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OF BIBLICAL NECESSITY
BLIGHTS Uniting Church FISHING
The Advertiser, October 25, 2004
THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE AND OBLIGATION
The new approach of the Uniting Church, we have seen in the last week, as November has come on line, confirms the statements made earlier, as dated above. The concept is that there are to be NETWORKS of like-minded people, and these will allow a sense of community and unity amid diversity, so that apparently those who strongly oppose some moral or immoral action, may join with others in one group, while those who seethingly condemn this, join another.
In the October message, the concept was that Presbyteries could be free to ordain or not, what the Bible calls those of perverted sexual orientation. It is on a case by case basis; but this in itself does not determine what determines the case, moral matters or the thought beyond morals, in some sea of confusion.
New Presbyteries accordingly may now form, which would allow them to authorise or de-authorise whatever seemed fitting, and presumably, at least in this sensitive time, for whatever reason in terms of their varied and variable their orientation to biblical premises.
Contrary to opinion, the Uniting Church is NOT committed to an infallible, applicable scripture, its Basis of Union, by which it STATED that various churches were forming to constitute ONE CHURCH (and therefore something that is, as a Church, and not something that is not!), has this to say.
5. THE BIBLICAL WITNESSES
The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church has received the books of the Old and New Testaments as unique prophetic and apostolic testimony, in which it hears the Word of God and by which its faith and obedience are nourished and regulated. When the Church preaches Jesus Christ, its message is controlled by the Biblical witnesses. The Word of God on whom salvation depends is to be heard and known from Scripture appropriated in the worshipping and witnessing life of the Church. The Uniting Church lays upon its members the serious duty of reading the Scriptures, commits its ministers to preach from these and to administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper as effective signs of the Gospel set forth in the Scriptures.
Observe first of all, that the books of the Old and New Testaments are those in which, it declares, "it hears the Word of God", and by these "faith and obedience are nourished and regulated." WHERE the word of God, as one future President of the Uniting Church would indicate in seminary, was to be found, that was the question. As a self-identified Barthian, he had a problem, now this, now that seemingly summoning to faith an acceptance, and now this, now that, even in the New Testament, even concerning the words of Jesus Christ, advocating to the heart, to the mind, to the conscience, to the spirit, a negative! This ? IN! That ? OUT! So was the Bible a scrap book for scraps, man determined.
This "witness" therefore is a delusive approach, equipped to seduce, whatever the intention.
Obedience is 'nourished' but it is not commanded.
Things are 'regulated' but they are not directed.
The message concerning Christ is 'controlled by the Biblical witnesses', but in what sort of control ? There is an input, but not an absolute authority. The effect of the control will depend on the authority given to the controlling power, and this is estimated as the heart desires.
The word of God, it declares, is "heard and known from the Scripture" but where and when, this again is the question. Scurrying through its pages, they seek to select and reject in terms of their philosophies of which Paul said enough (Colossians 2:8) to warn the unwary.
While such theology may seem arcane to some, it is not to theologians, or rather to neologians. Hence it is that a flat contradiction can occur, such as did when the President to be of the Uniting Church declared a word which contradicted a basic utterance in the Gospels, concerning Christ's words, in two ways. First it was gratuitously stated to be contrary to fact, and then, contrary to possibility. The evidence was not discernible, and the results were basic, as pointed out in Class, making the choice in toto, the words of this man or of the Bible. It could not be both: a head-on collision in the centre.
It is in just this way that the body, the religious body called the Uniting Church, can have what are biblically defined as perverted persons in the pulpit, and bind this as decided, as has now occurred.
The concept of networking, as recently announced for a palliative, for a harmoniser, is dangerously seductive to those seeking a structure and a name for their 'church', lest they seem cranks, isolates or other, seeking the comfort and convenience of attending what is well known. How on earth or beyond it, can one have fellowship with what is biblically denounced, in the Old Testament as worthy of death, in the New as exclusive of the kingdom of heaven or participation in it, when one allegedly BELIEVES the Bible to be the infallible word of God! On this, see Leviticus 18:22-28, where this is one of the grounds for which the Lord acted that the land being thus defiled, "vomit you out" as it did the preceding nations.
