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SCOPE AND PLAN
 

THE SHADOW OF
A MIGHTY ROCK
 

For Front Pages, details of publication, see

For the Front Page of this trilogy, and Publishing Details, see FRONT.

For the CONTENTS,

       allowing ready access to the parts, click on contents hyperlink above, for The Shadow of a Mighty Rock. This 'Contents' link leads to the Introduction and every part of the entire series.

For more description and rapid overview,

       please read below which will lead into the Preface.

This trilogy is equipped with a wide-ranging and detailed Index - some 57 pages - with hyperlinks, enabling, digest-style, access at speed to desired topics and sub-topics. It also has a similar Scriptural Index, with thousands of verses readily accessible for reference, individual study or comparison of treatment or verification as covered in the trilogy. This is a source for intensive investigation as well as Bible study.

It is now also provided with hyperlinks for the extensive glossary entries, one set for each volume. Whole words placed in hyperlink mode will often lead directly to the glossary. These glossary links are intended to achieve two purposes: to assist at the language level in finding the exact shade of meaning in a word or phrase intended; and to give, at times, pithy summaries or impactive briefs on topics, to keep the mind more sharply to the point. Sometimes these expand even further to give some exposition.

Numerous end-notes and  footnotes also are provided with hyperlink, with a multiplicity of cross-references, to allow rapid assimilation and integration of the materials.

A survey in a moment of the chapters may help.

Chapter 1 deals with the necessity that GOD ALMIGHTY IS, that HE HAS SPOKEN and that the record of His only authoritative declaration to the human race in writing, is the Bible.

Chapter 2 takes the issues of life to their logical conclusion, in verification mode; Chapter 3 deals with wriggles, twists and the tortuous efforts of philosophy to detach itself from the Maker of the minds that so writhe; Chapter 4 covers verification in the fields of psychiatry, sociology and physics. Chapter 5 shows the stunning fact that the Biblical perspective and declaration solves the chronic problems over ages, of philosophy, and that with a zest that matches the most lively quest. Chapter 6 covers the implications of the life of Jesus Christ.

Further Bible study is found especially in Ch.7, SMR, in twelve extensive presentations which may form a basis for meditation, discussion, voyages of discovery. The Gospel and what constitutes a Christian, is readily found, Biblically defined, for example in SMR pp. 521ff. (go to top), and in That Magnificent Rock, Chs. 2 & 3. Being a Christian certainly represents an achievement: but it is one of Christ, not of flesh.

Your interest may be, for example, in victory over sin, and the power of God in the midst of evil ('The Mastery of the Mystery of Men'), or personally in Christian growth, in Biblical prophecy generally, more particularly in the prophecies of Jesus Christ, or in other topics in SMR index.

Chapters 8-9 cover first the prophecies of Jesus Christ and their inimitable realisation; and then, the detail of Biblical prophecy. SMR deals with every book in the Bible, and you will find the matters brought ceaselessly to your attention, what was said, and how it eventuated in verifications that know no end.

Chapter 10 deals with the emptiness of the competition, from a logical perspective, on all fronts, and in some detail this is taken up in the underlying principles; and it covers some of the most venomous departures from the peace of God which strive for the minds and the hearts of mankind. In this there is the sadness at loss for many, and a longing for those afflicted by these misled and misplaced errors, to recover themselves - much as a doctor longs for the health of patients. The virus, or here the false teaching, this relates to the enemy; it is the patients who are in need of health.

The formal introduction with more detail, including that on the Appendices, is available from the first hyperlink on the home page. This gives you the bookmap and its parts, for The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, but the quick reference above may help if you are short of time. Meanwhile, the Preface, largely as at first written, is provided below.

The formal introduction is available from the first hyperlink on the home page. This gives you the bookmap and its parts, for The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, but the quick reference above may help if you are short of time. Meanwhile, the Preface, largely as at first written, is provided below.
 
 

PREFACE

As to - The Biblical Christian Faith:
Not Without Reason ... Nothing Else With It
1 Peter 3:15, 11 Corinthians 10:5, Acts 4:12, Romans 1:18-20, John
15:21-23, Psalm 50:17-23, Jeremiah 5:1-7,12-14,20-25,31

God, in Romans 1,

advises us through the apostle Paul that His divine nature

and eternal power

are obvious.

  • Through Luke He tells us that -
  • Christ was shown raised from the tomb by infallible proofs


('many', are noted).

  • John records Jesus' own words that not believing in Him
  • when He has come and spoken as He has done, is inexcusable to those confronted.
  • It avoids the responsibility, the reason, the wreckage and the remedy.

