Posts Tagged ‘Authority’

The Wednesday Word: Eight Wonderful Facts about Jesus

´´ God… has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Hebrews 1:2-3.

In these verses we are told eight wonderful facts about the Lord Jesus

1. God´s final word to us is in Jesus.

Jesus is the full and final revelation from Heaven. There are no new Gurus or Messiahs to come. There are no new divine revelators. God has already spoken in the full and final manner in Christ.

2. Christ Jesus has been appointed heir of all things.

Everything belongs to him; everything in the world, every part of our lives is subject to him. Jesus “knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands” (John 13:3) and knowing that all things that the Father had were His (John 16:15) declared that “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).

3. By Christ Jesus, God made the world.

In the beginning God created the world by the word of his power. Jesus Christ is the WORD. ‘All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made’ (John 1:3). Spurgeon said, ´¨I love to think that He who created all things is also our Saviour, for then He can create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. If I need a completely new creation—as I certainly do—He is equal to the task. ¨

4. Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory.

No Prophet could claim this. The Glory that is in God is the Glory that is in Christ. No wonder that His name is above every name (Philippians 2:9). One day every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10–11).

5. Jesus is the express image of His (God’s) person.

There is but one God. When Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus told him that whoever had seen him had seen the Father (John 14:9). He also said, ‘Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me’ (John 14:11). As Spurgeon remarked, ’ ’Whatever God is, Christ is. The very likeness of God, the very Godhead of Godhead, the very Deity of Deity, is in Christ Jesus. ¨

6. Jesus is upholding all things by the word of his power.

Not only was the world created by him, but the forces of nature are upheld by him. The wind, the ocean, the rain are all are under his control. The small details of our lives are under His control too. He is carrying us along, bearing us toward that great and final day.

7. Jesus has purged our sins.

Notice how the writer moves effortlessly from Christ´s power to His purging. “The Creator and the Sustainer became the Sin-bearer. In order to create the universe, He only had to speak. In order to maintain and guide the universe, He only has to speak… but in order to put away our sin once for all, He had to die on the cross. It is staggering to think that the sovereign Lord would stoop to become the sacrificial Lamb. (Believer’s Bible Commentary)

8. Jesus is now sitting in cosmic authority.

Christ Jesus is now exalted—He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and is now seated in highest honour. The seated posture is one of rest. Redemption has been accomplished. We are saved by His precious blood.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee  

Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section One – Authority, Revelation, and Scripture (Q.1)

by William F. Leonhart III

Q.1: Who is the first and chiefest being?

God is the first and chiefest being.1

1Isaiah 44:6; 48:12; Psalm 97:9

In January of 2012, I had the honor of taking a winter course on “The Theology of the Word of Faith Movement” with Justin Peters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The class was memorable to me for several reasons. I had been following the career of Mr. Peters for a while with great interest. One night, my wife and I even had the honor of having him into our home and serving him chicken pot pie. I recall sitting in my living room laughing and singing Ray Stevens’ The Mississippi Squirrel Revival together while my wife rolled her eyes.

I also recall one of the first statements he made in front of the class. I recall it because I wrote it down. He said, “Your worship of God will only be as deep as your theology.” Then he said, “Let me rephrase that. Your worship of God will only be as deep as your knowledge of Him.” In making this statement, Mr. Peters was answering one of the most important questions a Christian should ask himself: “Why do I study theology?”




Read the entire article here.

Origin and Authority of the Bible-Book 1-Appendix

Book First




We are rational beings; and, as such, the desire of knowledge is natural to us. In early childhood, as each new object of interest comes under our notice, we ask, who made it; and as we advance in years, the same inquisitiveness attends us, and prompts us to investigate the sources of knowledge which are ever opening before us. Brutes may look with indifference on the works of God, and tread under foot the productions of human ingenuity, without inquiry into their origin; but rational men cannot act thus without violence to the first principles of their nature. Among the objects which have occupied a large space in human thought, and which claim our consideration, the BIBLE stands conspicuous. Its antiquity; the veneration in which it has been held, and continues to be held, by a large part of mankind; and the influence which it has manifestly exerted on their conduct and happiness, are sufficient, if not to awaken higher emotions, at least to attract our curiosity, and excite a desire to know its origin and true character.

We are moral beings. The Bible comes to us as a rule of conduct. The claim which is set up for it is, that it is the highest standard of morals, admitting no appeal from its decisions. We are, therefore, under the strongest obligations to examine the foundation of this claim.

We are, if the Bible is true, immortal beings. Heathen philosophers have conjectured that man may be immortal; and infidels have professed to believe it; but, if we exclude the Bible, we have no means of certain knowledge on this point. Yet it is a matter of the utmost importance. If we are immortal, we have interests beyond the grave which infinitely transcend all our interests in the present life. What folly, then, it is, to reject the only source of information on this momentous subject! Besides if we have such interests in a future world, we have no means of knowing how to secure them, except from the Bible. Shall we throw this book from us, and trust to vain conjecture, on questions in which our all is involved ? it would be folly and madness.

Let us then inquire, whence came the Bible? Is it from heaven, or from men ? If it is from men, is it the work of good men, or of bad men ?

