Back to the Bible
Over six years ago, I embarked on a bold and ambitious Back to the Bible Reformation project – to read, study and preach through every Book of the Bible, with the goal of producing books surveying the Old Testament and New Testament. This was to coincide with the Reformation 500 anniversaries.
It was 31 October 1517, that Professor Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Church door of the Schlosskirche (the Castle Church) in Wittenberg, Germany. It was 1 January 1519, that Reformer Ulrich Zwingli dispensed with the Latin mass and began Expository Preaching, in their local language, starting with the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 1, working through every verse in the New Testament. The Reformers called believers to return to the Bible as the sole standard of Faith and practice and to recognise the Lord Jesus Christ as the only True Head of the Church.
Scripture alone is our ultimate authority. Sola Scriptura! However, most Christians have never read through every Book of the Bible. Our Professor of Old Testament at Baptist Theological College, Dr. Frits Haus, regularly asked the students how many had actually read the Book of the Bible which we had been focussing on for the semester. Incredibly, only a minority of students could say that they had actually read the Book of the Bible we were studying in that semester! Dr. Fritz Haus asked the assembled college students of all years at a Chapel service: “How many of you have read the whole Bible?” Hands started being raised and then somebody asked, “You mean the New Testament?” “No”, Dr. Haus smiled, “I mean the whole Bible!” Hands came down all over the Chapel.
Biblical Illiteracy in the Churches
Surprisingly few pastors can articulate the central message, or clear distinctives, of each Book of the Bible. We know this, because for over 38 years of ministry in the streets, market places and shopping malls, across the continent, when we have engaged in personal one-on-one Evangelism and surveys, it is clear that there is a pervasive Biblical illiteracy. Even at Bible Colleges and Theological Seminaries, we can see from the responses to our Bible Exam that many students and even a surprising number of lecturers are ignorant of central doctrines of the Scripture and the key events in Redemption history.
So many of the economic problems we are facing today would be resolved if Biblical economics were observed. “Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15 and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.” Exodus 20:17. Socialism is legalised theft and institutionalised envy.
No taxation above 10% (1 Samuel 8:10-18).
No taxation of property or inheritance (1 Kings 21:3).
Institutions and individuals involved in the full-time service of the Lord may not be taxed (Ezra 7:23-24).
No unequal or progressive system of taxation (Exodus 30:14-15 & Leviticus 19:15).
Private ownership of property (Luke 16:11-19; 12-27; Matthew 20:1-15; 25:14-30).
Unbacked currency, inflationary economics, fractional reserve banking and usury are strictly forbidden (Leviticus 19:35-26; Proverbs 11:1; 20:10; Amos 8:5-7; Micah 6:11-12).
Crime and Punishment
Civil government is to uphold Biblical Law (Matthew 5:17-19).
Uphold the sanctity of life (Genesis 9:6).
Civil government is to be a minister of Justice, protecting innocent life and punishing effectively those who do not respect life and property (Romans 13:3-4 & 1 Peter 2:13-14).
Civil government is to serve its citizens (Luke 22:25-26 & Matthew 20:25-28).
Civil government is under God, with limited jurisdiction (John 19:11; Matthew 22:21).
Violent criminals who are guilty of murder, rape and kidnapping are to be executed (Genesis 9:6-12; Exodus 21:12-16; Leviticus 24:17-22; Numbers 35:33; Deuteronomy 21:1-9; Revelation 13:10).
Criminals and vandals who show lack of respect for property must make full restitution directly to the victim (Exodus 22:3-6; Deuteronomy 19:15-21).
Education must be controlled by the parents, aided by the Church, but independent of the state (Deuteronomy 6:7; Hosea 4:6; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 2:8).
The Bible teaches decentralisation with most responsibilities and powers resting on local municipal communities, the family and the individual (Exodus 24:1; Deuteronomy 1:13-17; Acts 17:26).
Answers in Genesis
One of the largest apologetic ministries in the world today is Answers in Genesis, which has a most vital and strategic ministry, most relevant for our day. In a very real sense there are answers in every single Book of the Bible, Genesis being the foundation, is incredibly important, but we should not neglect any Book of the Bible.
