fact in the Christian faith is the continuing relevance of the
Word of God for all of life. It is foundational to the Christian
faith. It is, then, no surprise that the troubles of this present
age are so clearly addressed in the Holy Scripture. Indeed there
is nothing new under the sun.
shame of the present distress is that believers of all ranks have
been blind to the growing desperation of the Church. In an age
of toleration the Church has become but a product of an antitheistic
philosophy. The Church visible has in many ways switched its allegiance.
It desires to become naturalistic.
age has seen a great compromise in the Christian faith and a full
reversal of what has been historically (and moreover biblically)
called the Gospel. In the hopes of finding common ground with
the unbeliever the believer has become a practicing atheist (anti-supernaturalist.)
The modern man must submit to science, empiricism, proofs, and
various other idols if he is to be heard. The distress lies in
this: the Church has changed its message in accord with this demand.
For any modern
man to accept the claims of the gospel they must be “rationally
proven” and empirically tested. In other words the modern
man makes the Word of God suspect until thoroughly tested and
examined for authenticity. In yet another way, this man makes
himself god over God, for the judge is not the judged.
This is really
nothing new, in fact the unbeliever’s psychology has not
changed since the fall of Adam (Romans 1:18-21). In fact, the
Jews of Christ’s time demanded signs (science) and wonders
(empiricism) to confirm His Word, but His response in no way resembles
our modern inventions, “ a wicked and adulterous nation
demands a sign.” O, how the modern believer is repulsed
by such a response. Indeed, the Christian would desire that Christ
prove His claim to truth by “historically verifying”
each successive word or philosophisizing some proof of His own
authenticity. But this is not the way God speaks of Himself. God’s
Word is God’s Word because God says it is God’s Word.
a question is retorted, and this same inquiry is the root of the
present distress, “Are you asking Christians to accept an
irrational logic? Must the Christian accept things simply because
he is told to?” Yes, if God says it! The fact that this
debate has raged among believers so long shows the absolute impotence
of the modern Church. This faith resembles the prophets of Baal
atop Mount Carmel more than the Biblical faith. The world knows
that the Christian faith is supernaturalist and accordingly it
is repulsed. The most disturbing fact related to this assertion
is that the Church is evermore repulsed by it’s supernatural
foundation as well.
Much of the
reformed community has retreated from the culture and left heretics
to harvest the fields. This is manifest in multiple ways, but
two draw great attention as this subject develops.
is considered foolishness and anti-Christian to insist that a
man’s reason (and heart) is so radically fallen that he
cannot accept the Gospel unless God works regeneration in his
heart. This is affirmed by the fact that classical and evidential
apologetics are still practiced in Christian circles. One must
first affirm a semi-rational mind before the apologetic argument
can begin. The apologist presupposes his reason could convince
the unbeliever’s reason and thus convert the soul. This
is emphatically unbiblical and affirms atheism at the outset.
of the Lord is perfect, converting (restoring) the soul
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes (Psalm
believes that the Word of God is his starting point for the conversion
of the sinner. He is not interested in vain philosophies but only
in the Word of God. The Lord does not say that the philosophy
of this world is perfect, converting the soul. No rather He scoffs
at the world’s philosophy, “Where is the wise? Where
is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God
made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Cor. 1:20) Has He not
given the enemy into our hands? We must take the weapons issued
to us by the Commander of the Army of the Lord. Accordingly, if
the Christian insists on fighting this battle with only the weapons
the world will permit then he must accept his defeat. When the
Church no longer seriously considers its supernatural power and
authority it becomes impotent.
it is widely held that men, if they do not work to keep it, their
faith is in constant danger. This is not the Gospel, but this
is what the world hears from the modern pulpit. Instead of the
believers being sure of their faith because it is God given and
God sustained (again of supernatural origin) they are taught to
doubt1 . The modern man refuses this man-made
gospel because it has absolutely no power to convert the soul.
Only Christ has authority and power (Matt 28:18-19); no one else
possesses any measure. When the pulpit is void of biblical truth
the result is antinomianism and faithlessness.
are due to one sin: the Church’s antipathy to the Word of
God. The modern Church is not prepared to stand behind the Scriptures
as its only source of truth. The war between Christ and His enemies
is not a natural war but a supernatural one and demands a supernatural
weapon. The believer is never disputing with an individual who
can see, hear, or reason correctly. The unbeliever’s confusion
and ignorance is supernaturally implanted in his heart from the
fall of Adam.
do not know or understand [why?]
For He has shut their eyes, so they cannot see,
And their hearts, so they cannot understand. (Isaiah 44:18)
power is nullified then all that is left is loss and death. The
unbeliever’s blindness is due to a supernatural implantation
of Adam’s sin. Thus, there is no convincing or converting
aside from a supernatural work to reverse the cataract. It then
stands that since men are blind there is but one option for their
bring the blind by a way they did not know
I will lead them in paths they have not known. (Isaiah 42:16)
The Lord must
work upon their hearts and lead them. The evangelizing believer
is but a tool. So too, the Word of God must be accepted and believed
on its own supernatural authority. The believer will not convert
the pagan without supernatural action neither will he convince
the unbeliever of the truth of God’s Word by natural means.
The true church is not afraid to assert its heavenly citizenship
and authority. In fact, the Church knows her destiny is victory,
indeed, it shall persevere for it is not of man nor does it derive
its power from men but from God, who forever possesses the kingdom,
all power, and authority.
Schlissel’s sermon entitled “Covenant
Hearing,” which can be found at sermonaudio.com. His
keen insight and refutation of this new doctrine of doubt (even
as it is found in reformed circles) is quite intriguing and convicting.
Cody Vest is currently seeking a Bachelor’s Degree
in Applied Theology with special emphasis in Philosophical
Studies at Christ
College in Lynchburg, Va. He is a member of Community
Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Louisville, Ky.