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FIXATIONS, FUNDAMENTALS AND FAITH
The Australian, August 20, 2001
The Advertiser idem
The new Archbishop of Sydney, that (comparatively) evangelically renowned site of Anglicanism, noted for Moore College and near division, or least seriously pondered separation from the parent body some years ago, during the furore on women priests (not the first in the line of oddities to be construed by those desiring the word of God - see A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 10 and 11) , has decidedly done something different.
A mere 1% of Anglicans in the Australian population, or some such low figure, he affirmed, express this mode. It is to be altered, it might appear. The Archbishop, with dark glasses, à la mode, sought the people. As rare as zoo-keepers, Anglicans were in danger of becoming exotic, he asserted. The report states this: "Following a cacophony of trombones, drums and guitar at the State Sports Centre at Homebush", Dr Jensen indicated an emphasis on friendly, welcoming meetings.
This seems some sort of effort to greet the people, meet the people and agreeably, to use the Scottish, to avoid giving them occasion for greeting. That is, being translated, occasion for lamentation.
Now all this perhaps has a touch of bravado, or desperation or at any rate determination to DO something. Noise can signal willingness to suffer, and modern music willingness to try to find a place where a meeting with greeting (sense 1) and without greeting (sense 2) might occur.
However it is in the next point that the real interest lies. The reports, lamentably, has this to record: "Evangelism stressed the authority of the bible and the need to turn to Jesus to be saved, but it was not fair to link it with fundamentalism."
Proceeding now to quotation, the report continues: "There are fundamentalists who certainly look like evangelicals, but we in this diocese are not fundamentalist," he said. "We don't take a literalist approach to the Bible."
The tormented term, fundamentalist, has now raised its head to add to the festivities, and laid in the dust like some saucy serpent, it is stamped and stomped on to the presumably considerable pleasure of the now really welcomed crowd.
NOT one of those! How nice ... We need not fear THAT sort of thing. Free from such a fall, above such a demise, without such an encumbrance, devoid of such reproach, with terminology suitably confused, mixed up and writhing, the charabanc continues.
It is however not as easy as that. The offence of the cross is not to be distilled, and whatever the intention of the speaker, the dabbling into these verbal domains in this way is likely to cause a confusion already TOO welcome in society, one requiring for understanding in the giving of a reason for the faith, and indeed giving the faith at all, some analysis.
Most of this has already been done at some length in The Biblical Workman Appendix III, "Excursion on Fundamentalism - The Plush Halls of Propaganda, or the Peace of Truth.", a 17 page analysis of current confusion, terminological and other. The reader may wish to peruse this, as the topic is vital to understanding, being as much a pawn in the game of confusion, and the smoke of it, as ever democracy was, in the arsenal of Communist propaganda. Cultural substitutes for thought are easily aroused by skilful manipulators, and others need to beware of doing service to these ideational atrocities, skilled in misleading the very elect, if it were possible, which in the grace of the good Lord, it is NOT! (Matthew 24:24 cf. II Peter 2:1ff.). Of this fact, their safekeeping, we saw some of the delightful, smoke filtered, light of dawn in the last chapter.
Without, therefore, repeating the above analysis, but assuming the interested reader will have read it, and the informed one is ready without it, but that at any rate nobody ignores what is available except in the interests of confusion, an arch-enemy of this site and a clever smoke-screen of the evil one: let us consider the above report. At this point, we leave company with the cacophony, as it was deemed to be, and make no effort to consider what the archbishop may or may not have meant, for the cultural input into the terms used, makes this far removed from attainability from this presentation.
We shall simply see what the possibilities are, and whatever the purpose of the cleric may have been, the perils of proceeding with this torturous terminology. It can hide virtually anything and yet on the other hand, conceivably may be guilty of no worse than mere cultural confusion or imprecision.
After all, in a
denomination where the Primate, one above an archbishop, has been reported,
without apparent contradiction, to have declared it is not necessary to believe
in this same Jesus in order to find God, there is little point in considering
too much what this or that one of the TOTAL FELLOWSHIP which includes such
things, may or may not be saying (John 14:65, Christ versus primate). If the
house is on fire, why worry about a thread on the carpet! (See for this
reported denial of the fundamentals of the gospel, Tender Times for
Timely Truths Ch. 7.
Concerning the necessity not to remain where such things are permitted, see The
Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7. )
EVANGELISM AND EVANGELICISM or Evangelicalism
Evangelism, then, is the presentation of Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour with a view to people finding salvation through the gospel concerning Him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and with fidelity to the Biblical presentation of Him, so that it is not another Jesus, Gospel and Spirit (as slated by Paul in II Cor. 11). The terminology of the address reported above, then, would in this definition seem to be affirming a very good thing.
Some people who might not believe the Bible, and like to substitute their own, or their own church's, or their own pastor's, or their own pet theologian's thoughts for the Bible with an ease with a dash perhaps of bravado and a panache of personal assertion, would want another definition, or not use the term. Another definition would merely be one MORE step into the arena of terminological confusion, trying not only to subdue 'evangelism' but 'the gospel' into pagan hands, or at least eclectic blurring, so that you tame the gospel by mere phrasing, and defile it by simple substitution of content. It is not new.
However, let us assume the best. Let us assume that such a clear distortion of the terminology of the Bible, in order to present what is contrary to the Bible, is not in view. What then ? If we are not putting in Mr Marx's mouth, by way of parallel, a love of capitalism, such as the Chinese authorities seem to show in some of the relatively uncontrolled forms of commerce, but not to know, what is being done ?
In that case, let us suppose that evangelism is what is meant, Biblically defined.
We proceed next to the distinction of this term from evangelicism. This term, or the longer one evangelicalism, which is rather a mouth-full, and not a little ugly to the ear, being dithery and diluted in sound - but let that pass - is different from evangelism. If the latter, evangelism, is seen in the exemplars of Peter at Pentecost and in Acts 3, of Paul at Mars Hill, at Pisidian Antioch, of Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch, Christ with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well, in the words of the appeals of the prophets to find God and focussing the Messiah, in the expositions of Paul and in the Biblical necessities outlined by Christ so freely (Matthew 5:17ff., 26:52ff.), in His entreaties and expositions at the personal level as in John 10, in the developments of Paul in Romans where the gospel which is to be preached, is carefully expressed and given with the power of inspiration of God, both in substance and in wording (I Cor. 2:9ff.), in line with the words of the prophets before (as in I Peter 1:11ffl, II Peter 1:19ff. - cf. SMR Appendix D); then what of the former ? What is evangelicism ?
The Gospel is not hard to
find, then, nor its exposition and proclamation with a view to salvation, in
evangelism. The Gospel is the evangel, the good news, and evangelism is its
presentation as above. What however is this evangelicalism ? It is precisely
what in some ways, the diocese of
The term would represent a cleavage, in its very phrasing. On the one hand, there would be social gospel experts, wanting Christ to act rather than be too much talked about, wanting social results rather than being what, to them, would appear unduly concerned with mere words, phrases or concepts; and with these practitioners come the new wording specialists, the neo-orthodox, who would like a formal conformity to some Biblical phrases, but simply re-define them to fit the philosophic culture, or the theological penchants. These would seem clear distinctions, at least until terminology gets more smoke screens going, and there is an industry that does this, sometimes perhaps unintentionally, as with other smog, and sometimes criminally, as when standards are ignored for personal gain in commerce.
There are all but innumerable other departures from the apostolic faith, the prophetic word of which Peter speaks, the Christ of the Bible; and it is a fine testimony to Christ Jesus the Lord, crucified and risen in body from the dead (that was the thing that died and was laid in the tomb, as in I Cor. 15, Luke 24:39), that so many deplorably confused and incredibly distorted efforts are made to imitate without the original, and use the name without the ground.
These are what is NOT evangelicalism.
What however IS, precisely, evangelicalism ? The term is subjected to torture as most others while the undoubted propaganda and allied effects are obtained, of creating confusion instead of choice, and finding clouds of words instead of clouds of glory. Words are precise instruments, no less than the scalpel of the surgeon, and perhaps rather more, for he can err and it is done, but with words, there is time to clean them from corrosion from culture, and confusion from spiritual strip-tease acts which entice the heart without challenging the morals or changing the life. Cut-price religion is like most other cut-price things, popular and cheap. (Romans 6:1ff. deals with it.)
This term, evangelicalism, then, would tend simply to be the normal, orthodox, gospel loving, apostle following, Christ of the Bible affirming approach to Christianity which is ex-popes, ex-pollutions of philosophy, and simply taking the substance of what is written, the teaching of the Bible and the Gospel which is neither taught nor derived from culture or mankind at all as Paul most emphatically proclaims in Galatians 1, proceeding faithfully to present these things, this Christ, this same Jesus, this everlasting Gospel, without addition or subtraction, with love and zeal, so that people turn to Him, love Him and without inventing Him afresh, akin to crucifying Him afresh as in Hebrews 10, following Him.
This is a simple matter of fidelity; for if God had not carefully and precisely presented the Christ in the written word, as this same Christ proclaimed the prophets before had done to the extent that not a jot of their words would fail till ALL was fulfilled, then there would be a profusion of confusion. Christ would have come in vain, a mere word to be the verbal buttonhole for ANY religion of ANY Christ available for construction by ANY philosophical or cultural construction company which, with due attention to shareholders' interests (as in II Peter 1's prediction) found it worth while so to act. Whatever, however, the motives, this is the sort of procedure avoided historically by what has borne the name, evangelicalism.
However, this a burden for some. They aspire to the term, but do not desire the burden of fidelity. This is always costly, whether in sound studios or in surgery, in business dealings or in friendship. Friends love at all times. They do not leap like a startled rabbit at the first test. They stay put, and if they can bring their friend from error to truth, they sacrifice to do it. That is what love is like.
What then ? Then, just as another Jesus has been an idea, something to create for yourself or from some desired source, to receive, and then follow, like your pet football club (you can choose the one you want, it is all football), so another gospel becomes the idea, and another sort of evangel. Hey wait! All is NOT Gospel that is called so! It is not a game but the gift of God!
