The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

April 1996



1) Hearts of Water
Post Script to The Death of Victory

Hearts of Water

     It is difficult to open Scripture anywhere and not be overwhelmed with pressing points to present. Joshua 7 is one such passage, presenting us with several very important Old Testament admonitions for Godly living: First, Israel’s guilt over sin caused the heart to turn to water; second, the law of the bystander and third, profit from evil is forbidden. Probably the most obvious admonition contained in chapter 7 is that avoidance of Christian duty to one’s neighbour in surrounding society moves the Lord God to tear in pieces those who are indifferent.


     Israel’s panicky flight:

     First, Joshua, of all people, got caught in the sin of presumption. Instead of checking with the Lord, Joshua assumed the Lord was with them. If he had not presumed that the Lord was with them, the 36 men would not have been killed. Thus implied is that much of the problem was Joshua’s presumption. Joshua and the nation took for granted that God was with them because they had just come from the marvelous victory at Jericho. They took the Lord for granted, and in doing so, found out He was not with them, but it took the death of 36 men to show them.

     Second, Joshua did not check with the Lord until after he failed.

     Geneva: God would by this overthrown make them more earnest to search out and punish the sin committed.1.

     In other words, the Lord brings about crises to force us to face up to sin, things that need to be dealt with before Him, and He permits those crises to arise because He loves us: They arise to get our attention to get into right relationship with Him.


     A purpose in failure

     Therefore, a purpose of failure as recorded here in Chapter 7 is to force God’s people to search for sins in their lives.

     The Lord had worked marvelously at Jericho; now they are so confident over the past victory that they see no need to check with God. How many have we seen turn to the Lord when things failed, but when things smoothed out, they went again after their own hearts?

     Certainly, Achan’s sin cost them the power of God, but did not Joshua’s presumption cost them 36 lives? He presumed the Lord was with them when He was not.


     Guilt & Fear

     Third, guilt and fear: The army panicked and fled in fear as their hearts turned to water. Many times over, God’s Word tells us that a lack of confidence is a result of sin.

     Pr 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

     Sin separated Israel from the Lord of Hosts and separated them from God’s boldness against their enemies challenge. Was this not the promise in passages like Deut 28:1, 7 & 15, 25?

Isa 59:1-5, Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. [Isa 59:7 is quoted in Rom 3.]


     Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem, Satan

     Therefore, all the programs, whether under the name of Christianity or paganism, designed to build self-confidence and self-esteem in both young and old are clearly the spirit of anti-Christ at work. The devil’s programs seek to build confidence apart from obedience to God. [A local High School has a group of young people called PRIDE. The group goes around building "self-confidence" in other young people. Can one as a Christian imagine supporting a group to go around building pride in others? That is paganism to the core. But many send their money to James Dobson so he can do the same, only he builds up pride and confidence in one’s self in the name of Christ.]

     Self-esteem and self-confidence is a wicked teaching in total violation of God’s Law: Deut 28:15, 28, clearly tell us that confidence in the face of danger and situations of all kinds is a result of faithfulness to the command word of God.

     Israel was not faithful to what the Lord commanded; therefore, Israel fled from the few men at Ai. When the Commandments of our God are ignored and broken, the proper relationship with Him is destroyed. Broken relationships with God must lead to guilt. Guilt leads to fear; fear leads to inability to confront the enemy, whether the enemy is within or without. Failure to confront the enemy leads to the enemy of God ruling within the individual and ruling in society around us.

     V. 7, even Joshua was quick to look for another reason than sin for the problem.

     V. 9, expressed concern for God’s name’s sake after the defeat. If he had been as concerned before, would 36 be dead?

     V. 11, 12, sin causes one to lose his confidence. V. 12, when we overlook sin around us, even by failing to get involved in trying to right the wrongs going on around us, we willingly refuse the Lord.

     There has been and continues to be a power grab as well as a land grab by those in civil authority. When Christians refuse to get involved, they are refusing God: They are refusing to work to institute God’s standard into their surrounding society.

     V. 19, glorify the Lord God by declaring the hidden truth: God is glorified when the truth of His righteousness and justice is confessed. In other words, God is glorified in even the death of the wicked because the truth of God’s law is upheld.


     The Death Penalty

     V. 24, sounds very cruel: Achan and his sons, daughters [wife obviously] and all he owned destroyed with no mercy. However, v. 5, 36 men lost their lives because of his cruelty

     The Law commanded that the child should not be punished for the parent’s sins, Deut 24:16, but God commanded that everyone and everything pertaining to Achan be destroyed, which brings us to the law of the witness.


     The Witness

     There is no such thing as an innocent bystander.

     First, Achan’s sin was in the tent, under the floor; therefore, everyone in the family had to know about the sin. The Law-Word of God must take precedence over family attachments, Deut 13. The family members should have reported Achan’s wickedness to the leaders of the nation; failure to do so caused them to suffer with the guilty. When they refused to follow the law, they chose sin over God, Ps 50:18.

     Achan was a thief: he hid the stolen goods in the floor of his tent where his family lived. There was no way his family did not know about what he did, and that what he did was totally contrary to the Word of God concerning the spoil from Jericho. His family’s silence about the sin made them partakers in his evil, under the same penalty as he was. Paul applies this law in 1 Tim 5:22, neither be partaker of anther men’s sins. See also, Rom 2:21ff.

