Necessity of a revelation of creation 14 Searching the scriptures

English: Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on ...
Diagram of the Holy Trinity based on the Hebrew word רוח “air, wind, spirit” having feminine grammatical gender in the Hebrew language (though in fact in a significant minority of its occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, the word actually has masculine grammatical gender). Could be considered “non-orthodox” by the criteria of the traditional mainstream of Christian doctrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Search the scriptures with the teachableness of a little child, and thy labour will not be in vain. Cast away to the owls and to the bats the traditions of men, and the prejudices indoctrinated into thy mind by their means; make a whole burnt offering of their creeds, confessions, catechisms, and articles of religion; and, after the example of the Ephesian disciples, hand over your books of curious theological arts, and burn them before all. These mountains of rubbish have served the purpose of a dark and barbarous age; the word, the word of the living God alone, can meet the necessities of the times.

Let the example of the noble-minded Bereans be ours. They searched the scriptures daily to see if the things taught by the apostles were worthy of belief; “therefore they believed”. If, then, not even the preaching of an apostle was credited unaccompanied by scriptural investigation, is it not infinitely more incumbent on us that we should bring to a like test the opinions and precepts of the uninspired and fallible professional theologists of our day? Let us believe nothing that comes from “the pulpit”, “the altar”, or the press, not demonstrated by the grammatical sense of the scriptures. Let us be contented with nothing less than a “thus it is written”, and a “thus saith the Lord”; for He has laid it down in His law, that no one is worthy of belief who does not speak after His rule.

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to THIS WORD, it is because there is no light in them.”

If then their light be darkness, how great is that darkness.

English: Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus ...
Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (ca.245-313), Roman Emperor Diocletian. Marble bust, XVIIth century, Florence, Italy. On display at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, France. Français : L’empereur Dioclétien (ca.245-313). Buste de marbre sculpté au XVII e siècle à Florence, en Italie, exposé dans le château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, en France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scriptures can do everything for us in relation to the light. This is known, felt, and keenly appreciated by all interested in the support of error. Hence, in the days of Diocletian, one of the pagan predecessors of Constantine, a decree was issued commanding the surrender of all copies of the Holy Scriptures: for it was found that so long as they obtained circulation the Christian doctrine could never be suppressed. The Popes, as deadly, and more insidious, enemies of the truth than the pagan Roman emperors, followed the example of Diocletian. The Bible and popery are as mutually hostile as the light of the sun and the thick darkness of Egypt that might be felt. But it is not paganism and popery alone that are practically hostile to a free and untrammelled investigation of the word of God. The Protestant world, while it deludes itself with the conceit that “the Bible, the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants”—while it spends its thousands for its circulation among the nations in their native tongues — is itself hostile to the belief and practice of what it proclaims. The “Bible alone” is not its religion; for if it were, why encumber its professors with the “Common Prayer”, Thirty-nine Articles, and all the other “notions” of a similar kind? To believe and practise the Bible alone would be a sufficient ground of exclusion from all “orthodox churches”. When Chillingworth uttered the sentiment, there was more truth in it than at this day; but now it is as far from the fact as that Protestantism is the religion of Christ.

To protest against an error, such as Romanism, and to affirm that every man has a right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, is a very different thing to believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and walking in all the institutions of the Lord blameless. To do this would unchristianize a man in the estimation of State churches and sectarian denominations; for the Bible religion requires a man to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints”, which in these times cannot be done without upheaving the very foundations of the self-complacent, self-glorifying, and self-laudatory communions of the antipapal constitution of things. It is true that no man or power has a right to interfere between God and the conscience; but it is also true that no man has a right to worship God as he pleases. This is a Protestant fallacy. Man has a right to worship God only in the way God has Himself appointed.

“In vain do ye worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

This is the judgment pronounced by the wisdom of God upon all worship which He has not instituted. He declares it to be vain worship; concerning which the apostle to the Gentiles says:

“Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath; let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels. Be not subject to dogmatisms (δογματίζεσθε) after the commandments and traditions of men; which things have indeed a show of wisdom in WILL-WORSHIP and humility.”

These exhortations apply to all faith and worship, Papal and Protestant. If Popery judges men in meats, Protestantism doth the same in drinks, and in the Sabbath; they both judge men in holy-days and “movable feasts”; and though Protestantism repudiates the worshipping of angels, it proclaims in its “fasts”, “preparations”, “concerts”, etc. a voluntary humility, anti celebration of “saints and martyrs”, renowned in legendary tales for “the pride that apes humility”. Let the reader search the scriptures from beginning to end, and he will nowhere find such systems of faith and worship as those comprehended in the Papal and Protestant systems. The gospel of the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus is not preached among them; they are communions which are uncircumcised of heart; theological dissertations on texts, called “sermons”, are substituted for “reasoning out of the scriptures”—for “expounding and testifying the Kingdom of God, and persuading men concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets”. Puseyism*, Swedenborgianism*, and all sorts of isms, to which in apostolic times the world was a total stranger, run riot among them; the lusts of the flesh, of the eye, and of the pride of life have extinguished even the energy and zeal of the antipapal rebellion out of which they have arisen; they are dead, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, and therefore the time is come to cut them off as a rotten branch from the good olive tree. Let therefore every man that would eschew the wrath which is begun, and who would become an heir of the kingdom of God, save himself from the unholy, lifeless, and effete denominations of these “Latter Days”. By remaining in them, a man partakes of their evil deeds, and subjects himself to their evil influences. The word of man has silenced the word of God in their midst; and religion has degenerated into a professional commodity sold for cash according to the taste which most prevails in the soul-makers of the world.

