The Apostasy of the Church Part II
At the heart of theological liberalism is an attack on the authority of the Bible. A central attack is to question the traditional authorship and historicity of the Pentateuch and other parts of Scripture. The result is to question or openly deny Old Testament prophecy and the dating of the writing of Old Testament books. Two examples of this are:
Julius A. Bewer, Union Theological Seminary Professor: “The dates and figures found in the first five books of the Bible turn out to be altogether unreliable” (Bewer, The Literature of the Old Testament, 1940)
A more recent illustration of liberalism comes from the pen of John Shelby Spong, a bishop in the Episcopal Church in America. “Am I suggesting that these stories of the virgin birth are not literally true? The answer is a simple and direct “Yes.” Of course these narratives are not literally true. Stars do not wander, angels do not sing, virgins do not give birth, magi do not travel to a distant land to present gifts to a baby, and shepherds do not go in search of a newborn savior. … To talk of a Father God who has a divine-human son by a virgin woman is a mythology that our generation would never have created, and obviously, could not use. To speak of a Father God so enraged by human evil that he requires propitiation for our sins that we cannot pay and thus demands the death of the divine-human son, as a guilt offering is a ludicrous idea to our century. The sacrificial concept that focuses on the saving blood of Jesus that somehow washes me clean, so popular in Evangelical and Fundamentalist circles, is by and large repugnant to us today” (John Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture, Harper, 1991, pp. 215,234).
Liberalism in theology is similar to liberalism in politics. Both want to secularize their respective societies to the Humanist tenets. They put their faith in evolution, historical relativism, progress through science, the benevolent state, and getting other’s money. To do this they must quiet the Bible fundamentalist with his revealed truth. They refuse to believe the miracles and their truth regardless of the evidence for them. Once the liberal has infiltrated the upper echelons of fundamental seminaries they can spew their poison to future generations of pastors and cause fights within the denominations. The doubt their baseless theories and criticism of the Scriptures ignites is enough to cause splits and finally the strong political force of the denominations bleeds into the political arena. People begin to believe the error that comes from the “authorities.”
The denominations lost their battles because they did not know how to fight and win. They should have left the denominations en mass immediately instead of fighting! Some did to be sure but not enough did and many stayed in because “this is where they have always been.” They were more wedded to denominationalism than Christ and His Word. Further they did not want the fight. They just wanted it to stop because it confused them. We all know that God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 14: 33). We must separate from them. The Lord has commanded it.
- Separation is not an optional part of Christianity; it is a commandment (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 3:5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 7-11; Rev. 18:4).
- Separation is not mean or unloving; it is obedience to God.
- “Mark them . . . avoid them” (Rom. 16:17)
- “Be ye not unequally yoked together with” (2 Cor. 6:14)
- “Have no fellowship with” (2 Cor. 6:14)
- “Come out from among” (2 Cor. 6:17)
- “Withdraw thyself” (1 Tim. 6:5)
- “Shun” (2 Ti. 2:16)
- “Purge oneself from” (2 Tim. 2:21)
- “From such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:5)
- “Reject” (Titus 3:10)
- “Receive them not into your house neither bid them Godspeed” (2 Jn. 10)
- We are to separate even from brethren who are walking in disobedience (2 Thess. 3:6).
- 3. Separation is a wall of protection against spiritual danger. Failure to separate from error leaves one open to the influence of error (1 Cor. 15:33). The reason a shepherd separates the sheep from wolves is to protect them. Likewise, a faithful and godly Bible teacher will seek to separate his flock from spiritual dangers that are even more destructive than wolves. The Doctor of souls will do all he can to keep heresies out of the church. They are to the Church of Jesus Christ what disease is to a Medical Doctor that cares for human bodies in time and space. Both legitimate Doctors will do all they can to prevent or stop heresies/diseases in their respective bodies. Unfortunately there are more quacks in the spiritual realm than in the physical temporal one. This is because the prize for pure spiritual truth is eternal life. It is the greatest prize on earth to receive. Nothing has greater value. As evidence of this we see many false prophets, corrupt denominations and seminary teachings. As a result few find eternal salvation. Then Satan has accomplished one of his goals; the eternal destruction of human souls.
One type of deed that will be performed by apostates is mockery.
Jude 1:17-19 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
They will mock the fundamentals of the faith such as the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, the Substitutionary death of the Messiah, and His physical resurrection from the dead. II Peter 3:3-8 states that they will mock the doctrine of the Second Coming.
