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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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SCHOOLS

Martin Luther by Ron AdairMartin Luther:

I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount.

Reading the Word of God

Charles H. Spurgeon by Ron AdairCharles Haddon Spurgeon:

Some people like to read so many [Bible] chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul as oak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart!

Knowledge and Reverence for God

Matthew HenryMatthew Henry:

In order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to Him…. As all our knowledge must take rise from the fear of God, so it must tend to it as its perfection and centre. Those know enough who know how to fear God, who are careful in every thing to please Him and fearful of offending Him in any thing; this is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.

Knowledge of the Bible

Bible StudyDr. Robert Milikan (former President of the California Inst. of Tech. and Nobel Peace Prize winner):

“I consider an intimate knowledge of the Bible an indispensable quality of a well educated man.”

The Bible is to be Understood

Daniel WebsterDaniel Webster:

“I believe that the Bible is to be understood and received in the plain and obvious meaning of its passages; for I cannot persuade myself that a book intended for the instruction and conversion of the whole world should cover its true meaning in any such mystery and doubt that none but critics and philosophers can discover it.”

“Education is useless without the Bible.”

The Sum of all Wisdom

Reading The BibleCharles E. Fuller:

“To know the Word of God, to live the Word of God, to preach the Word, to teach the Word, is the sum of all wisdom, the heart of all Christian service.”

We must not Build on the Sands

Jean Jacques RousseauJean Jacques Rousseau:

“We must not build on the sands of an uncertain and ever-changing science…but upon the rock of inspired Scriptures.”

Will there be Remedial Classes in Heaven?

BibleI often wonder about things like, “Will there be remedial classes on reading the Bible in heaven for those Christians who spent little time reading it here on earth?” Maybe in heaven, God has a way to pour the Scriptures into our heads and we are given instant knowledge of its contents. Of course, we had rather have this gift now because we lack the self-discipline to study the Bible on our own.

On one occasion, I walked into a teacher’s classroom after school to discover that she and another teacher were having a lively discussion about whether Christians were the only ones going to heaven. They knew I was a Christian and invited me to join the discussion. I sat on the edge of a table and listened. In the meantime, a third teacher joined us from a nearby classroom as I listened to the conversation. Before I could say anything, the third teacher began to answer their questions by quoting specific verses of the Bible from memory and then explaining the context and meaning of each one. When she had finished, she had said everything that needed to be said and had explained it beautifully. Although I had been ready to take part in the discussion, I was in awe of how the third teacher had answered their questions so thoroughly. I knew, however, that this lady had been a Christian much longer than I; that she read the Bible consistently and taught the Scriptures to women’s classes at her church.

Have you ever avoided a conversation with an acquaintance or colleague on the subject of Christianity because you felt inadequate to defend the Bible? Charles H. Spurgeon once observed, “Defend the Bible? I would just as soon defend a lion. Just turn the Bible loose. It will defend itself.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Often, our reluctance to talk about Christianity in a casual conversation is our lack of familiarity with the Word of God. This is why so many young men and women abandon their faith in their early college years. When impressionable teenagers sit in a university classroom taught by a well-read atheist-Marxist professor, the effectiveness of our youth programs, sermons, and family commitment to Jesus Christ is put on trial. Unfortunately, it is often found wanting. As a parent, I can now see that the Bible should be taught to children early and thoroughly. Teddy Roosevelt went so far as to say, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

The Scriptures transform our minds, but it requires a Holy Spirit disciplined intellectual, life-long pursuit. My soul shudders when I hear church members say that they just can’t find the time to read and study the Bible. These people seem to believe that once they have made a profession of faith and joined a church that all they need is a sermon once a week (which they do not even bother to bring a Bible to). The truth is that as Christians, we never outgrow our need to read and study Scripture. The wealth of Biblical treasure seems to grow more abundant to me after years of study.

All Christians know that the Holy Scripture contains everything necessary for salvation. Our problem is that we don’t act like it. When it comes to setting aside a moment of time to read and study the Bible, we are often dismal failures. How can we expect to be useful servants of God without spending time in His Word? As D. L. Moody once said, “If a person neglects the Bible there is not much for the Holy Spirit to work with. We must have the Word.”

