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For most who are concerned about the wellbeing of the church, they have missed the forest for the trees and the genie is out of the bottle are appropriate sayings. What was one outcome of the Protestant Reformation? The highest good that the Reformation accomplished, undoubtedly, was that it gave us the people the Bible in our common languages. But the Reformation also gave us divisiveness, autonomous churches. Catholicism ruled the Church with an iron fist for a thousand years. After the Reformation, churches said, no more, individual churches will decide what is best for them themselves. We now have 41,000 denominations claiming to be Christian. Even if you look to just one, such as the Baptist, you have 66 different varieties of the Baptist Church. But this is about the Word of God.
Let’s take the first saying in that they have missed the forest for the trees: They only know the symptoms sketchily of what we have today and have no real clue how we got here. Much of it boils down to conservativism versus liberalism when it comes to the Bible and to life itself. Damn those Germans again! That is sarcastic humor with a bit of truth for those who lack a sense of humor.
The Germans gave us higher criticism (literary criticism, biblical criticism), a new way of interpreting God’s Word. Yes, we set aside the Historical-Grammatical for the historical-critical method of interpretation.
Such Bible scholars as Robert L. Thomas, Norman L. Geisler, Gleason L. Archer, F. David Farnell, and the late Gleason L. Archer Jr. among many others have fought for decades to educate readers about the dangers of higher criticism.
Tischendorf was a world-leading biblical scholar who rejected higher criticism, which led to his noteworthy success in defending the authenticity of the Bible text. Tischendorf was educated in Greek at the University of Leipzig. During his university studies, he was troubled by higher criticism of the Bible, as taught by famous German theologians, who sought to prove that the Greek New Testament was not authentic.
NT Textual scholar Harold Greenlee writes, “This “higher criticism” has often been applied to the Bible in a destructive way, and it has come to be looked down on by many evangelical Christians.” Greenlee, J. Harold. The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition (p. 2). Baker Publishing Group.
Higher critics have taught that much of the Bible was composed of legend and myth, that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible, 8th century Isaiah did not write Isaiah, there were three authors of Isaiah, 6th century Daniel did not write Daniel, it was penned in the 2nd century BCE. Higher critics have taught that Jesus did not say all that he said in his Sermon on the Mount and that Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees in Matthew 23, as this was Matthew because he hated the Jews. These are just the highlights for there are thousands of tweaks that have undermined the word of God as being inspired and fully inerrant. Higher critics have dissected the Word of God until it has become the word of man and a very jumbled word at that. Higher criticism is still taught in almost all of the seminaries, and it is quite common to hear so-called Evangelical Bible scholars publicly deny that large sections of the Bible as fully inerrant, authentic, and true. Biblical higher criticism is speculative and tentative in the extreme.
After two centuries, higher critics with their higher criticism have ousted the Bible from its earlier status as the fully inerrant, inspired Word of God? Higher criticism has opened the flood gates to pseudo-scholarly works, which has resulted in undermining Christians’ confidence in the Bible. There is utterly no solid evidence for the claims made by higher critics. If any supporter of higher criticism says, “just because some have gone too far, or some have abused the method, this does not negate the benefits of using it,” listen to that foreboding feeling in the back of your mind. Or, the higher critic might argue, “you can take the good parts of higher criticism and leave the parts that undermine the Bible.” This is like saying, “you can remove the 75% poison from the water before drinking it, trust me.” There is a way to remove the bad parts for sure, fully abandon what is known as the subjective historical-critical method of interpretation and return to the old objective historical-grammatical method of interpretation.
The first generation of modern-day Christian apologists tries to stem the tied of liberal Christianity and higher criticism. Such as Benjamin B. Warfield, R. A. Torrey, John Gresham Machen, and many others. They held the tide back for a time but wave after wave of liberalism has just decimated Christianity.
TODAY: Some “Christian Apologists include the late Norman L. Geisler and Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Douglas Groothuis, Josh McDowell, Hank Hanegraaff, Timothy J. Keller, Greg Koukl, Richard Howe, Gary Habermas, Richard Bauckham, Craig Evans, Darrell Bock, John F. MacArthur, Michael R. Licona and John Lennox.
HOLD THE PRESS: What if I told you that of the above listed modern-day Christian apologists, some did not believe in full inerrancy and argues heavily for the use of higher criticism? It is true. Would you be shocked?
Scholars gave us higher criticism that undermined the Word of God until it became the word of man. Scholars have given us the move from literal Bible translations philosophy to watered down, dumbed down interpretive Bible translations. Now, scholars are doing the same thing in the field of New Testament Textual Criticism with it moving the goal post of getting back to the original words of the original text and redating our papyri, among other things.
The genie is out of the bottle: Sorry folks it is too late to put the genie back in the bottle. There is no fixing what has been broken. We have, but one leader, Jesus Christ. We do not know what the future holds in detail, but we do know that the great tribulation is on the horizon and things are going to go from bad to worse. – Matthew 24:21-28; 2 Timothy 3:1-7.
Therefore, let us carry out our ministry because the time is short, and we can use this period of peace wisely. We need to find a way for true Christians to unite under one God, becoming one in doctrine, word, and deed. We need to proclaim the Word of God, teach, and make disciples. (Matt 24:14; 28;19; Ac 1:8) Not all so-called Christians are going to survive Christ’s return. (Matt 7:21-23, 1 John 2:15-17) Jesus asked, “when I return will I really find the faith.” (Lu 18:8) Not at this point and time with our 41,000 different Christian denominations all swearing they are the truth and the way even though they are all divided. Even churches within the same denominations are divided because of autonomy. Christ’s second coming will happen in one of two ways.
ONE: Jesus chooses true Christians out of all of these denominations, and the false Christians will hear the words, “‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7:23)
TWO: Before the end comes one true form of Christianity will develop and all true Christians will see the light and migrate in the name of uniting under the one God. (Ex. 3:12; 19:17; Deut. 4:35; 4:39; Josh. 22:34; 2 Sam. 7:28; 1 Ki 8:60)
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