Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 14, 1963
NUMBER 40, PAGE 2,14a

"Will He Find Faith On Earth?"

Robert H. Farish

"Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) This question is posed by the Lord at the close of his parable teaching the value of persistence in prayer. The Scriptures assure us that he will find men, "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage," (Matt. 24:38) but "shall he find faith?"

The answer to the question will be affirmative if when he comes, he finds men accepting the Bible, "not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God." (1 Thess. 2:13) The kind of faith that persists in prayer, when human reason can find little or nothing to encourage such persistence, is based upon the testimony of the Scriptures. Such faith is based solely upon the assurances of Christ of the efficacy of prayer and those assurances are found in the Scriptures. One cannot possess such faith unless that one receives the Bible as the word of God. The proper attitude toward the authority of the Bible cannot be overemphasized. The kind of faith which the Son of God desires to find will not be found with the ones who are timid and afraid for the evidences of the super-human origin of the Scriptures to be investigated.

History demonstrates that when the evidences, which prove that the Bible is the word of God, are investigated and presented, faith increases among men. On the other hand, when interest in the evidence ebbs, infidelity waxes aggressive and experiences wide success.

"All down through the centuries Christianity has been confronted with grave crises but none of them greater than the situation which arose in England and America as a consequence of the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment. A wave of atheism and free thought threatened to obliterate the Christian faith entirely....It is an established fact that not five out of a hundred college students in American colleges made a profession of religion." (Introduction, Christian Evidence Movement.)

The religious situation today is strikingly similar to that which existed in the Eighteenth Century. Then it was the influence of French atheism and free thought which threatened to destroy faith; now it is the atheism which is fed by Communistic materialism which threatens in our day to destroy faith. The force which early in the Nineteenth Century checked the tide accomplished the same thing in our day. It needs but to be used. Christian evidences can defeat "dialectical materialism" just as it defeated "free thought."

Throughout the Nineteenth Century, "Christian evidences were required of every college and academy graduate." (Christian Evidence Movement.) In 1790 only 6.36% of the population were members of any church. By 1900, 36% of the population held membership in some church While the latter is not a scriptural situation, in fact, if 100% held membership in "some" church that would not be a scriptural situation, but at least there would be a nominal acceptance of a single standard of authority to which appeal could be made in efforts to achieve scriptural unity.

The importance attached to the matter of the origin of the Scriptures is of much greater moment than most people, even church members, allow Ponder well the closing words of Alexander Campbell's first address in his debate with Robert Owen:

"But we cannot sit down without admonishing you to bear constantly in mind the inconceivable and ineffable importance attached to the investigation. It is not the ordinary affairs of this life, the fleeting and transitory concerns of today or tomorrow; it is not whether we live freemen or all die slaves; it is not the momentary affairs of empire, or the evanescent charms of dominion — Nay indeed, all these are but the toys of childhood, the sportive excursions of youthful fancy, contrasted With the question, what is man? whence came he? whither does he go? Is he a mortal or an immortal being? Is he doomed to spring up like the grass, bloom like a flower, drop his seed into the earth and die forever? Is there no object of future hope? No God — no heaven — no exalted society to be known or enjoyed? After a few days are fled, when the enjoyments and toils of life are over; when our relish for social enjoyment, and our desires for returning to the fountain of life are most acute, must we hang our heads and close our eyes in the desolating and appalling prospect of never opening them again, of never tasting the sweets for which a state of discipline and trial has so well fitted us? These are the awful and sublime merits of the question at issue. It is not what we shall eat, nor what we shall drink, unless we shall be proved to be mere animals; but it is, shall we live or die forever? It is beautifully expressed by a Christian poet —

Shall spring ever visit the mouldering urn? Shall day ever dawn on the night of the grave?"

W. C. Rogers reports in Recollections of Men of Faith that at the conclusion of this speech Aylette Rains "found that his cheeks were wet with tears, because of which he was not a little vexed with himself." Some honest, unpremeditated tears, in our day, under such circumstances would be a fortunate result and not at all unmanly. A definite personal commitment to devote six months or a year to searching the Scriptures with the specific purpose of being established in the conviction that the Bible is the word of God, would yield gratifying results. Along with such a study, good books on evidences will contribute greatly to its success.

Campbell — Owen

In April of 1829, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Alexander Campbell debated with Robert Owen. Robert Owen presented and sought to defend his "twelve primary laws of human nature" as the standard of authority for humanity. Campbell exposed those "laws" which were false and showed that those that were true laws were merely plagiarisms of divinely revealed laws. This debate was published in a book. This book is a magnificent classic in the field of Christian evidence.

McGarvey's Books

Biblical Criticism — This is a collection of essays which appeared in the Christian Standard in the years 1883-1904. Here in capsule form are the antidotes for the various poisons of modernism. The "destructive critics of the 19th century used the same old threadbare arguments which "modernism" employs today. The devil neither has to provide new arguments for the enemies of the Bible, nor new excuses for the negligent church member!

Evidences of Christianity — McGarvey arranged his Evidences of Christianity to be used as a text book. This book was published in 1886 and seventy-five years later it continues popular with conservative thinking people. If a person could buy only one of the books on evidence which are in print either this or Paley's Evidences of Christianity should be bought.

Jesus and Jonah — The section headings in this book provide a good summary of the contents of the book. (1) Review of a symposium on our Lord's remarks respecting Jonah. (2) Review of professor Driver on the book of Jonah. (3) Is the story of Jonah incredible. (4) The three days and the three nights.

Alleged Discrepancies Of The Bible — Haley

J. W. Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of The Bible was published in 1874. It is available today. This book is invaluable in answering the cheap unscholarly attacks made by asserting that the Bible is contradictory and hence not to be relied upon. Haley wrote in his preface: "Some persons may perchance, question the wisdom of publishing a work in which the difficulties of Scripture are brought together and set forth plainly. They may think it better to suppress, as far as may be, the knowledge of these things. The author does not sympathize with any such timid policy. He counts it the duty of the Christian scholar to look difficulties and objections squarely in the face. Nothing is to be gained by overlooking, evading, or shrinking from them. Truth has no cause to fear scrutiny, however rigid and searching. Besides the enemies of the Bible will not be silent, even if its friends should hold their peace. It should be remembered that the following discrepancies' are not now published for the first time. They are gathered from books and pamphlets which are already extensively circulated. The poison demands an antidote. The remedy should be carried wherever the disease has made its blighting way." Amen!

Every religious library should have some good basic books on evidence; these should be studied.

— 417 E. Groesbeck, Lufkin, Texas