THE VOICE OF THE LORD
(In Relation to Revelation, Conscience, Inspiration, Illumination, and Postmodernism)
The Dean Burgon Society
July 18, 2007
Bible Brethren Church
Pastor Paul Reno
H. D. Williams, M.D., Ph.D.
THE VOICE OF THE LORD
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: (Genesis 3:8a) "now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD." (1 Samuel 15:1b, cf. Dan. 10:6) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,…Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:3a,5d)
(In Relation to Revelation, Conscience, Inspiration, Illumination, and Postmodernism)
(The following is the Preface and Introduction to a much larger work to be published by The Bible For Today Press)
In the last century, another significant attack upon the Words of God has developed. It has been augmented by the misunderstanding of "the voice of the Lord," "revelation," "conscience," "inspiration," and "illumination." The confusion created by the misunderstanding and poor exegesis of the Scriptures concerning these doctrines has been amplified by the extreme godless human philosophy of "the last days" called postmodernism and by "perilous times" (2 Tim. 3:1-2). The blight of postmodernism is causing the words of God to be viewed with disdain, analyzed with doubt, studied with uncertainty, corrupted at will, interpreted liberally, and rejected as Truth.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, warned us that "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;" (1 Tim. 4:1). The factors listed above are contributing significantly to the rejection of God’s received, preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, and their accurate and faithful translation into various languages of the world (e.g. the accurate and faithful KJB and the Gomez Rena Valera). However, God will preserve His words for ever, in spite of the attack and attempted corrption by man influenced by humanistic philosophy (Psa. 12:6-7, Psa. 117, Mat. 24:35, Col. 2:8, and many other verses).
Postmodernism is the Blight
Postmodernism is not just "every man doing what is right in his own eyes" (Judg. 17:6, 21:25). It is far worse. It is extreme self-will. Postmodernism is a progression of iniquity to the point of rejecting all truth, especially foundational truth, which is the Holy Scriptures. There is presently a sustained, unrelenting attack on the Words of God. Men of faith everywhere are lamenting: "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalms 11:3). However, faithful believers know His Words will last for ever.
The attack is an overwhelming tide, especially in the last several decades. During the dispensation of law and of grace until the present days, men knew external truth existed, but they thought that they could get away with "doing what is right in [their] own eyes" (Judg. 21:25, 2 Tim. 3:1-2). For example, in the dispensation of law as the Israelites grew more wicked, they hid their idols in their rooms (Eze. 8:12) or escaped to the "groves" to commit evil with like-minded wicked men (Judg. 3:7). They thought God did not see them. But, He is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.
In these last days, the postmodernist chips away at these three cardinal and foundational truths about God, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, by putting forth ‘new’ concocted theologies called process, open, and dipolar theology. The tenets of these theologies are not derived by systematic examination of the Scriptures guided by the Holy Spirit. Rather, they are postulates constructed from a few passages of Scripture, many of which have been corrupted in the ‘new’ versions of the ‘bible’ by exegetical manipulation and "through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8).
Now, men everywhere openly defy the Scriptures, and abhor the authority of the righteous commandments from a Holy God. The first part of Colossians 2:8 comes to mind as a significant warning of the days in which we now live: "Beware lest any man spoil you."
At the beginning of the church age, Jude warned us that "certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness." In these last days, the insidious encroachment of men with self-willed postmodern philosophy into institutions of higher learning, churches, and our homes is no less damaging.
Jesus warned that self-willed men who "prophesied in [His] name" would not "enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mat. 7:21-23). These men do not "the will of [His] father which is in Heaven," but their own self-will and gainsaying (Gr. antilegw = speak against). They speak against clear Scriptural doctrines (Jude 1:10-11). Jesus called it iniquity.
The Old Testament frequently warns man to be aware of "self." Isaiah clearly warns us of self-will, calling it iniquity. Isaiah said, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). How can they escape the fires of hell when God’s precious gift of salvation is so openly rejected? How can they escape the fires of hell when His precious Words preserved for us as He promised are trampled in the mud of human philosophy?
Postmodernism is From Philosophers and Scholars
In these last days of extreme self-will, of denial of truth, and of uncertainty about everything, the tenets of postmodernism are sweeping the world like a horrible storm. It has filtered down from the scholars and philosophers in our educational institutions over the last six to seven decades through mass media and new technologies such as the internet. The method has mirrored the process by which the false Greek text was "cast upon the world" by Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort and friends. The infection has spread by the students of these ungodly men to the common man in the pew and on the streets.
Now, men everywhere believe their own conscience and thoughts are the voice of the Lord illuminating and enlightening them to truth without regard to God’s specific and special and inspired Words. This is not a new problem. Man has always desired to live through sight and not by faith. Idols were the answer for many men through the ages. Now man’s own imagination and thoughts have been placed upon a throne.
Spiritual things have always been a last resort for man. The Apostle John addressed the question of how to know you are a child of God through spiritual things (e.g. 1 John); and not through the five senses such as hearing an audible voice, which the Gnostics of old and the modern Gnostics often claim are necessary.
First John is a great book for "babes" seeking maturity in the things of God. John Wesley (1703-1791) reported on "vain men" misunderstanding their imaginations and thoughts as the "voice of God." He said:
"How many vain men, not understanding what they spake, neither whereof they affirmed, have wrested this Scripture [Rom. 8:16] to the great loss if not the destruction of their souls! How many have mistaken the voice of their own imagination for this witness of the Spirit of God, and thence idly presumed they were the children of God while they were doing the works of the devil! But with what difficulty are they convinced thereof, especially if they have drank deep into that spirit of error! All endeavors to bring them to the knowledge of themselves they will then account fighting against God; and that vehemence and impetuosity of spirit which they call "contending earnestly for the faith," sets them so far above all the usual methods of conviction that we may well say, "With men it is impossible."More recently, "vain men" are "convinced" men that "revelation" is a man’s thoughts garnered by his personal experience. Subsequently, man has decided that there is no external truth. They believe truth to be internal in man, and it is specific to the individual and his experiences. The postmodernists are particularly antagonistic to the preserved, perfect, received, external written Words of God, the traditional Bible of Christianity. This work hopes to shed light on these subjects. Hopefully, it will be of some use, and hopefully to God’s glory. It is with these thoughts in mind that this author leaves this brief abstract of the work with an example from Scripture that offers some insight into the misunderstanding, misinterpretations, mis-exegesis, and mis-illumination so common in these last days because men have misunderstood "the voice of the Lord."
An Illustration From Scripture
In the book of 1 Kings, we find an interesting text that we will use for the purpose of identifying types within it. The types are misunderstood by many students of God’s Words. They also illustrate and offer insight into the process of illumination or enlightenment. Please note the words italicized in the following discourse.
