The White Horse Running in Myanmar

It might not make front page headlines, but there have been some interesting developments of late in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Originally a colony of Great Britain, the Southeast Asian country gained its independence in 1948 as a democratic nation. But for the last fifty years or so the country has been in the chokehold of a brutal military dictatorship.

Things have changed of late, however. Last November a free election was held, and the National League for Democracy (NLD) party defeated the incumbents in a landslide. There was some question about whether the military would allow the election results to stand, or simply ignore them and remain in power. But it appears that a transition of power is actually taking place and a democratic government is taking shape.

A recent article in the Washington Post (here) reports on a new position occupied by Aung San Suu Kyi, unquestioned leader of the NLD. The 70-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been under house arrest for decades and was forbidden from occupying the position of president because her husband and two children were British citizens. Suu Kyi’s ally, Htin Kyaw, was named President of the new government, but Suu Kyi is the real power. She has been appointed foreign minister and, most recently, state counsellor. This latter position was created just for her as a way of skirting the constitutional limitation, and effectively gives her the position of prime minister and “boss” of the president.

This may make for interesting politics, but why is it worth knowing as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven?

These recent events are significant because they have important implications for the running of the white horse of the gospel in Myanmar.

Since 2007 one of the churches in the Protestant Reformed denomination has been laboring with a group of saints in Myanmar. But one of the major obstacles has been in getting a missionary on the ground. The military-backed government closed its borders to any Christian missionary coming to preach the gospel in their land. The result has been that rather than doing mission work through a missionary living and working full-time in Myanmar, the work has been done through occasional, short-term visits to the field and through various channels of technology.

But now there is a shift in power. A democratic government is forming. The hope is that this new government will reverse the decision of the previous one and make it possible for a Christian missionary to come into the land and proclaim the glorious gospel of salvation in this predominately Buddhist country. We can only wait to see what will unfold in the sovereign plan of God.

And pray. The command of God is that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made…for kings, and for all that are in authority.” Why? “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” But also God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” And in what way does that take place? Through the preaching of the gospel, of which Paul is “ordained a preacher…a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (1 Tim. 2:1-7).

Pray that God might use someone like Suu Kyi to open the door in that land so that the white horse might run, the elect there might be gathered, and Christ might come.

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This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.

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“Pastoral Guidance or Misguided Advice?”

In the February 2016 issue of The Banner, the official magazine of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), there is a preview of an extensive report coming to their Synod this summer. The report addresses the issue of so-called “same-sex marriages” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Gayla Postma, “Pastoral Guidance for Churches Regarding Same-Sex Marriage,” pp. 14-15).

This report is not a change in the official CRC position on homosexuality. That position, adopted in 1973, states that “same-sex orientation is not sinful, but homosexual activity is.” This position remains yet unchanged.

The study committee reporting to Synod 2016 was mandated to provide “pastoral guidance” to the denomination with regard to certain practical situations that might arise in connection with same-sex marriages. Some of the issues addressed in the report are:

  • Whether or not it is proper to attend a same-sex wedding or provide a commercial service for such a wedding (e.g. making a cake, taking pictures).
  • Whether or not it is proper for a CRC pastor to solemnize a religious same-sex wedding.
  • Whether or not it is proper for a CRC pastor to solemnize a civil same-sex wedding.
  • Whether or not it is proper for a member to play a part in a same-sex wedding (e.g. being an attendant).
  • Whether or not it is proper to allow same-sex couples and their families to take part in the life of the church (e.g. being an usher, teaching Sunday school).
  • Whether or not it is proper to allow same-sex couples to be members of a local congregation.

The report is weak.

For one thing, in many instances it gives no guidance whatsoever. Is it proper to attend a same-sex wedding? Leave it to the discretion of the individual. Is it proper to play a part in such a wedding? Again, that should be left to the discretion of each member. Is it proper to allow same-sex couples to take part in the life of the church? Let each congregation decide for herself. This gives no guidance to the churches.

More disconcerting is the underlying weakness that the report reveals on the issue of same-sex marriage as a whole. The report distinguishes between religious and civil marriages, and then says that although it is wrong for a pastor to perform the former, in some circumstances it is proper to solemnize the latter. This “guidance” seems to grant a certain legitimacy to same-sex marriages.