But there are many players for the god-games. If there is another sort of evangel (steal that word! go on, few may notice, the evil one may urge), why not ... yes, another sort of evangelism, and yes again, another sort of evangelicalism (the longer word does seem to distance the facts even more, and for that purpose it could be advantageous, but let it be!). The thought grips many, if not with clarity, then with reality. That is the way of deception, including self-deception, it tends always not to keep in contact with the light, but seems to prefer to turn it off, or avoid it, even the dawning light of day.
Hence, with such industry,
people come to follow, or come to be led, to try to re-define evangelicalism to
mean, zeal and concern about someone or something called Jesus, to whom the
term lord may even be applied, and in some sense, saviour, who is to be a code
word and cure for much, in some way, yet to be defined, or defined from time to
time as the pope or the committee or the people may elect, depending on taste:
and indeed, they may ask, are they not all one ? So goes the patter. Yes, as
one Presbyterian Minister with a large Church in
After all, there are FEW
who find the narrow way, as Christ said. HE at least was after NO BROAD CHURCH,
BROAD VOCABULARY, BROAD CULTURAL ACCLIMITISATION OR BROAD THEOLOGY. It was
strict, so strict that unless you were founded on His words, you were building
on sand. How would that go down in a Sports Arena in
Hence you COULD use the term in the new slightly or greatly adjusted sense, the one constantly being re-manufactured like new models of cars, designed to impress the people, who buy: you could use it to mean and include in the end, almost what was formerly the exact thing from which it was once used, to exclude! Hence, this very nice new range of Evangelicalism models becomes available. You can have the address, the term, and yet avoid the tissue.
Terminological confusion is MOST useful where change is desired, without too much ... difficulty. This is of course not to say that all who use the term use it for this purpose or in this way. It IS however to say, quite simply, that it now LENDS itself to such usage change. No longer can we simply know from the term, what is meant.
The BIBLE likewise can be referred to as something one has, uses and accepts. But this too is a masterpiece for theological fiction writers. You can hear them: WHEN, they say, we refer to the Bible, we do not mean that narrow-minded, old-fashioned (good propaganda words are they not ? yet people even now, when the green tree is decidedly dry - Luke , do not seem unafraid to test the gullibility of men by their continued deployment), that phrase-controlling bit of literature. No, we mean the MESSAGE of the Bible, and of the message, we mean the pith, the core.
One man, a cleric, recently, all but incredibly - and he also was an Anglican as it so happens - was saying this sort of thing: NO we do not have to be bound by these laws and moral controls. Christianity is not about judging. You do not have to do this and that, but merely to believe the thrust, or heart of it all. This was the message unleashed.
Now this is a far cry from Paul's statement in Romans 3:31,
· "Do we make void the law through faith ? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law."
· However, worth a try. After all, you could always hope for confusion about the other issue, namely this, that you are not saved by ANY means of obedience, but for it; that you are not saved by ANY kind of works, but only for them. Grace is the name of the gift; works is the name of the fruit of the gift. If you could only get them confused on that, the propagandist might think, then of course we could throw out the whole CONCEPT of morals, instead of merely saying that moral performance is NOT the way you gain salvation, but the way you sincerely show it. Leave out that last clause. No ? But you COULD mislead, if not the elect, then many with consciences in the way, who WANT some kind of ... well, religious protection in life, for it is so vast and dangerous, yet do NOT want to pay the price of purity and truth!
No ? Then many will do it, nevertheless. It is exactly the same with bad children, or those in a naughty mood. There is almost no limit to the devices, the twistings, the turnings, the substitutes for being good, in order to indulge some yearning for this or that. It is the very nature of sin so to do, but it is the very nature of salvation so to avoid. MANY, said Christ, follow the broad way to hell. FEW enter the narrow one (Matthew 7:13ff., 21ff.). Narrow ? Yes, that is His word. Everything good is narrow in one sense: it is not bad, it is not diluted, polluted, dulled or indifferent. Its quality is untainted.
and even "evangelicalism" will not help much, just as terms flung
around, except in one respect, that if you STATE you are in favour of one of
these, many who do not want what the Bible actually SAYS, will find in these
changeable pieces of terminological equipment (like instruments for a massive
medical operation, lying in the theatre), liberty for conscience and BUY!
Again, this is not to say that the mere usage of such terms implies misdoings;
but it is to note that their usage in contexts of affirming these while denying
other things closely related historically, MAY be and often is, a confusion
procedure for misleading, if it were possible, the very elect.
FUNDAMENTALISM AND ALL THE BIBLE
What however is the meaning of that other term, the one disparaged by the Archbishop, "fundamentalism" ? As the presentation in The Biblical WorkmanAppendix III indicates, there is a history here, a compilation, a conflation and a confusion which befits the evil one himself. It is not necessary to repeat all that was said there, since at the flick of a hyperlink, it may be read.
The original popular sense of this term was historically derived, and indicated the desire and procedure of having certain fundamentals which could not be negotiated, such as the virgin birth of Christ, His deity, His bodily resurrection, salvation by grace apart from works and so on. People who insisted that none of these might be permitted to be denied in their churches and fellowships of Christ, were thus able to fundamentalists. Many were Baptists, but it was by no means limited to them. It was often associated with denominations where the Bible being openly attacked, in complete defiance of its own quality provisions (see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7, Romans 16:17, II Timothy 3ff., Ephesians 5 and the whole array of prohibitions on this point). Thus, for some, there was a joint desire NOT TO LEAVE, and sometimes, NOT EVEN TO CONFRONT in the courts of the church, this wolf pack, but merely to save SOMETHING! IF, some thought, these things could be kept, or at least held vital, we would not be too badly off.
Others of course, adding the infallibility of the Bible as ONE of the fundamentals, the common procedure and base, insisted on the whole of the written word of God; but in general, in large denominations, they did not require it in the seminaries, those learned sites of foxes as alas so many came to be, many men stating one thing in their ordination and giving another in their teaching.
Thus some became separate churches with some or all of this requirement, and many stayed in older churches, with this personal requirement, to be grieved over because it was not met.
With radio and TV preachers, many unscripturally stayed in their unbelieving denominations and found solace elsewhere, instead of following the whole counsel of God, relative to churches, as to other things. Some fought it out, as did the Lutheran Missouri Synod in the USA, and even in relatively rare cases, won the property from those who wanted to change the basis from the Bible, and from the church's constitution, and do something else with it, so breaking not only THE faith, but faith with those who had given for a godly purpose, in terms of the written word of God and the smitten Son of God, resurrected and abiding till He comes, in the hearts of the congregation.
Disregarding the text, the word at will, they would or could reconstruct a Christ after their own hearts, and willingly follow Him, interpreting and abounding in impudence, as if God were their own work. It is common and long has been; and the name is of course idolatry.
Meanwhile, many lingering where Biblically now prohibited, either losing such battles in the courts of the church, or not even making them, became like an offensive odour to the nostrils of those whose exotic tastes led them to indulgence, in the name of Christ, in virtually anything, coming more recently to have male co-habiters becoming preachers, although expressly (short of repentance), such pastors themselves were EXCLUDED from the kingdom of heaven (I Cor. 6:9, Timothy 1:10). The detailed usage of Paul in itemising the varieties of polluted passions (biblically defined as such) bears witness to the very precise character of the words of the God who made precision as something we could either know or think, by CREATING US!
Hence the term ‘fundamentalist’, contrary to the renegade rebellions taking possession of many churches, gained an offensive odour to the MAJORITY who were hell-bent on a form of holiness which did not need to be MORAL, Biblically-defined! Words can be so useful to the artist in them!
War on fundamentalism did not stop there.
With the Bible variety of
‘fundamentalist’ in high malodour with those who separated both from the gospel
and the Lord who gave it (the one implies the other, as Paul indicates in
Galatians 1), but not from the church, and who often conveniently and
comfortably took over the church, what
then ? The church, once dedicated to the gospel of God, and to the Lord of the Gospel, who generated its power by performing what none other ever did, the works of redemption as a vicarious sacrifice, both sinless and sin-bearing, now had other leaders, wolves more or less in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15ff., II Peter 2:1ff.)
Wolves are rarely inactive, it seems.
The next step is a triumph for propaganda. The Moslems have a book without any evidential attestation, drawing not a little on Christian and Jewish heresy (as each body in its original nature would define from its Old Testament and Bible). When these false religionists therefore, as is beginning to happen now in Zimbabwe, want to have, or are incited to have a jihad, a war to get something from someone else, whether land or liberty, removing either or both, so that that false prophet as predicted by Christ, could operate in his teachings there, what could they be called ?
Magnificent. The devil himself may have smiled at the thought. Call THEM fundamentalists. The loathing for those who believed the Bible, could thus be pronounced on those of another religion, on those who killed! They could have the very same name. Since the jihad performers are cruel in procedure, rash in death, ravishing in blood spilling and altogether bring horror to the hearts of those who at least realise that the kingdom of heaven is not a matter of fighting (having read John 18:36), not a question of victories by blood, for ONE BLOOD, that of Christ, is the only one that now saves, what a triumph of verbal art to use the detested term 'fundamentalist' for those! Then some could re-use it artlessly for the Christian believers in the churches. Tar would stick.
It is useless to try to exonerate the human mind: it is deceitful, when steeped in its unsaved state, above all things (Jeremiah 9:6, 17:9). Whether it directly generated such thoughts, or merely employed them, duped by the deceptiveness of the arch-fiend, it is not known. The result nevertheless for man is much the same!
As however to the actual Jesus Christ who did the works, gave His own blood in the interests of religion, an eternal redemption resulting for those whom He has covered with His own blood, other blood to the point is a virtual blasphemy, adding to the gospel what is far below it, as well as violating the express command of Christ. Still, the use of the term 'fundamentalist' both for Moslem marauders and Christian people of peace was a coup of a type.
