“The church disowned, the tower overthrown, the bells upturned, what have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms upturned in an age that moves progressively backwards.”
Every year, with predictable regularity (especially around Easter and Christmas time), skeptical theologians, Bible “Scholars” and Bible “experts”, seek out and then step into the limelight to announce to the world that they have made some new discovery about who Jesus really was, what Jesus really said… (or, at least what Jesus surely meant to say),… and what Jesus really did. Like fads, their speculative Bible theories come, and, like fads, their speculative Bible theories go. As one observer noted, “If liberal commentators believe anything, it’s that the Bible can mean everything except exactly what it says.”
This has come to be known as “de-mythologizing” the scriptures.
This is nothing new, of course. Like the woe-full and misdirected scribes (one of the groups that so vehemently opposed Jesus and the words He spoke during his earthly ministry), these present-day scholars… religion experts dedicated to Biblical “higher criticism”… pore over the ancient texts in a desperate attempt to corral scripture’s spiritual Truth into their earthbound box of human understanding. With true Pharisaical zeal, the tenured, ivory-towered elite , like their ancient predecessors, have once again dedicated themselves to the task of hammering the sharp, double-edged sword of God’s powerful, prophetic and living Word into the inanimate mold of a blunted butter knife of doubt and speculation. By doing so, the highly self-esteemed “de-mythologizers” confirm and give credence to something theologian R.C. Sproul once observed:
“It is much easier and far less painful to criticize the Bible than to allow the Bible to criticize us.”
Nevertheless, true to form, the tenured class of professional Doubting Thomases, those sophisticated men and women of letters, proudly continue to refashion, repackage and recycle age-old heresies for contemporary consumption, believing as they do that the Bible is man’s word about God rather than God’s word about man.
Bottom line: their ”faith” is in their own intellect… not in the Word of God.
As author and theologian, J.B. Phillips put it: “By the time they [liberal theologians] have finished with their dissection of the New Testament and explaining away as ‘myth’ all that they find disquieting or unacceptable to the modern mind, the Christian way of life is little more than humanism with a slight tinge of religion.”
Ahhh… yes, but it feels so good… (in a post-modern, deconstructed sort of way.)
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the [Judean] desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4: 1-4)
In the late 1960’s, California’s progressive and notoriously heretical , Episcopal Bishop James Pike, who often scoffed at and derided the fundamental doctrines and creeds of the Christian faith (the Trinity, the virgin birth, original sin and the uniqueness Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Son of God), found himself floundering in hopeless despondency after the suicide of his son. Unmoored from the word of God, he drifted farther and farther away from orthodoxy until, in utter disbelief, he began wandering into the barren demonic wilderness of sorcery and the occult. He consulted mediums and spiritualists and attended séances in an attempt to communicate with the dead and to find solace and purpose. It was during this period of time that Bishop Pike made this honest and tragically revealing admission to Christian theologian, Francis Schaeffer:
“When I turned from being agnostic, I went to Union Theological Seminary eager for and expecting bread; but when I graduated, all that it left me was a handful of pebbles.”
A short time after this admission, in 1969, while working on a project in the Holy Land to follow in the footsteps of the “historical Jesus”, Bishop Pike and his third wife (Diane)… ill-advisedly drove into the Judean Desert wilderness to do research and gather information. While there, however, the couple’s car got stuck in a dry ravine. Mrs. Pike walked out for help, but when she and others were able to return to the car a few days later, they discovered that her husband had wandered away from the car into the desert where… among the rocks, the stones and the pebbles… he died.
“Dead Stones Instead of Living Bread”
(The Devil’s Lie Deployed)
High critics muse… they’re unenthused,
By claims of Truth and Grace;
They have degrees and PhD’s,
But leave the Word defaced.
They cannot know true God, and so…
To Him they bid ‘Adieu!’”
The Faith assailed… while Truth’s impaled,
On swords without a clue.
“Did God today, sir, really say,
Those things you thought you heard?”
The serpent smiled… mankind beguiled,
Still hiding from the Word.
“God’s will?… Who knows!? Man’s knowledge grows…”
Jehovah shrinks and dies…
The Devil baits from Babel’s gate,
With Iv’ry-Towered Lies.
Their Pride displayed, their point is made:
IF there’s a “god”, he’s mute!
And so they swear: “There’s no one there!”
High critics… resolute.
Hot desert air does now declare,
The Scriptures nul ‘n’ void…
Dead stones instead of Living Bread,
The Devil’s Lie deployed.
Without disgrace and with straight face,
They’re emptying the pews…
“God never spake… Ye fools! Awake!
Trust us!... There’s no ‘Good News’!”
New Scribes agree with Sadducees,
Co- Pilates flyin’ ‘round;
“Truth?... What a joke!” … God never spoke!
The Lamb made not a sound.
They judged The Word… found Him absurd,
True revelation mocked;
High-sounding Man on sinking sand,
Again steps off The Rock.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
But now we see! … The victory!
The Risen Lord on high!
The Good News spread… to those once dead…
And for them Jesus died.
“It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own. It is always easy to be a modernist, as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom -- that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall: there are an infinity of angles at which one falls: only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame.But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.”
— GK Chesterton
“All merely human affirmations about God curl into a question mark. We cannot spy out God by obtrusive curiosity… Apart from God’s initiative, God’s act, God’s revelation, no confident basis exists for God-talk… If we are authorized to say anything at all about God, it is only because of God’s initiative and revelation. God’s disclosure alone can transform our wavering questions concerning ultimate reality into confident exclamations.” — Carl Henry