Bible and History
Why It Matters! - Lessons From a Dead Church
One of the things about living in as big, rich and varied country as America is that it all too easy to not notice what is happening in the rest of the world. In Europe we can clearly see what happens when compromises are given priority over the Bible.
200 years ago Europe had vibrant churches with a zeal for God’s Word and evangelism. Then two things happened; so-called “higher criticism” of the Bible and the ideas of Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin. “Higher criticism” is the idea that the Bible should be treated just like any other book; that the miracles and prophecies were added after the fact to make the Bible appear to be divinely inspired. Lyell and Darwin’s stories gave compromisers a pseudo-scientific cover in their attacks on the Bible.
Unfortunately too many Christians failed to realize that these attacks were designed to destroy the authority of the Bible as God’s Word. Over the years compromises were accepted by more and more people in the Church until finally the point was reached that for most people in Europe the Bible was just another ancient book. How far this has gone was made clear to me during a trip to England several years ago. I was visiting an Anglican Church when the priest came out and introduced his sermon by saying that “today we will be looking at that inspired work of fiction, the book of Job”.
When the people are told that the Bible isn’t true, then why should they pay any attention to it at all?, and most people in Europe today don’t. But this isn’t just a European problem. On an American web site of one of the compromises known as “Progressive Creation” was the question “Does belief in an old Earth equate to belief in evolution?”. The answer of course is no, but belief in an old Earth does equate to a belief that the Bible doesn’t mean what it says and therefore cannot be trusted. It was precisely on the age of the Earth that all of the compromises that led to the death of the church in Europe were based.
Belief in an old Earth is the wedge that opens the door to so many anti-Bible beliefs. For someone to believe in an Earth billions of years old means that they believe that God is the one responsible for death and suffering in the world and not the sin of Adam and Eve. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12.
Belief in an old Earth means that you must believe that the Genesis Flood of Noah was only a local flood and not the global flood as written about in Genesis. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Genesis 7:19.
The language of Genesis makes it clear that the Genesis Flood was a global flood, but recognizing this clear teaching in Genesis about the Flood is incompatible with a belief in an old Earth, so compromisers invented the story of a local flood. Compromisers 200 years ago as well as today do what compromisers have always done, reinterpret the Bible to fit what they want it to say.
It was this insidious attack on the Bible that began to seep into the Church in Europe and to a lesser degree the Church in America to the point that Christianity is virtually unknown to most Europeans. In the 1940’s approximately half of the British population attended church regularly, today it is less than 10%. In the 1940’s the British Broadcasting Corporation even broadcast explicitly evangelical Christian programs by C.S. Lewis and others.
How irrelevant Christianity and the Bible have become to the average Briton is seen in a report from The London Times, in which a young boy asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had used swear words (Jesus Christ) to name their baby. While there are still devout Christians and some spiritually alive churches in Europe, the number is vanishingly small.
Compromise is like an acid that destroys so slowly that it is not understood what is happening, even when it is seen to be occurring. The age of the Earth was routinely said to be a minor issue, so it became easy to slip millions of years into the beliefs of many Christians and their churches. Once an old age for the Earth became common, then theistic evolution and other such compromises followed until Genesis was seen as nothing more than a collection of Jewish fairytales with no relationship to reality. From there it was only a short step to mythologizing the entire Bible, because if you do not believe Genesis 1:1, than you cannot logically believe John 3:16 and so the Bible was relegated to nothing more than quaint folklore.
The question today is the same as it was 200 years ago and 2000 years ago, is the Bible truly God’s Word? If it isn’t God’s Word than we should treat as both atheists and compromisers do, a man-made book that can be interpreted any way that we wish. But if the Bible truly is the Word of God than we would be fools to treat as anything less than the Creator of the Universe speaking to us.