Dangerous Deceptions and Distractions
Those advocating statism are eloquently refuted in the Scriptures. The Judaizers of today are thoroughly refuted by the Books of Galatians and Hebrews. The modern cult of Israel worship is refuted by virtually every one of the prophets and the history books of the Old Testament. Every one of the prophets condemned Israel and Judah for their idolatry, immorality, ingratitude and iniquities. God condemned the northern kingdom of Israel into Assyrian exile and the people of Judah into Babylonian captivity. Twice God abandoned Jerusalem and the Temple to be destroyed. Yet today, we are now being told that the political state that calls itself Israel in the Middle East, despite being secular, pro-abortion, organisers of gay pride marches with state funds and conscripting women into the army, is worthy of uncritical support by Bible-believing Christians! “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.” Galatians 3:16
Context and Time Lines
Today, many messianic prophecies are being misapplied to political entities. Ignoring historical contexts and timelines has had a disastrous effect in wasting many Christians’ time in distracting end-times hysteria, rapture-fever and escapist-eschatology.
New Humanist Standards Have Displaced Biblical Law
Most of the Laws, statutes, precepts and instructions of the Scripture are being ignored today and replaced by a whole series of new secular humanist laws: Thou shalt not be controversial; Thou shalt not be Intolerant; Thou shalt not be Homophobic; Thou shalt not be a Bigot or Judgemental; Thou shalt not be a Racist. Most seriously of all: Thou shalt not be Anti-Semitic.
Tolerating Pornography, Abortion and Blasphemy
According to many Christians today, we must tolerate pornography and blasphemy as elements of free speech. We can live with abortion and even vote for political parties that legalise baby-killing and that use our taxpayer’s money to kill babies legally and officially. However, we must treat what the world calls “hate speech” as unforgivable blasphemy and treason to the New World Order.
A False Gospel and a False Mission
Truly, today, many in our churches have accepted a false gospel, a false concept of man, false laws and standards, a false version of reality, a false god and a false mission of the church.
Return to the Scriptures
It is absolutely vital for all of God's people to return to the whole Bible, all sixty-six Books, from Genesis to Revelation, to read, study, believe, obey and apply the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life.
Hijacked by Humanism
Not only have our schools and seminaries been hijacked by an unbiblical secular humanism, but in all too many cases, so too have our churches. “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His Commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9
The Greatest Century of Missions Has Been Derailed into the Worst Century of Persecution
Every aspect of Christian life, faith and practise is under unprecedented, relentless attack. From the 19th century where Protestant, Evangelical Christianity predominated in Europe, America, South Africa and throughout the mission fields of the world, we have seen the greatest century of missions derailed into the worst century of persecution. More Christians were martyred for their faith in the 20th century than all the previous nineteen centuries combined.
The Unthinkable Has Become Tolerated, Accepted, Legal and Applauded
What was once unthinkable, became tolerated, accepted, applauded and then legal. The enemies of the Church are not satisfied with the legalisation of perversity. They demand the prosecution of dissenting voices. No longer satisfied with freedom, or tolerance, they now demand approval, funding and conformity to their perversity.
A World War of Worldviews
In the battle for the family, the battle for marriage, the battle for your mind, the battle for the children, in this cultural war, world war of worldviews and clash of civilisations, it is absolutely essential that we return back to the Bible, to God's Word as the rock solid foundation, which can endure the floods and storms of opposition.
Put on the Whole Armour of God
We need to put on the whole armour of God, starting with the belt of truth and our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, putting on the helmet of Salvation and taking up the shield of Faith, with which we will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one and taking up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Bible Study Resources
The Old Testament Survey (288 pages with 32 pictures, charts and maps) and New Testament Survey (304 pages with 14 pictures, charts and maps) along with accompanying Old Testament Survey MP3 Audio (29 hours) and New Testament Survey MP3 Audio (over 25 hours), along with the Biblical Preaching Handbook (112 pages with 24 pictures) are available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: email@example.com and Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
(These Articles are all subject to change)