 

The purpose of this trilogy is to show the logical certainty :

that God Almighty
is;

that the Bible is His word, what He has definitively said to our
race;

that Jesus Christ, the Everlasting Word of God ONCE incarnate
as man, is the only and the necessary Saviour.
 

It is to demonstrate formally the truth :

that Scripture is the word of God
and so to aid others of my race to find God -

to come therefore
to Jesus Christ, to believe His word, and to know,
honour and glorify Him,
instead of being confused, conquered by sin
or misled by the deluded.

It is some 40 years since my call to the work of the Ministry; and in that period, such aims have been pursued. Nearly a quarter of a century of that time has been spent as a Christian Minister in what is now called the Presbyterian Church in America, while further years have been passed in ministry in the Presbyterian Church in Canada and in that of New Zealand. Both to individuals and to churches, the challenge of Christ and of His written word, the Bible, has been given, sometimes with seething persecution and chagrin visited on the witness, starting in Melbourne, in 1954.

Recently a young professional man asked me if he could study my current work on Christian apologetics. Fascinated by the relation of Biblical prophecy to current and recent world events, he wished to explore that area, accorded two chapters in the work, and considerable detail.

Later, he advised that he was now moving to other parts of the apologetics presentation. There is no harm in such a procedure, so long as the whole logical structure is eventually realised, and one at some time gets back to the beginning! - to Chapter 1. In this sequence, prophecy is in Chapters 8 and 9! Logically, the rest comes first in this schema; then follows prophetic and other verification. Provision has been made to meet more and rather less academic preferences by writing with a relatively broad vocabulary, but at the same time providing an extensive GLOSSARY (some 13000 words on terms and phrases used in this work). This is provided BOTH in one form, on a page by page basis, and in another (with the aid of a computer), as an alphabetical tutor aid. It often essentialises issues.

Extensive bibliography may be helpful to students doing essays as well as for the interested reader and those who wish to verify points.

In order to meet a need often felt, that of re-formulation and presentation in slightly different, or augmented ways, endnotes have been used on an unusually lavish scale. Not merely may these pursue fascinating areas and elements, but they may extend them, inter-relate them, apply them, give slightly different perspectives, to some extent giving the advantage of more than one book. It can act like the cross-wires on gun sights, making sure of the target. EXTENSIONS are used when the matters reach considerable scale and importance.

Now the question is this: Why should this particular NEW work on apologetics be provided ?

While apologetics works are readily available that deal with

  • 1) separated items of detail,

or on the other hand, in more or less heavy style,

  • 2) basic logical positions,

it has seemed a real need exists
for a comprehensive work which combines both and more.
Demonstration, verification, analysis, synthesis,
identification and application,
both logical and personal are needed: all in one.

Again, with the current and now long-standing emphasis on

  • scientific method

so academically prized and popularly received, its values perceived rather broadly, it has seemed good to show just how that applies in this field - and just how aptly!

Not merely, carefully utilised, does this method lend categorical support to belief in God; it distinctively puts its weight behind Christianity, which is hand-made for just such an approach, through its own internal emphases. Scientific method points to Christianity like a benign heat-seeking missile.

Further, while the use of pure reason is of great value (and arguments against it, depend on it!), it is best also to expose reasonings to the available and visible world of data. This has the additional advantage over more segmented approaches that it meets, in this, the requirements of scientific method.

In executing this applied phase of the work, attention is therefore given to many fields, from psychiatry to physics, from philosophy to fossils, from history to current events, and especially to prophecy in its quite extraordinary claims and equally extraordinary attainments.

In Chapter 10, a retrospective look at world religions, in terms of select and relevant logical principles, enables the proper vigour and validation to be seen for the Biblical faith, and for this alone. This then is seen in the desolation of the hypotheses, as it were, of intended competition: as might be done, to the extent that the method is applicable, in terms of a verified hypothesis face to face with its erstwhile and unverified opponents. Under such scrutiny, the Biblical faith not merely is left free of any effective assault or valid competition, but effortlessly stands, and stands alone.

Not that such considerations are all. Far from it. Formal, sequential, logical proof that Bible is the word of God is first supplied in the initial chapter, and extended in Chapter 3: the verificatory aspects being given secondary but carefully explored status. The systematic defects of opposing view-types are analysed in Chapter 3 with more in Chapter 10, so that a merely empirical approach is as carefully avoided on the one hand as, on the other, is any rationalistic slighting of the necessary attention to the empirical.

Rational, revelatory and empirical components, each in its proper logical place, combine to show the necessity of public speech from God, and in particular, of divine creation, which is examined in some detail, in Chapter 2: the systematic contributions of vitality, of living things being there considered.

