Dr. Robert Sumner passed away in December 2016. The Biblical Evangelist newspaper is no longer being published and the ministry of Biblical Evangelism has ceased operation.

The remaining inventory of his books and gospel tracts was transferred to The Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles and may be ordered here.


Off the Cuff
Dr. Robert L. Sumner

Note what it says at the top of this page, underneath the Anniversary banner: “A Voice for Historic Evangelical Fundamentalism!” You might call that our mission statement because that is what we have tried to do and be for the past four decades. A leading New Evangelical ministry has acknowledged our success in this area and we will mention it again later in “Cuff.”

Evidence of how we are that voice is seen in this issue. Evangelist Del Fehsenfeld, Sr., a very fine evangelist over a very long period, a personal friend and a special friend of this ministry for a long time, just recently went Home (we had a tribute to him in this column in our last issue). We are printing his brief message on salvation in this issue, available, we believe, in tract form.

His son, Evangelist Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., founded the evangelistic/musical organization called Life Action Ministries and did a tremendous job until, at age 42, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He kept right on preaching and serving God, but 7 months later he was with Christ. During his short life he preached in hundreds of churches in crusades lasting up to 6 weeks.

His burden, and the theme of his book published posthumously, Ablaze With His Glory, was real revival for God’s people. His staff described him as a “family physician” for the church; he was that and more. He lamented that much of modern church explosion could be explained “by human effort, clever marketing techniques, and borrowed money.” Alas, he pointed out that Christians have become the laughingstock of the world, “not because of the offense of the cross, but because of the offenses of believers against the holiness of God.”

His father sent me a copy and I was really impressed with his biblical wisdom about revival. We are printing one chapter in this issue and we strongly recommend that you obtain the whole book. We contacted the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and were given permission to print this chapter but were told the book was indefinitely out of print. Our office manager, Kathy Sherrer, got in touch with Life Action and found they still have copies. It sells for $9.99 and is available by calling (800) 321-1538; with shipping, the price is $12.99! It is worth every penny and more!

We are printing a message by Keith L. Brooks, who edited Prophecy magazine for years, on Zacchæus that we think you will enjoy. He and your editor had the same roots (the same home town).

There is more and more hyper-Calvinism raising its ugly head and promoting the unbiblical view that regeneration precedes faith in Christ. We had been thinking for some time of reprinting a message by Roy Aldrich answering the idea that “faith” is the gift of God. While he was still living he gave us permission to print it (it appeared originally in Bibliotheca Sacra) and we ran it in our July 1970 issue. That was well over a third of a century ago! Dr. Aldrich was president of the school from which our columnist, Dr. Charles Wagner, graduated.

Along the same line is an article by the editor on the same subject. And we are continuing (and completing) the article by George Zeller in the Bible Study Corner.

 

 

OUR $40,000 CAMPAIGN

 

Wheaton College, on its web, has interesting definitions, descriptions and examples of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism. Examples it gave of evangelicalism offered included George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, and D. L. Moody. It went on to give two examples each of the New Evangelicals in the 20th century: personalities, Harold Ockenga and Billy Graham; Institutions, Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College; organizations, National Association of Evangelicals and Youth for Christ.

In dealing with Fundamentalism, it mentioned the 12-volume set, The Fundamentals, that made such an impact in the early 20th century and the early fights in which evangelicals of that day tried to save mainline denominations from liberalism. It highlighted the Scopes Trial in Dayton (TN) with William Jennings Bryan leading the attack against evolution.

Then it gave illustrations of Fundamentalist church groups, listing the GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches) and the IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America). The two institutions offered were Bob Jones University and Tennessee Temple Schools. But then it listed representative publications of Fundamentalism (and you have to know by now that is why we are writing this!) as The Sword of the Lord (giving a picture from the glory days of Dr. John R. Rice) and The Biblical Evangelist.

It went on to give insights into evangelical Pentecostalism and today’s Charismatics, Politics, the Media and other matters.

