A Father’s Day Message for the Times in Which We Live
Satan is out to destroy the USA because this country has been a protector and encourager of the true Church. We have sent missionaries out over the whole earth and still are doing so. It is largely through the fundamental missionary enterprise and the Christian School movement that the truth is still being preserved and disseminated to the extent that it is. The last real bastion of Biblical Christianity is the Christian home and that is rapidly being diluted and destroyed by the forces of evil particularly through the use of television and contemporary religious music.
These subtle forces are affecting our fundamental Christian culture far more than we realize and we can see it by simply looking at our own local assembly. Supposedly born again couples not staying together, young families looking for appealing programs to meet their needs, people often not willing to be committed by becoming members or being faithful in attendance and families leaving the church for obscure or non-doctrinal reasons, all combine to dilute the membership and discourage the leadership.
What makes us a fundamental church is our strong stand on the authority of Scripture. If we would just bend a little bit, just compromise a few of our convictions our assembly would become more attractive. It is in the salvific (see glossary at end of paper) non-essentials that many churches are doing such bending, thinking that as long as we still preach a clear salvation message and are reaching the lost, isn’t that what is important? Because Biblical separation has not been taught many believers are not aware of how essential to the Lord are the seemingly unimportant issues by which He is, among other things, actually testing the level of our commitment. What is most important, He wants a pure church that will glorify Him.
Look at it this way. Will God bless the work that does not draw upon Him as the source of its power nor is moving in the direction of His teaching and will? It is evident that He wants disciples to be made not just converts. Disciples must be trained to do His will in learning to live holy lives of victory over sin. There is no other standard for holiness than what is revealed in God’s Word and the test of our commitment is total obedience to it as in the story of Saul and the Amalekites.
In order for us to see the development of Satan’s long range plan we need to think back at least to the beginning of the 20th century where we begin to see the events and institutions which are being put in place and will culminate in the setting up of the world church, the establishing of the kingdom and dominion of the Antichrist and Satan’s ultimate authority over the whole earth as the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air who now works in the children of disobedience.
Primary players in the religious aspect of the plan of Satan are the National and World Council of Churches and since his plan can only be effectively carried out if the Word of God is totally discredited and abandoned, his strategy has involved a gradual watering down of the authority of the Bible. Membership in these organizations can only be at the expense of Biblical separation and consequently a forsaking of Biblical inerrancy. According to Harold Lindsell in THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE p.69, a must read for all pastors and missionaries, "there is no evidence to show that errancy was ever a live option in the history of Christendom for eighteen hundred years in every branch of the Christian church that had not gone off into aberrations. It can also be said that what was true for eighteen hundred years is no longer true today. In the last two centuries inerrancy has become a live issue and increasingly there has been a turning away from this belief until the point has been reached where it is safe to say that a great proportion of scholars and ministers in the Christian church in all of its branches no longer hold to biblical inerrancy. In recent years evangelical Christianity has been infiltrated by people who do not believe in inerrancy." Of course, what Lindsell is referring to and what he most certainly has been a part of is the movement called Neo-evangelicalism. What I am seeking to show is how we got to this point so that when we see what is being done by evangelicals in the Name of Christ in our day we may be discerning enough to resist it, understand where it is coming from and take a stand of separation from it.
Back at the beginning of the 20th Century Satan attacked the Bible through a barrage of philosophers let loose by him upon the world having their center in Europe, especially Germany.
It is said that Geo. Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was the "father of the Dialectic" and certainly men like Feuerbach who was a contemporary of Hegel for 7 years and was associated with a group called the young Hegelians fed off of his thinking and believed that he had proven that Christianity has in fact long vanished not only from the reason but from the life of mankind and that it is nothing more than a fixed idea. Darwin was also a brief contemporary of Hegel and his "survival of the fittest" concepts are an application of the dialectic as also are the conclusions of Engels, Lenin, Marx and Stalin as they applied dialectical materialism to their communistic views. These in turn were probably influenced, as many were, by Friederick Nietzsche who was thought to be mad and was considered by some to be demon possessed. (I personally heard Dr Bruce Morgan suggest such a thing).
