Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 2, 1961
NUMBER 26, PAGE 1,12

"A Generation That Knoweth Not Jehovah"

Robert Harkrider, Pinson, Alabama

The Episcopalian Bishop of California, James A. Pike, has recently averred that he does not believe in the Scriptural account of the virgin birth of Christ. He declared that it was a primitive religious myth, and Joseph, Mary's husband, was probably the physical father of Jesus. Asked to name other religious myths, Dean Pike mentioned "Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden and the existence of a sky-high heaven and a red-hot hell."

Following the precedent by Bishop Pike, a poll was taken of about a hundred divinity students in theological schools. The report is given in Redbook magazine, August, 1961. The poll included Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Lutheran students. There were others represented but in groups too small for special mention. Carefully notice the shallow beliefs of future ministers in the denominational world.

"How does this group of theological students feel about the 'Dean Pike theory'? About half of them agree with him! Only 44 per cent believe in the virgin birth of Christ. Only 29 per cent believe there is a real heaven and hell. Only 46 per cent believe that Jesus ascended physically whole into heaven after his crucifixion."

The Article Continues In Summarizing Their Startling Beliefs:

"On the whole, then, tomorrow's minister veers away from a fundamentalist interpretation of his faith; he tends to put less stock in a literal belief in many Biblical events than he does in the broad principles that derive from these events; he has little patience with many of the theological problems that docked the Protestant church in times past."

For centuries atheists have stood alone in questioning the divine origin of the Bible. Today, however, such is not true. For so-called "religionists" have joined hands with the atheists in denying the reliability of the Scriptures. Together they will lead multitudes astray by undermining their faith in the Bible as the pure Word of God.

On the one hand admitted atheists, who have infiltrated our educational systems, will continue their skeptical teaching. On the other hand these "religious atheists," disguised by the name "Christianity," will lead myriads of people astray by their sophistry. Accepted as the "last authorities in religious matters," many will listen to them who would not tolerate an atheist.

These facts should alarm every child of God. We must prepare ourselves to face the inevitable march of modernism. The preparation cannot be made by preachers and elders alone, but it must become the task of every Christian who does not wish to have his faith shaken. The foundation stones of the religion of Jesus Christ are being questioned. The child of God must be "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15)

If we cannot accept the events recorded in the Bible as fact, then the Bible is untrue! And if the Bible is not true, then there is no reliable evidence that God is. The Bible is the only source of revelation of God; it is the only means of knowing God's will. Yet, if the Bible is undependable, human reasoning is the only course left. Look where this leads us! If we are left to human reasoning to know God and His will, we might just as well accept the atheist's viewpoint. One is as logical as the other from the human standpoint.

A Comparable Generation

We are reminded of the description of the Israelites soon after Joshua had died: "And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel." (Judges 2:10) The people served the Lord as long as Joshua and the elders who survived him were alive; but when Joshua was dead and that generation which was contemporaries with him, there arose another generation after them which knew not the Lord nor the work which the Lord had done for Israel.

The apostasy of the new generation was a necessary consequence of the attitude of Israel toward the Canaanites who were left in the land. The Lord had commanded them not to make league with the inhabitants of Canaan; (Judges 2:3) but when Israel was strong they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. (Judges 1:28) They forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, the gods of the people that were around about them. "And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Astaroth." (Judges 2:10-13)

Jeremiah later was caused to say of Israelites with this attitude, "And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil and they know not me, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 9:3)

Indeed a generation has now arisen that "knoweth not Jehovah." The sober Christian life has been exchanged in many quarters for folly and dissipation. And the belief of the Bible as the pure word of God has degenerated into superstition and unbelief.

What Are The Reasons?

There are many causes of present-day unbelief just as there were many causes for Israel's falling away. Circumstances of Ease or worldly comforts bring a great inducement to religion negligence. The service of God involves high spiritual efforts, purity of life, and self-sacrifice. (Luke 14:33) The service of the world is more agreeable to the pleasures of sense and selfishness. Regarded from the low ground of sense and with the short sight of worldly wisdom, it is easier to worship Baal than to worship the Eternal. Today's ministers have been overcome by the social gospel. Many churches have become just another place to have lunch. Indeed men have worshipped and served the "creature rather than the creator." (Rom. 1:25'

Another cause leading to unbelief is Tolerance of Evil. The earlier generation of Israelites had failed to extirpate the idolatry of Canaan, and this became a snare to the later generation. The indifference and indolence of the denominational world in years past certainly opened the door of temptation to their descendants. Since their predecessors would not accept the Bible as the final authority of God, a complete rejection of the factual account of the Bible was a natural step for the present generation. One generation accepted only that part of Scripture which suited their fancy, tolerating whatever evil they chose by having their church conventions, councils, or synods approve it. No small wonder is it that their offspring would go one step further by entirely denying the Scriptures.

Probably the greatest cause of apostasy, the cause of which the two previously mentioned are but fruits, is that of Defective Education. As long as Joshua and his contemporary elders lived, the people remained faithful. If this generation had trained its children aright they would not have gone astray. Apostasy arose in a new "generation which knew not the Lord." Much of the skepticism today is the result of a lack of Bible knowledge. Men who think they have all the answers, have failed to divide aright the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15) They know more "about" the Bible than of the Bible itself. They have been expertly trained how to use their "firstlies" and "secondlies" in orating a social lecture that entertains more than instructs. Yet all the while they have not been educated with that which saves — the gospel itself. (Rom. 1:16)

Let Us Profit

We should not close our eyes to this corruption as though it will pass away leaving us unaffected. Lest we should awake to find our children atheists, Christians should feel the supreme importance of teaching our young the word of God. Children must be trained; (Eph. 6:4) they do not inherit their father's knowledge by natural succession. Much time is necessary in instructing children in the most important lessons of life. Do not wait until they "grow up and learn for themselves." Be assured atheists and modernists will not wait! They will begin early sowing seeds of doubt in the minds of our youth.

Furthermore, let us prepare ourselves by studying the Bible daily. Two or three sermons a week is not sufficient to ground us in the truth. The Bible should be our main interest rather than a "dust catcher" on the shelf. We must meditate thereon day and night. (Psalms 1:2) Had the Israelites properly loved the Word of Jehovah, a generation never would have arisen who knew not the Lord. "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." (Deut. 6:6-9)

We must equip ourselves with Bible knowledge that we may stand the challenge of denominationalism, modernism, and all the corruptible "isms" of this day. The battle is on. We have a fight to wage against disbelief in God and His Son. Let us be prepared to meet the test.