The committee goes on to recommend that same-sex couples be received as members in good standing, so long as they are not sexually active. “However,” Postma summarizes, “if a person or couple agree to accept the CRC’s teaching on same-sex sexual relationships and bring their lives into conformity, no obstacle prevents their acceptance as members.” The report says, “The current position does not require dissolution of a civil marriage; nor should the church be heard to require or encourage the dissolution of functioning families.”

This means that a homosexual couple can be members in good standing, so long as they assure the church that they are not engaging in homosexual activity (as if that were possible). The church may not require them to dissolve their “marriage” or their “functioning family.” Nor may the church prevent them from having their adopted child baptized and from partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

And what is more, the report indicates that there is growing dissatisfaction with the official position of the denomination. “A number of CRC churches are already navigating the challenges of integrating same-sex couples into the life of the church, and for them the logic of being denied membership is experienced as damaging rather than life-giving.” There is even an expressed desire on the part of the committee to revisit and revise the 1973 position.

This report is worth noticing because it reveals again the fatal weakness in the position of the CRC. If one’s position is that homosexual activity is the only thing that is sinful, then allowances have to be made for same-sex marriage, so long as the couples assure those around them that, though they are attracted to one another and are legally married, they are not engaging in any sexual activity whatsoever. The weakness of the CRC position has been pointed out by others before. This simply shows the bad fruit it is producing.

It will be interesting to see what the Synod of the CRC does with this report.

Stay tuned.

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This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.

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Let This Mind Be In You Which Was Also In Christ Jesus

How would you illustrate humility? Paul illustrates it in the most profound and moving way in Philippians 2. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). The apostle often does this—he uses profound theology to teach practical Christian living.

To do this, he proves (1) that Jesus is God; and (2) that Jesus humbled Himself.

Two expressions in verse 6 prove that Jesus is God.

(1) “Who being in the form of God”: The form (Greek: morphee) of something is its essential nature or character. If Jesus is in the form of God, He has God’s attributes, power and glory, that is, He is God. In verse 7, Paul uses the same word “form” (Greek: morphee), this time to describe the humiliation of Jesus. Jesus took the “form of a servant,” which means that He really became a servant with all the attributes of a servant. Jesus did not pretend to be a servant. Similarly, Jesus does not have a superficial resemblance to God. Jesus really is God. Moreover, the KJV is correct in its translation, “being in the form of God.” The word “being” is the present participle of the verb “to be.” The meaning is not properly conveyed by the translation, “Although He was,” or “While He was.” “Was” is the past tense. “Being” is the present tense—the eternally present tense. Jesus is God, and He remains God. Throughout His Incarnation, humiliation, death and subsequent glorification, He is and remains God.

(2) “[He] thought it not robbery to be equal with God”: The word “robbery” (Greek: harpagmon) means something that is snatched, grasped or held. The idea is that Jesus possesses equality with God, but He did not consider such equality something to be held or something to which He had to cling. It was, in fact, something He gave up in order to humble Himself. There is some controversy over the word “robbery” here. The two meanings offered by theologians are (1) Jesus did not have equality with God, and He did not reach out and grab something that was not His; or (2) Jesus does have equality with God, but He did not cling to it as something He wanted to keep. However, only the second option fits the context.

Perhaps, I can illustrate it this way. If Satan, who is not God, did not reach out and try to grasp equality with God, would you consider that humility? Of course not! Not seeking equality with God is the duty of all creatures! (In fact, Satan’s sin was that he sought equality with God!). If Jesus were a creature, of course He may not seek equality with God! But, if Jesus is God, and does have equality with God, what wonderful condescension and humility it is for Him not to seek to hold on to what He has!

That is humility. There is no greater example of humility than that!

What did it mean for Jesus to relinquish equality with God, or not to consider equality with God as something that He would cling to? Verses 7-8 explain.

“[He] made Himself of no reputation”: This is the translation of one Greek verb, kenooo, which means to empty, to make empty or to make void. He emptied Himself! Of what did He empty Himself? Charles Wesley wrote, “He emptied Himself of all but love” (see the hymn, “And Can It Be?”). Wesley’s words are heretical. If Jesus did, in fact, empty Himself of “all but love,” He emptied Himself of His essential deity and of all His divine attributes except one—love. That is impossible! Jesus emptied Himself of His exalted position of equality with God. However, He is God—He cannot cease to be God. The Son of God is almighty, omniscient and omnipresent. That cannot change. (Certainly, His glory as the Son of God was veiled behind human flesh, but He did not lose even one of His divine attributes).