Inapplicable ? of course. Grievously misleading ? Without doubt. What however was its one point of contact ? That both parties believed that there is a God who has spoken, and committed the matter to writing. With one, murder mounts and evidence lacks, no prince appears, has appeared or is operative; with the other the way in physical violence, is annulled, the Prince has come and acted openly, as predicted. For these therefore, such violence cannot be. For this which they hold, the word of God, the evidence mounts. This word is constantly experimentally confirmed in history and heart, is demonstrably from God (SMR), and focussing the Prince of peace who died, without inflicting violence on the lives of others, it acts in the name of One who presenting Himself a sacrifice sufficient for all, crucially covering those who received Him in truth and by faith, through grace. THAT is His way. There is no way around it; there is nothing parallel to it; there is not and never has been any other to accomplish such things.
Well, if such a movement among Muslims, in their inveterate use of FORCE in the area of faith, if this could be called ... hmmm! fundamentalist, why what a score! What ODIUM could be poured on the Bible believing, Gospel retaining, Christ immutable people who so irk and gall the minds of ravished unbelievers who want to think of themselves as above what is written, but not below the term 'Christians'! Call Bible believing Christians 'fundamentalists' and then use the same term of blood spilling zealots, and you have tarred and feathered your opponent, faithful to Christ, to the point of perfection. You could ... yes, you could even try to imply in some rather vague but literally leering way, that ... they were fond of force, unlike your own selves, who do not use it at all, except when it seems necessary. Wonderful! what a score.
Truth score however ? Zero.
Slander score. In the high nineties.
Admission score that only evil can bring the desired result: a remarkably high figure. But then, the devil's traps, always sprinkled at least with lie, are found out by the truth (cf. John ). Of that sort of thing, clever contrivances and vested -interest trickery, he is master. If not all want the method of falsely assailing the faith of those whose churches many have taken, many nevertheless use it, just as indiscriminately as if they did. Beware of culture! It can be a vulture if prone to its dictates, you follow the way of it. There is nothing feathery about the result (or the meaning, despite the imagery! or even because of it!).
It is thus that people must beware of being drawn into
verbal culture traps.
MIXING IT UP
Thus when an Archbishop declares for 'evangelism' and being saved by 'Jesus', many types of the latter having been constructed by newly anointed reconstructionists, it is felt by many to be becoming to DETEST fundamentalism.
This is not to say that this particular archbishop is proceeding like this with the game, and one hopes he is about no such thing. It is merely, as we noted at the outset, that we are examining the terminology, which to say no more, is exceedingly susceptible to confusion, and finding what it CAN and often DOES mean! In knowing what we are talking about, it is often necessary to examine what we say. If we do NOT mean this and that, then this can be said, and we can make it clear what we DO mean. So be it. In the meantime, the defence of the faith requires us to be careful about misunderstanding, whatever the source, so that what is the truth, can be provided with a reason for it, according to the specialty of this site (cf. I Peter 3:15, II Cor. 10:5ff.).
It is next necessary to deal with the term 'fundamentalist' just a little more, for those who like to make known clearly, when they speak, what they are about, rather than using them to cover up differences or for oral impact.
SINCE the term is associated historically with people who wanted to talk about certain main doctrines, often including the inspiration of the Bible in such a way that it is true to God, and hence to life, for God is competent in life and word, having made both for man; and since He so claims whose word we are pondering: what then ? Since it is not necessarily the case that the inspiration of ALL the Bible is affirmed in such a party as 'fundamentalists', although it frequently is, and since certain MAIN doctrines are affirmed, as though ALL the Biblical teaching is not necessary, one does not incline to it. Its use, its value originally is not denied. That all such doctrines ARE necessary is most positively affirmed. But the concept of selected a few doctrines as pivots, while not in vain, has dangers.
ALL scripture being inspired by God, is profitable, not only some (see Pall of Smoke, Diamond of Joy Ch. 8, pp. 90ff.). Believing in the Bible as originally given is merely one facet of believing in the God who, in His revelation in it and in Christ, is worthy of acceptance. Not only does HE claim such fidelity IN the Bible (SMR Appendix D), but Christ claimed such fidelity both in it and in His own words (John 12;48-50), which indeed are to be a CRITERION in the JUDGMENT OF MAN! If you want another judge, that is your affair; we who follow Christ are more than satisfied with this One, who had borne our judgment for us already (Galatians 3:1-13), just as those who disbelieve in THIS Jesus the ONLY Saviour, are CONDEMNED ALREADY (John 3:18).
It is this verse which follows so closely, does it not, on the famous gospel verse, of John 3:16. They are twins, a pair, correlates. Of interest, and systematically appropriate, a fact common to the Bible as rain to the tropics, is the fact that just next to John 3:18, is John 3:19 which notes that this IS the CONDEMNATION, that light has come into the world, and men have PREFERRED darkness. Even light has a wave length: Christ is what He is and not another. God is what He is, and says so, I AM (Exodus ), which Christ, being His eternal word, echoes (John ).
When it comes to talking: whatever gave many among mankind the logically insolvent idea that the one who created the mouth has less power to communicate precisely, than this neat little instrument which He forged, possesses! God indeed says so,
Do not you who write a novel, know more than your characters into whose hearts and minds you poured your distilled understanding! Imagine one of them seeking to instruct you, or to tell you about your ignorance or ineptitude, with those very powers, the entire crafting of which depended on your own most superior knowledge: one which could not merely MAKE them but understand HOW to do so!
Indeed, it is the more necessary since as Romans 1:17ff. tells us, man is not in any remotely neutral situation, but holds down the truth of God in unrighteousness, something quite kin to the tormented rebelliousness of much of the nation in the Old Testament, so abundantly attested in Hosea as in this:
Toward turning to their God,
For the spirit of harlotry is in their midst,
And they do not know the LORD:
The pride of
Or again, we find:
This applies of course to those who try to cover RELIGIONS, such as the South Australian government in their ludicrous incursions into this field, under the guise of education, as attested in That Magnificent Rock Ch. 8, in great detail.
In tennis, if a player does not desire a coach, on the circuit, he is no pariah, but merely individual. With God, however, if a person, made for the stage of this life, does not seek and find the truth of God in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, and in the word which He endorsed (Matthew 5:17ff.),the word which in detail not only predicted Him (John 5:39-40), but proclaimed the one God with decisive and incisive protestation of uniqueness (Isaiah 41,48, 45), then there is a sure result. Then that person is as one who imbibes wrong food, addressed wrong questions and used right ones wrongly.
As what does the Bible depict such people as these ? Such a person is uninstructed, and internally misconstructed, bound in the sin which is inherent since the Fall of man at the first. Now in this advanced stage of spiritual ruin, unchanged man becomes now expository in darkness, illuminated with dark light, which in the presence of light of truth, distorts, cavorts, cavils or aborts. If this is not in all things, yet it occurs quite systematically, whether consciously or not, where it is deemed fitting, lest at any time the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus should be actually received, and the dimness of spiritual anguish, dismemberment, should be replaced by the truth. This is precisely what Paul says in II Cor. 4:3-6:
3 "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those
who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5 "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the
Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Again we read:
"These things you have done and I kept silent:
And set them in order before your eyes.
"Now consider this, you who forget God,
lest I tear you in pieces,
And there be none to deliver.
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me,
And to him who orders his way aright,
I will show the salvation of God" - Psalm 21-23.
Christ is the way as well as the truth, and those who love Him and keeps His words find Him manifest within (John 14:21-23). Those who do not find in His words things to keep, these do not love Him (cf. I Cor. ) and have no part in Him.
Without Him, accordingly, there is not only unmet need for the truth which finds its place in the absolute God alone (John 14:6), but wry force, perspective or both, alien and alienating from the Lord, whose way effectually finds enmity in the flesh of man, the unconverted flesh, the autonomous flesh, the aspiring flesh, the uninformed and uninstructed flesh, the warped and warping flesh of man.
Of such flesh, to such an untoward imbroglio of human pride and passion, resistance and distortion, which turns like a crooked bow aside from the target, we read (Hosea 7:15-16) - "they are like a treacherous bow" - why ? "They return, but not to the Most High". To and for all this, there is but one answer. It is the word of God, pure to the tittle, distinctive to the jot, serene in its sovereign amplitude, penetrating in its compassionate care, impenetrable to assault, impervious to piracy, perfect and pure (Psalm 12, 11, 119).Man through it may be born again (I Peter 1:22-23, as the Spirit of God acts), and its Gospel alone is the power of God to salvation, its wisdom the way of life, lived in the Lord, forever alive, whose word it is.
people," said the
destroyed for lack of knowledge" and indeed, "Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I
also will forget your children" (Hosea 6). This is true even of those who by mere form have
imagined they know the Lord, or have the Lord, but do not KNOW the Lord, being
still foreign to surrender to His will, adoption of His word, the highway of
holiness (Isaiah 35, cf. Romans 8, Titus 3).
If then the Jew fell for disregard, let Gentile not imagine his (other) race saves; the tenor is the same here (Romans c f. ). What does it say then ? This: "Well: Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness, and severity of God."
So does the apostle address the Gentile nations, who may imagine that their knowledge or wisdom or pure Gentileness, or some other myth or fable of self-serving self-interest, special pleading or ignorant disdain, will help them. ONLY Christ will help any of this fallen race; for there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH THEY MUST BE SAVED (Acts 4:11ff.).
The word of God is so given, hear it or disregard. Here wriggling is in vain and ignorance meets instruction. Here the words AND the matter alike are fluent from inspiration, not given by man (Galatians 1, I Corinthians 2), but by God. It is against its enemies like a sword, the sword of the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12); and it not sheathed while the lambs or massacred, or the devious act to distort (cf. Luke 11:52-54, II Cor. 10:5, I Cor. 4:2-5, II Cor. 4:2, II Peter 2:1ff.).
The Biblical absolutes, and the absolute Author of the Bible, using inspiration for revelation in exact accord with His mind, this, then is neither optional nor removable from Christianity without the demolition of the structure. Thus for one's own part, one prefers the term 'plenary inspirationist'. It stresses not some merely selected basics, but the nature of the whole presentation called the Bible. We have most of us heard the title, Plenary Session of this or that: this is the Plenary Concession of God, to speak His mind to man.
