>

Content

Devotionals

About Us

Links

EDITIONS:

1. CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY DEFINED
2. CORPORATE PRAYER
3. AUTHORITY OF THE WORD
4. INTERPRETING THE WORD
5. UNDERSTANDING THE WORD
6. END TIME FERVOR
7. LOVING NOT OUR SOULS TO DEATH
8. KEEPING ALIVE THE ORIGINAL SPIRIT
9. RECOGNIZING REVIVAL
10. HINDRANCES AND CATALYSTS TO REVIVAL
11. TESTING THE SPIRITS
12. INTERCESSION
13. INTERCESSORY PRAYER WARFARE
14. THE CROSS-LIFE
15. WORSHIP
16. WORSHIP II
17. THE INCARNATION
18. DIVINE PROTECTION
19. DIVINE GUIDANCE
20. WILL OF GOD
21. THE FEAR OF GOD
22. WHAT IS TRUTH?
23. JESUS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH
24. LIVING A LIFE OF TRUTH
25 SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT
26. THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW
27. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD


CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
THE E-ZINE

First published by Christian Publications, Inc.,
3825 Hartzdale Drive,
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011

Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.
K. Neill Foster, Publisher
Paul L. King, Editor
A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963,
Editorial Voice

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE:
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Scripture labeled KJV is from the King James Version.

Welcome to Classic Christianity

First published by Christian Publications, Inc., 3825 Hartzdale Drive,Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011 Republished by www.kneillfoster.com in 2005. K. Neill Foster, Publisher. Paul L. King, Editor. A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice.


WELCOME TO:
CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE E-ZINE
ISSUE 27

THEME: "THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD"

===================================================
Published by K. Neill Foster

K. Neill Foster, Publisher www.kneillfoster.com

Paul L. King, Editor plking1@juno.com
A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE:
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the
International Bible Society. Scripture labeled KJV is from the King James
Version.

Note: Some of the language may be updated, paraphrased for clearer understanding or condensed for space.

====================================================

CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE INDEX
THEME: THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD

====================================================

1) THE PUBLISHER ON "THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED"

2) THE EDITOR ON "RECOVERING THE ANCIENT-FUTURE FAITH"

3) A.W. TOZER ON "TABBY CATS THAT NEVER SCRATCH"

4) A.W. TOZER ON "A RULE FOR OBSCURE TEXTS"

5) JUSTIN MARTYR ON "THE HARMONY OF ALL OF SCRIPTURE"

6) ALBERT BARNES ON "SHUNNING THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD"

7) A.T. PIERSON ON "THE TOTALITY OF SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY"

8) A.T. PIERSON ON "COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE"

9) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "HOLDING IN OUR HANDS THE THOUGHT OF GOD"


1) THE PUBLISHER ON "THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED"

There is a body of biblical truth that the New Testament recognizes. Specifically, for example, in Jude 4, the writer urges his readers and receptors "to earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." Exactly what the faith is does not get spelled out, but its existence is celebrated. Before the creeds came into existence, there was the Rule of Faith, a cluster of commonly held beliefs among the very early Christians. Later the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed hammered out more of the details. In later years, documents like the Westminster Confession sought to elaborate still further.

Lately, I have been reading some contemporary evangelical authors. Some of their writings tend to "push the envelope" --perhaps to get a hearing. That they seem to be dismissing the "faith once delivered" doesn't seem to matter. I protest!


2) THE EDITOR ON "RECOVERING THE ANCIENT-FUTURE FAITH"

The Apostle Paul declared to the eldership of the Ephesian church, "For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will ("counsel," KJV) of God." Frequently today there seems to be a watering down of the full orb of Scripture in order to make it palatable to post-modern audiences. This often results in a tendency to dwell on Scriptures we like or that fit our preconceptions and ignore those that we do not like or do not support our beliefs. Some are even saying they don't talk about sin any more because it is too offensive to people. Seeker-friendly has turned into seeker-appeasement.

That is why we need whole counsel of God. As we noted in the last issue (#26) that the Old Testament is incomplete without the New and the New Testament is incomplete without the Old. So also no passage of Scripture can be taken in isolation from other Scriptures. Therefore, in order to fully understand and accurately interpret and apply Scripture, we must be familiar with the whole of Scripture. And we must not neglect or shy away from any of the great truths of Scripture to pacify or accommodate others.

