"AS I SEE
Volume 4, Number 2, February, 2001
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE LATE VANCE HAVNER
"[Bible prophecy] has been made
a convenient subject for wild and weird prophets who know more about the future
than the Bible has ever revealed." (p. 7)
"I grant you that there are false watchmen of another sort who have gone to seed on prophecy, who read into the Bible what is not there and read out of it what is there, who see bugaboos and hobgoblins and cry 'Wolf' when there is no wolf." (p. 8)
"If we don't know where we are headed, we don't know what to do where we are. I know that some serious-minded Christians have been scared away from the subject of prophecy by the antics of some prophecy teachers. But the same might be said of sanctification or any other Bible doctrine. And the issue is bigger and broader than pre-and post-millennialism. The issue is between two different viewpoints of the plan and purpose of God through the ages. It boils down to this: Will the preaching of the Gospel and the work of the churches gradually win this world to Christ, until evil is mastered by righteousness and the devil put out of business? Or will the world steadily grow worse while God calls out a people to Himself, until Christ returns personally and suddenly to rule and reign? Here are two entirely different viewpoints, and they cannot possibly be brought together, for they are antithetical, not complementary." (pp. 12-13)
"Christmas Evans, the great Welsh preacher, relates that he was riding on horseback through the mountains one Saturday on his way to preach, when he became convicted of a cold heart. He tethered his horse and spent about four hours in soul-searching and prayer before God. His soul was revived with a joyous experience, like the 'breaking up of a hard winter,' and he went on his way to preach on Sunday, with the result that a gracious revival began and spread over all the community." (p. 24)
"Not only do we not care for the souls of sinners, alas, we care not for our own." (p. 26)
"If some object that revivals are temporary, better remember Billy Sunday's word: 'So is a bath, but it does you good.' " (p. 28)
"God's movement today is a deeper urge among believer's in all church bodies who are returning to the Word of God and the old-time testimony. Unanimity they will never have, for that is not essential; unification they do not want, for that is man-made; but unity of the Spirit binds them together, for they gather around one Lord." (p.30)
"Certainly the church needs to remember that our Lord's last recorded me message to the saints is not the Great Commission but His call to repentance to five churches out of seven in Revelation." (p. 34)
"The professing church may be divided into three groups. First, there are the modernists. Modernism has no message, for it denies the only hope of the world, a supernatural Bible and a supernatural Christ. It is rooted in evolution and therefore rotten at the source. It denies the depravity of the human heart and the need of a blood-bought redemption. It laughs at a 'slaughter-house theology' and eliminates the blood songs from our hymnals. It takes the precious name of our Lord, 'Emmanuel,' and removes the 'Em' from the beginning and the 'uel' from the ending and leaves only 'man,' forgetting that 'no mortal can with Him compare among the sons of men.' It calls weakness what God calls wickedness, recommends culture instead of Calvary and polish instead of pardon. It has tried to revise the Bible, streamline the Gospel, remodel heaven, explain away the devil, and air-condition hell. It has no hallelujah. It never produced a revival. It never saved a soul. It never convicted a sinner. It never changed a dope fiend into a disciple. It never transformed a criminal into a Christian. It never took away a drunkard's love for boo[ze] or loosed a libertine from the shackles of lust. It is a form without force, a religion without redemption. It defies the Book, denies the blood and derides the blessed hope, and the wrath of God abides upon it." (p. 34)
"We are trying to make church members do a lot of things they don't want to do anyway. When the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, it will not be necessary to encourage the saints by prizes and picnics and periodic shots in the arm to do the will of God." (p. 35)
"We are not to be too much taken up with our joys. We are to sit loose to our enjoyments and not to be so occupied, even with wholesome pastimes and recreations that we cannot do without them. Ministers whose golf score is better than their prayer score may well take heed." (p. 42)
"It has been said, 'Humility does not consist in thinking meanly of ourselves; it consists in not thinking of ourselves at all.' " (p. 44)
"There is something a little ironical in a congregation of elegantly clad Christians with jewels galore singing, 'Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold!' " (p. 44)
"Isaiah was more than a prophet. He was not a politician running for something; he was a statesman who stood for something." (p. 53)
"It was after the funeral of General Booth of the Salvation Army, after the great congregation had left the church, that the sexton found one lone Methodist preacher on his knees at the altar. Moved with what God had wrought through the mighty life and work of William Booth, this solitary preacher was praying from the depth of his soul, 'Lord, do it again! Lord, do it again!' " (p. 57)
"There are a lot of poor fellows trying to be erudite and keep up with modern 'trends' and stay abreast of the latest theories of some spiritually defunct theological seminary who need to get right with God and preach the Word until heaven opens and the Lord comes down in showers of blessing." (p. 58).