Obviously, the terms "Fundamentalist" and "Fundamentalism" are in rather wide general disrepute today. Not only are Muslim terrorists called fundamentalists, but so are others whose theology we abhor. For example, in late March Mary Winkler shot and killed her minister husband, Matthew. The media described him as “a popular and charismatic 31-year-old preacher at a fundamentalist Christian church.”

Since he was the pastor of the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer (TN), we would not consider him an evangelical Fundamentalist. Our booklet, Does the Bible Teach That Waster Baptism Is a Necessary Requirement for Salvation, was the result of a debate with a leading minister in that movement and its aberrant doctrines prevent us from considering it Fundamentalist, although it probably follows the ‘fundamentals’ of its own denomination. Even so, we are pleased that Wheaton used us as an example of what Fundamentalism is all about.

Please help us remain a voice for Fundamentalism – or as we prefer to describe ourselves at the top of page 1 in every issue, “A Voice for Historic Evangelical Fundamentalism.”

Our 40th anniversary year is almost half over and we have a long, long way to go if we reach our goal. For one thing, we are still hoping someone who agrees with what we are doing will offer matching funds in the $40,000 effort. There is one couple that will immediately send a check for $10,000 to our office in Raleigh if and when someone does! That would immediately put us well over half-way to our goal. Has God been impressing your heart about it?

Perhaps this would be a good time to clear up an error in previous issues. Actually there were two, although one is really an explanation rather than a correction. The error was in describing our previous campaign as being “$20,000 for 20 Years” upon publishing 20 years. In truth and in fact, it was described just like the current one, “$40,000 for 40 Years,” but it wasn’t related to the paper. It was in honor of the editor’s 40 years in the ministry. So that means the matching funds that our late friend Bill Parmerlee and his wife Mary gave was $20,000, not $10,000. And that is what we are hoping some good friend will do for us in this campaign. Alas, time is running out.

May we hear from you today?

 

GOD BLESS MOTHERS!

 

Since this month honors mothers, let’s add our two cents and thank God that He invented them! Without mothers, no one would be reading these lines and I wouldn’t be writing them. Like everything else, there are good mothers and bad mothers (God blessed me with a good one). If your mother is still living, call and thank her for all she has done for you and what she means to you. (And if you had a good father, since that day falls into this issue’s jurisdiction, call and thank him, too!)

More and more mothers today are staying home these days and caring for the children God blessed them with (Psalm 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward”). Starting with World War II, women found they could make big bucks carrying lunch pails to a job, but they sadly discovered the expense of working outside the home took most of the profit and proved a bad experience.

Here is Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.'s tribute to stay-at-home mothers: “I can’t imagine what would be more interesting than dealing with the challenges a mother faces,” this president of Southern Seminary said. “She’s got medical challenges, financial challenges, social-relational challenges, psychological and even psychiatric challenges. She has meal and nutrition challenges, and she has domestic engineering challenges. A mom pulls all that together. [Dads] come home and are simply amazed at how it has worked when we are gone. All it takes is mom being sick for one day, and dad finds out what an executive responsibility really looks like.” 

He was responding to Linda Hirshman's silly comments (while plugging her new book, Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World) on ABC's "Good Morning America," calling such mothers "a threat to civilization" and saying their life was "unfulfilling." A radical feminist with no children of her own, she is hardly a qualified voice to speak on such a subject.

God bless all the mothers of the world who love and serve our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

WHAT MAKES A

JOYFUL MOTHER?

 

Psalm 113:9, describing some of the things God does, says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.”

This Mother’s Day, in thinking about what makes a joyful mother, a first and vital step begins early on in the selection of a right father. In other words, she needs to marry the right man. For a Christian young lady this means marrying a Christian young man, not violating the law of God in an unequal yoke. God cannot bless that. But for deep joy throughout married life, the man she marries should not merely be a Christian, he should be one dedicated to the will of God and with an honest desire to serve Him devotedly. In short, Christ should have first place in both his life and her life.

