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AN UNPLEASANT DUTY
Duty is not always pleasant but it would be sin to shirk it.
Less than a year ago, and frequently since, we warmly commended to our readers a publication called “Zion’s Day Star.” This we now regret, because that commendation makes necessary a statement to the opposite effect concerning that paper.
We are not of those who disfellowship christian brethren on account of some differences of opinion, but when it comes to the point of denying the very foundation of all christianity, we must speak out and withstand all such to the face, for they become “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Phil. 3:18.) This opposition to the cross, the world has always had. The thought of “redemption through his blood” has always been to the Greek (earth’s wise) foolishness, and only the faithful have recognized the cross as the power of God unto man’s salvation from death.
“Zion’s Day Star” at the time of our commendation was in fullest accord on the fundamentals of christianity; teaching that the death of Jesus was the ransom price paid for our liberation from sin and its penalty, death—that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” And its editor was then so true and faithful to the foundation doctrines, that he refused the articles of a valued correspondent in Michigan, because said correspondent had repudiated the Rock foundation, viz: our being “bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ.” But we are pained to say, this is all changed, and the “Day Star” has locked arms with those who deny that the Lord BOUGHT them.
Not only so, but as though anxious to lead in the race for open infidelity, the “Day Star” openly affirms that Jesus was the Son of Joseph as well as of Mary, thus implying that he was as much a sinner through partaking of Adamic imperfection and curse as any other man. It not only implies but asserts that he by nature was a child of wrath even as others; and then adds, “By and by as the truth (?) shines more clearly, it will be seen that the difference between Jesus, and the members of his body, is not so great as has been supposed.” This it characterizes as a “grand truth.”
One wrong step leads to another, so we are not so much surprised to find an attempt made to cast discredit on the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, giving the impression that they are Papal interpolations to prove the doctrine of the “Immaculate conception.”
We protest against such misleading statements*. Many who have no access to proofs on these matters, might reasonably suppose that there existed some good ground for questioning the authority of the scriptures referred to, while the truth is, there is no ground for the statement whatever. All of the oldest and recognizedly reliable MSS. contain these chapters which record the fact of Jesus’ miraculous conception and birth, a fulfillment of the prophecy: “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.” Such a method, of saying of any text which does not fit human theories—it is evidently an interpolation—would soon destroy the Bible as a teacher, for thousands of people know thousands of texts which oppose their theories, and which they would like to think and to have others think spurious. We are very glad that few are so bold as to make such claims where they have no foundation whatever in fact.
*We purpose, the Lord willing, to perfect arrangements by which any of our readers who desire, may possess at small cost a copy of the N.T., which will give the various readings, omissions, etc., of the three oldest and best Greek MSS. of the N.T., viz: the Sinaitic, Vatican, and Alexandrian. Those who have the Emphatic Diaglott will find the various readings of the Vatican MSS. in the foot notes. The Diaglott was ready for press before the readings of the Sinaitic, the oldest and last found MSS. were obtainable in full.
The fact that the “Day Star” does not advocate the more open and blasphemous forms of infidelity, makes it none the less poisonous and injurious. The Apostles say little about the general unbelief of the world, but they do warn us repeatedly of those who will privately bring infidelity into the church. Peter says: “among you will be false teachers who will privately introduce heresies of destruction, even the having bought them, Sovereign Lord, denying.” (2 Pet. 2:1, literal Greek rendering of Diaglott.)
We are well aware that the foregoing remarks will be misunderstood by some, and credited to wrong motives. It will be thought uncharitable and unkind. To such readers we can only say, that personal feelings for the Editor of the “Day Star” are warm and strong, and it gives us more pain to thus write, than you to read. But it becomes a matter of duty to God, and to His children to show errors in their true light, particularly when so fearfully destructive. We can only say with Paul when writing under Similar circumstances. “It is a very small thing that I should be judged of you,”
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(your human judgment.) “Yea I judge not mine own self” (by my own human judgment.) “He that judgeth me (and all of us) is the Lord,” and his judgment is expressed in his Word.
True, there are several other publications teaching very nearly the same things, which we do not thus publicly oppose, nor have we ever publicly commended them. Should the “Day Star” at any time alter its course, and return to the rock foundation of faith—the ransom given for our sins—we shall gladly and warmly welcome it back, and in that event, you may expect that its name will again be mentioned in the TOWER approvingly.
One word more—regular readers are well aware that while we are neutral on no doctrine, we believe that liberality should be exercised by all christians, to all christians who are building on Christ the Rock, even though they are building poorly; but we call you all to witness that the differences above alluded to, are most vital. They assault the foundations of christianity, who deny the ransom price. It became a question of whether we would be faithful to God in defending his truth, or be acceptable to men by passing quietly by and ignoring error. The latter course would have been the easiest and most agreeable to the flesh, but the former was duty and has been performed to the best of our ability.
— December, 1882 —