Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 23, PAGE 9,11b,13b

The Modernistic Attitude

J. P. Lusby

The modernistic attitude toward the Bible is depicted in the expression, "I believe the Bible, but .." And before they get through "butting," they have "butted" out everything that makes the Bible the inspired word of the living God.

Parents who are faithful to the Lord concentrate on inculcating into the minds of their children the fear of Jehovah and indelibly stamping upon their hearts the fact that they are created in the image of God. Their children obey the gospel of Christ while still in high school, and are faithful in attending all the services of the church, studying their Bibles, and serving the Lord. Upon graduating from high school, they leave home for college. They have entered not only into new surroundings, but also into a new way of life. They view their college professors, with their high-sounding titles and degrees, in solemn, if not reverential awe. Their professors frequently do all within their power to cultivate that feeling of awe on the part of the youth. They leave the impression that what they do not know is either unknowable or unworthy of knowing. They proceed in much the same fashion as does a good surgeon in performing an appendectomy. They administer an anesthetic by lulling the pupil to sleep while intoning: "I believe the Bible, and I believe in Christ. I wouldn't have you get the idea that I don't believe in Christ. I believe the Bible, but I just don't believe the story of creation as set forth in the Genesis account. But I believe the Bible."

Who are you? "I am Dr. Educated Knowitall. I have a degree from this college and that college, and another from the University. I have learned that man evolved from one-celled, non-sexed protoplasm which originally lived in the bottom of the sea. Through millions of years this protoplasm graduated upward and divided into two cells. During the evolutionary process, it took on sex, one part becoming male and the other part female — so it could reproduce itself, don't you see? Through millions of years and eons of time it made upward progress until finally man emerged."

The young people are agog, their minds are awhirl, their reason is overwhelmed. They know not how to meet the learned dissertations and educated arguments of this amazing doctor. Exposed to such presentation daily, over a period of months, and even years, they have their faith removed. The anesthetic is administered by the repeated intonations of the doctor, "I believe the Bible, but . . ." Their faith is skillfully removed while they are under this almost hypnotic spell, and they know not whither it went. All they know is, their faith is gone. When they return home, they no longer desire to attend worship, and they long since have ceased the study of the Bible.

"I believe the Bible, but I don't believe Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin; but I believe the Bible."

Well, why don't you believe Jesus was born of a virgin? 'Because it would necessitate a biological miracle. And such a miracle never happened before Jesus was born, it has never happened since, therefore, I conclude that if it never happened in Jesus' case. I do not believe in the virgin birth because it cannot be demonstrated, but I believe in Jesus."

The virgin birth is a matter of faith, not of demonstration. The religion of Christ is a religion of faith. The walk of a Christian is a walk of faith. "We walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7). One cannot believe in Jesus and deny his virgin birth. He might believe that a man lived in Nazareth named Jesus, but he cannot believe in him as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world without accepting the virgin birth as true.

The doctor may know a great many things, but one thing he is ignorant of, vis, God Almighty announced thousands of years before it transpired that there would be a biological miracle take place upon this earth. To the serpent, God said: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15). Thus God announced a "biological miracle" would occur. The seed of 'the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. Everyone knows that seed is of the male; but God spoke of the seed of the woman.

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isa. 7:14). This statement God made through the prophet seven hundred and sixty years before the birth of Christ. The modernists have attempted to remove the miracle from the sign.

The Revised Standard Version renders Isa. 7:14 "a young woman." 'Behold, a young woman shall conceive, and bear a son." Some sign that would be! Young women had been conceiving and bearing sons since the days of Eve! They would remove the miracle from the sign. They interpolated their unbelief into the text.

Some argue that the Hebrew word of Isa. 7:14 may mean "young woman," and therefore, it is proper to translate it by that expression. Although I am unacquainted with the Hebrew language, I deny that the word Isaiah used means young woman, and affirm that the Revised Standard translators mistranslated the term. Now for the proof:

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But, while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt. 1:18-23).

Even the so-called translators or the Revised Standard Version rendered the word "virgin" in Matthew. If they are right in rendering the word "young woman" in Isaiah, they are wrong in Matthew. If they are right in Matthew, they are wrong in Isaiah. So, they cannot be right for being wrong.

Some reply that Matthew was interpreting what Isaiah meant. But our text says, "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel." Matthew was not interpreting the prophet, he was quoting what the Lord said by the prophet. Therefore, the Lord said "virgin," not "young woman," in Isaiah, and the so-called translators of the Revised Standard Version are wrong They make Matthew misquote Isaiah. They would remove the miracle from the sign.

"I believe in Christ, but I do not believe the story of the flood." You cannot believe in Christ, and reject the story of the flood as recorded in Genesis, because Jesus said it is true. "But as the days of Noe were so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:37-39).

"I believe in Christ, and believe the Bible, but you don't expect me to believe that fish story. I am Dr. Knowitall, don't you see?" Oh, you mean you do not believe the story of Jonah and the whale, yet you claim to believe in Jesus? Impossible! Jesus said it was true. `Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12:38-40).

"But you can't expect me to believe people were healed of snake bite by looking on a serpent of brass!" Do you believe the Bible? "Oh, yes, I believe the Bible." Do you believe in the Christ of the Bible? "Yes, I believe in Christ." Then you must believe the Israelites who had been bitten by fiery serpents lived when they looked upon the serpents of brass. The historical account is recorded in Num. 21; and Jesus said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." (Jno. 3:14).

"But it is impossible for me to believe that Naaman was cleansed of leprosy by dipping in Jordan!" Then it is impossible for you to believe either in Christ or the Bible, for both say it is true. The account is given in 2 Kgs. 5, and Jesus not only said Naaman was cleansed, but said he was the only one among the many lepers at that time who was cleansed. "And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the Prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." (Lk. 4:27). So, not only was Naaman cleansed, but he was the only one who was cleansed at that time, so said Jesus. Therefore, one cannot believe in Christ and reject the story of Naaman's cleansing.

All such efforts are subtle attempts to remove the miracles of the Bible and thereby reduce the word of God to the level of man's writings.

Young people, be not deceived by their smooth speech, educated guesses, and sophistic utterances. They do not believe the Bible, neither do they believe in the Christ of the Bible. Trade not your faith for a learned denial of the sublime and majestic first sentence of the Bible . . ."

"In the beginning God . ."

— 5101 Sherrill Drive Amarillo, Texas