W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
EPILOGUE TO CHAPTER
and a Digest in Salvation
from Creation to Glory.
concerned Australia, but since Australians are persons,
and things are moving like a tornado, in the cultural misconceptions of persons:
in much like rather dumb robots,
and this, not only of
thoughts about making things, but
making myths, like organic
evolution, starting with nothing from anywhere,
and making hay while
the sun shines ...
it is well to look sharply at our situation. That is, doing so while the mining figures shine, and debts multiply, till stubble only remains from the heyday. Invite living on this scale, and the minor key awaits.
In considering this sweep to devastation in Australia, but not here alone, one rather worse than that suffered by Hiroshima, since that stopped at destruction of buildings and health and life. This ravagement, however, is moving into the domain, quite explicitly of eternal life, the lodging place of the spirits*1 which adorn man, and which he so deeply and so often disadorns. In this context, we have come to man's destiny and its spacious and varied grounds, not all of them to be desired, as with life here.
This naturally drew attention to the working of the Creator in creating minds, spirits, morals, will and workings, logic and its application, structuring with the methodological containment of causality and organising with the brilliance of mathematical empowerment and engineering facilitation so far above our own. This is such as to reflect in our kindergarten of growing knowledge, our aspirations to reach Primary School one day as a race.
For all that, our start is impressive, given our waywardness, but not so when given the image of God prowess conferred at the first, and being defiled in endless international ravenings and national depravities to the last. Thus not only in vapid thoughts, but in constructions our productions are left crimped by comparison with the work of deity, not in boasting so much as in effectiveness and comprehensiveness. Crimped ? yes they are increasingly self-immolated, buried by belligerence, a mockery by devilries. The world is under threat from the enemy within, and man reels into the dreams of unrealism, and the realities of trembling, pain and anguish, starvation for some and physical obliteration for others, with increased appetite for spiritual pollution, and resultant nausea.
Where is the answer ? It is as it has been these several millenia.
This brings us to the testable and verifiable aspect of all religion, the sole testable word claiming God, our God as the author, as in SMR, while that leads on to the entire schema for salvation which God has instituted, He making laws, laudability and spirits, options and powers of thoughts for His creation, the same making a mess, amid the grandeur of the better aspects of man's own productions, one of which most markedly is his plight!
In covering in short form, some aspects of this, there is scope for what is in essence an outline. Let us consider one such presentation. After what has gone before in this and allied chapters, such as Ch. 1 and 3 above, this is purely summative.
OUTLINE OF THE SALVATION THAT PERSISTS PAST THE CREATION OF MAN AND IS AVAILABLE FROM T HE CREATOR
God chose us who believe in Him, His Son, Jesus Christ, and in His demonstrated word*2, the Bible.
This He did:
first, in creating
us at all, an innovative act, absolutely.
second, in pre-planning
the Gospel to be what it is,
thirdly, by acting
in Christ with the principles of love
finding and knowing us outside this realm of sin,
and fifthly, in
applying the result infallibly after time was born,
and all this to His own glory, for He IS glorious.
Naturally, time did not limit this, His finding and knowing His own, so that the progression here is logical, rather than chronological. Similarly, the progression in destiny is logically from being desired, with all in heaven and on earth, to being found or being involved in the eternal elective, foreknown to God*3, the option, to STAY lost.
the essential liberty that belongs to the image of God placed in man, duly preserved*4, rather than smashed, contorted or aborted;
the sovereignty of God, who does what He will, exhibited;
the purity of love that never forces, affirmed;
and the foreknowledge of God wedded to the pervasiveness
of His outgoing love,
that of Him who IS love, applied to those who are His,
with infallible grace.
foreknowledge duly lead to predestination, to the call in Christ,
and to justification, yes and to glorification,
both that which has already come, and that which is to come.
spirit, consciousness and conscience, for example,
as well as consisting, existing and persisting,
see Glory, Vainglory and Goodness Chs. 1, 2, 3,
and with this more broadly,
Dizzy Dashes and ... the Brilliant Harmony of Inevitable Truth Ch. 6.
See for example:
Myths, Machining Dreams and Keeping Faith
Possess Your Possessions Vol. 9, Ch. 2.
