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There are multitudes of unregenerate religionists who are well versed in the letter of Scripture

September 9, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkNor does the Holy Spirit’s teaching of the individual Christian by any means set aside or render him independent of making diligent and conscientious use of the ministry of the pulpit, for that is an important means appointed by God for the edifying of His people. There is a happy medium between the attitude of the Ethiopian eunuch who, when asked, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:30, 31), and the wrong use made of “ye need not that any man teach you” (1 John 2:27) — between a slavish reliance upon human instruments and a haughty independence of those whom Christ has called and qualified to feed His sheep. “Yet is not their understanding of the Truth, their apprehension of it, and faith in it, to rest upon or to be resolved into their authority, who are not appointed of God to be ‘lords of their faith,’ but ‘helpers of their joy’ (2 Corinthians 1:24). And therein depends all our interest in that great promise that we shall be ‘all taught of God,’ for we are not so, unless we do learn from Him those things which He has revealed in His Word” (John Owen).

“And all Thy children shall be taught of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13, and cf. John 6:45).

This is one of the great distinguishing marks of the regenerate. There are multitudes of unregenerate religionists who are well versed in the letter of Scripture, thoroughly acquainted with the history and the doctrines of Christianity, but their knowledge came only from human media—parents, Sunday school teachers, or their personal reading. Tens of thousands of graceless professors possess an intellectual knowledge of spiritual things which is considerable, sound, and clear; yet they are not Divinely taught, as is evident from the absence of the fruits which ever accompany the same. In like manner, there are a great number of preachers who abhor the errors of Modernism and contend earnestly for the Faith. They were taught in Bible institutes or trained in theological seminaries, yet it is greatly to be feared that they are total strangers to a supernatural work of grace in their souls, and that their knowledge of the Truth is but a notional one, unaccompanied by any heavenly unction, saving power, or transforming effects. By diligent application, and personal effort one may secure a vast amount of scriptural information, and become an able expositor of the Word; but he cannot obtain thereby a heart-affecting and heart-purifying knowledge thereof. None but the Spirit of Truth can write God’s Law on my heart, stamp His image on my soul, sanctify me by the Truth.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Let Baptists maintain unity among themselves

June 21, 2013 1 comment

broadus

II. MEANS AND METHODS OF PERFORMING THIS DUTY

6. Finally, let us cultivate unity among ourselves. The Baptists of this vast country are, in fact, united. Dr. Barnas Sears, who had exceptional opportunities of observing, spoke to me long before his death of the fact that our theological seminaries are all teaching the same doctrines without any central authority to keep them united. And the fact is more general. Apart from mere excrescences, American Baptists are wonderfully agreed, wonderfully, if you remember it as an agreement reached and maintained in perfect freedom.

This unity becomes more manifest to any one in proportion as he gains a wider acquaintance. For example, pardon my taking local names to illustrate, there is many a brother in Mississippi with no knowledge of New England who, if he should spend a few weeks in Boston, would be astonished to find himself surrounded by real, right-down Baptists. And if some brethren in New England should go among those dreadful Landmarkers, whom they have seen so severely censured by newspapers that do not seem to know even the meaning of the term, they would conclude that most of the said Landmarkers are really very much like themselves, and not dreadful at all.

Dr. Fuller was fond of giving a story told by William Jay. Mr. Jay walked out one day in a dense English fog. Presently he saw approaching him a huge and monstrous object that made him start. As they drew nearer together it assumed the shape of a gigantic man; and when they met, it was his own brother John.

And American Baptists are becoming more united just now. A few years ago there was in some quarters a movement toward the propagation of “open communion” which at a distance awakened concern. But the estimable brethren engaged in that movement have gone in peace or have peacefully subsided into quiet. And in some other quarters altruists are losing influence, and brethren who once followed them seem now disposed not at all to abandon any principle, but to avoid pushing differences among ourselves into an occasion of denominational disruption. So the general outlook is now very encouraging.

Let us cultivate, I say, this unity among ourselves. In order to do so, our watchwords must be freedom, forbearance, patience. There can be no constrained unity among us. The genius of our ideas and institutions quite forbids it. That newspaper, seminary, or society which undertakes to coerce American Baptists into unity will soon weary of the task. We must be forbearing and patient, and not discouraged by many things which under the circumstances are to be looked for. Competing journals and other institutions may get up an occasional breeze; each great city may show a too exclusive interest in societies there located: that is natural, if not wise; personal rivalries may sometimes curiously complicate themselves with questions of principle and of general expediency: it may cause regret, but need not cause wonder; East and West may pull apart in some respects, and North and South; even the “celestial minds” of our noble women may not always perfectly agree about organizations; we cooperate fully in some matters, partially in some, perhaps work separately in others, yet with hearty fraternal kindness, but let us cultivate freedom, forbearance, patience, and we shall be substantially united more and more.

This growing unity among ourselves gives us increasing power to impress our denominational opinions upon others; and the more zealously we strive to teach our distinctive views to others, the more we shall become united among ourselves

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