Friday, June 29, 2012

A Confession of Faith on the Inspiration and Preservation of Scripture


If you agree with the doctrine taught in the confession below, please subscribe to it in the comment section, and encourage like-minded believers to subscribe also.  Please reserve the comment section here for subscriptions;  one can discuss the content of the confession here and here.  The confession is also on this website.

In light of modern controversies over the matters of the inspiration and preservation of Scripture, and to prevent misunderstanding of my own position on these questions, I have thought it appropriate to write a confession of my faith on these essential Biblical truths.

I confess that God, through a supernatural operation of His Spirit, used holy men to miraculously produce the autographs of the 66 canonical books of the Bible, controlling them in such a manner that the very words, and all of the words, that they recorded were the very words of God Himself (2 Peter 1:16-21).  This miraculous production of the autographs of the Bible was absolutely unique.  It never has been, and never will be, replicated by any individual or group of individuals whatever who copy, collate, compile, or translate Biblical manuscripts.  Consequently, all views that affirm that any copyist, compiler, or translator of the Bible was controlled in the same miraculous manner as the original writers of Scripture must be rejected.  I therefore reject the views of Peter Ruckman, Gail Riplinger, and all others who affirm that the King James Version contains advanced revelation or is superior to the original language texts of the Bible.[i]

I confess that the verbally, plenarily inspired Scriptures are the product of this miraculous process (2 Timothy 3:16).  While entirely rejecting the idea that inspiration or enscripturation as a process ever has been or ever will be replicated, I confess that accurate copies of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic autographa are God’s Word, having in them the breath of God (Matthew 4:4) in the same manner that the original manuscripts were the Word of God, inasmuch as the words of such copies are identical to the words of the autographs.  Furthermore, any copy, to the extent that it has the same words and sentences as the autographs, is to that extent the inspired Word of God.  I further confess, in accordance with classical Baptist and orthodox Protestant Bibliology,[ii] that, in the same sense that Scripture, when translated, is still Scripture, and thus is still holy, living, powerful, sharper than any twoedged sword, and able to save (Romans 1:2; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:21), it also still has both the quality of having the breath of God in it and the resultant quality of being profitable (2 Timothy 3:16, pasa graphe Theopneustos kai ophelimos).[iii]

Concerning the preservation of Scripture,[iv] I confess:

1.) God revealed the Scriptures so men could know His will both in the Old and New Testaments and in the future (Deuteronomy 31:9-13, 24-29; 1 John 1:1-4, 2:1-17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:12-15).  The Bible is clear that no Scripture was intended for only the original recipient (Romans 15:4, 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 10:11).  God intended for His Word to be recognized and received by the churches as a whole (Colossians 4:16; Revelation 1:3-4).  The inspired text of Scripture is to be guarded (1 Timothy 6:20-21) as a “form (pattern) of sound words” for the church (2 Timothy 1:13-14) and used to instruct all future churches (2 Timothy 2:2).

2.) The Bible promises that God will preserve every one of His words forever down to the very jot and tittle,[v] the smallest letter (Psalm 12:6-7, 33:11, 119:152, 160; Isaiah 30:8, 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Matthew 5:18, 24:35).

3.) The Bible assures us that God’s words are perfect and pure (Psalm 12:6-7; Proverbs 30:5-6).

4.) The Bible promises that God would make His words generally available to every generation of believers (Deuteronomy 29:29; 30:11-14; Isaiah 34:16, 59:21; Matthew 4:4; 5:18-19; 2 Peter 3:2; Jude 17).

5.) The Bible promises there will be certainty as to the words of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19; 2 Peter 1:19; Luke 1:4; Proverbs 1:23, 22:20-21; Daniel 12:9-10; 1 John 2:20).

6.) The Bible promises that God would lead His saints into all truth, and that the Word, all of His words, are truth (John 16:13, 17:8, 17).  Believers are not to set themselves above the Word but receive it with the faith of a little child, rejecting secular and worldly “wisdom” (Matthew 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 3:18-20).

7.) God states that the Bible will be settled to the extent that someone could not add or take away from His words and effectually corrupt them (Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 12:32).

8.) The Bible shows that the true churches of Christ would receive and guard these words (Matthew 28:19-20; John 17:8; Acts 8:14, 11:1, 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Timothy 3:15).

9.) The Bible presents as a pattern that that believers would receive these words from other believers (Deuteronomy 17:18; 29:29; 1 Kings 2:3; Proverbs 25:1; Acts 7:38; Hebrews 7:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Philippians 4:9; Colossians 4:16).

10.) The Bible shows that God’s promises may appear to contradict science and reason.  In Genesis 2 we see that a newly created world may look ancient.  However, the Scriptures remind us that “it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).  We believe in order that we may understand.

11.) Christ taught the preservation of His very words, since they will be the standard in the future judgment (John 12:48) and men will be accountable to obey all of them.  He also warned of the vanity of ignoring His actual words (Matthew 7:26).  Christ emphatically declared, “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).  In Matthew 22:29 Jesus rebuked men, saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.”  If the Scriptures were only accessible in long-lost original autographs then why would the Lord chide people for being ignorant of words that were not available?  Believers are commanded to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and this faith is based upon the words of God (Romans 10:17).

12.)  In summary, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4) and “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Scripture, and faith in the promises of God, must be the “glasses” through which we evaluate historical data about the preservation of the Bible.  Scripture teaches the verbal, plenary preservation of the verbally, plenarily inspired autographa (Psalm 12:6-7; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:35);   that the preserved words would be perpetually available to God’s people (Isaiah 59:21);  and that  Israel was the guardian of Scripture in the Mosaic dispensation (Romans 3:1-2), and the church the guardian in the dispensation of grace (1 Timothy 3:15).  The Holy Spirit would lead the saints to accept the words the Father gave to the Son to give to His people (John 16:13; 17:8).  Believers can know with certainty where the canonical words of God are, because they are to live by every one of them (Matthew 4:4; Revelation 22:18-19) and are going to be judged by them at the last day (John 12:48).

