The Root of Liberal Theology

by Mike Ratliff

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2Timothy 3:1-7 ESV)

Observing unbelief in a professing Christian is a terrible thing. Unbelief, which is rooted in spiritual blindness, is deceitful. We must never forget that spiritual blindness is the product of idolatry. These nominal Christians never walk by faith. They make choices based entirely within a flesh-bound value system. This decision making process is part of self-worship. Their value system is based entirely within self-worth, self-focusedness, self-protection, et cetera. If they are religious Christians then their religion will be the same.

This is idolatry. It is worship of self. As a result, God blinds their hearts. They are given over to their idol. Genuine Christianity is of faith. God’s grace accords with His people’s faith thereby washing them clean in their regeneration. Their faith was dead, but now it it is alive. They are new creations. God justifies them by this faith and begins their sanctification. This sanctification is the process of removing them from sin. This process takes time and will result in their spiritual blindness coming under attack. This means that their self-worship must go. They are called to humility and to be God’s servants forever.

In a Christian culture, unfortunately, some people who do not know God become theologians. Some are well educated. Others are self-made. In any case, just because a person goes to divinity school is no guarantee that they are a genuine Christian. Here is an example of a man who was considered one of the greatest theologians of his day until his unbelief led him into Liberal Theology.

Crawford Howell Toy, professor of Old Testament 1869-1879, was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1836. Toy was named after his uncle, R. B. C. Howell, the second president of the SBC. An impressive student, Toy professed faith in Christ while attending the University of Virginia. He earned his B.A. in 1856.

After graduating, Toy taught at the Albemarle Female Institute until 1859, when he joined the first student class at Southern. Toy brought a keen intellect and a kindled heart to Southern. He passed examinations in Church History, Old Testament, Hebrew, New Testament, Greek, and Systematic Theology in one short year—an impressive achievement. He also organized missions prayer groups. Toy was courting a young missionary named Lottie Moon in this period, and they talked of pursuing missions work together in Japan. When the Civil War broke out, however, Toy joined the Confederate army and fought in several battles. Union forces captured him at Gaithersburg and he taught an Italian language course in the prison camp.

Toy traveled to Germany in 1866 to study theology and Semitic languages. In this period, his relationship with Lottie ended. When he returned from Germany in 1868, he joined the faculty of Furman University as a professor of Greek. In May of 1869, Toy was elected professor of Old Testament interpretation and oriental languages at Southern. Toy developed a progressive theology like that of his liberal German professors. He embraced the methods of higher criticism and sought to harmonize Scripture with Darwinian evolution. Toy’s views came under public scrutiny in 1879 when he published two pieces construing Isaiah’s suffering servant figure as national Israel, not Christ. Later that year, at the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, Toy presented the seminary trustees a defense of his opinions along with his resignation. To his surprise, the trustees accepted the resignation. Toy left Southern, never to return.

In 1880, Toy began teaching at Harvard University, where he was appointed the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages and the Dexter Lecturer on Biblical Literature. Toy eventually became a Unitarian. His later works rejected nearly every doctrine central to Christianity. Toy retired from Harvard in 1909 and lived in Massachusetts until his death in 1919. – Sources: Billy Grey Hurt, “Crawford Howell Toy: Interpreter of the Old Testament.” Th.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1966.

Did you notice what started Dr. Toy on his slide into Liberal Theology? He developed a “progressive theology” which embraced the methods of higher criticism. These are things “theologians” do in order to be seen as less stringent or strict about their “religion.” This is compromise in order to make the narrow gate which few find wider so that everyone can come in. Of course this requires a “secularization” of doctrine and to do that the Bible must come under attack. Never forget, what Jesus’ message reveals is a very narrow Gospel that does not allow in those who simply want Heaven, but refuse to have Jesus as Lord.

Unbelief is the root of Liberal Theology. Never forget, the attacks we are witnessing in our day on our faith are coming from within the visible Church. Here is an example of their mindset.

I am not at all surprised that Southwestern Seminary faculty members have now been told they must teach that wives are to be submissive to their husbands. I am not surprised because:

In the early 1980’s, while the Southern Baptist controversy was in its early stages, several pastors were invited to meet in Atlanta to try to discuss the differences that divided and threatened to destroy the convention. I was one of those in attendance.

I well remember our dialogue concerning the importance of academic freedom in the educational processes of our seminaries and colleges. I vividly remember what Adrian Rogers, a leader of the takeover movement, said at the meeting. Of Southern Baptist seminary professors, he said they must teach, “whatever they are told to teach. And if we tell them to teach that pickles have souls, then they must teach that pickles have souls!” Those were his exact words. Everybody in the room heard them.

Frankly, I thought he was joking, or at least exaggerating. Subsequent years, however, have proved that he was doing neither. It’s not funny, and it’s no exaggeration. Southern Baptist seminary professors must now teach whatever they are told to teach.

So much for academic freedom. – Gene Garrison

Adrian Rogers was not serious about pickles having souls. He was stating that seminary professors must be bound to teach Biblical doctrine. These seminaries are supported by the churches. Churches support them so they will produce godly theologians, not something else. Here is an excerpt from a fine post by Ken Silva that shows us how we got to this sorry state.

There’s no such thing as a little bit pregnant. Got the message? No such thing as a little bit pregnant—you are, or you’re not. Well, there’s no such thing as a mild form of cancer; it’s cancer. You don’t get rid of it, you don’t deal with it, it gets you. And we have to deal with these things today; if we don’t, they’ll end up getting what’s left of the Church…

The form of godliness, but without the power; without the sound doctrine of Scripture. And what do we have today as the reigning school of [biblical] interpretation in Protestantism in our theological seminaries world-wide? I’ll tell you what it is: Bultmannian exegesis; named after Rudolph Bultmann, “the demythologizing of the Bible.”