This, like the address to psychiatry, sociology, elements of economics that touch the issue (esp. Ch.4), to archeology, to history (esp. in the Chapters 8-9 on prophecy, but also in the Appendix area, as in Appendix C) including church history, to Bible history, physics at related points, and to theology is specifically intended to help the often beleaguered tertiary student, assaulted ostensibly by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but more specifically often, by outrageous lecturers. That Magnificent Rock (q.v.) makes further detailed excursions into this field.

These, or the authorities behind them - as revealed both in available literature and in the author's varied experience, whether as a student or as a lecturer - can proselytise students with absurd assurance, barbarous irrationality and hideous misuse of authority. In some cases, indeed, even the lecturers may be pitiably intimidated to the loss of some integrity, by their own administrators. So the whole evil process, tending to be dispersive of truth, can go on!

Such features and interactions, if not their own inclinations, can lead Lecturers, to their following convenient lines against all reason, and even against conscience! Such cases are not unknown. Pilate, in his own place, was one of the first.

Whether in writing or in oral work, indeed teaching of any kind, while I lecture or write, my rule is to be fearless in the use of reason, knowing its constraints mean wreckage for what is against its Author.

  • It is empirically important to note that never has any student, or any lecturer, administrator or principal found reasoned ground to offer in objection to the presentations thus made by me; and these never vary ultimately from the Biblical perspective, this alone being rational, defensible and well grounded. As it is, so it shows. This is my experience both on the Internet and in person during the Ministry of Christ in 4 nations.

Why, however, it is for many, both lecturers and administrators ('Heads of Departments' for example) 'convenient' (as I personally found in one case in Adelaide!) to follow certain cultural preferences, though these be neither rationally warranted nor intellectually defensible, is a point given, in some respects, a striking treatment by noted U.S. Professor Allan Bloom in his work, The Closing of the American Mind. The phenomenon is unhappily not at all confined to the U.S.; but in its indoctrinative and authoritarian arbitrariness, it is unwholesomely visibly in Australia. It is not that I wish to isolate these two countries, however; merely singularise movements where I have lived and taught.

As Henry Morris in his book, The Long War Against God, makes clear, it is God, the true and living God who over many cultures has abidingly been held, not convenient. As for His personal expression in the Lord Jesus Christ, shown in prophecy, history, by reason and through revelation as God made manifest: this is most entirely inconvenient! God gets in the way!

Some of us were recently indirectly advised by a radio station
that what we were planning to present - which was

  • in fact a proclamation straight from the Bible,
  • including the point that much of what the Jews did to Christ,
  • God in serious measure, has done to followers of the Jewish religion, Judaism - Biblically, forsaking their own mercy;
  • and that likewise what the Gentiles themselves have increasingly been doing to God's word, has its own parallel in this, that our Gentile world is in its own much publicised throes in consequence ...

that this could break the law if it were to be broadcast! Break the law to present the Gospel; breach the ways of our land, in  offering  the mercy of God in the Jewish Messiah! whose gracious task also embraces the Gentiles, the salvation of Him who is the Son of God in the flesh!

There if ever there was a case, is human law openly contradicting the divine law. It WILL not even to allow its broadcast, no, not though we welcome discussion! Is divine mercy to be silenced ? or with what result would that be! Yet it cannot be silenced, for God will not suffer it to be so till all the nations know the Gospel (Matthew 24:14). Actually, the saints of the Lord meet the devil without submission, "and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" - Revelation 12:11. It will be interesting to see if ANY radio station has the integrity and fortitude to suffer such Biblical preaching on its waves!

So much however for even that element of radio freedom! Is it better then to suffer judgment than to warn to flee from it, whether you be Jew or Gentile! (cf. Hebrews 2:1-4, 6:18, Acts 13:46, 17:31)! If the Jews have suffered a holocaust, is this not what Jeremiah and Moses made clear ? and if the Gentiles approach a parallel judgment of their own, then indeed the whole world is now the flood-lit the stage. The scope of action in the face of the revelation of Jesus Christ is now universal: as the gift so the judgment (Colossians 1:19-23, John 3:30-36). Pungent indeed is the action, and most hurtful of all, it is solemnly fitting.

Meanwhile, as the world races to judgment, it judges itself in endless wars, as predicted indeed, but none the less vagrant and vicious for that, till the turmoil in power and the power of turmoil swirls increasingly. The world, and the unsaved inhabitants of it, now  therefore have what is

  • a warning of what is worse
  • than the experience of the suffering now,


for it is one of rebuke, raw and untamed,
WARRANTED AND ETERNAL,

  • outside the mercy of God, which is ONLY through
  • the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is He who is to come as He went (Acts 1:11), yet with a different task. It is He who is to collect His own people, from sources Jewish or Gentile, so long as they believe; and as the madness of the world consumes itself into Armageddon when its heady headlong shame will even seek to fight against the Lord (Revelation 19:19), stirred by the so gross and garrulous spirits that inhabit the Age (Revelation 16:14), so it suffers for its vanity. The works of imperious political power indeed are not in kind so different from the heady actions that many,  less obviously perform today.

It is He who will end the matter. It is this Jesus Christ, as the Jewish prophets have made clear for so long, and as Christ Himself made imperially manifest! (cf. Acts 4:11-12, Isaiah 41:28-42:9, 11:10, 55:1-4, Psalm 2, Deuteronomy 18:15-18, and Chs.8-9 of this work).

Christ Himself covered the case at the outset, while still on earth (Luke 19:12 ff.), through His parable incorporating the sentiment of a people towards a nobleman who was preparing to depart from them, for a far country. What was it they had to say: "We will not have this man to rule over us! " Mark 12:1-12 makes it clear that it is He who is the rejected foundation of the people (cf. Luke 19:40, Matthew 16:21, John 1:29).

Seeing far past His own suffering He lamented then for the destruction awaiting Jerusalem, mourning, "If you had known, even you,  in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! but now they are hidden from your eyes."

Christ declared this parable as He proceeded to a death at the hands of His own people, who also found Him 'inconvenient' (it being 'expedient' that 'one man should die for the people', it was felt - John 18:14). It was a death

  • both foreseen,
  • and a stated prelude to His resurrection and eventual mission to act as Judge over the earth. (John 5:22).

"For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father who sent Him."

Logic is far removed from being a ground for such a removal of Christ's Lordship in that temporarily mutinous domain of the human heart which so insists, so frequently and so in vain, on its own illicit and irrational autonomy! (Cf. Item 14 , Barbs, Arrows and Balms, From Doubt to Delight; and Questions and Answers 1.) Indeed, this apologetic work, dedicated to the exposure of the unique defensibility of the Biblically based Christian faith, shows decisively and demonstrates that it is the ONLY intellectually valid world religion. Nothing else, philosophy or religion, can logically stand.

You have to find something/Someone

  • which alone does not contradict itself,
  • incomparably superior to all competition,
  • in which nothing provides a failure in verification,
  • which can meet every logical challenge,
  • explaining every item it embraces at the level it imparts,
  • analysing its field non-reductionistically,
  • which locates God indisputably and with Him,
  • manifesting Himself: a word of utterance that cannot be refuted,
  • an inspired revelation from the mind and heart of God, formed and forged by His own power.

In fact, all this - and more, as will be seen to be required - is done; and in this trilogy is carefully attested; and it is here shown to apply only to the Bible as written, and Jesus Christ there identified as living, indeed the Eternal Word of God. Its stark and exclusive fulfilment of test conditions is as obvious as is an aircraft amid automobiles, in a test for flying.

Here shown is both the logical necessity and unique validity of the truth of this Biblically espoused religion... the logical incoherence of competitive principles. Considerable time is in fact given to showing that not only does logic allow no escape from Jesus Christ as true God (foreclosing all options but that presented in the Bible), as only Saviour. It shows in addition that there is no escape from the constraints of logic except as it were, to uncreate oneself, a tiresome and contra-factual testimony (a species of reductio ad absurdum) to the necessary empirical relation of the creation to God... to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is so whether any of that creation, specifically man, woman or child, wills to have Him rule over it or not. Whether or not such created persons will it, He will rule. The difference is this: it will be ruled out of order and finally dealt with, or ruled in truth and peace. What logic excludes now, majesty will exclude then.

In sum, it is shown that the scriptures of the Bible as God's own and express, unique and authorised word to mankind are academically indicated, formally demonstrable as is also the necessity of Jesus Christ for every man, woman and child. Necessarily indicated logically is this, that God is as He there expresses Himself to be.

Even that, however, be it noted, does not in itself help you sufficiently, if you need help, unless you follow it to Christ, the unchanged and eternal Person incarnate as Jesus Christ, alpha and omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1). Those who do not need this help are exclusively those who have it already, and having it eternally, need no addition to the inseparable Shepherd. But for the rest ? How does the Bible relate to the Lord ?

It is like a sign pointing to the Rocky Mountains from the adjacent plain: the sign, however beautiful, clear and even admirable, does not bring you to the heights, the majesty and power of these majestic mountains, unless you follow it and so come to them for yourself. In this respect, what other people have done is entirely irrelevant, if you have not done it yourself. The most perfect sign is no substitute for the following of it. John 5:39-40 has it:

  • "You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me: but you will not come to Me that you may have life."