In 1 Kings 19:10-13, most individuals frequently quote verse twelve to defend their claims of hearing the audible "voice of the Lord."
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:12
God’s revelation to His prophet, Elijah, began with God’s command to stand "upon" the mount. A mount is made of "rock." Elijah was to be prepared to hear. It is revealed later that Elijah was in a cave in the "rock" (ver. 13). Believers are in the "Rock" (Deut. 32:4, Eph. 1:10). God passed by the entrance of the cave followed by a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire. God was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire. He did not speak out of the three loud natural disasters. It would have been necessary for Him to speak loudly. It would have been dramatic. If God spoke audibly to anyone today, it would be dramatic. God got Elijah’s attention by a "still small voice," which was not a voice with discernable words (see the Hebrew root words behind "still" and "small"). The voice was indiscernible, but Elijah knew it was time for God to speak to him through revelation because he was a prophet of God. The indiscernible, still, small voice in the dark cave was the beginning of the illumination or enlightenment of Elijah, but Elijah had to go to the "opening" or entrance of the cave to clearly hear (the words of) the "voice" of the Lord. He needed to come out of the darkness of the cave into the light (1 Jn. 1:5-6, 2:8, Rev. 16:10). For believers in the age of grace, we need to come out of the darkness into His glorious light (Psa. 36:9, 97:11). We need to stand in the mount, in the "Rock." It is there that we can clearly see, read, and hear the received words of revelation given by inspiration to His prophets and Apostles to record. These inscripturated words give light (Psa. 43:3, 119:130). We have those words. But, we must come to the point of opening His Words to hear them just like Elijah came to the opening of the cave. The Holy Spirit will illuminate the words when we open our Bible, read, and study the Words, daily. He will place a beam of light on the words with the calm, silent "voice of illumination" without the need of actual words, so that they can be clearly seen and spiritually discerned.
Dr. John Walvoord said:
"God is able, however, to speak to the heart of man with such reality that the effect is produced without the need of actual words. Such is the experience of the Christian who is frequently taught by the Holy Spirit the truths of God, and yet the Christian would have difficulty finding words to express all that the Spirit had made known." [HDW, my emphasis]
The words of Scripture are those given by Him who declared, "I am the light" three times in Scripture.
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46). "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5, cf. Psa. 36:9, ).
When Jesus talked to His Apostles in the Upper Room the night before His crucifixion, He assured them that they would receive all His Words. They would be guided into all truth, the words which provide "light" (Psa. 119:130). God’s Words of special revelation, which are illuminated by the Holy Spirit, provoke our heart, mind, and conscience in order to grow in His knowledge and wisdom. Every believer hungers for the knowledge of God. We will only grow with confidence if we study His written Words. We can only be assured of truth from the written words. If a believer is carnal and backslidden, enlightenment from His precious words will be lacking. Our enemy would love for everyone to believe that his "conscience" is "the voice of the Lord," and remain in an immature or backslidden condition. As we shall see, hearing the audible voice of God is a delusion encouraged by the tenets of postmodernism and it is giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.
In addition, listening for an audible voice, which is separate from our own thoughts, will place a person under the spell or influence of devils. Their function is to attempt to get all believers to turn away from God’s preserved inspired life-giving Words. The purpose of devils is to keep unbelievers who are hurting from hearing His Words, because "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the words of God" (Rom. 10:17). The words point to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, and our Glory.
It is with great trepidation that these subjects are approached by this author. The topics of "conscience" and "the voice of the Lord" are rarely expounded by pastors, teachers, or missionaries and few commentaries or books on systematic theology address these subjects. One feels like he is ‘treading where angels fear to tread.’ Why? Because the terms "God spoke to me," or "God told me," or "I heard His voice," or similar terms are frequently heard in conversations with individuals, heard on television, or promulgated in written materials. They imply that they are hearing an audible "voice of the Lord." Others believe their conscience, angelic visions, and similar occurences are either "the voice of the Lord" or revelations (see below).
In a postmodern world where preservation of God’s Words and many other truths about the Bible are no longer expounded, one wonders what will be the next perversion to arrive on the scene. Gender neutral "bibles," ecumenicism, past neo-evangelicalism, liberal humanistic philosophies, and heretical doctrines mixed with or influenced by Eastern Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other forms of paganism, are accelerating the conversion to a postmodern culture that approves any evil.
The advance of technology in many cultures has assisted in the overthrow of Biblical moral and doctrinal stands. In addition, many people surmise success can be achieved without God. Furthermore, the guilt caused by abandonment of Biblical morals is not a problem for many people because their consciences have been seared (1 Tim. 4:2).
The results of these fallacious beliefs and positions are: (1) Some individuals in this postmodern milieu have eaten the forbidden fruit in the Garden and have fallen for the lie of the enemy that they "shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 2:17, 3:5). When they discover that they are no more "respected" than any other individual, bitterness and depression often ensues (Acts 8:23, 10:34, Rom. 3:12-17). (2) Others have become "little Christs" in the worst sense of the meaning. They believe that they are hearing the audible "voice of the Lord" in their minds They believe that they receive inspired revelations, which are nothing more than their own imaginations and thoughts amplified by our enemy, that old serpent the devil (Gen. 3:1, Acts 5:3-4). (3) Still others are deluded because evil men and demons "crept in unawares" and led them astray (Acts 8:19-23, Jude 1:4). When they discover they have been fed on false doctrines and lies (Jn. 8:44), they very often turn from Christianity altogether. (4) Many individuals are emotionally hurting; and they have become disillusioned with life as they discover the resources in a materialistic and technologically dominated society do not meet their needs.
Most of these people: (1) are in need of proper exegesis of Biblical Truth and its authority from words inspired and preserved by an Almighty God in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek; and faithfully and accurately translated into some of the languages of the world (e.g. the KJB and the Gomez Rena Valera) and (2) need to be indwelt, regenerated, sealed, baptized, and filled by the Holy Spirit. When they have not grieved or quenched Him, enlightenment will come to them like "the day dawn, and the day star arise in [their] hearts (2 Pe. 1:19).
However, there is an early famine in the land for God’s precise, preserved, special, specific, healing, and life changing words. Interpretations by man, which are often flawed and perverted, are peddled as the Words of God. The confusion resulting from widely varying "bibles" has caused more and more people to doubt that an omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent God exists. Therefore, people have turned to their inner thoughts, imaginations, and dreams as truth for the conduct of their lives.