If bad men had been the authors of the Bible, they would have made it to their liking. If made to please them, it would please other men of like character. But it is not a book in which bad men delight. They hate it. Its precepts are too holy; its doctrines too pure; its denunciations against all manner of iniquity too terrible. It is not at all written according to the taste of such men. There are men who prize the Bible; who pore over its pages with delight; who have recourse to it in all their perplexities and sorrows; who seek its counsels to guide them, and its instructions to make them wise; who esteem its words more than gold, and feast on them as their sweetest food. But who are these men? They are those who detest all deceit and falsehood, and whom this very book has transformed, from men of iniquity and vice, to men of purity and holiness. It is impossible, therefore, that the Bible should be the work of bad men.

It remains that the Bible must be either from heaven or from good men. So pure a stream cannot proceed from a corrupt fountain. If it be from good men, they will not wilfully deceive us. Let us, then, look to the account which they have given of its origin: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”[1] “The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.”[2] “And so we have the prophetic word more firm, to which ye do well to take heed, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the morning star arise in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private invention. For never, at any time, was prophecy brought by the will of man, but the holy men of God spake, being moved by the Holy Ghost.”[3]

It may, perhaps, be objected to the use of these quotations, that we permit the Bible to speak for itself; but this is no unprecedented procedure. If a stranger were passing through our neighborhood, and we were desirous to know whence he came, it would not be unnatural to propose the inquiry to the man himself. If there were about him marks of honesty and simplicity of character, and if, after our most careful investigations, it should appear that he has no evil design to accomplish, and no interest to promote by deceiving us, we should rely on the information we derive from him. Such a stranger is the Bible; and why may we not rely on its testimony concerning itself? Nay, it is not a stranger. Though claiming a heavenly origin, it has long dwelt on earth, and gone in and out among us, a familiar companion. We have been accustomed to hear its words; and have known them to be tried with every suspicion, and every scrutiny, and no falsehood has been detected. More, it has been among us as a teacher of truth and sincerity; and truth and sincerity have abounded just in proportion as its teachings have been heeded. Old men of deceit have shrunk from its probings, and trembled at its threatenings; and young men have been taught by it to put away all lying and hypocrisy. Can it be that the Bible itself is a deceiver and impostor ? Impossible! It must be, what it claims to be, a book from heaven–the Book of God.

The truth that the Bible is from God, is not only testified by the inspired men who wrote it, but it is established by many other decisive proofs, some of which we shall proceed to consider.

The Divine origin of the Bible is proved by the CHARACTER OF THE REVELATION which it contains.

The character of God, as exhibited in the Bible, cannot be of human origin. We know what sort of gods men make; for they have multiplied them without number. They carve deities from blocks of wood and stone, and worship them with stupid adoration; but this is not the most debasing and abominable idolatry of which they are guilty. Their vain imaginations fashion gods more vile than these. The blocks of wood or stone may take the form of birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things; but the deities which derive their origin from the imaginations of men have passions and propensities that are beastly, and even worse than beastly. Such are the objects which they worship with laborious and costly devotion. Let any man visit the temples of the heathen, observe their horrid ceremonies, and study the character of their gods; and then let him say whether these gods, and the God of the Bible, are from one common origin.

Some objectors may allege that the deities to which we have referred are those of uncivilized tribes. What then? Were the gods of the most civilized nations better than these? What were the divinities which were worshipped by the ancient Greeks and Romans, even by their sages and philosophers, whose talents and genius have been admired in every age? Jupiter, their Optimus Maximus, best and greatest, was a monster of crime; and Venus, Bacchus, Mercury, Mars, and the rest of their deities, were his fit companions. They were patrons and examples of vice. The infidel Rousseau has drawn their character correctly. “Cast your eyes over all the nations of the world, and all the histories of nations. Amid so many inhuman and absurd superstitions, amid that prodigious diversity of manners and characters, you will find every where the same principles and distinctions of moral good and evil. The paganism of the ancient world produced, indeed, abominable gods, who on earth would have been shunned or punished as monsters, and who offered as a picture of supreme happiness only crimes to commit and passions to satiate. But vice, armed with this sacred authority, descended in vain from the eternal abode; she found, in the heart of man, a moral instinct to repel her. The continence of Xenocrates was admired by those who celebrated the debaucheries of Jupiter–the chaste Lucretia adored the unchaste Venus–the most intrepid Roman sacrificed to Fear. He invoked the god who dethroned his father, and he died without a murmur by the hand of his own. The most contemptible divinities were served by the greatest men. The holy voice of Nature, stronger than that of the gods, made itself heard, and respected, and obeyed on earth, and seemed to banish as it were to the confinement of heaven, guilt, and the guilty.”[4]

Go now to the Pantheon, and study the character and works of Rome’s innumerable deities. After infidelity has acknowledged that they are monsters, more vicious than men, and sending forth a corrupting influence into human society, invite her to study the character of Jehovah, the God of the Bible, a Spirit, whose form cannot be represented; a Being whose eyes cannot behold iniquity, who is glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, and doing wonders; and who requires to be worshipped in the beauty of holiness. Let her stand with Moses in the cleft of the rock, and hear the Lord proclaim his name: “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”[5] Surely she will bow her head with reverence, and confess, this is the voice of God.