"But we need to limber up some of our artillery against the sleepiness, the drowsiness, the apathy and lethargy of saints who have been chloroformed by the atmosphere of the age and who, because iniquity abounds, have let their love wax cold." (p.60)
"Dr. Torrey said: 'I can give a prescription that will bring a revival to any church or community or any city on earth. First, let a few Christians (they need not be many) GET THOROUGHLY RIGHT WITH GOD THEMSELVES. This is the prime essential. If this is not done, the rest I am sorry to say will come to nothing. Second, let them bind themselves together to pray for a revival UNTIL GOD OPENS THE HEAVENS AND COMES DOWN. Third, let them put themselves at the disposal of God to use them as He sees fit in winning others to Christ. That is all. This is sure to bring a revival to any church or community. I have given this prescription around the world. It has been taken by many churches and communities and in no instance has it ever failed. And it cannot fail.' " (p. 61)
"How can I stir myself up to take hold of God? Get alone with the Bible and take stock of your life, check up, make an inventory, have an honest overhauling in the sight of God. Maybe you will need to take Mr. Finney's suggestion. Get a sheet of paper and write down your sins as God reveals them to you--and never mind how much paper it takes! Make a clean sweep of everything--that pride, that temper, that secret habit, that grumbling, that wicked thing you said about somebody, the way you rob God, your unthankfulness, your neglect of the Bible and all the means of grace. Confess and forsake it all and if you don't feel like praying, pray until you do feel like it." (p. 61)
"For a while I was among the modernists. At one time I thought I didn't know enough to be a modernist, but eventually I discovered that you don't have to know much!" (p. 72)
"I know that some make a glorified hobby of prophecy, being occupied with His coming but not occupying till He come." (p. 76)
"One man with a glowing experience of God is worth a library full of arguments." (pp. 76-7)
"God would rather a man be on the wrong side of the fence than to try to sit on it. I am reminded of the man out in Kansas who, during a revival was asked whether he wanted to go to heaven. He replied, 'No.' Then he was asked, 'Do you want to go to hell?' and he answered, 'No.' Finally, when asked, 'Where do you want to go?' he replied, 'I'd just as soon live right on in Kansas.' " (p. 88)
"Oh, I know that some people say they never have conflict, and I am uneasy about them. Maybe they never run into the devil because they are going in the same direction he is traveling." (p. 91)
"There are worse things than schism and division. Unity and harmony and catholicity at the price of principle are a thousand times worse." (p. 94)
"If you do not play cards or dance or go to the movies just in order to glory in your Pharisaical spiritual superiority, that is not Christian separation; but if you do not engage in such things because you are dead and buried and risen in Christ, then it is His sword that divides." (p. 95)
[All quotes taken from, It is Time by Vance Havner. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1943]
T. H. HORNE'S EXPERT OPINION ON THE PRESERVATION OF SCRIPTURE
Thomas Hartwell Horne (1780-1862), early on associated with the Wesleyan Methodists, "preserved to the end of his life that simple and earnest godliness which Methodism had taught him to cultivate in youthful days." He was ordained to the Anglican ministry, but is best remembered for his immense literary labors, especially An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (1st ed., 3 vols., 1818; 11th ed., 4 vols., 1860). This set is an absolute treasure trove of information on all aspects of Biblical study (including the original language texts, manuscripts, the canon, translations, introductions to each Bible book, hermeneutics, geography, customs, apologetics, and bibliography). When first issued, Horne acknowledged that it was "the result of seventeen years' prayerful, solitary, unassisted, and not unfrequently midnight labor." That one man, amidst the other activities of a busy life, could produce such an extensive and valuable work is awe-inspiring, and is a testimony to sanctified diligence. Though in many ways surpassed by later studies, it nevertheless retains real value. I consult it constantly myself.
Horne clearly addressed the matter of the Divine preservation of Scripture in the copying process--a hot topic in our day--and expresses a view that was the common currency of theologically-conservative scholars in his day, as it had been for centuries before his time, and has continued to be such to our own:
"The uncorrupted preservation of the New Testament is further event, from the Agreement of all the Manuscripts--
The manuscripts of the New Testament, which are extant, are far more numerous than those of any single classic author whomsoever: upwards of three hundred and fifty were collated by Griesbach, for his celebrated critical edition. These manuscripts, it is true, are not all entire: most of them contain only the Gospels; others, the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles; and a few contain the Apocalypse or Revelation of John. But they were all written in very different and distant parts of the world; several of them are upwards of twelve hundred years old, and give us the books of the New Testament, in all essential points, perfectly accordant with each other, as any person may readily ascertain by examining the critical editions published by Mill, Kuster, Bengel, Wetstein, and Griesbach. The thirty thousand various readings, which are said to be found in the manuscripts collated by Dr. Mill, and the hundred and.fifty thousand which Griesbach's edition is said to contain, in no degree whatever affect the general credit and integrity of the text. In fact, the more copies are multiplied, and the more numerous are the transcripts and translations from the original, the more likely is it, that the genuine text and the true original reading will be investigated and ascertained.
The most correct and accurate ancient classics now extant are those, of which we have the greatest number of manuscripts; and the most depraved, mutilated, and inaccurate editions of the old writers are those of which we have the fewest manuscripts, and perhaps only a single manuscript extant. Such are Athenaeus, Clemens Romanus, Hesychius, and Photius. But of this formidable mass of various readings, which have been collected by the diligence of collators, not one tenth--nay, not one hundredth part,--either makes or can make any perceptible, or at least any material, alteration in the sense in any modern version. They consist almost wholly of palpable errors in transcription, grammatical and verbal differences, such as the insertion or omission of an article, the substitution of a word for its equivalent, and the transposition of a word or two in a sentence. Even the few that do change the sense, affect it only in passages relating to unimportant, historical, and geographical circumstances, or other collateral matters; and the still smaller number that make any alteration in things of consequence, do not on that account place us in any absolute uncertainty. For, either the true reading may be discovered by collating the other manuscripts, versions, and quotations found in the works of the ancients; or, should these fail to give us the requisite information, we are enabled to explain the doctrine in question from other undisputed passages of Holy Writ.
This observation particularly applies to the doctrines of the deity of Jesus Christ and of the Trinity; which some persons of late years have attempted to expunge from the New Testament, because a few controverted passages have been cited in proof of them, but these doctrines are written, as with a sun-beam, in other parts of the New Testament. The very worst manuscript extant would not pervert one article of our faith, or destroy one moral precept, not elsewhere given in the most explicit terms. All the omissions of the ancient manuscripts put together could not countenance the omission of one essential doctrine of the Gospel, relating either to faith or morals; and all the additions, countenanced by the whole mass of manuscripts already collated, do not introduce a single point essential either to faith or manners beyond what may be found in the Complutensian or Elzevir editions. And, though for the beauty, emphasis, and critical perfection of the letter of the New Testament, a new edition, formed on Griesbach's plan, is desirable; yet from such a one infidelity can expect no help, false doctrine no support, and even true religion no accession to its excellence,--as indeed it needs none.
The general uniformity, therefore, of the manuscripts of the New Testament, which are dispersed through all the countries in the known world, and in so great a variety of languages, is truly astonishing, and demonstrates both the veneration in which the Scriptures have uniformly been held, and the singular care which was taken in transcribing them; and so far are the various readings contained in these manuscripts from being hostile to the uncorrupted preservation of the books of the New Testament, (as some sceptics have boldly affirmed, and some timid Christians have apprehended,) that they afford us, on the contrary, an additional and most convincing proof that they exist at present, in all essential points, precisely the same as they were when they left the hands of their authors
The existence of various readings affords no just inference against the divine inspiration of the prophets and apostles. 'We all distinguish between the substance and the circumstances of a work, though we may not be able to draw with accuracy the line between the one and the other. No one doubts that he possesses in general the sense of a valuable author, whether ancient or modern, because some defects of interpolations in the copy, or because he may be uncertain respecting the true reading in some inconsiderable passage. The narrative of an historian, and the deposition of a witness in a court of justice, may impress the mind as true, notwithstanding they contain some mistakes and inconsistencies. I do not know why a degree of precision should be deemed requisite for a divine communication which is not thought necessary for human testimony; or why a standing miracle should be wrought to prevent accidents happening to a sacred book, which are never supposed to affect the credit or utility of profane writings.' [quoting R. Burnside, Religion of Mankind: a Series of Essays, vol. I, p. 327]"
(Thomas Hartwell Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1970 reprint of 1839 Edinburgh 8th edition. Vol. 1, pp. 106-108; all emphasis in original)
Horne thus expresses a view common to all conservative Biblical scholars generally from well before his day and continuing to ours. However, some modern neophyte speculators demand a new "doctrine" of preservation, conforming to their notions, rather than the facts of Scripture and history. This new doctrine insists that God must have preserved the Scriptures down through the ages in infallibly perfect copies in the original languages and in perfectly translated versions, a view which is nowhere taught by the Bible itself, nor supported in the least by the facts of history. Horne's view is in harmony with the facts of Scripture and the evidence of history (subjects in which Horne was most assuredly a real expert), and is that to which all sane, sensible, and accurately-informed Biblical Christians have adhered.
(See related articles on the subject: "A Judicial Comment on the Question of Infallible Translations by Thomas Hartwell Horne," AISI 1:3; and especially, "The Preservation of Scripture," with quotations from J. W. Burgon, J. L. Dagg, and F. H. A Scrivener, AISI 2:3)
ICONS OF EVOLUTION: SCIENCE OR MYTH? by Jonathan Wells. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2000. 338pp., hardback.
The author has a Ph.D. in micro-biology from UC-Berkeley (and another in religious studies from Yale). He carefully examines the primary textbook "proofs" of evolution: the Miller-Urey amino acids experiment (from the 1950s), Darwin's evolutionary "tree," homology (similarity of structure in certain mammal limbs), Haeckel's 19th century embryo comparisons ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"), archaeopteryx (a fossil bird allegedly supporting bird descent from dinosaurs); peppered moths in England, Galapagos Island finches, mutant fruitflies, horse fossil sequences, and allegedly human and pre-human fossils.
Wells shows, with abundant and convincing documentation from pro-evolution scientific publications that these "proofs" are without exception either complete frauds, partially-falsified, or grossly misrepresented--and that leading evolutionists have known this for decades (in the case of one of these "proofs," for over a century), and yet they nevertheless continue to publish them in high school, college, and graduate school science textbooks as recent as 1999 as though they were established factual evidence which supports Darwinism. When confronted with the fact of their fraudulent nature and their continuing presence in "authoritative" textbooks, leading evolutionists like Doug Futuyama and Stephen Gould seemed remarkably indifferent. Were some similar misrepresentation found in a creationist textbook, the evolutionists would battle one another to see who could be the first to get in front of the TV cameras to "expose" the "pseudo-science" of creationism.
Of course, the real aim of the evolutionists is not the discovery and propagation of truth, but maintaining the religious "orthodoxy" of evolutionary anti-supernaturalism. The "high priests" of atheistic naturalism--salaried professors and published writers--will defend their gravy train, and their excuse for rebellion against God--at all costs, including dishonesty, deception, and fraud.