Another thing that makes a joyful mother is in having obedient, respectful children. No mother will be joy filled if her children refer to her as ‘the old lady,’ sass her, talk back, are disobedient, and otherwise fail to give her the respect her position demands. Part of this will depend upon the mother’s training of her children, of course, both by word and by example. Proverbs 22:6 still guarantees, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

An important ingredient for joy in a mother’s life relates also to being an active servant of the Lord. Being busy in God’s work is the opposite of a selfish life, lived with personal desires and ambitions the center and circumference of being. There is no such thing as a selfish person and a happy person living in the same body. Not every mother will be a Sunday school teacher, a soloist and/or choir member, or a leader in the missionary society of her church. Yet every mother of joy will be an outgoing evangelist of sorts, one who seeks to reach others for Christ, both in her own neighborhood and through her local church.

Observation compels me to add another factor in making joyful mothers (although some will not be able to share in this blessing, yet still be full of joy): sweet, precious grandchildren. While Proverbs 17:6 speaks specifically of the fathers, it is certainly true of mothers as well: “Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

Are you a joyful mother? If not, what’s missing in your life?

 

THINNING OF THE RANKS!

 

God decreed that “it is appointed unto man once to die” (Hebrews 9:27) and those of your editor’s generation are quickly moving into the eternal wings. A friend of approximately 68 years died in his sleep in late February. The editor’s brother-in-law, Nelson S. Maurer – who married my sister in June 1938 (who survives) – was not only a personal friend, but a genuine friend of this ministry.

He was born on February 5, 1917 – so was just starting his 90th year when the Lord took him – and had graduated from Cornell University the same year he married. In fact, the wedding was held on the campus in the chapel. His majors were agriculture and industrial arts, but after a summer vacation or two on a farm, this city boy decided it would be industrial arts for him. He taught that first at a Roscoe (NY) high school and then in Albany. Later he went to work for the New York State Department of Education, working as an editor for more than a decade prior to retiring. In his younger days he was an excellent skier (a sport he loved) and a top-notch photographer. He put together numerous slide presentations of his work which he showed in nursing homes, libraries and clubs.

Nelson and my sister Evelyn have been strong financial supporters of Biblical Evangelism. They committed monthly large sums of money and for the past several years gave us $300 a month. They also contributed heavily to their local church and to other organizations dedicated to getting out the gospel. In fact, in our case, they were the largest individual supporters who gave on a monthly basis. Some churches over the years gave more, but they were the most generous individually. We joined Dr. Duke Hergatt in saying a few words at his memorial service.

Nelson and Evelyn had two children, Nelson “Bud” Maurer (who technically, I suppose, would be Nelson Maurer III, although if he were ever called that since military days, we didn’t hear it) and Nancy Decatur. Also surviving are 5 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Albany, where he lived so long, will not seem the same to your editor if and when he returns to that capital city.

Another friend – and spiritual giant – who joined the heavenly host in February was Dr. Henry Madison Morris. As for making an impact on the 20th century, he and a handful of others top the list in evangelical circles.

Born on October 6, 1918, after earning a Bachelor of Science from Rice Institute, he went on to earn a MS and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota; he also received honorary doctorates from Bob Jones and Liberty Universities. Among his educational achievements, he taught civil engineering at Rice Institute; was a founder and vice-president of Christian Heritage College in San Diego; and later was the founder and first president of the Institute for Creation Research at Santee, just outside of San Diego. His description in my Who’s Who in America, 1992-1993, was one of the longest entries, covering about 3½ inches – and he was just getting warmed up back then. The entry closed with his statement, “The Bible is the inerrant word of God and thus should be believed and obeyed in all things.”

Dr. Morris was educated as an evolutionist and would have remained one of its staunchest supporters had he not also been a Christian who read and studied his Bible. There he discovered facts that could not be harmonized with the theories of evolution and, as an honest man, he repudiated what he had been taught in his profession over the years. He had so many inquiries about his change he wrote, in 1946, a book aimed primarily at university students, That You Might Believe. While we were never into evolution, that book made a tremendous impact on your editor when he obtained one of the first copies published.