The account of the life and character of Christ given in the gospels, is not a fiction of human invention. The introduction of Christianity, its existence in the world, the persecutions which it has encountered, its spread in spite of opposition, and the influence which it has exerted on nations and governments, are all so interwoven with the history of the last eighteen hundred years, that all history must be doubted, if these are fables. The evidence that there were such men as Alexander and Julius Caesar, is not so abundant and indisputable as that Jesus Christ appeared at the time and place stated in the gospels. The accounts of his life, sufferings, and death, given by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, come down to us with all the marks of authentic history. No signs of fraud can be detected in the narratives. The admirable simplicity of the writers, their ingenuousness in relating the faults and weaknesses of their own characters, their artlessness in depicting the sublime virtues of their Master, and recording his stupendous works, and the unimpassioned manner in which they described the cruel treatment he received from his persecutors and murderers; all these considerations place the truth of their narratives beyond question. Add to all this, that they had sufficient means of knowing the truth of the facts which they have recorded; that they attested the sincerity of their faith in them by enduring tortures and death; and that those who received their testimony, and transmitted it to us, testified their faith in it by like endurance. No other facts in the history of the world have evidence so strong. But if this evidence can be rejected, an insuperable difficulty still remains. It is impossible to account for the existence of the gospels on any other supposition, than that they are what they profess to be, true delineations of a real character. The authors were incapable of conceiving such a fiction. Even such men as Virgil and Homer were incapable of such an effort. They could conceive and describe such characters as Aeneas and Ulysses, but not such a character as Jesus Christ. Besides, the learning of the world was arrayed against Christianity; and to the unlearned and humble fishermen of Galilee the task was assigned of recording the life and works of Jesus of Nazareth. That such men should have transmitted to succeeding ages a fiction such as this, is incredible–impossible. Another quotation from Rousseau will show the overpowering influence of these considerations on the mind of an infidel: “I will confess to you further, that the majesty of the Scripture strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel hath its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp of diction–how mean–how contemptible–are they, compared with the Scripture! Is it possible, that a book at once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred personage whose history it contains should be himself a mere man? Do we find that he assumed the air of an enthusiast or ambitious sectary? What sweetness, what purity in his manner! What an affecting gracefulness in his delivery! What sublimity in his maxims! What profound wisdom in his discourses! What presence of mind! What subtilty. What truth in his replies! How great the command over his passions! Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live and die, without weakness and without ostentation? Shall we suppose the Evangelic History a mere fiction? Indeed, my friend, it bears not the marks of fiction. On the contrary, the history of Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as that of Jesus Christ. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in the gospels; the marks of whose truth are so striking and invincible, that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero. “[6]

If the gospels give a true account of Jesus Christ, he was a teacher from heaven; and both the doctrine which he taught, and the Scriptures, to which he often appealed as of divine authority, are from God.

The method of salvation revealed in the Bible is not a human device. The preaching of Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, yet salvation by the Cross is the grand peculiarity of the gospel. Were Christianity a cunningly-devised fable, a doctrine so offensive to mankind would not have been made prominent in the scheme. To this day, men of proud intellect and corrupt heart reject the doctrine of salvation by the obedience and sufferings of another. To the humble and contrite, oppressed with a sense of sin, and seeking, from the borders of despair, some divine method of escape from the wrath to come, this doctrine is thrice welcome; but the humble and contrite are not the men to cheat the world with a forged system of religion.

The BLESSINGS which the Bible confers on mankind have their origin in infinite Benevolence.

Compare the condition of those nations where Paganism reigns with that of the nations where the most corrupt forms of Christianity exist, and you will find the latter preferable. Institute another comparison between these, and the lands where a purer Christianity prevails, and where the Bible, instead of being withheld from the common people, is open to the reading of all, and you will perceive a far better state of human society, where the Sacred Volume is best known. Compare, again, in these most favored lands, the families where the Bible is least regarded, with those in which its doctrines are revered and its precepts obeyed and you will be sensible that a heavenly influence pervades the latter. But even in such families as these, the individual members often differ widely from each other. Though they may all worship at the same altar, and read the same Bible, some have the word of truth on their lips only, while others treasure it up deep in their hearts, and find it sweeter to their taste than honey and the honeycomb. What elevation of character, what pure and unsullied bliss do the latter enjoy! Take, lastly, an individual of the last most favored class, and compare the different moments of his life–those in which the Bible is least regarded, with those in which he feasts on its truths and promises, and experiences joy unspeakable and full of glory, while he receives the divine word into his heart; and you will have a full view of the blessed influence which the Bible can impart. We know that the sun is a source of light and heat, because all is dark and cold when his beams are absent; and light and heat are found to increase in proportion as we draw nearer to him. Precisely so it is with the Bible. From Paganism, cold and dark, where the Bible is unknown, to the saint in his most rapturous devotions, when he has the sweetest foretaste of heaven which mortals on earth can enjoy; the light of truth which fills the understanding, and the warmth of love which glows in the heart, bear an exact proportion to the proximity of the Bible. If the sun, which enlightens the material world, is the work of a benevolent Creator, much more may we ascribe to the same benevolence the authorship of the Bible, the source of spiritual illumination.

