The Basis of Christian Belief

In his book The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism Walter R. Martin takes issue with us regarding our insistence on observing the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. In seeking to de­stroy the evidence upon which Seventh-day Adventists rest their case for the seventh day, Mr. Martin reveals an at­titude and type of reasoning that is indeed strange.

President, Australasian Divisio

IN HIS book The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism Walter R. Martin takes issue with us regarding our insistence on observing the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. In seeking to de­stroy the evidence upon which Seventh-day Adventists rest their case for the seventh day, Mr. Martin reveals an at­titude and type of reasoning that is indeed strange.

After having made clear that Seventh-day Adventists believe in and base a large part of their case for the seventh day on the Bible story of Creation, he makes this re­markable statement: "Thus their case rests very heavily upon a literal 24-hour-day creation theory which is contradicted by the findings of the majority of responsible scientists. Scores of volumes have been writ­ten on this subject, and we feel that the Ad-ventist position sorely lacks conclusive scientific support."—Page 161.

Here Mr. Martin reveals that he expects to have the statements of Scripture sup­ported by the majority of responsible scientists before they can be accepted as a basis for Christian belief. This is a position one would expect to be taken only by those who are termed Modernists.

Suppose we follow Mr. Martin in his chain of reasoning. If we must have scien­tific support, and "conclusive" support at that, for the fundamentals of the Christian faith which we firmly believe Mr. Martin holds, how will these fundamentals fare? Let us take for example the incarnation, the virgin birth, the resurrection, the new birth, the ascension of Christ, the existence of heaven, and the existence of God. These are all fundamental truths of the Christian faith to which we feel certain Mr. Martin freely subscribes. On what are these funda­mental beliefs based? Do any of them re­ceive conclusive scientific support? We ex­pect Mr. Martin would reject the very suggestion that these truths are not acceptable to evangelical Christians because they find their origin and receive practically their only support from the words of Scripture. If Mr. Martin were to bring the argument he has used against the Sabbath to bear upon his own most cherished beliefs, he would have to discard most if not all of them. He would have no Christian faith remaining.

For Mr. Martin to be reduced to use such self-destructive reasoning is an indication of the straits in which those who oppose the Bible Sabbath find themselves. It also high­lights the fact that the Sabbath is based solely upon a "Thus saith the Lord."

Another illuminative fact that is thus brought to our attention is the significance of the message of Revelation 14:6, 7. From the beginning of our history we have de­clared that the Sabbath is associated with the everlasting gospel. We have believed that the gospel included a belief in the story of man's creation, fall, and redemp­tion as outlined in Holy Writ. We have be­lieved that the process of creation and re­demption are both utterly dependent upon the power of God, "For he spake, and it was done." The miracle of instantaneous crea­tion and the miracle of instantaneous con­version are all of one. We have never sug­gested that scientific confirmation was es­sential for either. The Sabbath is to one a memorial and of the other a sign. To seek for scientific explanation of creation or conversion would be to seek for a doctrine of works—some rational explanation that would substitute for God's power and God's grace.

We are sure Mr. Martin did not intend that his argument against the Sabbath should be carried to its logical conclusion. We can only conclude that the reason for the Sabbath based upon Creation stands fast and secure unless we are prepared to deny and destroy the entire gospel of salva­tion.

 


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President, Australasian Divisio

June 1961

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