20 July 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-14)
Most of my best friends passed from this world more than one hundred years ago – men such as Matthew Henry, Bishop J.C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, Bishop McIlvaney; and women such as Francis Havergal and Fanny Crosby. Being dead, how could I account these devout Christians as friends? It is because a friend is one you can trust and rely upon, and one who stands ready to teach you truth and wisdom. Even in death, they have taught me more biblical truth than all modern commentators combined with the possible exception of my father. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” (Hebrews 11:4)
These are great friends because they do not share their ‘opinions’ of truth, but reveal the veracity of God’s Word with me in my readings of them. Their writings point me directly to Christ and His Word. Any other word is of no consequence in faith. But even though I love and trust the writings of such men, no writings take precedence over the Holy Scriptures themselves about which these friends have written in commentary or hymns.
Most of the modern commentators I have read publish only non-nutrient leaven – not the majestic truths and beauty of Holy Scripture. And many of the older commentators, too, have preceded them with the same tripe that is not tainted in the least with the Spirit of Truth. Men such as Tichendorf, the so-called ‘higher critics’ of the German school, John Henry Newman, and others of their ilk who question the preservation of the very Word of God.
For many the study of theology has outweighed the Study of the Word about which theology is supposed to be. The pseudo-spiritual intellects of our time constantly question what God really meant, or if God really said, what is recorded in Scripture. They sow the seeds of tares and doubt among the very Seed sown by our Lord and Savior.
Do not misunderstand me – I do not discourage the serious study of the great theologians as long as their writings glorify God and promote faith among the brethren. But, what of those who simply seek self-glory and the undermining of true faith? They speak in terms the laymen cannot grasp, and boast of some sort of privileged access to truth to which the common Bible scholar cannot attain.
If the world was facing a global nuclear war and you could only save one book, which would you save? Would you save a collection of the tracts of the Oxford Movement amendations? Or Darwin’s Origin of the Species? Or perhaps Orwell’s 1984? I think not unless you are far more ignorant than the least committed of all Christians!
The Word of God as presented in the Holy Bible is ALL we need to know God and His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. That Word has not changed or fallen into any period of error. Those who seek to discredit the Word of God with their fantastical new bible versions know the error of their actions, yet, they prefer to realize a profit in their man-copyrighted phony bibles. The same men who will suffer no alteration whatsoever in a commercial contract are inclined to line through entire passages of Holy Scripture, and add meanings that were never there, with impunity – and they do so to turn a dollar or to add to their pismire stature.
The Preacher of Ecclesiastes got it right: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Why spend endless hours parsing the Word of God and calling into question every jot and tittle? Why stay up all night to learn some strange notion that refutes God’s Word in order to impress your theology professor or his following?
When Jesus taught, He spoke in the commonly understood vernacular of the people. He never attempted to measure the point at which a mole hill becomes a mountain – and neither should we if we are serious in the study of the Bible and its message to man.