by Walter and Valeria Lang
People have been trained to believe that church and science belong in separate spheres. We would like to indicate that by combining science with Christian witnessing, the Gospel is spread more effectively. Twenty years ago it was more difficult than today to reach people with this message. Because often the printed page is the most effective method of reaching people, Bible-Science has devoted itself to publishing the monthly Newsletter (including "Five Minute" devotions), Science Readers for youth, and a variety of tracts.
Christian schools have an obligation to equip students as warriors for Christ in contrast to being merely social security citizens. According to Romans 12:2, Christians are not to conform to this world, but they are to transform it. There is no better place to begin this program than in the Christian day school where secular subjects are related to the Gospel.
Many Christian school teachers and administrators have thought that in order to attract students, they had to use public school textbooks. Through the creation program some new textbook material has been developed. Creationist speakers are willing to assist Sunday School staff people with obtaining material which is interesting and relevant to our time.
Stewardship has been used in attempts to revitalize the church. Some programs were successful for a time, both for increasing spiritual life and increasing contributions (often for building programs), but they needed replacing often. Wise use of the blessings of nature is what stewardship is all about. Here church and science can cooperate.
The charismatic movement emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this is apart from the Word of God, concentrating on direct operation of the Holy Spirit. There is emotionalism, speaking in tongues, healing by prayer, and sometimes prophecy. In today's high cost of building, it is often the charismatics who are building churches, and many television programs are sponsored by charismatics. Most of the new religious music is coming from the charismatic sector, and the most active foreign mission work is being done by charismatics. We are in the midst of a religious revival.
There is opposition to this movement, with claims that spiritual trappings are not needed. Churches which maintain the Holy Spirit has limited Himself to the Word oppose the movement, indicating from history that such movements do not endure for long. But, at present, this movement is strong and it is making Christians aggressive. Many charismatics are creationists, but some are theistic evolutionists. Perhaps what is needed more than a revival is a reformation.
Coming back to the total Gospel discussed previously, this is an area in which creationists can be of help to churches. Christians need to reunite their church life with their everyday life. In Colossians 1:18 we read that Christ is to be preeminent in all things, with "all things" being described in Colossians 1:20 as "all things in the heavens and earth." This is stated in a more practical manner in Colossians 3:17 where we read that whatever we do or think ought to be done in the name of Christ. Avoiding merely use of the social Gospel, but using the total Gospel, is making use of a full Christian program.
A Perfect Bible
A Biblical truth being approached from a fresh viewpoint is the Biblical doctrine of perfection. A geology teacher for twenty years, leading a group into the inner canyon of Grand Canyon, claimed he was ascribing more power to God by allowing Him billions of years to operate than a mere 6000 years. Actually, he was limiting God to processes presently observed.
If one cannot accept what God says in Genesis 1-11, can he accept without reservation what He says in John 3:16? Nothing in our world is perfect, yet in Genesis 1:31 we read that when God finished creating, everything was "very good." In James 2:10 we learn that perfection cannot include even one small evil. Man is an imperfect being, lacking a free will in spiritual matters. Because man is incapable of reaching perfection, God provided a Substitute, His Son.
A single act of disobedience destroyed perfection both for mankind and for the world of nature. The wise author of Ecclesiastes writes, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity" (Eccl. 1:2 and 12:8). Emphasizing this doctrine leads to a greater commitment to the Lord. It is perfection in Christ, or it is nothing. This doctrine is helpful in refuting theistic evolution. If one accepts an age of billions of years and a slow, gradual upward evolution, there was no original perfection. Yet, Scripture teaches it.
The inspired Bible has never been attacked as it is by modern-day scientists. It is claimed the Bible errs when it states that the coney chews its cud (Lev. 11:5). It is now known that the coney eats its soft manure, the same as chewing its cud even though it does not have a four-compartment stomach. Job 39:15-17 is said to be wrong in its statements that an ostrich destroys its own eggs and that it is a foolish creature. It does and it is. It is regarded as poor science when Paul refers to a wild olive being grafted onto a cultivated tree; generally the graft is from a cultivated to wild for strength (Rom. 11:17.24). Paul did this to demonstrate that conversion is unnatural. In Job 38:6 an unusual word is used for "foundations of the world," a word in Hebrew transliterated as "Eden," and meaning "foundation sockets." On Good Friday of 1964 in the Alaskan earthquake there was a violent explosion. Measured on seismographs, comparing push waves and shock waves, it was found that the foundation rock underneath the earth is mantle rock. This mantle rock beneath the oceans extends for a distance of two miles. However, underneath the continents the mantle rock extends for 300 miles, forming a veritable socket for each of the continents. Job stated this more than 4000 years ago, and he was right.
In Matthew 24:35 we read that the whole universe will pass away, but the Bible will remain. It will remain because it is perfect. Not only was Scripture inspired by God, but it has been miraculously preserved. Jeremiah penned part of Scripture under inspiration, but King Jehoiakim burned the scroll. God re-inspired the prophet to write it again. The Bible is inspired even though there are variants in the texts and many manuscripts. According to this scholarship, the Massoretic text is preferred over the Septuagint. In the New Testament the scholarship shows the Received Text to be superior to the Greek texts, which are older but which have been influenced by the rationalism of Arianism. All this is subject to argument, but the evidence indicates that the Bible can be relied on as a perfect work.
