Imagine you are in command of military forces defending a castle. You have lots of things to worry about. Your enemy will use catapults and trebuchet to hurl rocks, incendiary devices, hornet’s nests and plague-ridden horse carcasses over your walls. They will use battering rams to bash in your fortified gates. They will scale your walls with ladders, hooks and siege towers. They will send swarms of arrows over your walls. They will do everything in their power to reduce the number of defenders and find a way inside.
Most notoriously, the enemy will send sappers, engineers whose sole aim is to dig under your walls and fortifications to either weaken them so that they fall or simply to create a tunnel passage by which enemy troops can invade a castle from within. Counter-sapping measures involve sending sappers to thwart the mining operations of the enemy’s sappers. For example, the castle’s sappers will seek to undermine the tunnels of the enemy and collapse them before they reach the walls. The Chinese were known to dig to an enemy’s tunnel and then use a bellows to blow smoke into the tunnel, suffocating those inside.
Sappers and counter-sappers both had to practice good listening skills. Periodically, work had to be halted so they could listen for the sound of their foe’s mining operations and thereby adjust their digging pattern or even prepare for battle underground. They also had to make sure they knew where they were. It wouldn’t do for defenders to emerge from the earth within the enemy’s camp, since this would afford their enemy a chance to seize the tunnel for their own use and invade the castle from the tunnel’s other exit. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to collapse your foes tunnel if they were already beneath your walls because collapsing the tunnel would accomplish the very goal of your enemy’s efforts: weakening the castle walls to the point of collapse. Imagine the irony of collapsing the enemy’s tunnel and thereby bringing down you castle’s walls!
Rather than collapsing those tunnels, the castle’s defenders should have smoked out the invaders, collapsed the tunnel well away from the foundations and filled the tunnel under the walls with rock and rubble to shore up the damage.
It goes without saying that modern Christendom has a problem with “friendly” forces who nonetheless undermine the foundations of the faith: the Bible as ultimate authority. These well-meaning Christians suppose that they are undermining the efforts of the enemy, but they are blind to the fact that they are undermining the foundations in the process. By compromising the Bible’s ultimate authority with extraBiblical ideas like millions of years [when the Bible plainly teaches the creation of the universe and all living things in six calendar days] and microbes-to-man evolution [when the Bible likewise teaches that God created plants, animals and man, each according to their kind, implying some sort of ultimate limits to biological change], they are accomplishing the work of the enemy.
You see, these ideas are based on the premise of pure naturalism, which precludes the possibility of supernatural agency. While the founders of the science affirmed the Bible and conducted science out of a desire to “think God’s thoughts after Him,” modern scientists do not like to remember God. Rejecting the idea that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, they seek to prevent a Divine foot from entering the door of scientific investigation and knowledge. Well-meaning Christians have ignored the antiBiblical principle of pure naturalism which permeates modern science; supposing that all truth is God’s truth, they forget the presuppositions behind are anything but neutral. Worse, by insisting that we assert the antisupernatural suppositions of modern science as the ultimate authority over the supernatural revelation of Scripture, they undermine Scripture as our ultimate authority.
Of course, many do so arbitrarily. If they were consistent, they would also have to reject the revelation of miracles in the Bible, the virgin birth, the sinlessness of Christ, fulfilled prophecy and the resurrection itself, for modern science chained to the presumption of pure naturalism likewise rejects the possibility of these things. This is why Jesus warned Nicodemus, “If I tell you of earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of spiritual things?” [John 3:12] Those who compromise the Scriptures with millions of years and microbes-to-man evolution suppose that they are making the Gospel more intellectually palatable, but they are actually undermining the ultimate authority of God’s Word upon which the Gospel stands.
One wonders then why such Christians undermine the foundations of the faith? The answer is that they are not listening carefully to the Word of God. Instead they are letting the noise of men drown out the voice of God. If they were more discerning, they would realize the position they’re in. They would realize that they are helping to undermine the ultimate authority of Scripture. But respect of persons is a sneaky temptation. Many well-meaning Christians admire men they suppose are stalwarts of the faith. After all, look at their zeal and effort! Look at their accomplishments! And they are undermining the works of the enemy, after all! But many of these men are false pretenders who have infiltrated our ranks. Many calling themselves Christians cannot even affirm the historical bodily resurrection of Christ, a minimum requirement of authentic saving faith per Romans 10:9, and are thus unsaved – so it is little wonder they work so hard to undermine the ultimate authority of God’s Word! Having failed to judge a tree by its fruit, they likewise fail to see that rather than undermining the works of the Enemy, they are actually helping him to undermine the foundations by a twice-deep hole!
We should pray for those who unwittingly undermine the ultimate authority of God’s Word. As Spurgeon noted, it is easier to get on the down-grade than it is to get off and get back on the up-line – and we tend to go much further down the down-grade than we ever supposed we might in the beginning! Nevertheless, as we pray for them we ought also to more earnestly contend for the faith and to name error and compromise where we find it. We should do so in meekness, not for our own glory or aggrandizement but for the sake of truth and grace, which came by our Lord!
-Rev Tony Breeden