Having compared the Bible to the sun, it may be a fit occasion to remark that both these lights have their darknesses–the Bible its obscurities, and the sun its spots. The Deist may cavil at the one, and the Atheist at the other; but the cavils of both are alike absurd and unavailing. Because there are spots in the sun, shall we conclude that God did not make it, or that it is not a blessing to mankind? Yet this conclusion would not be more irrational than to deny that God is the author of the Bible, or that the Bible is a blessing to the world, because there are obscurities found in its pages. Suppose it be admitted that the spots in the sun, and the obscurities in the Bible are imperfections, is God the author of nothing in which imperfections exist? If everything material, and everything human, be marked with imperfection, may not God nevertheless glorify himself by things material and human? The new Jerusalem has no need of a material sun to enlighten it, because the glory of God and the Lamb is the light thereof; but God has fixed the sun in the firmament to enlighten this world of matter; and the sun in the firmament, notwithstanding its spots, declares its Maker’s glory. So God may make revelation of Himself to the pure intelligences of heaven in language free from human imperfection; but when He speaks to mortals on earth, He uses the language of mortals; and whatever may be the imperfection of the medium, this revelation of God displays his glory in the brightest light in which human eyes can behold it.

But are the spots in the sun and the obscurities in the Bible to be accounted imperfections? The light of the sun is pure and abundant; and, if it were deficient, the deficiency might be supplied, as well by enlarging the sun, as by removing its spots. It would, therefore, be as rational to complain that the sun is not larger, as to complain that there are spots in its disc. In like manner, the light of God’s Word is pure, and sufficient to make men wise to salvation; and we might as well complain that the Bible is not larger, as that it contains obscurities. Besides, the obscurities of the Bible may have a beneficial use. If, as some astronomers suppose, the solar spots are the body of the sun, seen through the partings of its luminous atmosphere, they can scarcely be deemed imperfections; much less can they be so regarded, if they are streams of gas rising in the sun’s atmosphere, and diffusing itself to become fuel for the lamp of day. According to the latter hypothesis, the spots are as far from being imperfections, as are the clouds that sometimes darken our sky, but which are the rich sources of the earth’s fertility, and the granaries of our bread. So, some of the obscurities of the Bible are the deep things of God, seen through; the light of revelation–the inscrutable mystery of the divine nature appearing through the light with which He has clothed Himself. Other mysteries are, in process of time, dissipated; and, like clouds which burst, pour out a blessing. It was a mystery “that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and partakers of the promise of Christ by the gospel;” but in due time this mystery was explained, and the bursting cloud poured the richest blessing on all the Gentile world. The Old Testament dispensation was dark, abounding with shadows of good things to come; but since the Sun of Righteousness has arisen, the dark places have been illuminated, and are full of instruction. Prophecies have been delivered in obscure language; but their fulfilment has interpreted them. Some obscurities have given occasion to the infidel to charge the Bible with contradictions; but a careful examination of the inspired word has not only served to repel the charge by reconciling the apparent discrepancies, but it has added new proof that the Scriptures were written by undesigning and honest men, without any collusion; and that there is perfect harmony in their statements, even when apparently most discordant. Men of superior intellect may find a pleasant and profitable exercise of their powers in investigating those parts of the Bible which are less clear; while its plainest truths are adapted to men of least capacity, and are sufficient for their necessities. Here are waters in which “a lamb may wade,” and in which “an elephant may swim.” There is yet another use of Bible obscurities. When God gave a law to mankind, he did not give one which it was impossible to violate, but one which men, as free agents, might violate, and by violating bring ruin on their souls. So, when he gave a revelation to mankind, he did not give one which could not be caviled at, but one at which men might cavil, and, by caviling, bring wrath upon themselves. The obscurities of the Bible serve for this use; for the Bible itself declares, that it contains “some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest unto their own destruction.” Let those who choose rather to cavil at the obscurities of the Bible, than to walk in its light, read this declaration, and fear and tremble.

The revelations contained in the Bible have the attestation of MIRACLES. It is a plain dictate of common sense, that Almighty God, who created and governs the world, may direct its movements as He chooses. He appointed the laws of Nature, and He may suspend these laws whenever He pleases, and turn the course of things out of the ordinary channel. It is equally clear, that none but the Author of Nature can effect such changes. It follows, therefore, that miracles, if wrought in attestation of a revelation professing to be from Heaven, stamp upon it the seal of Omnipotence. Persons who saw such miracles wrought, reasoned well when they said: “We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

Though miracles furnished, to those who saw them with their own eyes, a more impressive evidence than to us who see them through the light of history, yet the argument founded on them is perfectly conclusive, even at the present time. That Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apostles, performed works truly miraculous, is as well attested as any ancient fact whatever. The character of the works attributed to them, their number, the circumstances in which they were performed, the absence of everything indicating fraud or imposture, the sufferings by which the witnesses demonstrated their sincerity, the credence which their testimony obtained rapidly and extensively, and in the face of bitter persecution, and the absence of all counter testimony; all these considerations compel the belief that miracles were wrought, and if wrought, the revelation which they attest must be from God. The evidence, though it may be less impressive, is not less decisive than it would have been if we had personally witnessed the miracles.