Samuel at Gilgal

Keeping the Wolves at Bay

Wolf in Sheep's ClothingPay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (Acts 20:28-29 ESV)

I believe that many will agree with me that Christianity has lost much of its influence on our modern culture. It has even become politically incorrect to mention it in the history books of our nation, unless it is portrayed in a negative context. Only 150 years ago, Christian influence was obvious in American education. Most of the early colleges, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth were founded by Christians who believed there was no true knowledge or wisdom without Jesus Christ (see “Harvard’s Rules and Precepts”). The first 106 out of 108 colleges in the US were started as Christian schools primarily to ensure the availability of an educated clergy. University of Houston researchers, Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman, have concluded that 34% of the quotes used by the Founding Fathers of our country between 1760 and 1805 were from the Bible. This certainly indicates that the Bible and Christianity were a major influence on these men and the early history of America. However, this is certainly not true of our leaders and the culture in general today.

How has it happened then, that Christianity has lost its prominent position of influence on American culture and modern society in the Western nations? At the core of it, I think the primary reason is that the “fear of God” has been replaced by the “fear of man”. Modern civilization has become self-absorbed. We are like a man who constantly checks the mirror to see what he thinks others see in him. It is the pride of life, which drives a man to desire independence from God while chaining himself to the ungodly opinions of others.

The sacred writings of the modern world are founded upon the wisdom of men, self-help books, psychology texts, and the latest People Magazine. The authority of Scripture is denied, if not out-rightly – then by neglect. The Bible is seen as providing “a” way, not “the” way. All men are seen as basically “good” without ever defining what “good” is.

Too many ministers today see their work as a job rather than a calling. They lack spiritual knowledge and personal holiness. Many are like the priests described by Ezekiel, “Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.” (Ezekiel 22:26-28 ESV) The essential good news of salvation is lost in trying to make the church meet the world’s standard of success.

Therefore, increasingly – as time has passed, parents and children have passed through Sunday Schools and worship services without being given a firm foundation in the Christian faith. Is it any wonder that so many of our youth, who have attended church all their lives, go off to the modern university and promptly lose what faith they have?

When the doctrines of the church and personal beliefs are allowed to become poles apart, is it any wonder that the definition of sin becomes uncertain and “salvation by death” the acceptable conclusion of a life? The underlying wish that everyone goes to heaven has sent too many to hell.

As the clergy has become weaker by submitting itself to the bonds of public opinion, the church and its members have lost their purpose of being “salt and light”. Indeed, how can they be salt and light when the world has become the standard by which the modern church measures all things? God has not changed. The Bible has not changed. Therefore, if the church has lost much of its influence for good in society, it is because the men and women who make up the church have chosen to ride the whirlwind of public approval rather than honor God.

We would do well to follow God’s instructions: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16 ESV) God is speaking here to His people about using good judgment and not blindly following false prophets and priests. The Bible is our way mark to direct us which way to take. The ways of the world will never direct us to fulfill God’s purpose.

Samuel at Gilgal

Conforming Our Intellect to God’s Truth

A Christless Intellect Nancy Pearcey:

The first step in conforming our intellect to God’s truth is to die to our vanity, pride, and craving for respect from colleagues and the public. We must let go of the worldly motivations that drive us, praying to be motivated solely by a genuine desire to submit our minds to God’s Word – and then to use that knowledge in service to others.

To Doubt is to Know?

Absolute TruthFrederick Copleston:

Everyone who doubts knows that he is doubting, so that he is certain of this truth at least, namely the fact that he doubts. Thus every one who doubts whether there is such a thing as truth, knows at least one truth, so that his very capacity to doubt should convince him that there is such a thing as truth.

 

The Incontrovertible Truth

Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill:

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on [in ignorance].

Changed by the Bible

Holy BibleThe Bible has changed more lives than any other book in history. Over 80% of the colleges in America were founded for the purpose of teaching God’s word and training missionaries. Many literate countries are the product of Bible-believing Christianity. Nations and individuals are blessed and prosper when the principles of the Bible are taught and followed.

The Tomb of Ben Hassan

The Tomb of Ben HassanGenesis 46:26-27 (Israelites move to Egypt):

At the Tomb of Ben Hassan there is large picture showing a mass migration into Egypt inside. The people in the picture have beards and are wearing brightly colored and patterned clothing. This was the typical traditional style at the time for Israelites, but not of Egyptians. But more importantly, a hieroglyphic says the people are “Ammo” which translated means “God‘s People”. (God is singular) The tomb is dated to the 18-17th century B.C. which is the same period of time that the Israelites migrated to Egypt per the Bible‘s account.

Joshua’s Conquests

Amarna Tablet

The Kings of Palestine and Syria wrote the Amarna Tablets to the kings of Egypt. The letters discussed the conquering and military success of Joshua.

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