And what did Dr. Bultmann teach, for forty-some years? He taught that you couldn’t rely upon any single thing—virtually—in the entire New Testament record; about Jesus Christ. It all had to be “demythologized,” and then the pieces put back together again. What does Paul say; “they will gather to themselves teachers who will tickle their ears, and the Truth of God will be turned into mythology.”

It’s here. The reigning school of American theologians has progressed from bad to worse. We only have to deal with Harry Emerson Fosdick in the 1920s; but then, it accelerated to Edwin Lewis, Nels F.S. Ferre, Reinhold Niebuhr, and on from Niebuhr to Paul Tillich, and crowned in Rudolph Bultmann. Not one single one of those men believed the historic doctrines of the Christian faith; but they were all the leading theologians of America.

[Episcopal] Bishop [John] A.T. Robinson cannot be unfrocked by the Anglican Church despite the fact that he is a living devil when it comes to Christian theology—denying everything and turning the faith of people into darkness. Do you know why they can’t unfrock A.T. Robertson; because [Episcopal leadership] is heretical as he is. Therefore they can’t touch him…

You can see these people in the cults and the occult if you have any degree of discernment at all because they are outside the church. But how do you see the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian professor of theology? How do you get him in a place where you can find out his theology is? The moment you question him he reverts to orthodox terminology. And then if you press him for the definition of the terminology, he claims you’re being suspicious, bigoted, and unloving.

So the average layman is defenseless, they’ve got to take what comes from behind the pulpit, and recommended by his church authorities, because the moment he opens his mouth, he’s accused of being divisive in the church, unloving and disturbing the fellowship of the faith. When it is the devil behind the pulpit, not the victim in the pew that’s responsible for it…

British theology was corrupted by German theology; by Friedrich Schleiermacher, Albrecht Ritschl, David Strauss. Finally [it moved] to the United States in Walter Rauschenbusch; and from there to Harry Emerson Fosdick, Nels Ferre, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Rudolph Bultmann—and the school that’s emerging from them today. Where do you think we got the “God is dead theology” from? From historic Christianity; from Christian seminaries?

You did not. You got it from a good, solid Baptist theological seminary known as Colgate-Rochester in New York, which was absolutely orthodox and which sold out to liberalism. And when it did, they embraced the theology of Paul Tillich and ended up with—God is dead. It was called at the time, “the gospel of Christian atheism.” Did you ever heard such linguistic nonsense in your life? The gospel of Christian atheism, T.J. Alhizer, Emory Universtity.
(The Cult of Liberalism, Walter Martin Religious InfoNet, CD Rom)

Unbelief is the root of many things. It has its roots in human pride. Liberal Theology is Humanism dressed up in Christian clothes. Secular Humanism is not Christianity. The Social Gospel is not The Gospel of Jesus Christ. To those of you reading this who have been intimidated into remaining silent so you won’t be accused of being suspicious, bigoted and unloving, I want to encourage you to become educated about what is really going on. Do not challenge these people out of emotion or outrage or anything else. Instead, go to the Lord in prayer. Learn the truth and become equipped for the battle. Then and only then should you confront error. Never forget that this is a spiritual battle and we do not struggle against flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

SDG

38 thoughts on “The Root of Liberal Theology

  1. I have noticed that the serpent never told the woman what to do. He simply convinced her that God could not be trusted.

    This and so much else in Scripture and life (as you have pointed out) seem indicative to me that the opposite of sin . . . is faith.

  2. Referring to your last paragraph:

    Mike, I just want to remind those that do want to step forward and present the Truth from the Word challenging those who are leading their flock onto the broad way that they themselves may be vilified, kicked out of their church family, shunned and considered as evil. Stepping forward and presenting the Truth and refusing to compromise any longer certainly was an eye opener for my family and myself. But what a wonderful peace the Lord has given us knowing that the Word has set us free from false teachings.

    Get into the Word, read and re-read it thus sharpening your sword. Be strong in the Lord! Pray that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will guide you and lead you in the fight against false teachings – out of love and not from any _self_ motivation.

    When you hear the liberal social gospel from you church pulpit or in a small group, remember that we must not minimise sin or the lust of the flesh because our sin separates us from God. By minimising sin, Christ’s sacrifice is trivialized! (Matt 26:26-28, Rom 6:23, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Gal 5:16-25)

  3. The way I see it, God is in control of everything about us that are His children. He does it all, and if we are His, He will make things happen since He ordered our steps before we were even regenerated. We will want to please Him and do His will anyway. He turns the rivers the way He wants to. Sometimes I think we get in His way because we try to hard to ‘help out’. Just my own personal opinion :)

  4. He developed a “progressive theology” which embraced the methods of higher criticism. These are things “theologians” do in order to be seen as less stringent or strict about their “religion.” This is compromise in order to make the narrow gate which few find wider so that everyone can come in.

    Of course, that is also a “compromise” some Christians make in order to achieve a higher order of morality, to campaign against spousal and chlid abuse, or against war crimes, for example — things that were not possible outside of progressive theology (and difficult even today).

    Given a choice between “progressive” theology and being stuck in advocacy of racism, slavery, ignorance (such as creationism) and family violence, a thinking and caring Christian might well choose progressive theology. One would have to be awfully suspect of anyone who would choose otherwise.