This means that the inspiration of God in what Christ adopted in the very terms which the prophets of old had declared, as what God said, and this with words He Himself would fulfil, and cause to be uttered and fulfilled, is integral. The death penalty was not for nothing judicially required of those who presumed to speak in the name of the Lord, while failing to have the word spoken fulfilled by His power, which always performs what He declares (Deuteronomy 18, Jeremiah 23, Isaiah 41, 48, 44:, Joel 2:11). Further, He statedly takes care to be FRUSTRATING the words of those who, falsely elevating themselves, dare to compete in their puny ignorance, for the place of wisdom (cf. I Corinthians 1, Isaiah 28-29, Isaiah 44:25). Nothing else stands. History and the Bible alike attest it, the one in fulfilment, the other in claim.
This term, then, plenary inspiration, is not only true to the Bible, the truth of which one affirms and demonstrates, but it transcends any thought of SOME PARTS being necessary: the latter, no doubt, a good intention but one capable of misrepresentation and development into a sort of cream only dairy produce. ALL the word of God is important, and it is often treated in such detail within itself (Romans 15, Mark -27).
Again, the pollution with propaganda makes the historically developed term fundamentalist to be ambiguous and worse, a mere conduit for contempt for whatever is added to it. Of this, we have said enough. It forms a barrier to the intelligence of many, and a focus for the alienation of others, being a code word polluted by alien concepts, as well as giving an emphasis where there is one better available. WHOM it is all about is Jesus Christ, ALONE appointed to man the sole Redeemer and Saviour, author of salvation and covenant messenger, the covenant in Himself: through Him only comes the knowledge of God, for He is His living Word. WHAT it is all about is found in the what is written, which He has endorsed, enforced and brought by His Spirit to consummation. Next stop, heaven for those who are His; and the outcast for those who find this way for themselves, and keep it.
What, therefore, one holds as a Christian, it is what is claimed in the Bible for the Bible, both of its words as originally given and in precision maintained in all meaning and intent, and of this same Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, of Him and not another. We are most adequately warned of this lurk of the shadowy prince of non-dawn, this insidious spirit of darkness, by Paul in II Corinthians 11 and by Christ in Matthew 24:24. Indeed, Christ has indicated that MANY false christs will come, and thus it is consistent, harmonious and systematically rigorous, that the One who did come, who being God is WHOLLY inimitable and unique, should be preserved in portrait and in truth, without pollution to change like some face lift, or worse, spy-type visual transformation, and should be so presented that nothing is left to man to make. He came; His words and will are as transcribed.
On the contrary side, making gods by gut feeling, subjective or merely unattested by evidence, reason and reality as truth, this becomes in worship, mere idolatry as in deed, inanity; for who can know what is not given, of the Lord! And who could know what is given who merely states what is found in his mind, free of all attestation by the soul of subjectivity!
Thus, in perfect logical consistency, in the Bible NOTHING is precisely what is left to man to make, to change. Anything is what is left to test; and TESTING is highly recommended, for we must serve the Lord with all our hears and MINDS! (cf. I Thessalonians , John 4:1, , Isaiah 48:3-12, 43:8ff.)
The trend in man is already
appalling, in god-making. Thus, to cater to it and tempt man to it, this
is not divine but demonic! This thing, God has done NOT AT ALL! He has
expressly precluded it in method and majesty, in revelation and in coming. It
is condemned in the most authoritative and total fashion, it relates to false
apostles, messengers of the evil one (II Cor. 11, I Tim. 6), idle and
meaningless controversy, mere jumbled jamborees of vain words.
THE APPALLINGLY OBVIOUS EXAMPLE
Do YOU make a cheque which others can alter, when it is ONLY your money ? Do YOU make a title deed acceptable for your home (which is only for a few years at best), which can be altered at the will of culture ? Of course not. Therefore, when it comes to eternity would you expect God to bother to speak and engage to die in human form, so that people could follow any of the PREDICTED follies and blights of man in society, in academia, in politics, in culture, in theology, by mere lack of the certainty of what it really and actually is! Would YOU allow a few little phrases to be ... twiddled in your house insurance ? NO! you would thunder, of lisp or sibilantly hiss, or whatever other mode you employ when roused, NO!
Don't you realise, you might expostulate and expound, that the purpose of these words is to SAFEGUARD MY INTEREST! You just start changing this or that or redefining and a pretty pickle I would be in. Did anyone ever educate you ? you might ask, if given to the rambunctious, and nettled. Don't you know anything! you might add (if given to profound abuse with the apparently unduly stolid).
Do you imagine that an important thing like my house is to be subject to whatever new ideas and thoughts and understandings someone who DOES NOT own it, and may have a
vested interest in disappropriating it from ME, might happen to substitute for the actual TITLE DEED ?
A trifle blustery, perhaps: but the point is well taken.
So it is best simply to avoid changing or doubting these words, appealing as such a deviation and innovation may be (as predicted, incidentally, in II Timothy 4:3 with delightful imagery of unquestionable meaning!), if you want clarity, to avoid confusion, and desire what the the Bible provides and the Lord who gave it, and the Christ who has died. He is alive, and it is not wise to be provocative, when He has already provided the ransom (Psalm 2:10ff.).
Generosity is not gullibility. Guile is not approved by God (John ); foxiness is decideldy used by Jesus Christ, as a non-compliment to Herod (Luke ). It is easy now to construct other christs and plug-in philosophies, using the original this way and that, pleading your non-fundamentalist sanctity as you do it, and feeling ... GREAT! But it is not wise, or true, and it is not even possibly correct. The finite is not able to construct the infinite (Psalm 145:3). The wise do not try, being made so by God. The foolish do not succeed, being rendered incapable by sin and limitation, plus the intrinsic distortion of alienation (Ephesians 4:17ff.). Their products are known as idols.
God is not fond of being mesmerically created by fanciful artists who paint the invisible with the colours of carnality (Isaiah 44:9-22, Ezekiel 14:3, II Cor. 11:4,13-14). When God therefore elects to speak: listen, do not interrupt. When He divulges: ascertain, do not create. When He characterises the speech as kept to jot and tittle: rejoice, do not dabble. Plenary inspiration is merely a beginning; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is however a good one. It is not something which is replaced (I Peter ). Craven fear is cast out; clean fear is always in, for it is part of reverence. It does not dispel assurance (Romans 5:1-11), but rather has this as fruit.
What then follows ? Then,
ACCORDING TO HIS WORD, as Christ required and depicted it, we are to FIND Him
(John 5:39-40), walk with Him and altogether believe in Him, not as a mouthless
Being, abdicating communication to human paragons, the unmitigated
vileness of whose sin is so profound that they even crucified His Son. If they
did that to the man, what do they do to the word! What ? They distort,
relinquish, replace and assert, failing to do; they deride, mock, formalise,
ceremonialise, fail to do. They alter and command. They ape and adjust. They
invent His words, crying them though He did not send them (Jeremiah -19), and so now as in ancient times
The Bible is divinely
provided communication, and in terms and at its direction, the Spirit attesting
what the heart receives, we worship God, not as if to "set up idols in
their heart" (Ez.
14:3), as is the way of many, creating what they worship, and worshipping
what they create. The LAST thing many such worship, it is their Creator, and
many of them would like to truncate this capacity as well, making a wholly
socially adjusted worshipful object, and a contemporary idol, their own
construction. The ludicrous character of such a procedure has not changed since the days of Isaiah (43-44). In heart or on shelf, it is one.
It is to be noticed that Jeremiah in this notable Ch. 23, to which reference has been made, attests that this whole uproarious folly of creating what you worship, reporting false messages, inventing gods and the like, indeed, taking the name of PROPHET in the process, and hence becoming a false one is to have a special place in the end of the Age. What is that place ? It is this:
Such is to be the issuance of this spiritual pathology, past the time of the New Covenant, now our own (Jeremiah 31:31ff., quoted in Hebrews), as the King comes near and His rule approaches (Jeremiah 23:5-6, cf. Psalm 72, 110, 67).
Thus as we approach that time (Answers to Questions Ch. 5) indisputably, so this phenomena of spiritual pathology flares predictedly. It is all correlated, corroborated, confirmed and apparent.
The fits and starts of
umpteen courses of theological nightmares masquerading as brilliance,
then, in word, in interpretation, in construction, reconstruction, they are but
the modern time idols, predicted in all their multiplicity (Matthew 24:24).
Naturally their devotees do not find the modern-day Elijahs any better than did
King Ahab. They are a nuisance, and noxious because their authority is from
God. Indeed, even the young can expose this prodigalities of folly (Psalm 8:2,
Luke ), objects of mind, heart and pen, contorted, contemptible,
THE LITERAL LITERARY LICENCE FOR THE WORDS OF GOD
This however is not the end of the matter. It is HIS WORDS which judge. You see, as to His words written in His book (Isaiah 34:16), what do we in fact find ?
it is the document of another, about another, who paid in full for the cost of sin for all who come to Him by faith; and its reference is not to another. He did not send a substitute, or equip with salary an entourage. It was HE who came, and not someone else; it was HE who died, and not a substitute envoy such as they used to pay at times, to go to war for themselves. It was HE who rose in body from the dead, as God said that HE HIMSELF would do (Hosea ). The substitution is in the place of the repentant sinner, through faith; it is not in the loving Saviour who came. Of Him, there is no substitute. There is but One, and God is He (I Timothy , TItus 2-3).
It is not good to second guess God, or fiddle His document. Let us then indeed have the EVANGEL, the Gospel, as in the Bible, and practise EVANGELISM, as denoted in the Bible, and practice the evangelism of God as HE defines it, and hold to ALL that He says, as Christ declares is the way a man must live (Matthew 4:4), by EVERY WORD which proceeds out of the mouth of God! Let us likewise preach and also teach, EVERY COMMAND that He has given. The twins are there, from His own mouth (Matthew 28:18-19).