Instead of losing anything of His essential deity, Jesus added a real humanity. “He was made in the likeness of men” and He was “found in fashion as a man.” The two Greek words (homoiooma and schema) indicate that Jesus took to Himself a real human nature. He became what He was not, without ceasing to be what He essentially and eternally is. These two words teach Jesus’ essential humanity as the incarnate Son.

And what kind of man did He become? Did He become a king, a prince or an emperor? Did He come to be served and adored by the masses? Absolutely not! “He took upon Him the form of a servant” (Greek: doulos, which means slave). “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

Jesus came to obey His Father: “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death” (v. 8). Jesus did not refuse to die. He knew that it was His duty to die. Willingly and obediently, He died for His people. And what kind of death did He die? “Even the death of the cross” (v. 8). He died the death of the lowest of the low, the kind of death reserved for criminals and slaves, the most shameful, painful and accursed death of the cross. And He did that because that is what sin deserves. Although He had no sins, He came to make satisfaction for the sins of His people, to save them from their sins.

That, dear reader, is humility! To give up a privileged position—the highest position of glory—and to enter the lowliest position—a slave, and even a crucified man—is the greatest possible humility. And the one who did that is the Son of God—He is God!

In response to that humility, says Paul, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Phil. 2:3).

Will you say that serving others is beneath you, when the Son of God did not think the cross was beneath Him? Will you insist on your dignity, convenience and welfare, when the Son of God thought nothing of His?

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!

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Rev. McGeown is missionary-pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland stationed in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. 

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Introducing another new Blog writer!

We are pleased to announce that we have another new blog writer, Rev. Martyn McGeown. He has agreed to assist Rev. Clayton Spronk and Rev. Joshua Engelsma as a fellow writer for the RFPA blog.

Rev. McGeown is missionary-pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland stationed in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. 

We look forward to adding Rev. McGeown as one of our writers!

 

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Water is Amazing Too

A while ago I linked to an article about the amazing eyes God has created. Today I share with you a link to an article that explains that water is a “Miracle Substance.” This article reminds us of the amazing wisdom and power of our Creator, but also of how Jesus Christ is our perfect Savior. The article states, “The sum of these traits makes water an ideal medium for life. Literally, every property of water is suited for supporting life.” Isn’t water then a perfect picture of Jesus Christ? He is the “living water” perfectly suited for giving and supporting “everlasting life” (John 14:10, 14).

Click on the link to read about the importance of water’s thermal properties, vapor tension, low viscosity, solvency, etc.

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This post was written by Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Faith Protestant Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan.

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Evangelical Disunity

The media reports that evangelical Christians are supporting Donald Trump in large numbers during the current Republican primary cycle. Some might question whether evangelicals should support Donald Trump. But the other question that comes up in this connection is what does it mean to be an evangelical. Are all of those who say they are evangelical really evangelical? And do we want to be associated with this group of people that calls itself evangelical?

Russel Moore says this year’s presidential election campaign makes him “hate the word ‘evangelical’.” Moore considers himself to be a true evangelical and says that it is a “magnificent word.” He writes,

The word “evangelical” isn’t, first of all, about American politics. The word is rooted in the Greek word for gospel, good news for sinners through the life, death, resurrection and reign of Jesus of Nazareth as the son of God and anointed ruler of the cosmos.

Evangelical means a commitment to the truth of God’s revelation in the Bible and a conviction that the blood of Christ is offered to any repentant, believing sinner as a full atonement for sin.”

 

But during the current presidential campaign, Moore noticed that he “stopped describing [himself] as an evangelical.” For him the term “has become almost meaningless.” Even worse “the word itself is at the moment subverting the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Moore sees a problem with people who identify themselves as evangelical to pollsters even though they are not “churchgoers” and do not live a life of forsaking sin. Moore writes, “Many of those who tell pollsters they are ‘evangelical’ may very well be drunk right now, and haven’t been into a church since someone invited them to vacation Bible School.”

