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“Holding forth the Word of Life” Philippians 2:16
“Holding fast the Faithful Word” Titus 1:9
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
The title of my message is “Earnestly Contend for the Faith.” The apostle Jude was writing to the believers and at first his idea was to talk of the common salvation. That of course will edify our hearts. But the apostle Jude says, ”When I desired to do this thing, it was needful for me to exhort you.” He was constrained by the Holy Spirit that this one thing was very important: that you should earnestly contend for the faith. The whole epistle is devoted to this one theme—earnestly contend for the faith. And who are the examples of those whom we must oppose? Three people are mentioned—Cain, Balaam and Core. These are rebels who do not obey the faith, who resist the Lord.
Why should we earnestly contend for the faith? We need to contend for the faith because there are so many who are against the Lord, and they are mentioned as follows—false Christs, false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, false spirits, false witnesses and false brethren. And we have three synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke—warning against false prophets and false Christs, from the mouth of our Lord Himself, and three epistles, namely, Jude that we have just read, and 2 Peter and 1 John. But the fact is that the whole life of Jesus in His ministry of 3½ years was a constant battle against “this wicked generation.”
What is the wicked generation? They are the scribes, the Jewish theologians, and the Pharisees, the high churchmen. They were constantly against Jesus, against His claim to be one with the Father, He is the Son of God, He is equal to the Father and that He can forgive sins. Who can forgive sins but God? But Jesus countered right away, “That you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, ‘Rise up and walk.’” He said this to the paralytic that was brought by four men. And he arose and took up his bedding and he walked away praising the Lord. Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He preached the gospel to the multitudes had also to constantly expose the false prophets in the church. This is the wicked generation. Now we ask ourselves: Is there such a wicked generation—false Christs, false prophets, false teachers, in high places today? Exactly the same as in the Jewish Church, so it is in the Christian church.
Why has the Lord blessed the Bible-Presbyterian (B-P) Movement? I will tell you my own testimony. I went to study in America in 1948, January, 54 years ago. One wintry morning there came a very distinguished gentleman. He was none other than Dr Carl McIntire who has just been received into glory and his funeral will be held next Tuesday, March 26, 2002. He told us about the great danger in the church because they were going to form the World Council of Churches to extend their influence, which is the Ecumenical Movement. By now I believe you know what is ecumenical. One inhabited world, one roof under which all denominations must unite and all the Protestant denominations will return to Rome. That is the meaning of the Ecumenical Movement. Dr McIntire called for young men like us to join a counter movement called the 20th Century Reformation Movement. It is to carry on the 16thCentury Reformation Movement of Martin Luther and to separate from the Ecumenical Movement. Well, when I went to seminary I had some idea of Martin Luther. I knew that he was a reformer. My heart was set on fire. My heart was knit to his heart, like David and Jonathan. I took such a keen interest in the Reformation Movement that I have been helped by the grace of God to stand firm to this day. I have taken part in many oppositions raised by the ICCC (International Council of Christian Churches) to speak against Romanism, Ecumenism, Neo-evangelicalism, Charismatism.
But now the battle is centred on the Bible. Because you suddenly realise that the market is flooded with well over one hundred new versions during the last 50 years. These new Bibles so-called depart a great deal from the Received Text upon which the King James Bible, the Bible that we use, is founded. The Bible is two and two are four. The Bible has only one answer. The Bible has only one teaching. That is the reason why we founded the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) exactly 40 years ago, to stand against those who are false prophets and false teachers. The battle must continue because if FEBC does not take a strong stand against the erosion of faith we will be toppled.
In 1947 there was founded in Los Angeles the Fuller Seminary. It was founded by Charles Fuller, the preacher of the old-fashioned revival hour. And he had five faculty members that were true to the Word. But in no time liberalism entered it and through one man the whole seminary was toppled. Today, Fuller Seminary is one that appears to be evangelical, but is most diabolical.
Now the battle today is mainly on the Bible. As I told you there are well over one hundred versions. The first version that came in to take the place of the King James Bible which has been reigning supreme for the last 300 years, was the translation of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) in 1952. The ICCC at once went to battle and exposed this Bible to be a poisonous one. It translates “Behold a virgin shall conceive” into “Behold a young woman shall conceive.” What young woman cannot conceive? Our council took a strong stand against the RSV and its sale was restricted. But in 1978 there arrived the NIV. It is now sweeping the Christian world. I am very sure you know what the NIV is, the New International Version. The NIV is not based on the Textus Receptus on which the King James Bible is based but is based on the corrupt text of Westcott and Hort. Who are these two men? They are two Cambridge professors of Greek who spent many years to manoeuvre the Anglican Church. The Anglican Church agreed with them that they needed a new translation and so they produced in 1881 the Revised Version.
When I was a boy, I bought a Revised Version but the Revised Version attacked point after point our old Bible. Over 9,900 words are altered, deleted. Out of the Bible, the equivalent of eight chapters, First and Second Peter, are scissored. Let me ask you, suppose you have one page torn from your Bible, can you use it? I will not use that Bible. But when you have torn away 8 chapters and deleted and changed 9,900 words, all the more you will not have it. As a result, it died a diseased death. After some years it went out of publication because the people, true Christians, would not buy a poisonous Bible.
But now, just as poisonous as the Revised Version is the NIV. To prove to you the NIV is a very corrupt Bible, it has “taken out” the passage of the woman taken in adultery. But I tell you that the story of the woman taken in adultery is the most magnanimous account of Jesus’ life. The Jews tried to trap Jesus. To put Him in a place where they say since she is guilty of adultery she must be stoned to death. But any good lawyer could challenge them, “If she is taken in adultery what happens to the adulterer, the man? Why don’t you bring him here?” Jesus is the Son of God. He is God. Can puny man try to outwit God? Jesus retorted, “Who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” Dr John Sung has a very humorous way of illustrating the situation. From 70 downwards to 15 one by one slunk away like a beaten dog. When Jesus looked around everyone was gone. Then Jesus forgave the woman, “Go and sin no more.” Is not that most expressive of the marvellous grace of God? It strikes at us. Who can say I am pure? A glance of the eye will cause us to commit adultery in the heart. But NIV “takes out” the precious Word.
The last 12 verses of Mark are also “missing” and 1 John 5:7. In the King James Bible, we have three in heaven who are witnesses—the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost. It is a most definite statement on the Holy Trinity. Today, the great battle is on the Bible. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
I want to apply to your very excellent magazine—the Bible Witness. Truly it is full of spiritual food. But I must tell you, the church is very sick. Just like this time I got sick. I have never been sick for so long. It is terrible. Now I can sympathise with those that are in trouble. And we must realise that we are in trouble. In the B-P Church today we are the very few who are standing for the faith. So I told your pastor, “Today I am going to challenge you. First of all, that when the next Bible Witness comes out, it will have one special section on defending the faith.” And so I pray that the Lord will give your church much power by taking a stand for His cause.
Remember Satan has the ability to change himself 72 times like the monkey god. Knowing his tactics, let us continue to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Amen.
Message delivered by Rev Dr Timothy Tow, principal of the Far Eastern Bible College, at the 14th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, March 24, 2002.
– Published in The Burning Bush, Volume 10 Number 2 (July 2004)