  5. Ed,

    Well actually, what your comment does is state the position of someone who believes that “progressive” theology such as Brian McLaren’s, which is the social gospel, is what Jesus preached. Utter nonsense. No, he preached the real gospel about the Law and how no one can keep it and for that reason Jesus came and died for our sins so that all who believe in Him and trust Him and the promises from the Father to all who believe will be saved. These people are saved unto Good Works. Now, why would you ever believe that these same people would not also be under Christ’s Lordship and in obedience to Him? This is our point. Those you are defending remove the Gospel and replace it with works and I am awfully suspicious of them as being genuine Christians.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. An accurate article. Let us never rest on our orthodoxy though, let us all allow the Spirit to turn His spotlight upon all of His church so that we fight both the battle against heresy and the battle against our own flesh.

    Liberal theology is like cotton candy, once you put it in your mouth it is gone! No meat, all fluff. Many like Ed do not realize that most of us are engaged in feeding the poor and helping AIDS orphans and even are not supportive of America’s wars in the Republican sense. We have been placed in a stereotype. Oh well.

  7. It’s telling that Ed Darrell sets up the absurd false-dichotomy straw man argument that fundamentalist Christians are “stuck in advocacy of racism, slavery, ignorance (such as creationism) and family violence” in contradistinction to the “enlightened” and “moderate” progressives. Egads! I actually chuckled when I read Mr. Darrel’s silly, intellectually clumsy, and cartoonish caricature of the unthinking, mindless, so-called “fundie-Christian” which is in fact non-existent outside the cult fringes of Christianity. He also tips his hand by inserting “creationism” into the mix and effectively equating it with racism, slavery and family violence. The illogical stream is connected so as to make them part and parcel of one another. It’s akin to Mr. Darrell being asked if he is still beating his wife and children each evening or if he has stopped – in other words its hogwash and smacks of a disingenuous a priori motivation. In my experience only manipulative women, politicians, and the weak minded use such emotionally charged language when trying to frighten their respective audiences into the suppliant’s position.

    The scary “boogey-man” Bible-thumping “fundie-Christian” of Mr. Darrel’s fevered high-noon fantasies is a myth, a vapor, and a hoax. It’s a self-serving sham that’s perpetrated by those who esteem themselves as refined and sensible, and who often draw close to the Lord with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. These have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. How sad for them in this life, not to mention their fate in the hereafter.

    In point of fact over the past couple of thousand years true born-again Christians have by the power of The One True and Living God been the driving force behind the advancement and betterment of human civilization and culture in this sin sick and fallen world. The world has benefited immensely by the mystery of God’s common grace and His work through His people, the Body of Christ, the church invisible, though the world is unworthy of both.

    I don’t care to venture a guess as to why Mr. Darrell would spew such vile, false, and bigoted rhetoric, but it does speak volumes about his sad and badly misinformed worldview.

    May we who are called by the Name of the Lord pray for those who would compromise His Truth for a temporal false unity! May we never fear the sideways glances, raised eyebrows, and disdain of the world that would look upon us with contempt for taking up their crosses daily and following after King Jesus! May we esteem the praise of God above the praise of men and never be ashamed of the scandal of the Eternal Gospel, of Christ crucified, dead, buried and victoriously raised on the third day to life everlasting! May we embrace the shame of our Lord and count ourselves unworthy to share in his sufferings!

  8. My apologies for chasing after a red herring in my prior comment, Mike.

    Back to your point at hand. I’d like to add a few thoughts to your damning indictment of Bultman and his modern day spiritual progeny. As you’re no doubt aware Bultman was among the early primary architects of neo-orthodoxy which is enjoying a not so surprising resurgence among the recent crop of emergent/emerging heresy-mongers. Yet just like neo-orthodoxy which was theologically D.O.A. – stillborn if you will – the emergent/emerging ooze will find themselves relegated to the dustbin of church history because their false views are based on the shifting sands of subjectivism and cultural relevance instead of being set upon the solid Rock of the Eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Eternal Gospel stands alone.

    Culture changes, the Eternal Gospel doesn’t.
    Intellectual fads come and go, the Eternal Gospel doesn’t.
    Men who are filled with the pride of life rise and fall, the Eternal Gospel doesn’t.

    The big hint and easy explanation for this phenomenon is given away in the descriptor “Eternal”. I used to wonder why so many would fancy themselves as autonomous arbiters of truth; setting their own sinful reasoning powers up as the highest court of appeals by which all truth claims must be scrutinized, up to and including the truth claims of Almighty God Himself. I state that I used to wonder about this in times past because I’ve come to know the simple truth: It’s because of sin. Every area of fallen man’s being has been wholly corrupted by the dreaded perversion of sin, including his reasoning powers.

    Christians are not called to compromise the Word of God by adulterating it with the hodge podge spirituality and so-called wisdom of this fallen world. In fact to compromise the infallible, immutable, eternal, and plenary counsel of the One True and Living God as contained uniquely within the Holy Bible is the very pinnacle of satanic hubris and wickedness!

    Shouldn’t Christians go to God’s Word alone to discover His solution to the problems of our day and the solution to the culture? For in God’s Word we find that the Eternal Gospel is the solution to the culture! There’s nothing new or fancy here! God’s plan, His strategy hasn’t changed one bit and not one jot or one tittle of His Word needs modification to make it “relevant” or to make it “work” neither yesterday, today, nor tomorrow. This is because it is the ETERNAL GOSPEL! It changes not!!

    In point of fact it is ONLY the Eternal Gospel that changes men; GOD FORBID IT SHOULD EVER BE THOUGHT TO BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!

    Oh! How far modern Christianity has fallen from the Lord Jesus Christ! Surely men have made gods of themselves and perverted the ETERNAL GOSPEL in favor of a watered down, man-centered, cotton candy, sinless, bloodless, compromised, Nerf theology that’s fit for nothing! The modern non-gospel embraced by vast swaths of professing Christianity is no gospel at all!

    It’s a tool of political expediency!

    It’s wide tent of paganized spirituality!

    It’s an idolatrous abomination and offense to the One True and Living God!

