As I wind up the Spring Framework Course at Chafer Theological Seminary, I look forward to completing much-needed work on the Bible Framework website. Your feedback, and that of seminary students taking the Framework course, provides the BFM team with valuable information on how we can make the Framework concept more usable for you.
Future revisions will make more clear that the Framework concept is more than a simple chronological study of God's historical revelation. Most users grasp how a chronological approach helps them appreciate the inner coherence of God’s Word as it came through so many human authors in a wide variety of life situations over so many centuries—obviously a supernatural accomplishment unique in history.
However, as I noted in the Q1 2019 Newsletter, what may not be as obvious is how the Framework approach should stimulate us to proactively bring God’s special verbal revelation into contact with the structure of our created environment which is another form of His revelation—a non-verbal, mute form of revelation of God’s genius. Think of this simple illustration: how could Adam and Eve living in the pre-fall Eden correctly understand which trees were okay to gather fruit from and which one was not? They had to connect the verbal command of God (Genesis 2:16-17) with a specific tree in the Garden.
Why do I repeat what I wrote in the previous newsletter? Because our conservative evangelical community that is so focused on exegetical study of the Word of God with a literal hermeneutic failed to connect the Genesis narrative of creation and subsequent geophysical history of the earth during the controversies of the early 1800s. For nearly a century-and-half we remained passive and reactionary while historical geologists invented the idea of “deep time” to avoid submitting to God’s revelation of recent creation and a young earth. Then Darwin and other biologists decades later built upon this old earth concept to deny the complex stability in plants and animals as evidence of God’s engineering and providential management.
Instead of proactively shaping the methodology to understand our geological and biological environment in the light of Genesis as soon as these studies began at the beginning of the 19th century, our community reactively proposed "adjustments" to the historic understanding of the Genesis narrative. Meanwhile, academia continued for over a century to harden its theory of an old, slowly evolving earth. We conservatives were left behind, finally facing the national embarrassment of the Scopes Trial in 1925.
Thankfully by the late 1950s John Whitcomb, a seminary professor with a knowledge of chemical science, and Henry Morris, a civil engineer specializing in hydraulic flows, grew exasperated with this passivity. They boldly chose to start with Scripture and then fit the observed geological and biological evidence into the biblical framework. When they tried to publish the results of over ten years of research, no dispensational publisher would accept it! Finally, a post-millennial Reformed thinker, Rouses Rushdoony, recognized its significance and prevailed upon Samuel Craig’s Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company to publish it.
Their resulting book, The Genesis Flood, was met with fierce resistance from fellow evangelicals who had grown accustomed to accommodating the Bible to whatever "historical science" claimed. When I researched the erupting controversy for my thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, one evangelical scientist wrote me, “If I had the blinders on my mind that Morris has on his, I would deny the faith!” Nevertheless now, nearly 60 years later, we have a vigorous creation science community supported adequately enough to accomplish high quality scientific research that has become a significant threat to secular academia’s social and political dominance.
Why do I tell you this story? Because our community again seems passive and reactive, this time against a resurgence of pagan behavior and political agendas that are determined to overthrow all of God’s ordained structures of human society. Individual responsibility for one’s eternal status is submerged in a sea of temporal distractions. Marriage with its inherent binary sexual structure is socially and politically attacked by homosexual and gender-identity activists. Family, with its inherent obligation of male leadership and training of children, is seriously challenged by extreme feminism and statist educational authorities.
And what do we see in some traditionally conservative evangelical schools and highly visible ministries—groups that should be taking the lead in articulating science-based, objectively true models of human sexuality and quality education? We discover leadership assuring alumni and other donors that their institutions continue to follow stated doctrinal positions on one hand while on the other hand they accommodate pagan feelings-based sexual claims and politically correct demands of statist educational bureaucracy in their day-to-day administration.
Here’s my closing exhortation to you Framework students. Pray for wisdom to connect Framework truths to the activities and interests in your life. Years ago a Bible-believing doctoral student in biology recognized from the Framework the pagan nature of evolution. With his PhD he eventually came to head up a creation-oriented biology department at a major university. One of my sons was delighted to take a required biology class from him. Several other early students of the Framework have since become pastors and college professors. One fellow started a badly needed Christian summer camp for teenagers. One young lady from a family immersed in the Framework became a Fulbright scholar, taught in South Korea, later joined the Republican National Committee and successively led the campaign of a conservative woman. Another young lady attended a well-known law school, became editor of her school’s student law journal, and worked with a Canadian delegation to prevent cessation of aid to countries that insist upon sexual purity. Later as a US Air Force legal aid officer, she became heavily involved in sexual discrimination and assault cases.
God can use you like He did these folks! If you have studied the Framework material, you are likely way ahead of most Christians in your grasp of the Christian faith. Pray that you’ll be ready, if opportunities arise, to graciously but firmly challenge the popular subjective-based notions of sexuality and political correctness.
A new book recommendation is on the website:
For Thou Art With Me by Dr. Bruce Baker is one of the finest books I’ve read on death and dying. It was written for the terminally ill and those who love them by a pastor and Bible professor for many years who himself is terminally ill with Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, i.e., ALS). He thus writes as one experiencing what he writes about. In only 118 pages Baker explores specific passages of Scripture addressing questions like “Why Are People Afraid to Die?", “How Can I Lose My Fear of Death?”, ”Why Me?”, “Why This?”, and “Why Now?”. Every local church should have copies available for ultimately what we all face (barring the Rapture).
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