infamous past of the SDA movement.
Christ was presented as sinful and necessarily so since otherwise how could be be like mankind. This was their position.
Peter on the other hand states that Christ "committed no sin" and in doing so, cited Isaiah 53:9. Paul states that Christ came "in the likeness of sinful flesh", thus making a distinction. In other words, the One to atone for sin had to be sinless or there would be his own sins to pay for and no vicarious power left; and moreover, He had to be God or the infinity would not suffice to efface sin without limit. It is clear in Hebrews 2 that what Christ shared was "flesh and blood" (Hebrews 2:14), so that He could destroy him who had the power of death, namely the devil.
As the same today, yesterday and forever (Hebrews 13:8), the Christ is not able to be at war with God as a sinner, in need of redemption as a sinner, at one phase, and not merely sinless, but the Lord of life whose it is, and who judges it for its ways, at another. The concept that the likeness therefore implies identity in the fallen nature of the likeness is not only anti-scriptural, in terms of flat contradiction, but conflicts with numerous elements of what is taught.
To suggest that in order to pay for sin, He added to it, committed it, ruined His capacity to be a sacrifice without spot and so acceptable, is merely to ignore that the problem solver took human flesh to save it, not to add to its evils.
The "likeness' is not to participate in the disease, but to solve it. His identity is not for that matter, to cease to be GOD, since man is not God; and if "likeness" is meant to mean identity, by what kind of definition is this ? It is not so logically. The likeness as spelt out in Philippians 2, is one of FORM. The sinlessness is both endemic, as that of God, and necessary for FUNCTION as Saviour. Hence both in the Old and New Testament it is stated of the incarnate Christ, that He was without sin.
Hence the deity of Christ was in this way rejected by the Seventh Day Adventists, by means of contradicting scripture and making the Second Person of the Trinity a sinner, hence integrally changed, not merely in form: hence not God.
Daniel 8, as clearly and multiply shown in these references, has NOTHING to do with the end. This failure in interpretation, which is exceedingly gross, should have been admitted, the day of the Lord's return, which man is forbidden to know, acknowledged to have been wrongly given, and that for two reasons, false exposition and Christ's own exclusion from human knowledge not only of the day or the hour, but of the times and seasons. Instead, a mythical earth visit in secret for an anti-scriptural activity was postulated, and with this the various other demeanings of Christ, contradictions and errors.
This is a crucial example of the way in which the failure to admit a cardinal error leads on to more, in this case to a schismatic sect, which has misled many, and has not repudiated as evil this false teaching and rejected as false, the founder.
On the Day of Rest ... see:
Biblical Blessings (BB) Ch. 12 , 9,
BB Appendix News, Appendix II,
Say of its Own
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13,
Things Old and New Ch. 8, News 51;
What is the Chaff ... Ch. 1
*4 See SMR pp. 1032-1088H with 912ff..
See More Marvels... Ch. 4 with Divine Agenda Ch. 6.
Excursion on the
The Bible is either appealed to or partly incorporated in sects.
However, though some claim to hold it, while grossly contradicting it, in devious mode, or adding to it as their lust desires, though the Jews clearly defined the Old Testament and the Church no less clearly the New (cf. SMR Appendix C in both files), others do not claim this, but USE it as a basis for exploration, like a house used for spying, not accepting it except, and to the extent that, it serves their purposes.
Of this latter type, in modern times, chief has been the Liberal movement, that marriage of man's wisdom and culture with the word of God which has produced all kinds of forlorn illegitimates; and what is in effect a sub-sector of this, employs the device of redefining its terms so as to SOUND biblical, while contradicting it to the uttermost: namely, neo-orthodoxy (q.v.). This is a sad spectacle of confusion,
but in essence does not differ in result.
Neo-evangelicism (or neo-evangelicalism - a meandering word) has become hybrid, asserting belief, but then attenuating this by implication, as it turns now from this doctrine, such as separation, now from that, such as biblical creationism, now in this way, now in that. It is the new theology of diplomacy, in which Romanism can be accepted by some, despite its gross and age-long heresies (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H), so that one readily sees the extent of its increasing kindship with Liberalism in its broader sense.