I further confess that, receiving with the faith of a little child (Matthew 18:3; Luke 18:16-17) God’s own testimony to His own perfectly inspired, preserved, and self-authenticating Word, only the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Received Texts of Scripture, those original language texts from which the Authorized Version of the Bible was translated, fit the Biblical model of preservation.  I confess that the modern critical Greek text of Scripture, represented in the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Society editions, being a modern creation that was not in use by the people of God for well over a thousand years and differing in c. 7% of its text from the Received Bible, can by no means be reconciled with God’s promises about the preservation of His Word.  I likewise confess that the printed Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts, while far superior to the critical Greek text and far closer to the perfectly preserved Textus Receptus, do not fit the Scriptural pattern for the preservation of Scripture when they differ from the Received Text, for true churches have not been led by the Spirit of God to receive their texts as perfect, the idea that the pure Word of God was not available for century after century but only came into existence in print in 1992, and that God’s people have not had the pure Word in their vernacular languages, as no major translations in any language whatever have been made from the Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts, is impossible.  Furthermore, I confess that the Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts are most improperly designated the “Majority Text,” for neither of them is a collation of the 5,000+ Greek manuscripts currently in existence, but they are rather collations of only a few hundred manuscripts, and there are hundreds of verses where they do not follow the reading of the majority of manuscripts.[vi]  Rather, the Textus Receptus that underlies the Authorized Version of the Bible, that holy Word that was in use by Baptist churches and believers in other denominations[vii] both in the time from the invention of the printing press until the present day, and also the type of text in use by the line of true churches and believers, who were first denominated Christians, and then Baptists or Anabaptists, in the ancient and medieval periods, is the true Majority Text, and the only text that the Spirit has led Bible-believing churches who accept the testimony of Scripture to its own preservation to receive as canonical and perfectly preserved.[viii]  I therefore confess with true churches, countless martyrs, and the humble and faithful people of God, that the Textus Receptus, loved, copied, printed, translated, read, memorized, meditated upon, and preached for century after century, is indeed God’s very living and holy Word, delivered miraculously from heaven, providentially[ix] and perfectly preserved, and with holy joy and wonder received by me in faith as His own living oracles in my hands.

I likewise confess that I reject all textual criticism that denies or ignores God’s own promises about His providential work in preserving His Word, and that approaches the holy Scriptures in an atheistic and naturalistic way as if God’s Word were to be evaluated as if it were any common, uninspired and unpreserved book, instead joyfully receiving, with love, holy reverence, awe, and fear (Psalm 119:97; 119:120; Isaiah 66:2), that very Received Text that has been in use by true churches and the people of God from the time that God gave the autographs until this day.  I confess with such true churches and saints that the Scriptures I can with reverent delight hold in my hands, “being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and Providence kept pure in all Ages, are therefore authentical,” and likewise join such churches to confess that, while there is plentiful external evidence for the inspiration and preservation of Scripture, nonetheless our “full persuasion, and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”[x]

In relation to the English translation of the Authorized Version, I confess that I receive it with veneration, believing that the God who providentially works in all of history would certainly providentially work in relation to the translation of His Word that would be in use by Baptist churches for over 400 years in the language that God ordained would become the first truly world-wide language since the tower of Babel.  I confess that I do not believe that modern Baptist churches should use any other English translation than the Authorized Version, nor do I see any necessity for revising the KJV at any time during my lifetime.[xi]  However, I also confess that the promises of preservation are specifically made for Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, not English words (Matthew 5:18), and that there are no specific promises that state that Scripture would be translated without error.  Since no verses of the Bible promise a perfect English translation, I respect the views of brethren who, while receiving the promises of God concerning the preservation of His perfect Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, believe that there are places where the English of the King James Version would be better rendered otherwise.[xii] Furthermore, I recognize that there can be more than one accurate way to translate a verse from the original language into the vernacular.[xiii]  Nevertheless, because the people of God who do not know the original languages should have (a justified) confidence that when they hold the King James Bible in their hands, they have God’s very Word in their own language, and because I respect the high confidence that the Head of the church has led His congregations to place in the English of the Authorized Version, and because I have found in my own language study that, time and again, there are excellent reasons for the translation choices in the Authorized Version, and because I am not aware of any single place where I can, with a certain confidence and definitiveness, affirm that the English of the King James Version cannot possibly be justified as a translation but is indubitably in error,[xiv] I refrain from criticizing the English of the King James Bible, and when it is appropriate in preaching and teaching to mention a different way the text can be translated, I choose to say, “this word (or verse, etc.) could also be translated as” rather than “this word (or verse, etc.) would be better translated as.”  This is the faith that I confess in relation to the translation of the Bible into my mother tongue.

All of the above is the faith in the inspiration and preservation of Scripture I believe and confess with my whole mind and heart.  Unless convinced otherwise by the Scriptures, I will continue to believe and confess this faith, by the enabling grace of God, until Christ’s return or my death.



[i] See the articles “What About Ruckman?” and “The Problem with New Age Bible Versions by Gail Riplinger” by David Cloud, accessible, like the other resources mentioned in this confession, at http://faithsaves.net/Bibliology.

[ii] The affirmation of absolute verbal and plenary inspiration for the original language text, and a secondary, derivative inspiration for accurate translations, is the classic position confessed by Baptists and Protestants in the Reformation and post-Reformation era, in continuity with earlier periods of church history.  For Baptist sources, see the reference in endnote #3.  Richard Muller explains the historic Protestant position:
[Alongside] the insistence of the Reformed that the very words of the original are inspired, the theological force of their argument falls in the substance or res rather than on the individual words: translations can be authoritative quoad res because the authority is not so much in the words as in the entirety of the teaching as distributed throughout the canon. . . . [T]he issue of “things” (res) and “words” (verba) . . . is crucial to the Protestant doctrine of Scripture and is, as many of the other elements of the Protestant doctrine, an element taken over from the medieval tradition and rooted in Augustine’s hermeneutics. . . . [T]he words of the text are signs pointing to the doctrinal “things.” This distinction between signa and res significata, the sign and the thing signified, carries over into the language typical of scholastic Protestantism, of the words of the text and the substance of the text, of the authority of translations not strictly quoad verba but quoad res, according to the substance or meaning indicated by the original. . . . [O]nly the [original language] sources are inspired (theopneustoi) both according to their substance (quoad res) and according to their words (quoad verba)[.] This must be the case, since holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, 2 Pet. 1:21, who dictated to them not only the substance (res) but also the very words (verba). For the same reason, the Hebrew and the Greek are the norms and rules by which the various versions are examined and evaluated. . . . [There is] a distinction between authenticity and authorship quoad verba, which belongs only to the Hebrew and Greek originals, and authenticity and authority quoad res, which inheres in valid translations. . . . Thus translations can be used, but with the reservation that only the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament are the authentic norms of doctrine and the rule by which doctrinal controversy is to be decided[.] Versions that are congruent with the sources are indeed authentic according to substance (quoad res); for the Word of God [may be] translated into other languages: the Word of God is not to be limited, since whether it is thought or spoken or written, it remains the Word of God. Nonetheless they are not authentic according to the idiom or word, inasmuch as the words have been explained in French or Dutch. In relation to all translations, therefore, the Hebrew and Greek texts stand as antiquissimus, originalis, and archetypos. Thus, translations are the Word of God insofar as they permit the Word of God to address the reader or hearer: for Scripture is most certainly the Word of God in the things it teaches and to the extent that in and by means of it power of God touches the conscience. Even so, in translations as well as in the original the testimony of the Holy Spirit demonstrates the graciousness of God toward us. All translations have divine authority insofar as they correctly render the original: the tongue and dialect is but an accident, and as it were an argument of divine truth, which remains one and the same in all idioms. (pgs. 269, 326-327, 403, 416, 427-428,  Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy; volume 2, Holy Scripture:  The cognitive foundation of theology (2nd ed.), Richard Muller. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003;  quotations and original sources not reproduced)

[iii] See “Are Accurate Copies and Translations of Scripture Inspired? A Study of 2 Timothy 3:16,” at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7.