While he went on to write scores of books on both scientific and theological themes, probably the one making the greatest impact was the book he co-authored with John C. Whitcomb, The Genesis Flood. It is still in print and still making an impact around the world. The Washington Post called it “the first significant attempt in the 20th century to offer a systematic scientific explanation for creationism.” The Post went on to say that his ideas “have been roundly rejected by mainstream scientists,” but Morris had the names of over 2,000 scientists – many from some of the most prestigious educational institutions in America – agreeing with biblical creationism.

He honored your editor by asking him to write the Foreword for one of his books, God and the Nations, later giving me a copy he had inscribed “With sincere thanks and highest personal regards to Dr. Robert Sumner, a true scholar, Bible preacher and great Christian,” and he signed it “Henry M. Morris, 2/22/03, Jeremiah 10:6,7.” I treasure that, of course, even though it is certainly an overstatement.

He also penned an Introduction for my commentary, Hebrews: Streams of Living Water, which was also very kind. We cherish the fact that we got one of the last letters he wrote, dated February 24, the day before he died. I had dropped him a note telling him we were printing his message on the Empty Tomb in our March-April 2006 issue and he was responding to it. I hope you won’t consider me presumptuous to quote it here:

“I appreciate your recent letter, but am unable to give it proper attention at this time – perhaps later.

“Right now I’m in a hospital rehab facility, having suffered a stroke on February 2nd. Maybe I’ll eventually be able to write a proper letter, but at age 87.4, I don’t know!

“I am very pleased to know that my article ‘Impact of the Empty Tomb’ will be in your March-April publication. You certainly do have permission to reprint any of our materials. All we ask is that credit be given as to source and that it is quoted accurately and I know you will do this.

“I do appreciate your interest in ICR, and value your prayers.

“Thanks again.”

It was signed “Henry” and since we were not on a first name basis in our correspondence, I assume he started to sign his name and couldn’t get past the first name. At any rate, I cherish this letter this noble, good man of God wrote me, “on his death bed.”

It is not at all what Bill O’Reilly would call ‘spin’ to say, “He will be missed.” Indeed, he will. Fortunately, he trained many to pick up his mantle and we expect they will, including the current president of ICR, his son, Dr. John Morris. Pray for this vital organization and the good it is doing in today’s world. We agree with the evaluation of our creationist columnist, Ken Ham, “This man, I believe, belongs in the list of Christian giants like Luther, Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon and others.”

Those of the above who have left our ranks and made it thinner would agree with John Owen (1616-1683), who said on his deathbed, “I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.” They are now in the land of the living.

 

WHERE ARE THE DADS?

 

While I don’t want to spoil your happy thoughts about Dad’s Day, here are some sobering statistics we picked up from The Federalist-Patriot:

“According to the CDC, DoJ, DHHS and the Bureau of the Census, 63% of teen suicides, 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 71% of high-school dropouts, 75% of children in chemical-abuse centers, 80% of rapists, 85% of youths in prison, 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders, and 90% of homeless and runaway children are children from fatherless homes. In fact, children born to unwed mothers are ten times more likely to live in poverty as children with fathers in the home.”

"[The causal link between fatherless children and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime," notes social researcher Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. More to the point, a counselor at a juvenile-detention facility in California, which has the nation's highest juvenile-incarceration rate, protested, "[If] you find a gang member who comes from a complete nuclear family, I'd like to meet him. ... I don't think that kid exists."

"Maturity does not come with age, but with the accepting of responsibility for one's actions," writes Dr. Edwin Cole. "The lack of effective, functioning fathers is the root cause of America's social, economic and spiritual crises."

“History also records the exploits of those who grew up without fathers, or with weak or abusive fathers. They became Adolf Hitler, Iosif Vissarionouich Djugashvili (Joseph Stalin), Mao Zedong and Saddam Hussein.”

Along the same line Baptist Press reported (actually, we gleaned this from two different sources) a 19th century political figure named Charles Francis Adams who wrote in his diary on one occasion: “Went fishing with my son today – a day wasted.” Brook Adams, his son, wrote in his journal on the same date: “Went fishing with my father – the most wonderful day of my life!”