    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16)

    Look, the Holy Bible contains God’s strategy for changing the culture – preaching the gospel!

    The Holy Bible contains God’s strategy for changing men’s hearts – preaching the gospel!

    The Holy Bible contains God’s strategy for making foolish the wisdom of this world – preaching the gospel!

    The Holy Bible contains the cure for the culture – preaching the gospel!

    So why is it that so many within the broader professing church itself insist on corrupting the simplicity of the gospel by blending it, marginalizing it, ignoring it, assimilating it, being ashamed of it, hiding it, twisting it, perverting it, allegorizing it, spiritualizing it, and thereby outright denying it?

    And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:11-12)

    Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1)

    They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Titus 1:16)

    “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

    According to the Holy Bible the preaching of the gospel is God’s chosen strategy to change men’s sinful hearts and the church is not permitted to modify it. Men are not permitted by God to substitute their own strategies in place of His own Holy Counsel!

    Another neo-orthodox advocate, James Barr, gave a telling admission that it is the “fundamentalist” who has read the scriptures correctly in his book “Revelation Through History in the Old Testament and in Modern Theology”. This selfsame admission reminded Dr. Robert L. Reymond in his magnum opus “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith” of Kirsopp Lake’s oft-quoted acknowledgement in his tome “The Religion of Yesterday and Tomorrow”. Said Lake:

    “It is a mistake often made by educated persons who happen to have but little knowledge of historical theology to suppose that fundamentalism is a new and strange form of thought. It is nothing of the kind; it is the partial and uneducated survival of a theology which was once universally held by all Christians. How many were there, for instance, in Christian churches in the eighteenth century who doubted the infallible inspiration of all Scripture? A few, perhaps, but very few. No, the fundamentalist may be wrong; I think that he is. But it is we who have departed from the tradition, not he; and I am sorry for the fate of anyone who tries to argue with a fundamentalist on the basis of authority. The Bible and the corpus theologicum of the Church are on the fundamentalist side.” (emphasis mine)

    Quote taken from Dr. Robert L. Reymond’s “A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith”, page 16.

  9. How many were there, for instance, in Christian churches in the eighteenth century who doubted the infallible inspiration of all Scripture? A few, perhaps, but very few. No, the fundamentalist may be wrong; I think that he is. But it is we who have departed from the tradition, not he; and I am sorry for the fate of anyone who tries to argue with a fundamentalist on the basis of authority. The Bible and the corpus theologicum of the Church are on the fundamentalist side.

    There is a great difference between infallible inspiration, and infallibility. It may be a subtle difference, but not an unimportant one.

  10. I’m no prophet Mike, but I think you just asked to be told that the Bible doesn’t contain the absolutely reliable, infallible, propositional, authoritative, uniquely verbalized and inspired truth of God’s own divine Self-revelation, but rather that it is a “mosaic” of God’s truth mixed with human “interpretation” of that truth that needs to be viewed with a critical eye toward taking it as a whole in the strictest historical-grammatical literal sense.

    But of course that’s just my subjective, fallible, uninspired opinion.

    Yea, hath God said?

  11. The inspiration, God, is infallible. The version of the story that got into writing doesn’t carry the same infallibility.

    God’s infallible self-revelation is noted well in the Bible — and also in creation, in the testament of God from God’s own hand.

    Fundamentalists ignore God’s work, however, and prefer to add their interpretations of God’s Word, and then claim infallibility for that.

    For example, do you really think the “God is dead” idea came from a Baptist seminary in New York? You ignore 2,000 years of theological history to get to such a conclusion. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with God’s Word.

    Red herrings? All over the place. Lots of other herrings, too. You could sweep ‘em out with some good scholarship. Is that too much to ask?

  12. Ed,

    Quote: The version of the story that got into writing doesn’t carry the same infallibility.

    Response: prove it

    quote: Fundamentalists ignore God’s work, however, and prefer to add their interpretations of God’s Word, and then claim infallibility for that.

    Response: prove it

    quote: Red herrings? All over the place. Lots of other herrings, too. You could sweep ‘em out with some good scholarship. Is that too much to ask?

    I haven’t seen any from you Ed. All I have from you are Straw Man attacks with nothing at all to back up your skepticism.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. The dogmatic claims of Biblical correctness — a form of political correctness that has proven more deadly over the years — is what bugged me about the early posts in this thread. Versions of the story that aren’t infallible? There are dozens of examples in scripture where the literal meaning just doesn’t track. Bats are not birds, despite the claim in scripture. Solomon certainly had many horses, but was it 5,000, or 50,000? Which version do you claim is in error (or are they both in error)? Anyone who claims scripture is infallible seems, to me, not to be paying attention. Several of the prophets specifically point out where they inject their opinions, where their writing is not the Word of God. If you claim otherwise, are you not calling the prophets liars? Where do you get off doing that?

    Nowhere in scripture is there a claim that the age of the planet can be determined by scripture. Fundamentalists latch on to a 16th century scientist’s writing that uses the Bible as a source, however, and all of a sudden that 16th century science is elevated to scripture, and it’s wrong, according to every other thing we have from God to corroborate the facts.

    Now, will you regard this evidence as “proof?” I doubt it.

    I made some comments. If you want discussion, we can discuss. If you want affirmation for a misinterpretation and abuse of scripture, I cannot give that to you. Nor would you want such affirmation, if your concern were serving God.

  14. Yea, hath God said?

    Can you hear the hiss, Mike? This sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it? It should since it’s the same old lie that Satan has been dusting off and trotting out since the garden.