The Essence of Postmodernism
This is the essence of the postmodern generation. The postmodernist believes there is no external absolute written truth and nothing can be known with certainty. Subsequently, God is allowing a famine of His Words to begin and our children are exhibiting severe educational deficiencies, criminal activity in gangs, and hedonism. These overwhelming tragedies, deficiencies, and character failures are exactly what happened to the nation Israel for ignoring and not obeying God’s specific and protecting Words.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD" (Amos 8:11). "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6). "For men shall be lovers of their own selves,… "Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures [hedonistic] more than lovers of God;" (2 Timothy 3:2a, 4). [HDW, my addition]
Although we live in an age of grace, it is time for men to hear our Lord’s statement: "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15, cf. 14:23). The hyper-dispensationalists claims of legalism or of assertions that the verses, such as John 14:15, are addressed to the nation Israel only are false. Verses such as John 14:15 are scattered throughout Scripture and the hyper-dispensationalists arguments cannot be sustained (cf. Rom. 13:9, 2 Cor. 5:14-15, Gal. 5:13, 1 Jn. 2:5, 5:2, etc.).
Mistakes and Mis-interpretations
The mistakes of Israel outlined in the Old Testament were for us to observe and learn from in order to not make the same mistakes (1 Cor. 10:6). However, churches, institutions, nations, believers, parachurch organizations, Bible schools, seminaries, and families are being misled by seeking wisdom in all the wrong places, by depending on wealth and materialism to sustain them in the future, and by worshipping idols, athletes, and "their own selves" (2 Tim. 3:1-2).
Many believers, much less unbelievers, disregard God’s preserved Words, and turn their attention instead to (mis)interpretations and (mis)translations of His Words by scholars who claim they have found the Words of God. In addition, too many prefer to listen to the deceivers on television and to those who are deluded that cross their paths instead of listening to His preserved, perfect words (Psa. 12:6-7, 18:30, 19:7, Mat. 24:35, Mk. 13:31, Lk. 21:33, etc.).
When this author first became a believer and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, he rarely heard others claiming they heard the "clear voice of God" telling them His will or revealing prophetic events. It seems in the last few years, the clamor of people professing to hear God’s audible voice has grown to a loud uncertain trumpet (1 Cor. 14:8). They are not trying to express the illumination of God’s Words by the Holy Spirit, or enlightenment of His will for their lives through His precious Words, or the prompting of a sanctified believer’s good conscience "bearing [them] witness in the Holy Spirit" to the "law written in their hearts" (Rom 2:15, 9:1). They truly believe their thoughts are "the voice of the Lord."
This is a postmodern phenomenon that is very significant. As men and women have turned from the external, preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible written Words of God to guide them, God has turned them over to their own lusts (Rom. 1:24). They will not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3). As we shall see, it is a sign of the last days, and it is a witness to the philosophical catastrophe of postmodernism. Postmodernism did not cause this seduction. This author believes the Lord has allowed these changes to occur because men have turned to themselves for truth. They have been seduced by false teachers, "so-called" prophets, and deceivers. The Lord said:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mk. 13:22)
These heresies have been allowed in order to try believers. Paul said:
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Corinthians 11:19).
Rejection of Evidence
Postmodernism (extreme selfism and uncertainty about every expression) has accelerated the rejection of the historical and providential evidence for God’s preserved Words to the jot and tittle. It is a phenomenon that must be reckoned with by all of those who love Him and His Words. The postmodernists have "cast away" His words.
"They have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. 5:24c).
The postmodernists give absolutely no consideration to the doctrines of preservation, inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility FROM the Scriptures.
The "Deformation" Versus The "Reformation"
Just as assuredly as the "Reformation" took millions out of the clutches of Rome, the "Deformation" (called "Deconstructionism" by postmodernists, (see footnote 11) will bring millions back under the banner of the harlot church. This is being allowed by God in fulfillment of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation, chapters 17-18). Acceptance of weeping icons of Mary as evidence of God’s presence; seeing manifestations of channeled beings; and the alleged receiving of audible Words from God are occurrences which are helping to desensitize and repel a generation of deceived seekers from completed revelation, which is found in the sixty-six books of the received Bible.
This generation will gladly accept the ecumenical church of the soon to come world government and leader and they will welcome the "new" bible of the one world order, which will laud the classic tenets of postmodernism—uncertainty and extreme selfism. Surely the wording of the "new" bible will allow uncertainty about everything EXCEPT the authority of the one-world political and religious leader. The desensitized people in the days of the Antichrist will stand in line to receive the mark of the beast. They will be uncertain that God’s warnings about the mark apply to them (Rev. 14:11).
A few months ago a real estate salesman visited our property, which is for sale. In the course of showing the property, our conversation turned to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. He informed me that he was "a prophet" and that the Lord told him that:
"an awful terrorist attack was going to occur in Miami very soon (i.e. several weeks), with something as serious as a suitcase atomic bomb, and thousands of people would be leaving Florida to buy land in Georgia."
Shortly after this incident, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) presented a group of seven "pastors, evangelists, and prophets" giving their testimony. One evangelist reported that he could frequently see "giant angels" protecting his meetings and ministering to the attendees. He said, "They are present today." Another person, a lady, could see different colors above the heads of those in the audience, and the colors represented problems the person was having. On another program, conducted by Pastor Mark Chirrona, he reported "angels are speaking to me." He encouraged the audience to be listening for them. Other "so-called" male and female preachers are encouraging believers to hear God’s (audible) voice or to speak in "the language of angels" (i.e. speak in tongues). They imply that if a believer does not hear His voice speaking to them and they do not speak in tongues, then they are not walking with the Lord and they are "grieving" the Holy Spirit. This author and his wife were told by a pastor of an independent nondenominational church we visited to return to an evening service to learn why we should speak in tongues.
Spiritual Failures Caused by Postmodernism
Hearing an audible "voice of the Lord," seeing or hearing (giant) angels, speaking in tongues, "laughing in the Spirit" (the Toronto Movement or Blessing), performing fake "healings," distributing "prayer bracelets" and "cloths" for "a donation," "holy anointing oil" and other incredible delusions and occult manifestations are all signs of postmodernism; a world led astray by deconstructionism, poor exegesis of the Scriptures (exegetical manipulation), greed, selfism, doubt, and corrupted versions. These spiritual failures may be attributed to a weak faculty of the mind, the conscience, which becomes defiled and seared from sin and guilt (Rom. 2:15, 1 Cor. 8:7, 10, 1 Tim. 4:2). J. J. Oswald Sanders (1917-1992) of the China Inland Missions, said:
"Ignorance of the function of the conscience [from Scripture] and of the divine provision for its healthy exercise leads to serious spiritual disorders."[HDW, my addition and emphasis]
The eventual guilt brought on by these excesses is devastating for many people with a weak conscience, which is caused by lack of knowledge of the proper and right Words of God (see below). Sanders goes on to explain the serious problem of the condemning conscience in people who sincerely desire to do the will of God. He said:
"Many sensitive Christians have limped through life because of a morbid and weak conscience whose condemning voice allowed them no respite. Their sincerity and desire to do the will of God only accentuated the problem and caused them to live in a state of perpetual self-accusation. Delivery from this unhappy state is possible through the apprehension and appropriation of the teaching of Scripture on the subject."