If you do not like it, then find your own salvation, rise from the dead, do the miracles, be prophesied, predict world history, leave heaven, and oh! in the first place, be sure you were there for ever, the uncreated living word of the everlasting God (Hebrews 1, John 1, Micah 5). Attest it from dates millenia in age, and have no competition for your speech, in testable terms, just as you present world events as the way you achieve attention.
Impossible ? True. Then
simply follow Christ as in the Bible, the Bible as from Christ's own words and
promises (SMR Appendix D), and ... ah one last
CONFUSION HERE HAS ITS MASTERPIECE
This confusion of the demonised term 'fundamentalist'*1 , with evil, this allows someone to slip in another bad thing, and make it look perhaps all but good, in the process. We are NOT fundamentalists, they say, we do not believe the Bible is to be taken LITERALLY! Now in the name of all confusion, what has this to do with its authority and truth! In the name of confusion ? Why that is precisely WHERE it has something to do with it.
Let us however, instead, look at the facts. ANY document has to be taken, ideally, so that you gain the understanding of what it is intended you should understand, except in the case of a spy of some other country, bent on your destruction, in which case, however, you still may need to know what is meant, in order to avoid precisely that trap! However, in this our present case, when truth is the origin, and the mode as well, what is MEANT! If I were to say, The outrigging clouds kept the boat of the aspiring vapours nearer to earth, though they strained heavenward ... what would I mean ?
You would not waste time wondering whether I meant that there was a boat formation in the clouds, something of wood, and whether there were some extending equipment which kept it in place. You know and I know that you know, and you know that I know more than that. We also both know that people write poetry. In this case, if it is good poetry it has meaning. What that meaning is depends on your discernment of the mood as well as the mode of the writer. He, if a good writer, will know how far he can go, and if only with some, then with that some. He is not writing for obscurity, unless he is seeking money for those who love to look at the meaningless as a kind of philosophical expression of their own inner torment (cf. SMR Ch. 3).
The realm of imagery, it is meant to challenge, sometimes merely to stir the imagination, sometimes to create an aura for thought and so on: it is the art of a harnessed imagination; and if it be deemed free, then perhaps it could bear to achieve some object, even if merely an exhibition of baseless freedom, a sort of challenge to distinguish it from mere gibberish.
We have imaginations, and may use imagery. If however a child's mother wanted butter fast for a cake, she would not be likely to say: My offspring of joy, scud like a cloud from its moorings, wind-swept, and with wings outstretched, flow smoothly in the direction of merchandise, such as my heart desires, and behold my thoughts are with you.
You see, she even forgot the butter, in her poetic exercise!
Some forms of imagery or adornment, of indirect or augmented communication, relate to some situations better than others; and some people incline to this or that milieu if writers, and sometimes personally. Some indeed are even found making verbal garbage, called swearing, a major component, so that people interpret, either - he means that he is annoyed, or that he is bored, or that he is disillusioned, or that he hates himself, or others, or all or is frustrated or whatever else. In such cases, the mood is often a substitute for the head, and there is little chance to find what if any of the above, is meant.
However with rational people doing purposeful things, poetic or other, there is normally a desire to impart something of knowledge consequence in the hearer. Some may love the sound of their own voices, and alas not being opera singers, merely irritate. Again, this is not the main feature, but in effective living outside asylums, is likely to be merely peripheral.
We tend to speak in order to convey something. If it is fancy, then there would normally, amongst those who have ability and integrity of heart, be some effort to make it clear what was and what was not fancy. Thus, Johnny, go and get me some butter, and let the notes fly from your purse as you get it quickly - would be decidedly unproductive if the child in the slightest degree were to interpret you LITERALLY! Ah yes, literally. IF you wanted to keep the money, you would occupy your verbal forces in some more obvious way, when wanting butter.
Situations then and moods,
modes and objectives, matters of fact transfer and desire notation: all figure
in speech. If we want to lift spirits with poetry, or the poetical, we would
not try to do so in such a style that our purpose is thwarted, the consequence
mistaken or the objective annulled.
We choose with some little care. We speak with some hints deemed adequate, for people to know when we use, and when we do not use, imagery.
This is scarcely a
revelation; we speak but the obvious.
Why then, if truth is the quest, or the delight, is there any thought that someone may take someone else literally, in some sort of malapropos blatancy, and not understand ? It could occur if someone were exceedingly dull, either the speaker or more likely the listener, and one might add, Oh, don't take me literally! Or such an addition might occur if one wanted some fun, and said some outrageously figurative thing, and added the rest as a sort of spice! It would be obvious that one was not taken literally, but one might add this, in order to accentuate the obvious and increase the sense of mirth.
With two reasonably competent people, however, bent on important issues, there is little chance of misconstruction in this way. If it MATTERS, one is inclined to TAKE CARE not to be confusing, or ambiguous, let alone fanciful; unless fancy is an implement, to the point and pointed, in the exercise itself. In that case, one would feel reasonably sure that the listener would be able to discern this, and would tend, if it mattered, to keep within what one felt that listener could handle!
Why then is there this strange fuss about the LITERAL with the Bible ? Ah! it is not so inane. It is obvious that many things are indeed meant to be images, but equally to CONVEY what the images COVER in type, kind or degree. We do this sort of thing continually. It is not a grave danger that someone will think that the water Christ offered to the woman at the well (reported in John 4) had a chemical composition, since He was CONTRASTING the available MEANS of chemical water, with the available MESSAGE of His own provision spiritually, and the conversation aptly turned to the SPIRITUAL, the Samaritan woman herself moving there effortlessly, having seen with EASE what Christ was talking about.
It was not that it was mere fancy. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was that HE was using a CURRENT action of a simple type to indicate a PARALLEL with spiritual things made obvious by the most simple thought. HE has no water. HE is offering water. What does this imply ? What thoughts might run, if any thought of conscious character at all, were found necessary ? Perhaps it would proceed somewhat as follows:
I am being asked for water by Him : therefore in talking of the supply of the same to myself, He means something else. WHAT does water DO ? It quenches thirst. What then would non-chemical and AVAILABLE water for this person, which He says He will give ... what would then be ? It would have to be NON-material, that is spiritual.
When we are three, this would be difficult. By adulthood, it is simplicity itself. We do not live 20 years for being polluted with the meaningless, unless perhaps we have gone to the confusion courses which abound in universities and other such places, themselves in some courses, becoming the mortuaries of understanding.
Alas! the literal fuss about the Bible, while it could arise with the simple, the deluded, the emotionally tormented or the gullible, perhaps, in some instances, and DOES arise with cunning foxes at times, it is not really a question. Christ readily explained His parables. Einstein was not needed.
Misuse is a distortion most normally, as when a piece of bread is supposedly the very same Christ who offered Himself on the Cross, and said, It is finished, and was received into heaven, and said He would be, and that His words were Spirit and life in that very context (John 6). However, there is no rational ground for such things, since IF He did not MEAN what He said about His words being spirit and life in that context, still, in BREAKING bread, if the latter REALLY were His body, He would have committed suicide. We are told that He was a real man (Hebrews 2) yet without sin.
He needs no grease for
hinges, being a door, or crook for His staff, being a Shepherd. These things
have no real problems for those who simply follow what is stated, without
'help' which some seminaries can provide to outdo the very worst of the
universities of the day.
I move, says a demon, that we use 'literalism' as a means of discrediting the Bible.
HOW do you propose to make it serve the grand purpose and glorious design of hell ? asks an interested enquirer at the table of talk.
Why ... smiling states the demon, it is simple. USE the fact that sometimes an airy speaker is so fanciful that people begin to wonder what in the world he is talking about.
Or SHE! interjected a female (former) devil.
Or she! he said, being tactful in the light of the triumph he was about to unfold.
Well, he continued, you see it is so simple. You speak of being too literal, meaning that some clod cannot tell the difference between your vaporous imagery and the facts intended. Ah yes! they say, feeling wise. Now they LIKE to feel that, so this is the lurk. Then you move to the Bible. Some people take it too literally! you say. Ah yes! they say, feeling wiser still.
Wait a minute! she interpolated. What does it matter whether or not they feel wiser ?
It is pleasant to the vexed remnants of the ego-centric life.
Why should they be ego-centric, I mean, our targets ? she asked.
They may not be, but in the case of failed lives, it is an eminent possibility. Though I hate to concede it, there is something in our manipulable conscripts - ah! volunteers, which does lack a little rotundity, I suppose because of the control prod input point.
In any case, he continued, I am merely explaining this case as an illustration.
Ah yes, I see, she contentedly murmured, though feeling a grudge for what she felt was his rather patronising tone, a fact he realised, so in proceeding, trying to sound more modest.
Yes, he said, you can see it clearly. Now the targets do not WANT to believe what is actually written in much of this book, the Bible,, since it is a bore, a blight or a duty in their eyes. So they are champing at the bit for a release; but at this stage, their consciences and prudences are too prominent simply to accept the idea of throwing the book away. Some do but most don't.
Very well, he proceeded, his lecturing style augmenting with his sense of success: let us get them to throw away some part of it! This they will do in the understanding that this will help them with the rest, or even better, that it is an uncluttering (you know the Readers' Digest cut-down Bible, filled with assumptions - it was a real glee to see). Then they are both motivated and activated. We progress.
And then ? said a pompous, smouldering sort of personality, from a dark corner in the dismal obscurities, half-hidden, and seemingly content so to be. You know what ? They nurse their wounds.
Then, continued the laughing devil, we talk about the REAL meaning behind such little things as the resurrection, or the miracles or the words of Christ, as though what He said and did were a sort of poem, and the practical point was grace, or kindness or something like that. They all love to think they are filled with this sort of thing, or very often, so that when you pamper them into thinking that by dying on the cross He really meant, being kind, and that by the virgin birth, it meant that God was gracious (like them), and that by the Bible being true, He meant that it was a good stimulus to the intelligent man of affairs to brush up on his own inherent wisdom: it is then that you can throw it out the window (I mean figuratively, he smilingly added, quite delighted at his own wit - but then, you see, it WAS in hell), while keeping the cover inside. They love the cover. It seems to cover so much.
