Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 2000
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 5: Confrontation with the King
Chapter 4: The Death of the King
Lesson 138 – Framework vs. Pagan Worldview – Unbelieving Agenda
03 Feb 2000
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
On this handout is an article that came out of this week’s U.S. News and World Report and I want you to just look at this article and take a pen or a pencil and go through it sentence by sentence by sentence and see if you can spot how many places in this article that evolution is the matrix in which the whole thing is discussed. The idea here is to show that the other side in society, the unbelieving side is projecting at all times a worldview. It doesn’t make any difference if they’re talking about arithmetic, or they’re talking about falling in love as in this article. It’s always enmeshed inside this frame of reference. It’s a game of agenda that we Christians really need to master because of what C. S. Lewis said years ago, one of the things he said was I might not be won to Hinduism by reading a book on Hinduism, but if every book that I read on every other subject was written from a Hindu perspective, I might very well become a Hindu. The whole point is whose framework is controlling it.
We’ll talk about that after we open in prayer, but just to introduce this article is that I would like you to read it and just mark it up because next week we’re going to discuss this article and we’re going to discuss it in the eye of the frame of reference and think about the agenda. Maybe it’ll help if you think about interior decorating, you might have a theme in your living room or dining room, it may be light blue or green, but think of it when you have a theme of interior decorating, you carry that color theme through everything. It doesn’t mean everything in the room is green, it means you may have dishes, rugs, etc. but it all blends together. That’s the whole point of the interior decoration, to make a theme through all the things. Word of God whether you’re looking at the carpet, whether you’re looking at the walls, the curtains, knick knacks in that room, they carry through the theme.
That’s exactly the whole thing about worldviews. Worldviews are like an interior decorating theme, they carry through everything. I’ve never read an article in the last year that is so blatantly and explicitly carrying through a worldview. You ought to be able to find sentence after sentence in this article. What you want to do is not necessarily challenge all the facts; the facts may be debatable in the article, they’re talking about the subject of why people fall in love, but what you want to look for is something about how those facts are set into a context of an evolutionary worldview. In particular, as you work through this article sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, you’ll come to the end on page 48; on the back of it you’ll notice there’s a second article, a little micro article. It’s from the feminist perspective. It really is a humorous thing, if you can empathize with the men, that the evolutionary worldview leads to.
When you get to the second article, here the feminists are protesting the ethical results of the evolutionary worldview and they themselves are evolutionists. It’s interesting to watch the game that unfolds here. I almost burst out laughing when I saw this because it was so silly that they go through this article giving you this worldview, then they don’t like the ethical conclusion which basically is if all of us are hormones in action, stimulus response, then what’s wrong with rape? Nobody wants that. That’s right, but it’s your worldview that led to that. It’s an excellent article for some training, so we want to take next week and train on applying this overall worldview in the framework. That’s why tonight we’re going to spend some time going back reviewing and then catch up to where we are on the death of Christ and next week we’ll be ready to go.
This is not a class in biblical exegesis, that’s a whole other approach, to go verse by verse by verse. This is not a devotional class. This class is a framework class to emphasize the coherence of Scripture and history, because over the years I’ve noticed that Christians who are weak in this area tend to cave in very rapidly when they face assaults on their faith. They may know verses etc. they just can’t put them together. So that’s what this class is all about, trying to put it together so the Scriptures are seen as internally consistent, one with the other, and externally sufficient to interpret anything that you encounter in life or history.
We want to think about the classic envelopment. We emphasize that no matter what the subject is that it is always being enveloped by someone’s agenda in some way, shape or form. This deals with the issue of a framework, a frame of reference that people use. Because we know the Scriptures to be true, we know there’s a battle going on for our hearts and our minds, that Satan is the deceiver and has been a liar from the beginning. He is the author of many frameworks, all of which have as a common denominator the insulation of the creature from the Creator. He wants to accomplish this to avoid responsibility. Over the years we’ve gone through … and all of this plays a role in this article, so this is why I’m going over this stuff, and if it seems repetitious, just jot in the margin some of these points so you can see them play out. I’m worried that sometimes we go over this and it’s abstract, it’s general, it’s not specific. That’s what we want to do, we want to make sure that we see this play out in actual cases; this is an actual major media publication, major article, goes into millions and millions of homes, and millions and millions of people sit there glassy-eyed reading this saying ooh, this is good stuff, and walk away completely brain-washed by this approach.
We’ve said again and again that there’s basically, from the Scriptural point of view, there are only two kinds of worldviews. That’s not to say there’s not 8,000 versions, it’s to say that in their heart, in their most basic level there are only two worldviews. And you should breathe a sigh of relief because if you master the basics you don’t have to learn 8,000 worldviews. All you have to do is look at the basic. All you have to do is know two different worldviews; everything else fits into these categories, all the cults of the world, all the alien philosophies, all the pagan views, etc. fit. What we’re talking about as we’ve said again and again is the difference between the Creator/ creature, this view being that of the Bible, based on God creating the universe, the first verse of Scripture, easy to remember. “In the beginning, God created,” and that’s fundamental. It colors everything else from that point forward. That’s why evolution is not a trivial conversation, that’s why it’s not a superficial issue; it’s a very basic issue because it gets into the origins of everything.