Acting in such a way that one is regarded as vomitable, and alignable with nations so condemned that they were replaced, and that one is "cut off from the people", 18:29, is scarcely ground for esteeming the matter of having such persons in the pulpit to promote truth and purity! That was one penalty for those who had male to male sexual action. Another was death (Leviticus 20:13), and it is rather difficult to have fellowship with the dead, indeed, it is forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:10-11), and this was one of Saul's final entries to ruin (I Samuel 28).
It is still less a such a ground when one considers II Timothy 3:16, and still less so when one considers I Timothy 1:9-10, where we find that the law is for "murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars ..." so that the very company of the category condemned, is not so attractive: it involves a network of active murderers and kidnappers and the like. Paul does not spare feelings when he indicates the way of life. Neither does a doctor spare feelings when he makes incision into cancer. Life is for living, not rebellion. Worse, ALL of this is "contrary to sound doctrine", the apostle declares in I Timothy 1. .
If possible, more demonstrative still, is I Corinthians 5:9ff., where Christians are forbidden to have fellowship with those who called Christians, yet are "sexually immoral". In I Corinthians 6:9, it goes further again:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ?
"Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, homosexuals, nor sodomites, not thieves... will inherit the kingdom of God."
Why, then, if one follows the Bible, BE deceived! This is the most categorical rejection of a drastic, dramatic and categorical acclamation and declamation in the word of God. Would you have fellowship where it is EXPLICITLY forbidden ? Would you go yet further and have one excluded from the kingdom of heaven tell you how to get there, and discourse on its laws, love and ways ? Or would you have your Church (yes, it does exist, and came into existence as a church by name in its Basis of Union), do such things ? Would you be a partaker of its sins ? willingly ? What does Paul say in I Timothy 5:22 ? It is this:
"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other menís sins:
keep yourself pure."
Is black white, is yes, no! No less is required for any who believe the Bible as the immediately inspired, infallible word of the living God.
It is not our current purpose (cf. SMR Ch. 1, Appendix C, and Appendix D), to show that the Bible is this; for this has been done in many ways before. It is simply to show that for those who realise that this is so, the Uniting Church situation is untenable, networking is a frank disavowal of the Bible, and membership in an organisation which STATEDLY exists by virtue of the union of bodies from other Churches, in its very Basis of Union, is incompatible with such prohibitions.
If the word of God is the word of GOD, how then is His requirement violated ? If fellowship is forbidden, how is one to be a member of such a Church, supposedly part of Christ's body, when the Head forbids it being so conceived! No fellowship means you are NOT part of a body. The Church IS a body, and its ways are very clear (as in Ephesians 2:20-22, 4:15-16). To have a body which disobeys and defies its Head is not to have a biblically defined Church. You say, Ah but it is imperfect! So are we all; but rebellion, the scripture declares, is worse then witchcraft, and this is rebellion against the explicit, emphatic word of God (cf. I Samuel 15:22-23).
Networking thus in itself, in this case, explicitly defies the word of God, which for those who realise it is in written form, the Bible, defies God. It is not by defying God that you obey Him, and it is not in accord with love to disobey, let alone as a principle and basis, as shown in John 14:21-23, where Christ indicates that those who love, obey His words, and those who do not love Him do not keep His words.
God IS love; and how then is this rank rebellion to be adapted to some alleged belief that the Bible is what God says, and that it is not surrounded by scope for human insertion, deletion or suppression!
Further, Romans 16:17 tells us that those who do not follow the doctrine given from apostolic source, are not available for fellowship, for one must AVOID them. How on earth or beyond it, is one to avoid those with whom one is statedly, and in voluntary fashion, ONE BODY! On this, consult Chapter 9, *1A below.
Romans 12:5 declares this: "In the same way, we are many, but in Christ we are all one body." No, says one, we are two. How two when He says one ? Is one to become two that one may lurk where place is forbidden ? Is even mathematics to be abandoned!
Is one to seek a spastic church, one member seeking if you will, to be divorced from another. Now the disease is involuntary; but this, it would be voluntary. AVOID does not mean share a name, a church fellowship, a networking integrality. It means dissociate, and it requires action.
