who said it?

Can you identify the source of this quote? What about the date and publication?

Today, fundamentalism is said to be in an identity crisis. It is allegedly trying to discover what it is. New self-definitions are being heard which say that a fundamentalist is one who is faithful to expository preaching, practices church discipline, repudiates easy believism, and is aggressive in evangelism. Or some imply that a fundamentalist is one who believes in inerrancy and does not cooperate with Roman Catholics, or is one who believes the “fundamentals” but is less militant and separatistic than formerly thought. The truth is that these are things that new evangelicals and self-proclaimed non-fundamentalists also believe and practice, leaving a distinctly fundamentalist self-identity completely vacuous. This all points up the fact that many are simply confused, and this includes would-be leaders as well as followers and well-wishers. Judging by some of the prevalent ambiguity, one is sometimes tempted to ask, Will the real fundamentalist please stand up?


shall a man use this means?

I am working ahead of our people on Pilgrim’s Progress and just ran across a passage concerning Mr. By-Ends, a man who uses religion for his own advantage.

Mr. By-Ends proposes a question to his friends:

Suppose a man, a minister, or a tradesman, etc., should have an advantage [have a chance, an opportunity] lie before him to get the good blessings of this life, yet so as that he can by no means come by them, except, in appearance at least, he becomes extraordinary zealous in some points of religion that he meddled not with before; may he not use this means [religion] to attain his end, and yet be a right honest man?

Mr. By-Ends friends are Mr. Hold-the-world, Mr. Money-love, and Mr. Save-all. Mr. Money-love assays to answer this question:

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the importance of the Old Testament

My brother returned from a family vacation to Italy and the British Isles with a book for me. In exchange, I took care of his alleged dog. The book made it worth it!

The book he brought home for me is Adolph Saphir’s Christ & The Scriptures. In the first chapter, I find this eloquent quote:

From the Jewish Scriptures we must learn what is meant by his being the Son of David and the Son of Abraham; what the words ‘Son of Man’ imply, and the word ‘Anointed,’ ‘Messiah,’of whom Moses and the prophets spake. For the history of Jesus does not begin with his birth in Bethlehem. The first verse of Matthew sums up the Old Testament history; nor can the sequel of the Gospels, Epistles, and Apocalypse be understood without it. His goings forth are from of old. He who understands not the election of Abram, the exodus of Israel, the Angel of Jehovah, the types of the Tabernacle, the High Priest, and the Sacrifice, the meaning of the shepherd-king, the son of Jesse, and of the sure mercies of David, must find insuperable difficulties in the life of Christ. All attempts to understand Jesus Christ, separate from the Old Testament, are most unphilosophical, and can tend to no satisfactory result. For Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of Moses and the prophets. He is not the Christ of history, but of a special history – the divine history of Israel. True, He is the Light of the World, He is the Desire of all Nations, He is the Centre and Life of Humanity; but He is all this because He is the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, for salvation is of the Jews. The Gospel narrative is like a high table land, but we cannot be spared the ascent from Genesis to Malachi.

How much value do you put on the Old Testament? If you are a preacher, how much of the Old Testament have you taught?

I would encourage you to make understanding the Old Testament with its promises, figures, and prophecies a matter of deepest concern. As Saphir says, ‘All attempts to understand Jesus Christ, separate from the Old Testament, are most unphilosophical, and can tend to no satisfactory result.’


an old timer on social action

Jon Trainer and Champ Thornton are talking about social action and whether there is a mandate for the church to engage in such activities. You can read some of their articles here, here, and here.

I am not sure where Jon and Champ will end up on this question, but for myself I see  no mandate at all for social action as a ministry of the church (except perhaps direct help for church members in crisis). As a Christian individual, I believe I should be kind and helpful to all as I come in contact with needs, but this really isn’t the mission of the church.

While I was working away on Romans today, I ran across a little essay in one of my commentaries on the social gospel. It is by William R. Newell, one-time assistant superintendent of Moody Bible Institute (under R. A. Torrey) and a fine Bible teacher and evangelist in his own right.

Newell left Moody in 1910 to take a Presbyterian pastorate in Florida. He published his commentary on Romans in 1938. He died in 1956.

This essay is from the Romans commentary.