So we start with the Creator/creature distinction, and the Bible is the only place that has this distinction. Hinduism doesn’t have this distinction. Buddhism doesn’t have this distinction. Pagan Greek mythology doesn’t have this distinction. This distinction historically, if you go back in history, you’ll only find it connected to the Bible. This should say something. The Bible couldn’t have been assembled from these other things because the other pagan views don’t have this idea. This idea is only found in Scripture. We have ancient monotheism, pieces of that from the sons of Noah as they went out and populated the continent, Noah preached monotheism, and it was remembered here and there. As the lights went out, tribe after tribe after tribe, as sin got a hold of men’s perception, this gradually faded from history. Today it probably exists very rarely, because missionaries have gone into these areas and taught them Scripture, so now it’s not ancient monotheism, it’s the monotheism that came from the Bible directly. This monotheism came indirectly as a memory of what Noah and his sons passed on. Ancient Israel believed this view; the Bible carries this view, and today fundamentalism, i.e., orthodox Christianity, harping back to a constant biblical base, believes this view. A lot of theology doesn’t hold to this view, they may use the word Creator/creature but they’re not using it the same way the Scripture is.
On the right side is ancient mythology, eastern religions, western philosophy, modern theology, who hold to this Continuity of Being and what Continuity of Being is saying is that the whole universe is all there is and that you can talk about God, you can talk about men, you can talk about animals, you can talk about plants, you can talk about all these different things that exist but they’re made up of the same basic material. So the gods and men differ only in degree, not in kind. Think of the mythologies that you’ve heard about. Hercules, Zeus, Jupiter, etc. in these mythologies you read about how they propagate with human beings and produce these half-human half-divine offspring. They’re obviously able to reproduce so they’re obviously material entities. That’s what we mean by Continuity of Being, and that you can transmute, i.e. you can go from the gods to man to animal, from animal to man to god. Evolution is just a modern version of this transmutation idea that ancient paganism believed in. Darwin didn’t start evolution; it’s a Johnny-come-lately way of arranging scientific observations. That’s the deal.
What’s important is there’s a purpose, there’s a sneaky little purpose to the agenda here. The agenda on the right, impersonal fate and chance is the ultimate force. If that’s the ultimate force, then why am I responsible? How can I be responsible to an impersonal fate or sheer chance? The answer is I can’t be. Therefore, what we’re saying is learn to ask basic probing questions, and the basic probing question of a worldview is, “What does it ultimately mean to my life?” If I consciously and enthusiastically embrace this worldview, what does it do for me; where does it put me in the scheme of things? The Bible says it puts me in the scheme of things as a creature who is responsible to a personal sovereign God, therefore the ultimate responsibility exists. On the other hand, if impersonal fate and chance is the ultimate backdrop, then instead of being responsible what am I? I’m a passive victim. That’s at the root of this. So when you read the article just keep thinking to yourself, if I adapt this position where is it going to lead me with regard to my responsibility.
Then we moved forward in time and I want to relate this to the most recent thing we’ve done on the life of Christ, but I want to remind us all that it’s interconnected. We started out with the first four events of Scripture: Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the Covenant. These encompassed the first eleven chapters of our Bible. We call that the Noahic Bible. Why do we call it the Noahic Bible? Because this material was known by every tribe on earth. When Noah and the family repopulated and re-colonized the planet after the global catastrophe, every tribe and every language on every continent ultimately came from Noah and Noah’s sons and daughters. If they did, then they did not have total ignorance of the Word of God. They had this as a family tradition.
We call this the Noahic family tradition. Everybody was at one time in their distant family, if you took your personal family tree and pushed it back you would go back to one of the sons of Noah and one of his daughters-in-law. What would happen is that you would then, in your ancient ancestors, they knew this truth. What they did with it subsequently is an issue of their own personal history. They might have chosen to reject it, they may have chosen to repress it, they may have chosen to pervert it, but at one time they knew it.
So at the root of all of these subcultures and people groups, you have this basic truth. Those of you who have studied a little mythology and a little bit of animism and some of the ancient religions, you know that there exists in these myths stories about floods; you know there exists in these myths stories about a great garden, and there were stories that evil came in somehow. In some cases it’s like the Greek mythology of Pandora. Pandora was a lady and she opened Pandora’s Box, and from Pandora’s Box came all the evil of the world. We use that expression in our language today; it’s Pandora’s Box for chaos. Who opened Pandora’s Box? Pandora did. Who was Pandora? She’s a memory of Eve. What is Pandora’s Box? The Fall?
All of this early history goes back to these four events. The Bible, we emphasized this and we’ll emphasize it again because we want to remember this. This is why I’m such a great believer in reading the Bible against its contemporary history. I believe every student should do this. I believe the way to train people is to take the Genesis text and take the mythology and put them like this and have everybody read the Bible and have everybody read the mythology. I’m not suppressing the non-Christian; we’re welcoming a discussion of the two points of view. When you do this, think of what you’re doing. You’re like a doctor who is examining a normal patient and one with a pathological disease.
