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“Holding forth the Word of Life” Philippians 2:16
“Holding fast the Faithful Word” Titus 1:9
Now, there is a more deadly sin that destroys us; and that is, as Dr Chia Yu Ming my teacher in China has said, the sin of the mind and the sin of the spirit, the sin of rejecting truth, the sin of wilful ignorance! In the words of Isaiah, Judah has forsaken judgment, “In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood … for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth” (Isa 59:13–15).
One fitting backdrop of these words of condemnation is the prophet’s confrontation with apostate King Ahaz. This is recorded in Isaiah 7 and 2 Kings 16. Because Judah had backslidden from worshipping the living and true God (1 Thess 1:9) and given herself to idols and heathen sacrifices, so God had permitted her to be attacked by the kings of Israel and Syria. Since Judah was the Lord’s chosen one, His covenant abideth.
He sent the prophet to assure the nation of His mercies in the midst of war preparations. When the Lord graciously condescended to show His protecting presence with a sign from heaven, or in the sea, the unregenerate king hypocritically answered, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD” (Isa 7:12). This hypocrisy is ripped aside by Isaiah’s scathing denunciation, accompanied with the famous prophecy on Christ’s virgin birth. Isaiah retorted, “Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa 7:13–14). What were Ahaz’ innermost reactions? I am sure he who disbelieved the Word of God in the offer of His outward manifestations of salvation had also spurned the virgin birth.
Today the enemy has come in with a flood of philosophies to destroy the Church. There was Roman Catholicism with many superstitions, then Deism and Rationalism, out of which has come Higher Criticism. As “They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper” (Isa 59:5), so out of the eighteenth-century destructive criticism of Holy Scripture has come the reptile Modernism, or Liberalism, which Dr Machen has called “a pagan religion.” From Modernism, or Liberalism, has come Barthianism, or Neo-orthodoxy, and a proliferation like the hydra of every “style” of high-sounding anti-Christian theology, the latest of which is neo-evangelical “scholarship” so called. Though the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) has been raised of God to offset the ecumenism of the World Council of Churches, which today is degenerated to a self-glorified socio-political gathering of professional churchmen, our greatest fight is with Satan masquerading within it, whose work of mischief is to attack God’s Word. Of this hidden adversary our Lord says, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
The greatest lie Satan has spread in this generation is the teaching through neo-evangelical professors of the Fuller Seminary type. They proudly concede that the Bible has “limited inerrancy.” A corresponding subtle attack from even greater heights of conceit (the sin that brought Lucifer’s downfall) is to criticise the Bible’s so-called “grammatical errors.” Fancy a Greek professor picking on John’s or Peter’s “uncouth” rhetoric when he himself cannot stammer a kindergarten rhyme in modern Greek. Let him say in grammatical modern Greek, “Little Bo-peep has lost her sheep, and doesn’t know where to find them ….” After all, if Greek scholarship is so profound, the koine must be deepened by the classical and broadened by the modern. And how much Shakespearean English do these Greek professors know if the King James Version offers them a double superlative? Please let them point out the grammatical error of Acts 26:5, “that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” How true is the observation of Herbert Spencer, “When a man’s knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has, the greater will be his confusion.” And better still is Paul’s verdict, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him” (1 Cor 8:1–3).
The Battle for the Bible is the life-and-death struggle in our generation as never before! It has been observed by Dr Charles Woodbridge that there have been three periods of great controversy between truth and error in the course of Church history. The first period occurred in the time of Constantine in the controversy between Athanasius and Arius. It came to a head at the Council of Nicea, 325 AD, when Arianism was condemned. It was a fight over the person and deity of Christ. The second period occurred in the sixteenth century in Luther’s repudiation of popery. The fight centred on the work of Christ, “for the just shall live by faith.” The third period is now, since “scholars” began to pick on the Bible because they themselves are “blind” (eighteenth century to this day). This attack is on the Word of Christ. What is the main battle the Council is waging? It is not so much with Communism, or Ecumenism, or “Billy Grahamism” as with the father of lies whose work of mischief from the Garden of Eden to this day is to destroy God’s Word.
The doctrine of the plenary, verbal inspiration [and preservation] of Holy Scripture is taught by none other than the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The classic declaration on this doctrine of doctrines is found in the famous Sermon on the Mount, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt 5:17–18). Our Lord guarantees His Word perfect and pure to the last letter, “to the cross of a t and the dot of an i,” if you would. Here is God’s standard, like the “Stars and Stripes” over the fortress at Baltimore flying high, to resist Satan’s all-out onslaught. Here is the second standard of the ICCC Doctrinal Statement, resisting the foe of our faith. Truly our Declaration on the Bible’s inerrancy, infallibility, and supremacy has rallied all of you sons of the faith throughout the world to come here and stand with the Lord of Truth. “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth” (Ps 60:4).
For the strengthening of every seminary and Bible college within our movement, let me offer this declaration of Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore, for mutual encouragement: Far Eastern Bible College deems the doctrine of the plenary, verbal inspiration [and preservation] of Holy Scripture, inerrant and infallible, to be the cornerstone of all other doctrines. Every member of the Board of Directors and Faculty must, under solemn oath at a special service held each year, subscribe to absolute belief in this doctrine to the exclusion of the latest neo-evangelical leaven of “limited inerrancy” and so-called textual and grammatical errors. These are Satan’s newest tactics for discrediting the ever everlasting and ever-living words “that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). As Satan constantly changes his tactics in order to beguile, if possible, even the elect, we declare that any question directed against the person and work of Christ, such as His deity, virgin birth, miracles, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, and personal, visible return is deemed an attack on the immaculate Lord Himself. Any question posed against the Bible is deemed an act of rebellion against the Triune God.
We affirm with Dean Burgon of Oxford that “The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every word of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is direct utterance of the Most High. The Bible is none other than the Word of God, not some part of it more, some part of it less, but all alike the utterance of Him who sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme.”
(ICCC Resolutions on the Bible in Amsterdam 1998 and Jerusalem 2000)
“BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the International Council of Christian Churches, assembled in the historic English Reformed Church in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, observing its 50th Anniversary, August 11–15, 1998, urge all Bible-believing churches worldwide to use only the Authorised KING JAMES VERSION in their services and in their teaching ministry, and warn the followers of Christ against these innumerable ‘new’ bibles which are not translations at all, but revisions conforming to the personal bias and views of those who have originated them and who profiting by commercial sales of such.”
“Believing the OT has been preserved in the Masoretic Text and the NT in the Textus Receptus, combined they gave us the complete Word of God. The King James Version in English has been faithfully translated from these God-preserved manuscripts. … We the International Council of Christian Churches meeting in Jerusalem, 8–14 November 2000 strongly urge the churches in their pulpits and people at large, to continue to use the time honoured and faithful longer translations and not the new shorter versions that follow in too many places the short eclectic texts. These are very similar to the shorter Westcott and Hort texts that remove or cast doubt on so many passages and words.”
(Adapted from the author’s paper, “A Standard Raised,” published in the July 1980 issue of The Reformation Review, the official organ of the International Council of Christian Churches)