Therefore, the "sensitive Christian" delves deeper into many of the excesses of postmodernism, hoping to find the answer to or excuse for their guilt and shame; meanwhile, searching every new version of the Bible that appears on the scene to try to ease their pain. Meanwhile, the perverters for gain feed their frenzy by releasing a ‘new’ version every six months in English that amounts to deconstructionism (see footnote 11) to fit their seared consciences. Just as surely as modernism’s false philosophies failed, postmodernism will fail also.
The Purpose of This Work
The purpose of this work is:
(1) to review "the voice of the Lord" in the Scriptures and in the few exegetical works of godly men who have reported on this issue and
(2) to review the major points and issues associated with "conscience," "revelation," and illumination ("enlightenment)," which are causing confusion for many people. In most instances, as we shall see, "the voice of the Lord" refers to the inscripturated Words of God, written for man. Mankind is expected to "turn" their heart, mind, conscience, and souls to the "jot [and] tittle" (Mat. 5:17-18) of God’s Words. The "jot and tittle" make up the phonemes or certain sounds of "the voice of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:8) from Genesis to Revelation. In this dispensation by His grace, God wants believers to "hear, hearken, and do" His commandments, precepts, statutes, and laws for their protection, which are written and preserved in a special Book (Ex. 15:26, Jn 3:29, Jn. 10:4-5, 10:27, 18:37).
His commandments, precepts, statutes, and laws are the "words of the voice of the Lord" (1 Sam. 15:1, cf. Deut. 4:12, 36, Dan. 10:6). All of the "parts" of every inscripturated word in each part of the canon of Scripture is our bread (Mat. 4:4). The bread of life is the Word(s) of Life. Our bread is also "the voice of the Lord," who walked in the Garden (Gen. 3:8). He is "the living bread which came down from heaven" (Jn. 6:51). The "voice of the Lord" is one of many metaphors for the Word(s) of God and for the Lord Jesus Christ, who was made flesh (Gen. 3:8, John 1:1, 14). The Lord Jesus Christ’s "voice" is a metaphor for the gospel appeal to lost man (Rev. 3:20) and for his sheep to follow Him (Jn. 10:27) in the way (Jn. 14:6), where they will find green pastures (Psa. 23:2, Jn. 10:9).
(3) Finally, this work will examine postmodernism’s rejection of certainty (which has contributed to the confusion about "the voice of the Lord, the "conscience," "revelation," "inspiration," and "illumination" and many, many other things).
Walking By Faith
If we were able to detect God through our fleshly senses of seeing, tasting, touching, and hearing, we would not be living by faith, but by "sight." The Scriptural concept of faith includes "walk[ing] by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7) and it is the "the evidence of things not seen" by the physical senses. The Scriptures plainly teach:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1, cf. Rom. 8:24, 2 Cor. 4:18). "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
In the majority of instances in Scripture where "the voice" refers to an audible voice, God is speaking to his prophets and Apostles to present revelations (e.g. Gen. 8:15, 24:7, Ex. 6:13, 2 Cor 13:3, Acts 8:6, etc.). Paul said: "Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me". "Christ speaking in me" is the evidence of an Apostle, which is confirmed by the signs of an Apostle (2 Cor. 12:12, 1 Thess. 2:13). On rare occasions, the audible voice of God is heard by a person other than the prophets and Apostles in Scripture (e.g. Hagar, Gen. 21:17; Manoah and his wife, Judges 13; Jesus baptism and crucifixion, Mat. 3:17, Jn. 12:28-30; etc.), and it was heard with great fear by the nation Israel at Mt. Sinai when God revealed His plans and expectations for the future of His people.
The third person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, is the agent who empowers us to live a sanctified life according to the inscripturated words. He prompts and empowers us to spiritually hear the inscripturated words "behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" away from the Lord’s commandments (Isaiah 30:21, Deut. 5:32, 17:20). The Lord gives believers that spiritual ability to know when they are turning away by utilizing "the candle of the Lord" (Pro. 20:27) and the "voice" of our conscience (see below) that testifies to "the work of the law written in our hearts" (Rom. 2:15). The conscience, which is a faculty of the mind created within "every" man by God, can be influenced by the Words of God, by our parents, by the local church, by teachers, by society, and by our "selves." What takes precedent depends on one’s "first love" (Rev. 2:4).
"But what saith it [the righteousness of faith]? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;" (Romans 10:8) [HDW, my addition].
However, Pastor D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D., reminds us:
"You cannot depend upon a ‘conscience’…Conscience means knowing within ourselves. God has given us a conscience if we know and study the Words of God. When we sin, our conscience says this is wrong. This is true if we have a conscience that is functioning. If a conscience is seared with a hot iron, sin has no affect. To believers, when God the Holy Spirit is living in our bodies, we have a conscience."[HDW, my emphasis]
God’s love and mercy allows a believer to discern and understand God’s protective written words in the dispensation of grace (Eph. 1:10, 3:2, Pro. 9:10) by the illumination of the Holy Spirit (see below). The Holy Spirit illuminates the "Words" in the believer so that they can be understood spiritually. The delusion of and need to hear the audible voice of the Lord by believers is evidence of a weak or defiled conscience in a believer without assurance (1 Jn. 3:19-20, heart in these verses pertain to the conscience, 1 Cor. 8:7).
The audible voice of the Lord was heard for His purposes until the Scriptures were complete. As we shall see, God the Holy Spirit only "speaks whatsoever he shall hear" from the Lord Jesus Christ to the Apostles and prophets (Jn. 16:13); and the Lord Jesus Christ said: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10, cf. Jn. 7:16-17).
The present claim by many to hear the audible voice of the Lord is contrary to the progressive revelation of Scripture through dispensations, and the cessation of gifts when the Scriptures were complete (see below). In addition, hearing an alleged audible "voice of the Lord" would make anyone susceptible to the "wiles of the devil." We have "a more sure word," than hearing an audible voice. It is the written testimony of the prophets and Apostles (2 Pe. 1:19).
