The Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian faith
THE FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES
OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY
By R. A. Torrey
Printed in the United States of America
The author of these sermons has had a feeling for a long time that thegreat need in our churches in this day is systematic indoctrination.He put his theory into practice last winter in his own church, andthese sermons are the result. We were having a great many accessionsto our church. In the two years of the church's history we had hadsomething like six hundred accessions to the church, and every monthconsiderable numbers of new members were being added. While manyof these came by letter from other churches, many of them were newconverts and had had practically no systematic instruction in thefundamental truths of the Christian faith, so we announced a seriesof sermons on The Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian Faith. Therewas immediately a large increase in the attendance at the serviceswhere these addresses were given, and this increase has kept up untilon the last Lord's Day we had much the largest attendance we have everhad, excepting on Easter Sunday. Many have testified to the blessingreceived from these sermons, and there has been a great demand thatthe sermons be printed for general circulation. This request has comefrom ministers of various denominations, Episcopalians, Presbyterians,Methodists, Baptists, and others. It is hoped that this volume willbe useful to other pastors in suggesting lines of teaching in theirregular pastoral work, and also that it may be used widely by pastors[vi]and others for circulation among Christians. We live in a day in whichmany of our church members are all at sea as to what they believe onthe fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. These sermons havealready helped many through their delivery. It is hoped they will reachand help far more in the printed form.
|I||Inspiration, or To What Extent is the Bible Inspired of God?||11|
|II||The Christian Conception of God, or the God of the Bible as Distinguished from the God of Christian Science and the God of Modern Philosophy||38|
|III||The Christian Conception of God—The Infinite Perfection and Unity of God||56|
|IV||The Deity of Jesus Christ||73|
|V||Jesus Christ a Real Man||93|
|VI||The Personality of the Holy Spirit||112|
|VII||The Deity of the Holy Spirit and the Distinction Between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit||144|
|VIII||The Atonement: God's Doctrine of the Atonement vs. Unitarian and Christian Science Doctrines of the Atonement||162|
|IX||The Distinctive Doctrine of Protestantism: Justification by Faith||186|
|X||The New Birth||206|
|XII||The Resurrection of the Body of Jesus and of Our Bodies||245|
|XIV||Is There a Literal Hell?||284|
|XV||Is Future Punishment Everlasting?||303|
THE FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES
OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
"For no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but men spakefrom God, being moved by the Holy Spirit."—2 Pet. 1:21.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and isprofitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, forinstruction in righteousness; that the man of God may beperfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."—2 Tim.3:16, 17.
Our subject this morning is "The Inspiration of the Bible, or to WhatExtent Is the Bible Inspired of God?" The subject is of vital andfundamental importance. If we can make it clear that the writers ofthe various books of the Bible were inspired of God in a sense thatno other men were ever inspired of God, that they were so gifted andtaught and led and governed by the Holy Spirit in their utterances asrecorded in the Bible, that they taught the truth and nothing butthe truth, that their teachings were absolutely without error,—thenwe have in the Bible a court of final appeal and of infallible wisdomto which we can go to settle every question of doctrine or duty. Butif the writers of the Bible were "inspired" only in the vague anduncertain sense that Shakespeare, Browning and many other men of geniuswere inspired, only inspired to the extent that their minds were mademore keen to see the truth than ordinary men, but still only in such away that they made mistakes, or chose the wrong word to express theirthought, so that we must recast their thought by discovering, if wemay, what the inspired thought back of the uninspired words was, thenwe are all at sea, in hopeless confusion, so that each generationmust settle for itself what the Holy Spirit meant to say through theblundering reporters; and it is absolutely certain that no generationcan determine with anything approximating accuracy what the Spiritmeant, and so no generation can arrive at the truth, but simplypromulgate blunders for the next and wiser generation to correct, tobe corrected in turn by the next generation that follows it. ThankGod that this latter subtle but popular doctrine can be proven to beutterly untrue!
There is great need of crystal clear teaching on this subject,because our colleges and seminaries and pulpits and Sunday schoolsand religious papers are full of teaching that is vague, inaccurate,misleading, un-Scriptural, and oftentimes grossly false. There aremany in these days who say "I believe that the Bible is inspired" whenby "inspired" they do not mean at all what you understand or what themighty men of faith in the past meant by "inspired." They often saythat they "believe the Bible is the Word of God," when at the same timethey believe it is full of errors.
Now the Bible is as clear as crystal in its teachings and claimsregarding itself, and either those claims are true, or else the Bibleis the biggest fraud in all the literature of the human race. Theposition held by so many to-day, that the Bible is a good book, perhapsthe best book in the world, but at the same time it is full of errorsthat must be corrected by the higher wisdom of our day, is utterlyillogical and absolutely ridiculous. If the Bible is not what it claimsto be, it is a fraud—an outrageous fraud.
What does the Bible teach and claim concerning itself? What does itteach and claim regarding the fact and extent of its own inspiration?
I. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN APOSTLES AND PROPHETSDIFFERENT IN CHARACTER FROM HIS WORK IN ALL OTHER PERSONS
The first thing that the Bible teaches on this point and claims foritself is, that the work of the Holy Spirit in apostles and prophets,in the various human authors of the different books of the Bible,differs from His work in other men, even in other believers in Christ.It teaches that the Holy Spirit imparts to apostles and prophets anespecial gift for an especial purpose. We find this clearly taught in 1Cor. 12:4, 8-11, 28, 29, where we read, "Now there are diversitiesof gifts, but the same Spirit. . . . (8) for to one is given throughthe Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge,according to the same Spirit; (9) to another faith, in the same Spirit;and to another gifts of healing, in the same Spirit; (10) and toanother workings of miracles (powers); and to another prophecy; andto another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues,and to another the interpretation of tongues; (11) but all theseworketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severallyeven as He will. . . . (28) And God hath set some in the church, firstapostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, thengifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues. (29)Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workersof miracles?" This chapter is the fullest and clearest chapter inthe Bible on the subject of the various gifts of the Holy Spirit. Itis the classical chapter on the whole subject, and the teaching ofthese verses is as plain as language can make it, and it states interms, the meaning of which is unmistakable, that the gift bestowedon apostles and prophets differed in kind from the gifts bestowedon other believers, even though those believers were filled with theHoly Spirit. Not only did the work of the Holy Spirit in the apostlesand prophets differ from His work in men of genius, but even from Hiswork in other believers. These verses make it as plain as day thatthe doctrine which has become so common and so popular in our day,that the work of the Holy Spirit in preachers and teachers and inordinary believers, illuminating them and guiding them into the truthand into the understanding of the Word of God, is the same in kind anddiffers only in degree from the work of the Holy Spirit in Apostlesand Prophets is thoroughly unscriptural and untrue. This doctrineoverlooks what is here so clearly stated and so carefully elucidated,that while there is "the same Spirit" "there are diversities ofgifts" "diversities of ministrations," "diversities of workings" (1Cor. 12:406 R. V.) and that not all are Prophets or Apostles. (1 Cor.12:29.)
Those who desire to minimise the difference between the work of theHoly Spirit in Apostles and Prophets, and His work in other men,often refer to the fact that the Bible itself says that Bezaleel, thearchitect of the tabernacle, was to be "filled