Archive for May 1st, 2012

Church history is full of people who refused to compromise doctrinal integrity.  A monk in Germany who stood at the Diet of Worms and was ordered to recant his beliefs, refused to.[1]  His name is Martin Luther.  Hence, we can learn much from church history when it comes to God being awesome and man being infinitesimal.  Martin Luther was a clear example of a man who saw God being awesome and man being infinitesimal.  His love for God led him to hate false doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church.  He responded by nailing the 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.  And when he was held on trail in the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther boldly said before the secular dignitaries and powerful Roman Catholic clergy with this,

Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments, I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the Word of God: I can not and will not recant anything, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against the conscience.”[2]

Luther continued and ended his bold statement by saying:

Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me! Amen.”[3]

Other examples would be Hugh Katimer and Nicholas Ridley who are two Christian reformers that were burned at the stake because of their biblical faith in Christ.[4]  In the face of persecution and death, these men did not sell out for their faith.  Too many people today are willing to sell out not primarily on the account of physical persecution, but also verbal persecution.[5]

In chapter two of of Pastor John MacArthur’s book called, The Power of Integrity: Building a Life Without Compromise, Pastor MacArthur presented some pertinent points in order to help Christians not to compromise when it comes to doctrinal integrity.  Here are some of the points that Pastor MacArthur addressed: “the price of compromise, unity and doctrinal integrity, guardians of the truth, how to safeguard the truth, the essence of proclamation, loyalty in leadership, and living the truth.” [6]

In the first major section from chapter two, which is from “the price of compromise,” here are some vital excerpts:

  • People say they believe the Bible, yet attend churches where the Bible isn’t taught.
  • People agree that sin must be punished, but not if those sins are committed by their children.
  • People oppose dishonesty and corruption until they must confront their bosses and risk losing their jobs.
  • People maintain high moral standards until their lusts are kindled by unscriptural relationships.
  • People are honest until a little dishonesty will save them money.
  • People hold a conviction until it is challenged by someone they admire or fear.

These are all thought provoking excerpts from the book and are all excerpts that should be taken heed to because we are call to watch our doctrine and life closely (1 Timothy 4:16).  As I am thinking about the dangers Dr. MacArthur mentions in this chapter, I can’t help, but to think about a current study I am doing regarding the plague of modern rationalism that is being implemented into many churches and seminaries today.  Currently, I am studying how modern rationalism has affected the book of Daniel.  I find out that modern rationalism’s attacks against the Book of Daniel can be traced back to the neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry in the third century, who devoted much time in his polemic, Against the Christians.[7]  It had a rationalist’s explanation of the book of Daniel. Porphyry believed that the book was pen by an unknown author who lived during the days of the Maccabean patriots.[8]  Jerome who was an opponent to Porphyry’s rationalism said that Porphyry concluded, that the person who wrote under the name of Daniel lied for the sake of reviving the hope of the Israelites who were under the yoke of Antiochus Epiphanes.[9]  Porphyry clearly believed in the impossibility of predictive prophecy.  This man rejected the idea that God can prophesy to Daniel (who he considers a sixth-century man) what was going to happen through the centuries to come.[10] He and many other modern rationalists today see that revealed prediction by a supernatural God, is completely out of the question.   For them all successful predictions had to be explained as vaticinium ex eventu (prophecy after the event).  Sadly, many seminaries and churches are implementing Porphyry’s rationalism. Clearly you can see that there is a big attack on the supernatural elements in Scripture.  To say that prophecies were written after the event is to say what God said, cannot be true, because through the lens of rationalism, the supernatural belongs in the realm of the impossible.  Clearly modern rationalists have a presupposition that is rooted in anti-supernaturalism.  At the end of the day, it is clearly an attack against the inerrancy of Scripture.  For Christians, we believe what God says about predictive prophecy, is true.

The compromises, Dr. MacArthur speaks about are not limited to twentieth-century Christians only, but can be traced back to Scripture that showed some very choice servants who compromised and paid a price.[11]  Here are some examples:

  • Adam compromised God’s law, followed his wife’s sin, and lost paradise (Gen 3:6, 22-24).
  • Abraham compromised the truth, lied about Sarah’s relationship to him, and nearly lost his wife (Gen 12:10-12).
  • Sarah compromised God’s Word and sent Abraham to Hagar, who bore Ishmael and destroyed peace in the Middle East (Gen 16:1-4, 11-12)
  • Moses compromised God’s command and lost the privilege of entering the Promised Land (Num 20:7-12).
  • Samson compromised his devotion as a Nazarite and lost his strength, his eyesight, and his life (Judg 16:4-6, 16-31).
  • Israel compromised the commands of the Lord, lived in sin, and, when fighting the Philistines, lost the Ark of God (1 Sam 4:11).  She also compromised the law of God with sin and idolatry and lost her homeland (2 Chron 36:14-17).
  • Saul compromised God’s divine word by not slaying the animals of his enemy and lost his kingdom (1 Sam 15:3, 20-28).
  • David compromised God’s standard, committed adultery with Bathsheba, murdered Uriah, and lost his infant son (2 Sam 11:1-12:23).
  • Solomon compromised his convictions, married foreign wives, and lost the united kingdom (1 Kings 11:1-8).
  • Judas compromised his supposed devotion for Christ for thirty pieces of silver and was separated from Christ eternally (Matt 26:20-25, 47-49; 27:1-5; cf. John 17:12).
  • Peter compromised his conviction about Christ, denied Him, and lost his joy (Mark 14:66-72).  Later he compromised the truth in order to gain acceptance by the Judaizers and lost his liberty (Gal 2:11-14).
  • Ananias and Sapphira compromised their word about their giving, lied to the Holy Spirit, and lost their lives (Acts 5:1-11).

Please stay tune for the next installment regarding “Doctrinal Integrity.”

[1] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Power of Integrity: Building a Life Without Compromise (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1997), 27.

[2] Charles R. Biggs, “The Story of Martin Luther: The Reformation and the Life of Martin Luther Until the Diet of Worms (1521),” Monergism, http://www.monergism.com/Reformation.Church.History.Martin.Luther.pdf (accessed March 17, 2012), 130.

[3] Ibid, 130.

[4] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Power of Integrity: Building a Life Without Compromise (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1997), 27.

[5] Ibid, 27.

[6] Ibid, 27-38.

[7] Gleason Leonard Archer Jr., “Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel,” Bibliotheca Sacra 136, no. 542 (April 1, 1979): 129.

[8] Ibid, 129.

[9] Ibid, 129.

[10] Ibid, 129.

[11] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The Power of Integrity: Building a Life Without Compromise (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1997), 28.

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