As noted in Chapter One above, the relationship of God to those who will be lost is of enormous importance, since God makes declarations on this topic as shown there and for example in the reference of *4 below, and there in character is shown. It seems best to add the data on this failure, from Ch. 1, below, next to *4 which follows it.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia in its Constitution of 1901 added something to the Westminster Confession in its very Constitution. In fact, it did wonderfully well in using the Declaratory Statement, which remains a part of its Constitution, changeable only with no small difficulty. Unhappily in 1991, it passed an Assembly resolution to the effect that this Declaration adds nothing to the Westminster Confession, which however has nothing on the specific point concerning the love of God to those who will be lost, a matter so special in the Statement, and a matter to be preserved. On this, for more data, follow this link - Possess Your Possessions, Vol. 10, Ch. 6, esp. *10).
In this way, they nullified that aspect of their Constitution, which cites a principle, as exhibited in this Chapter and its references, extensive in the Bible, inevitable in its requirement. It is the II Peter 3:9 example of this provision in the Bible, and viewable in many other ways and sites in that infallible word of the living God (cf. SMR Appendix B, Repent or Perish Ch.1, *1, and the references in *3 above).
Over-ruling a provision made expressly for 'tender consciences' is like using a tommy-hawk, a severe little axe, in a brain operation. On this see detail here. It is the Calvinist error which is thereby enabled, in all its mysterious dispersal of this aspect of the Bible. That this is a tragedy is unquestionable, since manacling the Bible in this way foils the Constitution and spoils the biblical accuracy of the testimony. It always appals to see the beautiful work of one generation, cast aside by a later one.
When this author joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod in 1967, transferring the ordination from the PC of NZ on the occasion of its default on the bodily resurrection of Christ as cardinal to the faith, in the first year, at a Synod meeting, an addition to the doctrinal commitment of the RPCES was found needful if one should stay in it. It concerned a statement along the lines of the Declaratory Statement on the love of God, making its scope far clearer, one which had been used earlier in the history of this Church. This one formally requested of Synod, making this motion as crucial to one's continuance; and in the mercy of the Lord, the Synod agreed to accept this, forming in effect a harmonious additive to its standards, under the Bible.
Now that the RPCES has been swallowed up into the
much larger PC in America, this wonderful improvement has been lost, so that
only the formulations of the PC in America stood. This was a beginning and the
developments are to be found below.
OVERVIEW OF SOME DEVELOPMENTS
IN DEVIATING DOCTRINE
Much has come from the hideous doctrinal errors in the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand formulated in 1966, which denying the necessity to faith of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, had a retrospective contretemps with Peter at Pentecost and the scriptures there cited, making a new religion but one bearing the old name.
It was these that I challenged as an Assembly member in 1966, in an Overture from the Church of which I was Minister at that time, in the South Island. Of that Overture, the purport was this: that whatever any prince, prelate or philosopher might think, we for our part would follow the biblical faith, and the bodily resurrection in particular; and that since the seminary had produced a statement in complete contradiction with this, we requested that the bodily resurrection doctrine be affirmed and bound past all question or equivocation. I then challenged the Assembly on pastoral grounds, based upon the perspicuous word of God, as in Acts 2:31, in the Greek, to endorse and act on our Overture. It of course refused to do so.
The Church whose Session sent this Overture, committing its presentation to myself, was that of St Ninian’s, Blenheim, in the PCNZ: a work to which I was called when ministering at Papakura PC, during which latter time I was ordained as a Minister of the PCNZ.
The account of the Wairau pastorate, regarding that Assembly
action which its Session
took in the year 1966, and surrounding developments, is to be found at http://webwitness.org.au/denaffapp.html, as originally signed by the Acting Session Clerk at St Ninian’s at that time, R. Upton, dated 6/6/67.
It is great to see any movement that might restore what now appears lacking in many Presbyterian denominations – even in churches of this name, which adhere rigorously to the Bible, in their standards. Sometimes, the lack that leads to downfall lies in being dissatisfied in the end, with the Bible as really determinative of and the limit for Church doctrine, without anything else other than what is entirely subordinate, added to it, or replacing what is in it. When the thoughts of man are mingled with the word of God, the presumption is all but inconceivable.
Many want ultra-biblical traditions, and to bind them like the Pharisees. These seem to fly to the nearest name for protection, in a way not actually biblical. The name we delight to see is that of Jesus Christ, the focus for salvation, crucified yes rather risen, and that bodily. Even where this is to be found in some form, there tend to be mere compromises for convenience, as indeed I was told explicitly when speaking with another elder, to a chief official of the largest remaining Presbyterian denomination in Australia after the split, in the 1970s. Not faith but what would go, was to be the thing accepted!
Neither the Cross nor the truth is convenient to the tempo of this world, and such a compromise concept is alien.