The function of the Holy Spirit is outlined in the Scriptures. For the believer, He indwells, regenerates (quickens), baptizes, fills the sanctified, illuminates (enlightens) God’s Word, provides power to "mortify the deeds of the body" (flesh), and "beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:13, 16). The way the Holy Spirit "beareth witness" is by the fruit of the Spirit (Rom. 8:23). The fruit of the Spirit is outlined in Galatians 5:22-23. No man on earth will have these fruit if he is not quickened. In addition, First John outlines the way a believer can know that he is a child of God (1 Jn. 5:13). There is no mention by John of believers hearing an audible voice of God. It bears repeating:
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 2 Peter 1:19
Enormous Confusion About These Issues
There seems to be enormous confusion today about the way the Holy Spirit guides and illuminates our understanding of the inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Scriptures (Jn. 16:13). The confusion has been generated in part by a very poor understanding of "the voice of the Lord," "conscience," "revelation," "inspiration," and "illumination" and by exaltation of "self" in a postmodern world. For example, some assume and believe that our "conscience" is "the voice of God" speaking to us; others report that a movie or DVD about the Scriptures has as much authority as the received, inspired, written Words in the Bible; and still others proclaim the "church" has as much authority as the written Words of God (e.g. Roman Catholicism, postmodern emerging church). It bears repeating that the confusion makes us susceptible to "the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). In addition, we must recognize that many "pulpiteers" are deceivers for "gain" (1 Tim 6:5) and:
"they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake" (Numbers 25:18).
Misappropriation and Misunderstanding of Terms
The misappropriation and misunderstanding of the above terms has had a significant bearing on the following:
(1) on the rejection or ignoring of Biblical Truth, which is the specific preserved, received inerrant Words in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek,
(2) on rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ as Truth Incarnate (Jn. 14:6, 17:17, cf. 1 Kg. 17:24),
(3) on the modern day phenomena and plethora of "books" claiming to be "the" Bible, as if they were every Word of God (e.g. NIV, GNB, LW, NASB, NKJV, NLT, ESV, RSV, and dozens more). Please see "Word-For-Word Translating of the Received Texts, Verbal Plenary Translating" by this author.
(4) on the explosive growth of charismatic beliefs producing:
(a) healing services on demand (making God a "doc" in the box or on a puppet string),
(b) acceptance of glossolalia (speaking in tongues),
(c) claims that God is speaking audibly to the modern-day, man-in-the-pew prophet and,
(d) the claim of new revelations to prophets such as Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Glover Eddy, and Ellen G. White, which has resulted in:
alleged additional inspired, written Scripture and,
alleged new prophecies and revelations,
(5) on the rejection of modern philosophy and the subsequent substitution of postmodern philosophy, which has resulted in the rejection of reason:as here considered, indicates the intellectual and moral faculties of man exercised in the pursuit of truth"
(6) on the assertion that ancient Gnostic writings are as important to truth as the Scriptures and,
(7) on an exponential acceleration of universalism and ecumenicism.
The Confusion Has "Wrought Folly"
[As Opposed to "What Hath God Wrought" (i.e. His Words) Nu. 23:23cf. Jos. 7:15]
God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). The confusion surrounding these issues has led many to folly, and many to believe:
(1) that the Scriptures are not complete because:
(a) God continues to speak through current or modern-day prophets who are able to give additional revelations;
(b) the Words of God may be eclectically put together by adding to, subtracting from, or changing the words to make them "better" or changed in light of the relatively recent discovery of manuscripts in garbage dumps that are considered by some to be the oldest and best; or changed if other manuscripts are found, by reconstructing the Words of God, even though we have no originals to determine if any change is legitimate.
(c) some segments of the powerful Christian community have selected some writings while rejecting other Christian writings because they do not fit into the scheme of those in control. Thus, the canon of Scripture is a fabricated product from political struggles (see footnote 28, Ehrman). Therefore, the canon continues to be open for the addition or removal of books.
(2) that dynamic equivalent translations (man’s interpretations) are better than formal equivalent translations (word-for-word).
The results of the disagreements (which are sometimes caustic and were previously murderous in past centuries), surrounding the issues presented above, have precipitated great confusion and bewilderment. The uncertainty surrounding these issues has led some to believe absolute truth cannot be known because they believe the pronouncements and influence of scholars (fallible men) who assert that:
(1) evidence for a current inerrant, infallible, inspired, preserved Bible is tenuous at best, and
(2) only the original "manuscripts" called autographs are inerrant and inspired.
Dr. Mal Couch said:
"It must be remembered that when we speak of inspiration and inerrancy, we’re referring to the original autographs, or initial writings of the apostles, not later copies. There are copy errors that are continually being corrected even now, two thousand years after the times of the New Testament. Finally, In believing that the Bible is inspired and inerrant we hold that God divinely guided the apostles and prophets to write down exactly what He wanted, and that the Scriptures are [HDW, note the present tense] totally without error and accurate [HDW, how can they be without "error" presently if our "copies" have errors and we do not have the originals?]. Evangelicals have historically held to this view, and it is often stated as a belief in verbal (the very words, not just thoughts and ideas), plenary (equally in every part of the Scriptures) inspiration. It should be stated, though, that only the original documents (…referred to as autographs) are free from error." [HDW, my emphasis and comments]
Dr. Couch and others who claim inerrancy and inspiration need to answer the question: "If the Scriptures were only without error in the original writings, and we do not have the originals, how can we ever be one hundred percent (100%) certain "that God divinely guided the apostles and prophets to write down exactly what He wanted, and that the Scriptures are totally without error and accurate" and that they have been divinely protected without the originals? We cannot, at least not without understanding that believers must accept by faith (Heb. 11:6) that the easily collated copies of the providentially guided Received Texts (manuscripts) are as perfect as the originals and that they conform to our Lord’s promise:
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35, Mk. 13:31, Lk. 21:33)
Therefore, some of us currently, and many saints in the past, believe that the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words behind the King James Bible are perfect just as God promised. An example that those in the past believed in the perfect preservation of God’s Words through the ages can be found in The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646, note the date is after the original KJB of 1611), which clearly states:
"The Old Testament in Hebrew…and the New Testament in Greek…being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them."
Incredibly, many seminary and Bible school teachers like Dr. Couch do not believe that God has done as He promised. Therefore, they go to great exegetical manipulation of the Scripture to expunge God’s promises of preservation. If individuals can not trust God’s promise to preserve every one of His Words, how can they begin to reach a saving knowledge; a knowledge that must be retained (1 Cor. 15:2) of Christ’s virgin birth, death, and burial "for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and the miraculous resurrection in three days (1 Cor. 15:4) according to the Scriptures? Just as surely as these things happened and many other revealed "things," God has preserved His Words to the jot and tittle! It does not matter what the doubt producing "scholars" pronounce from their ivory "idol-producing" towers.
