Freedom of Speech (5)

One of the things that will characterize the last days, according to the prophecy of Daniel is that “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,”Daniel 12:4b. 

That the first part is true in the day in which we live is underscored by the deafening roar of the Boeing 707 or the Convair 880 jet plane. This is evident when we consider that the word “run” need not be taken in that literal sense, since the very word used by Daniel may also be translated “to go to and fro.” Today men speed from one corner of the earth to another. And more people are on the go today than at any time before in the history of the world. Formerly many lived and died inside the county in which they were born and never crossed the line. Countless numbers of others never crossed the border of their native country. Still greater was the number of those who never left their continent. But today world travel is common-place. Daniel’s words are being realized before our very eyes. 

And so is that other half of the statement quoted above of Daniel. Today knowledge is increased and that on so many planes and in so many areas of our complex life. Today the man in the street knows so much more about a variety of things than was known by the learned of years ago. It is not simply the scientist, the college professor, the man with several degrees behind his name that knows more than those of generations gone by; but exactly because of the freedom of the press to publish men’s findings and knowledge far and wide, it is available to the masses. And you hear the uneducated or little-educated speaking of stratosphere, of radiation, of atoms, of supersonic speed, of carbon-14 and of electronics. Today you hear mere children talking intelligently of scientific matters that in ages gone by were known and discussed only by the few learned ones. You may today subscribe to magazines; you may purchase an encyclopedia; you may go to the library and page through textbooks on well nigh every subject or even take them home for careful perusal and study. Knowledge indeed is increased in the day in which we live. And because of our freedom of the press, ours is praised as the best informed nation on this globe. Our children have the best textbooks. All the news is given us in our bulky, photograph-enriched newspapers. Attractive, lucid magazines will interpret the news for you; and the ideas of a few individuals are not only presented to the masses, but are embraced and received as the proper interpretation and way of thinking about the problems of our day. 

And our calling? Well, there are two sides to that calling. There is on the one hand our calling to receive all this knowledge in His fear, and on the other hand there is our calling, if we are in the position to teach others, to teach these things in His fear. The freedom of speech which our government allows us must never be used in such a way that we no longer live in His fear. And that latter part of our calling is by far the more significant one. Those in a position to teach and do not do so in his fear not only sin in teaching but become responsible for the sins of those whom they have taught to receive the lie and to practice evil. For, as we quoted Jesus’ words last time, it were better for such that a millstone had been hanged around their necks and that they had been cast into the depth of the sea. From that moment on their freedom to speak would be gone and they would not have induced others to embrace the lie and to practice sin. This does not excuse those who receive such teachings, for all must hear as well as speak in His fear. 

Let us then be very critical of what we hear in this land of freedom of speech and remember that the unbeliever, the tool of the antichrist, the false prophet and spokesmen of the devil are also afforded the right and freedom to speak as they please. A word or two of warning is not at all out of place. Because knowledge is increasing and unbelieving men are free to spread their interpretation of facts that have been discovered and to present their theories, we and our children are constantly being bombarded by the servants of the antichrist and by the spokesmen of the father of lies with propaganda for the cause of the kingdom of darkness. We must ever be alert to the fact that the forces of darkness ask no quarter, that the devil never takes a vacation or gives up in the fight and that his unwavering purpose in all his work is to seek to destroy our faith, to undermine our trust in God and to get us to perform things that will deny God His glory. 

Let us understand, first of all then, that hearing all this propaganda of the unbelieving scientists in His fear means that we do not seek to harmonize the Word of God with these statements of finding and theories of the ungodly. That the world which does not love God and His Word and has no respect for that Word will give the Scriptures a subordinate place and insist that Scripture must be so interpreted that ,it does not deny man’s “scientific” findings is to be understood. And let us remember that these very Scriptures in I Timothy 6:20speak of the “oppositions of science falsely so called.” It is not all science that calls itself such. It is not all knowledge and wisdom that goes under the name of science, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Therefore, as we said, it is to be expected that the world will raise its theories above the Word of God and insist that we so interpret the Scriptures that they do not oppose these ideas and philosophies of man. But that there are those in the sphere of the Church who not only embrace these ideas but even in their positions as teachers of covenant youth will strive to inculcate them into their minds, surely can never be permitted and must be condemned in no uncertain terms! 