Let us then “cease from men, whose breath is in their nostrils; for wherein are they to be accounted of?” “They be blind leaders of the blind”, in whom is no light, because they speak not according to the law and the testimony of God. Let us repudiate their dogmatisms; let us renounce their mysteries; and let us declare our independence of all human authority in matters of faith and practice outside the word of God. The scriptures are able to make us wise, which the traditions of “divines” are not. Let us then come to these scriptures, for we have the assurance that he who seeks shall find. But we must seek by the fight of scripture, and not permit that fight to be obscured by high thoughts and vain imaginations which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. Great is the consolation that “the wise shall understand”, and “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament”. Be this then our happiness, to understand, believe, and do, that we may be blessed in our deed, and attain to the glorious liberty and manifestation of the sons of God.

To the Bible then let us turn, as to “a light shining in a dark place”, and, with humility, teachableness, and independence of mind, let us diligently inquire into the things which it reveals for the obedience and confirmation of faith. The object before us then will be, to present such a connected view of this truthful and wonderful book as will open the reader’s eyes, and enable him to understand it, and expound it to others, that he may become “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”; and be able intelligently to “contend for the faith”; and by “turning many to righteousness, to shine as the stars for ever and ever”.
In effecting this purpose, we must proceed as we would with any other book, or in teaching any of the arts and sciences; namely, begin at the beginning, or with the elements of things. This was the method adopted by the spirit of God in the instruction of the Israelites by Moses. He began His revelations by giving them, and us through them, an account of the creation of the heavens and the earth; of animals; and of man. This then would seem to be the proper place for us to start from; and as we have the system completely revealed, which they had not, we may extend our enquiries into the reason, or philosophy of things farther than they. Be this, then, our commencement; and may the Lord himself prosper our endeavours to decipher and understand His word, and to disentangle it from the crude traditions and dogmatisms of contemporary theologies, useful in their beginnings as “oppositions” to the Mystery of Iniquity, but now “waxed old and ready to vanish away” with the thing they have antagonized; but which, though consumptive of the civil and ecclesiastical tyranny of the Image of the Beast, have by their glosses in effect taken from the people “the Key of Knowledge”, and thus shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men. Our endeavour will be to restore this “Key”, that they may understand “the mysteries of the kingdom”, and “have right, to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city”. And this we will do if God permit.

– #13 + 14: Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 3–9). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

*

Editorial Notes:

1: Puseyism or tractarianism from the first stage of the Oxford movement, with the English clergyman and scholar Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800-1882) fellow of Oriel College (1823) and canon of Christ Church. Late in 1833 Pusey gravitated toward the Oxford Movement. He wrote tracts on the advantages of fasting (1834) and on baptism (1836) in the series Tracts for the Times. From 1836, Pusey was editor of the influential Library of Fathers and contributed several studies of patristic works. When Newman withdrew from the Oxford movement in 1841, Pusey became its leader. His influence in the High Church party was widened when he was suspended from preaching for two years because of the ideas expressed in his sermon, “The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent” (1843). He advocated the doctrine of the Real Presence, which holds that the body and blood of Christ are actually (and not symbolically or figuratively) present in the sacrament. From the standpoint of public prestige, his adhesion to the Oxford Movement, Newman said, supplied it with “a position and a name.” Pusey fought a rearguard action to prevent others following and his supporters, dedicated to restrained and respectable high churchmanship, became known as ‘Puseyites’. He refused to be drawn into the ritualism which for many was the natural consequence of the Oxford movement, but supported the revival of Anglican monastic life, particularly for women. He was unique in England in his deep knowledge of contemporary German theology and was also a prodigious scholar of Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Tractarians insisted on the church’s authority to teach catholic truth to the English as the divinely commissioned agent of Christ and his apostles, and their exploration of this authority began a movement which decisively affected English Christianity’s understanding of sanctity, worship, and religious practice. The furore provoked by Newman‘s Tract 90, on the Thirty-Nine Articles, ended the series and his reception into the Roman catholic church closed the tractarian phase, but their influence set the Anglican pace for the rest of the century. {Clyde Binfield, The Oxford Companion to British History | 2002}

2: Swedenborgianism blended Christianity with pantheism and theosophy after the teachings of the Swedish scientist, philosopher, and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). In his writings, he predicted that God would replace the traditional Christian Church, establishing a ‘New Church’, which would worship God in one person: Jesus Christ. The movement was founded on the belief that God explained the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures to Swedenborg as a means of revealing the truth of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Swedenborg claimed divine inspiration for his writings and followers believe that Swedenborg witnessed the Last Judgment in the spiritual world, along with the inauguration of the New Church. {Doc. II, page 404}

Researcher D. Michael Quinn suggests that Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, was influenced by the writings of Swedenborg. {Early Mormonism and the Magic World View}

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Preceding articles:

Necessity of a revelation of creation 1 Works of God and works of man

Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things

Necessity of a revelation of creation 9 Searching the Scriptures

Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God

Necessity of a revelation of creation 12 Words assembled for wisdom and instruction

Necessity of a revelation of creation 13 Getting wisdom

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Additional reading:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  3. Why can’t Bible scholars agree on how to interpret the Bible?
  4. Communion and day of worship
  5. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  6. Blind leading the blind
  7. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine
  8. People are turning their back on Christianity
  9. Christianity without the Trinity

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Further reading on other websites:

  1. God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will
  2. Inquest Into Identifying Irreverent Inequality
  3. Why Prioritize the Pursuit of God’s Wisdom?
  4. #975 Wisdom – God’s Strategy
  5. The ‘Residual Income’ from Having God’s Wisdom
  6. June; Proverbs 6
  7. June; Proverbs 27
  8. June; Proverbs 30
  9. Eastern Lightning]|God’s word “Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”
  10. True Wisdom
  11. Romans 11:33-36: The Mystery of God
  12. A Word to the Wise
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