     Second, the inactive bystander, i.e., Achan’s family, is like the false witness: He consents to the crime by failure to act. He is thus an accomplice, an accessory to the crime, and liable to the penalty for the crime, Pro 24:11, 12.

     The Lord Jesus illustrates the Pro 24 law with the Good Samaritan, condemning the priest and Levite who avoided the victim by passing by on the other side, Luke 10:29-37. The Lord pronounced a terrible woe upon the religious leaders who claimed to be so concerned about the law of God, yet they ignored loving their neighbour as themselves by protecting him when possible. Phariseeism claims great love and concern for the Word of God, yet it refuses to get involved in protecting its neighbour from the thieves and murders.

     Geneva: "No one can be excused, if he does not help the innocent when he is in danger."

     1) The religious men sought to justify their indifference to his refusal to take responsibility by asking Christ, who is my neighbour. He refused to acknowledge any responsibility for his neighbour who fell among thieves. Notice the Good Samaritan did not ask the victim of the thieves if he was a believer or not, so, hence, the Lord clearly presents a general obligation to the community at-large, saved and unsaved.



     2) The thieves moved against the neighbour without cause to steal his property and/or to do him and his family harm. "But I could/can do nothing about it," "I don’t know him" or "I knew nothing about it" will not justify our refusal to accept Christian obligation to move in the victim’s defence. Indifference is Phariseeism: Phariseeism claims great love and concern for the Word of God, yet it refuses to get involved in protecting its neighbour from the thieves and murders.

     3) The God we serve searches the heart and tries it, knowing the excuses it makes. The excuse may appear plausible to men, yet it is a god after fallen man’s vain imagination: it is a false god that does not know the unwillingness to help the distressed. The God of the Bible knows the heart and the excuses used to avoid Christian responsibility.

     4) The Keeper of the soul knows the truth, and no amont of self- deception, i.e., excuses, will get past His notice.

     5) One of the primary teachings of God’s Word is that a person reaps what he or she sows, and fallen man is warned to Be not deceived by the enemy of God and man into thinking he will not reap the results of his avoidance of his Christian obligation to his neighbour.

     The neighbour’s life and/or property is in danger: Wicked men are about to take either or both, yet those who profess to love the Lord remain unconcerned and indifferent, making no effort to deliver the neighbour:

     If he forbear to deliver, on the false pretence that he knew it not, the Lord will require it. This obligation, with all the responsibility of its neglect, is the universal law of the Gospel. (Luke, x. 29-36.) Whoever knows his bother’s danger, and forbears to deliver- doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? Will he not render?

     ... Excuses are always at hand for slightly passing over their sad condition"We knew it not"we knew not your state, how you came into it, or how to help you out of it. But the true reason is, as Bishop Sanderson has stated it,‘We want charity, but abound in self-love. Our defect in that appeareth by our backwardness to perform our duties to our brethren; and our excess in this by our readiness to frame excuses for ourselves.’ But doth not God, who hath a balance for every thought, know thy brother’s wants, the sorrow of his heart, and the grief that presses down his soul? Doth not he consider the excuse of ignorance to be mere cover for selfishness? Vain is it to plead ignorance before the All- seeing God. He that pondereth the heart will thoroughly sift; his Omniscience will perfectly know; his retributive justice will render. Disinterested kindness will be considered. [Jer xxxvii.7-13; xxxix.16-18.] But to forbear deliverance, whether from cruelty, [1 Sam xxii 9-19.] selfishness, [Ib. xxv. 10, 11. Luke , x. 30- 22. (sic)] or fear of personal consequences [John, xix. 4-13.], involves an awful account...2.


     Heresy-ism & Self-Love

     6) Bridges calls attention to Bishop Sanderson’s extremely important point: "We want charity, but abound in self-love..." Clearly, the modern heretical gospel of "self-love" has helped lead us to the place we are today, viz., total unconcern in "Christian circles" about what is going on in our society as our neighbours are robbed and killed by evil men in places of civil authority. "As long as it does not effect me and my four, it does not concern me."

     Joseph Parker points out that,

We are not released from moral obligation by moral indifference. Job says, "The cause which I knew not I searched out"; [Job 29:16, 17 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. Ed.] I made inquiry about it; I cross-examined men who could give information, and in conducting this course of inquest I was not gratifying curiosity, but creating a basis for beneficent action.
... More people will be driven away into darkness on account of moral neglect than on account of intellectual heresy.
... salvation is a consciousness of the free gift of God, and a response to that free gift in the form of personal purity and social beneficence. Away with excuses, with shallow pleas, with selfish devices; let the overflowing river destroy them, and let the judgment from above burn them up.

     7) The point is well made: "More people will be driven away into darkness on account of moral neglect than on account of intellectual heresy." Many fight until their last breath against "intellectual heresy," e.g., "Christian Identity," and hold "intellectual" conferences day and night to deal with "heresy," and well they should, but the war against moral neglect is not even considered. Where are the conferences to deal with the moral neglect that allows our neighbours to be literally beaten and robbed by wickedness in high places. The religious leaders passed by on the other side of the street so they would not have to deal with the neighbour’s problem.

     I certainly find it strange that there are Bible teachers/religious leaders who desire to take the Word of God literally in areas of prophetic speculations, yet the same ones totally avoid the literalness of Luke 10, and Christian responsibility for physical well being of one’s neighbour. That is certainly a strange system of Bible exegeses. We must conclude that intellectual heresy and moral neglect go hand in hand: A man’s morality will dictate his theology. Those who are determined to avoid moral responsibility for the social environment will fine a heretical theology to justify their moral neglect. Intellectual heresy leads to moral neglect or visa versa, and both must lead to social disintegration.

     The excuse used by the wicked religious men was, "We knew it not." But the Lord knows the heart: He knows the evil lurking, and THE LORD WILL REQUIRE IT OF THE HYPOCRITES! In fact, the Lord might just let the indifferent person reap what he sows with his indifference:

Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. Mic 3:4.

     The robbers and beaters will come to the self-love individual, beat and rob him; he will cry out to the Lord, and the Lord will even hide his face from him at that time of need.

     Third, the hypocrite speaks of his knowledge about and love for God’s Word while remaining indifferent to what is happening to his neighbour. The Lord in Ps 50:14-22, encourages His faithful people to call upon Him in their day of trouble, and He will deliver them, and they will glorify Him. However, He tells the wicked that rather than coming to their aid, He will tear them in pieces, and there be none to deliver.


     Moral Neglect illustrated

     All over our nation, civil governments, both state and federal, are moving to confiscate private property. They have developed many unique ways to steal property without tanks and guns, or even having to purchase it at market value: Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, Zoning and tax laws, and an endless list of various means of Lawful Plunder. But the wicked people in high places could not plunder private property without the communities allowing them to do it.

     Our county has a creek running through it that is ideal for canoeing: There are two businesses that operate during canoeing season renting canoes.

     The creek is eligible to be designated by the DNR as a Wild, Scenic and Recreational waterway. Doing so gives DNR complete control of all land along the creek, cutting a path through our county from 600 feet to 6,000 feet wide along the creek - and maybe its tributaries, but DNR is quiet about that [DNR will produce no laws, so what it does is arbitrary on its part]. The property owners within that area could continue present use, but any change would be strictly forbidden, e.g., they would not be able to cut a tree without DNR examining the tree and giving its permission to cut the tree. The issue is clear: DNR is attempting to use the law to plunder that property.

     DNR has publicly stated many times that designation will do nothing toward cleaning up the creek. In fact, there is a creek north of us that has been under DNR control for better than ten years, and the state still tells fishermen NOT to eat fish from that creek. Basically, all designation will do is wrest control of surrounding property from the owners. But designation is voluntary, and the ones who are pressuring DNR to take the property are primarily non-property owners; they only use the creek for recreation.

     Our point is this: Where are the religious leaders of the community? Why are they not speaking out against the theft of their neighbours' property by the non-property owners through the DNR? No doubt Christ had them in mind as He spoke the parable of the Good Samaritan, as they all pass by on the other side of the road. Actually, they are worse than the religious leaders of Christ’s day, for they are passing by on the other side of the road while their neighbours are being beaten and robbed, saying it is none of their business.

     The religious leaders are not going to speak out because it is not politically correct to do so. They do not dare offend anyone, or they may not be able to meet the debt payments on their properties.

     Our Lord identifies the wicked not as those who deny God or His law- Word; rather, as those who profess their love for God and His word, yet their works do not prove it. Their neighbours are being beaten and robbed, but they remain indifferent. They are wicked, and the Lord has a special word for them:

[Ps 50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, &c.] By whom are meant, not openly profane sinners; but men under a profession of religion, and indeed who were teachers of others, as appears from the following expostulation with them: the Scribes, Pharisees, and doctors among the Jews, are designed; and so Kimchi interprets it of their wise men, who learnt and taught the law, but did not act according to it. It seems as if the preceding verses respected the truly godly among the Jews, who believed in Christ, and yet were zealous of the law; and retained legal sacrifices; as such there were, #Ac 21:20; and that these words, and what follow, are spoken to hypocrites among them, who sat in Moses’s chair, and said, and did not; were outwardly righteous before men, but inwardly full of wickedness, destitute of the grace of God and righteousness of Christ;

The religious leaders were hypocrites, for they professed to know and love the law-word of God as was delivered from Sinai, and even taught it, but they themselves refused to live by it. The Spirit gives an illustration of their hypocrisies, v. 18:

When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, &c.] Or didst run with him {a}; joined and agreed with him in the commission of the same things; which was literally true of the Scribes and Pharisees: they devoured widows’ houses, and robbed them of their substance, under a pretence of long prayers; they consented to the deeds of Barabbas, a robber, when they preferred him to Jesus Christ; and they joined with the thieves on the cross in reviling him: and, in a spiritual sense, they stole away the word of the Lord, every man from his neighbour; took away the key of knowledge from the people, and put false glosses upon the sacred writings...5.

     The religious leaders choose the evil man, Barabbas, over the just man, Jesus. Maybe they did not voice the cry, "Away with Him," but their silence when the wicked moved against the innocent made the choice for them. Their silence chose the wicked over the Lord. The wicked today chose the thieves and robbers over the innocent by their silence, and they become partaker with the wicked in their silence.

     Geneva: "Why do you pretend to be of my people and talk of my covenant, seeing that you are a hypocrite?" seeing you fail "To live according to my word." V. 17. Your fruits prove contemn God’s word, v. 18. The Judge will do to those who failed to protect their neighbours what they failed to do: They failed to stand up for their neighbour’s safety and property; therefore, they will have their safety and property taken from them, Deut 19:18, 19.

     Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? [Ge 18:25.] Of course He will, but many professed Christians, particularly religious leaders, live like He will not hold them accountable for not loving their neighbours as themselves, for they remain indifferent as the thieves move against the neighbour’s property and lives. Maybe because the theft is under the color of law and done by those in civil authority, i.e., LAWFUL PLUNDER, they are deceived into thinking they have no obligation to try to defend their neighbours’ property.

     At the very least, they could write letters to the editors of their local newspapers. The letters get printed, and is the most read portion of the papers.

     The Lord is clear as He addresses the religious leaders and professed Christians of our day: Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.


     A Concluding Point

     Joshua failed to check with the Lord at Ai, ch 7, and Israel met defeat at the hands of a few men. But God turned that defeat into a marvelous victory, 8:25. Joshua failed to check with the Lord with the Gibeonites, and Israel made a forbidden covenant. But God turned that covenant into a marvelous victory, chapter 10. In fact, 10:8 sounds like the Lord was in the whole thing from the start, even placing in the Gibeonite’s heart to make the covenant.

     The Lord uses the weaknesses of men- "to contrast the weak and miserable condition of man with the majesty of God" [Geneva], to show Himself strong. Because of what happened in both chapters 7 and 9, Israel should have been turned back into the wilderness, but God used their weaknesses to show Himself strong. We must admit that if the Lord did not work through man’s weakness, nothing would get done. Israel, as recorded in chps 8 and 10, could in no way take any credit for their victories. Thus God moves among and in behalf of His people today: He moves in such a way that man cannot take credit himself.

     There is no place one can open Scriptures (in its context) and see defeat for the people of God. We must admit, however, that considering surrounding social conditions and circumstances, we can only see defeat. However, we are forbidden to judge God’s workings in history according to appearance, John 7:24:

     Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

     God’s people must understand that God is never defeated even when sinful men appear to rule the hour. Thousands of years ago, the Lord turned Achan’s sin into victory. Too bad, according to many Christians today, the Lord God of all creation cannot turn the temporal victories of evil men into permanent victory for the cause of Christ.


     End Notes:

1. ONLINE BIBLE, CDROM, v. 6.30.
2. Charles Bridges [1794-1869], Proverbs, The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, Pen, 1846, 1981 reprint, 451.]
3. Joseph Parker [1830-1902], Preaching through the Bible, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Mich., 1961 reprint, 13: 328, 329. Emp added.
4. John Gill, [1669-1771], ONLINE BIBLE.<.i>.
5. Ibid.


Postscript :

The Death of Victory

     Though we mentioned some of the following in our recent review of The Plot, we will mention some more. This writer has been working on a lengthy manuscript,The Death of Victory, for several years, tracing the roots, influence and implications of some new, unique distinctive school of Christian thought formulated from about 1825 to 1875.1. Up to that time, the general Christian consensus was the world’s conversion through Christians obeying Mat 28:19, 20, preaching the gospel world-wide, and teaching all nations to observe all things commanded of man in God’s total Word. There were some extremely influential men who set about to change the consensus of a victorious gospel, the world could be won to Christ: They considered any such idea a terrible sin, a sin that must be warred against world-wide, e.g., George Muller:

     Muller noted in his journal for 21 February, 1834, that he had that morning formed ‘A plan for establishing upon scriptural principles an Institution for the spread of the gospel at home and abroad’. [Muller’s Narrative, I. 107.] Later he set down the reasons why he felt that existing societies were not conducted on Scriptural lines. [Ibid., I. 107-109. Cf. the strictures by J. L. Harris on ‘Religious Societies’, Christian Witness, IV. 86-100.] They had as their object the conversion of the world, an object which Muller had not been able to find in Scripture...2.

     It is interesting to notice that the [Muller’s, ed] Scriptural Knowledge Institution was a mainstay of Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission in its earliest days.3.

     Thus Muller considered the idea of converting the World to Christ as sin, and his ideas formed the basis of China Inland Mission: China’s subsequent fall to Communism can, hence, be directly attributed to China Inland Mission, for it taught that it was sin for Christians to influence society for Christ and try to win the world to Christ.

     A key figure in The Death of Victory was John Newton Darby. Among a great many other things, Darby presented a new view of Matthew 24 and of Daniel, permitting him to say that the Stone of Daniel 2 has not yet struck the image, for it, said he,

     "...shall break in pieces and consume those kingdoms" in their last form, viz., under the ten kings who give their power to the beast. (Daniel ii. 40-44; Rev. xvii. 11-14.) And here I must stop to remark upon a great error which prevails, viz., that the little stone was the setting up of Christ’s kingdom at the day of Pentecost, and that it has been growing into a great mountain every since; or, in other words, that the preaching of the gospel, in the present dispensation, is that which is to convert the world.4.

     Thus he saw Christ’s appearing is not at the end (as is supposed), but at the beginning of the kingdom. In other words, Christ has not yet taken His kingdom.5. Up to Darby’s time, the common belief was that Christ had already ascended to His throne, Ehp 1 & 2, and was now ruling over all things. His ideas concerning Daniel 2 would only work, however, with radical dispensationalims, which he developed and defended through a new Bible study method, Bible Readings.

     His view that the stone has not yet struck the image led to his next logical point: "The scripture does not speak of the universal prevalence of Christianity while the image subsists..." Hence, going against the common, orthodox Christian doctrine of his day, he taught that until Christ literally rules from Jerusalem on David’s throne, there is no hope for the gospel changing anything for God and Godliness.6. What a sad situation when people become convinced that the preaching of the gospel cannot change society; robbed of faith in the power of God (as defined in 1 Cor 1:23ff.) to convert sinners to Himself, Christians are left with only a political hope. If they are taught that political involvement is wrong, they have no hope except escape.

     Darby taught strongly against both political and social involvement, e.g., if your neighbour is being beaten and robbed, pass over on the other side of the street:

I write a line in haste, having at heart the course of the brethren with regard to these elections which are about to take place. I found that the brothers at V. had scarcely reflected at all on the bearing of an act which was making them take part in the course of the world. ... It seems to me so simple that the Christian, not being at all of this world, but united to Him who died and rose again, has no business to mix himself up with the most declared activity of the world, but an act which affirms his existence as belonging to the world, and his identification with the entire system which the Lord is about to judge.
... But is it not true that this voting, as an act of identification with the world (in the very forms which it assumes in the last days), ought to be avoided as a snare by all Christians who understood the will of God and their position in Christ?7.

     Darby defines God’s grace in the above letter, and elsewhere, as God’s power enabeling one to be unconcerned about what is going on around him- enabeling him to be uninterested and uninvolved in wicked, worldly activities, e.g.,voting. This writer knows men today who refuse to vote not because they hold Darby’s radical dispensationalism, but because they say it makes them part of the wicked system that is destroying the Constitution. However, they fail to see that the system is still in place that permits throwing the rascals out who are destroying the Constitution. The power is still at the local level, but it requires hard work to use it for Godly purposes.

     We have now only time left to consider the promise: "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God," &c. Here we see how definitely all the promises are connected with the time of glory - the new Jerusalem, here the heart is lifted up into its own proper dwelling-place. Are we taking the position of heavenly dwellers while walking this earth... [He then warns against Satan’s seduction to become involved in the affairs around us, defining aithfulness to Christ as standing against Satan’s seduction.] 8.

" And can I be said to be a stranger where I have power and influence? Certainly not; and if the Lord turns the current against them, then they must pass through the furnace. The Church must give up a heavenly Christ and a crucified Christ, if it take the world up in any sense as its portion. The Church of God cannot associate the world and religion without losing its true character."9.

     Darby held that Satan, using the world as his instrument, put Christ to death, and thus God’s plan failed: The cross proved there are no good men on earth. Therefore, Christian must be a stranger in this world with no concern for the events going on around him. Obviously, he understood Scripture in a manner to justify what he desires to believe and teach, viz., NO responsibility on this earth.

"I am, as few think [I have arrived to a place where few are; therefore, I am more spiritual is the thought, ed], a pilgrim and a stranger upon earth... I wait for heaven and for Jesus..." 10.

     However, the Word of God clearly states that the wicked who killed Christ simply carried out God’s predetermined counsel, Acts 2:23; 3:18 ; 4:28, &c. But when one, e.g., Darby, believes the Old Testament is only given for nice illustrations, he can teach any view of the New Testament he desires, particularly a view that releases one from responsibility to one’s neighbour.

     Darby’s belief, with the help of Darbyists, was spread to the four corners of the world, teaching Christians that they were simply strangers passing through a strange community. Accordingly, if they see someone being beaten and robbed, they MUST cross over the road and pass by on the other side. The Bible Reading method developed by Darby and popularized in America by D.L. Moody permits one to completely avoid passages that might require something he does not want to do, like protect his neighbour from thieves and robbers. Bible Reading:

"The method of study was quite new to all, even to the leader [Moody, ed]. A theme was taken, or a single word, such as grace, hope, adoption, assurance, love, etc. The Bible was searched by means of concordance and topical text-book for all passages bearing on the theme. These were emphasized and illustrated. None were more impressed with the wonderful interpretation of the Scripture by the Scriptures than Mr. Moody. This plan gave a new direction to his study and his preaching." 11.

     The Bible Reading method of the study of Scripture with no regard to their context can be attributed directly to the Brethren movement, particularly Darby. This method permitted Darby to support his non-orthodox, unique ideas from the Word of God. However the horrendous implications of this kind of exegesis are obvious: Anything can be taught and supported from Scripture, and many times is.

     Is it any wonder Irvingism/Darbyism is so tenaciously clung to? After all, Darbyism permits one to be indifferent about the plight of his neighbour, justify his indifference from God’s Word through Bible Reading and be deluded into a good conscience before God.

     Of course, in order to ignore the plight of his neighbour, one must depart from the Christian faith as defined in the prophecies which have gone before, the Old Testament,

1 Tim 1:18-21 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.



1) to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme, 2) to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at.
Hymenaeus and Alexander erred in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and in doing so, caused nominal believers to be overthrown in the faith,

2 Ti 2:17, 18 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

     So the Apostle Paul turned them over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme, or speak evil of the doctrine of the resurrection: They not only contradicted the resurrection, supposing there was no truth in the doctrine, but they led others into their evil opinion of God’s Word. The context of the words for blaspheme are interesting. We will not look at them all but just enough to establish our thought:

Ac 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad; Ro 3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported [lied about, ed], and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. Ro 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 1 Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. 2 Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 2 Pe 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; Re 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

     Hence, we see that the general meaning of blaspheme is to speak evil of the truth of God’s Word. 1 Tim 1:18-21, points out that involved in Paul’s deliverance of Hymenaeus and Alexander unto Satan was their evil speaking concerning the prophecies which went before, the Old Testament Scriptures. But the church did not learn from Paul’s words against Hymenaeus and Alexander, and many have risen up since to speak reproachfully against the Old Testament.



     One of the first to blaspheme, i.e., speak reproachfully against the truth of God’s Word, was Marcion [died c. 160]. Marcion,

"...put Christianity into radical conflict with all previous revelations of God; as if God had neglected the world for thousands of years until he suddenly appeared in Christ. ... [He taught that, ed] The God of the Old Testament is harsh, severe and unmerciful as his law; he commands, "Love thy neighbor, but hate thine enemy," and returns "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;" but the God of the New Testament commands, "Love thine enemy." The one is only just, the other is good. Marcion rejected all the books of the Old Testament, and wrested Christ’s words in Matt. 5:17 into very opposite declaration: "I am come not to fulfil the law and the prophets, but to destroy them." In his view, Christianity has no connection whatever with the past, whether of the Jewish or the heathen world, but has fallen abruptly and magically, as it were, from heaven.
... Marcion formed a canon of his own, which consisted of only eleven books, an abridged and mutilated Gospel of Luke, and ten of Paul’s epistles.
... Notwithstanding his violent antinomianism, Marcion taught and practiced the strictest ascetic self- discipline, which revolted not only from all pagan festivities, but even from marriage, flesh, and wine. (He allowed fish).
... He had a very gloomy, pessimistic view of the world and the church, and addressed a disciple as his partner in tribulation, and fellow-sufferer from hatred.
... Constantine forbade the Marcionites freedom of worship public and private, and ordered their meeting-houses to be handed over to the Catholic Church. The Theodosian code mentions them only once. But they existed in the fifth century when Theodoret boasted to have converted more than a thousand of these heretics, and the Trullan council of 692 thought it worth while to make provision for the reconciliation of the Marcionites.12.

     Marcion reproachful, blasphemous speech against the Word of God as presented in the prophecies which went before was considered and dealt with as heresy: "Justin Martyr regarded him as the most insidious and dangerous heretic of the day. Polycarp called him the ‘first born’ of Satan.’‘13.

     Taking on an appearance as an angel of light, Marcionism surfaced again in the 1800s, and swept multitudes into its fold. The Irvingites/Darbyites, followed by the Scofieldites, intentionally separated themselves from the Old Testament prophecies which went before: Their dispensationalism separated themselves from the weapons of a good warfare.

     Irving/Darby Marcionised or dispensationalized the Word of God into a book more conducive to their way of thinking, mutilating it down to just basically the writings of Paul. However, though they followed Marcion’s 1700 year old path, the reintroduction of Marcion’s heresy met with huge success, for it permitted people to be free from the law of God and responsibility in the days of social chaos. Darby led in reintroducing and developing Marcion’s heresy:

"...The absolutely perfect and living rule is the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him all written rules are united in one solitary living example; but the written rule which ought to govern our whole life is the New Testament. The Old Testament gives the most precious light, and illuminates the path of Christians by the light of divine faith working in hearts; still, before the rending of the veil, it could be said, "The true light now shineth," save in the life of Jesus Christ: He was the light of the world. For this reason when the Holy Ghost gives as examples of walking in the path of faith, the faithful of the Old Testament, He adds, "Looking unto Jesus..."
... We must know the Lord in order to walk thou "worthy of God who hath called you to his kingdom and glory." This absolutely clear and perfect light is found in the New Testament alone; but the Old, if we have learned to distinguish between the dispensation under which the saints lived in those times, furnishes very fine examples of faith, of obedience, of subjection to the will of God, of constancy in His paths...14.

     But even after separating the Old Testament from the New, Darbyists do not have a dependable word from God, for, they contend, not all the New Testament is acceptable for faith and practice. They, following Marcion’s earlier path, separate Paul’s teachings from the rest of Scripture, leaving the child of God with only a few words of instruction in faith and practice:

"...The twelve were sent to baptise, but as to ecclesiastical matters, we are under Paul. ... Further remark, the commission to the twelve was not from heaven, nor consequently immediately connecting with heaven, but from Galilee, and a commission to bring the nations into connection with an accepted remnant of Jews on earth- not bring Jews and Gentile into the body in an ascended Christ, which was Paul’s commission especially, preaching withal reconciliation from heaven to every creature under it...15.

     In another letter that same year, Darby mentions the Roman church that bases its system upon Peter’s writings instead of Paul’s: "This system presses stronger on me than even infidelity, dreadful as it is individually."16. In a 1874 letter from Belfast, Darby reduced the gospels to little more than the story of Christ: "Luke introduces the new order of things in which we find ourselves, rather than the kingdom to come.... For my part I often go back to the gospels in order to study the precious Saviour Himself. They are full of the richest instruction."17. Many times over and in many different letters, Darby labors to separate the Christian from all Scripture except Paul’s. One last quote: "As to baptising, Christ did not send me to baptise, and we are under Paul’s dispensation.18.

     Having effectively cut off not only the Old Testament, but also all non- Pauline writings, Darbyism leaves the Christians who will follow it with no standard of right and wrong, and with no responsibility, we must add:

"As to a convenient and comfortable means of knowing the will of God, as one might have a receipt for anything, no such thing exists - of knowing it, I would say, without reference to the state of our own soul.19.

     Thus Christians are called to look inward for his guidance. This extremely active and perceptive man convinced multitudes that they had no guide except the conscience of the spiritual man who is near enough to God to know His will. He develops, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light," to say that if one is a Christian with a genuine desire to "walk in a way worthy of Him," he will, therefore, "grow in the knowledge of God’s will" for his life. He will, hence, know God’s will. In other words, if one is a Christian and has the proper motive, God will guide him through his conscience. He makes no mention of God’s Word.20.

     Darby continues to make the point in another 1875 letter: ‘He that is spiritual discerneth all things,’ i.e., If one is sincere in his motives, God’s grace watches over him to lead in the proper path.21. In fact, when confrontations arose between Darby and others, he knew he was in the right because, in his words, "My conscience does not reproach me..."22. Referring to the Holy Spirit speaking in the heart, this Marcionite said,

"I do not receive the Bible, that is, a revelation of God from the hands of men. I receive paper and ink. The revelation I receive from God directly- "They shall be all taught of God." The revelation is a divinely- wrought conviction, and, I repeat, in the conscience...23.

"As to a convenient and comfortable means of knowing the will of God, as one might have a receipt for anything, no such thing exists - of knowing it, I would say, without reference to the state of our own soul.24."

"But all these things are given us in the word by inspiration, in order that we may know man and the ways of God. At the same time, God’s own thoughts are also communicated to us, in order to enable us to judge all this according to His judgment... For my own part, I do not doubt that a powerful effect of the Spirit of God is often produced, where the moral form with which that which produces it is clothed participates, to a very great degree, in all the thoughts of the class of persons who are the vessels and channels of it.25.

     Throughout the letters, it is obvious that Darby considers himself part of the class of persons who are the vessels and channels of communicating God’s own thoughts to mankind. This writer is suspicious: Might not this be a reason Darby failed to emphasize the individual must go to God’s Word for instruction, viz. It would strip him of his power? Was this not the great conflict between Christ and the Pharisees: They stood against the revealed Word of God because He was striping them of their influence and power over the people of God.

     "But you have confounded, as is very common, law and gospel. The Gentiles have no law..." Nor can the law be made a measure for Chrisitans: "You are all wrong as to making law the measure. It was the measure of human righteousness in a child of Adam... Nor is the blessing of Christianity... to be found in the Old Testament... Nor is the law the measure of human sin..."26. Darby thus confuses Christ’s applied righteousness by faith to the sinner with the believer’s right living according to the law. He contended that the Christian’s promised blessings were claimed by obedience to God’s will as written in the heart, i.e., the conscience, not as written in His Law-Word.27.

     This pastor has continually encountered this antinomian spirit over the span of 30 years since he entered Christian work. In fact, he was part of the spirit until the Lord dealt with him. Since the Lord dealt with him, he has tried to correct the antinomian spirit from the hearts of his people.

     In a 1856 letter, Darby continues to drive people away from the will of God as revealed in His Word:

"As regards circumstances, I believe that a person may be guided by them; scripture has decided that. It is what it speaks of as being "held in with bit and bridle." "I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" - such is the promise and privilege of him who has faith, is near enough to God to understand by a single glance from Him. God who is faithful, has given the promise to guide him thus. ... and such it is to be guided by circumstances.28.

     Do not dismiss the above as so far from truth that thinking Christians will reject it. This pastor questioned a young man concerning the young man’s determination to become a pastor of a particular church upon graduation from one of the largest, best known fundamental Bible colleges in the world, located only about 2 hours north of us. The young man defended, and would not change, his determination when asked to defend his decision from the Word of God: The door is open, i.e., circumstances, and I have peace about it. He had no revealed written word from God for his decision.

     Obviously, the sin promoted by Darby of "Let your conscience be your guide" has been around since Eve. The primary difference is that he gave it a cloak of Christian respectability by saying,"This requires spirituality, and abiding in communion with God. It is not to be guided by the circumstances, but to be guided by God in them, being near enough to God as to be able to judge immediately what one ought to do, as soon as the circumstances are there."21. His communion with God, though, was a mystical communion, not communion with God in His Word: It was not, Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needeth not be ashamed.

     His words sound Godly, all the right ones are there, but the message is clearly demonic, i.e., You are saved and desire to serve God; therefore, let your inner spirit guide you; if you are a Christian dedicated to serving the Lord, your conscience will not misguide you. In fact, Darby subjects even circumstances to feelings: C.I. Scofield sums up Darby’s entire teaching on the matter of God’s will, saying that, "Under the new covenant of grace the principle of obedience to the divine will is inwrought (Heb. 10.16)." 29. Darby continues in his letter:

"...If I do something with the full certainty that I am doing the will of God, then it is clear that an obstacle is no more than a test of my faith, and it ought not to stop me. It stops us perhaps through our lack of faith; because, if we do not walk sufficiently near to God in the sense of our nothingness, we shall always lack faith to accomplish what we have faith enough to discern.30.

     In other words, circumstances might be contrary to what a Christian is determined to do, but that is only Satan trying to hinder one from obeying "the divine will inwrought." Darby really opens the Christian up to demonic activity in the spirit by saying, "God never allows Satan to act otherwise than on the flesh."31.

     However, he does not leave the Christian with no standard: " what Jesus would have done in such and such a circumstance." Good advice. Certainly, the gospels "are full of the richest instruction," but one needs sound, written, black and white instructions as found only in God’s revealed will, His total Word.

     There are a great many more quotes which would reveal Darby’s basic supposition concerning the Word of God, sin, God’s will, &c. But we will draw this to a close:

" To a spiritually intelligent mind, the word of God carries an authority beyond all cavils; and a poor, unintelligent man would pass over what is contrary to the mind generated by it, as evidently false, or as unable to understand it, so that he escapes what is false inserted by men in it. They shall be all taught of God; and when the conscience is reached, and the will subject, and therefore the mind silent, we have the peace which certainty gives (and uncertainty as to what is all important is misery), and blessed growth in what God Himself has revealed for divine blessing and joy."32.

     The above excerpt from Darby’s 1874 letter from London sounds like something every Christian could agree with, but, again, notice his next statement in the same letter:

"I do not receive the Bible, that is, a revelation of God from the hands of men. I receive paper and ink. The revelation I receive from God directly - "They shall be all taught of God." The revelation is the divinely-wrought conviction, and, I repeat, in the conscience...

     Read what this man said who laid the foundation for C.I. Scofield’s, "Under the new covenant of grace the principle of obedience to the divine will is inwrought (Heb. 10.16)." He said that God does not speak to His people through paper and ink; rather, He speaks through the conscience and through circumstances.

     Is it any wonder Irvingism/Darbyism is so tenaciously clung to? Darbyism/Scofieldism permits one to:

1) let his conscience be his guide, free from the restraints of God’s Law.
2) follow after appealing circumstances with no regard to the written instructions (paper and ink) that was given him by the Lord God.
3) avoid any social responsibility- if one sees his neighbour being robbed and beaten, particularly by the civil authority, he should cross over on the other side of the road: If he becomes involved, he departs from the faith as defined by Darby.

1 Tim 1:18-21 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

     Paul inseparably connects the Old Testament with the New. When the Old is separated from the New, faith is put away, and the believers in that separation are made shipwreck, and delivered unto Satan. Has modern Irvingite/Darbyite/Scofieldite Christianity been delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme?


     Foot Notes

1. H.A. Ironside, A Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement, Loizeaux Brothers, 1942, 1988 reprint, 7. "Because of the farreaching influence of this distinctive school of Christian thought it may not be unprofitable to inquire into the cause of the movement...," H.A. Ironside.
2. Harold H. Rowdon, The Origins of the Brethren, 1825-1850, Pickering & Inglis LTD, 1967, 129.
Roy Coad, A History of the Brethren Movement, The Attic Press, Inc., 1976, 52.
4. J.N. Darby, The Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Edited by William Kelly—Prophetic, London: G. Morrish, 24, Warwick Lane, Paternoster Row, E.C., II: 185.
5. Ibid, II: 172, 1843.
6. Ibid, II.185.
7. Letters of J.N. Darby, Bible Truth Publishers, 1971 reprint, I: 129, 130, 1848.
8. Writings, II: 552, 553, 1852.
9. Ibid, 452.
10. Letters, I: 229, 1853.
11. William R. Moody, The Life of D.L. Moody by His Son, 1900, Sword of the Lord reprint, ND, 438, 439. Moody clearly stated, "I study more by subjects than I do by texts." 441. Moody "discovered" the Bible Reading method of preaching from the very popular Brethren Evangelist, Henry Moorehouse, who preached for a full week in Moody’s pulpit on John 3:16, 137-143.
12. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, II: 483-487.
13. Elgin S. Moyer, Who was Who in Church History, Keats Publishing, Inc, 270, 1974.
14. Letters, II: 108, 109. Darby was very adamant that the Old Testament "judgements and destructions were on earth, and that they had nothing to say" about modern social matters, ibid,I: 402.
15. Ibid, 47, 1869.
16. Ibid, 58.
17. Ibid, 25.
18. Ibid, 196.
19. Ibid, 314.
20. Ibid, 314, 315, 1856.
21. Ibid, 323.
22. Ibid, I: 74.
23. Ibid,II: 297, 298.
24. Ibid, 314.
25. Ibid, 206, 207.
26. Ibid, III: 21, 22.
27. Writings, II: 592.
28. Letters, II: 316. Emp. his.
29. Scofield’s notes for Gal 2:24, p 1245.
30. Letters, II: 317. Emp. his.
31. Ibid, 317.
32. Ibid, 297, 298.

Pastor Need.

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