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„THE WORLD’S HOPE”
An exchange by this name comes to our table. Its hope for the world is very much confused. It falls into the error of supposing that a perfected human nature would be a „Divine nature,” and evidently does not see that the „Divine nature” is higher than the „nature of angels,” though both are spiritual. It seems blinded by its theories to all differences of nature among spiritual beings.
From this false premise it gets into a terrible confusion relative to man—his past and future condition. It fears to say, as the Scriptures teach, that Adam was perfect, lacking experience, because this would prove that a perfect man could never become more than a perfect man—could not increase in perfection by becoming a spiritual being, any more than would the perfecting of a dog cause him to become a man. Such conclusions it cannot reach, simple and logical though they be, because it has a theory that a perfect human nature is a
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spiritual nature, which is a divine nature—the absurdity of which needs scarcely to be mentioned. If a human nature is a spiritual nature, why does Scripture mention them as distinct and separate?
Its conglomerate theory seems to be, as nearly as we can arrive at it by its illogical deductions—that God made men bad,—evil,—imperfect,—about as all are now; and that he fettered man with this evil nature, in order that he might develop strength by breaking his own chains, freeing himself. And this is really its hope for the world—that each individual (the devil not excepted) will eventually succeed in breaking the chains in which God had fettered him, and that finally all will unite around the throne in heaven as partakers of the perfect (human—spiritual—divine—which?) nature.
In this theory there is no need of a Saviour to redeem or ransom men. No, each must fight his own way through,—or, as this paper expresses it, each must destroy the enmity for himself. According to this unscriptural theory, Jesus was a benefit to men only by setting a good example as a pattern. But, tell us, Why would not the good example of Abel, or Enoch, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah have been equally forcible? These were noble, self-denying heroes for truth, and suffered even to being stoned and sawn asunder. Their examples of how to live and how to die, for truth and righteousness, were good.
But we need not dwell on the inconsistencies of such a theory; it must be apparent to all familiar with Scripture, that such a theory gives the lie to the teachings of the Apostles relative to the introduction of the present condition of sin, imperfection and death. They teach that „by one man’s disobedience many (all) were made sinners,” and that death and misery is the result, and not that it is the result of God’s having imperfectly done his work in creating man. In harmony with this, too, is the Apostle’s statement, that Jesus by his death destroyed the enmity (curse) for all who had been cursed in the first man’s disobedience. He was „made a curse (he suffered as an accursed one) for us” (Gal. 3:13. See Rom. 5:17-19).
Our object in calling attention to this contemporary is, that we wish to awaken and put on their guard, any of its readers whom we may reach, against its teachings on the fundamental doctrines of our Christian religion, as pointed out in our last issue under headings—”Your building,” and „On what are you building?”
This paper denies and ignores the very basis of true hope for the Church or the world—viz.: The Ransom—our being „bought with a price.” It claims that the Adamic race needed no ransom. This, as we have heretofore shown, is the impending avalanche of unbelief, denying that the Lord bought them (2 Pet. 2:1). This is the rock which Christendom is even now striking against and being broken in pieces. (Matt. 21:44)
If this contemporary plainly stated itself as numbers of others do, we should have no special need to single it out among others for criticism. But it does not. It covertly attempts to steal the hearts of God’s children and engraft this „damnable heresy” (2 Pet. 2:1) upon their minds, by quoting freely enough of the passages which contain the words „bought with a price,” „redeemed,” „ransom,” etc., disclaiming, without attempting to disprove their meaning, or to deny their genuineness.
It insinuates and argues in such a way as to rob these words of their correct import in the mind of those who possess no English dictionary, or are too careless to use it; or who presume, that the English words may have a different significance from the Greek ones which the Apostles used, but which they do not understand.
We have heretofore shown that the Greek words rendered „bought,” „ransom,” „redeem,” etc., in referring to the work of Jesus for men, are no less pointed, but, if possible, more so than their English equivalents. So far, then, from being an exponent of the world’s hope, or the church’s either, our contemporary is being used by the adversary in a covert, and therefore all the more dangerous way, to undermine the only hope held out for the world in Scripture—the ransom.
To put this matter fairly before its readers, (to most of whom we send a copy of this issue) we shall propose to it the same questions which in our last we propounded to the Day Star, and which it has not answered—probably because it did not wish so plainly to show its real belief. We are well aware that neither of these contemporaries will relish these questions.
We have tried to so state them that any attempt to dodge the real issue, will, we hope, be so apparent as to attract the attention of any who might be inclined to think our criticisms too severe.
The questions are as follows:—
(1) Why did Jesus die?
(2) How does it affect our sins?
(3) How did he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself?
(4) In what way did he give „himself a ransom (Greek, antilutron—an equivalent price) for all?”
(5) In what way was he a „propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins?”
(6) In what sense were we „bought with a price?”
Now, fair warning; if our contemporaries do not answer these queries fully and squarely, it can only be construed as moral cowardice, and certainly will substantiate our claim that they are dealing underhandedly with their readers, and „handling the word of God deceitfully.” (2 Cor. 4:2) The questions at issue are not trivial—not such as brethren might honestly differ on; for they are the very foundation of Christianity, without which the whole doctrinal structure reared by the Apostles falls.
But let it be remembered, that we have nothing but kindly personal feelings toward the Editors of these two papers; with both of whom we are on intimate and friendly terms. It is error and falsity which we oppose, not men. This is true of Mr. Ingersoll also. Personally, we esteem him a polished gentleman, while we cannot but gainsay his infidel teachings. We take the side of inspired record as against every phase of infidelity; but we cannot but admire most, those opponents who honestly differ, and honestly state their differences, instead of using a Scriptural form of words and denying the power and meaning thereof.
— February, 1883 —