    Ed’s low view of scripture is completely at odds with Jesus Christ’s lofty view of scripture. The Lord Himself repeatedly appealed to the EXACT SAME Old Testament Law, Prophets and Writings that we have today and said they spoke of Him. He said the scriptures CANNOT BE BROKEN and that it was easier for the world (creation itself) to pass away than for one jot or tittle (literally the slightest stoke) of God’s Word to pass away.

    No, Ed, God’s Word as contained within the Holy Bible is not in doubt, YOU are in doubt which by extension means you are in unbelief. There’s one cure to your specious and unfounded doubt and that is contrition, repentance and humble submission and obedience to Jesus Christ, the Living Word, the Son of God and His inscripturated, verbally inspired revelation as contained in the Holy Writ.

    Hear Him:

    43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:43-47)

    Will your “scholarship” – so called – justify you before the Infinite Creator and Judge of the universe, Ed Darrell? In whom or what do you place your trust? In the empty “wisdom” of this fallen world?

    19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:19-21)

    10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2 Peter 3:10-12)

    Ed, if you have a problem with the Bible then your problem is with God Himself, not with men.

    A prayer: Oh my God and my King! Fool that I am, with the very breath you give may I ever profess the foolishness of the cross! May my heart beat to Your glory alone my Savior, my Rock, and my Refuge! May your Holy Spirit take away men’s hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh, miraculously translating them from spiritual death unto spiritual life by grace through faith in the Risen Christ alone! Amen.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  15. I doubt you could see the light from the bushel if I removed the basket. “Prove it.”

    Dogmatic to the end. Dogmatically wrong, about the Bible, about fundamentalism, about much else.

    And dogmatically unwilling to open one’s eyes or ears, or entertain a thought.

    Prove it? Res ipsa loquitur.

    If you want discussion, let’s discuss. If you want an echo chamber, I can’t oblige. Got something to say? I’m from Missouri. Don’t say “prove it.” Show us what you have to say.

  16. Ed,

    You don’t want to discuss anything. You want to bash and try to force believers to doubt. Well, fruitless arguing is not what this site is about. You have nothing conscrtuctive to say about anything except to say that we are wrong with no proof that we are wrong or even about which we are wrong.

    This is the problem. I have faith. You do not. You see my faith as blinding when, in fact, it is the opposite. I see things that you cannot see. This faith is in all genuine believers and they can see these things as well.

    I don’t care where you are from. The reason I said prove it is all you have is innuendo. You have only what some haters of the truth say is proof when it is nothing of the kind. I have seen these “proofs.” It is laughable. These “arguments” are only believed by fools like you because that is what you/they want to believe.

    Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing.” What do you think He meant there Ed? He was talking about faith. This is faith as a child’s that openly accepts the truth from God’s Word. There is no skeptical pollution in them that has so crippled your ability to reason. A child believes and is saved and the truths they believe are from the Word which you hate. You need to quit listening to people and seek God and His truth. Then you could quit your foolishness and I would love to be the first to greet and welcome you into the truth.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  17. Ed,

    Did you know that men are enemies of God by birth?

    Do you know why this is true Ed?

    Josh

  18. I don’t care where you are from. The reason I said prove it is all you have is innuendo. You have only what some haters of the truth say is proof when it is nothing of the kind. I have seen these “proofs.” It is laughable. These “arguments” are only believed by fools like you because that is what you/they want to believe.

    And when I respond with scripture, you ignore it completely. “Innuendo,” you call scripture. And then I am accused of having a “low view” of scripture.

    Jesus told Thomas that those who believed without being able to put their fingers in the nail holes would be blessed. But Jesus did not condemn Thomas as you guys do here, nor did Jesus deny him the evidence, nor let his questions go unanswered.

    There’s a difference between faith and gullibility. Jesus came to take away our sins, not our minds. Please try to keep the two concepts separate.

  19. Ed,

    Sorry I haven’t seen any scritpure from you, at least not any in context.

    Your last accusation is a Straw Man argument. I never said any such thing nor do I teach it. Those with faith see things and understand things that man’s fallen reason could never see. Wake up son.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  20. Ed said: Jesus told Thomas that those who believed without being able to put their fingers in the nail holes would be blessed. But Jesus did not condemn Thomas as you guys do here, nor did Jesus deny him the evidence, nor let his questions go unanswered.

    I guess I’m confused here, Ed. Do you really believe that Jesus said those words to Thomas? Do you really believe that He actually rose from the dead and that Thomas felt the wounds in His hands and His side? In other words do you actually believe what the Bible says is literally true and reliable, at least in the portion you cited above?

    If so, then why would you say things like this:
    The inspiration, God, is infallible. The version of the story that got into writing doesn’t carry the same infallibility.

    And this:
    The dogmatic claims of Biblical correctness — a form of political correctness that has proven more deadly over the years — is what bugged me about the early posts in this thread.

    And again:
    Versions of the story that aren’t infallible? There are dozens of examples in scripture where the literal meaning just doesn’t track. Bats are not birds, despite the claim in scripture. Solomon certainly had many horses, but was it 5,000, or 50,000? Which version do you claim is in error (or are they both in error)? Anyone who claims scripture is infallible seems, to me, not to be paying attention. Several of the prophets specifically point out where they inject their opinions, where their writing is not the Word of God. If you claim otherwise, are you not calling the prophets liars? Where do you get off doing that?

    Do you BELIEVE the scriptures or do you NOT BELIEVE the scriptures? I’m totally baffled as to why you would make such antagonistic statements about the reliability of the Bible, yet turn around and appeal to the authority of the scriptures regarding the exchange between Jesus and Thomas. How do you decide which portions of scripture to believe and which not to believe, Ed?