Is one to fish with a net with holes
? or join in fishing when one group of hands is pushing, the other pulling the
net ? Do you fish with a church or the word of God ? Is the word of God basic or
Church ? Is it a Church which transcends the word of God ? Let, says Paul, the one who is spiritual recognise this, that the words spoken, given are the commandments of God (I Corinthians 14:37). No, says one, this is not so, we do not recognise this! This is anti-apostolic and contra-scriptural. The Church is loved, is obedient and is used; but when one rebels against one's employer, how is one then in his service ? and if he has already declared that such are OUT of His service and kingdom, who act as Paul condemns, and others insist that they are all one, then it is one in rebellion and nothing less.
The bright light of Christ is thus conquered by uncomprehending darkness; but it is not in reality so, merely in the place where this occurs; and judgment supervenes as always, whether it is to sanction condemnation on the practice of adultery, murder, kidnapping, sodomy, fornication or theft, to use but some of Paul's array of terms in I Timothy 1:10. On such things and the exclusion of their practice and precept from life and fellowship with the people of the Lord, see I Timothy 1:3-10, I Corinthians 6:9-10.
When then is the divine order in this ? From such things, Christians must turn away, Ephesians 5:3-11, as from WHATEVER leaves the commandments of God in Jesus Christ - Romans 16:17, I Timothy 6:1-5, and departs from the cleanness it requires in its way and its witness, in teaching or the dealings of living. Abhorrent are such things, open to censure from the law, ready for severance from the Lord, unfit for spiritual commingling.
This biblically defined 'cleanness' is most penetratingly commanded and urgently exhorted in contrast to any other way, in Ephesians 4:17-5:7, yes, and it reaches to the very spirit of man itself (II Corinthians 7:1), which is part of that ALL uncleanness which is to be discarded in its invasions, proclamations and impurities.
"Do not be partakers with" them (Ephesians 5:7), "have no fellowship" with the practices, "but rather expose them!" (Ephesians 5:11). All such, those who favour, follow or foster such things, as one polluted whole in mind, body or spirit, and in each part, departing from the apostolic teaching (I Corinthians 14:37), the people of God must note and "AVOID" (Romans 16:17)! Christ used the written word of God to debar Satan from His divine premises and the people of God must do no less, whether in personal living, with the divine ambit of the way of life, or in faith or in doctrine. When the things "shameful even to speak of", such as Paul mentions in Ephesians 4-5, for example, you avoid them walking "circumspectly, not as fools" (Ephesians 4:15).
The spirit of man readily moves from spiritual obedience to the whole misplaced worship of created things, concepts and catastrophic substitutes for the only God and His ways, immovable, pure and lustrous with light, and immoralities of heart, word and body follow like the end products of disease in the racked body (Romans 1:17-32). Far safer is it to toy with the explosions of atomic bombs, for they destroy for a time, but this, it is for ever. ALL sin must be confessed, dumped in the able hands of the crucified Christ and viewed with the affection one has for an asp.
If one chooses to remain where darkness has been legislated as light, evil is called good (cf. Isaiah 5:18-21), then one might well consider the plight of such closing of the ranks within the blighted corps of rebellion in terms of Paul's declamation against light having communion with darkness (II Corinthians 6:14). Is it FAITH which forbids what the word of God requires ? which INSISTS on what it precludes ? which deems pure what it abhors, condemns what exposes it and has leaders who foster the ways of Sodom, or the spirit of Babylon, and do not heed the word, "Come out of her, my people!" (Revelation 18:4).
Faith it may be, but not biblically defined; faith can believe anything, but when it is the word of God which is the Bible, the sole authorised written word of God to mankind, which is in view, this is not it!
Be not deceived! Is the injunction of Paul. Imagine even a dog which, when urged to hunt, had a different idea, lived its own life in its own way, and then yapped away, in the midst of disobedience still wagging its deceptive tail, glorying in its love of its master, its obedience to his wisdom! What would this incur ? To us however is given spirit and understanding, and to understand rebellion is to forsake it when the word of God is believed; for faith, as James declares, without works is dead. Death ? It is so funereal.
Let therefore those who love the Lord, believe His inscripturated words, the Bible (John 14:21-23,26), yes in terms of Christís injunction, keep His words and so disjoin from what is a forbidden conjoining, and depart from what is an excluded fellowship, and obey what is written.
On this, see further in Separation 1997, but for the present, let this suffice.