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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Our Glorious God

From the desk of R.B. Kuiper:

The Word of God tells us that Christ’s church is glorious… [But] today the glory of the church is thickly veiled. It is no exaggeration to assert that in the main it presents a picture of advanced decadence and extreme feebleness… Let it be said emphatically, the church is where the truth is. Sound doctrine always has been, is today, and ever will be the foremost mark of the true church. But who dares to assert that there is today in the churches a rising tide of interest in doctrine? By and large people do not go to church to learn about God from His infallible Word, but to be tranquilized. And that the glory of God is both the beginning and the end of common worship does not seem to occur to them.

Later Schooling: “Why I Believe in God” – Part Five

Cornelius Van Til wrote that “The philosophy of the non-Christian cannot account for the intelligibility of human experience in any sense” (Defense of Faith, p. 354). Let us continue to read wise words from a very wise man:

Meanwhile let us finish our story. At ten I came to this country and after some years decided to study for the ministry. This involved preliminary training at a Christian preparatory school and college. All my teachers were pledged to teach their subjects from the Christian point of view. Imagine teaching not only religion but algebra from the Christian point of view! But it was done. We were told that all facts in all their relations, numerical as well as others, are what they are because of God’s all comprehensive plan with respect to them. Thus the very definitions of things would not merely be incomplete but basically wrong if God were left out of the picture. Were we not informed about the views of others? Did we not hear about evolution and about Immanuel Kant, the great modern philosopher who had conclusively shown that all the arguments for the existence of God were invalid? Oh, yes, we heard about all these things, but there were refutations given and these refutations seemed adequate to meet the case.

In the Seminaries I attended, namely Calvin, and Princeton before its reorganization along semi-modernist lines in 1929, the situation was much the same. So for instance Dr. Robert Dick Wilson used to tell us, and, as far as we could understand the languages, show us from the documents, that the “higher critics” had done nothing that should rightfully damage our child-like faith in the Old Testament as the Word of God. Similarly Dr. J. Gresham Machen and others made good their claim that New Testament Christianity is intellectually defensible and that the Bible is right in its claims. You may judge of their arguments by reading them for yourself. In short, I heard the story of historic Christianity and the doctrine of God on which it is built over and over from every angle by those who believed it and were best able to interpret its meaning.

The telling of this story has helped, I trust, to make the basic question simple and plain. You know pretty clearly now what sort of God it is of which I am speaking to you. If my God exists it was He who was back of my parents and teachers. It was He who conditioned all that conditioned me in my early life. But then it was He also who conditioned everything that conditioned you in your early life. God, the God of Christianity, is the All-Conditioner!

As the All-Conditioner, God is the All-Conscious One. A God Who is to control all things must control them “by the counsel of His will.” If He did not do this, He would himself be conditioned. So then I hold that my belief in Him and your disbelief in Him are alike meaningless except for Him.

By this time you are probably wondering whether I have really ever heard the objections which are raised against belief in such a God. Well, I think I have. I heard them from my teachers who sought to answer them. I also heard them from teachers who believed they could not be answered. While a student at Princeton Seminary I attended summer courses in the Chicago Divinity School. Naturally I heard the modern or liberal view of Scripture set forth fully there. And after graduation from the Seminary I spent two years at Princeton University for graduate work in philosophy. There the theories of modern philosophy were both expounded and defended by very able men. In short I was presented with as full a statement of the reasons for disbelief as I had been with the reasons for belief. I heard both sides fully from those who believed what they taught.

You have compelled me to say this by the look on your face. Your very gestures suggest that you cannot understand how any one acquainted with the facts and arguments presented by modern science and philosophy can believe in a God who really created the world, who really directs all things in the world by a plan to the ends He has in view for them. Well, I am only one of many who hold to the old faith in full view of what is said by modern science, modern philosophy, and modern Biblical criticism. (“Why I Believe in God”)

Continue reading tomorrow morning (April 13). . . .

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