We are not wholly indebted for the evidence of miracles, to the light of history. It does not need historical proof to satisfy our minds that the pyramids of Egypt were built by human labor and skill. We are as well satisfied of this, as if we had seen them rise under the hands of the workmen. We know that they are the work of man, because they resemble, in kind, other works of man. But he who gazes on these stupendous structures, may turn his eyes to the great globe beneath them, and feel equally well assured that it is not the work of man. So, in contemplating a system of heathen mythology or philosophy, we may be convinced that it is of human origin, because it bears the marks of man’s workmanship; but in contemplating the Bible, and the religion which it has introduced into the world, we may be as well assured that the origin of these is superhuman. A system so destitute of everything which could recommend it to the carnal mind, and claiming to be attested “with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles,” could not, in the absence of such miracles, obtain, according to the ordinary course of things, easy and extensive credence among mankind, and become firmly established in their confidence. The propagation, in such circumstances, must itself have been miraculous. It is of no importance to the present argument, whether the miracle was wrought before the eyes of him who received the doctrine, or on his mind, to incline him to receive it. In either case, there was a miracle, an interposition of Divine Power, and such an interposition demonstrated that the doctrine was from God.

The PROPHECIES which the Bible contains, must have proceeded from infallible foreknowledge. This is proved by their exact fulfilment.

Daniel prophesied to Nebuchadnezzar, the proud head of the Babylonian empire, then in its glory and strength, that this empire would give place to three others which were to arise after it.[7] This succession of empires, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman, is more fully described afterward in the prophecies of Daniel, together with a series of events extending down to the present time.[8] More than a century before the time of Daniel, the prophet Isaiah predicted[9] the taking of Babylon by the Persians, who were, at the time of the prediction, a feeble and obscure nation. He foretold the very name of the Persian leader, and the manner of his entrance into the city, through gates which, by a special ordering of Providence, were carelessly left open by the Babylonians in their drunken festivity. Other prophets foretold the destruction and final desolation of Babylon,[10] and of Nineveh,[11] the overthrow of ancient Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar,[12] and afterward of insular Tyre by Alexander,[13] and the decline and present state of Egypt,[14] once the proudest of nations. All these predictions were made when the events predicted were so improbable, that they could not be foreknown by any human sagacity; yet history, and the reports of travellers, attest their exact accomplishment. Many other examples of fulfilled prophecy might readily be cited.

The prophecies concerning the Jews are remarkable, and we refer to them with the more satisfaction, because the reader has probably, to some extent, personal knowledge of the facts predicted. These people are scattered through our nation, and through most of the nations on earth. Their synagogues, in which they meet to worship the God of their fathers, are found in all our principal cities. The Scriptures of the Old Testament are regularly read in their public worship, and are regarded with religious veneration, as their sacred book, received from God by their ancient prophets, and handed down to them from their forefathers. This book minutely describes,[15] in the language of prediction, the sufferings which they have undergone; their wonderful preservation as a distinct people, notwithstanding these sufferings, and their dispersed condition among all nations. Other ancient tribes, when scattered, have been lost in the general mass of mankind; but these people, after centuries of dispersion and persecution, still remain distinct, and stand forth to the world as witnesses of the wonderful fulfilment of the predictions respecting them, uttered by their ancient prophets.

The sacred writings of the Jews not only contain predictions of the dispersion, sufferings, and wonderful preservation of this people, but also furnish explanation of these extraordinary events. The book describes a covenant between this nation and the God whom they worship, and its records show that they have repeatedly violated this covenant, and suffered the threatened penalty. The whole history of the nation illustrates the dealings of God with them, in accordance with the stipulations of this covenant. Once before, as a punishment of their unfaithfulness, they were driven from their land into captivity for seventy years, yet they were preserved and brought back. The prophetic declarations of their sacred volume explain that their present dispersion and sufferings are, in like manner, in consequence of their crimes, and that their preservation is in prospect of another restoration. Their condition, therefore, resembles that of a malefactor nailed to the cross, with his accusation written over his head; a fit punishment for the nation that crucified the Lord of glory. They hold in their hands the book which specifies their crimes and predicts their sufferings, and they furnish, in their persons, the spectacle of these predictions fulfilled. They not only claim that their book is divine, but they are the proof of its divinity.

The Jews may be made witnesses for the New Testament also, which they reject, and for Christianity, which they hate. What crime so great, has extended their dispersion and sufferings through the long period of eighteen centuries? The New Testament gives the only satisfactory answer to this inquiry, and it answers in perfect accordance with their own Scriptures. They have rejected and crucified their King, their long-expected Messiah, whom their prophets had foretold. It was predicted that he would appear before the tribe of Judah should become extinct, or should cease to maintain a distinct government of its own;[16] before the second temple should be destroyed;[17] and in 490 years from the decree of Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem.[18] At this time Jesus Christ appeared, claiming to be their Messiah, and furnishing most abundant proofs that he came from God; yet, as their prophets had foretold, they rejected him,[19] and united with Gentile rulers to destroy him.[20] Their own Scriptures, and their confessed hatred of Jesus Christ, fully make out the crime for which they suffer, and these unite with the known fact of their sufferings to demonstrate the Messiahship of Jesus and the divine origin of Christianity.

