Wisdom and Knowledge Come from God
Proverbs 2:10-12 “For wisdom shall enter into thy heart, And knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall watch over thee; Understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of evil, From the men that speak perverse things (ASV, 1901).”
In every science there are two factors: facts and ideas; or, facts and the mind. Science is more than knowledge. Knowledge is the persuasion of what is true on adequate evidence. But the facts of astronomy, chemistry, or history do not constitute the science of those departments of knowledge. Nor does the mere orderly arrangement of facts amount to science. Historical facts arranged in chronological order, are mere annals. The philosophy of history supposes those facts to be understood in their causal relations. In every department the man of science is assumed to understand the laws by which the facts of experience are determined; so that he not only knows the past, but can predict the future. The astronomer can foretell the relative position of the heavenly bodies for centuries to come. The chemist can tell with certainty what will be the effect of certain chemical combinations. If, therefore, theology be a science, it must include something more than a mere knowledge of facts. It must embrace an exhibition of the internal relation of those facts, one to another, and each to all. It must be able to show that if one be admitted, others cannot be denied.
The Bible is no more a system of theology, than nature is a system of chemistry or of mechanics. We find in nature the facts which the chemist or the mechanical philosopher has to examine, and from them to ascertain the laws by which they are determined. So the Bible contains the truths, which the theologian has to collect, authenticate, arrange, and exhibit in their internal relation to each other. This constitutes the difference between biblical and systematic theology. The office of the former is to ascertain and state the facts of Scripture. The office of the latter is to take those facts, determine their relation to each other and to other cognate truths, as well as to vindicate them and show their harmony and consistency. This is not an easy task, or one of slight importance.
Necessity for System in Theology.
It may naturally be asked, why not take the truths as God has seen fit to reveal them, and thus save ourselves the trouble of showing their relation and harmony?
The answer to this question is, in the first place, that it cannot be done. Such is the constitution of the human mind that it cannot help endeavoring to systematize and reconcile the facts which it admits to be true. In no department of knowledge have men been satisfied with the possession of a mass of undigested facts. And the students of the Bible can as little be expected to be thus satisfied. There is a necessity, therefore, for the construction of systems of theology. Of this the history of the Church affords abundant proof. In all ages and among all denominations, such systems have been produced.
Second, A much higher kind of knowledge is thus obtained, than by the mere accumulation of isolated facts. It is one thing, for example, to know that oceans, continents, islands, mountains, and rivers exist on the face of the earth; and a much higher thing to know the causes which have determined the distribution of land and water on the surface of our globe; the configuration of the earth; the effects of that configuration on climate, on the races of plants and animals, on commerce, civilization, and the destiny of nations. It is by determining these causes that geography has been raised from a collection of facts to a highly important and elevated science. In like manner, without the knowledge of the laws of attraction and motion, astronomy would be a confused and unintelligible collection of facts. What is true of other sciences is true of theology. We cannot know what God has revealed in his Word unless we understand, at least in some good measure, the relation in which the separate truths therein contained stand to each other. It cost the Church centuries of study and controversy to solve the problem concerning the person of Christ; that is, to adjust and bring into harmonious arrangement all the facts which the Bible teaches on that subject.
Third, We have no choice in this matter. If we would discharge our duty as teachers and defenders of the truth, we must endeavor to bring all the facts of revelation into systematic order and mutual relation. It is only thus that we can satisfactorily exhibit their truth, vindicate them from objections, or bring them to bear in their full force on the minds of men.
Fourth, Such is evidently the will of God. He does not teach men astronomy or chemistry, but He gives them the facts out of which those sciences are constructed. Neither does He teach us systematic theology, but He gives us in the Bible the truths, which, properly understood and arranged, constitute the science of theology. As the facts of nature are all related and determined by physical laws, so the facts of the Bible are all related and determined by the nature of God and of his creatures. And as He wills that men should study his works and discover their wonderful organic relation and harmonious combination, so it is his will that we should study his Word, and learn that, like the stars, its truths are not isolated points, but systems, cycles, and epicycles, in unending harmony and grandeur. Besides all this, although the Scriptures do not contain a system of theology as a whole, we have in the Epistles of the New Testament, portions of that system wrought out to our hands. These are our authority and guide.