    The Holy Bible isn’t a spiritual buffet where you get the option to pick and choose the parts you like and leave the rest on the table. It’s not like a Lego house where you can take the blocks and rearrange them into something else. The Bible is an organic whole. You don’t take an apple tree and lop off the limbs and pretend that’s the way it’s supposed to be, or dig it up and cut off the roots and stick it back into the ground expecting it to bear fruit. It’s the Living Word, not a dusty old collection of helpful advice and ancient wisdom.

    But your exegesis, Ed, it’s amazing! Seriously, this is really quite fascinating to me…do you receive special revelation on which parts of the Holy Bible are reliable and which parts are corrupted? In other words, how do you know that you can trust or believe any of it when by your own words you’re convinced that you can’t believe some of it?

    Pray tell…

  21. Pingback: In Defense of Excrement and ‘Other Things’… « Sola Dei Gloria

  22. [Mr. Ratliff, this is a better-edited version -- blockquote situation fixed, I hope; please delete the previous one.]

    Ed said: Jesus told Thomas that those who believed without being able to put their fingers in the nail holes would be blessed. But Jesus did not condemn Thomas as you guys do here, nor did Jesus deny him the evidence, nor let his questions go unanswered.

    I guess I’m confused here, Ed. Do you really believe that Jesus said those words to Thomas? Do you really believe that He actually rose from the dead and that Thomas felt the wounds in His hands and His side?

    I believe the story is essentially true, yes. That’s the foundation of Christianity, the belief in Jesus’s righteous life and resurrection. That belief is unconnected to the bizarre claim that Jesus couldn’t be Jesus unless God is a wizard who holds the universe together with magical tape, since a magical creation in 144 hours. There’s a difference in the stories, and a difference in how they are corrobarated, and a difference in the claims they make. The Bible does not stand or fall on the literalness of any single verse, nor any single chapter, nor any single book.

    In other words do you actually believe what the Bible says is literally true and reliable, at least in the portion you cited above?

    I find scripture reliable, but rarely literally true. It’s written by humans. Much of the Bible is third hand hearsay of eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony is inherently unreliable. Hearsay is hearsay. Much of the Bible isn’t even hearsay of eyewitness testimony, but is instead hearsay of folk tales — like Genesis 1 and 2, and probably much more of Genesis.

    Scripture doesn’t claim that those tales are literally true. Why would anyone assume to be a prophet and claim it so?

    If so, then why would you say things like this:
    The inspiration, God, is infallible. The version of the story that got into writing doesn’t carry the same infallibility.

    God’s inspiration is true. It’s reported by humans. Humans saw the stuff, recorded the story. We don’t have the Ten Commandments on stone touched by God’s hands, but instead we have different reports of what was written there, different enough that even within sects there are differing versions of the stuff.

    Are you claiming there is no human touch in the Bible, that it was dictated, as Mohammed claimed the Qur’an, and as Joseph Smith claimed the Book of Mormon, by a divine being? There is absolutely no support for such a claim in scripture, and nothing in Christian tradition. I’m astounded that you’d make such a non-Christian claim for scripture.

    And this:
    The dogmatic claims of Biblical correctness — a form of political correctness that has proven more deadly over the years — is what bugged me about the early posts in this thread.

    And again:
    Versions of the story that aren’t infallible? There are dozens of examples in scripture where the literal meaning just doesn’t track. Bats are not birds, despite the claim in scripture. Solomon certainly had many horses, but was it 5,000, or 50,000? Which version do you claim is in error (or are they both in error)? Anyone who claims scripture is infallible seems, to me, not to be paying attention. Several of the prophets specifically point out where they inject their opinions, where their writing is not the Word of God. If you claim otherwise, are you not calling the prophets liars? Where do you get off doing that?

    Do you BELIEVE the scriptures or do you NOT BELIEVE the scriptures?

    As Christians for the past 2,000 years, and as Jews before them, I understand that whoever wrote that a bat is a bird was not God. Is it your claim God doesn’t know the difference between a mammal and a bird? Do you BELIEVE God to be such an idiot, and defend that claim?

    Why would you follow such a god?

    I’m totally baffled as to why you would make such antagonistic statements about the reliability of the Bible, yet turn around and appeal to the authority of the scriptures regarding the exchange between Jesus and Thomas. How do you decide which portions of scripture to believe and which not to believe, Ed?

    I’m astounded that you’d make such over-reaching claims about the accuracy of the Bible, unsupported by tradition or scripture, and then claim to be baffled. Are you unaware of the problems in the claim? Or is your faith of the type that condones while lies in defense of the indefensible?

    I think Christians have an obligation to the truth. The truth is, the Bible is not infallible. God is infallible. Christians do not idolize the Bible so much to claim it is God, and infallible.

    Are you really trying to establish the Bible as a fourth member of the Godhead, or have you just not considered the absurdity of the claim that the Bible is perfect?

    The Holy Bible isn’t a spiritual buffet where you get the option to pick and choose the parts you like and leave the rest on the table.

    Nor is it a novel with an ending that invites the reader to write new chapters for it, such as the claim that the Bible is infallible, or perfect, or literally true in every verse.

    It’s not like a Lego house where you can take the blocks and rearrange them into something else. The Bible is an organic whole. You don’t take an apple tree and lop off the limbs and pretend that’s the way it’s supposed to be, or dig it up and cut off the roots and stick it back into the ground expecting it to bear fruit. It’s the Living Word, not a dusty old collection of helpful advice and ancient wisdom.

    And yet, you lop off all those verses from the prophets saying it is not literal. You stick it back in ground you claim to be holy, and say the Bible is literally true where it is obviously falsified by God’s creation — which is, in Christian and Jewish theology another, often more accurate testament of God — and you don’t seem to realize you’re doing it.

    I’m not the one making extravagant claims for scripture here, or torturing it to say things it doesn’t say. Save your astonishment for where it’s appropriate.

