Posted by: proregno | March 6, 2014

Die ‘experts’ kultus of ware reformasie van die gelowiges ?

Do We Really Want A New Reformation?

What we need is another rebellion against the cult of the experts

written by rev. G.I. Williamson

In the 17th century there was a great assembly of highly educated men. They met in the Jerusalem chamber of the Westminster Abbey in London to set down in words the attainments of the Reformation. And they agreed with the common people—the Bible really does say that the work of creation was God’s making “all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.”

But the question is: do we really want one?

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard (or read the words of) people who say “we need a new reformation.” I agree. What I don’t hear them say is an increasing concern to me. I don’t hear them say that what we need is another rebellion against the cult of the experts. But I am convinced that this is exactly what we need.

When Martin Luther ignited the Reformation of the 16th Century he was immediately subjected to the tyranny of the experts. Who was this upstart priest to challenge the whole company of entrenched scholars who were in places of higher wisdom and authority? All Luther had on his side was a faithful reading of Scripture—and the courage to say ‘here I stand, I can do no other.’ And we all know what happened. God’s little people (the non-experts) rallied to his side. Why? Because he put in words what they had already instinctively known. The Bible did not teach what the church was then teaching and they sensed it, but also needed someone like Luther with the courage and ability to openly and clearly express it.

I think the church today—and I am thinking primarily of the church of Presbyterian and Reformed inheritance—has become not unlike the pre-reformation church in the time of Luther. It is dominated today by a special class of people who have ‘higher’ learning.

I recently wrote a brief essay expressing my conviction that it is time to get back to the stand of our Reformation Fathers on the doctrine of creation. I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from God’s ordinary people (I mean those who are not experts). They have known all along that the Bible is clear in what it says about creation. It was an awesome event that happened during the first six days of world-history, a few thousand years ago. Adam and Eve were there in that beginning (Mark 10:6), and there was no death in the world until our first parents sinned (Romans 5:12).

In the 17th century there was a great assembly of highly educated men. They met in the Jerusalem chamber of the Westminster Abbey in London to set down in words the attainments of the Reformation. And they agreed with the common people—the Bible really does say that the work of creation was God’s making “all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.”

But before I say more I want to make it clear that when I speak of ‘the tyranny of the experts’ I do not have in mind an intentional tyranny. Not at all. What I mean has been described by others as ‘group think.’ That might be a better term.

But in any case I believe it is a fact, and it is something I came to see already as a seminary student more than sixty years ago. I was a student at the Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary of the old United Presbyterian Church of North America (a church that began its existence in 1858 and terminated its existence in 1958 by uniting with the Liberal Presbyterian Church in the USA).

At the time I was becoming more and more alarmed by what I saw in both the World and National Councils of Churches. In fact I became so concerned that I asked Professor Addison Leitch if he did not think (as I did) that we should not belong to such an organization. Well, Dr. Leitch said words like this: “I am concerned and have reservations about this organization, but one of our greatest missionaries (I will call him X, since I do not recall his name accurately enough to reproduce it here) supports our membership in these organizations.”

Not long after that this very missionary spoke at the New Wilmington Missionary conference so I had an opportunity to speak to him about this. He spoke very much the same thing that Dr. Leitch had spoken. “I have my reservations, but Dr. Y (a highly respected official who, as I recall, was then stated clerk of the General Assembly) supports our membership in these councils.” So, I went to see Dr. Y. And you’ve probably already guessed what he said to me! He said, “I have serious reservations about these councils, but Dr. Leitch is fine with our membership in them, and you know what a fine conservative he is.” And on that he was right. Dr. Leitch was a fine conservative. I learned much from him and would never want to speak evil of him. Without even realizing it these men seemed to me to be in an unintentional bondage. But I concluded then and there that more is required of us than these men were displaying.