That’s a sermon that doesn’t even need a preacher’s application!

 

NOT ALL DAD’S DAYS

ARE HAPPY!

 

Last year at Father’s Day in Vero Beach our local paper had a large ad (3 columns wide and 3” deep), entitled, “A Father’s Day Prayer.” It was very sad. What caused the breach in relations I have no idea, really, although abandoning his children and leaving with “another woman” comes to mind. Apparently the father has gotten right with the Lord, but had to take this public means to attempt a contact with his sons. Here is the letter, addressed to “Dear Brian and Brandon.”

This is a letter from your father, Mike Jones. I write this letter with a prayer of hope that it will reach your eyes, and open hearts. For years I realize you have built resentments toward me for not being there when you needed me the most. There are no good excuses for this, other than to say there were obstacles I could not overcome. Your father never goes a day without you both foremost in my heart and soul. I love you both dearly, and pray that one day you will be able to forgive me, and let go of the resentments. I have been recently blessed with a new spiritual awakening. If you choose to never contact me, I will accept this as the Lord’s will. The only desire in my soul is to repair any hurt that I have caused you both. I only want for you to be happy, successful in life, and pray that God will join us together again in His will. You both were always the center of my life, if my prayers are answered, you will be there again one day. When you’re ready and when your heart allows you to do so, please feel free to contact me. I will always love you.

The letter ended with a telephone number where the heartbroken father could be reached. It had a Nashville (TN) area code but I see no need to include it here. If any one reading this fits the description of Brian and Brandon, or you know who they might be, contact me and I will give you the telephone number where the father may be reached.

 

HE’S THE GREATEST!

 

Who is the greatest college basketball coach of all time?

John Wooden.

The guy in second place isn't even close.

For example: Wooden won 10 NCAA basketball championships at one school (UCLA); the second best coach won 4. His UCLA teams won 88 straight games (January 1971 to January 1974); no other teams have won half that many consecutive games.

He was a better man than he was a coach, and that is unusual in athletics. Again, for example, he thought a key part of character was obeying rules. And he was no respecter of persons in this area; the stars were expected to play by the rules as well as the scrubs. When his All-American center, Bill Walton, showed up with a full beard (Wooden's rule: no long hair, no facial hair) and insisted he had a civil right to do so, Wooden asked if he believed it strongly. Bill said yes and Wooden commented, "That's good. I admire people who have strong beliefs and stick by them. We are going to miss you." Walton shaved almost on the spot and still keeps in touch with his beloved coach weekly.

Wooden's philosophy was: "Discipline yourself, and others won't need to." He added, "Never lie, never cheat, never steal," and, "Earn the right to be proud and confident." The majority of today's athletes wouldn't know what he was talking about, I fear.

As Coach Wooden put it: "There is only one kind of a life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior. Until that is done, we are on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere. Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters."

 

REAL REVIVAL!

 

The town of Hernhut in what is now part of Germany was founded, built and inhabited by Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) and his disciples, one of the Reformers who had come to Christ and wanted to serve Him completely. He founded the Moravian movement and Hernhut inhabitants also wanted to follow Christ, sharing the Count’s convictions. Alas, as so often happens with those who have noble ideals and aspirations, some backslid. Dissentions arose and feelings became bitter.

Christ made no mistake when He instructed His followers to observe His death, burial and resurrection – with its reminder of His second coming – in a memorial service we know as the Lord’s Supper. The Moravians were celebrating it on August 13, 1727 when the real meaning struck home and the partakers began to confess and forsake their sins. Real revival broke out!

As a result, they started round-the-clock prayer meetings. They divided up into 24 teams with each group taking an hour. As an indication of how real this revival was the Moravians experienced, that round-the-clock prayer meeting continued for more than a century! Thousands were saved and literally hundreds went as missionaries to the uttermost parts of the world.

Revival is not “a meeting,” it is “a happening!”