I know, I know, spoke the older, dark devil, smirking just a little, it saves them the trouble of having to even read it (split infinitives may be popular in hell, as on earth); or if they read it, it enables them to pass quickly over anything unpleasant, murmuring contentedly to themselves, saying, 'just imagery,' or 'just poetry,' or 'not the important part'.
Quite, and quite indeed, declaimed the young devil, now growing absurdly confident in his lecture. I KNOW MY FIELD! You have no idea how gullible they are when you strike two points: ONE, their own desires, and TWO their laziness and love of irresponsibility, always done AS IF it were goodness of heart. You know, we have it made, we've got it.
did just that sort of thing, and the old fashioned and highly academically
discredited old liberalism, it also did much the same: only they threw out
different things. People then began to collate, and throw out
a) the actual words, so making 'translations'
which did not include the actual CONCEPTS of the original, very often.
b) the actual deeds, in their minds, just keeping the emotional flavour of the same.
c) the actual expositions, as by Paul, inventing for accelerator action, ideas of some imaginatively conceived 'conflict' between Paul and someone else, so taking sides and all that. Besides, people like sport, in general, and this became a sort of grave sport.
In this way, you got so far that some people became a little uneasy under the anaesthetic administered from hell, from its 'gates' if you want to be literal, but really, as you see, it makes no difference; for it MEANS the consultative, construing, outgoing, war-making subtleties and initiatives of the arrogant opponent of God. This is he who would like to take His place, seeking to remove men from the simplicity of the Gospel, its authenticity and the like, while keeping them asleep, after the manner of the five foolish virgins, in the parable of Jesus about final rejection, seen in Matthew 25.
What then ? Then there came along neo-evangelicalism. The 'neo' means that it is a development, and if one were inclined to congratulate the devil, this would be it. One is not, however, going to do so, since it is merely a variation on spiritual potassium cyanide. (You could argue that the 'spiritual' was unnecessary, urging that anyone would know that it here meant the spiritual, since quite obviously the author would not be dabbling in anything so dangerous: correct. See how easy it is! This was just for emphasis.)
Here you DO keep the words (at last! say the disconcerted church-goers, still in some elaborate substitute for a Christian church, despite its departure from the AUTHORITY of the Bible, and the EXPLICIT rejection of this and that statement in it, by such churches). All you do is change your RESPONSE. Thus, take the case where it says take up your cross. The idea is this, that you do not do actually this. It hurts. So instead, you take up the IDEA of taking up your cross. Thus, it is not a question of self-denial, or self-control, or overcoming evil with good. It is just the IDEA of it. It is the FORM which you keep, and cling to heavily, like a clutching child, but the MEANING you ignore. This is the sort of confusion which is predicted in II Timothy 3:5; but it is not really a form of mental confusion, being merely a lack of desire to do what is appallingly clearly described (Paul giving examples in Galatians 2, 5, with I and II Corinthians 4.
it really as bad as that ? THAT is its trend. Thus the separation requirements
are NOT kept, and the Graham approach proceeds in close kinship with the
blatant and much condemned idle idolatries of Romanism. That is how far the
relaxation of meaning leaven can go, while still keeping the FORM of sound
words (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H).
Where necessary, in this kind of thing, words can be rejected, but this is
still done sparingly. However you can always talk about interpretation, such as
making it appear that the days of Genesis, when God did this and that by
speaking, were REALLY days of thought, in which He really did quite different
things by quite different means, and REALLY they did it largely by themselves,
anyway, and so on. People take that almost without limit, if they have itchy
ears (II Timothy 4).
BUT REALLY, WHERE DOES IT END ?
It ends wherever Christ
said that departure from His word would end: in the sea. Literally ? Ah, but
you do see, don't you ? Figures do not alter the gravity of it. It is not of
course in a literal sea, but the actual meaning of the actual thing, as we have
been seeing repeatedly above, is quite obviously the substance CONVEYED by the
figure, when it IS a figure. Thus the sea here (forgive me, don't be bored, it
is just to make the point - you know already, of course! and it is this
very fact which one is here illustrating) means what is the fate of the house.
It crumbles into the waiting waters. It departs into obscurity, with pain,
suffering and sorrow, is engulfed, swallowed up, destroyed, ruined, parted
timber from timber. Is the sea, really, so very much better, than that!
COMING TO THE END OF IT, THE NICE WAY
But, someone may say,
You used ANOTHER image just then, in explaining the other one!
True, that is because one can first identify the TYPE of thing, and when this is quite obvious (in this case - it was in fact obvious from the first), one can take such liberties if one perceives intelligence in the audience, even the liberty of using another image. Does this mean it is in some realm of imagery ? Not at all, its very earthiness makes the point that the earthly imageries are coherent, just as is their field of reference. A house is not an abstruse concept, readily being related to one's life. Its timbers then are the components of one's life. No one is dying from sheer mental exhaustion ? So must they rue their ruses who would use the commonplace illustrations of the things of life, as exhibits of the heart of life.
But if one had to interpret this one too, here goes: 'timber from timber' refers, under the figure of a house, which was central to the theme of the initial imagery, to the loosening up with pain, the drawing apart of elements of the design which is ONE'S OWN LIFE. It is being rent, split up, taken apart, its strength loosened, its weakness exposed, its fate in destruction sure.
It is not really some inane difficulty about imagery which is the essential problem, then, with the LITERALIST ideas, under which 'fundamentalism' is attacked. To be literal or not is really just a matter of reasonable English expression; and further, it does not get you very far, even if you try to play the fool, one way or the other, trying to pretend imagery when the issue is practical or practicality when the stated or implies issue is essential. grave, and of concern to the relationship between you and God in a field otherwise defined prosaically.
You end in the same place. You can imagine as much or as little as you please: it is severance from the rock which is statedly Christ and from the stability, security, ability to weather the MOST adverse circumstances which the total picture indicates. From all this, in the NOT words of Christ domain pictured in Matthew 7, you are to be severed. The theme is clear; the picture is clear; the applicability is clear. Rocks are not the topic. Life is. Rocks have results. They compare to those in life; and so the lack of them in the story invoked.
Since the cross was historical, dated in advance by some 600 years in Daniel, and the disciples were fishermen, and had subsequent histories, it is well not to make new Christ on the extravagantly ludicrous idea that all that matters is, and all that the imagery concerns is an idea (let alone one about to be changed!). This and that feature of the eminently practical lives and prophetic depictions required to be performed on earth, do not suggest an idea! The statement that all that Christ did is enough to fill the world with books (John 20:30-31), and that the purpose is to help you believe in Him, is resistant to the thought that He in fact did nothing, and that all you have to believe is that this is the case, or that it might have been nice if He had. (Cf. SMR pp. 378-385, 315Cff., 999ff.), Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 16.)
That would have nothing whatever to do with believing that He is the Christ who was to come and die at a date given, after miracles of a kind depicted, with a nature pre-screened and a national result predicted. It would be to say that it was written so that seeing that it did not happen, you could believe that it did. That would assume you wanted to be a liar, in fact contrary to the emphasis on the truth and on deeds, performance and the unaccountable marvels of the same (Matthew 11:4ff., Isaiah 29, 35, John 8:44ff., John 16:13ff.).
The idea, the fantasy, the romance ? The idea did not bear sin; the idea did not rise; the idea does not banish death. The idea of water does not quench thirst to the desert wanderer. Life is not an idea. It has ideas. It however has to be lived ... practically. It has deeds, actually, and guilt, earned, and was met by one Guiltless, shown, who died the just for the unjust to bring us to God (II Peter ).
It was not nothing. It was not someone else. It was not a creatable character. It was not at some other time. It was not in some other locale, nor was the One who died of some other race, or born in some other country, town or race. When He statedly declared that a prophet must die in
, He did not mean that He must not die there, since He was not alive in order to do so! Jerusalem
WE KNOW ALL THAT! some not without irritation might remark.
Very well, is there something, then, that you do not know ?
Oh yes! the reply could readily come. We do not know whether it was meant to actually take the guilt of sin or not. It was a death of significance. We do not know what it meant.
Ah! one replies, then when Paul says that He became a sin offering, and Hebrews the same, you do not know what that is ?
Ah yes, comes the retort. But did he really mean it that way ?
You mean, When he said that Christ became a sin offering, or a curse for us, since sin requires curse, and He became a ransom, that is unclear ?
No, but do you HAVE to accept that sort of interpretation ?
It is because when someone does something, and you want to know his motive, and you believe him honest, you accept his motive, at his statement of it. Do you think Christ dishonest or confused ?
No, but do you have to follow what He says.
Why ? Could He not be mistaken ?
If the TRUTH could be mistaken, you could never know it, and our talk would be meaningless. Do you think the Bible is meaningless.
No, but do you have to accept its meanings as it gives them ?
Now, I say, we are moving. Away from pretences, we see that the only intelligent question is NOT, what is imagery and what is not! That is fairly obvious, and the meaning never fails. It is this: DO YOU ACCEPT the meaning, or want to be able to RE-INTERPRET for yourself ?
Yes, well it would make my religion more personal and private, comes the reply. I want to believe in a christ, and do, but one I make my own way, however I please.
Certainly, it would. By that same token, it would cease to make it that of Christ, and the Saviour would be your intellect , not Christ, and the truth, which apart from God you CANNOT even KNOW, of necessity (cf. Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 16), is then something you insist on saying, though you cannot know it. Moreover ...
You go on, and I just want to believe in my own way.
Good luck! But there is no luck when you abandon the source of truth and substitute yourself, a mere product of limitations, who is disdaining to accept the source of the words of the absolute, while masquerading as if absolute truth were yours.
That is not quite right, comes the reply. I do NOT claim to have ANY absolute truth.
Then you are one who does not believe in Christ ? Yet you claimed to be just the opposite, one who did.