Leaders in the evangelical movement also deserve blame. Moore alleges that these leaders “minimize the spewing of profanities in campaign speeches, race-baiting and courting white supremacists, boasting of adulterous affairs, debauching public morality and justice through the casino and pornography industries.” Moore is referring to Donald Trump and is aghast that evangelical leaders pronounce him to be a Christian despite these views and despite his public proclamation that “he has never repented of sin, because he displays the fruit of the Spirit in job creation.”

Shunning the label “evangelical” Moore now calls himself a “gospel Christian.” He does not want to be associated with people who “deny creedal Christianity and gospel clarity with impunity” even if these people are “on the right side of the culture war.” Moore is not ready to give up the word evangelical forever. “The future of evangelicalism is vibrant, prophetic, theologically grounded, gospel-centered and unwilling to be anyone’s political mascot.”

I am not really as concerned as Moore is about the word evangelical. It is not my duty or goal to seek unity with all of those who claim to be evangelical. Christ calls me to work to maintain the unity he has given to his church. I belong to a denomination of churches that is called Protestant Reformed. I love the truths confessed in the Protestant Reformed Churches. I love to identify with those who confess these same truths—worshipping with them every Sunday, fellowshipping with them, and walking with them in the way of repentance and holiness.  Almost every election is unsettling for me. I never seem to have complete confidence in the candidates I vote for. But I have learned to be content with the peace that is found in my membership in the church.

No, I am not as concerned as Moore is about the word “evangelical.” But he makes a very important point—Christians must not compromise the gospel for the sake of forming political alliances.

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This post was written by Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Faith Protestant Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan.

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Book Review (continued): In the Beginning God, Chapter 3

Chapter Three

This chapter was probably the one I most liked and resonated with throughout the book.  My sense is that Hoeksema’s own understanding and study of the topic shifted as he prepared for his speeches, but perhaps it also reflects a shift in my own opinion or expectation that made me increasingly favorable to Hoeksema's views and ways of expressing them.  In any case, I had expected a lot of outdated arguments and poor apology for creationism, as well as a general skepticism of science, in this chapter.  However, in most of the key points I am very much in agreement with Hoeksema.

A particular strength of this chapter, in my opinion, is Hoeksema's distinction of creationists, secular/unbelieving evolutionists and theistic evolutionists.  I am very glad he does not simply lump the latter two groups together into one reprobate mass of ungodly scientists, which the PRCA is prone to do, to our shame.  Rather, he points out that the mistake of theistic evolutionists is an inconsistent capitulation to secular scientists that blindly accepts the interpretations of those who hate and deny God.  That is, they are not the same, but have given in to aspects that deny the authority and authenticity of Scripture.

On this note, Hoeksema makes a great point about secular scientists on pg 95: "Because he is spiritually darkness, the ungodly scientist does not want God, and because he does not want God, he rules God out of his own book." What I would add here is that the doctrine of common grace is very much to blame for the death of antithetical science.  If one teaches that there is redeeming value in the works of reprobate man, and that God can actually reveal truth through such persons' efforts, it is very easy to capitulate to claims that science contradicts the Genesis account.  Who are we, after all, to doubt the work of such knowledgeable people?  God can use them to show us the way....right?  An antithetical view of unbelieving mankind's prior commitments here would make us think twice and be very discerning about what he or she has to say with regard to interpreting scientific data about origins, anthropology or cosmological timelines.

There are naturally a few things that I would either disagree with or want to clarify.  For example, on pg. 119 Hoeksema is clearly articulating some of the outdated arguments that evolutionary theory disregards the fundamental laws of thermodynamics.  These arguments have long ago been debunked, and I would cringe a bit to unequivocally recommend this chapter because of this.  But thankfully, he admits very early on that he is not a scientist, and doesn't try (too much) to argue against evolutionism on the field of scientific theory. 

I am also somewhat uncomfortable with Hoeksema’s personification of science.  He has a rather bad tendency of saying "science does this or that," which again tends to set up the false dichotomy of science-vs-religion.  That being said, he thankfully balances this careless use of the word “science with some very clear definitions, and a great deal of effort to make clear that there are Christian scientists, and that this is a realm that is not only open to, but honorable for the Christian to engage.  Likewise, he makes a clear point that Scripture and science are not (cannot be!) at odds since they are a two-fold revelation from and about God.  We can quibble about whether the distinctions of special and general revelation are appropriate terms, but whatever the case, I very much agree with Hoeksema's points regarding the primacy of scripture.

