WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY
by David Sisler
I would have expected it out of "Them." Instead it came from "Us." Why should I have been surprised?
Yesterday, May 23, 2001, The Scotsman, which advertises itself as "Scotland's best selling quality national newspaper," headlined "Jesus ‘not the son of God.'" For pure shock value, that one ranks with "God is dead."
Frank Urquhart writes, "Lord Younger, who will today attend the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland as the Queen's official representative, has spoken for the first time of his personal doubts that Jesus is the ‘biological' Son of God."
Younger, who is the Lord High Commissioner to the Kirk's assembly [the national church of Scotland], a former Tory Scottish Secretary of State for Scotland, and "a regular Church-goer," declares: "I don't think you can be absolutely literal and say he was born without a father. I think that is all very literal and I would not go that far."
The article continues, "His comments echo the beliefs held by a number of leading church figures, including those of a former Moderator of the General Assembly, the Very Rev. Dr. James Weatherhead. Seven years ago Dr. Weatherhead called into question the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. And more recently Richard Holloway, the former Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh, described Christ as ‘simply an extraordinary man.'"
The Right Rev. Andrew McLellan said, "I suppose there are those within the Church of Scotland who affirm that Jesus is the Son of God in a biological DNA sense – and there is a place for those within the Church of Scotland. What the Bible means when it says that Jesus is the Son of God, is that God is uniquely present in the presence of Jesus."
Atheists declare there is no God. Agnostics say they are not sure. And purveyors of all varieties of religions not Christian, say that they alone, have found God – whatever name they give him. If a Hindu denies the virgin birth of Jesus, we expect that. If a Muslim denies the virgin birth of Jesus, we expect that. If ordained Christian clergy, men and women who have given their word to preach and teach God's Word, deny the virgin birth of Jesus, we were once surprised.
Pogo, a sage much wiser than I, once said, from the Okefenokee Swamp, "We have met the enemy and it is us."
More than 100 specific, identifiable, provable prophecies were given about the advent of Messiah. Space, and the scope of this column, will allow the brief examination of only one – the one that the learned clergymen of Scotland have discarded.
Isaiah declared, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel" (7:14).
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, "Congratulations, Mary! God is pleased with your life and your devotion to him, and you are going to give birth to His Son!"
The Hebrew translation of the word "virgin" can be debated. It can mean a woman who has never had sex, or simply a young girl. The Jews historically understood it to mean – with reference to Messiah – a woman who has never had sex.
Debate the Hebrew all you wish. Mary settled the issue.
Mary answered, "How can this be? I am a virgin! I have never had sex with a man!"
And the testimony of Joseph and Mary completes the evidence, "Joseph took Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin – he had no sexual relations with her – until her son was born, and Joseph named him Jesus."
The poem is entitled, "God is Dead! God Is Dead!" The concept is attributed to "an Irish poet on O'Connell Street and written on a train to Belfast."
Who killed Him? We did! We located Him and confined Him to the heavens, excluding Him from the earth.
We only conceded to Him "Acts of God" strange capricious disasters which insurance companies will not cover.
We restricted His worship to drafty, old, stone buildings, one day out of seven.
We are contemptuous of worship and prayer, yet we pass our lives in a thousand empty rituals, adoring and propitiating a multitude of friendly and hostile gods.
We spend lives dedicated to eating and drinking. Is this not worship? We have committed ourselves to spending the greater part of our lives making money, and by that we make money our god, for no ascetic monk in his little cell ever showed more complete devotion.
We are too proud to bow before God, but we will crawl on our faces to the bank manager, when we run into trouble on our mortgages.
The poet should add a stanza: And the clergy – who deemed themselves to be wiser than the Lord God Almighty, and far more intelligent than to ever believe the simple truth of his Word – conceived, planned and carried out God's execution.
But here and there, first one and then another, believe God's Word and cling him for dear life, for eternal life.
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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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