Archive for August, 2012

August 25, 2012

Chronology, Creation and Compromise (includes a Movie Review)

The year is 1890 and Bible professor Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin) has written a new manuscript entitled “The Changing Times.” His book is about to receive a unanimous endorsement from the board members of the Grace Bible Seminary until his colleague Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin Macleod) raises an objection. Dr. Anderson believes that what Carlisle has written could greatly affect the future of coming generations. Using a secret time machine, Anderson sends Carlisle over 100 years into the future, offering him a glimpse of where his beliefs will lead.

As is obvious from the above plot description appearing on the back of the DVD case, the movie Time Changer (a Rich Christiano film) is a work of fiction. Absent of high-budget special effects, and with a Christian theme, it has not reached anywhere near popular blockbuster status. Nevertheless, the film makes the enduring case for steadfast adherence to the authority of the Word of God. Carlisle’s manuscript makes a plea for morality and righteousness but begs the question, “By what standard?”. Anderson objects to the teaching of the law apart from the law-Giver, of preaching morality apart from the authority of the Word of God. After finally submitting to Anderson’s insistence, Carlisle travels to the future where he sees the disastrous results of mankind’s rejection of the infallible standard of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from Him no one is righteous, no – not one. In one scene, Carlisle tells a hot dog snatching girl that it is not right to steal, and the girl responds “Says who?”.

In another scene in the movie Carlisle, in the future (the year 2000), perceived that he was in the “end times” and commented that therefore Jesus must be coming shortly to “set up His kingdom on earth”. This of course is indicative of a premillennial view of eschatology (end times). To anyone reading this blog who is at all familiar with eschatology, it must be apparent by now that I embrace a postmillennial view, which is that the return of the Lord Jesus (“the second coming”) will take place after His kingdom has been well established here on earth during this present age. While premillennialism does not detract from the excellent message of the film, the eschatological viewpoint of Christ returning a “millennium” before the final judgment, with the resurrection of believers when He comes, and then another resurrection of unbelievers at the end of His earthly reign is a problematical interpretation of Scripture mainly because it is out of accord with biblical chronology.

A greatly overlooked passage of Scripture which presents us a timetable of end time events is 1 Corinthians 15:25-26: For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. The context is Christ’s reign in heaven, which is where He sits at the right hand of Majesty on High since His ascension. Death is destroyed (general resurrection) at the end – at the last day – in a moment, the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52), not a prolonged drama for 1,000 years. So all of the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ and His church are being put under His feet, and then comes the end, when death is destroyed. “The logic of Paul is inescapable” as per respected theologian B.B. Warfield. Other key texts of Scripture teach one particular day of resurrection/judgment for all which takes place when Jesus comes back (cf Acts 17:31; Acts 24:15 ).There will be a day of resurrection/judgment for ALL men – when Jesus comes (Matthew 25:31 ff). Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). Notwithstanding that it may be the most widely held eschatological perspective in the church today, it can reasonably be said that the premillennial view of the book of Revelation is chronologically untenable based on unavoidable presuppositions derived from the full counsel of Scripture.

There is much more that can be said about end times chronology and the difficulties presented by the book of Revelation which is apocalyptic literature rendered in signs & symbols (the “first resurrection” of Revelation 20 is symbolic of spiritual regeneration!), but let us turn our chronometers from the end back to the beginning — to the book of Genesis and the creation account. Here we have clear-cut historical narrative, presenting the account of the magnificent work of almighty God creating all things ex nihilo (out of nothing) in six literal (24-hour) days. This is wonderful truth for the believer. Indeed the pattern for the days and weeks of our lives were thereby established. Our God is an awesome God! Just as we believe steadfastly in the virginal birth and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hold to a “young earth” as plainly depicted in the earliest history recorded in Genesis 1-11. We believe God’s word is inerrant and infallible, and we stand by its irrefutable truth as interpreted from the original language text in accordance with well established and scholarly accepted grammatical-historical methodology.

The compromise comes in by what I call the 3 Ws. That is, when a professing believer is either weak, wanting or wicked. The attack on God’s word is from the outside, in the form of the secular/humanist religion of evolution. Under the flag of so-called “science”, millions of years is presented for injection into the Bible’s chronology of creation. The weak accept it to avoid ridicule, or to get along. They fear men more than they fear God. The biblical worldview of others is compromised as they are wanting for a proper defense of the faith, and are overwhelmed by not having an answer to ungodly dogma presented as accepted fact. The wicked trample on the blood of Jesus, accepting the concept of death and sin before the fall, which overturns the gospel, promoting that lie to lead others astray. Make no mistake about it beloved, this is a foundational issue. Abortion, homosexuality, racism, adultery, broken families, attacks on the institution of marriage, and all such perverse problems are the symptoms of the undermining of the authority of God’s word.