[iv] A book length exposition of the Biblical doctrine of preservation is Thou Shalt Keep Them:  A Biblical Theology of the Perfect Preservation of Scripture, ed. Kent Brandenburg, El Sobrante, CA:  Pillar and Ground Publishing, 2003.  The book is a fine presentation of the doctrine by a separatist Baptist.  It can be purchased at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7.  The website also contains an exposition of a number of passages related to the preservation of Scripture.  Compare the list of presuppositions on the preservation of Scripture found on pgs. 73-74, “Preservation of the Bible:  Providential or Miraculous?  A Response to Jon Rehurek of the Master’s Seminary,” Paul Ferguson.  The Burning Bush 15:2 (July 2009) 67-100.

[v] See “The Debate over the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points” and “Evidences for the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points,” by Thomas Ross, and “The Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowels, and Accents” by John Gill at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7 for the implications of this confession to the question of the inspiration and authority of the Hebrew vowel points.

[vi] For example, in Ephesians 5:21 the Textus Receptus follows about 70% of MSS with the reading en phobo Theou, while both the CT/UBS and both editions of the printed “Majority” text, Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont, contain en phobo Christou, following c. 30% of Greek MSS;  in Romans 13:9 the Textus Receptus, with 67% of Greek manuscripts, reads ou psudomarturesis, while the Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont “Majority” texts follow 33% of manuscripts in omitting the words and removing the ninth commandment from between the eighth and the tenth;  in Romans 6:1, the Textus Receptus reads epimenoumen with the majority of Greek manuscripts while the Robinson and Hodges “Majority” texts follow 19% of manuscripts to read epimenomen. Sometimes the Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont texts contradict each other;  for example, in Romans 12:2, the  Textus Receptus, as well as the Hodges/Farstad text, supported by 65% of Greek manuscripts, contain the imperatives suschematidzesthe and metamorphouesthe, while the Robinson/Pierpont “majority” text follows 35% of Greek manuscripts to print the infinitives suschematidzesthai and metamorphousthai.


In the book of Revelation, Pickering notes that very early on, probably within the second century, three main independent lines of transmission developed, and then a variety of variations within those streams.  Thus there are some 150 variant sets where no reading receives even 50% attestation, and another 250 sets where the strongest numerical attestation falls below 60%.  In these 400 places to speak of a “majority” text is not convincing (cf. http://walkinhiscommandments.com).  However, the Textus Receptus tends to follow the largest of these three divisions in Revelation, but that grouping does not always represent the actual majority of MSS. Hoskier declared, concerning the TR text of Revelation:  “I may state that if Erasmus had striven to found a text on the largest number of existing MSS [manuscripts] in the world of one type, he could not have succeeded better” (cited on pg. 16, J. A. Moorman, When the KJV Departs from the “Majority” Text, 2nd ed. Collingswood, NJ:  Bible For Today, 1988).

Of course, there are certainly instances where, because of the evidence of ancient versions or a variety of other reasons, in the providence of God the Textus Receptus follows a smaller number of Greek manuscripts than the majority (e. g., 1 John 5:7).  Indeed, there are instances where the Textus Receptus, the Hodges-Farstad, Robinson-Pierpont, and modern critical texts all follow a reading that has less than 50% support (e. g. 2 Timothy 3:7, where all printed texts, whetherTR, CT, or H/F & R/P, read Moousei with c. 30% of Greek MSS, while Mouse has c. 60% of Greek MSS, but has never been put in print in any edition.

[vii] Historians recognize that the Received Text was identified with the autographs by both Baptists and even the general body of Protestantism.  The Textus Receptus “was . . . the Bible of the Middle Ages and much more, since it was independent of interpretation by Popes, councils, canon lawyers or university doctors.  In one sense both Zwingli and the radicals [such as the Baptists] were uncritical about the Bible in that they made no attempt to go behind the received Hebrew and Greek texts to original manuscripts, and were not concerned that alternative readings were possible — quite the contrary, there was but one text . . . Zwingli and the Anabaptists . . . both accepted the received text, and both agreed that tradition, the hierarchy and any human authorities, however ancient or eminent, must give way to the Word. . . . [the Baptists defended what this unbelieving historian calls] narrow and uncompromising bibliolatry” (Pg. 172-173, Zwingli, G. R. Potter.  London: Cambridge University Press, 1976). One of the editors of the modern critical text stated:  “It is undisputed that Luther used the Greek Textus Receptus for his translation of the German New Testament in 1522 and all its later editions (although the term itself was not yet in use at the time). . . . [So did] all the translators of the New Testament in the 16th century (e.g., the Zürich version). All the translations of the 17th century, including the King James version of 1611, the “Authorized Version,” were also based on this text. Thus the New Testament of the church in the period of the Reformation was based on the Textus Receptus.  It is equally undisputed that in the 16th or 17th century (and for that matter well into the 18th century) anyone with a Greek New Testament would have had a copy of the Textus Receptus. . . . Finally it is undisputed that from the 16th to the 18th century orthodoxy’s doctrine of verbal inspiration assumed this Textus Receptus.” Indeed, the Textus Receptus “was regarded as ‘the text of the church’ . . . from the 4th . . . century” (pg. 143, ibid.).  It is therefore not surprising that throughout Baptist and Protestant Christiandom in the Reformation and Post-Reformation era the “Textus Receptus . . . was regarded as preserving even to the last detail the inspired and infallible word of God himself” (pg. 11, The Text of the New Testament, Kurt & Barbara Aland, trans. Erroll Rhodes. Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1989).

[viii] See “The Canonicity of the Received Bible Established From Baptist Confessions” at http://faithsaves.net/Bibliology.