My son’s going to medical school and this particular medical school has first year medical students do physical exams on real models, and the reason for this, he called up one time and said I’ve got to do a physical exam tomorrow, and it was embarrassing for him to have to do that. But everybody in the class had to do this; they’d pay these models to be examined by medical students six times an hour for all day long. The medical school’s reason for doing this instead of using dummies is very serious. They want those students from the very first day of medical school to understand what a normal human body looks like so when they see somebody with an abnormality they’ll spot it. That’s a great teaching device.
What we want to do when we go to Scripture is the same thing. What we want to do is remember this is the normative, true picture, and when we take these pagan religions… the point is if you say that this document represents what really happened, i.e. the Bible, and Pandora’s Box or Zeus or one of the Olympic legends is butted up against it, what does this represent? How is this related to this? It’s related to this in that it’s a perversion of this. So myths need to be understood as a perversion of the Scriptures. That’s why the myths do have parallels with the Scripture because there are some parts that are still there unperverted. But there’s a lot of garbage in them because of the perversion process.
Let’s ask one further question. This is a revealing one. What is the process that causes the perversion? If I do an observation of Genesis 1-11 and I’m reading another pagan religion and I see them side by side and I see, oh, I see the difference, here’s Eve and Eve has reality in the Scriptural narrative, but then I read Pandora and I read these stories about this box and it doesn’t tell me where the box came from and strange things go on, etc. but the idea is what caused Eve to be transformed into Pandora? What was that process? That process was sin at work in the human heart. So you see you can learn and awful lot by comparative literature if you use the Scripture and think of it as what God the Holy Spirit has preserved from our insipid pathological tendency to pervert. Scriptures have been preserved as a beacon and as a light, and everything else is the best that man can do. This is what we do with the truth. So when you measure the difference between the Genesis text and these pagan religions, the difference between them, the contrast, is what sin does in a human being’s mind. And it teaches us, if you want a study in human psychology this is a fantastic tool, because it tells us what our flesh wants to do. That’s what our flesh wants to do with the truth.
So this whole first section that we’ve talked about several years back, this whole section of the framework is there as a foundation, and when we went over it we had a title for it. We said it’s the buried foundation. That’s somewhat ambiguous because it’s buried in the sense literally, geologically that whole era is buried, but it’s also buried psychologically in the soul of every human being. There’s a residue of truth there because Romans 1 says so, all men know God exists and they suppress it. So if you could dig down, ala Sigmund Freud, if we could dig down into the depths of the subconscious we would find that the memory is still there. And it’s that, according to Romans, that condemns all people, whether or not they have personally heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t make any difference whether they’ve heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as to their basic responsibility before God, because no man, no woman can ever claim to not know the truth, the minimal amount of truth to hold them ultimately responsible.
That’s the first part. Why it’s the foundation is because of the great truths that are connected to all those events. Those events shape our ideas and doctrines of God, man and nature. The whole vocabulary of who God is, what the world is, who man is, and watch this in the article; one of the critical differences in our point of view is the difference between man and nature. That’s an observation you want to check as you read this article. Be sensitive, if you didn’t know the Scriptures, and you hadn’t thought about the difference between man and nature, what would you see to be that difference if you just read the article and nothing else? How would you look at that difference? That’s something that we learned from this early buried foundation.
Then with the fall we learned another thing about responsibility. We learned from the fall the whole issue of evil. We can’t get enough of that evil because that’s going to be an issue, as I said at the end of this article there’s a secondary article and they have to deal with this problem and they have a problem with evil. That’s why I’ve [can’t understand word] this, you see again and again, who has the real evil problem? We as Christians are said to have a problem area, how can a good God let all these evil things happen? Well, the answer from the pagan point of view is why are you bothered, if evil is normal, then what’s your problem, it’s all part of the grand scheme, death, suffering, sorrow, it’s always going to be there, always has been, it’s just part of existence. The more thoughtful pagans over time have put the yin yang symbol, one is taken from the Korean flag, but the yin yang symbol is known throughout the Orient, it’s good and evil, it’s black and white, that’s the two colors. It’s carried over, not necessarily badly, but in food, the Oriental food, the sweet and the sour, the yin and the yang. It’s a way of looking at life, and this is a way of looking at good and evil.
The only option outside of Scripture is this one, that good and evil must be mixed forever and ever and ever, never to be separated. Now isn’t that hopeless. Who’s got the problem here? The Scriptures say God has never been evil, from infinity past to infinity future, God is always good. What has happened is He created creation, when it left His hands what did He declare about creation? The last verses of Genesis 1, “Behold, it is very good.” So everything God made was very good when it left His fingertips. Subsequently we have the creature rebel against God and introduced sin. But the key issue to remember is the gap between the time it left God’s fingertips and the time the creatures rebelled. We don’t know the details of that, the Bible says Satan was a great and brilliant being until, it says, “sin was found in you.” Adam and Eve had fellowship with God until the day of their fall. Then God entered the garden and they did something they’d never done the day before, or the day before that, or the day before that. They ran and they hid.
