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1993 Issue 6

My presentation will deal with the Book of Revelation. I will particularly address the issues of its date of composition and theme. In that establishing Revelation's time of origin is a crucial issue for the proper interpretation of the book, I will begin with a brief presentation of the case for the early dating of Revelation. In that understanding the flow and purpose of Revelation should be among the interpreter's leading goals, I will deal a little more at length with the question of the book's theme. Once the question of when Revelation was written is resolved, I believe the question of what it is about becomes more evident.

In our last issue, we emphasized that Cornelius Van Til best represents the heart and soul of the Reformed Faith when it comes to a faithful defense of the Faith. The great battle cry of the Reformation was SOLA SCRIPTURA (the Scripture alone is the sole authority in all areas of life). One cannot be truly Reformed without gladly rallying around that battle cry. It is true that there are apologists who are Reformed in their theology but not adherents of Van Til's emphasis in apologetics. It is this writer's conviction that these men are not totally consistent to their theology by refusing to agree with Van Til's governing presupposition. By presupposition we mean one's ultimate starting point; what one assumes to be truth; a maxim accepted on its intrinsic merit; a self evident truth. Van Til's presupposition is: the self attestation of Scripture - that the Bible is the word of God because it claims divine authority to be the very word of God. Van Til argued relentlessly that the faithful Christian apologist has no choice but to start with this presupposition.

The last year has left us all stunned with the reality of what men of small minds and darkened hearts can do with a little knowledge. The "Multiculturalists" have, with undisguised glee, pointed to all the "faults" and "sins" of Columbus and the European Christians who came to this continent in the late 15th and early 16th century. It has been an extraordinary lesson in how half-truths are being used in the long war against Christianity.

And, make no mistake, their enemy is not this or that explorer -- it is, rather, Christianity itself. This is why we cannot ignore them (though you can't imagine how sorely tempted I am to do so). This is why the world in general and legitimate scholars in particular, haven't responded to their ridiculous claims with the ole horse laugh. They have seen in this sophisticated foolery, another opportunity to discredit Christianity. [Remember, the only bigotry that is acceptable nowadays, is that exercised against Biblical Christians.] And, since Columbus (and so many others) were so open in their profession of Christianity, they appear to be great targets for the "slings and arrows" of the outrageous.

After Mary was informed by Gabriel of the miraculous conception of Jesus in her womb, she traveled to visit Elizabeth, perhaps at the suggestion of Gabriel himself. Perhaps, she needed a godly older woman, a dear friend, a close relative, an understanding person, with whom she could discuss the extraordinary and sacred things she had recently experienced. Perhaps she needed to go to someone who had also been miraculously blessed by God. At this point, who else could she talk to about her pregnancy, being a virgin? She could not even talk to Joseph yet?

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

Question: What does it mean "to believe" or have "faith"? Some writers make it sound like faith goes beyond assenting to the truth and involves personal trust. Other writers react against that idea and make believing sound completely intellectualistic. How should we as Christians view "believing" the Bible or having "faith" in Jesus?

Answer: To help us through the many conceptual tangles that are possible when it comes to the nature of faith (belief, believing), let me begin first by offering a philosophical analysis - somewhat dry and technical, but still prerequisite to clarity. Then secondly we can turn to examine the Biblical use of the terms for believing or faith. Finally we can note some practical applications to our theology and apologetics.

Section two (WCF 34:2) states that "the dispensation of the gospel [NT age] is especially committed to Him [the Holy Spirit)...[He] accompanies it with His persuasive power..." And yet, the Spirit was active in the Old Testament, preparing "the way for it" [the gospel dispensation]. In other words, in the Old Testament era, the Spirit's ministry was proleptic; it anticipated the coming of the New. B..B. Warfield points out that the Holy Spirit is referred to in well over half of the Old Testament books (and all but three in the NT: Philemon and 2 and 3 John). He avers that the Spirit played an active role in the Old Testament in three ways: theocratic, and individual or personal. Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, .pp. 101-129.

Political Correctness: The Cloning of the American Mind by David Thibodeaux Huntington House Publishers P.O. Box 53788 Lafayette, La. 70505.

We are living in a day of great change. Our language itself has not escaped change. The author, an English professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, gives a multitude of examples to show how people are being encouraged and taught to use language that is politically correct. This is clearly seen within our public education systems especially at the college level but also in other avenues of life. Dr. Thibodeaux begins by explaining that many want to deconstruct the English language. "Deconstruction is basically the notion that language is a hopelessly imperfect vehicle for the expression of ideas, and because words have no interest, 'meaning' all meaning -- is relative." (p. 20)...

Political Sermons of the American Founding Era 1730-1805 Edited by Ellis Sandog Liberty Fund, Inc. 8335 Allison Pointe Trail, Suite 300 Indianapolis, Ind. 46250-1687, 1,596 pp $38.00 (h.b.) $12.00 (p.b.)

"This principle that a whole nation has a right to do whatever it pleases, cannot in any sense whatever be admitted as true. The eternal and immutable laws of justice and morality are paramount to all human legislation. The violations of those laws is certainly within the power of a nation, but it is not among the rights of nations." This quotation of John Quincy Adams is printed in the opening pages of this remarkable volume that contains fifty-five sermons that were preached and then printed for circulation during the foundational days of our nation. These sermons are supportive of Adams' cogent remarks. Each sermon is a reminder to government leaders as well as members of their own congregations, that the Bible speaks to political issues such as war, taxation, and citizenship.