I did not receive any direct response to my recent essay on six-day creation from such experts, but I did read comments that some of them made about six-day creation. What they said, in effect, was that they were much too highly educated to accept (or go along with) the view of non-expert people. It sounded to me as equivalent to saying that that would undermine their status as experts, and that preserving that is very important. Experts must have academic freedom; freedom to think, and speak, beyond the bounds of the catechisms and confessions. And now we have reached the place where some of these experts even issue warnings about the harm we do to our children if we insist on teaching them the old six-day creation view of our fathers. We even hear of lectures provided at the time of a General Assembly to persuade non-experts that it is unwise to believe—and especially to teach—that the universe was created in six calendar days, around six thousand years ago.

It is time, as I see it, for the non-expert people of God to rise up against this kind of abuse. In the better days of our history this abuse would not have been tolerated. Teachings that contradicted the official creed of the church would have resulted in immediate deposition. Everybody had the right in those better times (and rightly had the right) to prove the creeds to be wrong if they were able to do so. But until that happened they were not allowed to teach this, that and the other thing (like day-age, framework and analogical views of creation). What many today consider a wonderful thing (tolerating these contradictory views of creation) our fathers would have considered a deadly evil. We know this because churches then required faithful adherence “to all the articles and points of doctrine” set forth in the Confessions and Catechisms. That is why they required all office-bearers in the church to promise that they would remain within confessional boundaries “without either directly or indirectly contradicting the same, by…public teaching or writing” (not even through anything like an internet blog)!

We like to think that the church (that is, we ourselves) have advanced in the direction of truth and understanding as compared to the time of the Reformation sparked by Luther. And I think there is some truth in this view of church history. Every era of church history has something to contribute to the ultimate outcome. But we certainly have not advanced in our ethics. We are not as faithful as our Reformation Fathers were to their oaths of office. With them the public Confession of the Church was to be respected and not publicly contradicted. It was always open to correction, of course, but for that there was a constitutional process. No public teaching of another view was allowed until the assembly of the pastors and elders of the church were fully persuaded—persuaded enough to modify with great care the Church’s clear statement of what it believes. When things were like this God‘s “little people” were wonderfully protected from false teaching.

What we have today is the very much like it was in the Roman Catholic Church in the time of Luther, the thing that was “protected” at all costs was the privileged position and authority of the experts (the priestly order). It is much the same, today, with our elite company of scholars—and the greatest need now, as then, is for God to raise someone up to give leadership in terminating this tyranny of the experts.

I already know what some “experts” will say: they’ll say I’m anti-intellectual, that I am retreating from the world just like those awful fundamentalists. But that would be a false charge. The truth is that there are some very intellectual people who still believe in six-day creation. ‘Experts who think they know so much should read some of the fine material in defense of the doctrine of creation as stated in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, by men like John Byl and Jonathan Sarfati. It has always been necessary for all of us ‘little’ people, in the end, to choose our favorite intellectuals. And since I cannot claim to be an ‘expert’ I believe the only safe thing for me is to choose the intellectuals who are most faithful to the clear teaching of the Bible. Isn’t that what we’ve always said as Reformed Christians? The apostle John told the non-experts of his day that they were supposed to test even those who claimed to be apostles, by the inerrant Scriptures (1 John 4:1).  I believe we present-day non-experts are required to do the same. Since the fall of man no one can be automatically trusted, no matter how “expert” he (or she) may be. For the Bible says “If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).

In the good providence of God there are times when even the experts ‘let the cat out of the bag’ so to speak. Professor James Barr was

An outspoken critic of conservative evangelicalism, which he attacked in his 1977 book Fundamentalism. In particular he criticized evangelical scholars such as J. I. Packer affirming the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy, the teaching that the Bible is without error.

But here is what he said about the first eleven chapters of Genesis:

So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.

Every time I read something like this—from the pen of one of these learned experts—I am all the more convinced that John was right when he said (in effect) that it is up to us to test the experts.