That simple picture of the fall is a picture of our hearts, that ultimately the flesh fears God’s presence. We hide behind whatever we can hide behind. Speaking of hiding behind, what function does the pagan worldview do? It gives us something to hide behind. Why? Because by hiding inside a pagan worldview you can delude yourself into thinking I no longer am responsible, and if I’m no longer responsible, I don’t have any fear any more. Actually we do, it’s just that we’ve squashed it, we’ve submerged it. Deep down in our souls it’s still there, it’s not going to go away, on judgment day the tape recording comes out, the videotape is here, it was here all along, you might have thought you crunched it but you didn’t, it testifies against us. That’s the ultimate game that’s being played out.
The Bible alone gives hope. What’s the hope? That good and evil be separated. How is good and evil to be separated? Judgment. So ironically the very thing that people object most to in the Christian religion, the heaven and the hell, and the judgment, that’s exactly what gives the hope, because that is what guarantees that evil will be dealt with, permanently and forever. I don’t like that… well then have you got another solution to the problem? How are you going to separate good and evil? Ultimately I would rather live in a good/evil universe than ever face judgment, that’s what unbelief says. When we harden our hearts against God’s Word we’re saying we like to take the pain, we’ll take the pain, we’ll take the death, we’ll take the sorrow, we’ll take all the disease, we’ll take the entire package as long as I never have to come before the throne of God. I prefer cancer to God’s grace. Now isn’t that a stupid proposition? But in essence that’s the nature of unbelief. Give me hell, [rather than] give me responsibility before God.
We said after the Flood God allowed the human civilization to develop and when that civilization developed it developed sinfully, and it wasn’t long before God began to judge that. We come to this period of time, from Genesis 12 on down through the end of the period of David, 2 Samuel, so from Genesis 12 to 2 Samuel, we go through this framework carefully done in sequence. God is a great pedagogue, God teaches, history is His story. And His story is that of a lesson plan. God is a great teacher. When Jesus Christ who was God incarnate spoke to people He was the most eloquent teacher. He always tailored the lesson to the person He was talking to. He had one kind of approach to the woman a the well, he had another kind of approach to the Pharisees, He had another kind of approach to Thomas, He had another approach to Peter, but it was always the same truth, tailored exactly to whatever soul it was, that was the pupil of the moment.
God has a pedagogical class plan for history. He sequences historic events. This is critical when we get into prophecy. There’s a coherent view to Scripture, history has a revelatory function; God doesn’t reveal this before He reveals this. Lesson one comes before lesson three. Let’s look at how that teaches us to view Scripture and Bible doctrine. In all of this, how does God start the ball rolling? He starts it as a disruption. The Bible is a story of disruption of sinful civilization.
Today as a Christian community we are being peripheralized, socially, probably ostracized in many cases and I wouldn’t be surprised that we will encounter civil persecution shortly through the legal system of this country. When the Boy Scouts can’t have their own rules how to run the Boy Scouts, but they have to be dictated to by some half-[can’t understand word] lawyers telling them what they can and cannot do when they’ve never given a penny to the Boy Scouts, never helped them out, never participated with them but they have the audacity to tell the Boy Scouts how they were going to run the show. If I ran the Boy Scouts and they told me that I’d say all right, you want to judge that, that’s the result of this court room, then I disband the Boy Scouts as of now. That’s the answer to that one, so you people just keep pushing and that’s what you’re going to get, we’ll just shut the whole thing down and everybody suffers.
The whole point is here that God disrupts, the Scriptures are disruptive. That’s why Christians, we’re going to be looked up on as the people that are always causing the problem. We are the people, those extremists, you can’t compromise with them, you can’t negotiate with these people, they have their own agenda, they’re going to have their own agenda come hell or high water, they won’t listen to the lawyers, they won’t listen to the courts, they just do their own thing all the time. They won’t respect Caesar. Well yes we do respect Caesar, as long as Caesar respects Jesus Christ. It’s Christ first, then Caesar; it’s the Scripture first.
That’s why we call this the disruptive kingdom, and if you want to study the disruption, that’s what Genesis 12 through Samuel is doing. Think about the disruption. First let’s look at the call of Abraham. What did we find with the call of Abraham? We found that God picked a guy out from everybody else. Oh how mean, you mean God didn’t call for an election? God didn’t call for the ballots? God didn’t ask the human race for some feedback? He didn’t run a Gallup Poll before He set up His kingdom. NO! He just did it Himself. The message came down, it didn’t go up, it came down. God said I pick Abraham and that’s how I’m going to start. That’s called the doctrine of election, and that’s terribly disruptive. That’s not human election, that’s God’s sovereign election. Think of this, what could be more disruptive than to have an interfering sovereign God come down from His Kingdom and His throne and say I want it this way? This is the way it’s going to be everybody. Well, what right do you have to tell me it’s going to be this way? I happen to be God.
