FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 231 J. Gresham Machen  (Feature on artist Raúl de Nieves )

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Fighting the Good Fight: The Life and Legacy of J. Gresham Machen | Stephen Nichols, PhD

Published on Aug 23, 2015

Bethlehem Bible Church (2012) – Stephen J. Nichols is a professor and Bible and Theology department chair at Lancaster Bible College (PA) and Graduate School. Buy Nichols’ book J. Gresham Machen: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought: http://www.amazon.com/J-Gresham-Mache…

John Gresham Machen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Gresham Machen
J.G.Machen.jpg
Born July 28, 1881
Baltimore, Maryland
Died January 1, 1937 (aged 55)
Bismarck, North Dakota
Occupation Theologian and church leader

John Gresham Machen (/ˈɒn ˈɡrɛsəm ˈmən/; July 28, 1881 – January 1, 1937) was an American Presbyterian theologian in the early 20th century. He was the Professor of New Testament at Princeton Seminary between 1906 and 1929, and led a conservative revolt against modernist theology at Princeton and formed Westminster Theological Seminary as a more orthodox alternative. As the Northern Presbyterian Church continued to reject conservative attempts to enforce faithfulness to the Westminster Confession, Machen led a small group of conservatives out of the church to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. When the northern Presbyterian church (PCUSA) rejected his arguments during the mid-1920s and decided to reorganize Princeton Seminary to create a liberal school, Machen took the lead in founding Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia (1929) where he taught New Testament until his death. His continued opposition during the 1930s to liberalism in his denomination’s foreign missions agencies led to the creation of a new organization, the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (1933). The trial, conviction and suspension from the ministry of Independent Board members, including Machen, in 1935 and 1936 provided the rationale for the formation in 1936 of the OPC.

Machen is considered to be the last of the great Princeton theologians who had, since the formation of the college in the early 19th century, developed Princeton theology: a conservative and Calvinist form of Evangelical Christianity. Although Machen can be compared to the great Princeton theologians (Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, and B. B. Warfield), he was neither a lecturer in theology (he was a New Testament scholar) nor did he ever become the seminary’s principal.

Machen’s influence can still be felt today through the existence of the institutions that he founded—Westminster Theological Seminary, The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In addition, his textbook on basic New Testament Greek is still used today in many seminaries, including PCUSA schools.

Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest, “The first syllable is pronounced like May, the name of the month. In the second syllable the ch is as in chin, with e as in pen: may’chen. In Gresham, the h is silent: gres’am.”[1]

Who was J. Gresham Machen? | W. Robert Godfrey, PhD

Early life[edit]

Machen was born in Baltimore to Arthur Webster Machen and Mary Jones Gresham. Arthur, a Baltimore lawyer, was 45 and Mary was 24 when they married. While Arthur was an Episcopalian, Mary was a Presbyterian, and taught her son the Westminster Shorter Catechism from an early age. The family attended Franklin Street Presbyterian Church.

Machen’s upbringing was considered[who?] to be privileged. He attended a private college and received a classical education including Latin and Greek. He also learnt to play the piano.[citation needed]

Early Adulthood[edit]

American Student Life[edit]

In 1898, the 17-year-old Machen began studying at Johns Hopkins University for his undergraduate degree, and performed sufficiently well to gain a scholarship. He majored in classics and was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Machen was a brilliant scholar and in 1901 was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society after graduation.

Despite having some indecisiveness about his future, in 1902 Machen opted to study theology at Princeton Seminary, while simultaneously studying a Master of Arts in Philosophy at Princeton University.

Encountering German Liberalism[edit]

He also pursued theological studies in Germany for a year in 1905. In a letter to his father, he admitted being thrown into confusion about his faith because of the liberalism taught by Professor Wilhelm Herrmann. Although he had an enormous respect for Herrmann, his time in Germany and his engagement with Modernist theologians led him to reject the movement and embrace conservative Reformed theology more firmly than before.

Pre War Period[edit]

Princeton 1906-1916[edit]

In 1906, Machen joined the Princeton Seminary as an instructor in the New Testament, after receiving an assurance that he would not have to sign a statement of faith. Among his Princeton influences were Francis Landey Patton, who had been the prosecutor in a nineteenth-century heresy trial, and B. B. Warfield, whom he described as the greatest man he had ever met. Warfield maintained that correct doctrine was the primary means by which Christians influenced the surrounding culture. He emphasised a high view of scripture and the defence of supernaturalism. It appears that under their influence Machen resolved his crisis of faith. In 1914, he was ordained and the next year he became an Assistant Professor of New Testament studies.