The Reformation came when God’s ‘little people’ recovered sufficient leadership and courage to reinstitute this practice. It is my hope and prayer that the time will soon come when God’s ‘little’ people will again refuse to submit any longer to ‘the tyranny of the experts.’

G. I. Williamson is a retired minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, living in the Orange City, Iowa area. He is the author of study guides on the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and the Heidelberg Catechism.

Bron erkenning: Do we really want a new reformation ?

Sien ook rev. Williamson se webblad hier.

Rev. Williamson se preke.


Responses

  1. Hi Slabbert

    Ek wil graag die volgende opmerking maak.]:

    Die artikel sê:

    “I recently wrote a brief essay expressing my conviction that it is time to get back to the stand of our Reformation Fathers on the doctrine of creation. I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from God’s ordinary people (I mean those who are not experts). They have known all along that the Bible is clear in what it says about creation. It was an awesome event that happened during the first six days of world-history, a few thousand years ago. Adam and Eve were there in that beginning (Mark 10:6), and there was no death in the world until our first parents sinned (Romans 5:12).”

    Calvyn skryf in sy institusies:
    “Man excelled in these noble endowments in his primitive condition, when reason, intelligence, prudence, and Judgment, not only sufficed for the government of his earthly life, but also enabled him to rise up to God and eternal happiness. Thereafter choice was added to direct the appetites, and temper all the organic motions; the will being thus perfectly submissive to the authority of reason. In this upright state, man possessed freedom of will, by which, if he chose, he was able to obtain eternal life.”

    Calvin, John (2008-04-03). Institutes of the Christian Religion (Kindle Locations 3514-3518). Signalman Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Hierdie is die Bybelse interpretasie: Die Boom van die Lewe sou Adam die ewige lewe gee. Adam is nie biologies onsterflik geskep nie. En die hervormers het dit ook nie geglo soos hierdie artikel beweer nie. Dit is ‘n 20ste eeuse interpretasie en weerspreek beide die Bybel en die hervormers.

    Groete

    Wynand

    • Wynand, weet nie of ek jou reg of mooi verstaan nie, en die verhouding wat Calvyn se aanhaling tot Williamson se aanhaling staan nie.

      Feit is, ons kan baie spekuleer oor wat ‘sou gewees het’ as daar nie ‘n sondeval was nie, maar wat ons mee besig moet wees is wat het gebeur, en wat openbaar die Skrif, o.a. Rom.5:12, die dood het na die sondeval gekom. Baie duidelike openbaring. Williamson sê ook niks oor wat moontlik kon gebeur het en Adam se staat van lewe of moontlikheid van sterwe nie.

      Lees Calvyn ook mooi, hy fokus op die ‘ewige’ lewe, en kan sy uitspraak nie beteken dat Adam sommer net dood sou gegaan het sonder die sondeval nie, ons spekuleer weer. Ek vermoed Calvyn bedoel dat as Adam sou bly lewe het maar deur gehoorsaamheid (wat hy uit genade ontvang?) die weg sou wees dat hy tot ‘n staat van heerlikheid = die ewige lewe sou oorgaan. Nie lewe, sterwe en dan die ewige lewe nie. Sterwe kom met die sondeval in die wêreld in vir die mens.

  2. Dus, lewe ontvang en dan die ewige lewe deur die weg van gehoorsaamheid, sou daar nie ‘n sondeval gewees het nie.

    Maar dit is spekulasie.

    Wat het gebeur en wat ge-openbaar is, is waarmee ons besig met wees, soos Calvyn self sê in die laaste paar sinne van sy Institusie, deel 1.

  3. Jammer. Ek het aangeneem jy sal die agtergrond van my opmerking ken en dus die verhouding tussen wat Calvyn sê en die opmerking hierbo sien.