[ix] I confess that the preservation of Scripture is providential rather than miraculous.  No miracle of the sort performed by Christ and the Apostles took place when scribes were copying Scripture, or when Scripture was being translated, or when any edition of the Textus Receptus was being compiled and printed.  Therefore, the Scrivener edition of the Textus Receptus, the edition that exactly underlies the English Authorized Version, was not the product of a miracle or the product of an act comparable to that through which the Scriptures were given to holy men of God in the autographs (2 Peter 1:16-21).  Nonetheless, the providence of God was involved in all stages of the transmission of the Bible, and there is nothing imperfect about God’s providence.  Since all of history takes place in accordance with the decree of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and God can bring about in perfect detail the sort of astonishing acts of providence that are recorded in the book of Esther without a specifically miraculous action, and the providential preservation of the Bible did not cease with the invention of the printing press, and there are no verses of Scripture that affirm that God is unable or unwilling to lead His people to certainty about the text of the Bible through having His pure words printed, and, while Christians before the age of printing could know with certainty what the words of the canon were but a perfect, mass-produced edition was not possible without miracle before the age of the printing press in the centuries after the autographs and their earliest apographs passed away, I therefore confess with the vast numbers of Baptist churches who receive the testimony of the Spirit to the words He dictated and preserved, and who believe the promises of Scripture concerning its own preservation, that the canonical words of God have been through Divine providence perfectly preserved in the common printed Received Text, the Scrivener edition underlying the Authorized Version.

[x] 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689.

[xi] In the unlikely event that the Lord were not to return for some hundreds of years into the future, and the English language changed in such a manner that the early modern or Elizabethan English of the Authorized Version were to have the comprehensibility of the Old English of Beowulf, it would certainly be right to update Biblical language.  However, I believe that the Holy Spirit would lead Biblical Baptist churches to have general agreement that such a revision of the English Bible is needed.  Without such clear Divine leadership, any revision would be inferior to the Authorized Version (as such versions as the NKJV most certainly are), and detrimental to the cause of Christ.

[xii] E. g., someone who affirmed that baptize would be better rendered as immerse.

[xiii] E. g., rendering peripateo as “walks” instead of “walketh” in a text such as 1 Peter 5:8 would not make such a translation inaccurate or erroneous.

[xiv] That is, for example, baptize rather than immerse more clearly communicates the character of the baptismal ceremony as a religious ordinance, immerse does not specifically indicate that the person who receives baptism is not only to be plunged under the water but also to arise out of it, and the verb to immerse was not commonly used in the English language in 1611 (and thus appears nowhere at all in the KJV; cf. the Oxford English Dictionary).  Furthermore, the argument sometimes advanced that men like King James were seeking to cover up the fact that baptism was properly performed by dipping is highly questionable in light of the fact that King James, Queen Elizabeth, and other English monarchs actually were dipped as infants, not sprinkled or poured upon, following the dominant Anglican liturgical practice of their day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Local Only Ecclesiology, Baptist History, and Landmarkism, pt. 2

Part One

In a recent article in the new Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal, Fred Moritz attempts to accomplish a few goals.  One, he wants to debunk local only ecclesiology as unscriptural and of recent origin (19th century) merely as a reaction to Campbellism and an invention by three Southern Baptists, primarily James R. Graves.  Two, he tries to have his readers think that Landmarkism is a theory that churches can and should be able to trace a physical lineage back to the first church in Jerusalem.  Three, he attempts to get his audience to believe that landmarkism, local-only ecclesiology, and the Graves group are heretical, that is divisive to the cause of true churches, essentially cultic.  Four, he doesn't say, but I believe his number one and really only goal is to do away with local only ecclesiology and thinking once and for all at Maranatha.  Moritz is a long time universal church advocate and promoter, spending a great deal of time leading a parachurch organization (BWM), and he doesn't want a whiff of local only ecclesiology and association left at Maranatha.  Does he succeed at his goal?  Let's look.

Wanting to Debunk Local Only Ecclesiology and Show of Recent Origin

I'm accustomed to reading history, judging and evaluating what I read, as to whether it's true, whether the point has been proven or not.  Moritz doesn't come close.  I'm assuming he thinks he has a sympathetic audience who doesn't need proof, i.e., he thinks he's preaching to the choir.  By the way, I find this typical of fundamentalism, which commonly writes articles for itself, for its own crowd, where it won't receive criticism. His article is an insult to hundreds of Maranatha graduates, but that doesn't seem to matter to modern Maranatha, which wants to separate itself from its past.  Its present and future have dimmed because of this.

If local only ecclesiology is only of recent origin, as Moritz is asserting, then it is no better than the Campbellite baptismal regeneration that Moritz also targets in his article.  In other words, an ecclesiology other than Moritz's own is cultic in this analysis.  I'll deal with that, but, first, I find that ironic in that the problem of Campbell's baptismal regeneration teaching, and the proceeding Church of Christ (COC) denomination, is a hermeneutical one.

Campbell and the COC style themselves as "speaking where Scripture speaks and being silent where Scripture is silent."  This is patently untrue, because Scripture is silent when it comes to any condemnation for the non-baptized, and yet Campbell and the COC condemn those who go unbaptized.  What Campbell does is take a few pet baptism references and then attempt to conform all of the doctrine of baptism to fit those few.  Right hermeneutics fit all the verses into the whole.  If we were to compare this to mathematics, Campbell uses addition instead of division.  He adds all the verses up into one baptism doctrine.  That's not how right hermeneutics operate.  It's similar to the way Mormons get to their proxy baptism doctrine from 1 Corinthians 15:29.  Campbell, and others, need to use division, akin to fractions.  A few baptism passages, like Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:20-21 are a fraction, just a division, of the overall baptism passages to which they fit.

The irony for Moritz is that the Campbellite false hermeneutic is the same error that he uses to get his universal church doctrine, except for Moritz it's worse.  You've got way more usages of the "church" than you do "baptism," a much larger sample size.  When you read the 120 or so uses of ekklesia in the New Testament, you don't have, based upon Greek grammar, one unambiguous reference of a universal church in all the New Testament.   It's local church only all over the place.  Universal church teaching doesn't come from the Bible.

Baptistmal regeneration didn't start with Campbell and the COC.  Baptismal regeneration came from a Roman Catholic hermeneutic, so can be traced back to a few centuries after the church in Jerusalem.  Guess what?  So can the universal church doctrine.  Both baptismal regeneration and the Catholic (universal) church  are Roman Catholic.  And then they are also Protestant.  The reformers hung on to Catholic baptism and Catholic church.   Moritz ditches the Catholic baptism, and in so doing, says he's a Baptist (I'll deal with this a little later), but he keeps the Catholic church teaching with the same Campbellite-like hermeneutic.

When you read through Moritz's article, if you are open-minded (like I like to be), then you will see that he doesn't actually prove anything historically.  A major point to his whole thesis is that Graves was in fact a reaction to Campbell.  In other words, all of Graves's local only ecclesiology came out of a reaction to Campbell's doctrine, that is, Graves was using local only ecclesiology and some kind of chain-link authority pattern to alleviate the baptismal regeneration arguments of Campbell.  That would be a necessary historical link to make in order to prove his point.  Moritz doesn't do that, at all.  Not one bit.  And like I said, he probably doesn't think he needs to do that, because his one job with this article is merely to smear people before an uncritical audience.

Here's how good Moritz does at making that link.  He takes one historical event that was occurring around the time of Graves, the Campbell event, and assumes that because they were happening in the same era of history, they must have been related.  Sometimes these kinds of ties might be true.  However, many times they're just fools' gold, as it happens to be in this case.