World War One[edit]

Machen did not serve “conventionally” during World War I, but instead went to France with the YMCA to do volunteer work near and at the front – a task he continued with for some time after the war. Though not a combatant, he witnessed first-hand the devastations of modern warfare. Suspicious of his family friend Woodrow Wilson‘s project of spreading democracy and of imperialism, he was staunchly opposed to the war, and upon returning to the U.S., he saw that many of the provisions of, “the Treaty of Versailles constituted an attack upon international and interracial peace….[W]ar will follow upon war in a wearisome progression.”[2]

J. Gresham Machen 1/6

Post War Period[edit]

Princeton 1918-1926

After returning from Europe, Machen continued his work as a New Testament scholar at Princeton. During this period he gained a reputation as one of the few true scholars who was able to debate the growing prevalence of Modernist theology whilst maintaining an evangelical stance. The Origin of Paul’s Religion (1921) is perhaps Machen’s best known scholarly work. This book was a successful attempt at critiquing the Modernist belief that Paul’s religion was based mainly upon Greek philosophy and was entirely different from the religion of Jesus. Christianity and Liberalism (1923) is another of Machen’s books that critiqued theological modernism. The book compared conservative and Protestant Christianity to the rising popularity of Modernist (or “Liberal”) theology. He concluded that “the chief modern rival of Christianity is Liberalism”. In What is Faith? (1925) he set before him the pastoral task of anchoring faith in the historical fact of Christ’s atonement. He found liberal theology anti-intellectual, insofar as it spiritualized Christianity and treated it as merely an expression of individual experience, thus emptying the Bible and creeds of all definitive meaning. These books, along with a number of others, placed Machen firmly in one theological camp within the Presbyterian Church. His work throughout the 1920s was divided between his time at Princeton and his political work with evangelical Presbyterians. Despite his conservative theological beliefs, Machen was never able to fully embrace popularist fundamentalism either. His refusal to accept premillennialism and other aspects of Fundamentalist belief was based upon his belief that Reformed Theology was the most biblical form of Christian belief – a theology that was generally missing from Fundamentalism at the time. Moreover, Machen’s scholarly work and ability to engage with modernist theology was at odds with Fundamentalism’s anti-intellectual attitude.[original research?]

Controversies[edit]

Between 1924 and 1925, relations among the Princeton faculty deteriorated when The Presbyterian questioned if there were two different parties on the faculty. In response Machen remarked that his differences with Charles Erdman related to the importance they attributed to doctrine. He noted that Erdman was tolerant of those in doctrinal error. Erdman wrote privately ‘he (Dwight L. Moody) knew that controversialists do not usually win followers for Christ.’

Westminster Theological Seminary[edit]

The 1929 General Assembly voted to reorganise Princeton Seminary and appointed two of the Auburn Affirmation signatories as trustees. The Auburn Affirmation was a response by liberals[3] within the Northern Presbyterian Church that condemned the General Assembly’s response to the controversy arising out of Harry Emerson Fosdick‘s May 1922 sermon “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?”. Machen and some colleagues withdrew and set up Westminster Theological Seminary to continue reformed orthodox theology.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church[edit]

In 1933, Machen, concerned about liberalism tolerated by Presbyterians on the mission field, formed The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. The next Presbyterian General Assembly reaffirmed that Independent Board was unconstitutional and gave the associated clergy an ultimatum to break their links. When Machen and seven other clergy refused, they were suspended from the Presbyterian ministry. The controversy divided Machen from many of his fundamentalist friends including Clarence Macartney who dropped away at the prospect of schism. Ultimately, Machen withdrew from the Northern Presbyterian Church and formed what later came to be known as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

In his book The Great Evangelical Disaster, Francis Schaeffer details the theological shift in American Christianity from conservatism to liberalism. In that discussion, Schaeffer describes how Machen’s “defrocking” rightly became front page news in the secular media of the country. Schaeffer concludes: “A good case could be made that the news about Machen was the most significant U.S. news in the first half of the twentieth century. It was the culmination of a long trend toward liberalism within the Presbyterian Church and represented the same trend in most other denominations” (p 35).