When I teach seminars on Ministry and Leadership Development, I am amazed at the high percentage of lay leaders (and sometimes even pastors!) who have not read through the entire Bible even once.  How can we know and proclaim the full counsel of God without intimacy with all its parts?  If you are not in the habit of reading through the entire Bible in one year, I would strongly encourage you to do so.  In that way, you have the balance of not reading just what you want, but the whole counsel of God. George Mueller was a great man of faith. How did he get to that place? Because he read through the Bible yearly for 50 years and sometimes even read through the Bible as many as four times in one year.

Robert Webber writes about the "Ancient-Future Faith," declaring the need to address post-modernism in the church, not with watered-down, anemic Reader's Digest versions of biblical truth, but with the full ancient, historic biblical faith as an anchor for the future.  Let us recover the whole counsel of God for the 21st century church.


3) A.W. TOZER (1897-1963) ON "TABBY CATS THAT NEVER SCRATCH"

A preacher of this gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should have the authority of God upon him, so that he makes the people responsible to listen to him. When they will not listen to him, they are accountable to God for turning away from the divine Word.

A preacher under God's unction should reign from his pulpit as a king from his throne. He should not reign by law or by regulation or by man's authority. He ought to reign by moral ascendancy!

The divine authority is missing from many pulpits. We have "tabby cats" with their claws carefully trimmed in the seminary, so they can paw over the congregations and never scratch them at all! The Holy Spirit will sharpen the arrows of the man of God who preaches the whole counsel of God!

A.W. Tozer, RENEWED DAY BY DAY, VOL. 2, comp., Gerald B. Smith (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 19  ), November 16.


4) A.W. TOZER ON "A RULE FOR OBSCURE TEXTS"

That there are a few difficult passages in the Bible is well known to everyone. The enemies of the truth are adept at dragging out those obscure verses and holding them as proof that the Bible is a book of mistakes and contradictions. Teachers of false doctrine use them to teach ideas that have no scriptural support. It is well for the true Christian to know what to do with difficult passages.

When reading the Scriptures for our spiritual profit, we would be well advised to pass over the difficult verse without more ado. . . . Those seeking after God will major on the 103 verses that they can understand and wait for clearer light on the short passages that they find difficult. To do anything else is to create a strong suspicion that we are playing with the Word of God and are glad to discover something to take the heat off our consciences. . . .

I would give my readers a rule of interpretation that is worthy of universal application when studying the Word of God. It is this: "If I do not know what a difficult passage means, I can at least know what it does not mean."

It is right here that the false teacher seizes the advantage over the Christian. Let the Christian admit he or she does not know the meaning of a verse and the false teacher eagerly grasps at this admission and pushes it for all it is worth. . . .

The fact that I may not be able to explain a passage does not obligate me to accept from another an explanation that is obviously phony. I do not know what it means, but I do know what it does not mean. I may not know, for instance, what those strange verses mean that tell us about Christ's going in His spirit to preach to the spirits in prison. But I know what they do not mean. They do not mean universal salvation, nor a second chance to be saved after death, nor the emptying and abolishing of hell. The reason I know what they do not mean is that these doctrines are simply not taught in the whole sweep of revealed truth. And more significantly, the exact opposite is fully and freely taught throughout the entire Bible.

I have used one passage of Scripture, not to emphasize it in particular, but as a fair example chosen from a dozen or so difficult passages found in the Bible. The same rule applies to each and all of them. The moral is: Let the whole Bible speak and you will find that it speaks with one clear voice. Listen to that voice and the obscure verses will not trouble you.

A.W. Tozer, THE WORLD: PLAYGROUND OR BATTLEGROUND, comp./ed. Harry Verplough (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1989), 97-99.


5) JUSTIN MARTYR (110-165) ON "THE HARMONY OF ALL OF SCRIPTURE"

You are mistaken if you think you can drive me into a corner because of a quotation, and if you want me to find a contradiction in the Scriptures. I would never venture to think or to admit such a thing. Even if a passage which seems to contradict another were laid before me, I still remain firmly convinced that no passage contradicts another. In such a case I would rather say that I cannot understand the words and shall do my utmost to get those who imagine contradictions in the Scriptures to share my conviction.

Justin, "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew," 53.6; 55.3; 58.1; 65.2, cited in THE EARLY CHRISTIAN, ed. Eberhard Arnold (Rifton, NY: Plough Publishing House, 1970, 1972), 159.