I would add one note of cautionary nuance to Hoeksema's insistence that scripture interprets itself, and that the findings of science may never be used to inform our understanding of the Word.  There are very clear cases of a misunderstanding of scripture that has been corrected by scientific findings, which have provided us with a better understanding of the original text.  The first case, to which I referred earlier, is the Copernican controversy in the medieval church.  Another is a more recent example, in which the term "species" and the biblical "kind" were equated.  With a proper understanding of science, one sees that this cannot be the case, though for many years conservative Christians (at least in the PRC for sure) insisted it was so in the face of very clear evidence to the contrary.  Perhaps a third example we could point to is the concept that God created different ethnicities/races at Babel.  Nowhere in the text is this a required interpretation; rather, a proper understanding of human genetics makes clear that this is unnecessary.  All of these are examples of places where science helps to clarify understanding of scripture, but all within the bounds of the timeline that is also established by scripture in Genesis.

My concern here is two-fold.  The first is that we not make supernatural miracles out of what is simply a providential mechanism in the creation order.  Why does this matter?  Not because I want to deny miracles in any way, but because it is important to see the explicit purpose of miracles, which always point to Christ.  Miracles point to him directly and inescapably.  When something in scripture is not easily explained, let us not quickly jump to the conclusion that some divine intervention in the normal order of providence is required.  This tends to diminish the significance and impact of true miracles, making them mundane. 

My second concern with regard to this issue is a counterpoint to what Hoeksema warns about on pg. 96: "The practical significance of this is that as Christians we must not gullibly accept all that is presented in the name of science in this scientific age.  We must evaluate critically and with spiritual discernment."  At the same time, we must also not foolishly contradict every finding or claim of scientists as wrong just because the man was not a believer.  Each and every point should be evaluated critically and with spiritual discernment in the light of scripture.  If it is compatible, then it may be integrated into our understanding of the creation.  It not, then it may be discarded.  Such are the findings of evolution.  We may accept many of the findings that show very real change in creation, so-called microevolution.  But inferences from these findings that suggest a very different narrative than that of Genesis 1-2 are clearly wrong, and to be discarded.  Throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater is foolish and destructive to the witness of Christians in this world.

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Victorious in Resurrection—Glory

He is risen! O, glorious victory! For the Royal Sufferer did not simply return from the grave, as did Lazarus whom once He raised from the dead: He went on! He is not here! He did not return into the likeness of our sinful flesh. He is no longer, He is not again in the sphere of weakness: He went on to power. He did not return to the sphere of dishonor: He went through to glory. He is not again clothed with mortality and corruptibility: He had put on immortality and incorruption! He no longer bears the image of the earthy: He stands revealed as the Lord from heaven!

Fear not ye! Rejoice! For He is risen as the first-fruits of them that slept! The full harvest of all His own is sure to follow! For presently the glorious Lord will ascend to His Father and our Father, and will receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. And in that Spirit He will come again, to make His own partakers of His resurrection life. He, the beginning of the resurrection will not rest until He has raised all His own, made them like unto Himself, and taken them with Him in the everlasting, heavenly tabernacle of God with men! He is risen! Fear not ye, but rejoice for evermore!

  • When I Survey, Book 2: The Royal Sufferer, Chapter 8: Victorious in Resurrection—Glory

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Book Review (continued): In the Beginning God, Chapter 2

Chapter Two

I am somewhat concerned that Hoeksema is setting up false dichotomy when he speaks of "the relation between creation and science's claims" (pg. 42).  Strictly speaking, science does not make claims—people make claims.  Unbelieving secular scientists make claims from many of the same pieces of data that believing scientists analyze.  The difference is all about interpretation, not the science per se.  By using this wording, a certain view of scientists becomes apparent.  That is, "they" are something other than "us."  I think that this is a dangerous path to start going down, because it makes scientists people we need to distrust and dislike rather than engage.  My sense is that Hoeksema primarily intends to distinguish between "false science" and "true science" (pg. 79), by which he is trying to say bad and good interpretations of scientific data. But the wording could make some conservative Christians worry about whether it's even possible for a Christian to be a scientist.