Jewish Studies will provide a comprehensive examination of the issues, history and the setting of the State of Israel in the Middle East past, present, and future. On May 15, 1948 the State of Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation. It had been 2,534 years since Israel was last an independent nation and never in world history has a previously destroyed nation regained its sovereignty. The ancient dead language of Hebrew was officially recognized as the national spoken and written language of the nation Israel. At no time in human history has a previously dead language come back into daily use by any country in the world.
This course of study is an examination of the historic scope of Jewish studies, mainly through a historical survey with a strong biblical emphasis. Sometimes the sources are Jewish books that are secular and liberal compared to our Christian viewpoint. We will not agree with all that is written. It is important to understand the prevailing viewpoint that is held by the majority of the world reflecting their attitude toward the Jews and The nation Israel. This attitude is diametrically opposed to what the long story of the Bible teaches.
The course of study begins with the call of Abram and the covenant God made with him. It continues through his grandson Jacob whose name was changed to Israel and rests on the appearance of the Lord Jesus the Jewish Messiah. It concludes with the establishment of the Jewish Messianic Kingdom on the earth under king Jesus. This course of study will provide an understanding of the historical events and influences that led to the nation Israel, both past, present, and future.
This program in Middle East and Jewish Studies is extremely important. The reason: the Bible makes it clear that a day is coming like no other in history. The world will turn against the nation of Israel as predicted throughout the prophecies of the Old Testament. The nations will say, “The Jews are but outcasts. It is only Zion; no one cares for her” (Jeremiah 30:17). The world will say, “Let Israel be polluted, and let our eyes gloat over Zion” (Micah 4:11). Micah goes on and adds, the world does not know the thoughts of the Lord, nor understand His purposes. All of this precludes the coming of Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, who will bring in world peace as never before experienced by humanity.
This degree program is meant to give to the student spiritual and practical understanding of our times, and beyond! There is nothing quite like it in academic circles. I especially want dedicated laymen and pastors in this course of study. They will then be able to inform and teach the Word of God with greater clarity, and make even more pertinent the gospel of personal salvation in Christ Jesus for all peoples.
5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her skill.
6Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I remember thee not;
If I prefer not Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
7Remember, O Jehovah, against the children of Edom
The day of Jerusalem (ASV, 1901).
Christian Apologetics is the science and theological skill of giving a reasonable defense of the Christian faith. Christians are obligated to be apologists according to the exhortation given in 1Peter 3:15. Apologetics is not an option for the believer, but his duty and obligation. The purpose for Christian apologetics, first and foremost, is to present compelling factual truth and evidence for the validity of the Christian faith in the face of objections given by an unbelieving world. Arguments from evidence found in science, archaeology, history, and philosophy are marshaled to demonstrate that Christianity is the only viable world view and belief system out there that best answers life’s ultimate questions and is better than any alternative worldview or religion.
Apologetics aims to show that the objections of unbelief, however sophisticated, are, at heart, unreasonable and that contrary claims of biblical contradictions and alternative interpretations of science and history are flawed in the face of the overwhelming evidence arguing for the authenticity of the Christian faith. The importance of apologetics is designed to give refutation of opposing beliefs so as to undermine and dismantle the foundations and claims of anti-Christian belief systems. Hopefully from successfully implementing the apologetic discipline the believer will be able to give a reasoned defense for the hope that is within him of those who ask him with gentleness and respect. The ultimate goal of apologetics is not to win and argument, but win the unbeliever to Christ. Our seminary will teach the various systems of apologetics for clearly explaining the truth of Scripture, the existence of God and His appearance on earth in Jesus the Messiah.
By Michael Burer Edited by Russell Penny
There is a growing tension on many conservative seminary campuses that is affecting the whole direction of these schools. It is the tension between content and practice as it relates to the original languages of the Bible.