The New Testament contains various predictions[21] which have been exactly fulfilled concerning the destruction of Jerusalem; the calamities of the Jews; their dispersion and their preservation; also concerning the persecutions of Christianity; its spread through the world, and the Papal Apostasy.[22] Besides these, it contains predictions, yet not accomplished, of the conversion of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews, and the millennial state of the Church. When these shall have been fulfilled, the prophetical evidence now constantly accumulating will be complete.

In concluding this brief inquiry into the origin of the Bible, we may admire and adore the wonderful providence of God, which has made his enemies the preservers and witnesses of his revelation. The Jews, who killed the prophets and crucified the Son of God himself, have preserved and transmitted the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and are now witnesses to the world of its divine origin, and the truth of its prophecies. The Roman Catholic Church, the great Antichrist, or man of sin, drunk with the blood of the saints, has transmitted to us the Scriptures of the New Testament, and now gives, in the same two-fold manner, its testimony to this part of the Sacred Volume. Even the infidel scoffer is made an unconscious witness. In its pages, his very scoffs are predicted, and his corrupt heart, from which, rather than from sober judgment, these scoffs proceed, is portrayed with an accuracy and skill which bespeak the Author divine, the Searcher of hearts. The word which “is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” must be “the word of God.” Even the reluctant tongue of the infidel, as in the case of Rousseau, is sometimes constrained to utter its testimony aloud; and at other times, when danger comes or death threatens, his alarm and terror divulge the truth, that his rock is not as our rock, himself being judge. Unhappy infidel! Is there a God? Hast thou an immortal soul? Until thou canst, with unfaltering hardihood, answer, No to both these inquiries, do not cast away from thee the Bible, the Book of God, the Light of immortality.


THOUGH the Bible was written by inspired men, they are to be regarded merely as the instruments chosen, fitted, and employed by God, for the production of this work. God himself is the author of the Bible. When we read its sacred pages, we should realize that God speaks to us, and when we suffer it to lie neglected, we should remember that we are refusing to listen to God, when he proffers to instruct us on subjects of infinite moment.

The Bible contains the testimony of God, and is therefore a Rule of Faith. The declarations of an honest man ought to be believed, much more ought those which are made by the God of truth; “if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” To reject the testimony of God, is to make him a liar. To call a fellow-man a liar, is to offer an insult of the grossest character. This insult we offer to the great God, when we refuse to receive his testimony, given to us in his holy Word.

The Bible contains the precepts of God, and is therefore a Rule of Duty. We are bound to obey the commands of parents and civil rulers, but God has a higher claim on our obedience. He is our Father in heaven, and the Supreme Lawgiver of the universe. Against this high authority we rebel, when we refuse to obey the precepts of the Bible.

The Bible contains the promises of God, and is therefore a Rule of Hope. It determines, not only what we are to believe and to do, but also what we are to expect. It presents, as the foundation of our hope, the promise and the oath of God, two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie. We look to him as the rewarder of those that diligently seek him, and all our confidence respecting the nature and extent of this reward, and the certainty of our obtaining it, is founded on the sure word of prophecy, the Bible.

Whether, as a rule of faith, of duty, or of hope, the authority of the Bible is supreme. We may rely on the testimony of men, but they sometimes deceive us. We may regulate our conduct by the command of those who are over us, or by the dictates of our own conscience, but rulers may command what is wrong, and conscience is not infallible. We may cherish hopes founded on human promises, or the natural tendencies of things, but human promises are often delusive, and the promises of Nature are buds which, however beautiful and fragrant, are often blasted before they produce fruit. God never deceives. “The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” When the Bible speaks, all else may be silent, and its decisions leave no room for doubt and admit no appeal.

The authority of the Bible is independent. It was not conferred on it by the inspired men who wrote it; nor does it derive any from the persons who have transmitted it to us. The purest church on earth cannot invest it with authority; much less can the corrupt Church of Rome. The inspired writers referred the authority of what they wrote to God; and here it must rest. The transcribers of the manuscripts, who have been the agents of Providence in preserving and transmitting the Sacred Volume to us, and the printers and bookbinders by whose labors this volume is so widely circulated, have conferred no authority on it, and it has received as little from the Church of Rome as from these. It possesses authority simply because it is the word of God.

The authority of the Bible is immediate. Its address is directly from God, and directly to the mind and heart of every individual reader. We have no mediator but Christ, and no infallible interpreter but the Holy Spirit. We may derive assistance from men in understanding the Bible, but they have no right to understand it for us. We should employ our own minds in the study of God’s Word, and allow no human interpreter to intervene between God and our own conscience. We should say, each one for himself, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”