    By verre die meeste sigbare voorstanders van 6 x 24 h skepping vandag glo dat biologiese dood op aarde die gevolg was van die sondeval, en dat alle diere, selfs vliee, biologies onsterflik was voor die sondeval. Hulle stel dan ook dat die tweede wet van termodinamika (entropie) nie bestaan het voor die sondeval nie. Hulle fout is dus dat hulle nie onderskei tussen biologiese en geestelike dood nie (die eerste en tweede dood) en dat hulle biologiese onsterflikheid gelyk stel aan geestelike onsterflikheid.

    Die Bybel leer wel dat daar ‘n direkte verhouding is tussen die eerste en die tweede dood – Adam se biologiese dood is dus nou verweef met sy geestelike dood – maar dat daar ook ‘n defnitiese onderskeiding is tussen die twee. Die verwysing na die Boom van die Lewe in Genesis is bewys dat die Bybel nie leer dat Adam biologies onsterflik geskape is nie. Biologiese onsterflikheid was dus nie die algemene toestand van alle diere voor die sondeval soos hierdie mense beweer nie. Die aanhaling uit Calvyn toon dat die hervormers die Bybel ook so verstaan het.

    Om hierdie rede glo ek dat ‘n groot groep van die 6 x 24h voorstanders vandag op hierdie punt fouteer in hulle eksegese.

    So ek stem saam met Calvyn: Ons moet bly by wat in die Bybel openbaar is.

    Groete!

    • Dit is seker so dat daar onder voorstaanders van die skeppingsleer verskillende sienings sal wees oor verskillende sake, maar die algemene siening soos ek dit nog altyd verstaan is dat:
      1. vir alles ‘waarin die lewende siel is’, Gen.1:30 o.a. diere, voëls, ens en die mens as ‘lewende siel'(2:7) het die dood ingekom via die sondeval, Rom.5:12.
      2. Gen.1:30 openbaar die ‘wet van entropie’ wat gegeld het vir die dinge waarin die ‘lewende siel’ nie is nie, soos bv. plante, vrugte, sade, ens.
      3. In laasgenoemde sin is daar dus entropie voor die sondeval, maar nie in eersgenoemde geval nie.
      4. Daarom ook dat ons leer dat deur die sondeval, Gen.3, die geestelike dood kom en later die fisiese dood vir mens en dier (geestelik net vir mens), Gen.4; 5:5, asook die gevolge vir die hele skepping, 3:17, Rom.8:19ev.
      5. Kyk wat skryf een van die bekendste skeppingsleerders waarna jy dalk ook verwys, Henry Morris:

      “In primeval creation, however, even though what we might call ‘decay’ processes certainly existed (e.g. digestion, friction, water erosion, wave attenuation, etc.), they must all have balanced precisely with ‘growth’ processes elsewhere either within the individual system, so that the entropy of the world as a whole would stay constant” (aangehaal deur J. Stambaugh, in sy artikel, Whence cometh Death: A Biblical Theology of Physical Death and Natural Evil, 7Coming to Grips with Genesis, Biblical Authority and the age of the earth, T. Mortenson& T.H. Ury, editors, 2008, p.382).

      6. In die artikel waaruit hierdie aanhaling kom, word daar dan verder geskryf:

      “So there would be entropy in the physical universe during creation week. But whether human and animal death and disease were part of this entropy before the Fall, that is, in God’s ‘very good’ creation, is another question. … So the second law was certainly functioning before the Fall. But that does not mean there was decay and physical death among the living creatures (man or sea and land animals, birds – the nephesh chayyah) before the Fall.”

      7. Ek dink nog steeds jy lees te veel in Calvyn se aanhaling as wat daar staan. Sien my volgende boodskap hier onder daaroor.

      8. Probeer gerus die boek wat ek hierbo noem te lees, deeglike eksegese oor die verskillende sake, soos hier in die inhoudsopgawe en hierdie resensie gesien kan word: http://creation.com/review-coming-to-grips-with-genesis, en, http://www.answersingenesis.org/store/product/coming-grips-genesis/. Sien veral die spesifieke artikel hierbo genoem van Stambaugh (as jy daardie spesifieke artikel soek, sal ek dit vir jou kan aanstuur?)

      • Sien ook hierdie handige artikel oor Calvyn se siening van Genesis: http://creation.com/calvin-said-genesis-means-what-it-says#f8

        Sien veral die volgende aanhaling van Calvyn:

        ‘And therefore some understand what was before said. “Thou shalt die”, in a spiritual sense; thinking that, even if Adam had not sinned, his body must still have been separated from his soul. But since the declaration of Paul is clear, that “all die in Adam, as they shall rise again in Christ” (1 Cor. xv. 22), this wound was inflicted by sin. …Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short, no violent change.’

        Dus, Adam sou sonder sondeval oorgegaan het tot die ‘ewige lewe’, maar nie deur eers te sterwe, deur die dood nie. Die dood het deur die sondeval gekom, soos die Skrif leer (Gen.3; Rom.5) wat ons moet volg soos Calvyn ons ook leer.

        Nog aanhalings wat relevant is:

        The Creation was originally ‘very good’ , lacking any evil [commenting on Genesis 1:31]:

        ‘On each of the days, simple approbation was given. But now, after the workmanship of the world was complete in all its parts, and had received, if I may so speak, the last finishing touch, he pronounces it perfectly good; that we may know that there is in the symmetry of God’s works the highest perfection, to which nothing can be added.’9

        Suffering on the earth is the result of sin [commenting on Gen. 3:19]:

        ‘Therefore, we may know, that whatever unwholesome things may be produced, are not natural fruits of the earth, but are corruptions which originate from sin.’

        Calvyn staan aan die kant van die skeppingsleerders oor hierdie saak.

  4. Slabbert

    Onthou ek praat van die biologiese dood – en biologiese onsterflikheid.
    Met die wederkoms sal ons biologies sterflike liggame in ‘n oogwink verander word na ‘n onsterflike liggaam. Sonder die dood.

    Soos Henog en Elia in die ou Testament.

    Dit is wat ek glo Calvyn bedoel met: “Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short, no violent change.”

    Let op die woord “violent” in die aanhaling hierbo. Soos ek in my eerste pos gesê het is die sonde en Adam se biologiese dood baie nou met mekaar verweef. Dit egter gaan oor die aard van die dood. “Violent” aan die een kant, of soos ons wat nog leef in ‘n oogwink sal verander met die wederkoms aan die ander kant. Die beginsel staan dan steeds: Die biologiese liggaam waarmee Adam geskep is was nie ewig nie. DIt was nie biologies onsterflik nie.

    Dit gaan hier oor die biologiese onsterflikheid van diere voor die sondeval, en dus die afwesigheid van die wet van entropie, wat skeppingsleerders vandag verkondig en wat nie ooreenstem met die Bybel nie.

    Daar is geen kwessie daaroor dat Calvyn sesdagskepping verkondig het nie. Al wat ek wil aantoon met hierdie gesprek is dat Calvyn ‘n ander sesdag skepping verkondig het as wat baie mense vandag verkondig.

    Soos Calvyn die skepping en sondeval gesien het, het God nie die basiese, onderliggende natuurwette van die skepping herskryf met die sondeval nie. Die heelal soos ons dit vandag ken kan nie bestaan sonder die wet van entropie nie.

    Groete

    Wynamd

  5. Slabbert

    Onthou ek praat van die biologiese dood – en biologiese onsterflikheid.
    Met die wederkoms sal ons biologies sterflike liggame in ‘n oogwink verander word na ‘n onsterflike liggaam. Sonder die dood.

    Soos Henog en Elia in die ou Testament.

    Dit is wat ek glo Calvyn bedoel met: “Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short, no violent change.”