Traditionally, ministerial training in the United States was very rigorous academically. Ministers regularly knew Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and they were trained to use their minds in the ministry as much as their hearts. However, with the advent of the second Great Awakening, the emphasis upon ministerial training began to change. The educational changes in the secular world also affected the Christian scene as traditional theories of education gave way to ideas that emphasized process and practice instead of content. Through these forces a subtle anti-intellectual emphasis entered Christianity. These changes show up today in the tensions that are currently present on many conservative evangelical campuses.
Ministerial students everywhere, as a rule, no longer seek to learn the Biblical languages to the best of their ability. Instead they want to cut to the chase and learn how to do what they want to do with very little knowledge as a basis. First-hand knowledge of the Biblical text is left behind for the sake of practicality. They devalue the content of the Greek or Hebrew language because it does not quickly or easily lead to great sermons or flashy lessons.
This conflict has even affected the required courses in various departments. In the past students had to take six semesters of Greek and five of Hebrew. These extra semesters got cut when alumni surveys stated that those extra semesters were unnecessary because no one used it anyway. So even on the administrative level content has been sacrificed for practice, the “what” for the “how.”
Is the current trend toward an emphasis of practice over and against content good, especially when the content is the language in which the Bible was written? I would offer three arguments that say no: one practical, one ethical, and one theological.
Focusing primarily on practice when it comes to preaching, teaching, and ministering the Scriptures is not good. It is recognized in almost every field of study that solid theory must under gird any type of practice. If the theory and content that is supposed to back up a discipline is not there, eventually the one that practices that discipline will fail. When a minister decides that the original languages are not important enough to study, master, and use regularly, he is cutting himself off from the best source of content and theory that he can ever get. These are the primary documents of Christian faith and practice. If the original languages are ignored, the minister destines himself for a ministry of second-hand knowledge. And that certainly is not practical.
Second, as a person who professes to believe the truth of God’s word, a minister should do all he can to understand it and apprehend it. The last thing the world needs is ministers who simply preach and teach what they think they are supposed to preach and teach without knowing the accurate truth of the Scripture. A minister compromises his integrity when he proclaims or teaches something he doesn’t know or understand to the best of his ability. The original languages are the primary tools by which a minister can search the Scriptures and learn their truth as accurately as possible. The English Bible may help us understand with much accuracy the truth of God’s Word, but as ministers of integrity we should strive for a higher degree of accuracy. Greek and Hebrew provide the key for that. One might say that the English Bible gives us the black and white picture while the original languages will give us the color picture with much emphasis.
Third, when God made us as individuals, he made every part of us to love and serve him. We should love him with our hearts. We should love him with our strength. We should also love him with our minds. Loving God with our minds requires the full exercise of our minds in understanding and comprehending and probing the things of God. Since the Bible was originally written in Greek and Hebrew, the full exercise of our minds in his service requires the use of those languages. Most of the tension is found at this level. Students are unwilling to do the hard work necessary to use their minds as fully as they can. Yes, languages are very hard work. They demand much time and effort. However, the God who made us loves us, and brought his Word to us deserves no less.
Nowhere does God’s truth come through more clearly than through the original languages. Scofield Institute seeks to accomplish the task before us with every available tool, including Greek and Hebrew, so we will be ministers of complete integrity. We seek to teach the study of the Scriptures with the original languages so we honor the God who brought them to us.
“No one can serve two masters,” declared Jesus to his disciples (Matt. 6:24). However, Christians have spent the greater portion of the past two millenniums apparently trying to prove Jesus wrong. We have told ourselves that we can indeed have both-the things of God and the things of this world. Many of us live our lives no differently than do conservative non-Christians, except for the fact that we attend church regularly each week. We watch the same entertainment. We share the same concerns about the problems of this world. And we are frequently just as involved in the world’s commercial and materialistic pursuits. Often, our being “not of this world” exists in theory more than in practice.
But the church was not originally like that. The first Christians lived under a completely different set of principles and values than the rest of mankind. They rejected the world’s entertainment, honors, and riches. They were already citizens of another kingdom, and they listened to the voice of a different Master. This was as true of the second century church as it was of the first.