The flame of thought leaped from one of these blind guides to another as satanic lie after satanic lie was swallowed and regurgitated by them and their students. Before World War I Rationalism from Europe greatly influenced theological thought and was opposed to all supernaturalism of the Bible. This became known as higher criticism. Most of the leading denominations were infected with a liberal view of the Bible and taught such things as that Adam and Eve were only mythical figures. There was no such person as Moses but the Pentateuch was written by several authors known as J,E,P,and D. Isaiah had two authors and Daniel was written at a much later date than was indicated in our KJV Bibles. All of the miracles of Jesus in the N.T. had a logical explanation as did the crossing of the Red Sea. It was only a marsh and Jesus walked on a submerged reef. When the 5000 saw the little boy share his lunch a lot of others did the same thing and so there was enough food to go around, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Much of this kind of thinking lost popularity with the advent of the war, but unfortunately unsaved professors from the denominational universities and colleges had imbibed the liberal thinking from Germany and were teaching it to their students in this country. Among the denominations many new schools came into existence and the Bible Institute Movement began with a non-denominational and fundamental approach.
We must go back just a bit before the 20th century to pick up on an individual whose thinking has influenced so many. Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) who died at 42, was known as the "father of existentialism," a philosophy embracing pragmatism that has swept American theology and liberal progressive politics. Please do read Jonah Goldbergs best seller entitled LIBERAL FASCISM. You will be astounded to see how William James, Heidegger, Nietzsche and others of the most virulent philosophers with the wildest applications of existentialism and the dialectic influenced the politics of the U.S.A. in the last century, particularly the presidents. An example of thinking was the introduction of the word "deconstruction" into the intellectual bloodstream by Dirrida who maintained that "there is no single meaning to any text". For Heidegger and Nietzsche both, good and evil were childish notions - what matters is will and choice.
Getting back to Theology, Paul Tillich (1886-1965), a very well known American neo-orthodox theologian was markedly influenced by Kierkegaard’s thinking who taught that becoming a Christian is not a rational decision but a leap of faith and maintained that Christianity is absurd. Tillich has, in turn, greatly influenced both theology and politics. He, along with Rudolph Bultmann (died 1976), Emil Brunner (d.1966) and Karl Barth (d.1968) are some of those most prominent names in neo-orthodoxy. Barth whom most church historians see as the founding father of Neo-Orthodoxy, was probably the closest to being evangelical. They were all, however, a long way from believing in an inerrant Bible. Bultmann emphasized what he called myths in the Scripture and Brunner was against the miracles. According to Neo-Orthodoxy as long as we conceive of the Fall as an historical event we fail to think existentially. They see the Fall as something we all commit. They teach universalism and see Jesus as God’s messenger of love to the masses. They embrace the teaching of higher criticism and therefore they are essentially liberal in their view of Scripture. To them, the Bible becomes the Word of God when it speaks to us.
Francis Schaeffer, HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE, (pp190 - 191) said, "Karl Barth held until the end of his life the higher critical views of the Bible which 19th century liberal theologians held and thus he viewed the Bible as having many mistakes". Barth, remember, was probably the most conservative theologian among the neo-orthodox and was being courted by evangelicals. I personally heard Dr. Charles Woodbridge say that it would not be long before the New-evangelicals would be in the camp of Neo-orthodoxy. The only barrier to this happening is the belief in an inerrant Bible, but Satan has found a way around this problem by selling the church on the idea that evangelism is more important than separation which is not a salvific doctrine and certainly is not pragmatically acceptable . Can we not see how this fits right into the devils scheme of a world church. With the hidebound idiosyncrasies of the fundamentalists out of the way he has a clear shot at eliminating the Bible and bringing evangelicals into his program. Much is being written these days about evangelicals and Roman Catholics getting together which shows how much the doctrine of separation has broken down and how far things are progressing in ecumenicity towards a world church
We have managed, in a short time, to speak of three of the four fathers in the progression of satanic liars and their lies and we are about to launch out into the murky depths of the most wicked of them all. The sad truth is that in this case satan has used a man who so far as we know is a believer and while the battle over the past century has raged between modernists and fundamentalists and higher criticism has been the outgrowth of German rationalism and seemed to triumph, yet, our fundamental churches have held on to an inerrant Bible. Most of those who have gone under the name of Neo-orthodox have, unfortunately bought into existentialism and higher criticism to a greater or a lesser degree and it has become a bridge to a new philosophy that has been espoused by that afore mentioned man who has become known as the father of Neo-evangelicalism. His name is Harold Ockenga.
