Mapping Out the Battle Fronts – Doug Phillip’s Keynote Address

My dear friend and brother in the Lord, Doug Phillips, brought a strong message mapping out the long war for the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Doug explained that Psalm 119 is the foundation of all the messages that he will be bringing this week. He then proceeded to read the first 16 verses of this glorious psalm on the Law of God.

Doug is a man who understands the critical role a father plays in the life of his family: When fathers talk about the Word with respect, their children are watching. Likewise, when a father despises the Word, either explicitly or implicitly (by neglecting it), his children learn to hate it. Doug has spent the last year researching and documenting the life of Charles Darwin, whose spiritual progeny have given us the horrors of modernity. Darwin learned his scorn of Scripture from his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, and his other mentors. As Doug exhorted the attendees, “There is no substitute for fathers who are passionate about Scripture.”

He then highlighted the major battle fronts in this war, beginning at the very birthplace of the sufficiency battles—the garden of Eden. It was there our first parents bought into the lie that their own reason was a sufficient guide for their actions and thus proclaimed that knowledge, direction, and ultimate meaning can and should be determined apart from God. Since this first battle, the church has had to contend with Greek rationalism, Roman syncretism, neo-evangelical revivalism, evolutionary hegemony, and the battle of our own day, the definition of Christian orthodoxy.

Doug also gave us a sobering look at the enemies of God, who are often much more keen and purposeful than the soldiers of Christ when it comes to understanding and carrying out the implications of their worldview. Just last month, Richard Dawkins called for “militant atheism,” fully understanding the truth that God and evolution cannot be reconciled. Dawkins understands that worldview neutrality is a myth. Religious commitment is inescapable because all men have an object of worship. Men will either worship and serve the Creator or the creature.

Although the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is a great dividing line between obedience and rebellion, it also gives great cause for unity and joy in the church of Christ because it tightly joins brother with brother in the body of Christ. Standing on the rock solid foundation of Scripture’s sufficiency, even those who may differ on specific points of application can be united.

By definition, “a true understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture requires that we embrace Christianity as a total world and life view and the Bible as the comprehensive source book on that world and life view.” Thus, the doctrine to be examined this week is not one relegated to points of formal theology, but one which extends to family life, scientific discovery, commerce, art and aesthetics, statecraft and warfare. In short, everything that touches our faith and practice. In the end, each of us must every single day answer the question,“By what standard will I live my life?” We can talk and talk about loving Christ, but we cannot do it before the Lord if we cannot say with David, “O, how I love Thy law!”