A.W. Tozer on Moses, Creation, and Men who Know Too Much

I have leafed through a book entitled Earth’s Earliest Ages. I will not say that I have actually read it because I quickly concluded that the author seems to believe he knows more about the antediluvian period [the period of earth’s history before the flood in Noah’s day] than Moses did. When I discover a man who claims to know more than Moses on a subject in which Moses is a specialist, I shy away from his book. (A. W. Tozer, Christ the Eternal Son, p. 18)

One thing I have enjoyed about reading through Herman Bavinck’s reformed Dogmatics is his understated way of completely eviscerating views he disagrees with. Such grace in dealing with opponents is rare. Tozer demonstrates the same quality here.

Many called Tozer a 20th century prophet: thankfully he never claimed the title for himself. Nevertheless, Tozer saw things as they really were and was long ago foretelling the demise of the evangelical church. Here again he demonstrates a clear vision of the core issues.

How did Moses know about the Creation, Flood, and world before Abraham? There is a chance that he received this information traditionally: handed down orally or in written form. Given that nearly every ancient culture has similar accounts of these events, this is possible. But given their variety, I find it unlikely. I am of the opinion that Moses received such information directly from the Spirit of the Lord. However Moses received the information, God set his seal upon it by making it Scripture. Whether the Spirit guided Moses is “selecting” the truth from the oral or written sources he had; or whether the Spirit revealed it to Moses directly; Genesis 1-11 is God’s Word given to God’s prophet.

When someone, anyone, challenges the veracity of Genesis 1-11 he makes bold claims. He claims that Moses got it wrong. And since Moses acted as God’s prophet, he claims God got it wrong. When a man makes such claims we are quite justified in ignoring him. He is a three year old claiming to be Superman.

Luther vs. Rome: Who Won the Reformation?

The other day I visited someone at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne. Inside were the same furnishings I have seen in other St. Joseph Hospitals: paintings of nuns, statues of saints, crucifixes, etc.

On the outside of the building is the sign containing “the rest of the story.” St Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne is part of the Lutheran Health Network.

So I am not sure who won the battle. Luther, because he own it. Or Rome because they continue their idolatry under Luther’s name.

So What Kind of Church Should we Build?

Like many churches around the country, Banquo Christian has a group of people who are concerned about the future viability of the church and desire to see it grow. Like many churches, a group of people are meeting together to propose and discuss ideas about what things might be done. In fact, some of us met last night. When you set out to answer the question, “What things can we do to build the church?” the answers you get and agree upon are also going to tell you what kind of church you are seeking to build.

I have mentioned before that my Bible reading program takes me through a chapter a day in 10 different books of Scripture. Sometimes the Lord reveals vivid connections between different passages. To that point, and to the point of this post, my two NT epistle readings were Colossians 1 and 2 Timothy 4.

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:28-29

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:1-4

I wonder if you could get a poll of people’s honest feelings, how many would want to build a church on the foundation of warning, teaching, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with Scripture.

Or how many would be satisfied with silly myths. Silly myths like if there are a lot of people God must be blessing the place; if the music stirred my emotions it must make God happy too; if the sermon did not discuss something from today’s Drudge Report or TMZ it was not relevant; if the sermon was over 15 minutes it was too long; if there was not coffee and pastries there was not fellowship…etc. etc.

Many people live in fear of the judgment by the living– “What will the crowds say about me?” If we truly lived in fear of the One who will judge all the living and the dead, I wonder how our priorities would change. I wonder how our churches would change. I wonder how our answer to the question, “What kind of church should we build?” would change.

Who is God? An Outline of the Theology of Psalm 71

God is:

My Rock (71:3)
My Fortress (71:3)
My God (71:4, 12, 22)
My Hope (71:5)
My Trust (71:5)
My Strong Refuge (71:7)

 

In righteousness:

The LORD delivers and rescues (71:2)
Acts (71:15)
Helps (71:24)

 

The LORD’s righteousness:

Is his alone (71:16)
Reaches to the heavens (71:19)

 

The LORD’s deeds:

Are righteous acts of salvation (71:15)
Are mighty (71:16)
Are wondrous (71:17)

 

The LORD will:

Revive me (71:20)
Comfort me (71:21)

 

So I will:

Hope continuously (71:14)
Praise increasingly (71:14)
Tell of his righteous acts and salvation (71:15)
Tell of his righteousness (71:16)
Praise him with harp (71:22)
Sing praise with the lyre (71:22)
Shout for joy (71:23)
Talk of his righteous help (71:24)

Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
Psalm 71:19

The Significance of the Resurrection of Jesus

The resurrection is:

  1. proof of Jesus’ messiahship, the coronation of the Servant of the Lord to be Christ and Lord, the Prince of life and Judge (Acts 2:36; 3:13-15; 5:31; 10:42; 17:31)
  2. as seal of his eternal divine Sonship (Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:3-4)
  3. a divine endorsement of his mediatorial work, a declaration of the power and value of his death, the “Amen!” of the Father upon the “It is finished” of the Son (Acts 2:23-24; 4:11; 5:31; Rom. 6:4, 10; 1 Peter 2:4)
  4. the inauguration of the exaltation he accomplished by his suffering (Luke 24:26; Acts 2:33; Rom. 6:4; Phil. 2:9)
  5. the guarantee of our forgiveness and justification (Acts 5:31; Rom. 4:25)
  6. the fountain of numerous spiritual blessings: the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:33), repentance (Acts 5:31); spiritual eternal life (Rom. 6:4f.), salvation in its totality (Acts 4:12)
  7. the principle and pledge of our blessed and glorious resurrection (Acts 4:2; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:20-23)
  8. the foundation of apostolic Christianity (1 Cor. 15:12-14).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, III p. 442

Obituary for our Age

Yesterday my part time job took me to Wabash to help out in completely re-organize the potato chip section at an average size grocery store.

In the evening we went to visit my parents who were camping at Oubache State Park.

When historians write of our age I am not sure what the more condemning fact will be:

  1. that we had to choose from 288 linear feat of potato chips
  2. or that we drove around “recreational vehicles” that offered better accommodation than  the vast majority of the world’s population had ever lived in.

Who says the age of decadence has died!

(In my parent’s defense, they don’t have an RV; just a pop-up camper.)

David Tyree and the Anarchy of Gay Marriage

David Tyree, the New York Giant hero of Super Bowl 42, has ruffled some feathers. Fox reports, “Asked what he thought would happen if gay marriage was legalized across the US, Tyree said, ‘This will be the beginning of our country sliding toward, it’s a strong word, but anarchy.’”

Will gay marriage really lead to anarchy? Is David Tyree right?

Nope.

David Tyree is absolutely wrong.

Gay marriage will not lead to anarchy. Gay marriage is anarchy.

According to Paul, the embracing of homosexuality is the last step in a society’s rebellion against God (Rom. 1:18-28). Three times it is stated that God “gave them up;” and the last time God gives up is with those men and women who practice homosexuality.

In several places the Bible speaks of sin that is unpardonable, or leads to death. In each of those places, the individual is in view. But in Romans 1 we seem to have the unforgivable sin of society. When a people or nation protect, endorse, sanction, promote, embrace, encourage a homosexual lifestyle, it is the sign that God has given them up.

Does this mean things cannot get any worse? Does this mean that gay marriage is the greatest abomination that a people can commit? Quite the contrary, this means that things are actually going to get much worse. Romans 1:18-28 teaches that God gives up on the people who embrace this lifestyle. When God gives up, his Spirit stops striving against sin. He lets man have his own way. The voice of conscience is silenced.

How far is too far? Five states along with Washington D.C. have legalized gay marriage. The issue of legalization is in the legislature of New York and courts of California. Will God give up on America for the sin of just these few? Perhaps not (cf. Gen. 18:23-33). But to think gay marriage is a parochial problem is obviously wrong. The media- news, social, popular- are constantly pushing the issue. The issue is not going away until it is the law of the land.

Christians, like David Tyree, who think that gay marriage is the beginning of our country sliding toward anarchy, are well intentioned but naïve. Gay marriage is not the beginning of the slide, it is the thump at the bottom of the slide.

Only to find that the ladder back up has been taken away.

The statement every theology class in Bible College and Seminary should begin and end with.

It is indeed not the doctrine concerning the death of Christ but this death itself that atones for our sins and gives peace to our consciences. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, vol. III, pg. 382)

I was privileged to grow up in a Grace Brethren church that spoke clearly and often about the need for confession of sins and belief in Jesus Christ. So I ended up doing those things. Often.

When I was 5 and alone in the basement, I prayed to Jesus that he would save me. When I was 12 and in the pastor’s office for baptism counseling I prayed that Jesus would save me: just as I had in numerous services and occasions in the intermittent 7 years. When I was 22 in Bible college I prayed that Jesus would save me.

When did Jesus save me? I do not know.

At some time in the past 15 years I came to realization that my prayers would never save me. I came to realize I could never prayer enough. I could never pray good enough or right enough. I could never repent enough. I could never say the magic words, because there were no magic words to say.

At some time in the past 15 years I embraced the fact that the Apostles never asked people what day they were saved. They always seem to ask in the present tense: “Are you saved?” “Do you believe?”

Yes, there was a day and time when I was saved. I just do not happen to know when that was. Thankfully, the New Testament nowhere seems to require that knowledge. Jesus Christ is my only hope. I do not trust my prayers. I do not trust my repentance. I do not trust my knowledge. I trust in Jesus. I have come to Jesus. The coming has not saved me, Jesus has. I am nothing. He is all.

We are not saved by believing about Christ.

We are saved by believing in Christ.