    Let op die woord “violent” in die aanhaling hierbo. Soos ek in my eerste pos gesê het is die sonde en Adam se biologiese dood baie nou met mekaar verweef. Dit egter gaan oor die aard van die dood. “Violent” aan die een kant, of soos ons wat nog leef in ‘n oogwink sal verander met die wederkoms aan die ander kant. Die beginsel staan dan steeds: Die biologiese liggaam waarmee Adam geskep is was nie ewig nie. DIt was nie biologies onsterflik nie.

    Dit gaan hier oor die biologiese onsterflikheid van diere voor die sondeval, en dus die afwesigheid van die wet van entropie, wat skeppingsleerders vandag verkondig en wat nie ooreenstem met die Bybel nie.

    Daar is geen kwessie daaroor dat Calvyn sesdagskepping verkondig het nie. Al wat ek wil aantoon met hierdie gesprek is dat Calvyn ‘n ander sesdag skepping verkondig het as wat baie mense vandag verkondig.

    Soos Calvyn die skepping en sondeval gesien het, het God nie die basiese, onderliggende natuurwette van die skepping herskryf met die sondeval nie. Die heelal soos ons dit vandag ken kan nie bestaan sonder die wet van entropie nie.

    Groete

    Wynamd

    • Wynand, ons moet maar ooreenkom om te verskil.

      Ek dink nog steeds jy kan nie op grond van ‘wat sou gebeur het as daar nie ‘n sondeval was nie’ gebruik as raamwerk om terug te lees daarom was daar biologiese onsterflikheid van mens en dier voor die sondeval. Ons moet bly by wat wel gebeur het en daaroor geopenbaar is.

      Ek glo ook nie dit is wat Calvyn geleer het met die aanhaling van hom nie. Hy wil juis sê in navolging van die Skrif dat geestelike en biologiese dood van mens (geestelik en biologies) en dier (biologies) deur die sondeval gekom het, en as daar nie sondeval was nie, sou geestelike en biologiese dood nie plaasgevind het nie (no corruption, violent change, ens.), maar sou Adam via gehoorsaamheid oorgegaan het tot die ewige lewe.

      Dankie vir die goeie gesprek.

  6. Net ‘n vinnige opmerking oor Romeine 5:12

    12DAAROM, soos deur een mens die sonde in die wêreld ingekom het en deur die sonde die dood, en so die dood tot alle mense deurgedring het, omdat almal gesondig het

    Let op dat Paulus sê dat die almal dood is omdat almal gesondig het.

    Hierdie teks verwys dus na geestelike dood. En omdat diere nie kan sondig nie verwys dit nie na diere nie.

    • Wynand, moet ook nie vergeet van die voorafgaande woorde nie:

      “deur een mens die sonde in die wêreld gekom en deur die sonde die dood …”.

      Stem saam dat die fokuspunt van Rom.5:12-19 die geestelike en biologiese dood van die mens is wat deur die sondeval gekom het, maar die implikasies vir die res van die skepping hoor ons duidelik uit die res van die Skrif, o.a. Gen.3 en Rom.8:19ev.

      Adam se val en die gevolge daarvan kan nie ge-isoleer word tot net die mens self nie, maar raak die res van die skepping, ook in sy biologiese aspek.

      Die geestelike dood van die mens het dus gelei tot die biologiese dood, ellende, ens. wat die skepping laat sug totdat dit weer herstel sal word met die verheerliking.

      Sien ook hierdie artikel se verduideliking, en die belangrike onderskeid oor die term ‘dood’ en wat dit is wat doodgaan vanuit ‘n bybelse perspektief:

      http://dougwils.com/s21-atheism-and-apologetics/seven-theses-on-the-age-of-the-earth.html#more-106375

  7. […] is, want ‘kundiges’ het dit so bepaal (sien ook die artikel oor ‘experts’ hier).  Op grond van getalle (“sonder enige uitsondering deur alle lede van die Wêreldbond van […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 422 other followers

%d bloggers like this: