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Emmaus News

July 1997

Contents:

1. The Authority of Scripture

2.  Human Sexuality

3. The Uniqueness of Christ

4. Dialoguing to Consensus

A Friendly Word

Greetings in the Lord:

July is the month for the triennial Episcopal General Convention. I will be at the convention from July 20-25, and then for the Episcopal Synod Convention immediately following. The ESA supports the ordination of "men only" to the priesthood. I will be located at the ESA booth, with my new laptop, keeping the ROAD to EMMAUS==>> up to date with reports and commentary on events.

Several extremely divisive issues will confront the bishops and deputies, the three most volatile being (1) the authority of Scripture, (2) sexuality, and (3) the uniqueness of Christ, and (4) deceitful "dialogue".  I will comment on these below.

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Some recommended resources on education issues:

Both of these people have digested mountains of material. They have read hundreds of books to understand what the enemy is up to, and have done a magnificent job. When I say "enemy", I mean the father of lies.  It is that serious.

The leadership, both pseudo-liberal and pseudo-conservative, in America is pretty much lost, I think.  They are too sold out and entrenched in their own status-quo's, and are unable to act with decision, clarity, or grace.  It will take a few generations of grassroots work by such people as the above to begin to turn things around.

But it is happening. The question is not whether the pseudo-liberal nonsense will be overturned, but only how long it will take, and how many people they will damage in the meantime. The Lord is looking for people who are (1) secure in the Blood of the Lamb, (2) willing to tell it like it is, and (3) who are willing to lay down their lives to tell it like it is (Rev. 12:11).

We are watching a pseudo-liberal establishment which has about as much substance as the Wizard of Oz.  If our leadership would go behind the front-end gimmickry and bark like Toto, the people would soon catch on that the front is all a put-on, that they have no substance and that we have been betrayed by smoke and mirrors and a lot of noise.

The problem is not only the pseudo-liberals (liberals who have no understanding of the freedom which "liberal" connotes), it is even more the pseudo-conservatives who are unwilling to risk to conserve anything.

A friend, David Virtue, and I are writing a book, Homosexuality: Good and Right in the Eyes of God? the Wedding of Truth to Compassion & Reason to Revelation, in which these issues are discussed. The book is being put up on my website as chapters become available (http://theRoadtoEmmaus.org), and ought to be available in printed form by fall. More on this next month.

Faithfully in Christ,

Earle Fox
 


Our Reasonable God

General Convention Issues

The Episcopal General Convention is faced with four primary issues, with which we shall deal below.

1. The Authority of Scripture

 [See also The Authority of Scripture in a Scientific Age and updates.]

Why is there a problem with the Bible? 

The problem comes not from the Bible itself, but from the fact that Christians began early in the 1800's to believe that there is an opposition between reason and revelation. Reason, of course, means science, academics, i.e., belief according to evidence. Revelation, on the other hand, is (or so the story goes) belief "because someone tells you to", i.e., belief "on authority".

The supposed opposition arose because, as the "enlightenment" folks asserted their ownership of "reason", Christians began to retreat into "revelation" as their bailiwick. "We have authoritative knowledge..." But in a public discussion, reason will always be able to make revelation look -- (surprise! surprise!) unreasonable. And since no one wants to look unreasonable, Christians simply departed from public discussion, or, at least, left their "unreasonable" faith behind at the church.

"Faith" took on the meaning of a "blind leap", an irrational believing "just because someone says so" rather than because there is real evidence to support the belief. Faith was belief by "authority" rather than by evidence.  Nevermind that God is constantly giving evidence to His people (e.g., the Exodus event), and that Jesus performed miracles as evidence of who He was.  God never once is shown to be asking blind belief.

But the unfriendly comparison was not effectively countered by Christians, so God Himself was slandered with the reputation of being unreasonable -- thanks mainly to His own people who could not uphold His reputation in public.

What does one make, then, of Isaiah 1:18: "Come, let us reason together...."? Does God mean what He says? Or is that just a bit of divine sophistry?

Or what does one make of Isaiah 48:8 ff?

God is inviting the whole of the pagan world. He continues:

Then God speaks to His own:

God is inviting the whole world into a court-like scene where the witnesses on both sides will give their testimony. The pagan gods will offer their witnesses and God will offer His -- His own people.

And what does one make of I Kings 18? Elijah challenges Ahab to a contest. "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but of Baal, then follow him." Elijah then proposes a put-up or shut-up experiment to see who indeed is God.

At no point does God ever ask His people to leap blindly. God is drawing His people into an open, freewill covenant of life. At every point God offers evidence that He is able to do what He says He will do. And at no point does God ever refuse an honest question or treat reason with anything less than the highest respect. Reason is part of His own nature, and a part, therefore, of what He requires of us. 

Up to the Enlightenment of the 17- and 1800's, the Christian community had a powerful intellectual tradition. But then we began to believe that God could not provide a good case for His people to explain their faith. We believed (or acted as though we believed) that if the Son of God were to return and debate Darwin, Marx, and Freud, He would lose the debate. So we backed out of the intellectual warfare for truth.

With backs to the wall (we thought), Christians made a disastrous move. The Catholic Church in 1870 declared the Pope to be infallible, and the evangelical Christians began to use belief in the infallibility or inerrancy of the Bible as a plumbline to distinguish card-carrying Christians. If you did not believe in the infallibility of the Bible, you were suspect of having sold out to secularism.

That error still plagues the Church because we have earned the reputation of being more interested in what the Bible says than in truth. God, however, is more interested in truth than in what the Bible says. The Bible is a tool for conveying truth, not the truth itself.

Our fears have paralyzed Christians from allowing the Bible to be tested by legitimate means (such as literary critical techniques), fearing that, having lost the battle for reason, we would lose revelation as well. We could not offer the put-up or shut-up challenge of Elijah, nor the "Come, let us reason together" challenge of Isaiah. We were afraid that we were the ones who would have to shut up, that our God could not defend His own case.

If the Christian case cannot be defended, the question arises: Why are we believing it? If the Christian case were in fact false, would we not want to know???

Christians ought to be saying: "Please test our Bible! Please put this book to any reasonable test you can think of! That is precisely where God wins -- in the open discussion of truth!"

The truth of the matter is that at no point have the fundamentals of the Christian faith ever been successfully challenged. It is our cowardice to risk being proven wrong that has done more than any strategy of the secular/pagan forces to diminish Christian influence in western culture. God is willing to risk being proven wrong -- because that is precisely where He can most persuasively prove that He is right.

So we ought to be doing this business God's way, not the way dictated by our fears and anxieties.
 

2. Human Sexuality

Two sexuality issues stare the Convention in the face: the ordination of women and homosexuality.

The "revisionists" on both of those questions have been tightly knit together from the beginning. The Women's Causus is in full support of Integrity, the homosexual activist group.

The Episcopal Church made a terrible mistake in deciding to ordain women (see Psychology, Salvation, and the Ordination of Woman). Coming before the convention is a recommendation that the 1976 canon III.8.1 (allowing the ordination of women to the priesthood), which has been interpreted as permissive, be made mandatory. The recommendation as stated says in effect that no person in any position of authority anywhere in the Church will be able to express views against the ordination of women. That means clergy, vestry members, or any others who might possibly influence the ordination process. 

The recommendation is a mind-control mechanism, aimed at controlling how people will express themselves, not at controlling behavior, the normal target of legislation. It effectively make impossible the existence of a "loyal opposition", which is a necessary part of any free society.

The aim, therefore, is to quash further discussion of the matter, not merely to say that women can be ordained. If the recommendation is passed, no bishop of any persuasion will be allowed to refuse ordination on the grounds that the candidate is a woman.

The homosexual issue and the women's ordination issue are both being promoted, not on theological grounds, but as civil rights. "We have a right...!" It is alleged that there is no Biblical case against either of them, or that the case no longer counts because we have "learned new things".

What we have learned "new" is the capacity to distort fact and logic with a sophistication never before seen in human history. We have learned the subtle art of brainwashing -- an issue is discussed at length in Homosexuality: Good and Right in the Eyes of God? 

There is not one shred of evidence to support the claims for homosexuality. The Biblical, psychological, medical, sociological, and even biological evidence is either neutral or totally on the side of the Biblical injunction against homosexual behavior.

While honest people are on both sides, the advocates for both women's ordination and homosexuality routinely violate rules of due process and honest discussion with deceit and manipulation. The evidence indicates that our presiding bishop has no conscience about distorting the discussion on either issue. [See my booklets Dialogue in Darkness and Due Process and the '-clusions' of God. on the evidence in the Shopping Mall.]

The question remains whether the newly formed AAC alliance (American Anglican Council) will have the courage and wisdom to stand up and tell the painful truth on the matters before the convention, or whether they will continue to "dialogue" with people who have no intention of seeking either truth or righteousness.

[NOTE: this addendum is being written in February, 2005.  And my conclusion is that, no, the AAC does not have the gumption to confront the revisionists, for the same reasons that General Convention would not do so -- pathological politeness.  For several years, I offered to help train the members of the Washington chapter, and never once was I taken up on the offer.  Their website is http://www.americananglican.org/

To be fair, neither were any other clergy in the DC metro area, with the exception of one church -- Progressive Christian Church in Camp Springs, MD.  E. Fox]
 

3. The Uniqueness of Christ

The uniqueness of Christ is at the heart of Christian faith -- not because of a desire to be exclusive or to denigrate other religions, but based on clear, definable facts.

Fact: the Biblical worldview is the only logically consistent and empirically reasonable worldview.

The worldview can be stated very succinctly: A personal God created all else that exists out of nothing, and holds it in existence.  He has given a purpose for the existence of the world which is expressed in His law -- that we should love God and our neighbors, i.e., become part of His family by adoption and grace. When we dissent from His law (when we sin), He is overwhelmingly gracious and willing to pay an extraordinary price to draw us back to Himself and into His family.

Fact: there is only one alternative to the Biblical worldview -- the cosmos as an unplanned. irrational accident evolving out of a prior impersonal substance. The ultimate reality and the ultimate explanation of all things is a primordial unformed substance which is the total and precise opposite of the personal Creator of the Bible.  That pattern is true both of eastern religions and of secular humanism.

Because the ultimate realities of these two worldviews are diametrically and unequivocally opposed to each other, it stands to reason that they would have opposite views of such fundamental items as heaven and hell, sin, redemption, the meaning of life, etc.

And that is the case.  Hindu and Buddhist salvation is the precise opposite of the Biblical notion. In the Biblical view, salvation means preservation of one's individuality.  The way of the cross is not annihilation of one's personhood, but rather moving of dependency for one's identity and personhood from the resources of the world to the hand of God, and to obedience to His voice.

On the Christian view, one does not leave the world, one rather transfers his ultimate dependency and obedience to the Creator of the world.  Very much in the world, but not of it.  God is The Individual (I AM), so that the closer I get to God, the more of a free individual (the real me) I become, made in His image, right here on earth.

Salvation for eastern religions often means the annihilation of individuality -- because ultimate reality is itself the total opposite of personhood and individuality.  The closer I get to ultimate reality, the less of an individual I can be.  It is our individuality which makes us subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the cure for which is therefore the giving up of all desire and attachment to the circumstances of life.  Such a process means the evacuation of all sense of being a someone separate from the "whole" or the "cosmic consciousness". One floats into the sea of the "All" and merges with the cosmos.

The Ultimate Person stands over against chaos, the Ultimate Impersonality.  We are proposing mutually exclusive notions of salvation.
 

4. "Dialoguing to Consensus"

Like the sexuality issues, erosion of the uniqueness of Christ (and of monotheism itself) is being conducted, not through honest intellectual pursuit, but as a civil right. It is "not fair" to other religions to say that they are wrong. It is "mean-spirited" to ask whether they are true.

The technique of "dialoguing to consensus" was used as a mind-control technique by the Chinese communists, by the Soviet Politburo, by the North Korean communists on our captured soldiers, and is being used in our education system (Outcomes Based Education, School to Work, Goals 2000), and by the homosexual activists in and out of the Church.

Fact and logic are "processed away". Participants are told that "doctrine divides, but dialoguing unites", and therefore we must leave our beliefs behind. We are introduced to so-called Higher Order Thinking Skills, a deceitful impostor replacing honest thought.

The result is a manipulated dialoguing process which is controlled by the "facilitator" who can insert his own facts and logic without contradiction.

The recapturing of the Church and of America for God requires three things: (1) that we be secure in Christ, (2) that we recover our minds and learn how to think critically according to the common sense rules of open discussion so that we can give an honest testimony, and (3) that, few, many, or alone, we be willing to risk whatever necessary to speak the truth in love.

Rev. 12:11 again.

[See note above on Dean Gotcher who speaks on Dialogue to Consensus -- who put me onto it.  I have much more to say about "dialogue to consensus" in Homosexuality: Good & Right in the Eyes of God?  -- perhaps the only book with a clear strategy for winning this absurd debate.   E. Fox]
 

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