In order to make the above assertion, Moritz relies on an Alan Lafever, director of the Texas Baptist historical collection.  Lafever opines that Landmarkism would never have occurred without Campbellism.  He doesn't prove it, just states it.  So Moritz uses one guy with an opinion, who does not prove that connection.  That is such a typical fundamentalist manner of operation.  If you quote someone else, you've proven it.  He's done nothing but quote someone who doesn't prove anything, which means he's still not proven anything.

What is really tell-tale about Moritz's assertion is what we see Moritz ultimately do in defining Landmarkism. He says that it is something that it actually is not.  He misdefines Landmarkism.  That alone should send his article to the trash can.  And I'll talk about that in the next part of my response to Moritz's essay.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Travesty and Contradiction of Theologically Conservative But Culturally Liberal

This last week I talked to a man involved in the new, hottest, local, hopeful mega-church, and he described its new meeting space at a vacant Circuit City.   39,000 square feet of space.   They didn't have to set-up, take down their stage.  They have room in the old warehouse for their "kidzone," with its own stage and game space.  Folks stuck in line at IHOP decided to come to church and afterwards probably didn't have to go back because of the free donuts, coffee, and then ice cream afterwards.  As we conversed, I asked if his pastor was Calvinist---thought he might be because he graduated from Trinity and D. A. Carson's there.  He said he didn't know.  I told him I'd asked because I knew of "new Calvinists" like Mark Driscoll, who utilized new measures (slipping in Finneyism for my own enjoyment, because he wouldn't catch it), including the kegger party for the church social and the grunge band, hoping to attract adolescent males.  He said that went too far from him.  He knew about Driscoll.  I mentioned Driscoll's statement of "theologically conservative and culturally liberal." He laughed.

How can anything be "too far," when you've already decided that your boundary line, your only prohibitions, may be set only by express and clear wording of Scripture?  And then anything else adds or takes away from the Word of God.  If it's "too far for you," and it's not mentioned at all in the Bible, then you're joining those applying some sort of scriptural principle.  You too are drawing a line, just further to the left.  Based on your own standard, you are "exceeding that which is written" and elevating man-made tradition to the level of God's Word.  It reminded me of another longtime mega-church in our area, where a man participating in the band took it past a point of the comfort of the audience, so he was asked to stop.  They do draw lines, just ones of pragmatism.  Their methods already "exceed what is written" in Scripture, crafted to lure and keep an unsaved audience.  "Exceeding what is written," to them, ironically applies only against actual application of the Bible, not to their own pragmatism.

Two thoughts bounced around in my mind after our talk.  First, this is Jack Hyles on steroids.  All the people who would have mocked Hyles now walk in his Barnum and Bailey path, except worse.  Second, was the contradiction of theological conservatism and cultural liberalism.  I brought that up because I didn't think it would sound acceptable to him, even though it's how his church actually practiced.  And his laughter indicated to me that I was right.  It's not going to stop them because it works, people like it, and since it works, it must be that "God is working."  It's a form of continuationism.

Can you be a theological conservative and a cultural liberal?  Driscoll says he is.   Grace Community Church and John MacArthur won't stop rock or pop music there because they say to do so would "exceed what is written."  Know this, cultural liberalism is nothing more than "fleshly lust," "worldly lust," "making provision for the flesh," "loving the world," and "conforming to the world."  It is conduct unbecoming sound doctrine.  None of those phrases exceed what is written---they are what is written.     We've got to apply Scripture, and this is what cultural liberalism fails to do.  Cultural liberalism is an attack on the application of the Bible for pragmatic purposes.  It is what God's Word calls "licentiousness" and "using grace as an occasion of the flesh" and "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness."

You can't be a theological conservative and a cultural liberal.  The two cannot coexist.  In essence, being a theological conservative is the "saying you know God" and the cultural liberal is the "not doing what He says."  You are not a friend of God, which is the theological part of it, and you are friend of the world, which is the cultural part of it.

If you say that you are a cultural liberal, then you are borrowing a Christian worldview for theological conservatism.  Theological conservatism says that there is one God and one doctrine, God cannot deny Himself.  Cultural liberalism says that God can deny His own goodness and beauty.  There is one Jesus and He isn't a goodymeister.  He isn't a genie in a bottle, who will pop out to give you all your wishes.  You can't believe in Jesus and separate Him from culture.  Your culture will conform to that Jesus, to that one and only true God.  And if your culture doesn't conform to the one and true Jesus, then it conforms to another Jesus, and then you're not a theological conservative anymore.  You have a different Jesus.

When the culture isn't changed by the theology, people will not see the one and only true God in the culture.  Whatever theology one says He believes, others will not see it in a culture that denies that very God.  The travesty is that a conservative theology has already changed with a liberal culture.  It just isn't admitting it.  In the end, a liberal culture will change a conservative theology into a liberal one, in deed and in faith.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New Book on Separation in Pre-Publication, Online Audio, and European Tour



Pillar and Ground Publishing, out of our church, Bethel Baptist Church, in El Sobrante, CA has a new book in publication.  It is in pre-publication, that is, the book is about to go to printer.  Here's the cover.  After publication, the price will be $15 per book and $12 for multiple copies.  Pre-publication price will be $12 for a single copy and $10 for multiple copies.  You can purchase the book pre-publication right now at Paypal by clicking on the Buy Now Button.

Multiple copies can be ordered by clicking on this next BUY NOW button.

Most of you readers know that we have sermons on audio from our church.  There are several ongoing series.  If you click on each of the following, it will take you to the place where you can listen or download.
1 Corinthians (Sunday Morning series by Kent Brandenburg)
1 Kings (Sunday School series by Kent Brandenburg)
Luke (Wednesday Evening series by Kent Brandenburg)
Exodus (Sunday Evening series by David Sutton)

I haven't written about this, but two of our daughters are presently in Europe with Young People's Symphony Orchestra (of which I'm on the board of directors), the second oldest youth symphony in the United States and the oldest in California.  They play violin, and have already had one concert (tonight, June 23).

Here's the itinerary:

Concert No. 1 in conjunction with the Benda Chamber Orchestra in Dvorak Hall at the Rudolfinum
Prague, Czech Republic 
Saturday, June 23 
Program: 
Karel Stamic - Sinfonia in F "Lovecká" (La caccia) (some YPSO string members joining BKO) 
Jan Krtitel Vanhal - Concerto in F for Bassoon Jaroslav Kubita, soloist, and solo bassoonist of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra 
Smetana - Vltava (the Moldau) 
Rimsky-Korsakov - Capriccio Espagnol
Dvorak - Slavonic Dance in C Major, Opus 43 No. 1 (some members of BKO joining YPSO for the Dvorak Slavonic dance) 

Concert No. 2 at the Slovak Radio Concert Hall 
Bratislava, Slovakia
Tuesday, June 26
Program: 
Dvorak - Scherzo Capriccioso
Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Marian Svetlik, Soloist
Smetana - Vltava (the Moldau) 
Rimsky-Korsakov - Capriccio Espagnol 

Concert No. 3 at the Musikverein
Vienna, Austria
Thursday, June 28
Joint Performance with New Jersey Youth Symphony and Camerata Medici 
YPSO's Part of Program: 
Dvorak - Scherzo Capriccioso
Debussy - La Mer

The latter venue is considered to be one of the greatest concert halls in the world and is home to the Vienna Philharmonic.  It is called the Great Hall and the Golden Hall.  The building was inaugurated on January 6, 1870.  Brahms conducted there.  The Rudolfinum is home to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.  It opened in 1885 and is one of the oldest concert halls in Europe and of the finest acoustics.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Confession of Faith on the Inspiration and Preservation of Scripture, part 2


The material below is the second and final part of this confession on the inspiration and preservation of Scripture.  Part 1 is here.  Lord willing, next Friday I will post the two parts together and ask you if you are willing to subscribe to this confession.  At this point, any discussion of this part should take place in the comment section of this post.


I further confess that, receiving with the faith of a little child (Matthew 18:3; Luke 18:16-17) God’s own testimony to His own perfectly inspired, preserved, and self-authenticating Word, only the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Received Texts of Scripture, those original language texts from which the Authorized Version of the Bible was translated, fit the Biblical model of preservation.  I confess that the modern critical Greek text of Scripture, represented in the Nestle-Aland and United Bible Society editions, being a modern creation that was not in use by the people of God for well over a thousand years and differing in c. 7% of its text from the Received Bible, can by no means be reconciled with God’s promises about the preservation of His Word.  I likewise confess that the printed Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts, while far superior to the critical Greek text and far closer to the perfectly preserved Textus Receptus, do not fit the Scriptural pattern for the preservation of Scripture when they differ from the Received Text, for true churches have not been led by the Spirit of God to receive their texts as perfect, the idea that the pure Word of God was not available for century after century but only came into existence in print in 1992, and that God’s people have not had the pure Word in their vernacular languages, as no major translations in any language whatever have been made from the Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts, is impossible.  Furthermore, I confess that the Hodges-Farstad and Robinson-Pierpont texts are most improperly designated the “Majority Text,” for neither of them is a collation of the 5,000+ Greek manuscripts currently in existence, but they are rather collations of only a few hundred manuscripts, and there are hundreds of verses where they do not follow the reading of the majority of manuscripts.[i]  Rather, the Textus Receptus that underlies the Authorized Version of the Bible, that holy Word that was in use by Baptist churches and believers in other denominations[ii] both in the time from the invention of the printing press until the present day, and also the type of text in use by the line of true churches and believers, who were first denominated Christians, and then Baptists or Anabaptists, in the ancient and medieval periods, is the true Majority Text, and the only text that the Spirit has led Bible-believing churches who accept the testimony of Scripture to its own preservation to receive as canonical and perfectly preserved.[iii]  I therefore confess with true churches, countless martyrs, and the humble and faithful people of God, that the Textus Receptus, loved, copied, printed, translated, read, memorized, meditated upon, and preached for century after century, is indeed God’s very living and holy Word, delivered miraculously from heaven, providentially[iv] and perfectly preserved, and with holy joy and wonder received by me in faith as His own living oracles in my hands.

I likewise confess that I reject all textual criticism that denies or ignores God’s own promises about His providential work in preserving His Word, and that approaches the holy Scriptures in an atheistic and naturalistic way as if God’s Word were to be evaluated as if it were any common, uninspired and unpreserved book, instead joyfully receiving, with love, holy reverence, awe, and fear (Psalm 119:97; 119:120; Isaiah 66:2), that very Received Text that has been in use by true churches and the people of God from the time that God gave the autographs until this day.  I confess with such true churches and saints that the Scriptures I can with reverent delight hold in my hands, “being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and Providence kept pure in all Ages, are therefore authentical,” and likewise join such churches to confess that, while there is plentiful external evidence for the inspiration and preservation of Scripture, nonetheless our “full persuasion, and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”[v]

In relation to the English translation of the Authorized Version, I confess that I receive it with veneration, believing that the God who providentially works in all of history would certainly providentially work in relation to the translation of His Word that would be in use by Baptist churches for over 400 years in the language that God ordained would become the first truly world-wide language since the tower of Babel.  I confess that I do not believe that modern Baptist churches should use any other English translation than the Authorized Version, nor do I see any necessity for revising the KJV at any time during my lifetime.[vi]  However, I also confess that the promises of preservation are specifically made for Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, not English words (Matthew 5:18), and that there are no specific promises that state that Scripture would be translated without error.  Since no verses of the Bible promise a perfect English translation, I respect the views of brethren who, while receiving the promises of God concerning the preservation of His perfect Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, believe that there are places where the English of the King James Version would be better rendered otherwise.[vii] Furthermore, I recognize that there can be more than one accurate way to translate a verse from the original language into the vernacular.[viii]  Nevertheless, because the people of God who do not know the original languages should have (a justified) confidence that when they hold the King James Bible in their hands, they have God’s very Word in their own language, and because I respect the high confidence that the Head of the church has led His congregations to place in the English of the Authorized Version, and because I have found in my own language study that, time and again, there are excellent reasons for the translation choices in the Authorized Version, and because I am not aware of any single place where I can, with a certain confidence and definitiveness, affirm that the English of the King James Version cannot possibly be justified as a translation but is indubitably in error,[ix] I refrain from criticizing the English of the King James Bible, and when it is appropriate in preaching and teaching to mention a different way the text can be translated, I choose to say, “this word (or verse, etc.) could also be translated as” rather than “this word (or verse, etc.) would be better translated as.”  This is the faith that I confess in relation to the translation of the Bible into my mother tongue.

All of the above is the faith in the inspiration and preservation of Scripture I believe and confess with my whole mind and heart.  Unless convinced otherwise by the Scriptures, I will continue to believe and confess this faith, by the enabling grace of God, until Christ’s return or my death.

-TDR



[i] For example, in Ephesians 5:21 the Textus Receptus follows about 70% of MSS with the reading en phobo Theou, while both the CT/UBS and both editions of the printed “Majority” text, Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont, contain en phobo Christou, following c. 30% of Greek MSS;  in Romans 13:9 the Textus Receptus, with 67% of Greek manuscripts, reads ou psudomarturesis, while the Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont “Majority” texts follow 33% of manuscripts in omitting the words and removing the ninth commandment from between the eighth and the tenth;  in Romans 6:1, the Textus Receptus reads epimenoumen with the majority of Greek manuscripts while the Robinson and Hodges “Majority” texts follow 19% of manuscripts to read epimenomen. Sometimes the Hodges/Farstad and Robinson/Pierpont texts contradict each other;  for example, in Romans 12:2, the  Textus Receptus, as well as the Hodges/Farstad text, supported by 65% of Greek manuscripts, contain the imperatives suschematidzesthe and metamorphouesthe, while the Robinson/Pierpont “majority” text follows 35% of Greek manuscripts to print the infinitives suschematidzesthai and metamorphousthai.