The whole kingdom in the Old Testament starts out with the doctrine of election. God elects Abraham and He chooses the way of salvation. Then justification by faith, how could Abraham be justified to enter into a contract? Remember what we said? In the Scriptures you have to approach all of the Scripture in terms of contractual agreements. Here’s man and here’s God, and the Scriptures say the basis of this agreement is a contract. The Bible calls them covenants, but it’s contracts for us. How can a holy righteous God enter into fellowship with somebody in this dirty world that’s being disruptive? So the dilemma immediately arises as how can God, who is holy, righteous and just, enter into a covenant agreement with a sinner. The answer is the biblical doctrine of justification, that Abraham was justified, or made holy or made righteous somehow… somehow, it doesn’t go into how, it just says he was and Abraham accepted it by faith. What does that get rid of immediately, right from day one? What does that tell you about the structure of the Kingdom and human works? Human works don’t enter into it. What works could a sinner do to earn merit with God? You can’t do that.
We have people today that still think, they come into the churches, they get alienated, they get ticked off when they hear the gospel preached and people say there’s only one way of salvation, and we don’t care how many good works you did but it’s “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” period, over and out. You mean the works that I did don’t count? That’s right! Well, I don’t like that; I’m going to go to another church. Fine! The problem is that 2 + 2 is still 4, and God is still holy, and it is the height of arrogance to think that Abraham had his little 2½ good works and is going to walk into God’s throne room and order the doors to be opened automatically, the garage door opens because we have 2½ good works. It doesn’t work that way.
So at the beginning of history we have this situation where a contract is made, it can’t be made between a holy God and a sinner unless the sin problem is resolved. The sin problem is resolved at that point in time by faith. Abraham trusted the Lord to provide the righteousness. He doesn’t know it’s going to come from the cross of Christ, he doesn’t know the details of the incarnation, he doesn’t know there’s going to be a Messiah, he has no knowledge of this whatsoever, but as far as salvation goes he doesn’t have to know that, he just has to trust that God will supply the righteousness.
Then we come to the Exodus. Is this a disruptive kingdom or not? Ask Pharaoh. Do you think it disrupted his life for a while? It sure did. It totally tubed the world power of the time. After the call of Abraham the Exodus reveals something else. What was the basis that separated the Egyptian houses that had the death of the firstborn and the Jewish homes that did not have the death of the firstborn? What one element made the difference? Their wealth? Their race? By the way, there’s no restriction, an Egyptian could have done what the Jews did, put blood on the door, it was not racial, it was not socio economic. It was not any of those differences, but in the Exodus part of the mystery that Abraham might not have grasped begins to show up, blood atonement. That’s somehow related to how God’s going to provide this righteousness, blood atonement.
Think about when we get up to the cross of Christ, we’ve been talking about Jesus Christ in the last few months, we’ve talked about the fact that His cross is misunderstood, unappreciated, re-explained. If people just went back here, what is this talking about? Blood atonement, you’ve got to have blood atonement. Gee, I wonder why Christ died on the cross. It’s all interconnected and interrelated. People should not have a problem with the theology of the New Testament if they would just pay attention to the theology of the Old Testament. Guess what? They fit together!
We come to the third great event in history, Mount Sinai. After Mount Sinai, guess what else God reveals. In the Exodus He saves, He saves Israel. What happens after salvation? Then comes a knowledge of God’s will. Then comes the issue of obedience to His will. You don’t see Mount Sinai and then the Exodus; you see the Exodus first and then Mount Sinai. Then what does that tell us about the law, obedience, and salvation? It tells us that the issue of obedience to the law comes after… it’s an issue between the Lord and the saved individual as to whether that saved individual is going to get with the program or suffer discipline. It’s all post-salvation.
Then we come to the conquest and settlement. After the Christian is saved, after we are exposed to the will of God, what happens when we begin in our lifetime to carry out the will of God, and we are obedient here, we’re obedient here, we’re disobedient in areas, but at least we’re obedient over here and over here, and we try to live a consistent life, what then happens to our lives? We begin to be disruptive personally, either first in our own sin patterns, they begin to get disrupted, and sometimes those that live around us begin to get disrupted because they don’t like the new priority scheme here. That’s exactly what happened to Israel. In the family of nations, they began to be disruptive.
Finally we have the rise and reign of David, which is revelatory of what leadership looks like in God’s Kingdom. You have to have a king to have a kingdom. So God begins to teach through historical experience what to look forward to one day, the Messiah. The rise of the monarchy is the vehicle of revelation of the rise of the Messiah. The Messiah and the monarchy are tied together. That’s why Jesus Christ … we studied one of His titles, Son of God. Where does that come from? Psalm 2, and what is Psalm 2 written about? The monarchy, it’s looking forward to the ideal king. Why do we have the story of David as a sinner? Because it’s to show that the kingdom must have a king who is perfect and a human king doesn’t cut the mustard here. We’re all fallen. That’s where you get a lot of political doctrine out of Scripture.
It never ceases to amaze me how irritated the liberal press get when they insinuate that the Christian community is so narrow minded because they have these political ideas about limited government and all the rest of it, and we don’t see why they have to have this belief, they should be more open-minded and pass on to the other people in the community, and let them have their say. What did we learn here about government? The classic political chapter in the Bible, if you want to quote one chapter in the Bible that’s the political chapter to quote, go back to the first few chapters of Samuel when Samuel establishes the monarchy, and he says certain things about government in those chapters, chapters 4, 6, 7, 8 in that area. That’s where you find your political doctrine of Scripture. It’s all grounded on basic truths.