If there are errors in our current "copies" of the Received Texts (the Hebrew Masoretic text and the Received Text), then how could we claim "verbal (the very words, not just thoughts and ideas), plenary (equal in every part of Scriptures) inspiration?" (see Dr. Couch’s quote above). If we believe there are errors, then we could not make these claims, because some of the words may be from man’s invention by changing, adding, or subtracting words. The claim of verbal plenary inspiration overshadowed by unequivocal "errors" becomes duplicity in disguise and causes confusion for believers. If we stand upon the words being preserved, in the historical Received Texts’ route copies (and they are preserved) called apographs, which demonstrate God’s "right hand" at work, then we can properly and logically claim verbal plenary inspiration, preservation, inerrancy, and infallibility. If Dr. Couch is referring to printing and orthographic errors only (which are easily corrected), then his statement may be satisfactory because man has never produced a "perfect" product without linguistic errors, especially from hand written copies or a printing press.
Furthermore, the critical text manuscripts currently favored by scholars (particularly B and Aleph) that underlie the "new" versions are so corrupt that collation of them is impossible. Whereas, the Received Texts have few differences compared to the thousands in B and Aleph; and the received manuscripts can be easily collated (see above). Dean Burgon has clearly demonstrated these facts in his many books. By virtue of the corrupted critical texts manuscripts, readings must be selected from texts, not collated. This is eclecticism. The confusion created has contributed to "turning" from God’s preserved words, and it has contributed to the uncertainty sweeping the world through the spread of suppositions, delusions, and lies by the modern mass media. Thus, the postmodernists’ ilk is duplicated and reinforced ad nauseum to an unsuspecting world by every media mechanism possible.
Human Scholarship and Philosophy Has Failed in Every Generation
Humanistic scholarship has failed to demonstrate the ability to improve spiritual "life" through reason, science, philosophy, and materialism in every generation. This is one of the reasons why some are mourning the failure of modernism upon which they placed so much faith. Therefore, postmodern individuals have decided that truth is relative to each individual at any point in time. So, what may be true today for an individual will not be true tomorrow, and may never be true for anyone else. According to this scheme, truth has nothing to do with societal beliefs, a set of morals, or a specific system of beliefs such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, or New Ageism. They have concluded that truth has to be individualized for each person, while others have concluded that there is no such thing as truth. They believe the immaterial conscience, mind, or human spirit determines what is "right" for each individual. Therefore, a belief system such as Christianity "may be true for some people, in some places, and at some times, but it is not true for all people, in all places, and at all times. It is relatively true, not absolutely or universally true." They no longer accept even the possibility of the universality of any one belief system that would be good for the world, such as those mentioned above. However, they may accept universal governmental rule as a necessity, but only under the following circumstances:
(1) the judicial system established would have to accept a wide variety of excuses from individuals for failing to conform to the universal laws (e.g. alternative life styles instead of homosexuals, abortion instead of murder, kleptomania instead of stealing, etc.) and,
(2) the judicial laws of the society would have to be liberal, and would have to accept any pagan worship and belief, but reject any belief system that proclaims "one" way to God, heaven, and eternal life (Jn. 14:6). These tenets are the hallmark of postmodernism, which will be discussed below.
The Tenets of Humanistic Philosophy
God knew what the aspects of every philosophy throughout history would be. Therefore, He had the four tenets of all humanistic philosophy recorded for us in the book of Genesis. The progenitor is the devil. At least three of the four tenets can be found in all the philosophies of man through the ages, but particularly in the philosophy of the last days, postmodernism.
Yea, hath God said. (Genesis 3:1)
Ye shall not surely die. (Genesis 3:4, such as in Hinduism’s reincarnation, the "soul sleep" of atheists and Seven Day Adventists)
Ye shall be as gods. (Genesis 3:5)
Ye shall know good and evil. (Gen. 3:5)
The following was a long introduction preceding the following sections. It was necessary to establish the importance of the discussion of the topics to follow.
The preceding material is part of a larger work, The Voice of the Lord, In Relation to Revelation, Conscience, Inspiration, Illumination, and Postmodernism, to be published by The Bible For Today, Collingswood, NJ, in the near future.
The following PowerPoint slides were presented with a message to the Annual Meeting of the Dean Burgon Society, July 18, 2007, in Hagerstown, MD, at the Bible Brethren Church; Pastor Paul Reno.
The message and PowerPoint slides, along with many excellent messages from the members of the Dean Burgon Society, may be viewed for a few months at www.deanburgonsociety.org
THE FOUR TENETS OF HUMANISTIC PHILOSOPHIES IN HISTORY
(1) Yea, hath God said. (Genesis 3:1)
(2) Ye shall not surely die. (Genesis 3:4)
(3) Ye shall be as gods. (Genesis 3:5)
(4) Ye shall know good and evil. (Gen. 3:5)
USUALLY, AT LEAST 3 OUT OF THE FOUR
"Beware [take heed] lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8). (stoicheion = principle, proposition, element)
"Even so we, when we were …in bondage under the elements [stoicheion] of the world:" (Galatians 4:3).
"…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements [stoicheion], whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4:9).
"Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world," (Galatians 1:4)
"Take heed [stoicheion] to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the
inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in
the midst of thee:" (Exodus 34:12)
"Take heed [stoicheion]unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Timothy 4:16)
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23)
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…" (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
Dean Burgon’s Comment
Dean John William Burgon (1813 - 1888) said men would use conscience as their primary guide, to (eventually) dethrone God’s words. He quotes his contemporary, a modernist, first:
MODERNISM (External Truth)
"The principle of private judgment," (it is said,) "puts Conscience between us and the Bible, making Conscience the supreme interpreter." "Hence," it is said, "we use the Bible,—some consciously, some unconsciously,—not to override, but to evoke the voice of Conscience.…"
Burgon continued: (He described the full blown problem to come in postmodernism)
POSTMODERNISM (Internal Truth, No Bible)
"‘The Book of this Law,’ (as Hooker phrases it,) is dethroned; and Man usurps the vacant seat, and becomes a Law unto himself! God Himself is dethroned, in effect, and Man becomes his own god."
Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation (Dean Burgon Society Press, Collingswood, NJ, originally published in 1861, 1999) xxii.
A STORM OR A CANCER:
JUST LIKE POSTMODERNISM CAUSES SYMPTOMS
TREAT THE CAUSE NOT THE SYMPTOMS
Tertullian (c155-230 A.D.) said:
"Now, what is "the dead" but the flesh?
And what is ‘the voice of God’ but the Word? And what is the Word but the Spirit, So much has been settled by the voice of God; such is the contract with everything which is born:"
God said in His contract that His Words are "for ever" and that they may not be changed (Deut. 4:2, Psa. 117, 119, Pro. 30:5-6, Rev. 22:18-19, and MANY OTHER PLACES!!!!).
What Started This Work?
The primary reason: A Significant Symptom
"What has caused so many people to SEEMINGLY NOT be able to understand simple language?"
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
(Double negative, ou me, Matthew 24:35, Mk. 13:31, LK. 21:33)
What Started This Work?
The modern man-in-the-pew "prophet."
Pastors on TV claiming:
that angels were speaking to them, and they could see giant angels ministering to the audience.
that various colors over the heads of individuals indicated their spiritual status.
What Started This Work?
A doctor claiming he heard an "audible voice of the Lord" calling him into the charismatic healing ministry.
Dozens upon dozens claiming:
"the Lord told me…."
"God spoke to me"
WHAT IS THE ELEPHANT?
WHAT IS THE CANCER?
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom
of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye
that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, …(2 Timothy 3:1-2)
During modernism, there remained a belief that "truth" was external versus internal.
Some modernists believed:
(1) science was the provider of truth;
(2) that the secular philosophy of humanism would lead to all truth (epistemology & empiricism);
(3) that the Bible contained truth, BUT NOT ABSOLUTE TRUTH and its application was relative to individuals, cultures, or nations. (e.g. the neo-evangelicalism of Billy Graham, Harold John Ockenga = non-separatism)
(4) they had the right to apply truth in situations (selfism) (e.g. Murder versus abortion). Unity and tolerance (no criticism) was exalted at all costs.
(And MODERNISTS were arrogant about it.)
DOCTRINES EMPHASIZED DURING MODERNISM
These doctrines were primarily taught to the saved:
Depravity, grace, regeneration, imputation, substitution, repentance, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, justification, sanctification, predestination, resurrection.
Age of Modernism: Bastille, 7/14/1790, to Berlin Wall, 1989
Age of Postmodernism: Berlin Wall,1989 to ?
? Age of Spiritism: 9/11/01
THE NEW DISEASE
In the postmodern age, PPM (philosophy of postmodernism) is the new spiritual disease. It is comparable with the physical disease of AIDS, which incidentally, sprang up as the postmodern age began. AIDS is a disease worse than previous diseases; similarly, PPM is worse than all other philosophies including modernism.
PPM has acted like AIDS. AIDS is like a cancer. PPM is affecting every part of our society, including the individual, the educational systems, government, art, entertainment, and particularly the church.
PPM: THE NEW DISEASE
It is the elephant. It is stomping & trampling "Truth"
It is the reason people cannot accept or cannot understand (secondary to the teaching of deconstructionism of PM, e.g. exegetical manipulation):
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35
It is the reason clear truthful explanations are rejected.
Such as: problems with the critical text, proper translations of God’s Words, the providential history of the essentially identical Received Texts or Manuscripts.
The Purpose of this Work
Therapy must be started at the most basic level, just like cancer and AIDS must be Rxed at the "cellular" level.
Neglected doctrines will need to be taught:
—the voice of the Lord
And how are they interrelated
Why do these need to be taught?
The humanistic postmodernist sincerely believes that his "conscience" and "thoughts" are "the voice of ‘truth’. There is no external truth.
The postmodern theologian believes that his conscience, thoughts, or imagination is the audible voice of the Holy Spirit bringing "revelation", "illumination" (or "enlightenment"). Therefore, He does not need external written truth. (e.g. they have angels speaking, they are packets of truth).
Any "enlightenment" of truth according to the postmodernist does not come from reason, science, philosophy, and particularly not from the Bible, but it comes from listening to their thoughts influenced by their experiences.
The Bible is simply "narratives" to assist in the quest; they are helped by a narrator—no pastor—in home churches or small gatherings.
(Incidentally, their thoughts emanate from a defiled, seared, and evil conscience).
"If a man love me, he will keep my words." (Jn. 14:23)
‘The best offense is a strong defense.’
To defend our beliefs, we must "know our enemy;" we must know where he is attacking; what is his strategy; who are his soldiers and what are their weapons and; where he is lurking.
This work is an attempt to define and delineate the enemy’s "latest" battle and methods in his war which he began in the Garden against God’s Words with
"Yea, hath God said…?"
The Problem Is Real
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in 1995:
A massive intellectual revolution is taking place that is perhaps as great as that which marked off the modern world from the Middle Ages. The foundations of the modern world are collapsing, and we are entering a postmodern world. The principles forged during the Enlightenment… are crumbling
1. The Philosophy of Postmodernism:
Some say: Postmodernism is "the rejection of every expression of certainty."*
This author prefers to call postmodernism extreme selfism and the rejection of truth from any external source. Truth is "centered in the self." (i.e. internal)
The Essence of Postmodernism
The postmodernist believes there is:
no external absolute written truth.
nothing that can be known with certainty.
An important cause of PM: Uncertainty about God’s Words, promoted by Westcott/Hort, and supported by scholars like D. A. Carson. (who are now disturbed with PPM)
2. There seems to be no understanding of the Biblical meaning of :
(a) The Voice Of The Lord
(b) The Conscience
as a result of PPM being taught in most secular and Biblical institutions.
3. Consequences: Many are calling themselves prophets:
who are receiving ‘new’ revelations.
who believe they can add to the canon of Scripture.
who see "giant angels."
who see colors dancing above the heads of individuals in the pews.
who believe the Canon of Scripture is open.
4. Consequences: seminary professors going astray by:
(A). Teaching the Bible is "ultimately unnecessary in a faith community."
(B). Teaching the Bible contains myth and narratives.
(C). Teaching that KJB supporters are either a cult, or a sect, or heretical. (e.g. James Price, Greenville Conference)
(D). Teaching Biblical miracles are fables.
Continuation of previous slide
(E). Teaching that some Gnostic writings should be placed into the canon of Scripture.
(F). Teaching that competing "sects" resulted in our current COS.
(G). Teaching Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, He was not born of a virgin, the resurrection is false, etc. etc. etc.
Stanley Grenz, a postmodernist theologian, professor of theology and ethics at Carey Hall/Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia believes:
that Scripture in the ‘new’ world is "ultimately unnecessary." He joins with other postmodernists who claim that "the faith community" (i.e. the church) contains individuals who interpret ‘narratives’ differently. Therefore, the Bible becomes "the book of the community," subservient to the community.
A Postmodernist Theologian
Stanley Grenz continues:
"Consequently, the divine nature of Scripture or its status vis-à-vis (i.e. concerning) revelation need not be demonstrated in the prolegomenon (i.e. first importance) to theology."
Increasing Spiritual Failures Attributed To Postmodernism
a change in thinking from previous philosophies.
NOT an academic exercise.
the rejection of every expression of certainty.
denial of (external) truth. Each individual is like a packet of truth. (So, no need for the Bible)
Postmodernism is NOT
Dr. Dockery said:
"As we move into the twenty-first century, a new way of viewing the world has emerged. The "modern" way of thinking, that dominated the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has become obsolete. The modern ideas are no longer relevant."