(The National Geographic fossil fraud of November, 1999, and the triceratops/turkey DNA fiasco are not to be missed, by the way. Wells treats them both in detail).
This is yet one more heavily documented book that is scientifically devastating to the philosophy/religion/pseudo-science of evolution. By all means, get it, read it, and pass it on to your evolutionist friends.
WRITING THE CIVIL WAR, edited by James M McPherson and William J. Cooper, Jr. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1998. 356 pp., hardback.
Between us, my younger son Matthew and I own more than 100 books directly dealing with the American Civil War. Our meager collection scarcely touches the hem of the garment of the books that have been written and continue to be written on the subject.
One might suppose that 135 years of writing about that war would have exhausted the subject and the once mighty torrent of books written would have gradually shrunk to a rill. In fact, the opposite is true. The interest in and books about the "War of Northern Aggression" (as some prefer to call it) generates more books than ever. So voluminous is the amount of new stuff being published that it is simply impossible for any one person to keep up on it. To locate the more significant volumes appearing, to say nothing of journal articles, requires that we consult the opinions of experts in the field.
Writing the Civil War contains contributions by 14 recognized Civil War scholars, all professors at American universities and experts in particular areas of Civil War scholarship. They each present a survey of the more recent literature in that particular area, expressing opinions about the value and contribution of hundreds of published works, and even indicating what subjects merit further attention by scholars. I found myself more than once disagreeing with their opinions, sometimes quite vigorously.
While this does not make "absorbing" reading, and is often enough pretty heavy sledding, it is nevertheless indispensable to the individual interested in reading the best of recent books on Civil War subjects.
DUTY, NOT PREFERENCE: THE LIFE STORY OF ARTHUR W. WILSON, by Art Wilson and Jonathan J. Stewart. N.p.: n.l., 1996. 301 pp. $20.00
Art Wilson is no stranger to those acquainted with independent Baptists in America from the 1930s to the 1990s. Born in Aurora, Colorado in 1912, and saved as a young adult, Wilson became a preacher/evangelist/pastor and is still active in the ministry though nearly 90. He held dozens of protracted evangelist crusades all over Middle America, founded more than 40 churches (including the first independent Baptist church in Wichita in 1938, which he then pastored for 31 years), and was 5 times president of the Baptist Bible Fellowship. In 1947, he was offered the presidency of Bible Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, with a hinted co-pastorate with J. Frank Norris at First Baptist Church there, but this did not materialize. Though I never attended Wilson's church in Wichita (my birth place and residence until 1973), my life was affected indirectly by his ministry. One of those called to preach under his ministry, Doyle Hopper, was my pastor when I was called into the ministry, and another of his "sons in the ministry," David Cavin, baptized me.
This book will be of particular interest to those connected with the Baptist Bible Fellowship, spotlighting as it does the life and ministry of one of the leading lights of the BBF, especially in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s.
DOSSIER: THE SECRET HISTORY OF ARMAND HAMMER by Edward Jay Epstein. New York: Random House, 1996. 418 pp., hardback
From the 1960s through the 1980s, a man that commonly surfaced as among the "captains of American industry" was one Armand Hammer (1898-1990), president of Occidental Petroleum. Most of what constituted the public perception of Mr. Hammer was a direct result of a massive public relations effort by Hammer to control and manipulate his "image" in the media, and to mold his "legacy." Hammer was perceived as being a billionaire philanthropist with a lot of flair and panache. The reality was far different and far darker.
Hammer, born in New York City, was the son of ethnically Jewish parents who had emigrated from Russia. Like his father Julius Hammer, he was trained as a physician, though he never practiced medicine (except for performing one botched illegal abortion while still a student; the woman died). His father was a committed Marxist, and used the assets of his drug and chemical business to fund Marxist causes in America in the years before the Russian Revolution. After that revolution, the senior Hammer's business served as a front for Soviet espionage and a conduit for passing funds on to Soviet operatives working to subvert America. When the Communist Party in America was organized, Julius had card #1.
When his father took the blame and was imprisoned for Armand's inept abortion, Armand went to Russia as his father's agent to conduct "business" with the Bolsheviks. Hammer spent most of the 1920s in Russia, doing all he could to prop up the tottering Soviet economy, and trying to encourage foreign investment in Russia. As a "cover" for his activities, and to "rehabilitate" his image in America, he published a falsified autobiography which presented him as a committed capitalist who went to Russia simply to make money in the best capitalist tradition, and who in fact did make a ton of money there (he actually returned to America deeply in debt, and perilously near bankruptcy).
In the 30s, Hammer continued to serve the Soviets as a conduit for funds for espionage in the West and as a source of hard currency by "fencing" art confiscated by the communists from private individuals, museums, and other sources. Along with this genuine art (for which Hammer received a commission), Hammer knowingly also sold many Russia-produced "fakes" as though genuine (especially fake Faberge eggs). When World War II began, Hammer worked diligently to encourage the Roosevelt administration to supply arms to the Soviets so that they would not succumb to the German onslaught.
During the war, Hammer made a great deal of money producing beverage alcohol, having obtained an exclusive permit to do so (all other distillers were required to produce industrial alcohol for the manufacturing of munitions). Hammer got this privilege by carefully placed bribes to government officials. Hammer would for the remainder of his life regularly seek to buy favors and influence through bribes, campaign contributions and other financial largesse. He thereby "bought" several congressman and senators and gained access to at least four presidents (of both parties; Hammer's contributions were not motivated by principle, but by lust for power). His chief "bought" politician was Albert Gore, Sr., who had long done Hammer's bidding in exchange for "contributions" and sweetheart business deals, and who was "hired" by Hammer at $500,000 per year to run a coal company after Gore was turned out of office by the voters of Tennessee in 1970 (Gore, Jr., who has lambasted the oil companies, is the owner of 500,000 shares of Occidental stock. Do I perceive some hypocrisy here?).
Hammer had married a Russian woman in the 1920s and fathered a son, and though they too came to America, he virtually ignored them, as they were "inconvenient" to his intended public persona. He ultimately divorced his first wife and married a wealthy New Jersey woman, whom he in turn divorced to marry a yet wealthier widow. Hammer could well have adopted as his own Napolean's philosophy: "I like people who are useful to me, and only so long as they are useful to me." Not surprisingly, Hammer plundered the estates of both of his wealthy wives, and had numerous mistresses, continuing into his 90s.
With the wealth of wife #3, Hammer invested in Occidental Petroleum, a small California-based corporation. He soon was president of the company, and though his total ownership amounted to scarcely 2% of the common stock, he ran Occidental as though it were his own fiefdom. He risked the company's very existence by rushing repeatedly into highly dubious schemes (often involving investments in Russia). In the 1960s, he did manage to gain access to huge oil reserves in Libya (by paying massive bribes to Libyan officials) which greatly enriched Occidental--which in turn was then plundered by Hammer to fund his very lavish lifestyle, and promote various projects designed to promote his public image (virtually all of his "philanthropy" was at the expense of the stockholders of Occidental). In the Libyan deal, Hammer managed to break the stranglehold of the "Big Seven" oil companies over Middle Eastern oil (which had kept oil prices suppressed to about $1 per barrel). One result was the formation of OPEC and the stranglehold of world oil supplies by Middle Eastern despots and dictators, followed by massive oil price increases, and international turmoil.
At his death, Hammer was alienated from all his relatives, was being sued by numerous individuals, the estate of his late third wife, and several foundations to which he had promised money but never paid up. This "billionaire" died with assets of only $40 million, most of it subject to legal claims. On his death, the management of Occidental closed down, cancelled or removed the whole corporately-funded image machine Hammer had set up for himself, and eliminated almost all evidence of his connection with Occidental. In short, his whole carefully crafted (and largely fictitious) public image came unraveled like a cheap K-Mart sweater.
Hammer is the epitome of the self-serving, self-seeking, and ultimately self-destructive man who fears neither God or man.