We come down to the end of the Old Testament, preparatory to the rise of Christ, and we find the collapse of that sinful society. The leadership was sinful and the people were sinful, and the kingdom collapsed in judgment. So we have a story of the struggle, and it parallels our struggle. That’s why those Old Testament stories are so necessary because they give your mind rich imagery. You can dream about those stories, you can project yourself into the middle of them, you can learn about sanctification and its heartaches and its struggles and its victories and the joyful times and the sad times because those stories are all there to show the interaction between God’s kingdom and the sinful world, and we’re still interacting.
Then we come to the time of Christ, and all this is part of the frame of reference. When we come to Jesus Christ, we said that the amazing thing about Jesus Christ is, starting off with his birth.
[blank spot] … years ago in Calvary Baptist Church in New York City said that God, the infinite God of the universe, contracted down to the size of a woman’s womb, an amazing story. And what it means is that man, here’s another thing … the article we’re going to read this week, another truth to watch is the incarnation teaches something about man and woman, man corporately, that man’s form, his faculties, his purposes are the only creature in the spectrum of all created beings, including primates all the way down to the amoeba, that was designed for the incarnation. God did not, contrary to pagan religions, incarnate Himself as a falcon, the Egyptians. He did not incarnate Himself as a lion, the Assyrians. God did not incarnate Himself zoomorphically, that means in animal form. God incarnated Himself anthropomorphically in man, and He deeply and profoundly rejects any worship of any form of Himself, that’s a violation of the second commandment.
He incarnated Himself in man and in man alone. That tells you that man is designed in His biology as well as His psychology to be a finite version of God Himself. Jesus had five fingers on each hand like we do. He had toenails like we do. Think of that, that’s the God of the universe, who walked around and felt stones on the bottom of His sandals. A God of the universe who ate, who drank water, and walked around, and was one of us. He didn’t come as a Martian or some 5th dimensional creature from an outer galaxy. It’s planet earth with this creature called man that was the vehicle of the incarnation. So that tells us that all the form, all the faculties and all the purposes of man is to reveal God as nothing else in the universe can reveal God. The ultimate revelation of God wasn’t in His handiwork, though that’s revelatory. The ultimate revelation of God is in man, and the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you read the article think about this, and think that if you were to work out the worldview
of that author/s, what would you have to then conclude about this? What does this article do radically different about man. I said earlier the difference is between man and nature. What does evolution want to do with that difference? What is evolution’s effect? It blurs the distinction. Well, we’re made of the same genetic materials that the animals are. Well, the greatest cathedrals in the world are made of the same kind of bricks as a lowly house, but that doesn’t make the house equal to the cathedral does it, because the bricks are arranged by information and ideas into a different form. So yes, in our material substance we’re made of biochemistry. Yes we’re made of material atoms, and yes the amoeba is related to material atoms, but we’re not the same, there’s a new set of information that arranges all this in a different form, information from outside. The architect has imposed his pattern. Man is different from nature.
That’s the lesson of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The agenda that we learned is that unbelief rejects this. Always remember, every one of these events comes under attack, and from the day that Jesus Christ was born what was the Jewish party line about the virgin birth? Mary fornicated with a Roman soldier. That was the party line and when the Gentiles, down through church history got hold it, well, we never saw a virgin birth, no scientific evidence of a virgin birth so there can’t be one. So the virgin birth comes under attack. Why? Why are those claims hostile? Why are they being made? It goes back to the first slide of the evening, I want to create a universe in which I am not ultimately responsible, and I will resort to any perversion of the truth that I can possibly can to convince myself and my peers that … whew, it’s safe to walk around in sin. We are safe from judgment and we’ll distort our own design, lowering ourselves to this subhuman level, believing that we’re primates that lost our hair just to avoid this ultimate responsibility before God.
Then we moved to the life of Christ. The life of Christ reveals God. The issue against the life of Christ was what? The Jewish party line was that Christ violated the Jewish norms and standards, the guy went out and talked with women in the public square, you don’t do that, rabbis don’t do that, they don’t let some woman come in and undo her hair and wipe his feet, come on, that’s not the proper behavior for a rabbi. What do the Gentiles do later on in church history? This is just church spin, these are the spin doctors, the apostles were good old spin boys, they put this whole story together about this Jewish carpenter Jesus, and then the church later on added some more stuff to it and some more stuff to it, and we get this Christ guy, it’s just a myth, it’s just a spin. The real Jesus… then you’ll see Time Magazine and U.S. News & World Report two weeks before Christmas you’ll have a big article, “Will the Real Jesus Stand Up Please?” and we’re always looking for the real Jesus, like the New Testament doesn’t give the real Jesus, the New Testament is a spin on the thing. That’s unbelief. Why do we want to get rid of the real biblical Jesus? It makes us responsible, He’s the fulfillment of prophecy; we can’t have a person like that walking around the planet.