Utterly reliable, they point truly to Him; but they point Him out, as did John the Baptist, so that people should come to Him. To remove blocks, and assist this, is one major purpose of this book; but it is also provided so that those who have come to Him may the more rejoice in Him, or find new depths of conviction in the faith, new ground for action in the faith, and new freedom in testifying of Him. The work is intended to remove needless confusions, a primary purpose being this: clarity in the truth and proof that the word of God is present, available and written in form as the Bible.

There is however another purpose, of manner, style, spirit and a more personal intention (not that the truth is not personal, but as this is not always known, this must be added).

It is this. The necessary analysis and examination, exegesis and presentation could be compared with the work of a doctor, looking at the health of a patient's body, testing, sending away for pathology results, speaking with the patient with concern mixed with reality.

The doctor does not hate the patient; but he MAY hate the viruses that would destroy his body; or the disease which cramps and possibly kills the victim. He may at least want to warn the patient, in love, of the results that will come if he does not take action.

It is now most necessary, in any serious work in theology, to make it transparently clear that the same applies here; but more also, for this operation, the operation of God in conversion, the testimony of the word of God to the truth: it is not merely for time but for eternity.

The various religions which are here exposed, including those false versions of Christianity which Christ and Paul and Peter so amply predicted, in their references to `false Christs', `heresy' and `damnable doctrines': all these are regarded as so many diseases threatening the lives of devotees to them. This is not to have a lack of charity to the victims, any more than a surgeon has any lack of heart to the victims of a road accident. What the surgeon does lack is this: a feeling of sympathy for the driving that placed the patient in hospital. (Cf. I Timothy 4:1-6, Titus 1:13, 2:15.)

Hatred of evil is a colleague and not an enemy of love of the afflicted. Hatred of error is companion, not assailant, of the love of good, and of the love of the lost who, through error are in that pitiable condition.

The exact tracing of a cancer, diagramming of it, and so forth, may not seem a work in accord with love; but on the contrary, the perseverance, conscientious drive and patient application may be motivated by just that love of God which sent Christ to the Cross, not at all for the hatred of the world, but because -

"GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD

THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON

THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM MIGHT NOT PERISH

BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE."

Indeed, here is no simple issue of a prodigality of divine love, expressed in a Person, provided in a Person: it is highly specific as well, focussed as well as featured, practical as well as pure, pursued as well as provided, and its tenor is well displayed in Ezekiel 18:23,31-32 which appear here as testimony of the wonderful willingness of the God of wonders:

       'Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die ?' says the Lord God, 'and not that he should turn from his ways and live ?' ...

  • 'Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die... For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!'

If you would like to discuss and seek these things, the email service is available, as shown on the Home Page. It matters little how you find Him, but find Him you must if you would live.

Finally, I should like heartily to thank my wife, Margaret for her dedicated reading of several chapters amidst the pressure of Christian children's work and other duties; my son Matthew for his substantial and sustained work in computing, to forward ready availability for review and editing of the work of decades, and for proof reading two very large chapters, despite professional commitments; and my daughter Christiana, for lending life and artistic strength to what were mere sketches, for providing the Rock design, and for proof reading: and indeed the family as a whole for their convinced support of this project.

My thanks also go to John Kingsmill (Tabloid) for scanning; for initial work in word processing to Arthur Mills, of Snap Art Printing, for later development to David Field of Ace Word processing for a large coverage in that field, to Sue Johnson of Oasis Print for timely and valued aid, and to Ron Boogaart for conscientious and alert enterprise; as to Neville de Boar and the PanPrint team for First Edition printing... in appreciation of patience and perseverance.

This work was substantially formed over some 25 years (1969-1994) while I have been serving in Hinsdale, Illinois, U.S.A., and in Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia. Hence looking back to the past generation, I should like here to express my gratitude also to my parents Mr and Mrs Robert Bruce Donaldson, for their profound Christian testimony and marvellous confidence.

Past all generations is my praise to God for His magnificent and constant kindness and help, given in the ever faithful name of that incomparable, living Shepherd, who is so not only in name, but in deed; practical, personal, inimitable and judicious, almighty, vital and unerring - the Lord Jesus Christ, without whose help this work could never have begun, nor been revised and completed - in this latter part of 1996. This Preface itself has been slightly revised, in terms of the original of August 1992, in November 1997.

Robert E. Donaldson

November 1997 (updated August 1998)

For Introduction, click here.