I do, but in my own way, in my own Christ.
You make him up ?
If you want to put it that way.
Did the one you make up die on the cross.
Of course, but not in the way the Bible says.
How did HE die ?
In my own mind and then (with inspiration), I die with Him. Doesn't it say something
like that ?
Something like it, but not that. You die with the Christ who first DIED for you at a time in history backwards about two millenia. Now in your own mind, if it is the site for all this, you have first to FIT the eternal Christ (John 8:58), so that our own mind has to be capable of having an eternal being doing things in it which He has not said He would do, and you have to be able to control this said being, in your mind, so that he fulfils your program.
Certainly that is weird.
It is good. Now let us return to the record of the One who actually came and actually did and actually said why He did and what He did. That is all. You may take Him as He is, or else do ANYTHING else you like, including making false christs in your own heart with your own programs for them. That is like the Ezekiel case (14) making idols in your heart. It will still damn you.
How dare you!
I do not dare at all. Let the light come, like dawn into your heart, old chap. The ONE who is as depicted in John for example (whose many deeds are presented explicitly so that you might BELIEVE IN HIM IN PARTICULAR - John 20:30-31), is the only one who is there. NO ONE else has been so heralded, so fulfilling so much, and so acting in such ways, and so deploying power, in word and deed, the former fulfilled to this day before our very eyes, while declaring Himself to BE the truth, and then having events DEMONSTRATE this by exhibitable total dependence on it to perform to the uttermost tittle of history. No adjustments are required in the wording; no phrases even have to be inserted. Nothing moves.
This is more reliable than all science, for it does not change in formulation over millenia, and the laboratory in view, history, does change as stated in the handbook in all respects.
What then ? This is ONLY ONE. IF you reject Him, you can disport, contort or cavort as you will, in word or deed. You are a simple unbeliever.
But I thought the archbishop said you do not have to follow the Bible.
Actually, he spoke rather of accepting it.
Yes but not literally.
Have we not seen the delusion which such a distinction readily ministers to ? If you mean that you take figurative language to be so, then nothing is said. We all do that all the time, for it is part of living. If however you mean that under the guise of rejecting merely literal distortions such as child might make of the clear import of a given statement, you really want to reject the meaning, what then ? In that case, you do not, repeat, do not accept the Bible, but have the effrontery NOT ONLY to disbelieve it, but to use language to confuse the fact with the fiction that you do.
I see that.
What should I do ?
Repent of your sin of mixing up the obvious, following your fancy, using culture as a profuse smoke screen, and all other actions and thoughts and feelings and spiritual romances contrary to the Bible, which is the blessed presentation of what God has actually said and wanted for us. Then believe in the pardon presenting power of the gospel, the Christ who died for your sin, while presenting Him happily with the same, by faith. Resting on His resurrection, alive from death, breaking the very physiology of despair with the Creator's invincible life, then cease fearing death, and learn both to reverence and to love God, and in gratitude, as one of His people, praise Him.
Yes, I shall.
Good. Then you can live in the truth, and so be human, not a relic; for the world is full of murderous relics, and incensed residues, wandering stars in the dark, while the light yet shines.
THE PARADE OF PARABLES AND THE PROGRAM
TO PENETRATE DARKNESS WITH LIGHT
ALL PRESENT IN THE BIBLE
Incidentally, one should not leave this field, this milieu of mix-up, anti-Biblical reconstructionism which some actively promote, others passively and at times supinely permit, without noting the ways of the antichrist movement a little more. Thus while the internalisation of religion (it IS internal as well as objective) without the objectivity proceeds, there are some little antichrist ways worthy of attention.
Thus the tolerance concept, which is meant to indicate a graciousness and goodness towards ALL men, is used to suggest an ignorance and agnosticism on the part of all men, lest any man should be offended (as Victoria's new anti-vilification laws*2so readily permit). This then leads to a sin or even criminal act, quite readily, when ANY truth in the field of religion, any presentation of the word of absolute truth from the absolute God, is proclaimed. This becomes an offence, and we have then the richly ludicrous situation where, for the sake of the Christian virtue of tolerance (gracious helpfulness and goodness to all men), Christianity becomes criminal and is deemed intolerable by the toleration experts. Merely conniving with program, they exclude what they themselves specialise in doing, minus reason and minus authority.
What does this become but an excellent preliminary for antichrist ? It is the very arbitrary and irrational, self-contradictory and spurious spirituality which is to come, present in bud format: it heralds the heady autocratic, auto-religionist of self-centred self-worship who shamelessly is to self-parade before the glass of vanity as the Age ends in the instant judgment of Christ (II Thessalonians 2:4, 9ff.).
While the sheer cleverness of this obscurantism and obfuscation is worthy of a sad smile, it needs more than this: exposure.
Again, it is said that we must regard the aboriginal religion in particular with peculiar dignity and so forth; but is this said of the Moslem religion, that of the Taliban, that of Mao ? It is certainly coming nearer to this, but not yet entirely here because large scale violence in the field of faith still presents some species of problem to those not entirely hypnotised and sedated by spurious spirituality, as yet.
Meanwhile, the idea is this: you SEEM to give added dignity to religion -X or to religion-Y, not from reason, not from works, but from cultural dictation, to give social obeisance to this or that religion, and in tolerance (but not born of the truth) many then say, Well done! That is the script.
This may reduce fighting. That is the spiel.
However, this to the point is entirely irrelevant since Christianity, in terms of the Bible, has NOTHING to say on violence from mankind in this field, except that there be NONE! It suffers, and indeed heresies in its name perform violence against it as a speciality, as we have seen at length (cf. SMR pp. 1032ff., Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30, Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Chs. 3 and 9 , With Heart and Soul, Mind and StrengthCh. 10); but Christianity is on orders from its Master, Teacher, Saviour and God NOT TO DO THIS (John 18:36 cf. Matthew 26:52).
However, ignoring facts is part of the propaganda machinations of the antichrist (the spirit of whom is long at work - I John , 4;3, and now comes to the Fifth Act, Scene 5). Again, while some misled and gullible people, made so by NOT adhering to the word of Christ regarding the WORLD, and acting PRECISELY as if He had never said it, while yet imagining that Christianity in some sense 'belongs' to them, thus talk of advancing aboriginal religion in this way, and of course any multi-cultural sounding religion likewise, though too much blood still creates a bit of a shiver: this is the preliminary abuse. Subjectivise and relativise it all, or else ... Or else what ? You MAY have to go to prison, face a fine, be deemed derogatory, vilificatory, intolerant, insufferable (and dare we say it) WRONG!
FACTS are out; whether as to what any religion
teaches or as to what it forbids. There is a warm inner glow, a gut feeling and
so forth, so that the manipulability of man without God is magnificently
exposed. This of course is a special discrimination against the one and only
religion in the world which specialises in facts, insists on reason, challenges
to disputation on such a basis and is unanswerable in terms of scientific
method, verification, validity and meaning (SMR Chs.
1-4,9-10, That Magnificent Rock Chs. 5, 7, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, cf. Isaiah 41, 43, 44, 48, John 14:11,
Matthew 11:4ff., John 8:37,45-46, Amos 3:3-7, Jeremiah 23:28-30, Luke 21:15, II
Corinthians 10:5, Jeremiah 44:28-29, Matthew 24:35, John 3:11, Acts 4:19-20,
5:29; Acts 1:3).
HOW TO BE TOLERANT IN BEING INTOLERANT OF THE
Now the next
step comes from this misapplication of 'tolerance' to include intolerance of
truth: for those are
socially to be condemned who, fearing to endorse or agree as to the essential
sanctity of what is not from God, do not elevate ANY other religion but that of
Christ. But to what is this so famous elevation to occur ? to the clouds
of dream-time, of nirvana, of
It is WRONG, they say, so to speak of OTHER religions. If you hurt feelings by truth in medicine, you may save lives; but here, there is a sanction. it is not even what you meant to do, however benevolent. If they object to the feeling you provide, you are in line for criminality. Australia, Advance Australia Fair, we certainly have advanced in this feature in the State of Victoria, but of course the last thing that could be said of it, is this: that it is in ANY sense fair!
But why is such lack of servility to be condemned ? Why ? It is socially IMMORAL. NOTHING and nobody should be condemned in this. Touch religion and die! Very well. Now it IS wrong to disagree on this dictum, to cause upset by directing such horrendous thoughts, MOST upsetting, as this, that it is wrong! Wrong! Outrageous. Dare you to do it! Is it not like very little children ?
It is forbidden then in
such a style to assert what the Bible says. Thus it is wrong to criticise ANY
religion except that of Christ, and if this is currently merely inferential,
try to Taliban for the direction of things. What the UN and Victoria are moving
toward in their various ways*2, others have
long used their own to ... enforce. Promoting christianity in
The dear, genteel nations
are beginning to see how to do it from the back door. First, make tolerance
king, then rule by his means to exclude what is not tolerant of other things,
whether because they are not true or for any other reason; and even if they do
good only to others, for the sure cheek, the incredible arrogance of presenting
this as truth, demean them, disgrace, name-call them, make it clear that this
is NOT THE WAY. The sanctions can follow. The social cast of thought is all that
is needed for the present. Dear enlightened
This exception that makes especially Christianity intolerable by the toleration specialists, comes because it is true, acts in truth, appeals to truth, has no answer to its claims; and hence the ONLY way to subvert it is to make it ethically wrong to have it. In this case, TRUTH must be disdained; but that is no problem, for this is popular in any case, in the philosophical realm. It has a feel of humility to say, WE DO NOT KNOW, but this we know (they add at first as a sort of aside), that Christianity is wrong. It must be harried now, harassed until its people admit that it is not the truth, just a slant.
When servile, snivelling substitutes for people of God, yet acting in His name, accept such denial of Christ, of His revelation, of God Himself as definitively revealed (and you CANNOT subvert in this case except by confusion and delusion, for the truth has the power of God behind it, so it is NECESSARY to subvert by deceit, playing on the combination of gullibility and worldliness of many so-called churches) : then the next step stands clear.