The broader sense ? It is that of employing cultural forms and norms as an ingredient of the faith, as if the byways of this world were to become a friend of the Bible, an insertion, like Judas into the band of the disciples. HE, he was but one; but ALL were - though by divine plan - assaulted as a result of his treachery. When Christ was present, this could directly betray Him into the hands of men, of sinners as He declared in advance; when He is in heaven awaiting the day of His return, it can be in doctrine, which is merely statements about Him and His words, which can do much the same thing.
As with Paul, however, it is as if done to Himself! Why do you persecute ME! Christ asked Paul, one remembers, in that famous vision on the Damascus road. And what was the actual butt of Paul's persecution ? It was Christians!
In the end, Judas went on his own and lonely way, as was just, having escaped mercy for merchandise. With Christ absent, many are those, and many are those sects which betray Him, using teaching to confuse, if it were possible, the very elect.
As Harold Lindsell shows in his works, The Bible in the Balance, and Battle for the Bible, this sort of digression from the text is far from the norm, and indeed it is a disadornment of our current Age and a time before it, while rationalism, humanism, secularism, existentialism and post-modernism have made their drug-runs against the truth, often moving in some measure into what formerly were sound churches. This is as it was to be; for while many have been the heresies throughout the Ages, since Christ, the last century has seen a brilliant barrage of rocketries from the outer space of seduction, pouring upon the earth, blighting many.
Theologies have spewed like multiple head ballistic missiles, covering now this, now that phase of the truth, leaving a pollution which affects millions. These have been the Hiroshimas of unholiness. The time of many false Christs and many false prophets (Matthew 24:6,24), forms rather than function in religion (II Timothy 3:5), religion without the power of God, doctrines of devils (I Timothy 4), of itching ears and spiritual beers, intoxication with spirituality that is the false voice braying instead of abiding, all these things are but one phase of the pattern for the End of the Age foretold by Christ and the apostles. We should rejoice, since it had to happen, is happening, is increasing, while the near return of Christ in all its other phases simultaneously, according as it was predicted, so is occurring (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
From SMR pp. 820ff., the following citation will expose the point in view.
The Gentiles breast the tape, come to their fruition, are docking: use what figure you will: they come to their end. That, you will perhaps recall, results from the dual action of Luke 21:44 and the historical situation now. As noted, God may add to the amplitude of the fulfilment on Jerusalem, but the basic work is already done.
Thus the Gentiles in turn have now joined Israel in shame: not only as Paul shows in Romans 11, all, both Jew and Gentile being concluded in unbelief, but in this, that the Gentile time is drawing to a rapid halt! The opening of the eyes of the Jews draws near, of the Jews (Romans 11:25) as a characterisable people. (Cf. Isaiah 42:1,18-22; Romans 11:25, John 9:39-41.) No time is set for the transition to that item, but it looms, just as the massive and repetitively predicted international assault looms, like the shadow of a city skyscraper across the darkened concrete. The two are categorically linked (Romans 11:26 with Isaiah 59:16-21, Zechariah 12:1-3,10-12). Each has shown massive preparation, repeated warning.
Just as the Jews had their vast historic association with the Lord, culminating in the killing of the Judge of Israel, God's fellow (Zechariah 11:12, 13:7, 12:10, Matthew 26:31), so have the Gentiles followed with their own rebellion of similar significance to that of which the Jews were forerunners. This is dramatically portrayed in advance in Romans 11 (especially verses 25-36)! Even the vast spectrum of Gentile churches is not exempt (II Timothy 3, II Peter 2 and as shown in situ), thus making the parallel even more complete.
Thus since it was religious Jews who led the crusade against their Messiah, exactly so, many religious Gentiles, using His name, crusade against His word and try in their own way, to make a 'new' Christ: literary as distinct from protoplasmic surgery being involved. Many of these are 'Christian Ministers' just as many of the assailants on the physical Christ were Jewish priests, Sadducees, Pharisees, religious functionaries. It is not objective to try to diminish Jewish guilt in the assault on Christ; hiding is never God's way when it comes to guilt, except when it is covered by the blood of Christ (cf. Hebrews 9:22, 8:13, 9:14), in which case it is forever covered (Hebrews 10:10, 10:14, John 5:24, Romans 5:8-11). It is not objective to try likewise to reduce Gentile guilt, which as here shown, is in parallel dimensions to that of the Jews, both in formal religious ways and politically.