What a precious gift is the Bible! Who will not prize it? Who will not bind it to his heart? We stand on the narrow isthmus of life, between two oceans, the boundless past and the boundless future. The records of eternity past are beyond our reach, but the Ancient of Days has opened them, and has revealed to us in the Bible whatever it is necessary that we should know. The vanishing present is all important to us, because on it depends our everlasting all, but who will instruct us how to use the swiftly passing moments as we ought? The only wise God has condescended to speak to us in the Bible, and to teach us how to order our steps in life’s short way, so as to insure life eternal. The future world is just before us. For myself, I realize that I am standing on the shore of the boundless ocean, with but an inch of crumbling sand remaining. I hear the shrieks of the dying infidel at my side, to whose view all is covered with impenetrable darkness. He, too, has come to the brink, and would gladly refuse to proceed, but he cannot. Perplexed, terrified, shuddering, he plunges in and sinks, he knows not whither. How precious, at this trying moment, is the Book of God! How cheering this Light from heaven! Before it I see the shades retiring. The Bible lifts its torch–nay, not a feeble torch, such as reason may raise, to shine on the darkness and render it visible; the Bible sheds the light of the noonday sun on the vast prospect before me, and enables me, tranquil and joyful, to launch into eternity with the full assurance of hope. Mortals, hastening to the retributions of eternity, be wise; receive the revelation from heaven presented to you in the Bible; attend diligently to its instructions, and reverence its authority, as the word of the final Judge before whom you will soon appear.

[1] 2 Tim. iii. 16.

[2] 1 Cor. xiv. 37.

[3] 2 Peter i. 19, 20, 21; Macknight’s Translation.

[4] Brown’s Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. iii. p. 138.

[5] Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7.

[6] Fuller’s Works, vol. ii. p. 69.

[7] Dan. ii. 39, 45.

[8] Ch. vii. 12.

[9] Is xxi. 9; xlv. 1, 3.

[10] Jer. li.

[11] Nahum i, iii.

[12] Ezek. xxvi. 7, 11.

[13] Ibid. xxvii. 32.

[14] Ibid. xxix.

[15] Lev. xxvi; Deut. xxvii. xxx.

[16] Gen. xlix. 10.

[17] Haggai ii. 7, 9.

[18] Dan. ix. 24 27.

[19] Is. liii. 3.

[20] Ps. ii. 1, 2.

[21] Matt. xxiv; Mark xiii; Luke xxi.

[22] 2 Thess. ii. 3-12; 1 John ii. 18; 1 Tim. iv. 1-3.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Question 54-Puritan Catechism

January 16, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 1Q. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?

A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity – as far as it shall serve for God’s glory, and their own good – to all such as keep this commandment. (Ephesians 6:2,3)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Question 53-Puritan Catechism

January 9, 2014 1 comment

SpurgeonQ. What is required in the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment requires the preserving the Honor, and performing the duties belonging to every one in their various positions and relationships as superiors, (Ephesians 5:21,22, 6:1,5; Romans 13:1) inferiors, (Ephesians 6:9) or equals. (Romans 12:10)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Question 52-Puritan Catechism

January 2, 2014 1 comment

CharlesSpurgeonQ. Which is the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment is, “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

The Conclusion

November 20, 2013 1 comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.


The Conclusion

THUS we desire to give unto Christ that which is His; and unto all lawful authority that which is their due; and to owe nothing to any man but love; to live quietly and peaceably, as it becometh saints, endeavouring in all things to keep a good conscience, and to do unto every man (of what judgment soever) as we would they should do unto us, that as our practice is, so it may prove us to be a conscientious, quiet, and harmless people (no ways dangerous or troublesome to human society) and to labour and work with our hands that we may not be chargeable to any, but to give to him that needeth, both friends and enemies, accounting it more excellent to give than to receive.

Also we confess, that we know but in part, and that we are ignorant of many things which we desire and seek to know; and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the word of God what we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and them; but if any man shall impose upon us anything that we see not to be commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, we should in His strength rather embrace all reproaches and tortures of men, to be stripped of all outward comforts, and if it were possible, to die a thousand deaths, rather than to do anything against the least tittle of the truth of God or against the light of our own consciences. And if any shall call what we have said heresy, then do we with the Apostle acknowledge, that after the way they call heresy, worship we the God of our fathers, disclaiming all heresies (rightly so called) because they are against Christ, and to be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in obedience to Christ, as knowing our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.

Psalm 74:21,22

ARISE, O God, plead thine own cause; remember how the foolish man blasphemeth Thee daily. O let not the oppressed return ashamed, but let the poor and needy praise Thy name.

Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

The Church does not declare scripture authoritative, but instead recognizes its authority

November 6, 2013 4 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Another reply to the objection drawn from the words of the Apostle Paul. Solution of the difficulties started by opponents. A second objection refuted.

2. These ravings are admirably refuted by a single expression of an apostle. Paul testifies that the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” (Ephesians 2:20.) If the doctrine of the apostles and prophets is the foundation of the Church, the former must have had its certainty before the latter began to exist. Nor is there any room for the cavil, that though the Church derives her first beginning from thence, it still remains doubtful what writings are to be attributed to the apostles and prophets, until her judgment is interposed. For if the Christian Church was founded at first on the writings of the prophets, and the preaching of the apostles, that doctrine, wheresoever it may be found, was certainly ascertained and sanctioned antecedently to the Church, since, but for this, the Church herself never could have existed. Nothings therefore can be more absurd than the fiction, that the power of judging Scripture is in the Church, and that on her nod its certainty depends. When the Church receives it, and gives it the stamp of her authority, she does not make that authentic which was otherwise doubtful or controverted but, acknowledging it as the truth of God, she, as in duty bounds shows her reverence by an unhesitating assent. As to the question, How shall we be persuaded that it came from God without recurring to a decree of the Church? it is just the same as if it were asked, How shall we learn to distinguish light from darkness, white from black, sweet from bitter? Scripture bears upon the face of it as clear evidence of its truth, as white and black do of their color, sweet and bitter of their taste.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 7-Henry Beveridge Translation

Confession statement 41

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XLI. THE person designed by Christ to dispense baptism, the Scripture holds forth to be a disciple; it being no where tied to a particular church officer, or person extraordinarily sent the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them as considered disciples, being men able to preach the gospel.

