Eternity Magazine

True Guidance

In two previous articles I urged that God ordinarily guides His children in their decision-making through Bible-based wisdom. I dismissed the idea that guidance is essentially an inner voice telling us facts otherwise unknown and prescribing action in light of them, and I criticized the way some Christians wait passively for guidance and “put out a fleece” when perplexed, rather than prayerfully following wisdom's lead. By now, I am sure, there are mutterings: readers are feeling that I have played down, and thereby dishonored, the guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit. One cannot say what I have said in the steamy Christian atmosphere of 1986 without provoking that reaction. So there is need now to discuss the Holy Spirit's part in guidance in a direct way.


Two Kinds of Darkness Two Kinds of Light

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20
Screaming headlines spill out of the paper on our doorstep, shocking reports interrupt the music coming from the radio, shattering news from the TV is followed by weather reports and news of the latest strike. We get almost numb to the point of simply mashing the potatoes a little harder before beating them with hot milk and butter, turning our minds away from having to deal with the present history we are living in. That is, we do until something comes so close to our lives that we cry out, “that’s not possible;” “I don’t believe it—that couldn’t happen here;” “How could such dark darkness be creeping into a place that I thought had so much light?”


The Way of the Weak Is the Only Healthy Way

“It’s a grand life if you don’t weaken,” says the British platitude. It’s a good life only when you do weaken, says the Bible. Once more the wisdom of God upsets the conventional wisdom, the wisdom of this world. Christians must always be alert to points at which God’s thoughts cut across what society takes for granted and must dare to be different when loyalty to their Master so requires—which is frequently. With regard to strength and weakness, the antithesis between the world’s way and that of Christ is total and stark and may not be toned down.


Where God Looks First

Who are you behind closed doors? This three-fold test reveals the true index of your spirituality.

You may have heard these words (or some variation on them) quoted before:  “What a man is in secret, in these private duties, that he is in the eyes of God and no more.” The most frequently quoted version is usually attributed to the young Scotsman, Robert Murray McCheyne. But other masters of the Christian way have echoed these sentiments. Perhaps they borrowed unconsciously from one another; more likely, they all learned the same lessons the hard way—by personal experience. In any event, they all came to see the same three elements to be vital for right Christian living.


Wisdom along the Way

One way in which evangelicals differ from most Roman Catholics and liberals is that they are constantly uptight about guidance. Does any concern command more interest or arouse more anxiety among modern Bible-believers than discovering the will of God for one's life? I do not think so.

It was of evangelicals that Joseph Bayly wrote in 1968: "If there is a serious concern among Christian students today, it is for guidance. Holiness may have been the passion of another generation's Christian young men and women. Or soul winning. Or evangelizing the world...But not today. Today the theme is getting to know the will of God."


Are The Gospels Anti-Semitic?

In the wake of centuries of anti-Jewish prejudice, many Christian scholars and leaders are busy today mending fences. Spokesmen from the Pope to Billy Graham have explicitly relieved the Jewish people from the unique and blanket charge of deicide¯a real milestone in Jewish-Christian relations.

But now arises a new twist. A variety of scholars, both Christian and Jewish, are saying that anti-Semitism is fostered by the Gospels themselves. Popular magazines like Newsweek (illustration) have aired the claim that the original writers of the Gospels are to blame for the prejudice that has hounded Jews for centuries.


The Apocrypha Revisited and Introduced

Five years exactly after the publication of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the Revised Standard Version of the Apocrypha has appeared (September 30, 1957).  The translation of the Apocrypha will probably not cause such heartburning as was aroused by the translation of the canonical books; for most of the severest critics of the R.S.V. hold, with the Westminster Confession of Faith, that the apocryphal books, “not being of divine inspiration, are of no part of the Canon of the Scripture.” No matters of theological moment, therefore, hang upon a decision to translate a verse of the Apocrypha this way or that. It may, of course, be counted by some to the revisers for unrighteousness that they undertook a translation of the Apocrypha at all; but surely some provision has to be made for those churches, undoubtedly Reformed, which read the Apocrypha “for example of life and instruction of manners,” although they do not “apply them to establish any doctrine.”


Will Joint Bible Study Bring Fellowship?

Some of the most desirable things in life are obtained not as goals for which we chart a straight course but as by-products of other pursuits. This is true of Christian unity. There are movements which make Christian unity their sole or principal aim; there are others which exist for quite distinct purposes but find that in the course of fulfilling them they have achieved a remarkable degree of Christian unity. In this connection I think of the great Bible Societies. In England the British and Foreign Bible Society, from its inception in 1804, has been. thoroughly “ecumenical” in its constitution and in its day-to-day working. The local Associations of the Society in all parts of the country, with Christian people of widely varying church affiliations have cooperated happily in promoting the aims of the Society, and thus have realized at “grass roots” level a practical measure of Christian unity. The Bible is a bond which binds Christians together.


On Dating The New Testament

British New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce explains the methods used for dating the New Testament and stresses the importance of avoiding criteria that are too speculative and subjective.

Why are the dates of the books of the New Testament of such intense interest to Christians?



Reformation 21