What Paul does (Romans 11:32-33) is two other things. He first exposes the Jews and then the Gentiles in that context, warning the latter not to exalt themselves, and then abases them all as failures, depending only on the mercy of God. That is the divine method. But as to the Gentiles, what is the result ? Departures from the Bible, lacerations of the text: like the laceration of the body of Christ by the Jews... these wounds appear. The writer as a student suffered in Melbourne for exposing just such laceration.
In this the Gentiles have long specialised. In this game, there are no human winners: Christ is the winner, those who participate in His victory being led in triumph by Him (II Corinthians 2:14). What is needed worldwide is repentance and not cover-up, of the whole human race. Indeed as shown, the tumult of apostasy has reached riot proportions, even in that vast bastion of Biblical Christianity, America the free (*9). Her freedom has effectually become the father, or the form of "God" for many, as a trend in vicious revolt; while God, the author and father of freedom, has been slighted. (Cf. U.N. - p. 749 supra.)
He is slighted by symbol (not a goddess in a Harbour, but God is the living 'statue' who inreality confers freedom, in New York or elsewhere!); abused in "Christian Atheism", libelled by Liberalism, 'evacuated' by Neo-Orthodoxy and 'restored' in deftly battered form by Neo-Evangelicalism, through the theological surgery of cryptic humanism. (In this connection, the reader might wish to explore works such as those of Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, and Harold Lindsell's Battle for the Bible, and The Bible in the Balance.)
Again, in The Biblical Workman, Appendix III, we find this appraisal, which here has been somewhat extended for our present purpose.
As Harold Lindsell made clear in his Battle for the Bible, and Bible in the Balance, concerning church doctrine in this Age, and indeed as the Bible itself makes so clear (cf. SMR Appendix D) for its own teaching, when God speaks, He does so without error.
In Deuteronomy 13 one finds that not only does HE do so without error, but when a prophet of God, one gifted for inscripturation, permanent form in an authorised way, should speak, he too would not err. What he would decree in the name of the Lord would SO SURELY COME TO PASS, that if the word did not happen, then that was PROOF POSITIVE that he was a false prophet, and that, for that theocracy, death was the appropriate penalty (Cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock -SMR, pp. 1175-1186C.) In Titus 3:10, the propriety of 'other' teaching is given a different, but equally categorical short shrift.
In fact, in I Cor. 2:9-13, we find that when God inspires an authorised writer, in the presentation of His word to mankind in the New Testament (to take this case), not only is there
1) an unveiling of the SUBSTANCE of what is to be divulged, the material, the matter in hand, but
2) a presentation of the WORDS, matters, issues, the formulations, the expressive power needed to CONVEY the same substance, the message. Now for convenience, let us add what is about to be shown. There is also, in the Bible's testimony concerning itself, this concerning this, its revelation: it includes
3) a controlling oversight of the verbal units which present the WORDS, so that the word of God is not subject to carnal control, insightful intrusions or psychic fantasies, or cultural pollutions. It IS the word of GOD, not of man. He owns it as His, decrees for it illimitably as His direction, requires it entirely, for performance. It continues (Isaiah 59:21, 40:6-8), unabashed by anything, for it comes from the One who knows everything.
Thus, in John 12:48-50, Romans 10:17, I Peter 1:25, II Peter 3:2,16, Jude 17, Matthew 4:4, cf. John 14:26, we find that the very verbal units, the utterances of the mouth, are so supervised that they represent correctly what is the divine deliverance. Even to that point, there is to be found His supervisory control, His quality attestation, His gift to ensure that exactly what He wants conveyed, is so conveyed; so that the product is indeed the word of God, down to the wire, to the point that any objection on any grounds, as to the communication's content in any respect, is outlawed, rebellion. God says, and the message is not mangled; God speaks, and the words are to be attributed to Him.
This may be called plenary inspiration, that is the work of God to ensure by spiritual divulgement and supervision, that precisely what He wants to say, is what is to be ascribed to His name as in Matthew 5:17-20. In itself, it does not say in what WAY God made sure of this, by providing the words one at a time, in phrases, or revealing the substance and fitting the words: that is His affair, and depends on His will. It is the result which is here in view. In this respect, being incapable of misunderstanding, it may be preferable as a phrase, to 'verbal inspiration', though the RESULT is the same.
Any failure of any word purporting to come from the Lord, constitutes a direct repudiation of the source. It means it CANNOT have come from the Lord and is an assured attestation of one simple fact. In that case, the one who presumed to utter such words in the Lord's name was neither more nor less than a FALSE PROPHET (Deuteronomy 13). That is the quality; that is the consequence.
Now watch the prophet! Watch the word! WHO CAN EQUAL THIS, He challenges. Match that! He arrestingly calls in Isaiah 41,43,48. He says it in different ways, constantly applying the issue. Watch it work, see it happen! He asserts in Isaiah 44:26-28. Not only will this happen, but the contrary words of any who allege differently or in supplement, will fail! The Lord actually CONFOUNDS the wise who contest! He takes an ACTIVE interest in the specification and clarity, the precision and the attestation contained in WHAT HE SAYS.
It is in the highest degree magnificent that He both can and does use the various features and foci of different speakers to produce this seven times refined product, without in the least compromising it. The result is the infallible word of God, not subject to ANYTHING but to His guidance and gift, so that if it be culture, it is not a component in the produced message, if it be politics, psychology, it does not determine or direct. God can USE any mode and modus operandi; that is the splendour of it all: but THEY do not USE HIM! He is not a tool, a by-product of man's mind; and when He speaks, His words accordingly may be channeled in the appointed person through an available assortment of knowledge and custom, as seems good.
On the contrary, when it comes to the PRODUCT through the channel, God takes entire responsibility for their accuracy, adequacy, to the point of noting that the grammatical units, the words, are under His control for His purpose, being authorised and controlled.
Thus, man is used (Deuteronomy 12:29-32, Jeremiah 1:9-10, 15:19, 36:17-19, Daniel 12:4), but does not direct at all, in the reception of the word of God; it is GOD'S word therefore; and not the word of man (Galatians 1:6-9, I Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 16:17, I Cor. 14:37, Matthew 4:4). Thus does Peter, as cited, in designating the word of God as such, declare it is the REMATA, the verbal units, in which God expresses Himself immortally, and it is to this extent that the word is HIS! Indeed, the prophets were "carried along" in the writing (II Peter 1:21).
Now all this in detail has been considered in SMR Appendix D, under the heading of what the Bible teaches about its own revelation; but we condense a little here, to deal specifically with our present topic of fundamentalism, and more especially, the current, confused misuse use of that term (cf. Ch. 2 above; The Biblical Workman Appendix 3, Light of Dawn Ch. 2, Lord of Life Ch. 3, More Marvels Ch. 4, *6).
As to the extent of the Bible,
see SMR Appendix C, from which this quotation is taken.
For more detail, see the Appendix.
Just as the Greek New Testament is the original available and the authentic required, as most immediate, so the Hebrew (and Aramaic where this is indubitably used) Old Testament is abundantly clear as to its extent.
One may say: Clear! Do not the Protestants and the Romanists differ on the extent of the Old Testament (though agreeing on that of the New) ? Indeed they do. Clarity however does not depend on divergence, but on facts. Not for nothing did the famed ancient scholar Jerome make it clear that the Old Testament is that defined by the Jewish people who passed it on, from the long authority given to them for this purpose. This accords with Paul - Romans 9:4): ... "the Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises..."
and again in Romans 3:1-4:
What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe ? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness God
without effect ? Certainly not.
The New Testament, clearly accepted objectively as to extent, from the first received because of its authors and the aura and authority of the apostolate, and with agreement later precisely defined: this itself is clear beyond rational dispute. On the criteria of the OLD TESTAMENT'S acceptance as to its extent: the JEWS were the custodians. It was to them they were given, these writings.