Isa.8:16; Eph.2:7; Matt.28:19; John 4:2; Acts 20:7,11:10; 1 Cor.11:2, 10:16,17; Rom.16:2; Matt.18:17.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

It is a duty we owe our fellow Christians

April 19, 2013 3 comments


2. To teach our distinctive views is a duty we owe to our fellow Christians. Take the Roman Catholics. We are often told very earnestly that Baptists must make common cause with other Protestants against the aggressions of Romanism. It is urged, especially in some localities, that we ought to push all our denominational differences into the background and stand shoulder to shoulder against Popery.

Very well; but all the time it seems to us that the best way to meet and withstand Romanism is to take Baptist ground; and if, in making common cause against it, we abandon or slight our Baptist principles, have a care lest we do harm in both directions. Besides, ours is the best position, we think, for winning Romanists to evangelical truth. Our brethren of the great Protestant persuasions are all holding some “developed” form of Christianity, not so far developed as Popery, and some of them much less developed than others, but all having added something, in faith or government or ordinances, to the primitive simplicity.

The Roman Catholics know this, and habitually taunt them with accepting changes which the church has made while denying the church’s authority, and sometime tell them that the Baptists alone are consistent in opposing the Church. We may say that there are but two sorts of Christianity; church Christianity and Bible Christianity. If well-meaning Roman Catholics become dissatisfied with resting everything on the authority of the church and begin to look toward the Bible as authority, they are not likely, if thoughtful and earnest, to stop at any halfway house, but to go forward to the position of those who really build on the Bible alone.

Or take the Protestants themselves. Our esteemed brethren are often wonderfully ignorant of our views. A distinguished minister, author of elaborate works on church history and the creeds of Christendom, and of commentaries, etc., and brought in many ways into association with men of all denominations, is reported to have recently asked whether the Baptists practice trine immersion. A senator of the United States from one of the southern states, and alumnus of a celebrated university, was visiting, about twenty years ago, a friend in another state, who casually remarked that he was a Baptist.

“By the way,” said the senator, “what kind of Baptists are Paedobaptists?”

Not many years ago a New York gentleman who had been United States minister to a foreign country published in the New York Tribune a review of a work, in which he said (substantially), “The author states that he is a Baptist pastor. We do not know whether he is a Paedobaptist or belongs to the straiter of Baptists.” Now, of course these are exceptional cases; but exemplify what is really a widespread and very great ignorance as to Baptists. And our friends of other denominations often use great injustice because they do not understand our tenets and judge us by their own.

As to “restricted communion,” for example, Protestants ally hold the Calvinian view of the Lord’s Supper, and so think that we are selfishly denying them a share in the spiritual blessing attached to its observance; while, with our Zwinglian view, we have no such thought or feeling. These things certainly show it to be very desirable that we should bring our Christian brethren around us to know our distinctive opinions, in order that may at least restrain them from wronging us through ignorance.

If there were any who did not care to know, who were willing to be deprived of a peculiar accusation against us, them our efforts would be vain. But most of those we encounter are truly good people, however prejudiced, and do not wish be unjust; and if they will not take the trouble to seek information about our real views, they will not be unwilling to receive it when fitly presented. Christian charity may thus be promoted by correcting ignorance. And besides, we may hope that sc at least will be led to investigate the matters about which differ. Oh, that our honored brethren would investigate!

A highly educated Episcopal lady some years ago in one our great cities, by a long and patient examination of her with no help but an Episcopal work in favor of infant baptism at length reached the firm conviction that it is without warrant in the Scripture, and became a Baptist. She afterward said, “I am satisfied that thousands would inevitably do likewise if they would only examine.”

But why should we wish to make Baptists of our Protestant brethren? Are not many of them noble Christians, not a few of them among the excellent of the earth? If with their opinions they are so devout and useful, why wish them to adopt other opinions? Yes, there are among them many who command our high admiration for their beautiful Christian character and life; but have a care about your inferences from this fact. The same is true even of many Roman Catholics, in the past and in the present; yet who doubts that the Romanist system as a whole is unfavorable to the production of the best types of piety?

And it is not necessarily an arrogant and presumptuous thing in us if we strive to bring honored fellow Christians to views which we honestly believe to be more scriptural, and therefore more wholesome. Apollos was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, and Aquila and Priscilla were lowly people who doubtless admired him; yet they taught him the way of the Lord more perfectly, and no doubt greatly rejoiced that he was willing to learn. He who tries to win people from other denominations to his own distinctive views may be a sectarian bigot; but he may also be a humble and loving Christian.

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views