Preachers in Doubt
It is shocking to realize how skepticism and higher criticism have robbed many pastors of their faith in the Bible. Even many of the old-line conservative evangelical denominations are becoming riddled with doubts about the inspiration of the Scriptures. Often that is used to justify their rejection of the Sabbath.
In one Amazing Facts crusade I spent an interesting afternoon with a Southern Baptist minister who had requested an interview on the Sabbath subject. Some of his members were attending the Amazing Facts crusade and had questioned him about what they had learned. For the first time in his life he delved into the subject in order to find answers for his people. Then he asked me to meet him in his church office. I listened in amazement as he explained why he could not accept the Sabbath. I was amazed because the Southern Baptists have had the historic reputation of being fundamental, Bible-believing Christians. But this young man, who graduated from the Louisville Southern Baptist Seminary in 1975, did not believe in the Genesis story of creation. He denied the flood story and affirmed his belief in evolution as the explanation of man's existence. He explicitly rejected the story of Jonah and the whale. Finally, I asked him if he believed in the virgin birth of Jesus. His answer was, "I don't believe it is necessary to believe in the virgin birth to be saved."
I wish I could tell you that this attitude is exceptional among the Baptists, but it is not. This pastor assured me that over half of the Southern Baptist ministers believed just like he did. I certainly hope he is mistaken about that estimation, and I'm frankly of the opinion that he was exaggerating the numbers. Nevertheless, I'm convinced that the majority of this young preacher's classmates had lost their faith in the inspired Word while studying at the seminary, just as he had.
Finally, under close questioning, he weakly affirmed some kind of personal faith in the virgin birth even though he didn't think it was too important. I asked him if his congregation knew about his views on the Bible, and he assured me that they did not. He did not dare preach the things that he believed. I said, "Dave, if your church knew what you have expressed to us, they would fire you on the spot." I could understand perfectly why he was afraid to preach his convictions.
It should not be too great a surprise to see this wave of skepticism growing. Basically, it is one of the signs of the end of time. We are watching prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. What I have just told you is only one of the dramatic signs that Jesus is coming very soon.
Do you wonder how the seminaries and great denominations have drifted into this sort of open doubt of the Word of God? One reason is obvious. By denying the Sabbath they opened the door to doubts about the literal six-day creation. Another easy step led to the vast periods assigned to evolution. God gave the Sabbath as a divine reminder of His sovereign creative power. Representing His authority as the only true God, the Sabbath was to be a weekly reminder that the only God deserving of worship is the One who alone had the power to create and recreate. As a sign of both creation and redemption, observance of the Sabbath would be a perpetual protection against the evil of evolution as well as modernism. When the churches rejected the Sabbath, they also rejected the strongest bulwark which would have protected them from the kind of deadly disbelief which the young minister expressed. No man can be an evolutionist or a modernist who truly believes and keeps the Sabbath.
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