By Herschel Patton
This beloved nation of ours was founded, and flourished for many years by people who, generally speaking, were motivated and directed by a fear of God and respect for the Bible. “God is” was generally believed. The thought of offending God or not doing His will deterred man in many actions, and pleasing God, with its rewards, motivated him. When men drifted from righteousness, through fleshly lusts and human reasoning, putting the “fear of God” in them was usually sufficient to bring them to repentance. An Old Testament example of this is Jonah’s preaching in Nineveh (Jonah 3).
Then, God spoke through His prophets; now He speaks through the truth – the revealed and confirmed Word given through His apostles and prophets – The New Testament (Heb. 1:1-2; Jn. 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:12-13).
In days past, “The Bible says” was meaningful to most people. It was authoritative and settled the question of right and wrong – what should, or should not, be done. When something was being enjoined, men were quick to ask, “Where does the Bible authorize it?” Whatever the Bible said settled the question of what man’s action should be. This was because the Bible was believed to be God’s complete and final revealed word. Men did what they did religiously because they believed it to be divinely revealed. Preachers would often enter public debates affirming or denying that the Bible teaches this or that.
Now It Is Different
Today, after many years of mental development (education) and material progress, man’s pride and confidence in himself has led him to question, even deny, God and His Word (the Bible). Tell a man that his actions are against God, and he asks, as Pharaoh of old, “Who is God, that I should obey him?” (Ex. 5:2). “How do you know there is a God to whom I must account?” Putting the “fear of God” in such is impossible (Heb. 6:4-6).
Tell one his actions are contrary to the Bible, or unauthorized by Scripture, and his reply is “So what! What is the Bible other than the philosophies of men, like other books?” “How do you know it is God’s inerrant word?” Quoting the Bible to such a person is meaningless.
Why This Difference?
This change in mankind, or we might say, the loss of his faith, has come about through various processes, over a number of years. Each process stems from man’s own self-esteem. The Bible says, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).
As man became more educated and trained in mental exercise, philosophizing became a favored endeavor. He began to reason about his origin and that of the universe, spawned theories about the nature of man and the origin of things. He disclaimed as “fact” or “truth” anything that could not be proven through the senses, yet is inconsistent in that many of his claimed “facts” have never been, and cannot be, thus established. Some of his claimed “truths” of the past have in later years been proven false. Man’s theories, atheism, evolution, and humanism, have been zealously pushed on society through schools and the media in the name of education, creating doubts and destroying faith in God.
Because the Bible, God’s will, is not a flesh and pride satisfying way of life, men have attacked it, seeking to discredit and minimize its influence. They have questioned its inspiration, sought out “seeming” contradictions, and “imagined” errors. They have argued that a fixed law for one generation cannot be suited for a later, and more enlightened, one. They contend that human wisdom and self-fulfillment must not be curbed by an “antiquated” system or laws. The zeal characterizing these efforts, coupled with the “self-pleasing” nature of man, have led many to doubt the Bible as inspired and the necessity of rigid compliance. With the loss of this faith, there is no end to what men will do and yet feel satisfied and safe.
Here are the basic causes for violence, immorality, divorce, juvenile delinquency, homosexuality, dishonesty, alcoholism, and every other crime. It is the cause of digression and liberalism in religious circles – even in the Lord’s church. From those who “don’t care what the Bible says” to those who say “We don’t have to have Bible, or follow it in everything,” there is a manifest loss of faith in God and the Bible. These are no longer determining forces in their lives.
The Tragedy Of It
The tragedy of this loss of faith is in the fact that “God is,” the Bible is “His Word,” and man is accountable. In other words, man’s loss of faith does not change these facts or exempt him from eternal destruction.
Evidences for the existence of God and “the creation” (verses evolution) abounds. Many of the world’s greatest scientists have, and do, freely admits this. There just is no logical explanation for the origin of things, including man, purpose, and design, apart from God. Scientific proof is impossible, for this comes. from examining the material things that exist, and unless that scientist can find in what exists proof of its origin, which he cannot do, then his speech and writings in this area are nothing more than philosophical theories. This is why, if the evolution theory is going to be taught in our schools (and it is a theory, not scientific fact), then “creation” should also be taught as an alternative theory. Neither can be established as scientific fact, but are religious or philosophical questions, not scientific. And, there is much more, and sounder, evidence for creation than there is for evolution.
Likewise, both external and internal evidence for the inspiration of the Bible abounds. Every effort to find errors or contradictions in the Bible has miserably failed. In spite of all the efforts made to destroy it, the Bible still stands untainted as the abiding, inspired word of God. When one doubts and rejects the Bible, he exchanges something proved and enduring for “shifting sand” – man’s own thoughts and ways.
What a tragedy! Millions have and others are daily “professing themselves to be wise, become fools,” and are destined to eternal damnation. Beloved, examine yourself: Do you really believe in God? You may not be an atheist, but have you made God “such an one as yourself” (Psa. 50:21), so that there is no reason to fear Him as long as you are pleased? Do you condone and “go along with” unscriptural practices, having convinced yourself – or been convinced by others – that “no one is perfect,” so strict adherence to God’s way will not be required if you are sincere, and mostly good?
Listen to God’s Word. “Whatever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 Jn. 9). “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who bath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that hath said, vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, the Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:26-31).
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13).
Guardian of Truth XXV: 3, pp, 33, 43
January 15, 1981