In fact, what was already there in doctrine, before the ‘fall’ in the PC of Australia, in the sad years 1935-1974, was good. Its original Basis of Union of 1901, was commendable and in many ways, delightful: as in taking special pains in its Declaratory Statement to cover sensitive scriptural topics and sensibilities concerning them. Its main problem then, was this: that this enlightened standard was not kept! Mice play was no minor matter, as whole books of the Bible could be either defamed or defiled. The fall in doctrine was recognised in 1974 in Victoria, in a Church related magazine.
We return to the earlier doctrine concerning the love of God.
In America, there were parallels to some of these developments. Thus the Bible Presbyterian Church, from which the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod was to come, in its Form of Government, 1938 took similar pains in its Declaratory Statement (p. 23), as did the RPCES in its own way, in 1967, when I joined it and participated in the Synod meeting, seeking and obtaining such a commitment as there displayed. It emphasised the scope of the love of God far beyond the Westminster Confession. As noted, without that, I would not have stayed.
At that time, then, the RPCES was emphatic on clear biblical standards. The Confession wisely demands that NOTHING be taught in doctrine and as such, that is not demonstrable by good and necessary inference from the Bible.
In practice, when the RPCES was conveyed holus bolus into another Church, this situation was to change, rather drastically. Not only was the work of 1967, in adding a statement on the love of God, lost, but soon new additives appeared, which instead of correcting omission, added biblically unauthorisable material on creation
Thus, later, in the 1980s, the RPCES, swallowed up into the Presbyterian Church in America, accordingly lost what it had wrought in my initial year in it, in 1967; and then added what contaminated and confirmed its lapse at length.
Soon also to change, by 1991, the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1991 acted to remove its own combination of biblical soundness and sensitivity in the area of the love of God (documented in http://webwitness.org.au/forthebiblicalworkman8.html#pca), elevating the Confession to unbiblical heights, indeed those the Confession itself, with reason, did not accept.
It is unfortunate that the PC of Australia has never fully recovered from the decline of 1935-1974, women elders being one of its lingering departures or innovations, just as there has been increasing compromise in the PC in America, of which I was a Minister for more than 30 years, before leaving it by faith in 1998.
That departure, as a Minister in good and regular standing of over 30 years, was primarily because of its appalling, enduring and apparently pragmatic compromise in doctrine being presented on creation. This was explicitly based in part on an estimate of culture, which after all, is hardly the word of God! How wisely did Professor E. J. Young inveigh against such an approach! It comes to fail manifestly, in time, just as from the first, before the enduring words of the King of eternity.
The word of God is to be interpreted from itself, how well I remember this staunch and faithful insistence from Professor Young. There is no provision for a vitamised mixture with the forever changing and often self-strangulating cultural products of seething mankind. That also is the position of the Westminster Confession. Thus the basis was broken: what was taught was invention of the mind of man, in no way even slightly demonstrable from the word of God. That was the offence authorised for people to follow.
So the PC in America has proceeded down the alien slopes of so many others! It has been most sad to see the declension from the earlier days of the RPCES. Over and again, there is an attempt, now here, now there, from Geering in NZ in 1966 and on, to save the church, to ‘save’ its people, not this time from sin by the redemption of the Son of God, the truth, but from the impact of a disbelieving world. How ? in significant part by joining it! Such inept drives have led to artful or even artless compromises, themselves in the end, logically bankrupt as well. Love of this world or its philosophy (James 4:4, Ephesians 2:8) is vulnerable: "Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is an enemy of God," says James.
The American decline, noted above, indeed followed the Assembly’s overturning of a Presbytery’s rejection of a candidate who deemed Genesis of the nature of the poetic (cf. News 97 #pcam, and Let God be God Ch. 12 #daze). Come right in, in effect, said the Assembly!
How often with sanctity lost, floods confirm the error, with huge loss,
even after one has sought to avoid it! It is
when the ONLY honour sought is that of the Lord, driven by His word, that
there is stability (Isaiah 33:6). Psalm 119:20 shows it! The Bible remains, through all
the floods, serenely upheld through all upheavals, attested clearly amid all
congestions of thought and infestations of philosophy.
It is sad, but vigilance for the purity of the church's doctrine is not only needed but an ordination requirement, even in the day of my own ordination! If the smoke alarm is not kept in order, the house can burn down, as it did in the day of Christ on earth, when the church in the wilderness became a body of death, killing the Son of God Himself, in its arcane devices, inadequate ramblings (John 7:52 with Isaiah 9:1ff.) and disputatious dereliction of obedience in wily wanderings (cf. Matthew 23).
See Aspects of the Glory of God ... Ch. 6, esp. as marked here. Overall, see in particular these units in this domain.