 

BACK TO THE MIDDLE AGES

 

Pope John Paul II, whom the current pope has placed on a fast track for sainthood (what a joke!) decreed (by issuing Papal Bull Incarnationis Mysterium), less than 7 years before he died, that during the millennium celebration (2000), good Roman Catholics could earn “indulgences” by doing good deeds, even by giving up cigarettes or alcohol for a day! This would help them, he assured the faithful, get out of Purgatory earlier. The fact that Purgatory doesn’t exist seems to escape the thinking of the faithful.

“Indulgences,” you may remember, is one of the reasons Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses (Latin propositions) to the Wittenberg Church door and the Protestant Reformation was launched. Since the Word of God is crystal clear that salvation is only by grace through faith, not by works of righteousness, why does Roman Catholicism continue to hoodwink its parishioners into thinking their works will count? For a complete listing of all Scripture, in both Old Testament and New Testament, that speak of Purgatory, see page 21 of this issue!

 

“DUNGHILL THEOLOGY!”

 

Over 8 years ago we clipped an excellent article which had been written by William R. Estep, at the time the distinguished professor of church history, emeritus, at Southwestern Seminary. He wrote with Southern Baptists in view, seeking to douse the flames of a growing Calvinism in that denomination. I wish we could print the entire article since it was filled with so much wisdom and understanding. The term ‘dunghill’ theology was coined by Andrew Fuller in his The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, an answer to John Gill’s Calvinism.

Estep described Calvin: “He was no advocate of religious freedom, but an autocrat who often mistook his own will for the will of God,” adding that he “never was able to free himself from his Roman Catholic heritage. … His Old Testament hermeneutics and his uncontrollable temper acerbated his intolerance of those who disagreed with him.” Estep apparently wrote this article as an answer to Ernest C. Reisinger’s attempt to “call Southern Baptists back to what he conceives to have been their Calvinistic root,” to which he responded, “This assumption must be challenged on the basis of the original Baptist vision and its theological insights.” Amen to that!

Calvin’s theology might be summed up with his definition of predestination: “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which He determined with Himself whatever He wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation, and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death” (Institutes, 3.21.5). If that isn’t fatalism, it’ll do until someone can think one up!

In talking about Baptists, Estep wrote: “Baptists arose out of English Puritan-Separatist movement, which was Calvinist, but they modified their Calvinistic heritage to a considerable degree. The first English Baptists of record (1608), came to be known as ‘General Baptists,’ since they believed in ‘general atonement’ – that Christ died for all and not just for the elect. Their Calvinism almost completely vanished under Anabaptist-Mennonite influence.”

In closing, he listed what he called “problems with Calvinism” as related to Baptists. Part of what he wrote was:

“First, it is a system of theology without biblical support.

“It assumes to know more about God and the eternal decrees upon which it is based than God has chosen to reveal in scripture or in Christ. To say God created some people for damnation and others for salvation is to deny that all have been created in the image of God.

“It also reflects upon both God’s holiness and His justice, as portrayed in the Bible.

“Further, Calvinism appears to deny John 3:16, John 1:12, Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-10 and numerous other passages of scripture that indicate, as Baptist confessions have consistently stated, that salvation comes to those who respond to God’s grace in faith.

“Second, Calvinism’s God resembles Allah, the god of Islam, more than the God of grace and redeeming love revealed in Jesus Christ.

“Third, Calvinism robs the individual of responsibility for his/her own conduct, making a person into a puppet on a string or a robot programmed from birth to death with no will of his/her own.

“Fourth, historically, Calvinism has been marked by intolerance and a haughty spirit. Calvin’s Geneva, the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) and the Regular Baptists (Hardshells, Primitives and Two Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists) are only some of numerous examples of this Calvinistic blight.

“Fifth, logically, Calvinism is anti-missionary. The Great Commission is meaningless if every person is programmed for salvation or damnation, for evangelism and missionary efforts are exercises in futility.

“Apparently, Calvinism is an excursion into speculative theology with predictable results, which we as Southern Baptists can ill afford.”