    But your exegesis, Ed, it’s amazing! Seriously, this is really quite fascinating to me…do you receive special revelation on which parts of the Holy Bible are reliable and which parts are corrupted? In other words, how do you know that you can trust or believe any of it when by your own words you’re convinced that you can’t believe some of it?

    Pray tell…

    I don’t have special revelation, and I’m rather certain you don’t, either. So stop making claims for scripture that could only be supported by such revelation, and I’ll be happy.

    Which parts of the Bible can be trusted? All of them. Which can be corrupted? All of them.

    We Christians believe in God, and study the Bible. What faith do you belong to?

    Pray tell.

  23. I belong to the faith that believes that the Word of the One True and Living God as contained within the pages of the Holy Bible is His verbally inspired Self-revelation to men which is 100% reliable and 100% trustworthy in every sense and syllable.

    This faith is known as the orthodox, historic Christian faith. I am a believer. I believe. I don’t doubt God, instead I take Him at His Word, which He has provided uniquely within the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible.

    Since you’re so offended by the Word of God let’s examine a few of your baseless and absurd anti-Christian beliefs:

    I believe the story is essentially true, yes. That’s the foundation of Christianity, the belief in Jesus’ righteous life and resurrection. That belief is unconnected to the bizarre claim that Jesus couldn’t be Jesus unless God is a wizard who holds the universe together with magical tape, since a magical creation in 144 hours. There’s a difference in the stories, and a difference in how they are corrobarated, and a difference in the claims they make.

    “essentially truestories”…I won’t even bother discussing the wild-eyed, unhinged comments about “wizards and magic tape”. I have no idea where such breathtakingly hateful, ad hominem rhetoric would emerge from except for a heart filled with contempt and loathing for those who hold to faith like a child and simply believe what God says in His Word. This speaks volumes more about your own character than those whom you arrogantly belittle and mock.

    I find scipture reliable, but rarely literally true. It’s written by humans. Much of the Bible is third hand hearsay of eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony is inherently unreliable. Hearsay is hearsay. Much of the Bible isn’t even hearsay of eyewitness testimony, but is instead hearsay of folk tales — like Genesis 1 and 2, and probably much more of Genesis.

    Scripture doesn’t claim that those tales are literally true. Why would anyone assume to be a prophet and claim it so?

    What’s reliable about something that isn’t true, Ed? Do you even realize what an illogical absurdity such a statement is? According to the Bible the Bible was penned by men who were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible explicitly claims to NOT be authored by men but to be authored by God Himself who used men as His instruments to record His self-revelation. This is the constant, clear, and consistent claim of scripture. I don’t know why you’ve believed such a lie, Ed, but you’ve been duped big time on this one.

    If the Bible were the product of mere men, making up stories and trying to remember things the best they could then we Christians are of all men most miserable because that would mean that we are still dead in our trespass and sins, without God and without hope, doomed to eternal destruction!

    As Christians for the past 2,000 years, and as Jews before them, I understand that whoever wrote that a bat is a bird was not God. Is it your claim God doesn’t know the difference between a mammal and a bird? Do you BELIEVE God to be such an idiot, and defend that claim?

    You seem really hung up on the bats aren’t birds thing, so let me help you out on this point with the help of CARM

    It would take you very little actual investigation to resolve all your imagine conflicts in scripture: THERE ARE NONE. As the perfect, inspired Word of God the Bible never contradicts itself, ever.

    Why would you follow such a god?

    Because He saved me.

    I’m astounded that you’d make such over-reaching claims about the accuracy of the Bible, unsupported by tradition or scripture, and then claim to be baffled. Are you unaware of the problems in the claim? Or is your faith of the type that condones while lies in defense of the indefensible?

    I think Christians have an obligation to the truth. The truth is, the Bible is not infallible. God is infallible. Christians do not idolize the Bible so much to claim it is God, and infallible.

    Are you really trying to establish the Bible as a fourth member of the Godhead, or have you just not considered the absurdity of the claim that the Bible is perfect?

    It’s you who are mistaken about the testimony of scripture and church tradition, Ed. The Lord Jesus Himself appealed to the literal words of the OT and said the scriptures CANNOT BE BROKEN, He also said it was easier for the world to pass away than for one jot or tittle of God’s Word to pass away. Think about that Ed, the elements of creation itself will be dissolved before God’s Word will fail, and God’s Living Word is inscripturated in the Holy Bible!

    Christians do have an obligation to the truth, and when you reject the Holy Bible as your foundation then you no longer have an objective basis for any truth whatsoever. At that point “Elvis has left the building” and all that remains is your own, sinful, corrupted, subjective reasoning powers. Good luck with that on judgment day.

    I don’t need to “establish” the Bible as a “member of the Godhead” the Bible IS established as the Living Word of God, it is God breathed, it is His Testimony.

    Jesus Christ Himself regarded the words recorded in the Bible as spoken by Adam or Moses as being the very Word of God (Matt. 19:4)

    He declared that if someone would not believe Moses and the Prophets, he would not believe God on the basis of a miraculous resurrection (Luke 16:31)

    Repeatedly Christ asked “Have you not read the Scriptures” (Matt. 12:3, 19:4, 22:16, 22:31)

    He taught that John the Baptist fulfilled the prediction of Malachi 3:1.

    He charged that the Sadducees erred concerning the resurrection because they did not know the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29), implying thereby that the scriptures did not err.

    He warned that Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27, 11:31, 12:11) was soon to be fulfilled (Matt. 24:15, Luke 21:20)

    He taught that the Old Testament scriptures “testified” about Him (John 5:39), and that Moses wrote about Him (John 5:46-47)

    And all of these merely scratch the surface of Scriptures truth-claims about itself and its divine authorship.