Though his quote regarding the founding of this movement has been published widely in fundamental circles, it might be helpful to have it in detail here. I excerpt it from a booklet entitled, EVANGELICALISM THE NEW NEUTRALISM by William Ashbrook. This book and that of his son John Ashbrook, NEW NEUTRALISM II, both of The Ohio Bible Fellowship, are filled with examples of compromise. I sincerely hope that you will get these and digest what they have to say. Ockenga was pastor of Park Street Church, Boston and first President of Fuller Theological Seminary. He was being quoted in a news release of December 8, 1957: (underlining and bolding mine - C.M.)
"The New Evangelicalism is the latest dress of orthodoxy as Neo-Orthodoxy is the latest expression of theological liberalism. The New Evangelicalism differs from Fundamentalism in its willingness to handle the social problems which Fundamentalism evaded. There need be no dichotomy between the personal gospel and the social gospel. The true Christian faith is a supernatural personal experience of salvation and a social philosophy. Doctrine and social ethics are Christian disciplines. Fundamentalism abdicated leadership and responsibility in the social realm and thus became impotent to change society or to solve social problems. (Is this what we are supposed to be doing?) The New Evangelicalism adheres to all the orthodox teachings of Fundamentalism but has evolved a social philosophy.(Which is becoming more and more accepting of homosexualism, for example)
The New Evangelicalism has changed its strategy from one of separation to one of infiltration. (How Biblical is this?) Instead of static front battles the new theological war is one of movement. Instead of attack upon error, the New Evangelicals proclaim the great historic doctrines of Christianity. The results have been phenomenal.(Reserve your judgement until you have read both of Lindsell’s books.) The New Evangelical is willing to face the intellectual problems and meet them in the framework of modern learning. It stands doctrinally upon the creeds and confessions of the Church and grants liberty in minor areas when discussion is promoted on the basis of exegesis of Scripture. The strategy of the New Evangelicalism is the positive proclamation of the truth in distinction from all errors without delving in personalities which embrace the error. (How do you separate the man from the message?) The evangelical believes that Christianity is intellectually defensible but the Christian cannot be obscurantist in scientific questions pertaining to the creation, the age of man, the universality of the flood and other moot (debatable) Biblical questions. The evangelical attempts to apply the Christian truth to every phase of life. Since I first coined the phrase ‘The New Evangelicalism’ at a convocation address at Fuller Theological Seminary ten years ago, the evangelical forces have been welded into an organizational front. First, there is the National Association of Evangelicals which provides articulation for the movement on the denominational level; second, there is World Evangelical Fellowship which binds together these individual national associations of some twenty-six countries into a world organization; third, there is a new apologetic literature stating this point of view which is now flowing from the presses of the great publishers, including Macmillans and Harpers; fourth, there is the existence of Fuller Theological Seminary and other evangelical seminaries which are fully committed to orthodox Christianity and a resultant social philosophy; fifth, there is the establishment of Christianity Today, a bi-weekly publication, to articulate the convictions of this movement; sixth, there is the appearance of an evangelist, Billy Graham, who on the mass level is the spokesman of the convictions and ideals of the New Evangelicalism. The strength of this movement is recognized by the Christian Century, America’s leading theologically liberal magazine, by its expression of fear that this movement may challenge the religious scene and change the religious climate in this nation. The New Evangelical believes that Christ is the answer; that He must be understood in a Biblical framework and He and His teachings must be applied to every realm of societal existence."
I will close with a few quotes from THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE. "In recent years evangelical Christianity has been infiltrated by people who do not believe in inerrancy" In his book Lindsell states " I will now paint the picture of what has happened among denominations and parachurch groups that long have been committed to evangelical truth and biblical infallibility but who now have begun to stray from that viewpoint" He then proceeds to write an expose’ of what New evangelicalism has done. He writes (published 1976) on p. 20, "more recently, among those who call themselves evangelicals, there has been a marked departure from the viewpoint held by them for so long. More and more organizations and individuals historically committed to an infallible Scripture have been embracing and propagating the view that the Bible has errors in it. This movement away from the historic standpoint has been most noticeable among those often labeled neo-evangelicals. This change of position with respect to the infallibility of the Bible is widespread and has occurred; in evangelical denominations, Christian colleges, theological seminaries, publishing houses and learned societies, I will document this and give specific examples." (Underlining and bolding mine - C.M.) In Lindsell’s second book, a sequel entitled, THE BIBLE IN BALANCE, He concludes "There are more evidences of departure from inerrancy than I was aware of".
My files are bulging with documentation on much of the compromise that has been going on since the bars on separation have been lowered due to the fact that actions no longer have to stand the test of being Scriptural or so it would seem. This material I will be sharing with my Bible class once I have sufficiently laid the groundwork and can hope for spiritually minded reactions rather than emotional ones. The greatest issue in most peoples minds has to do with evangelism and Billy Graham. His ecumenical approach to his crusades where he insists on using men who, to say the least, are liberal in their theology, is a direct violation of the principles of Biblical separation. I quote from William Ashbrook’s book here.
"It is just such a policy which caused Dr Charles M Woodbridge, veteran Church historian and noted Bible teacher, whose counsel was sought by Dr. Graham, to give the noted evangelist warning in words such as these: ‘ If you persist in making common cause with those who deny the Word of God, and thus minimizing the sharp line of distinction between those who are loyal and disloyal to the Scriptures, it is my strong opinion that the verdict of church history will be that you will be known as the greatest divider of the church of Christ in the twentieth century’." I PERSONALLY HEARD DR WOODBRIDGE TELL THIS STORY TO A GROUP OF PASTORS AT AN I.F.C.A CONFERENCE IN CICERO, ILLINOIS. (C.M..) Dr. Woodbridge then went on to tell how he asked Dr. Graham if he believed that the doctrine of an inerrant Bible was as important as other doctrines that evangelicals hold dear such as the virgin birth etc. and when Billy said "no" Dr. Woodbridge told him he was like a man sitting on the limb of a tree and sawing it off behind him.
June 6, ‘08
Glossary of terms:
parachurch: religious organizations that are not governed by a local church. The problem with them is that there are no standards for the leadership such as there are for local churches (elders and deacons) They are not under church discipline therefore there is more opportunity for moral failure.
Existentialism: a philosophy that makes one’s existence of value in and of itself quite independent of a Supreme Being. Man centered. The individual is free and responsible. (Not, however, to God).
Pragmatism: an American movement founded by C.S. Pierce and William James that teaches that truth must be practical to be valid. This fits Neo-orthodoxy when they teach that the Bible becomes the Word of God when it speaks to you (hence becomes practical). If it works it must be right.
Salvific: relating to salvation
Dialectic: Hegel’s concept of the process of change. Development through the stages of thesis, antithesis and synthesis in accordance with the laws of dialectic materialism. An example would be Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest. This is man’s reasoning apart from God.
Rationalism: reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth. The Bible is filled with emphasis on the supernatural