In the book of Revelation, Pickering notes that very early on, probably within the second century, three main independent lines of transmission developed, and then a variety of variations within those streams.  Thus there are some 150 variant sets where no reading receives even 50% attestation, and another 250 sets where the strongest numerical attestation falls below 60%.  In these 400 places to speak of a “majority” text is not convincing (cf. http://walkinhiscommandments.com).  However, the Textus Receptus tends to follow the largest of these three divisions in Revelation, but that grouping does not always represent the actual majority of MSS. Hoskier declared, concerning the TR text of Revelation:  “I may state that if Erasmus had striven to found a text on the largest number of existing MSS [manuscripts] in the world of one type, he could not have succeeded better” (cited on pg. 16, J. A. Moorman, When the KJV Departs from the “Majority” Text, 2nd ed. Collingswood, NJ:  Bible For Today, 1988).


Of course, there are certainly instances where, because of the evidence of ancient versions or a variety of other reasons, in the providence of God the Textus Receptus follows a smaller number of Greek manuscripts than the majority (e. g., 1 John 5:7).  Indeed, there are instances where the Textus Receptus, the Hodges-Farstad, Robinson-Pierpont, and modern critical texts all follow a reading that has less than 50% support (e. g. 2 Timothy 3:7, where all printed texts, whether TR, CT, or H/F & R/P, read Moousei with c. 30% of Greek MSS, while Mouse has c. 60% of Greek MSS, but has never been put in print in any edition.

[ii] Historians recognize that the Received Text was identified with the autographs by both Baptists and even the general body of Protestantism.  The Textus Receptus “was . . . the Bible of the Middle Ages and much more, since it was independent of interpretation by Popes, councils, canon lawyers or university doctors.  In one sense both Zwingli and the radicals [such as the Baptists] were uncritical about the Bible in that they made no attempt to go behind the received Hebrew and Greek texts to original manuscripts, and were not concerned that alternative readings were possible — quite the contrary, there was but one text . . . Zwingli and the Anabaptists . . . both accepted the received text, and both agreed that tradition, the hierarchy and any human authorities, however ancient or eminent, must give way to the Word. . . . [the Baptists defended what this unbelieving historian calls] narrow and uncompromising bibliolatry” (Pg. 172-173, Zwingli, G. R. Potter.  London: Cambridge University Press, 1976). One of the editors of the modern critical text stated:  “It is undisputed that Luther used the Greek Textus Receptus for his translation of the German New Testament in 1522 and all its later editions (although the term itself was not yet in use at the time). . . . [So did] all the translators of the New Testament in the 16th century (e.g., the Zürich version). All the translations of the 17th century, including the King James version of 1611, the “Authorized Version,” were also based on this text. Thus the New Testament of the church in the period of the Reformation was based on the Textus Receptus.  It is equally undisputed that in the 16th or 17th century (and for that matter well into the 18th century) anyone with a Greek New Testament would have had a copy of the Textus Receptus. . . . Finally it is undisputed that from the 16th to the 18th century orthodoxy’s doctrine of verbal inspiration assumed this Textus Receptus.” Indeed, the Textus Receptus “was regarded as ‘the text of the church’ . . . from the 4th . . . century” (pg. 143, ibid.).  It is therefore not surprising that throughout Baptist and Protestant Christiandom in the Reformation and Post-Reformation era the “Textus Receptus . . . was regarded as preserving even to the last detail the inspired and infallible word of God himself” (pg. 11, The Text of the New Testament, Kurt & Barbara Aland, trans. Erroll Rhodes. Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1989).

[iii] See “The Canonicity of the Received Bible Established From Baptist Confessions” at http://faithsaves.net/bibliology/.

[iv] I confess that the preservation of Scripture is providential rather than miraculous.  No miracle of the sort performed by Christ and the Apostles took place when scribes were copying Scripture, or when Scripture was being translated, or when any edition of the Textus Receptus was being compiled and printed.  Therefore, the Scrivener edition of the Textus Receptus, the edition that exactly underlies the English Authorized Version, was not the product of a miracle or the product of an act comparable to that through which the Scriptures were given to holy men of God in the autographs (2 Peter 1:16-21).  Nonetheless, the providence of God was involved in all stages of the transmission of the Bible, and there is nothing imperfect about God’s providence.  Since all of history takes place in accordance with the decree of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and God can bring about in perfect detail the sort of astonishing acts of providence that are recorded in the book of Esther without a specifically miraculous action, and the providential preservation of the Bible did not cease with the invention of the printing press, and there are no verses of Scripture that affirm that God is unable or unwilling to lead His people to certainty about the text of the Bible through having His pure words printed, and, while Christians before the age of printing could know with certainty what the words of the canon were but a perfect, mass-produced edition was not possible without miracle before the age of the printing press in the centuries after the autographs and their earliest apographs passed away, I therefore confess with the vast numbers of Baptist churches who receive the testimony of the Spirit to the words He dictated and preserved, and who believe the promises of Scripture concerning its own preservation, that the canonical words of God have been through Divine providence perfectly preserved in the common printed Received Text, the Scrivener edition underlying the Authorized Version.

[v] 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689.

[vi] In the unlikely event that the Lord were not to return for some hundreds of years into the future, and the English language changed in such a manner that the early modern or Elizabethan English of the Authorized Version were to have the comprehensibility of the Old English of Beowulf, it would certainly be right to update Biblical language.  However, I believe that the Holy Spirit would lead Biblical Baptist churches to have general agreement that such a revision of the English Bible is needed.  Without such clear Divine leadership, any revision would be inferior to the Authorized Version (as such versions as the NKJV most certainly are), and detrimental to the cause of Christ.

[vii] E. g., someone who affirmed that baptize would be better rendered as immerse.

[viii] E. g., rendering peripateo as “walks” instead of “walketh” in a text such as 1 Peter 5:8 would not make such a translation inaccurate or erroneous.