But what about “the great Charlie”? Estep wrote: “Charles Haddon Spurgeon often has been cited by Baptists as a staunch Calvinist. At times, the young Spurgeon claimed to be exactly that, but at other times it is clear he was neither a hyper-Calvinist nor even a consistent Calvinist. A. C. Underwood, in A History of English Baptists, writes that Spurgeon’s ‘rejection of a limited atonement would have horrified John Calvin.’ According to Underwood, Spurgeon often prayed, ‘Hasten to bring in all Thine elect, and then elect some more.’ The mature Spurgeon confided in Archbishop Benson, ‘I’m a very bad Calvinist, quite a Calvinist – I look on to the time when the elect will be all the world’.”

Don’t be taken in by “dunghill” theology!

 

CREATING THE WORLD!

 

How long did it take God?

A good brother, who follows the ideas of theistic evolution, wrote to complain about something we had published on the subject. Perhaps our readers will appreciate part of our response to him:

Your letter of February 6 is before me. I just received it since it went to Raleigh (mail is only forwarded from there to me once a month). Your letter was very kindly and courteous. Thank you.

I am sorry you felt my [comments were] “somewhat erroneous and misleading.” Obviously,… this was not my intent. Perhaps you have a point about Drs. [Kenneth] Ham and [Henry] Morris. I expressed myself poorly there. My thought was that [when, or if] you put down their positions; ipso facto, you put them down.

I see your point about yom also. I probably had the Ross quote … about “young earth creationists have argued for twenty-four-hour days on the basis that yom when attached to an ordinal…always refers to a twenty-four-hour period,” then offering his reference to Hosea 6:2 (which you also use in your letter). But Hosea 6:2 does not say, “On the second day, morning and evening, he will revive us; on the third day, morning and evening he will restore us.” And Genesis is creation (or history) while Hosea is prophecy. My understanding is that everywhere in the Pentateuch day (yom) is used with a definite article or numerical adjective, it means a solar day, or what we call a 24-hour day.

Part of my problem is that I have so little respect for Hugh Ross. I sat glued to the television set when PSB ran its program on Wheaton College and his teaching. I listened to student after student, in praising a man, Hugh Ross, tell how they came to Wheaton from evangelical homes believing in creation, but thanks to Ross they no longer held that position, believing in evolution instead. My emotions went back and forth from weeping to raging, then back to weeping and rage again. What that poor man will have to answer for when he faces God is beyond my comprehension.

I am nearly 84 years old and have been preaching/writing for over 60 years. In all of that time I have followed the basic rule of hermeneutics taught to me in seminary, “When the sense [of a passage] makes sense, seek no other sense.” I don’t think God made His Word hard to figure out with its understanding limited to the elite. And no one could read Genesis 1 and 2 and deny that the “sense” is that God created the world and all that is in it in 6 solar days. And that includes the so-called gap theory. Neither the gap nor evolution would even be considered if it were not for man trying to harmonize scripture with science [falsely, so-called]. Ah, ’tis a pity!

Another hermeneutical law is “first usage.” Definitions of terms come from the first use in Scripture of a word or expression. Here is the first usage of day (yom): “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). That is a rather clear description of a solar day, is it not?

I don’t know whether you are familiar with Broadman & Holman’s new Christian Standard Bible. It is the first new translation in centuries; all before it (including the KJV) are revisions. With the latest manuscripts and latest scholarship behind it, it uses this expression repeatedly in Genesis 1, “Evening came, and then morning: the first day” (then the same expression for the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth days). It is hard to escape the Holy Spirit’s intent there regarding solar days.

I note what you said also about II Peter 3:4-8, but I fear you did not read it carefully. It does not say that a day is a thousand years or that a thousand years is a day with God. It says “as” (or “like”) and simply describes God. Peter could have said a thousand years is as a nanosecond with God! Indeed! And Peter was not talking about creation or the flood; he was discussing prophecy (the second coming – why our Lord hasn’t returned after almost 2,000 years).

The New American Commentary, An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture