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A View from the Altar / Laying the axe to the root
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Laying the axe to the root

The religious battles of the 1980s seem to have gone away.  The loud and public contests between Scripture’s defenders and detractors seem to have abated.  Given the general trends in American society and the Christian wing of it,  the Bible’s opponents must be thinking they pretty much won the contest.  The conservative Baptists kept a few seats on the seminary faculty.  The pagans may feel they got pretty much everything else.

The faithful remnant of God’s people have always regarded the Bible as a truthful record of God’s pronouncements word for word.   As Benjamin Warfield described it, the Bible is God’s word in such a way that whatever it says, God says.  It is the sword in the hand of the prophets.  It is a fire, and a hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces.  It is truth unmingled with error.  It is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It is able to make wise the simple, and fools, though wayfaring men, shall not err when they walk in its paths.  (Eph 6:17; Jer 23:29; Jn 17:17; Heb 4:12; Ps 19:7; Isa 35:8)

To disarm God’s people, Satan’s strategy is to sow distrust in his word.  It’s his own version of laying the axe to the root, only in this case the word itself is indestructible (Isa 40:8, Mt 24:35, ), so he depends instead on keeping men ignorant of the word or persuading them handle it carelessly.  And one is about as much a ruin as the other since they both result in about the same degree of sin and error.  (Hos 4:6)

Accordingly, one of the trends in contemporary Christianity is the movement in our church meetings away from the centrality of the word.  To swim against this tide is every pastor’s calling.  Spurgeon described the good pastor as a workman in a butcher shop cutting off great hunks of hearty beef for his people.  The faithless pastor feeds them what?  Sermons light and breezy and confected from the latest philosophies of popular culture?  There was never a day when God smiled on chatty, folksy nattering in lieu of “sound words” (2 Ti 1:13) declaring his will to his people.  The time is past for trumpets that give uncertain sounds.  Preach the word, men of God.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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