6) ALBERT BARNES (1798-1870) ON "SHUNNING THE FULL COUNSEL OF GOD"

Commentary on Paul's words in Acts 20:27: "I have not kept back; I have not been deterred by fear, by the desire of popularity, by the fact that the doctrines of the gospel are unpalatable to men, from declaring them fully." The proper meaning of the word translated here, "I have not shunned," is to disguise any important truth; to withdraw it from public view; to decline publishing it from fear, or an apprehension of the consequences. . . .

Truth may be disguised by (1) avoiding it altogether, (2) giving it too little prominence so that it is lost in a multitude of other truths, (3) presenting it amidst a web of metaphysical speculation, or (4) making use of non-biblical terms, involving it in a mist. Men may resort to this course because (1) the truth itself is unpalatable; (2) they may apprehend the loss of reputation or support; (3) they may not love the truth themselves; (4) they may be afraid of the rich, the great, and the gleeful, fearful that they may feel indignation, (5) love of their own reason. . . .

Ministers ought to declare all the counsel of God, because God commands it; because it is needful for the salvation of men; and because the message is not theirs, but God's, and they have no right to change, disguise or withhold it.

Albert Barnes, BARNE'S NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT: ACTS (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001), Volume 10, 295.


7) A.T. PIERSON (1837-1911) ON "THE TOTALITY OF SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY"

"We are not only saved from serious errors by referring to the totality of Scripture testimony, but we are forced to that deeper study which unveils a fuller truth and gives a wider vision. . . . Comparative study of Scripture has often a high value as a corrective to false impressions, inferences and conclusions. . . .

For instance, possibly in no one instance does a partial view of Scripture truth more mislead than in the difficult and perplexing doctrines of justification by faith and election, with its corresponding and related truths. . . . To most readers of Scriptures, both justification and predestinations are like the Domes of Yosemite --while few daring adventurers seek to scale their precipitous sides, most others can only look up with awe and despair of ever mounting to such summits. Yet, if studied in the light of the whole Word, like those Domes these truths are seen as half truths, united in God's mind, but rent asunder by man's controversies.

A.T. Pierson, WORLD'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE (AMG Publishers, 1994), 158-159.


8) A.T. PIERSON ON "COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE"

Scripture must be compared with itself, carefully and minutely. The comparative frequency with which words and phrases recur, and in what connection, is of the utmost significance and importance, suggesting singular confirmations of truth, progressive teaching and instructive variations and complementary ideas. The two Testaments will be seen as mutual counterparts and even their differences not as discordances but essential to correspondence and completeness.

Comparison often becomes contrast by revealing unlikeness as well as likeness. To observe wherein things differ is as important for classification as to discover wherein they agree. In the Scriptures, truth is often taught by placing side by side two or more precepts, persons, events or experiences which are opposite or apposite to each other, that attention may the more surely be called to their joint lessons.

A.T. Pierson, WORLD'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE (AMG Publishers, 1994), 185.


9) OSWALD CHAMBERS (1872-1917) ON "HOLDING IN OUR HANDS THE THOUGHT OF GOD"

We are never left with a revelation without an interpretation of it. A revelation fact needs a corresponding revelation to interpret it. Just as Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God, so the Bible is the final revelation interpreting Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ (The Word of God) and the Bible (the accompanying revelation) stand or fall together, they can never be separated without fatal results. The words of the Bible apart from being interpreted by the Word of God, are worse than lifeless, they kill (2 Corinthians 3:6). But when a soul is born from above and lifted to the atmosphere of the domain where our Lord lives, the Bible becomes its native air, its words become the storehouse of omnipotence, its commands and prophecies become alive, its limitless horizons brace the heart and mind to a new consciousness, its comforts in Psalms and prayers and exhortations delight the whole man. And better than all, the Lord Jesus Christ becomes the altogether Lovely One. . . . He who is the Word of God unfolds to us the revelation of God until we say in sacred rapture, "I hold in my hands the Thought of God.". . . .

The Bible is a whole library of literature giving us the final interpretation of the Truth, and to take the Bible apart from that one supreme purpose is to have a book and nothing more; and further, to take our Lord Jesus Christ away from the revelation of Him given in the Bible is to be left with one who is open to all the irreverent slanders of unbelief.

Oswald Chambers, GOD'S WORKMANSHIP (United Kingdom: Marshall Morgan & Scott) c1953.