(David S. Dockery is president of Union University, TN, former NT professor at Southern Bapt. Theological Seminary) TCOP, 13.
"Babes in Christ"
Postmodern philosophy has:
greatly influenced the "babes" in Christ, which are most of those in the pews and in the pulpits; but particularly the young-in-age people
led to an accelerated rejection of the received preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible, perfect, Words of God.
led to exaltation of the conscience and thoughts of individuals.
(i.e. This means things are going to get worse!)
A Weak Conscience Causes Babes In Christ To Be Easily Influenced
Why? The doctrine of the conscience is rarely taught.
Roy B. Zuck, Senior Professor Emeritus of Biblical Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, said:
"A study of the conscience is perhaps one of the most neglected aspects in biblical anthropology and psychology. Comparatively few systematic theologies even make mention of it. And how many sermons on the subject of the conscience can the reader recall having heard?"
A Weak Conscience
A weak conscience results from "lack of knowledge of the Scriptures," and the Devil is using it greatly in these last days.
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." (Hosea 4:6)
A researcher has reported that he could not find any reference to conscience in all Christian writings prior to 400 A.D.
The first to use the term was Chrysostom (c. 347-407 A.D.), who said:
"the conscience, with the created universe, is a means of knowledge of God."
Conscience is not "the voice of the Lord" as many claim
The American Tract Society (1859) said:
"The existence of this faculty [the conscience] proves the soul accountable at the bar of its Creator, and its "voice" is an important sense, "the voice of God."
Conscience is not the voice of the Lord
Lewis Sperry Chafer said:
"Some maintain that the conscience is not an integral part of man, but is rather the voice of God speaking directly to the one who is exercised by conscience."
"On the other hand, and far removed indeed, is the notion that conscience is no more than a bent of mind received by the discipline of childhood."
"Neither one of these extremes is sustained by Scripture."
Lewis Sperry Chafer, "Anthroplogy, Part V" (Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 101, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1944; Logos, 2002) 145.
Conscience is not "the voice of the Lord" WHY?
Congdon said: "The conscience of a Christian himself may be evil (Heb 10:22), weak and ignorant (1 Cor 8:7, 10, 12), or strong (1 Cor 10:25–27) and pure (1 Tim 3:9)." and witnessing, (Rom. 2:15) to the law written in our hearts.
"Similarly the conscience of the unsaved may be convicting (John 8:9) or seared (1 Tim 4:2), witnessing (Rom 2:15) or defiled (Titus 1:15). According to 2 Corinthians 4:2 all mankind has a conscience."
Dean Burgon Agrees
Dean John William Burgon said men are using conscience as their primary guide, to dethrone God’s words. He said:
"The principle of private judgment," (it is said,) "puts Conscience between us and the Bible, making Conscience the supreme interpreter." "Hence," it is said, "we use the Bible,—some consciously, some unconsciously,—not to override, but to evoke the voice of Conscience."…
Burgon described ‘the child’ (modernism), and then the adult (postmodernism).
"’The Book of this Law," (as Hooker phrases it,) is dethroned; and Man usurps the vacant seat, and becomes a Law unto himself! God Himself is dethroned, in effect, and Man becomes his own god."
Dean John William Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation (Dean Burgon Society Press, Collingswood, NJ, originally published in 1861, 1999) xxii.
"Ignorance of the function of the conscience [from Scripture] and of the divine provision for its healthy exercise leads to serious spiritual disorders"
The conscience’s "healthy exercise" is study of the Words of God, rarely done in the postmodern world.
The Apostle Paul said he studied to have a healthy conscience:
"… believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:…
"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." (Acts 24:14d, 24:16)
Dr. Waite agrees, saying:
"You cannot depend upon a ‘conscience’ … Conscience means knowing within ourselves. God has given us a conscience if we know and study the Words of God. When we sin, our conscience says this is wrong. This is true if we have a conscience that is functioning. If a conscience is seared with a hot iron, sin has no affect. To believers, when God the Holy Spirit is living in our bodies, we have a conscience."
"What Is The Conscience?"
The "conscience" is your witness (Heb. 9:14, 1 Pe. 3:16), and like a witness in a court room testifies:
(1) to the law of God written in our hearts (Rom. 2:15),
(2) to our thoughts, actions, and intents. It judges them.
The conscience is a faculty given to man by God like the mind or spirit of man.
(It is very helpful to the student of Scripture if he will substitute "witness" for "conscience" in the Scriptures, much like "Grace" can be substituted for "Christ" in the Scriptures, to help illuminate what the Scriptures want us to understand (Pro. 9:10) through the work of the Holy Spirit.)
Conscience in Scripture
"For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience [Greek, suneidhsij, meaning "to know with" (e.g. with you and God), a witness with you of your actions and thoughts] also bearing witness [Greek, summarturew, testimony] and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;
Conscience in Scripture
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience (i.e. Greek, suneidhsij, "to know with" himself and God, e.g. a witness with you of your actions and thoughts) also bearing me witness (i.e. Greek, summarturew, testimony) in the Holy Ghost,
ILLUMINATION IS NOT A VOICE
Dr. Walvoord said:
"God is able, however, to speak to the heart of man with such reality that the effect is produced without the need of actual words. Such is the experience of the Christian who is frequently taught by the Holy Spirit the truths of God, and yet the Christian would have difficulty finding words to express all that the Spirit had made known."
"The Voice of the Lord" in Scripture
A survey reveals:
1. The "voice of the Lord" is a metaphor
for a person who is the "Word of God."
2. The "voice of the Lord" is an audible voice "from heaven."
From between the cherubim above the mercy seat.
at Jesus’ baptism, etc.
"The Voice of the Lord" in Scripture
3. The "voice of the Lord" is the words spoken to the prophets and Apostles and not recorded.
4. The "voice of the Lord" is identified with nature such as in thunder and lightning.
5. The "voice of the Lord" is the Words spoken or given by the Holy Spirit.
"The Voice of the Lord" in Scripture
6. The "voice of the Lord" will be the "voice" heard in the future at the resurrection of the saints and at the Great White Throne Judgment.
7. ****The "voice of the Lord" is also all of the inscripturated words given to the prophets and Apostles.*****
Our job is to keep doing what we are doing:
Defending the received Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Words that lie behind the KJB, and the most accurate and faithful translations into other languages.
Teach doctrine from those words as clearly as we can.
Place emphasis on certain doctrines to counter PPM
The Three Umpires
The pre-modernist umpire says: "There’s balls and there’s strikes, and I call ’em the way they are."
The second, a modernist, asserts "I call ’em the way I see ’em,"
The third umpire, a postmodernist, claims "they ain’t nothin’ until I
The Bible For Today
For whosoever shall call upon the name
of the Lord shall be saved.
From the Authorized King James Bible