Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Revisiting the Fundamentals


For those who regularly stop in at Phil Johnson's Pyromaniacs blog (see the Friend of Sinners link on my sidebar), you will know that he regularly posts clips from the Charles Spurgeon archives, usually on weekends.

Taking my cue from that, I am going to introduce a weekly feature here at The Seventh Sola, which will feature clips from the classic multi-volume series on Christian doctrine called "The Fundamentals." The hyperlink will take you to an article from Wheaton College giving a bit of the history of this work, which originally came out in the very early 1900s as a 12-volume set. Later, Dr. R.A. Torrey supervised combining most of the original essays into a four-volume set, which is available very reasonably through Christian Book Distributors.

This new feature will usually be posted on Saturdays or Sundays, but I'll give you a clip today just to show you what you're in for. It's really a treasure trove. The following is from Volume 1, and the essay "Life in the Word," by Philip Mauro . . .

Many unspiritual teachers in these last days, and many superficial readers of Scripture, deem it incredible that salvation, which is the beginning of the life of the risen Christ in the soul of a perishing man, should be wrought through an operation so apparently simple as that of receiving God's Word, through faith, into the heart.

The clear declarations of God's Word on this subject are indeed frequently ridiculed in pulpit utterances. But to such minds the germination of a seed by merely casting it into the ground would be equally incredible. These spiritually-blinded ones, wise in their own conceits, miss altogether the teaching of the Bible concerning the wonderful process of spiritual conception and generation, which, in view of the equally mysterious process of natural conception, should not be deemed "a thing incredible." "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20).

The passage in 1 Peter 1 sets forth, moreover, the fact that spiritual regeneration through the Word of God conforms to the great biological law stated with such emphatic iteration in the first chapter of Genesis, namely, that the life imparted is the same in kind as that of its source, all the characteristics of the latter being reproduced in it. Emphasis is laid on the fact that the seed is incorruptable, and that the Word, which is its source, is eternal. Moreover, as in John's Gospel, the new, incorruptable and eternal life, which proceeds from spiritual conception by the Word of God, is put into direct contrast with the natural life, or "flesh." "For," continues the Apostle Peter, "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass." The prominent characteristic of grass is that it withereth, and of the flower of grass, or of plant life, is that it falleth away. "The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but "—in direct contrast with this—"the Word of the Lord endureth forever." So it does, and so do all they who are begotten of the incorruptible seed of the Word.

The passage closes with the unmistakably plain statement, "And this is the Word which, by the Gospel, is preached unto you."

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