We’ve been on the death of Christ and that brings us up to where we left off. The death of Christ solves the sin problem through restitution of divine justice, and wrapped up in the whole issue of the cross is the issue of what is justice. The Jews said look, anybody that dies on the cross is a criminal worthy of capital punishment; your Messiah, that guy was a criminal. He’s like a guy that gets electrocuted, and you’re worshiping this guy, He’s a capital crime guy. But in the irony of that rejoinder there’s a truth isn’t there. Jesus Christ was judged but the difference is this was a man who paid for our crimes, not His. And it was a real punishment. The Lord Jesus Christ died for you and He died for me. He died as a criminal but He wasn’t a criminal; the criminality, the criminal charges were transferred to Him and He died as a criminal but He wasn’t the criminal. So there’s an irony to that.
But today in our modern life what did we say about the cross? It’s opposed, He didn’t really die to save anyone, Jesus died as a martyr, you know, there are lots of martyrs in history, we’ve looked at the cross of Jesus and its inspiring, we believe that He might have died, there might have been a Jesus around, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe there really was a guy like that. You know, He got people ticked off and He was politically incorrect, and He paid a price for it, and gee, I’m inspired because He was a man of His convictions. Lots of people are a man of convictions, but that’s the explanation for the cross. So we can get rid of the birth, we can get rid of the life, we can get rid of the death, it makes you wonder who the real spin doctors are, don’t it?
I hope you can go through this article this week and think about this concept that the Bible has a coherence to it, and you touch one part of the Bible and you touch all of it. We’ve outlined the major themes that we’ve studied so far in Scripture. Take those major themes and use them as yardsticks on this article, and keep in this mind that this is not a personal attack on the authors of the article, because they’re deceived. It’s not that we hate the authors of the article, they’re people like you and me, just like all of us before we were saved. They’re people in whom the god of darkness has blinded their minds lest they believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read the article with that in mind, we’re not attacking the people who wrote the article; we are on our guard against the god of this world, the evil one, who deceives people into thinking that way, and we don’t want that thinking in our heads.
Question asked, something about the wedding, turning water into wine, … and they were speculating that that wedding was His wedding, it doesn’t say whose wedding it was, has there ever been any discussion about … was it His wedding: Clough replies: No. [same guy says] it’s sort of off the wall … Clough says: It’s really amazing what these guys come up with, and you’ve 800 different basic things to talk about in Scripture, and they’ve got to worry about some off-the-wall thing like, gee, was the wedding at Cana Jesus’ wedding. No it wasn’t Jesus’ wedding because Jesus was single throughout the whole Gospels. Now embarrassing to Roman Catholicism is the fact that Peter was married, and Jesus had brothers and sisters, etc. but it goes back to you have only one of two choices, you stay with the text or you drift aimless about doing anything you want to, any speculation.
Someone says something about it saying that Jesus was invited and you aren’t invited to your own wedding. Clough laughs and says yeah, to your own wedding. She just demonstrated that … you know, just read the text and these guys, are they reading the same text I am, what is the problem here with these guys? Years ago there was a guy that wrote a book called The Passover Plot, Schonfield, and he had the idea that the Passover plot was this plot that the disciples and Jesus got together with and it went awry the last minute and Jesus accidentally got killed, but it was never intended to be that. And what’s so interesting about that particular book is that the witness of a plan at work in the Gospels is so powerful that even this unbelieving scholar when he tried to deal with it had to call the Passover a plot. In other words, there was a coherence to this drama, so he has to explain the coherence. But it’s like I always say, the motto of the unbelieving scholar is we don’t know everything now, but we know one thing, it isn’t the way the Bible says it is, we know that for sure. We don’t know anything else for sure, but we know for sure that John didn’t write John, the real Jesus isn’t what the Jesus of the Scripture is, etc., etc., etc.
There’s discussion that’s unintelligible: Clough says: There are apocryphal texts; what we call apocryphal texts are these texts that floated around the first century and they purport to tell stories about Jesus when He was a child. It fills in, it caters to people’s desire to know more about Jesus, then He went to India in gospel of Thomas, etc. The problem is, the Holy Spirit led the church to recognize what was Canonical Scripture and what wasn’t. We studied the Canon, revelation, inspiration of the Canon, and in the Canon the Holy Spirit led the church, we believe, to do that because as believers faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. How could we hear if we didn’t have Scripture preserved?
We believe the Holy Spirit not only created the Canon of Scripture but He preserved the historic text down through the years. People say, “Oh, well, there’s this manuscript and that manuscript.” Come one … when you go to the manuscript variation in the time of Jesus, you should see the manuscript variations. [If] you think we’ve got a problem with the Kings James versus something else, you should have seen the mess they had in the first century—they had five or six different versions. But apparently Jesus and the apostles didn’t think too much of it because they quoted three or four of them and just went on from there the simple reason being that the Holy Spirit can communicate truth with varying texts. Why not? It’s language, isn’t it? What’s the problem?
Question asked: Clough replies: I agree with you, but I prefer to phrase the problem … rather than say that the god of this world wants to get us on sideline issues, I prefer to maybe make it a little more active and say that what he wants to do is to pervert our understanding of any issue. For example, in this article you read about certain biological things about the male and the female body, and the interaction between them. That involves profound areas of biochemistry that we’re not, I’m not qualified to talk about, but I know some people in the Creation Research society that are very qualified, in fact there’s a new book out on the design of the human body from ICR that’s tremendous.
So, for example, when we discuss a certain hormone, rather than say that’s a peripheral issue, which I know what you’re getting at, what Satan does is he sets that subject material, say the hormone, and he wraps it up into a worldview where it’s understood a totally different way than it would be understood by someone who thought in a biblical worldview. Both of us are talking about the same thing, and far from being a peripheral issue … I know one of my sons who looked at DNA structures for Johns Hopkins for several years and he’d come home and say that is amazing, because He knew the Designer, and he enjoyed looking at those structures.
I remember this conversation because I don’t know anything about biochemistry, it’s an area of science I never got into, and I asked him for a book on it and got a big thick 500-page book that he said daddy, read that and you’ll understand some of the basics. Well, when I get time. But one of the neat things, just a little thing, it sounds like a little side issue but to me it’s not a side issue. God’s creation is so phenomenally revelatory of Him that you can talk about neat little things and they redound to His glory.
Like the discussion I had one time, I had this naïve view about DNA that as you go through the DNA structure that this is the section for your ear, this is the section for your nose, this is the section for your leg, etc. He said that’s not right, he said the instructions for your ear formation, some of them are here, some are here, some are here, and some are over here. I said what? That sounds chaotic. He said no, that’s not chaotic, because if there’s damage in the DNA it won’t damage your whole ear.
See, that’s a little tiny detail. But it’s not a peripheral detail when you can enter into this enjoyably and view it as the work of our God, our Creator, it’s exciting. Yeah, He made that, think of what He did, in Genesis 2 when the Bible, in such mundane common language has God reaching down and getting the sand, but if we could just see that in that instant that He was dealing with the sand all these little molecules are going zit, zit, zit, zit, boom, boom, oump, umph, here we go, and the whole blueprint of our bodies was created like that. There are little details.
You work with software, and I would imagine there are times when you work with a program and you get into one or two little instructions in that program and you think that’s pretty neat, what that instruction is doing. So it’s not the size of the issue, that’s what I’m trying to get at, it’s the context of the issue. That’s always the way it is. And that’s what’s infuriating about this article when I read it is that here we’re talking about something, why people fall in love. It’s a good topic and by the time you wade through the first four paragraphs, I have never had my boots stick to the goo as I’ve waded through for paragraphs, there’s more junk in it about evolution. I mean, the guy can’t even talk about a nose without talking about evolution. If this guy had a lesson on how to brush your teeth it would be in terms of what the primates did eight million years ago. This is how it’s embedded.
Same guy says a lot more stuff: Clough replies: It wouldn’t be educational. That’s what’s so phony, what I can’t stand about the modern environment and the law. The treatment of law and the interpretation of law is as phony as the interpretation of literature in our school system. Both communities, the English teachers and the law community, the legal community resort to these hollow technical context divorced ways of looking at these terms, and if they’re playing this game of extraction, it’s absolutely ludicrous, in your example, that this five-panel would be educational and Charles Stanley is not. The subject material is the same; it’s talking about the Bible. So how do you distinguish in content between one and the other?
Same guy says more: Clough says: It gets back to the fact … a friend of mine, Tommy Ice has a gift that I just don’t have, and it’s the ability to sit down and debate with these people and kind of laugh and enjoy it while he’s doing it. That’s the way he does, he sits there and he has a good old time with them, and they just get so irritated, and Tommy’s just enjoying it. But one of the things that he likes to use when he gets into these situations, he’ll look at them and he’ll say something … I think this is humorous, I think sometimes we have to develop a humor because humor is a nasty way of sneaking stuff in, and Tommy, at one point this guy was going on about this thing, and Tommy came back and he says well you know, we’ve got to watch out for the undermining literature, the dangerous stuff out there, and the guy thought that Tommy meant censorship, because he knew Tommy was a fundamentalist and he thought oh, this guy’s after something.
No, no, he says we believe in all literature. So Tommy kept pushing him, pretending he was talking about censorship, and the guy was disagreeing with him, we have to have open book, everything, every piece of literature should be considered. Well, you know where Tommy was going with this thing, and he says well, I don’t think you really mean that because I’m thinking about a real dangerous book, now I mean one that really upsets people. Oh, I believe in reading everything, I believe that we should have a [he whispers the word, can’t hear it] But that’s the thing, and I guess we have to learn to laugh with it, because in one sense we can get too depressed and get too upset by it. You’ve just got to learn to back off and there’s a humor in it, and God has a sense of humor in the Old Testament, He laughs.
Question asked: Clough replies: You could say that, it’s just that what I’ve tried to do in the Davidic life, the struggles of David in the Psalms are so often used by us when we read the Psalms of the struggles of the Christian life. So that’s what I was thinking about, but yes, you could see the glorification, as long as you condition it with it is a type and like all types it’s not a perfect type, that kind of stuff. But the glorification comes in the fact that He is a forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.