Yet that is exactly what is being done today. Our children are being told in school that we do not know how long ago it was that God created the heavens and the earth. Granted that we do not know to the year, we surely can say “approximately six thousand years ago.” By saying we do not know, we leave the child ready for the error that it was millions or billions of years ago instead of thousands of years. Indeed, some have no fear openly to advocate these periods either by making each day of creation week a billion years or more; by speaking of two separate creations, one in the beginning that left the universe in a chaotic state for billions of years, a void and waste place and another some billions of years later; or by the clever though equally evil idea that although the days were each twenty-four hours, there were periods between these days that lasted for billions of years. 

We maintain that he who has respect for God, he who stands before Him in reverence, he who approaches the matter in His fear cannot possibly take any of these stands and will never dare to teach it to covenant youth. In His fear we dare not do so wickedly no matter whether it receives the approval of our Classes and Synods, our school boards and school principals and is even taught by them or not. In His fear we will always seek to interpret that which God leads ungodly men to discover in the light of the Scriptures. In His fear Scripture will be the authority before which I place all the writings and speech of man. 

Perhaps your argument is that Scripture does not, say anything specific about this matter and says that a thousand years are as one day with the Lord. Your argument is that unless we find more time in the creation week than we formerly did, we cannot explain carbon-14. You want to say that God created all things, you want to confess Him as the Creator but you also want to accept the words of those who do deny these things. You say we must give an answer to these findings of the scientists and have an explanation that is reasonable, for God is a God of reason. 

Undersigned in no way claims to be a scientist or even to have a “scientific” bent of mind. But by God’s grace he does know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and therefore is not only afraid of all this philosophy of man but understands it as folly and wishes to make it plain to you. And that folly of trying to solve all these things by “reappraising” the doctrines of the Church through all the ages concerning this creation of the world in six days of twenty-four hours each is apparent in this one inescapable principle: Then you must also deny the Virgin Birth of Christ and His resurrection from the dead! And indeed, the one error of changing the truth concerning the creation of all things to harmonize with the philosophies of wicked, unbelieving men will come to that and has already taken a monumental stride in that direction by questioning and even denying the infallibility of the Scriptures. Of course! Every godless scientist of yesteryear and of today will tell you that no child can be conceived by a virgin. It has never happened and all the scientific findings of men will support the fact that it simply is impossible. And a return to life after three days of one who lost so much blood and had a spear thrust into His vital organs is something utterly impossible. Well, then shall we go to the Scriptures and reappraise our thinking about these two important points of doctrine? Shall we agree then with that revised version, that corrupted translation, which makes Isaiah 7:14 declare that a young woman shall conceive rather than that a virgin shall conceive? Why the one and not the other? In fact “scientific” knowledge of the way of the birth of the child and its requirements is far more definite than of the period of time when these scientists so-called claim that no rational being lived on the earth, and in fact there was even no life. 

Let every teacher, professor and parent who wants to change the stand of the Church through all the ages concerning this creation week in order to be in step with “science” ask himself why he does not do the same with the virgin birth and the resurrection of Christ. After all the word “virgin” can and may be translated also as “young woman.” Let all those Who meddle with the truth of God creating all things in six days; limited by evening and morning to constitute twenty-four hours each give reason why they should not also say that the virgin birth is out of step with science and that we ought to rethink this “impossible” thing and not retain it any more in our thinking and teaching. 

What have we gained by agreeing with “science so called”? We are more reasonable in our approach to these things? Well, then be reasonable also in the approach to the Saviour’s birth and resurrection. Nay, we have gained nothing and lost much, and stand in danger of losing all. We have lost our freedom to speak God’s praises and instead reveal ourselves as those who feel free to work with the spokesmen of the father of lies to seek to undermine the faith of God’s people in an Almighty and All-wise God. 

J.A.H.