Tuesday, April 27, 2010

'Though one rise from the dead'

Once upon a time I was fascinated with stories of those who have conducted extensive searches of the Ararat mountains in Turkey, looking for clues to what might have become of the great ark of deliverance. I guess I've still retained that interest. Who wouldn't.


As it turns out, the search has been continued longer than I thought and now someone claims to have found hard evidence.

But I remember once, when I was probably just 8 years old, speaking to my grandpa, a pastor, about the stories and books I had read by some of the explorers. He asked me an important question when I was done with my show and tell:

"Why do you want someone to find the ark?"

I was puzzled at the time. After all, it should be obvious that it would prove to skeptics and unbelievers that the Bible was true and I told my grandpa as much.

"No it won't," he said. I couldn't believe my ears.

But he went on to explain that God didn't need us to prove him true with physical proof, nor was it the way He has chosen to make diciples.

I've come to understand what he was saying much better now, obviously. He wasn't meaning to imply that faith is irrational. I've met some who did say that, saying they totally believed that the world was formed through evolutionary means, but that it didn't mean that they didn't have faith in Christ. The problem with this approach should be obvious to any careful reader of scripture, in that we can't claim to believe one part of God's revelation and not another. How trustworthy is God's "Word" if part of His special revelation is so blatantly false. More than this, Christ is Himself proclaimed to be present in the Creation account — How can we possibly trust HIS WORD about our redemption if we can't trust HIS WORD about our creation?

But I digress... My grandfather's point can best be expanded by looking at what Jesus said in his parable about the rich man and Lazarus, as recorded in Luke 16:19-31. In that parable, the rich man in hell begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his five unbelieving brothers, who, if they don't repent, will end up in the same place of torment.
"Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
Jesus' words are poignant since in the biblical account he does indeed raise the real-life Lazarus from the dead. The only response was more and more perverse unbelief.

So suppose Noah's Ark is discovered. Does that mean I don't think any could possibly, by God's grace, be drawn to Christ through such a revelation? I wouldn’t say that. What I do say is what God says in Romans through the Apostle Paul:
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?"
God's means of grace has been revealed. It is the foolishness of preaching the good news by which the Holy Spirit converts. And note Paul's rhetorical question about preachers being sent. This is the task of the church — to ordain and send preachers. So much to say about this, it's not even funny.

So what profit is it if we see everything in scripture proved in our sight and believe, when Jesus says “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

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<< Home 6 Comments:
Blogger Aquatiki said...

1) Get a spell check.
2) Great point!
3) Sounds like Rev. Neff liked Presuppositional Apologetics! If you don't start with God, you won't reach God in the end.
4) Does the OPC link mean that the denomination y'all joined?

2:12 PM, April 30, 2010  
Blogger Mark said...

I think I've fix the irksome errors.

No, the OPC link has been there for a long time. It just used to be included in a longer list, such as ones dealing with the OCRC. I guess it does look a little out of place right now.

10:04 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Aquatiki said...

Did you guys decide anything? I'm so curious. I got accepted to Covenant (officially). Have you ever read any Van Til/Frame/Bahnsen? You sound like your groping towards Presuppositionalism.

12:40 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Mark said...

Sorry for the delay. I haven't read extensively the authors you cite, but I am familiar with their work.

No decisions have been made. I'm hoping there is a little more interest in a particular direction with the recent decisions out of London, Ontario.

9:17 PM, August 05, 2010  
Blogger Brandon said...

I too have come to find that what your grandfather said is true. Unfortunately there are many who will not believe the truth when it is so plainly before them! What a great parable to help explain this, too! But that doesn’t necessarily make proof a bad thing, of course. For those who believe and act in faith, they will eventually receive proof of those things in which they have faith. It’s like following someone’s directions to a destination. You may have signs and evidences along the way, such as a particular tree or house, or other landmark, but until you actually arrive at your destination you are still proceeding with faith. But the scriptures promise that the most faithful will receive proof in THIS life – not just in the next (see St. John 14:21, 23; 2 Peter 1:8-11).

Concerning your thoughts on evolution, though I do not believe in evolution precisely how most scientists accept it, I do believe in the basis of the evolutionary theory. I also believe it fits perfectly with God’s Word, from the Creation to our Redemption through Christ, and everything else. Think about it: what does it mean to create? Did God create the earth exactly as we see it today? Of course not! That would be denying the evidence that the earth has undergone small changes through volcanoes and earthquakes and such. I think of God’s creation of the earth much like a baker making a cake. Does the baker actually make the cake exactly as it is when you eat it? NO! The oven did much of the work. But the oven couldn’t do anything unless the baker had first mixed the proper ingredients in the proper order and in their proper quantities. (You could even think of God as the baker, the oven maker, the harvester of every ingredient in the cake, the gas miner for the natural gas in the stove, etc.) Like the baker with the cake, God created the world in a certain fashion, along with the physical laws (that are HIS laws) that would allow it to continue to develop over millennia. He put together a working, automatic model and pushed the ‘start’ button. Where I disagree with evolutionists is human evolution. God created man in God’s own image, not the image of a microorganism that eventually evolved into a human.

Another point: you mentioned that “we can't claim to believe one part of God's revelation and not another”. I couldn’t agree more! However, you assume that God’s revelation in the Bible has been perfectly and flawlessly preserved as it was originally revealed. This is simply not true, nor even plausible, considering the many revelations and evidences of a general apostasy or “falling away” as Paul calls it (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3). Unfortunately, the records which contained God’s revealed Word as given directly to His servants, the prophets (see Amos 3:7) are not now available for us to review. We do have a remarkable volume of scripture, the Holy Bible, which has incredibly survived millennia and is now at our fingertips. But a careful student of the Bible will soon discover discrepancies. One such student wrote, “so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible…to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong…for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. At lent I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God (James 1:5-6). I at length came to the determination to ‘ask of God,’ concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture”. To find out what this young man found out, go to this URL .

11:09 AM, December 28, 2011  
Blogger Brandon said...

http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,104-1-3-4,00.html

11:10 AM, December 28, 2011  

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