The Tablet Theory
Over the past 100 years there has been controversy regarding the historical-critical method of studying Scripture. Clearly, evolution has entered the picture here. The Bible teaches that God used different laws while creating the universe from those He uses to maintain it. Also, it is indicated this took place approximately 6000 years ago. In attempts to harmonize Scripture with modern science, scholars devised the idea that Moses is not the author of Genesis, nor of the four following books of the Bible. It is claimed these books have four sources: a Priestly source, a Jehovah source, a Deuteronomy source, and an Elohim source. According to this method, sometimes a single verse is attributed to three different sources. It is sometimes also known as the JEDP theory and has been taught in many seminaries. Even in seminaries where it is rejected, a great deal of time is devoted to it.
In the LCMS, in about 1945, the historical-critical method began to be accepted and taught. This church body, having been conservative for so long, rejected this trend at its seminary in St. Louis and elected a conservative president, Dr. Jacob Preus. At the 1973 convention in New Orleans the seminary staff was censured, which led to a walk-out by many students and staff members.
The "Tablet Theory" was proposed by P. J. Wiseman, an archaeologist who uncovered tablets in the area of old Babylonia. He noted that the word toledoth or "generation" appeared at the end of each tablet as a signature. Students of Genesis have maintained that the eleven times where it is found (Genesis, chapters 1-37) it was at the head of a section. Apparently in Ruth, Chapter 4, it does appear at the head of a section. This led scholars to assume that in Genesis it also belonged at the head of a section. Wiseman's study led him to conclude that the signature belonged at the end and indicated the author of that section. He found that everything mentioned in the respective sections took place during the lifetime of that person. (An exception is in the case of Terah's tablet, Genesis 11, where some of the events took place after his death and in Jacob's tablet where some events listed in Esau's genealogy also took place after Jacob's death.) This is explained by noting that Moses used these tablets as source material, making necessary changes and additions. Moses, of course, was the final inspired writer. In some instances Moses placed current names of cities in brackets. He added years in Terah's tablet, but did not total them. Wiseman noted that often later tablets made reference to earlier tablets, as in quotations.
Author of the first tablet (Gen. 1:1-2:4) is God Himself. This is followed by Adam (Gen. 2:4-5:1) and Noah (Gen. 5:1-6:9). The sons of Noah (Shem, Ham and Japheth) wrote an eyewitness account of the Flood. Shem, who lived 500 years after the Flood, recorded the genealogies and the Tower of Babel incident. Terah records genealogies with numbers of years added in Genesis 11:12-19. Ishmael records most of the Abraham history (Gen. 25) which is followed by two tablets written by Esau, ending at Genesis 36:1. Jacob records the genealogies of Esau, ending with Genesis 37:2. Some people take exception to this theory on the grounds that Ishmael, Esau, and Terah (criticized in other parts of Scripture for their unholy actions) would not be chosen by God to record portions of Holy Scripture. However, even an adulterous woman such as Bathsheba was included in the genealogy of Christ. Acceptance of the tablet theory requires acceptance of the premise that there existed a written Bible before the time of Moses.
However, this theory does pose problems. In Ruth 4:18-22, Matthew 1:1-16, and even in Numbers 3:1, the word "generations" appears at the beginning of a listing. Although allowance may be made for a change in custom between the time of Ruth and of Matthew, there is reason to ponder. Perhaps the tablet theory needs modifying, but at present, it is an antidote to the JEDP theory and to historical-critical thinking.
Two Creation Accounts
The tablet theory provides an explanation for the two creation accounts. Some say the first account (Gen. 1:1-2:4) does not agree with the second account (Gen. 2:4-25). It is claimed that according to the first account, animals were created before man, but in the second account (they claim) man was made before the animals. This is explained by a reminder that in Genesis 2:19 the Hebrew pluperfect form is used, which would read "had formed." Thus, there would be no disagreement.
According to the tablet theory, God wrote the first account while Adam wrote the second; thus, there are two accounts of the same events by two individuals, each recording events according to his perspective. In the New Testament the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) record the life of Christ, each from his own viewpoint.
It is impossible to be neutral; either a person builds on the true Triune God or he rejects Him. Neutrality in public education is impossible; results indicate that so-called neutrality has led to acceptance of paganism. The creature has been substituted for the Creator. This has spawned Marxism and has led to approval of abortion, homosexuality, and other gross sins.
A truly productive science will be directed by Scripture, meaning also the church, which exalts theology to the role of queen of the sciences. This is difficult to accept, both by scientists and by theologians.
While on a flight from Rome to New York in March of 1983, Walter Lang held a conversation with a Muslim scholar from a university in Saudi Arabia who had received his doctorate from Michigan State University. He had authored two books on Muslim theology. He rejected the concept that God is love; rather, he perceived God as representing power and justice.
When Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem, He was not recognized
as the ruler of the world. In pre-Civil War days, abolitionists demanded
that slave owners free their slaves. The Civil War was fought, and in some
ways, it is still being fought. However, in England and in Brazil, the
problem was solved through education and persuasion. This method proved
to be more effective.
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