During the various speeches that Nate Lanning and I have given, one of our suggestions that met a bit of resistance was distinguishing between “evolution” and “evolutionism.”  I find it interesting that Hoeksema himself uses the latter term and implicitly makes this distinction, though perhaps not as consistently or clearly as we have suggested. In any case, he makes clear that evolutionism is a worldview that extends far beyond origins and cannot comport with orthodox Christianity.  On this we agree entirely!

Hoeksema shows remarkable insight into the real problem with theistic evolution, which is that it comes with a significant risk of much greater departure from the historic Christian faith.  For a long time, people in relatively conservative Christian denominations (including Reformed ones) have been comfortable holding to both theistic evolution and the orthodox understanding of Scripture as given in the creeds because they just don't see an issue that relates to salvation in Jesus Christ.  I think the developing history in the Reformed community bears this issue out pretty well.  But in being entirely consistent with the tenants of exegesis that come from reading Genesis 1-2 in a non-literal sense, it becomes impossible to hold onto a non-literal Genesis 1-2 and draw a sharp line at Genesis 3 as the beginning of literal exegesis.  Knowledge of this fact isn't new at all, but the consequences of consistency are only recently beginning to bear fruit in what were once conservative denominations.  This is a warning that we all should take very seriously. (https://www.calvin.edu/admin/provost/seminars/human-origins.html)

The real issue with theistic evolution emerges when exegetical license is extended further to the origins of man and sin, which is the logical result of capitulation to secular, atheistic scientists' view of scientific data in the first place.  If some Christians are concerned that the traditional Christian view of cosmology doesn't match the interpretations of secular scientists (and therefore accept theistic evolution as a synthesis), they will likely also have quite a bit of trouble with newer secular interpretations of human origins based on genetic data.  Synthesis in this area is a lot more difficult than simply allowing for a non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2, which Christian scientists, theologians, philosophers and anthropologists are finding out.  This is because synthesis (or perhaps more accurately, accommodation) beyond Genesis 1-2 very quickly gets into trouble with the orthodox doctrines of anthropology and original sin, and therefore the doctrines of Christology as well.  When these doctrines come into question, the reality and foundation of the Christian faith crumbles—entirely! 

That really leaves only three viable options: 1) accept the Bible's account of creation as literal and as a consistent rule for the book of Genesis; 2) live with exegetical inconsistency while accepting the narrative and authority of Scripture contained in the orthodox Christian faith; 3) deny the literal account of creation consistently, along with the authority of Scripture altogether.  I believe that there are true Christians who fall into the second group, choosing to live in that frame of reference while holding to the orthodox Christian faith.  One cannot hold to the third option and maintain that he or she is an orthodox Christian.  Unfortunately there often times seems to be only a hair's breadth of difference between options 2 and 3.  This is the reason why I place myself in the camp of option 1.

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Death’s Tyrant Destroyed

Through death, He [Christ] passed into the glory of His resurrection, and of His exaltation at the right hand of God, and is clothed with all power in heaven and on earth. He holds the keys of death and hell. This mighty Lord, through His Spirit, now stretches His strong arm of salvation into our prison of sin and death, to lead us out into liberty. He opens wide the door, breaks the shackles of sin that hold us in bondage to the will of the devil, gives us a new heart, a new life, new love, new light, new knowledge, and wisdom. He gives us the saving faith, the power whereby we may appropriate Him, and all His blessings of salvation. He calls us through the word of the cross, the word of reconciliation, of liberty, of deliverance from the slavery of sin.
And we hear the voice of Jesus, the captain of our salvation, calling: “Come unto me, and rest.”
 
And we do come, and find rest; we repent and are forgiven; we believe and are delivered.
 
No longer do we accomplish the will of the devil, but have a new delight in the law of the God of our salvation.
 
And no longer does the fear of death hold us in bondage, for in His cross and resurrection we behold the way out, into the final glory of the tabernacle of God with us.
 
O, amazing power of the cross!
 
- When I Survey, Book 4: The Power of the Cross, Chapter 4: Death’s Tyrant Destroyed

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