Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Recently, Jim from Oldtruth.com posted an article about a "pastor" named Tim Stevens who decided he will add words to the Bible to make it more "relevant" to the unbelief of the day. What happens when the Scriptures aren't our authority, but instead, we become the authority of the Scriptures? Well, unbelief ensues. There is so much compromise prevalent today largely because of the sin of idolatry. There are those who profess to be "pastors" who are concerned about public opinion rather than the people of God (Paul, Peter, John, etc.). It's blatant idolatry and compromise.
Today, I came across this letter by the late John Gresham Machen of Princeton and later of the Westminster Seminary. Even though this was written nearly 100 years ago, like all the other writings of his I've read, it speaks directly to the issue at hand and is just as relative today as it was at the time he wrote it. This letter in particular addresses the issue of placing ourselves over the authority of Scripture. Nothing but chaos ensues when a person does so, hence modern "evangelicalism". It's bad enough when an individual decides to do this, but it's even worse when these same people are encouraging others who are a bit naive to do so, as well. Here's the part of the letter I choose to emphasize:
THE PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL REVIEW, Vol. 13, 1915, Page 351
...The Bible is not a ladder; it is a foundation. It is buttressed, indeed, by experience; if you have the present Christ, then you know that the Bible account is true. But if the Bible were false, your faith would go. You cannot, therefore, be indifferent to Bible criticism. Let us not deceive ourselves. The Bible is at the foundation of the Church. Undermine that foundation, and the Church will fall. It will fall, and great will be the fall of it.
Two conceptions of Christianity are struggling for the ascendancy today; the question that we have been discussing is part of a still larger problem. The Bible against the modern preacher! Is Christianity a means to an end, or an end in itself, an improvement of the world, or the creation of a new world? Is sin a necessary stage in the development of humanity, or a yawning chasm in the very structure of the universe? Is the world's good sufficient to overcome the world's evil, or is this world lost in sin? Is communion with God a help toward the betterment of humanity, or itself the one great ultimate goal of human life? Is God identified with the world, or separated from it by the infinite abyss of sin? Modern culture is here in conflict with the Bible. The Church is in perplexity. She is trying to compromise. She is saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. And rapidly she is losing her power. The time has come when she must choose. God grant she may choose aright! God grant she may decide for the Bible! The Bible is despised—to the Jews a stumbling block, to the Greeks foolishnes—but the Bible is right. God is not a name for the totality of things, but an awful, mysterious, holy Person, not a "present God", in the modern sense, not a God who is with us by necessity, and has nothing to offer us but what we have already, but a God who from the heaven of His awful holiness has of His own free grace had pity on our bondage, and sent His Son to deliver us from the present evil world and receive us into the glorious freedom of communion with Himself.
J. Gresham Machen
Compromise is certainly an issue now just as it has been since the Church began. Look to the warning Paul gives throughout Scripture of false teachings, "those who will rise up from among you speaking perverse things", and so forth if you need to see examples of this being a true statement. Compromise is not synonymous with Christianity. The number of people who may have insinuated to you that it is in your youth VBS or Sunday School is irrelevant to the issue. Christianity is not a religion of compromise. Again, if you need proof this statement being true, read about five chapters of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and your doubts should be at rest.
John MacArthur is another who recognizes the problem of compromise as he has dealt with the issue for decades now. His ministry, Grace to You, recently released a series he did on The Uncompromising Life. You can download these podcasts in the archive at Travis Carden's site:
END OF POST.