    Beyond the Lord Himself the New Testament writers identified their own writings as being God inspired scripture so authoritative that their words were to be received and bowed to in the church as if God Himself had spoken them, because He did! In fact their teachings were so authoritative that those who did not bow to their authority were to be cast out of the church! Where do you think church discipline comes from?

    When the scriptures speak they are of the exact same authority as if God Himself were speaking, as if they were God, and in fact the Bible itself speaks as though He (God) were the Scriptures themselves with no distinction between them (Gal. 3:8, Rom. 9:17)

    Nor is it a novel with an ending that invites the reader to write new chapters for it, such as the claim that the Bible is infallible, or perfect, or literally true in every verse.

    As we’ve already seen the Lord Jesus Christ Himself claimed the Bible to be infallible, perfect and literally true in every verse. Whom should men believe, the Lord Jesus Christ or Ed?

    And yet, you lop off all those verses from the prophets saying it is not literal. You stick it back in ground you claim to be holy, and say the Bible is literally true where it is obviously falsified by God’s creation — which is, in Christian and Jewish theology another, often more accurate testament of God — and you don’t seem to realize you’re doing it.

    I’m not the one making extravagant claims for scripture here, or torturing it to say things it doesn’t say. Save your astonishment for where it’s appropriate.

    Where do the prophets deny themselves in Scripture, Ed? Show me one example, please.

    As far as astonishment Ed, WOW! I’m astonished all right, and instead of saving it I’ll just use it all up right here and now. You’re denying the veracity of the scriptures left and right and yet you have the audacity to say that YOU’RE not the one making “extravagant claims” for scripture?!? Egads, man! Does it get more extravagant than an outright denial of the truth of God’s Word? I think not!

    I don’t have special revelation, and I’m rather certain you don’t, either. So stop making claims for scripture that could only be supported by such revelation, and I’ll be happy.

    Which parts of the Bible can be trusted? All of them. Which can be corrupted? All of them.

    We Christians believe in God, and study the Bible. What faith do you belong to?

    Pray tell.

    And so we’re back where we started, with Ed rejecting, refuting and denying the truth of God’s Word and with me defending it. At least you’re honest, Ed; you don’t have any special revelation about God’s Word. You have no revelation at all about it, you’re demonstrably dead in your trespass and sins and this sad fact literally drips from your every word.

    I’m not here to make you happy, Ed. As far as I’m concerned your happiness doesn’t factor into anything, anywhere, at any time. I don’t care at all about your happiness. What’s on the line here is much more serious and deadly than your happiness, your soul is at stake and you’re going to have to madly leap to hell through my clutching arms, grasping hands and my screaming “STOP!!! DON’T DO IT, ED!!!”

    You need contrition, repentance, salvation, and humble obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, Ed – but I can’t make it happen for you, and you can’t make it happen for you either. Only the One True and Living God can from His boundless oceans of mercy, pity, and love miraculously translate you from spiritual death unto spiritual life by grace through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Risen Savior.

    Oh that you might believe, Ed! I’ve prayed to my God that He would sovereignly remove your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, Ed Darrell.

    In Christ,
    CD

  24. God can’t replace what doesn’t need replacing.

    Good heavens!

    What’s reliable about something that isn’t true, Ed?

    More than can be true about something that is unreliable.

    You can rely on the Bible. You can’t claim it is literal. That’s not the sort of truth it was meant to convey.

    You need to come to grips with reality. I’m making no fantastic claims. I point out that when the Bible says the bat is a bird, it’s an error. Do you disagree?

    Why won’t you answer that question? Do you understand what an absurdity such a claim is?

  25. Are you really trying to establish the Bible as a fourth member of the Godhead, or have you just not considered the absurdity of the claim that the Bible is perfect?

    It’s you who are mistaken about the testimony of scripture and church tradition, Ed.

    No. The Bible is not intended to be elevated to deityhood. I am not mistaken. You can never find a statement to support such a claim.

    The Bible is the Bible. It is not God.

  26. And do you realize that your reference to the bat story agrees that the bat is not a bird? The excuse offered there is that the Bible is not infallible, but instead is written by humans.

  27. I’m not the one making extravagant claims for scripture here, or torturing it to say things it doesn’t say. Save your astonishment for where it’s appropriate.

    Where do the prophets deny themselves in Scripture, Ed? Show me one example, please.

    Go back and read what I wrote. I think you have a serious problem with reading a text as written.

    I did not say the prophets deny themselves. I said the prophets sometimes note when they are writing for themselves, using their own words. While that runs contrary to the claim that God dictated the book entirely, and it counters the claim that entire Bible is literally accurate for God’s intervention, it doesn’t come close to saying the prophets “deny themselves.”

  28. Ed,

    You do not know what you are talking about. You are deceived and the sad part is that you are self-deceived. You are attempting to be a Christian without faith. It is impossible. Your rebellion against the truth that God’s Word is what it says it is (yes it does say it is) is a clear sign that you are in darkness. You are elevating your intellect and reasoning above faith. That is very sad. I have allowed you to have your say because it gives us an opportunity to exercise our faith in order to deal with the lies.

    I leave you with Question 4 from the Westminster Larger Catechism.

    Question: How does it appear that the Scriptures are the word of God?

    Answer: The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation. But the Spirit of God, bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  29. You’re deceived, Ed. And because of the very nature of deception those under its sway are unable to see that they’re deceived.

    But this is where God’s Word comes in; it is the standard against which all truth claims must be measured. When your truth varies from the truth of Scripture you can rest assured that Scripture is right, and you are wrong. I can’t convince you of anything Ed, and I’m laboring under no such delusions.

    As I’ve mentioned, I’m praying for you that you might be saved and come to know the truth.

    In Christ,
    CD

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