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished :But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
A second deed is that of creating schisms or separations (Jude 19). Because they begin denying some of the fundamentals of the faith, they convince some but not all. In the course of time this produces a split within the church. Throughout this age of apostasy there has been schism after schism. Church after church and denominations have split over denials of the Trinity, the incarnation and the Second Coming.
These characteristics, heretical teachings and deeds of separations have become prevalent, as church history has progressed from about 1900 to the present day. This is the age of apostasy.
One of the roots of this began in Europe, particularly with German Rationalism where the inerrancy of the Scripture was denied with the development of Biblical Criticism and particularly with the documentary hypothesis in particular. One Julius Wellhausen was the chief architect of this concept. He insisted that human reason only, not the Bible, could be trusted. He presented the idea that the Bible, far from being God’s Word was just a collection of human documents. His particular contribution to the “Closing of the Book” was a denial of the authorship of the first five books of the Bible by Moses. Dr. David Breese in his book, “The Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave” states that from these destructive heresies the church leaders quoted everything but the Bible and preached everything but the gospel, and reality was gone. Religious liberalism was born. Breese continues; “the calamities that came upon Europe such as Communism, Nazism, fascism, the world of the occult and other diseased ideas have been promulgated by the absence of a spiritual core made of divine life and spiritual blessing. Wellhausen and his liberalism destroyed the spiritual life in Europe and nearly succeeded in the spiritual destruction of the United States.” Today less than 1% of the population of Europe is made up of Evangelical Christians.
Lest you think that men are not able to negatively influence others to keep them out of The Kingdom listen to what the Lord Jesus had to say to the Pharisees:
Mat 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Liberalism is like a plague within the church. It exists within us and seeks to be like us but it denies the fundamentals of the faith. Liberals still want real Christians to think of them as “one of us.” They espouse a diseased set of ideas.
AS A CONSEQUENCE, IT IS ALMOST A RULE OF LIFE THAT LIBERALS DO NOT LEAVE THE VISIBLE CHURCH!
They stay and continue to spue their poison to whomever they can get to hear them. They attempt to create doubt in the marginal believer. They try and influence the one where the seeds did not fall on good ground. (Matt 13:5)
This is Satan continuing to impart doubt into the minds of those with marginal faith.
Gen 3:45 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Let those who have ears to hear listen to the Lord God and His Christ.
Many events have occurred within the large mainline denomination to qualify for apostasy. One event that seems important to recall and was important enough for the writers of the Encyclopedia Britannica to include is the inauguration as president into Union Theological Seminary of Charles Augustus Briggs. Prior to his inauguration he had initiated debates within the seminary over the authority of the Bible in 1876 and the authority of the Westminster Confession in 1885.
Union is a seminary in New York City. At that time it was part of the Presbyterian Church. In his speech on January 20, 1891 Briggs made some points, which are obviously destructive heresies. Union was a seminary that was devoted to training ministers for Presbyterian pulpits.
Briggs made six points. All of which fueled the split in American churches.
- He asserted that there are three great fountains of truth: The Bible, the church and reason. So reason and mankind became equal with the revealed Word.
- Some OT prophecies were fulfilled and some were reversed.
- He questioned the Mosaic authorship of the first five books of the Bible.
- He questioned the unity of the book of Isaiah.
- Those unsaved who died would have a second chance at eternal life.
- Sanctification is not complete at death.
This was the first public affirmation of liberalism in a theological seminary in the United States. The New York Presbytery brought Charges against Briggs on two occasions (1891 and 1893), but the charges were dropped, to preserve unity of the church rather than to deal with what was actually said. There was a huge group that wanted peace at whatever the cost. The cost was truth and it was lost.
TRUTH MUST NEVER BE SACRIFICED FOR PEACE. IT NEVER WORKS!
Daniel E. Woodhead
Breese, Dave, 7 Men Who Rule The World From The Grave, Moody Press, Chicago, IL 1990
Cloud, David W, Way of Life Encyclopedia, Way of Life Literature Port Huron, MI 2002
Couch, Mal, God Has Spoken, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 2003
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G, The Footsteps of the Messiah, Ariel Ministries, San Antonio, TX 2003
Lewis, Brenda Ralph, A Dark History: The Popes; Vice Murder, and Corruption in the Vatican, Metro Books, NY, NY 2009
North, Gary, Crossed Fingers, How The Liberals Captured The Presbyterian Church, Published by the Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, TX 1996
Scofield, C.I. The New Scofield Reference Bible, Oxford University Press, Oxford, GB 1967