So where do we go from here? Well first of all, if you have swallowed the wicked lie of evolution in any way, shape or form then I urge you to vomit it up and spit it out. Hold fast to your faith, and don’t be afraid to speak up. What position does your local church take on the inerrancy of God’s word? Have they compromised on the creation account of the Bible? Take heart, eyes are being opened, minds are being renewed. God is giving zeal for His Truth to His people, and help is available! Go to the AnswersInGenesis website where you can arm yourself with reliable information and resources. Another excellent website is the Institute for Creation Research. Get yourself a copy of The Beginning of the World – A Scientific Study of Genesis 1-11 by Dr. Henry Morris (remember Kindle Edition books are less expensive and readable on any PC or MAC with the free reading app). Stay tuned for more…

Let us pray that things don’t have to get much worse before God’s church arises to insist that the Bible is authoritative for all of life, from beginning to end.


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

 

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August 11, 2012

HIStory, the Here & How, and the Hope of Heaven

Some time around 1,982 years ago the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ ascended with the clouds of heaven up to the Ancient of Days (cf Daniel 7:13). Having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, He left the glories of heaven and came to this sin-cursed earth, took on flesh and lived a sinless life — obedient unto death, even death on a cross. What a miracle of love: God became a man! That part of the blessed work of redemption, as determined since before the foundation of the world by intraTrinitarian Covenant (pactum salutis) was accomplished in the fullness of time, in accordance with divine decree. Christ came forth, to faithfully perform the atonement for the sins of His people, as typified in the old testament, by perfect righteousness and substitutionary propitiation; as He proclaimed upon the cross, “it is finished.”

The third day thereafter He rose from the dead, and that calls for a never ending chorus of hallelujahs. It behooves us not only to learn and study the terminology used to expound upon the revealed Word of God, but also to rejoice and to faithfully receive and meditate upon the blessed historical truth of the Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures. Worthy is the Lamb of God Who was slain. All praise and glory to God Who is blessed forever, amen.

With the glorified God-Man reigning at the right hand of Majesty on High, the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, regenerates sinners to new life in Christ Jesus; comforts, counsels and empowers His people, and seals us for the day of redemption. How then should we live? Never forget that we’re now spiritually alive and well, with the Spirit Himself dwelling within us. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). Therefore not only are you a part of His body which is a living temple, but also your body itself is a temple! Mindful of being thus set apart as Holy, we pray for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are no longer slaves to sin, but rather bond servants of Jesus Christ. Let us go forth, not on our own strength, but abiding in Him, obeying His commandments. This indeed is a most gracious gift from above. For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).

In light of all this, zeal for God’s glory ought to burn within us, as the Holy Spirit quickens us and fans the flames within our souls! Indeed man’s chief end is to glorify God, and how better to effectuate that purpose than to bring every thought, word and deed captive to Christ. His kingdom is advancing on earth, and we are the instruments. Onward Christian soldiers! Away with the all-too-typical attitude of the church at large today, that our tickets are punched for heaven so lets just get by until the end. No, no, no! People are perishing — where is your heart for the lost? Secular humanists are promoting their agenda more desperately than ever (without even realizing that their efforts are akin to spitting into the wind) — where is your respect for God’s law?  The anti-God forces are fervently promoting compromise of His word — where is your steadfastness in the truth? What, its not “cool” to stand on the timeless, true Word of God? Are you worried about how you are seen by the world’s eyes? Well I’m here to tell ya – it’s God’s eyes that count. For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). That’s in the Bible. Nevermind the news propaganda nor the latest political campaign lie — where is your faith?  OK so you went to Chick-Fil-A on appreciation day, you do well — but is that the extent of your activism? Bottom line is whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Now zealous exhortations notwithstanding, you can’t just go out and win arguments by yelling louder and being meaner than ungodly adversaries. We are the church militant, but our weapons are not carnal. We must overcome evil with good, hate with love. You’re absolutely right to think that you can’t do that. As a matter of fact, Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). What does that mean? Well it means what it says, apart from Christ and His indwelling Spirit you can do NOTHING… but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Let us close with the comforting contemplation of hearing those words “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23), after having lived a life dedicated to the glory of God, in His service towards the advancement of His kingdom. We may not see the fruition of a return to foundational principles in this country during our lifetimes, but it will happen. Not only here but all the nations shall be blessed, in the Seed of promise which is Christ Jesus. While we may be long gone from this place, having shuffled off these mortal coils; the triumph of the sovereign, enthroned Lord Jesus Christ and His church over all opponents in time and history is inevitable. Then comes the end, when all things shall be made new. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more sin. This is our blessed hope of glory, when we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).