William R. Newell, Romans verse by verse, pp. 46-51


This is the doctrine that Jesus Christ came to reform society (whatever “society” may be!); that He came to abate the evils of selfishness, give a larger “vision” to mankind; and, through His example and precepts, bring about such a change in human affairs, social, political, economic and domestic, as would realize all man’s deep longings for a peaceful, happy existence upon earth, ushering in what these teachers are pleased to call, “the Kingdom of God.”

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what does a neo-evangelical look like?

I am reading a bit from an interesting book called Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible by R. Laird Harris.

The book is out of print, but if the rest of the book is like the first chapter, I’d say it is well worth having if you can find it. Harris wrote in 1957, although my edition was published in 1969.

Harris writes a lucid style, and his scholarship is excellent. The first chapter is an introduction to his topic. In it he lays out the argument he is confronting, that of attacking the inerrancy of the Scriptures. For the most part he is very strong in his rebuttals (although he concedes too much by being willing to allow for a more than 24 hour day during the creation week). Here is a comment where he emphasizes the need for strong rebuttal of error.

But how about the Church itself? Surely the leaders of our great Protestant denominations have resisted the “acids of modernity,” Unfortunately, it is not so. Painful it is to have to relate how our church leaders have for the most part felt that they could neutralize these acids simply by diluting them slightly. The effort has been not to meet the attack head on but to appease the gathering unbelief at every point and meanwhile to try to salvage some shreds of faith from the general ruin. The result has been a preaching without conviction, a religion without authority, a Christ of human proportions. And in a world sick unto death the Church has turned to the panacea of ecumenicalism to present to the world a united front – united in unbelief. [p. 37]

He sounds almost like a fundamentalist, but, alas, he isn’t one. He is thoroughly a new evangelical as you will see by his brief bio on wikipedia, linked above.

The reason this quote is so striking to me is that it is strong language from a man who took the new evangelical side of the debate in the 1950s. Many of the men who made the wrong choice at that time were fearless preachers of truth in their day.

There is a group of men today who make bold statements, who seem to hold the truth unflinchingly, but who also have serious issues in their choices of association and affiliation as have been documented time and time again (lately with great surprise among some ‘young fundie’ admirers). We are told that this new crowd of conservatives are different, that there aren’t any neo-evangelicals anymore, etc. To which I can only say:



abpnews takes a turn at defining fundamentalism

The Associated Baptist Press attempts to define the allegedly undefinable! Read all about it in “Fundamentalism & militancy: Defining ‘fundamentalism’

“They were trying to find the boundaries of authentic Christianity,”

says one commentator.

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a word on worldliness from the UK

Peter Masters, the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, publishes the Sword & Trowel, a revival of Spurgeon’s magazine. I have subscribed for the last year and found spiritual benefit from every issue.

Just yesterday, I received the #3 issue for 2007 (I think Canada Post stores them for me). In an article entitled “The Holy War: Do we dodge enlistment?”, Masters says we are in a battle with demonic forces for the soul of the church. He echoes the concerns I regularly express concerning worldliness.

I’d like to share a couple of pertinent quotations for your consideration. They may not set well within certain circles.

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another little Lloyd-Jones gem

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is not popular with the natural man. He is against it. So that if you find the natural, unregenerate man praising either the preacher or his message then, I say, you had better examine that preaching and that preacher very carefully.”[1]


[1] D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Romans: The Gospel of God, p. 264.

a little quote in favour of the glacial approach to exposition…

From D. M. Lloyd-Jones:

“A friend of mine who used to attend here regularly and who has now gone to glory — a very good man — once said to me, rather jocularly but very kindly — ‘You know, I sometimes think that the Apostle Paul must be amazed when he sees what you get out of his epistles!’ Poor man! By now my friend has discovered that the Apostle Paul is amazed at how little that most people, and I with them, get out of his great epistles. He cannot be in Rome. If only he could be to preach to them day after day. You remember we are told that for eighteen months, in Ephesus, day by day he spoke in the school of Tyrannus; he spoke for hours, and went on day after day. What do you think he was talking about? According to some people’s ideas of exposition he could have spoken on all these epistles of his in one afternoon!”[1]

A man after my own heart!


[1] D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Romans: The Gospel of God, p. 227.

Christians the cause of religious decline

In an article today in the National Post, a university professor lays the blame for religious decline squarely at the feet of Christians:

He said most people assume religious ignorance came about from the secularization of U.S. schools, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court banned devotional Bible readings and prayer in the 1960s.

But he believes the problem can be traced back 100 years ago to changes in Christianity itself.

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