They are to be received from the recipients, as from the Donor. THAT was their covenanted basis and they used it; and if they rebelled, then still it remains. No word of reproof from Christ came to denounce their ways concerning the extent of what scripture itself was. Nothing outside these 39 books is quoted in the New Testament as Old Testament Scripture. No question exists as to which the Jews deem to be the scriptures passed on to them. It is not within the power of man to go outside the Jewish part (i.e. to accept or except on their behalf their scripture). Indeed, there in their own scriptures, what they were to do with the Saviour was clearly demarcated in most negative terms! (Cf. Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 2 for extensive exhibition of Old Testament Canon.)
God has it all in control, and it all works to perfection: there is no ambiguity. The batsmen of the second innings (Gentiles) take over with the implements left from the first. They do not invent what they did not receive. As Paul states; their unbelief does not make the promises of God without effect, and it was to them that the oracles of God were committed. The rules have not changed, even if they have been broken!
As that famed scholar of language and Old Testament, E.J. Young puts it (The Encyclopedia of Christianity, vol.2, p. 343):
What is of interest is that Jesus Christ placed the approval of His infallible imprimatur upon the canon of the OT as we now possess it (Luke 24:25-27,44-45). And on this point there was no quarrel between Him and the Pharisees. It is true that He did condemn the Pharisees because they in effect made void the Word of God by means of addition of their own human tradition. As to what that Word of God was, however, there was no disagreement between our Lord and the Pharisees.
As E.J. Young also notes, the Talmud incorporates reference to the meeting around 100 A.D. at Jamnia, and this dealt with certain questions, to resolve them on the law; but there was nothing more than a verification on certain questions, not a creative or authority-creating promulgation. The authority of the word of God is not derived from councils, but was inspected by men - in councils or not - should challenge arise. The word of God itself was determinative, not determined, recognised not ratified:
The prophets very boldly declared that the evils which came and would come upon the nation were due to infringements both of the Law and of their own words. They had not the slightest hesitation in proclaiming that their own messages were the Word of God and that dire suffering and punishment would come if their own words were not heeded. (Young op.cit. pp. 342-343).
This, as has been indicated, applied whether the whole nation or official prophets, whether priests or princes disagreed: God spoke and no institution rated against His voice (Jeremiah 5:31; 23; Isaiah 30:8 ff., 34:16, Matthew 5:17-19). The office of true prophet of the Lord was commanded, the man as it was commandeered (Amos 7:14 ff., Isaiah 44:26, though with submission, Isaiah 6), and even religious ceremonies could be condemned because of unbelief (Isaiah 1).
Just, therefore, as prophets could not be created by man, just as their writings were not subject to discovery-cum-authorisation by councils, but councils were subject to their commands: so there was merely a matter of recognition and compilation, as a company, of such writings. As such Jesus Christ and the New Testament referred to them (e. g. Luke 24:27, Matthew 5:17), as such they existed, as such they both were and had to be contradistinct, for they were from God, recognised as such and wholly unauthorisable, uninventable, merely capable of collection. The custodians appointed by God were in no lack of clarity about their extent, and we Gentiles have no part in the assessment whatever.
It is to the Jews, then, and not to others that God gave that covenant and those writings; and it is for them to pass them on, however they might respond internally to their requirements, or even to their formal reading (as in the case of Isaiah 53!). It is beyond any dispute, that this they have done, venerating their scriptures as a class; and it is this that the Old Testament is clearly defined be, by those to whom were accorded, "the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises", as Paul put it. New Marcions may want to add or subtract; but to the Jews was given what they greatly reverenced and so sadly disobeyed. As Jesus put it:
Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets, (Matthew 23:29- 31).
Alas veneration without true virtue was their vice. Well enough, however, did they know what was venerated and tenaciously they asserted it. It is precisely the 39 books of the Old Testament as we now have it.
*6 The general ecclesiastical councils of Hippo 393, and Carthage, 397, acknowledged the canon for the Greek New Testament; in its authenticity and authority, it stood.