Religion and politics[edit]

Machen was suspicious of mixing religion and politics. He found attempts to establish a Christian culture by political means insensitive to minorities.[4] He was even more concerned about the corrupting influence of politics on Christianity and saw the social gospel as a terrible warning. He opposed school prayer and Bible reading in public school[citation needed]. This position, however, implied that Christians should run their own schools.[5]

Historian George Marsden has described Machen as “radically libertarian. He opposed almost any extension of state power and took stands on a variety of issues. Like most libertarians, his stances violated usual categories of liberal or conservative.”[6] He opposed the establishment of a federal Department of Education, suggesting before a joint Congressional committee that government control of the children was the ultimate sacrifice of freedom.[7] He was not against locally operated public schools per se, but feared the influence of materialist ideology and opposition to higher human aspirations.[8] He also opposed Prohibition – a costly stance in an age when abstinence was almost a creed among Protestants.[6] He was opposed to a foreign policy of imperialism and militarism.[9]

Death[edit]

Much to the sadness of those who had been involved in the movements that he had led, Machen died in 1937 at the age of 55. Some commentators (notably Ned Stonehouse) point out that Machen’s “constitution” was not always strong, and that he was constantly “burdened” with his responsibilities at the time.[citation needed]

Machen had decided to honor some speaking engagements he had in North Dakota in December, 1936, but developed pleurisy in the exceptionally cold weather there. After Christmas, he was hospitalized for pneumonia and died on January 1, 1937. Just before his death, he dictated a telegram to long-time friend and colleague John Murray—the content of that telegram reflected deeply his lifelong faith: “I’m so thankful for active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.”[10] He is buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. The stone covering his grave bears, very simply, his name, degree, dates, and the phrase “Faithful Unto Death,” in Greek.

Machen’s grave

The Baltimore-born journalist, H. L. Mencken, wrote an editorial on Machen in December 1931[11] and later contributed an obituary entitled “Dr. Fundamentalis” which was published in the Baltimore Evening Sun on January 18, 1937. While disagreeing with Machen’s theology, Mencken nevertheless articulated a great respect and admiration for his intellectual ability. He noted that Machen “fell out with the reformers who have been trying, in late years, to convert the Presbyterian Church into a kind of literary and social club, devoted vaguely to good works,” and that “though he lost in the end and was forced out of Princeton, it must be manifest that he marched off to Philadelphia with all the honors of war.” Mencken also compared Machen to William Jennings Bryan, another well-known Presbyterian, with the statement, “Dr. Machen himself was to Bryan as the Matterhorn is to a wart.”[12]

Machen left half his considerable estate to Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. Giving $10,000 outright to the seminary, Dr. Machen provided that half of the balance, after certain bequests to his brothers and others were cared for, should be placed in the hands of five trustees to be held for the benefit of Westminster Seminary. Ten per cent of the residuary estate was to go to the Independent Board. The will was drawn in 1935, before the establishing of The Presbyterian Guardian and before the organization of the new Church. The gross estate was estimated at $175,000.[13]

Works[edit]

In addition to those mentioned in the main article, Machen’s works include:

  • The Literature and History of New Testament Times (1915)
  • Recent criticism of the book of Acts (1919)
  • The Origin of Paul’s Religion (1921) online
  • Teaching the Teacher; A First Book in Teacher Training (1921) (Contributing author)
  • A Brief Bible History; a Survey of the Old and New Testaments (1922)
  • New Testament Greek for Beginners (1923)
  • Christianity and Liberalism (1923) ISBN 0-8028-1121-3
  • What is Faith? (1925)
  • The Virgin Birth of Christ (1930)
  • The Christian faith in the modern world (1936)
  • The Christian view of man (1937)
  • God Transcendent (1949) edited by Ned B. Stonehouse from Machen’s sermons, ISBN 0-85151-355-7.
  • What is Christianity? And Other Addresses (1951) edited by Ned B. Stonehouse
  • The New Testament : An Introduction to its Literature and History (1976) edited by W. John Cook from two sets of Machen’s course materials, ISBN 0-85151-240-2.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Coray, Henry W. (1981). J. Gresham Machen: A Silhouette. Grand Rapids 1981, Kregel Publications. ISBN 0-8254-2327-9.
  • Gatiss, L (2008). Christianity and the Tolerance of Liberalism: J.Gresham Machen and the Presbyterian Controversy of 1922-1937. London, Latimer Trust ISBN 978-0-946307-63-0
  • Hart, D. G. (2003). Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America. P & R Publishing. ISBN 0-87552-563-6
  • Machen, J. Gresham (1923). Christianity and Liberalism. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8028-1121-3
  • Marsden, George M.. “Understanding J. Gresham Machen.” In Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism p. 182-201. Grand Rapids 1991, Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-0539-6.
  • Noll, M. A. (1988). “John Gresham Machen”. In S. B. Ferguson, D. F. Wright, and J. I. Packer (Eds.), The New Dictionary of Theology. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester. ISBN 0-8308-1400-0
  • Stonehouse, Ned B. (1987). J. Gresham Machen – A Biographical Memoir (3rd ed.). Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh. ISBN 0-85151-501-0. (Republished by the Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. ISBN 0-934688-97-4.)

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Charles Earle Funk: What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.
  2. Jump up^ Douglas M. Jones III: J. Gresham Machen Was Right About the Gulf Crisis ANTITHESIS January/February 1991 – Volume 2, Number 1.
  3. Jump up^ The Auburn Heresy at opc.org
  4. Jump up^ J. Gresham Machen: Christianity & Liberalism p. 149, 151. New York 1923, MacMillan.
  5. Jump up^ J. Gresham Machen: “The Necessity of the Christian School,” in What Is Christianity? And Other Essays by J. Gresham Machen, ed. by Ned B. Stonehouse. Grand Rapids, Mich. 1951
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b George M. Marsden: Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism p. 196. Grand Rapids 1991, Eerdmans.
  7. Jump up^ Testimony before the House & Senate Committees on the Proposed Department of Education February 25, 1926.
  8. Jump up^ J. Gresham Machen: Christianity & Liberalism pp. 13f. New York 1923, MacMillan.
  9. Jump up^ https://www.lewrockwell.com/2008/08/laurence-m-vance/soldier-worship/
  10. Jump up^ J. Gresham Machen’s Response to Modernism at http://www.desiringgod.org.
  11. Jump up^ H.L. Mencken, “The Impregnable Rock,” American Mercury, v. 24, no. 96 (December 1931) 411-412.
  12. Jump up^ H. L. Mencken, “Dr. Fundamentalis“, an obituary of Rev. J. Gresham Machen, Baltimore Evening Sun (January 18, 1937), 2nd Section, p. 15.
  13. Jump up^ “The Presbyterian”. 21 January 1937.

External links[edit]

Francis Schaeffer

I remember like yesterday hearing my pastor Adrian Rogers in 1979 going through the amazing fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of the city of Tyre. In 1980 in my senior year (taught by Mark Brink) at Evangelical Christian High School, I watched the film series by Francis Schaeffer called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? Later that same year I read the book by the same name and I was amazed at the historical accuracy of the Bible and the many examples from archaeology that Schaeffer gave and recently I have shared several of these in my current series on Schaeffer and the Beatles. The reason I did that was because many people in the 1960’s had taken non-rational leaps into such areas as communism, the occult, drugs, and eastern mysticism,  but sitting right there in front of them was the historical accurate Bible which contained sufficient evidence to warrant trust.

(Adrian Rogers met with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.)

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(This was the average sanctuary crowd when I was growing up at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis)

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Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that politically Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan were my heroes. Spiritually my heroes have been both Francis Schaeffer and Adrian Rogers. An interesting fact about both of these two men and that is they both believed the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. Both men defended the historical accuracy of the Bible even though both of the religious denominations they belonged to started to shift to the liberal view that the Bible contains errors in it.

H. L. Mencken
H l mencken.jpg

J. Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen

Francis Schaeffer’s battle on this issue came in the 1930’s when he got to know Dr. J. Gresham Machen was involved in a battle with  the Presbyterian Church USA over their leftward shift in theology. Francis Schaeffer observed:

H.L. Mencken died when I was a young man and I read some of the stuff he wrote and he came at just the point of the total collapse of the American consensus back in the 1930’s or a little before. H.L.Mencken was very destructive to the American consensus and he was way out. It is he who said the famous thing about Dr. J. Gresham Machen. Dr. Machen was the man who was fighting the battle for historic Christianity against the liberals in the big denominations and expressly the Presbyterian denomination and the liberals were trying to laugh Machen out of court. But H.L. Mencken said a remarkable thing, “Well, if you really want to be a Christian there is only one kind of Christian to be and that is the Machen kind.” This is wonderful. This is exactly where the battlefield is. When you take Christianity and chip away at it like the liberals wanted to do then you don’t have anything left. This is no halfway war. If you are going to be a Christian you have to be a biblical Christian. Machen and Mencken understood this and this is my position too.  

Adrian Rogers also was that type of Christian too. Recently a relative told me that his Bible Study Teacher at the church he started attended recently started a series on Genesis and he said on the front end that evolution is true. I encouraged my relative to ask the simple question: DO YOU BELIEVE IN A LITERAL “ADAM AND EVE?” I sent him the sermon on Evolution by Adrian Rogers and here is a portion of it below:

H.G. Wells

H. G. Wells, the brilliant historian who wrote The Outlines of History, said this—and I quote: “If all animals and man evolved, then there were no first parents, and no Paradise, and no Fall. If there had been no Fall, then the entire historic fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin, and the reason for the atonement, collapses like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells says—and, by the way, I don’t believe that he did believe in creation—but he said, “If there’s no creation, then you’ve ripped away the foundation of Christianity.”

Now, the Bible teaches that man was created by God and that he fell into sin. The evolutionist believes that he started in some primordial soup and has been coming up and up. And, these two ideas are diametrically opposed. What we call sin the evolutionist would just call a stumble up. And so, the evolutionist believes that all a man needs—he’s just going up and up, and better and better—he needs a boost from beneath. The Bible teaches he’s a sinner and needs a birth from above. And, these are both at heads, in collision.

What is evolution? Evolution is man’s way of hiding from God, because, if there’s no creation, there is no Creator. And, if you remove God from the equation, then sinful man has his biggest problem removed—and that is responsibility to a holy God. And, once you remove God from the equation, then man can think what he wants to think, do what he wants to do, be what he wants to be, and no holds barred, and he has no fear of future judgment.

Francis Schaeffer & the SBC

Actually Francis Schaeffer’s good friend Paige Patterson talked Adrian Rogers into running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1979 and the liberal shift was halted. In the article “Francis Schaeffer ‘indispensable’ to SBC,” (Thursday, October 30, 2014,)  David Roach wrote:

The late Francis Schaeffer was known to pick up the phone during the early years of the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence. Paige Patterson knew to expect a call from Schaeffer around Christmas with the question, “You’re not growing weary in well-doing are you?”

Patterson, a leader in the movement to return the SBC to a high view of Scripture, would reply, “No, Dr. Schaeffer. I’m under fire, but I’m doing fine. And I’m trusting the Lord and proceeding on.”

To some it may seem strange that an international Presbyterian apologist and analyst of pop culture would take such interest in a Baptist controversy over biblical inerrancy.

But to Schaeffer it made perfect sense.

He believed churches were acquiescing to the world, abandoning their belief that the Bible is without error in everything it said. A watered-down theology left the SBC with decreased power to battle cultural evils. To Schaeffer the convention was the last major American denomination with hope for reversing this “great evangelical disaster,” as he put it.

Thirty years after Schaeffer’s death, Baptist leaders still remember how he took time from his speaking, writing and filmmaking schedule to quietly encourage Patterson; Paul Pressler, a judge from Texas with whom Patterson worked closely during the conservative resurgence; Adrian Rogers, a Memphis pastor who served three terms SBC president; and others.

By the early 1990s, conservatives had elected an unbroken string of convention presidents and moved in position to shift the balance of power on all convention boards and committees from the theologically moderate establishment. But at the time of Schaeffer’s annual calls, the outcome of the controversy was still in doubt.

(Paige Patterson)

“I strongly suspect that he was afraid I would not hold strong,” Patterson, now president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, told Baptist Press. “He had seen so many people fold up under pressure that he assumed we probably would too. So he would call and ask for a report.”

Schaeffer’s interest in engaging culture made him particularly appealing to Southern Baptist conservatives. He helped provide them with a “battle plan” to fight cultural evils and what they perceived as theological drift in their denomination, Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, told BP.

Along with theologian Carl F.H. Henry, Schaeffer was the key intellectual influence on leaders of the conservative resurgence, Land said. When conservatives started to be elected as the executives of Baptist institutions, Henry spoke at Land’s inauguration at the Christian Life Commission (the ERLC’s precursor), R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky and Timothy George’s at Beeson Divinity School in Alabama.

“If Schaeffer had still been alive, we would have had him come,” Land said. He noted that Schaeffer was “close” to Rogers and “admired” by Bailey Smith, two conservative SBC presidents. Edith Schaeffer and Patterson’s wife Dorothy were close friends and traveled together in the early 1980s speaking on the importance of the home.

Clark Pinnock, a former New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor who mentored conservative resurgence leaders before taking a leftward theological turn in his own thinking, served on Schaeffer’s staff at L’Abri.

(ADRIAN ROGERS, chairman of the committee that drafted changes to the Baptist Faith & Message, joins Al Mohler, Chuck Kelley and Richard Land in a news conference shortly after the new statement of faith was adopted by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Orlando, Fla)

Mount Sinai is one of the most important sites of the entire Bible. It was here that the Hebrew people came shortly after their flight from Egypt. Here God spoke to them through Moses, giving them directions for their life as newly formed nation and making a covenant with them.

The thing to notice about this epochal moment for Israel is the emphasis on history which the Bible itself makes. Time and time again Moses reminds the people of what has happened on Mount Sinai:

Deuteronomy 4:11-12New International Version (NIV)

11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fireto the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lordspoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form;there was only a voice.

Moses emphasized that those alive at the time had actually heard God’s voice. They had received God’s direct communication  in words. They were eyewitnesses of what had occurred–they saw the cloud and the mountain burning with fire. They saw and they heard. Moses says, on the basis of what they themselves have seen and heard in their own lifetime, they are not to be afraid of their present or future enemies.

On the same basis too, Moses urges them to obey God: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen…” (Deuteronomy 4:9)

Thus the people’s confidence and trust in God and their obedience to Him are alike rooted in truth that is historical and open to observation…The relationship between God and His people was not based on an upward experience inside their own heads, but upon a reality which was seen and heard. They were called to obey God not because of a leap of faith, but because of God’s real acts in history. For God is the LIVING GOD….”Religious Truth” according to the Bible involves the same sort of truth which people operate on in their everyday lives. If something is true, then its opposite cannot also be true.

From the Bible’s viewpoint, all truth finally rests upon the fact that the infinite-personal God exists in contrast to His not existing. This means that God exists objectively. He exists whether or not people say He does. The Bible also teaches that God is personal.
Much of the Bible is in the sphere of normal existence and is observable. God communicated himself in language. This is not surprising for He  was the creator of people who use language in communicating with other people.
In the Hebrew (and biblical) view, truth is grounded ultimately in the existence and character of God and what has been given us by God in creation and revelation. Because people are finite, reality cannot be exhausted by human reason.
It is within this Judeo-Christian view of truth that, by its own insistence, we must understand the Bible. Moses could appeal to real historical events as the basis for Israel’s confidence and obedience into the future. He could even pass down to subsequent generations physical reminders of what God had done, so that the people could see them and remember.

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A 700 Club Special! ~ Francis Schaeffer 1982

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Faith, Seeing & Believing

John 21:1-14New International Version (NIV)

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

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The resurrected Christ stood there on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. Before the disciples reached the shore, He had already prepared a fire with fish cooking on it for them to eat. It was a fire that could be seen and felt; the fire cooked the fish, and the fish and bread could be eaten for breakfast.

When the fire died down, it left ashes on the beach; the disciples were well fed with bread and fish and Christ’s footprints would have been visible on the beach…

Thomas, Christ tells us,  should have believed the ample evidence given to him of the physical evidence of the resurrection by the other apostles. Christ rebuked him for not accepting this evidence.He at that time and we today have the same sufficient witness of those who have seen and heard and were able to touch the resurrected Christ and were able to observe what He had done.

Because Thomas insisted on seeing and touching we have a more sure witness than we otherwise would have  had. In the testimony of those who saw and heard we have a sure witness and this includes Thomas’ doubt and his personal verification which removed that doubt. WE SHOULD BOW BEFORE THE TOTAL WITNESS OF THE RECORD WHICH WE HAVE  IN THE BIBLE, OF THE TESTIMONY OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE AND IT’S FORM AND THE UNIQUENESS OF MAN. IT IS ENOUGH! BELIEVE HE HAS RISEN.

John 20:24-29New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

 

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2)

 

Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?

Tim Brister —  July 26, 2006 — 6 Comments

In the appendix of his book, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Francis Schaeffer wrote a little piece called “Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?” Schaeffer explains that, “To modern man, and much modern theology, the concept of propositional revelation and the historic Christian view of infallibility is not so much mistaken as meaningless” (345). The 20th century came with many challenges to theological formulation, not the least of which was the assault on propositional truth and revelation. Such camps as existentialists and logical positivists attempted to remove religious truth from the reason and revelation while others sought to justify meaning, reality, and truth with other criterion of verification such as experience and perception. However, center to the Christian faith is the belief that God has spoken and revealed himself in the written Word of God. In this revelation, God used language as the medium to carry and convey biblical truths and realities. This is not to say that God has revealed himself exhaustively, but it does mean that he has revealed himself truly and definitively. Schaeffer makes two points which I would like to mention here:

  1. Even communication between one created person and another is not exhaustive; but that does not mean that for that reason it is not true.
  1. If the uncreated Personal really cared for the created personal, it could not be thought unthinkable for him to tell the created personal things of a propositional nature; otherwise, as a finite being, the created personal would have numerous things he could not know if he just began with himself as a limited, finite reference point.

Schaffer makes some salient points here that deserve to be brought up in the 21stcentury. While we do not disagree that revelation is also personal, we cannot flinch on the assault on propositional revelation. God has revealed himself to us, his nature and his acts, through propositional revelation (i.e. the Bible), and the implications of this truth is that we do not have the rights to reinvent or rename the God Who Is There. If we do not begin with God and his revelation, Schaeffer is correct to conclude that there are many things we could not know about God based on such a limited, finite reference point as ourselves. It is no coincidence that, at the time of Schaeffer’s publishing of this book (1972), John Hick was advancing his pluralistic hypothesis which argued for the ineffability of the “Real” which argued that one cannot know anything about God as he is (ding an sich).Adapting the Kantian model of the noumenal and phenomenal worlds, Hick argues that God (“Real”) has not and cannot reveal himself truly and definitely; furthermore, it is impossible to know anything at all about the Real (except that it is ineffable and that it exists which is something he claims to know). The result when God is not the beginning, the reference point, the apriori grounds of knowledge and revelation, then knowing and defining God is a free-for-all to anyone who wants to postulate their phenomenological interpretations as religious truth. Schaeffer concludes his little article with this important paragraph in which he said:

“The importance of all this is that most people today (including some who still call themselves evangelical) who have given up the historical and biblical concept of revelation and infallibility have not done so because of the consideration of detailed problems objectively approached, but because they have accepted, either in analyzed fashion or blindly, the other set of presuppositions. Often this has taken place by means of cultural injection, without their realizing what has happened to them” (349, emphasis added).

In the days ahead, I hope to share how propositional truth is foundational to personal truth and give a few examples of the redefinition of revelation in contemporary contexts.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Hebrews 1:1-2

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The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Raúl de Nieves is an American Artist | Art21 “New York Close Up”

Featured artist is Raúl de Nieves

Raúl de Nieves

Raúl de Nieves was born in 1983 in Michoacán, Mexico and lives and works in New York. De Nieves, who works in sculpture and performance, attributes his art practice to his childhood education in Mexico, where he was taught to sew and crochet.

Originally planning to enroll in art school in San Francisco, de Nieves ultimately changed his mind and decided to study on his own, taking cues from his friends who were enrolled in classes, but leaving himself the liberty to follow his own instincts and interests—and allowing him to work for several years on the same pieces. De Nieves makes intricate sculptures using plastic beads that require intensive manual labor. He has gained recognition in both the art and fashion worlds, and has often worked with discarded shoes, resulting in pieces that are more fantastical than practical (though still possible) to wear. The expansive faux stained glass window and beaded sculptures he presented at the 2017 Whitney Biennial were among the exhibition’s most acclaimed works.

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