You can easily deal with the jihad business, once the
Christian power is overturned, in its main engines (and as to the spiritual,
too bad, the final conflict is coming as in Revelation 19, and unbelievers,
whether in churches or out of them, do not actually believe in this sort of
power, as predicted in II Timothy 3:5, and others of them do not bother about I
Timothy 6:3ff., concerning the principle and practice of departing from the
words of Christ). Just say it is violent and partisan and rule it. You have to
wait for that, of course, but everything in its time. After all, when the beast
finally arrives in his purified impurity (like potassium cyanide, BP standard),
there is permitted to be NOTHING LIKE THE BEAST (Rev. 13) and this is part of
the designate, predicted and assuredly coming WORSHIP PROGRAM (the finale of
which Babylon with Nebuchadnezzar gave a preliminary performance as noted in
NOT 'DIVIDE AND CONQUER', BUT SUBJECTIVISE AND GLUE
Once you subjectivise the religions, in the interests of that humility which then turns around and condemns as WRONG those who refuse, because their arrogance destroys the world (in fact the arrogance of ignoring the actual impartations of God are PRECISELY what is destroying the world by advance programs, as long given), then the next step is easy. Since all accept (problem people 'helped' to acquiesce, whether by death or by cowardice - cf. Revelation 21:8, but remember John 21 for the Lord's help and grace, as with Peter!), except a tiny remnant, then there is ease in selling the concept that the REAL thing, the LATEST, the most EVOLVED RELIGION, indeed the UTTER religion is that of the beast, the political-economic-social and religious power of the two beasts noted in Revelation 13, is the ONE!
People tend massively to look for the latest nowadays, forgetting that what lasts has shown the capacity the rest lack. Merely to HAVE this one now in VOGUE will be all but irresistible to the many.
How wise is it then to fall to the blandishments, to accept the gross and arbitrary, arrogant irrationality of those who INSIST that no religion is to be condemned, except Christianity because it condemns, thus rejecting at the outset the very thing they proclaim in a manifest social take-over bid without reason for the sake of power and privilege, passion and godlessness! Yet many fall for this foul-smelling issuance from the lair of the father of lies. They are welcome to the lying results of such lies. Lies do not smell of truth, and their end is where all that clashes with reality go. The possess its savour already, blenching only at truth, which they dismiss with relish, but the relish of such arbitrary, unscientific irreligion and irrationality is the hydrogen sulphide of hell.
But to conclude, is not that a matter of interest. Whether some say, He means that there is H2S in hell, a chemical, or No, it is hard to tell what he means, yet the fact is clear. It is as BAD in its domain, defined by the context, as is that foul chemical in its one. It is associated with decay, repugnant to life, upsetting to vitality, redolent with death. The explanation merely accentuates the message of the imagery. Itself never in doubt, it is a good example of the squirming from the truth often found in the frequently virtually illiterate insistence on mock arguments about imagery, clear in context from the good writer, challenging though it may on rare occasions become, and that for good reason to force the mind to think more deeply.
It is not a question in the least degree of some bane of literal or metaphorical. The imagery merely accentuates and applies the substance. The bridesmaids so soundly sleeping in Matthew 25, these are not awakened by trouble about parables. Their religion, their forms, their pretence, their self-interest, their pre-occupation with their world, their little world, their self-centredness, their vague and unimpelling concern to be associated with what does not demand their heart and soul and mind and strength, all are clear, whether they be taken this way or not. The point was, is and remains at all times, just one: DO YOU ACCEPT THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE, its import, its normal impartation, with all the directness of hell, the savour of heaven, the insistence on one unalterable, duly recorded Saviour in His life on earth, and His words immutable, or do you not!
Sly tricks and verbal treats about imagery will not save anyone. There is no imagination about imagery, when it comes to its thrust. You take it or leave it. What is foul, is foul by any other name, and what is faithless is not changed by any manner of verbal atrocity, performed on the text of scripture, all clear to him who understands (Proverbs 8:8-9), and spoken in so many ways, from so many lands, in so many ways, as Hosea 12:10 says, with multiplied images, not instead of the fact, but so bring the point home. Thus Christ, addressing this very topic, reasons with His disciples.
WHY did He use imagery ? WHY speak in parables ? (Matthew 13: 110). He did not use them instead of truth, for to those with ears He would be, and was prepared to give the very meaning (by no means obscure per se, but provided with additional support from Christ to His disciples, to prevent any errors). TO YOU, He told His disciples, it is given. There were supremely fortunate, He advised them in so receiving. Therefore, avoiding any possible error, He explained. This was then duly passed on in the word of God, the Bible, complete with explanation, available to us. .
Why then would He so often use parables and let "him who has ears hear" ?*3 It was not because the truth was either too difficult or too obscure, too reserved or too unknowable: it was the exact opposite. It was because "the hearts of this people have grown dull" (Matthew ), where He used the word from Isaiah 6. It was both rebuke and therapy; it was both exposure and opportunity, it was preserving pearls from swine and enticing those still willing to wonder. The facts however were stated frequently, and the imagery adorned, exhuming many dead thoughts and drawing many to reconsider what they knew too well, being blinded by pride and desire.
Neither evasion nor effusion can change it. When you seek some escape in some verbal contortion or misuse of clarity, to twist, contort or even cavort in the sacred word of God, it still secures you in the next place, and the next, and the next. Its blade is sharp, and it cuts between soul and spirit. Its words are irresistible by reason (SMR), and can be countermanded in their necessary meaning only by rebellion (Proverbs 1 gives the situation with vast depth and enormous challenge); which however is merely a way to the exit from life.
There will have to be some propaganda before that supine performance becomes mandatory, before the beast with his prophet and religious counterpart, seeks to make mouldable units out of once were ... men! For this, a new look for all religions will undoubtedly (because predictedly in Revelation 13) have to come. However, the devious worker of duplicity will USE various channels, as a river uses various little creeks, to get there. Why waste effort or take risks when the natural inclines can help! Wickedness is not stupid in its devilish self-interest, for the children of darkness are wiser in their own day and generation than the children of light. The base of this latter statement ? Jesus Christ (Luke 16:3).
The authority for that statement: Jesus Christ (Luke 16:3), the Creator of man (Colossians 1:15ff.), God manifest (I Tim , John 14:9); and as to the butt of His exposure, "the prince of this world" who has NOTHING in Him (John ), his smart time is going, like so much too clever, to its appointed end (Revelation ,20) . You see it is in a sense, literally, Jesus Christ contra mundum. Jesus, against the world. Last time He died to save a people for Himself; this time it is to judge.
"LOVE NOT THE WORLD" (says John in ). Indeed, he goes further with
this: "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in
you expect, for it neither understands God nor loves Him (John , 17:9, John 1:5). James declares
that whoever wants to make himself a friend of the world is at enmity with God
(James 4:4). The division is clear. The battle is on. It is in fact nearly
over. Freedom has had rein; bolted; was turned to inhuman captivities of body,
mind and soul; and is about to be restored to the direct jurisdiction of God,
after the little interlude of its final abuse.
See also: The Biblical Workman Appendix III.
It should be clearly realised that the undemonised meaning of the term "fundamentalism" - that is, the meaning not wrongly associated by hostile propaganda, with irrelevant maters - is quite sound as far as it goes. There are certain spot-check matters, derivable from the Bible, which can test frauds, wolves and false prophets. Indeed, it is not that it is in this sound sense, too much, but too little.
The reference to the Lord, as in John 5:39-40, shows this reality must be far more than propositional - though not less: the coming and the fellowship, the faith and His reception must also be practical.
Again, even where ALL of
the Bible is affirmed as one of the tenets, as wholly infallible in its
original deposition, in whatever it addresses: this is only a a commencement.
The word of God must be studied and understood. No 'points' can ever replace
scripture itself. The denial, on the other hand, of the integrity and truth of
any scripture, normal where fundamentalism is disdained, is mere humanism or
worse, pushily placing its polluted philosophies, against all reason, in the
realm of the absolute. Verbal manipulation is often used to hide such departure
from the Bible, such sheer effrontery of commingling, and attacks on the term
'fundamentalism' are often used in this way, the ultimate smokescreen.
For the background for such things, see for example The Other News Appendix 1, SMR pp. 750Bff., Lead Us Not into Temptation; and for Victoria in particular, see NEWS 156 (Ancient Words: Modern Deeds Ch. 15), Galloping Events 7, End-Note *2 , Pall of Smoke or Diamond of Joy Ch. 10.
There is a delightful addendum here. The issues of parables and of interpretations of imagery are for the diligent and practical, those looking in the realm of discourse with affinity and understanding for whom the matters tend to resolve themselves with comparative ease. They serve likewise, as Christ explicitly taught (Matthew 13) as reproof for those whose minds are not attuned. It distances them from the swine and pearl danger. Ardent students are not rewarded only by earthly teachers, for God challenges us: it is to the glory of God to hide a matter but for kings to search them out. In other words, God deliberately has some matters, not essential but delectable and stimulating, which come with the effort of those who thirst is strong, whose helper is blessed and for whom the fruit is ripe.
Accordingly, as we may see in Ch. 3 below, there are some matters in various areas of scriptures, deliberately meaty, meant to require careful chewing, to elicit thought, to provoke pondering, and which like some puzzles for the adept or the challenged, are for stimulus. They do not deal with the plain elements of need; but with the greater recourses of thought, the more intimate and distant scenes, and the like.
In this case, the challenge is delicious; and it is evocative. We shall refer to such an area in terms of the arena of Revelation 21-22 on the one hand, and that of Isaiah 66, Micah 4, Isaiah 2 on the other, simply for distinguishing them; but then address the relationship between II Peter 3:11-13 and Revelation 22. Using the procedure, imagery is to show certain things to be carefully filtered from the periphery of imagination, and not to require others, which are that very periphery, as in parables in particular, we shall find the sure teaching. How much more may be implied is not for us to say. What is demonstrable is what needs to be understood. This helps to feed the soul.