They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us…(1 John 2:19)The words, Alma Mater, mean “soul’s mother” and are often used to refer to one’s college or university training. Who or what is the mother of one’s soul? Doesn’t our soul (Greek, psuche… “soo-kay”) come from the Creator? An English word that derives from this Greek word is “psychology,” the study of the psuche (soul). However, “alma” is a Spanish word and “mater” is Greek for “mother.” What if one’s “soul mother” leaves the founding principles upon which it was established? What if colleges and universities that originally were built to train men and women for the Gospel ministry actually abandon those they have trained? This is certainly true of ones such as Harvard and Yale which were founded to train people for the ministry. However, we first must remember that colleges and universities are made up of fallible human beings, and human beings change. No institution that consists of humans can avoid change. The only unchangeable One is God, and His Word is an extension of Himself. Therefore, His Word is, and has been, constant throughout the ages. Men seek to change, re-interpret, or eradicate God’s Word, but it still stands! Amen! Next, we must realize that the foundation for all things rests upon the Word of the Living God! How did He begin this Revelation of Himself to mankind?
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…” (Genesis 1:1)It is of extreme importance to seek understanding as to why God chose to begin His Record to mankind with the most profound statement of all, that He is the Maker of everything! If God chose to begin His Word with the aspect of Him as Creator, why is there such great neglect of this most fundamental concept in Bible-believing churches? This is easily traced to the many pastors who seem to see little or no need to emphasize creation in their teaching or preaching. Since 2004, the pro-evolutionary "Clergy Letter Project" begun by atheist, Michael Zimmerman, has garnered over 13,000 signatures by clergy affirming their belief in evolution. It is noteworthy to learn that the states with the highest number of clergy who believe in evolution are the states that are the most liberal politically. This underscores the need to present scientific truths that affirm the Biblical accounts (particularly of the Genesis flood). While many Bible-believing pastors are sincere, having a great desire to see people come to know the LORD and grow in His Word; by and large, Bible-believing men of God are neglecting the greatest fundamental concept that GOD HIMSELF established in His Word concerning Himself…that He is the Creator of all things. This neglect begs the question: “Where and how did these pastors receive their training?” In short, few pastors we have met over 12 years of creation ministry truly seem to understand the purpose and need in modern times to preach the truth of God as Creator. While they may claim the term “fundamental,” pastors are greatly neglecting this most basic of all fundamentals. We serve with pastors who were trained at a variety of solid (or were once solid) Bible-believing and training schools of higher education. These men are of good character whose lives are founded upon the Word of God. However, we increasingly encounter ones who do not or will not “connect the dots” between the many social issues today and the foundation: that God is the Creator. A Bible college professor once told me (concerning creation ministry), “This is so new.” Since then, his statement has caused me to wonder: “What is so new about Genesis 1:1?" It’s just the beginning of everything that answers the questions of life's most nagging questions, such as "Why am I here?" or "Where did I come from?” Institutions with which we are the most familiar are not exempt from this neglect. It is truly as if creation ministry is an “odd duck” that everyone must need ignore or avoid, and that we all should just “stick to the Gospel.” Those who believe this fail to study and understand from God's Word that the bedrock foundation of the Gospel IS the Creator/God against Whom all have sinned! In a nutshell, the connection of creation to the Gospel is clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 15:22.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”This verse brings into focus both the genealogical account and a literal first man, Adam. In the same chapter, Christ is called the “last Adam.” This fact presupposes a literal Adam in Genesis, which is critical to the Gospel message. Hence, creation is inseparably and foundationally linked to the Gospel! However, from time to time over the years, I have asked myself “Why?” Why is creation an “odd duck” among fundamental, Bible believers? Why is creation so often ignored by preachers and professors who think of it as “new,” when it is the oldest, most fundamental concept of all Scriptural truth? What's more, we have also been with fundamental, Bible-believing pastors who themselves have been ostracized or ignored by their “alma maters”. What can and should we do when our “soul’s mother” leaves us, or when we are ostracized by others over different issues?
1. Cry out to God.When David was forsaken by people, he cried to the LORD.
I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge (Psalm 142:4-5)
2. Expose the carnality of men-following.As is prevalent today in modern Christianity, the early church was taken with personalities. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:11-13)
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” (I Corinthians 3:4, 5)Paul did not hesitate to expose the carnality of men-following: “There’s a group of you who follow Apollos…Paul…Cephas…Christ…. Are ye not carnal…?” What we see in fundamentalism today is this: colleges, large churches, and other “successful” ministries led by high profile men have engendered followings. We then have those who (in a variety of ways) essentially say, “I am of Jones, I am of Horton, I am of Comfort, Robertson, Sexton, Hyles, Schaap, Malone, Chappell,” etc. What follows is that anyone or ministry who doesn’t fit their particular group is ‘out of the loop’ and not worthy of attention or fellowship. Most often, ones not in their “click” are simply ignored. Sometimes they are publicly castigated over issues that could be dealt with privately. It follows that those who are a part of the same “click” are the ones who repeatedly are invited as guest speakers at special events. To those who belong to a group of men-followers, God issues a strong and stinging rebuke: “Are ye not carnal and walk as men?” Sadly, modern fundamentalism is FULL of men-followers.
3. Realize that we are nothing.What was Paul’s attitude toward others in the ministry? “Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth…” (I Corinthians 3:7). Paul asserted that he is nothing and that God is everything, since HE is the one Who gives “the increase.” The terms are gardening terms. In essence, those who sow, water, or cultivate the seed of God’s Word are NOTHING compared to the One who causes the plant to grow in the first place! The phrase, “giveth the increase,” is but one Greek word that means, “cause to grow.” The Creator of all things chose to compare everyone who ministers to “sowers” or “waterers” and as NOTHING compared to Him Who is EVERYTHING since it is He Who causes faith to grow in the first place! How can we truly be humbled to the point that we realize that we’re nothing? The psalmist wrote:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4)The message of God’s creation shows us just how small and insignificant we are in the whole of His universe. As “specklets” on this larger “speck” called “earth,” we don’t deserve the least of our Maker’s attention or consideration! It is truly unfathomably amazing that the sovereign LORD of creation would choose to love His creation so much so that He’d take humanity upon Himself for the purpose of bearing the punishment we deserve as sinners!
4. Promote unity in Christ.“Is Christ divided?” the Apostle Paul asked. This is a rhetorical question. In other words, “No! He cannot be divided. Believers are ONE in Christ, and we are ALL ministers together in Him.” This brings into focus the critical qualification: “in Christ,” for Christ and His Word are inseparable. We cannot simply ignore false teaching as it is contrary to Christ and seeks to divide Christ. Along with a host of false doctrines (e.g. unBiblical belief about salvation, marriage, music, money, etc), “men-following” must be added to the list of things that divide believers into competing groups! All who follow Christ and His Word MUST be in unity. Even ones whose “souls’ mothers” have left or ignored them must seek unity in Christ between each other…no matter what the favorite college or personality may be. Our unity is NOT in a college or a personality, but in Christ! God didn’t establish colleges or universities or other purposeful organizations. He established the church, the body of Christ, which is one body. Anything or anyone that seeks to destroy our unity in Christ is to be exposed and avoided. Let us work to bring people to unity IN CHRIST apart from man-centered “clicks.” If we do so, perhaps we’ll see a bit of true revival in these modern, troublesome times. Most of all, let's remember that when our “soul’s mother” forsakes is, our Heavenly Father receives us!