[ix] That is, for example, baptize rather than immerse more clearly communicates the character of the baptismal ceremony as a religious ordinance, immerse does not specifically indicate that the person who receives baptism is not only to be plunged under the water but also to arise out of it, and the verb to immerse was not commonly used in the English language in 1611 (and thus appears nowhere at all in the KJV; cf. the Oxford English Dictionary).  Furthermore, the argument sometimes advanced that men like King James were seeking to cover up the fact that baptism was properly performed by dipping is highly questionable in light of the fact that King James, Queen Elizabeth, and other English monarchs actually were dipped as infants, not sprinkled or poured upon, following the dominant Anglican liturgical practice of their day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Attacks or Denials of God's Creation

Scripture emphasizes God as Creator.  God Himself elevates His work of creation.  He desires recognition and glory for what He did and then continues to do in sustaining the creation.   Believing in Him as Creator is one vital aspect of believing in Him.  In other words, you don't believe in Him if you deny His creation.

The Bible opens (Genesis 1:1) and closes with God creating (Revelation 21:1).  We see this all over the psalms.  Psalm 33:6-8:

6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

Psalm 93:3-6:

3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. 5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

Psalm 104:1-24:

vv. 1-3.  Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honour and majesty. . . . Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: He maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind. . . . Thou best set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. v. 10. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. . . . vv. 13–14. He watereth the hills from his chambers: The earth is satisfied with fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; . . . vv. 19–20. He appointed the moon for seasons: The sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night; . . . v. 24. O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom host thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

 We don't worship the Lord without acknowledgement of His creation, and God is seeking for true worshipers.  It's easy to see that denying creation is part of apostasy (2 Peter 3:13).  Paul said that the unbeliever under God's wrath worships and serves the creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:20).  Creation on a root level declares that God is in fact God (Isaiah 45:18).   Heaven's population declares Him worthy because He created all things (Revelation 4:11).  We should concern ourselves with the faith of those who attack or deny God's creation.

I want us to consider several ways that men today attack or deny God's creation, and, therefore, God as Creator.

1.  Evolution

More evangelicals and even some professing fundamentalists believe in evolution.  One of the leadership of The Gospel Coalition, Tim Keller, is one.  The Bible doesn't read evolution.   Now prominent evangelicals are working at making evolution acceptable to evangelicals.  They are looking at the Genesis account in unique ways that I have never seen before.

2.  Homosexuality

An argument for homosexuality is one against God's creation, as clearly seen in Romans 1.  Maybe not ironically, Keller goes soft on homosexuality in his preaching:

Well, it’s much, much, much easier to to have private conversations about it. I think . . . uh . . . can make this short. I . . . I believe in general that if you preach on why homosexuality is a sin . . . uhhh . . . there are . . . at least in my . . . in my . . . in my . . . in my church I know there’s lots and lots of folks who have same sex attraction who know that that’s not . . . as a Christian, I can’t do that. I’m not gonna go there. There’s a good number of them.  I’ve got a lot of non-Christians who are present who are friends of gay people but are not gay. Uhhh . . . and then uhh, there’d be a number of people with same sex attraction who . . . are there. And generally speaking, it’s almost impossible to preach a sermon and hit all 3 or 4 of those constituencies equally well.  Ummmm . . . it’s just . . . it’s just think about . . . you know . . . you know . . . you’re a communicator.  You know you need to . . . well, what’s my goal?  Who are my audience and . . . wow! it’s like a conundrum you can’t solve.  So, the best thing has always been for me. . . . to not do the public teaching as much as segment my audience through . . . ummm.

This explains the numerical growth of Keller's church in New York City.  This kind of attitude and action leads to some bad statistics on young evangelicals and homosexuality.  When you see a fast rising acceptance of homosexual marriage in the United States, you think about professing evangelicals.  The "millennials," those whose oldest are approaching thirty, have been polled and 44% of them support homosexual marriage.  That's bad, but 19% of evangelicals overall support it.  Keller's preaching, and others' like him, with homosexuality correlate to these statistics.

God created male and female and He made the woman for man, not a man for the man, just to remind us of the obvious.

3.  Egalitarian Marriages and Relationships and Roles

Closely related to the first two here are marriages that attack or deny the God ordained roles.  We've got feminist theologians now and they have made great headway.  Male headship and female submission are part of God's creation.  He designed man as head over woman.  You've got homosexuals and now you've also got metrosexuals.  Men are more like women today.  You know this.  They have a certain fastidiousness to their clothes and hair, talk with a slight lisp, and have a lot of girlfriends.  This is a new norm.  Mr. Mom at home also reflects this---dad in the apron.  An engineer in our church says that female engineers are outgrowing men.  Without a role, you've probably noticed, boys become aimless, not knowing how to act anymore.  It seems that you either have a fake manhood or little manhood.  Real manhood is disappearing.  You might be amazed at how much metrosexuality is at West Point, when I've been there visiting.

To remind you of Scripture, roles are based on creation order (1 Timothy 2:13; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9).  Attacks or denials of complementarianism, separate roles for men and women, are attacks or denials of God as Creator.

4.  Unisex Dress

Christians are some of the strongest advocates today for unisex dress.  They take no position on Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:3-16.  They have relegated it to something ancient and closed off by history.  Women in churches have butch haircuts and wear blue jeans.  Men support it.  They elevate female happiness over biblical obedience.  These appearance issues are about God's design in His creation again.  I believe #2 and #3 above proceed from #4 here.  Of course, a wrong belief comes first, but in practice, the appearance precedes the egalitarianism.  Men won't fight this now for the same reason Keller won't preach against homosexuality.  They don't want to deal with those consequences.  But what about God?  I believe God sees this abuse as equal to homosexuality.  Equal.  I'm basing that on the use of the word "abomination."  God wants to be supported as Creator.  Not doing so is akin to not believing in Him.

5.  Amoral Music, Art, and Literature

Yes, Christian acceptance of rock and rap and grunge (etc.) music is an attack on God as Creator.  At the root of it is a denial of Divine aesthetics, objective beauty.  There is one God, one truth, one goodness, and one beauty.  To make beauty amoral, to subjectivize beauty, is a rejection of God's creation.  Pre-enlightenment moral imagination saw God's creation as the model for beauty.  It was beautiful if it reflected God's Divine nature and His order.  Not any more.  Ugly is the new lovely.  And it doesn't matter.  All of these are related.

One more things about the music.  This isn't conviction based.  This is feeling based.  God as Creator is also Controller.  One's music is like Fido's bowl of dog chow---you take it away, even if you are owner, and you might get bitten.  People bite over music.  That's why a well-known presuppositionalist, like Douglas Wilson, really a fake one based on this issue alone, and many conservative evangelicals fight to keep their tunes.  He's got lots of rock on his playlist and you've got a disorder if you criticize.  That's part of his serrated edge for you insiders.  Oh, if it's good rock, well done rock.  But love of rock contradicts presuppositionalism.  It's a bow to relative beauty.

I think there are more than these 5, but I don't want to make this more controversial than it already is.  Man worships himself as Creator.  Evangelicalism and a majority of fundamentalism are already there.  And another big chunk of fundamentalism doesn't care.  You wondering how a one world religion will happen?  Wonder no more.