Peoples Pulpit, May 6, 1910


We, dear friends, are living in a day in which the leading minds of the world are rejecting the Bible and its message in all the great colleges of the world; yea, in the theological seminaries also, the Bible is classed as antique. Professed faith in the Bible, as the inspired Word of God, today calls forth sneers of ridicule and the comment that such believers are "unlearned." But, my hearers, I am before you today to contend that it is not the "Gospel of Christ" that is being rejected by the intelligence of the world, but another Gospel that came, not from Christ, neither from the Apostles, neither is it taught in the Bible. I am here to claim, and to endeavor to prove that the Bible is eminently logical, thoroughly reasonable, and that the message it bears to those who have "ears to hear," is the most wonderful message that could possibly be presented to human heads and hearts.

We are not here to claim a new revelation, making void the Word of God through Jesus and the Apostles; we are not here to twist and turn their words to make them appear to mean what they do not say. We are here to show that the Bible taken in its simplicity, and allowed to interpret itself, is the most wonderful book in the world, and that the Divine Plan of Salvation therein set forth is soul-satisfying and, as the Scriptures declare, sufficient, "that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good word and work." [HGL447]


We are not here, my friends, to set forth any sectarian views of the Scriptures, nor to advocate a new theology. By no means; we have already too many theologies; we have already too many sects or divisions of Christ! We want no more! Christendom is awakening to the fact that the various conflicting creeds cast discredit on the Bible. The creeds of Christendom universally discredit each other by their interpretations, and universally they discredit the Bible, which would be surely a most ridiculous book, if it taught all the various conflicting dogmas.

However, I should not be misunderstood as making an attack upon any creed, or upon the adherents of any creed. Rather, I suggest that we may well look with sympathy upon all the various creeds and sects, realizing the God's people have been in Babylonish confusion for now many centuries. Did not the Apostle tell that a great falling away would come? (2 Thess. 2:3.) Should we then be surprised if we find his words have come true, that for fifteen hundred years the Church of Christ has been deeply entangled with errors and superstitions, which make void the Gospel of Christ? Let us not then stop to find fault with our forefathers, and to upbraid them; let us rather, so far as possible, assume their honesty, their sincerity. Let us take the Bible standpoint, and realize that the difficulty has been the power of our Adversary, and Devil, and that he has deluded and ensnared, not only the heathen world, but to a considerable extent Christendom.

Mark St. Paul's words, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the glorious light of Divine goodness should shine into their hears" (2 Cor. 4:4). The intimation is that our great Adversary, Satan, is interested in deceiving mankind, respecting the glorious character of our God, and his wonderful Plan of Salvation through Christ. Satan uses as his tools the very best of humanity that he can bring under his control, and nothing is more evident than that he has completely deluded the heathen world with what the Apostle terms, "doctrines of devils." Not only so, but to the extent that he was able to do so, he has evidently worked mischief with the various reformations and creeds of Christendom. Thank God that he did not gain entire control of any of these! Thank God that there is a center or nucleus of truth in each of these creeds, and around that kernel of truth, germinating power may be felt in every denomination, but the Adversary has wrapped these creeds with layer after layer of mistranslation and misinterpretation.

In the light of our day, many are able to discern more clearly than did our forefathers, the monstrous and God-dishonoring fallacies of the creeds, and, aroused to disgust, they have rejected the irrational dogmas; but they have frequently rejected also the central truth, which that dogma, to a certain degree, misrepresented. Thus we are in the day of the rejection of the creeds by the people of all denominations, Catholic and Protestant, and equally we are in the day of Bible rejection, because it is assumed that the Bible, having been studied by the formulators of these creeds, must be in accord with these, and hence, must be responsible for the unreasonable teachings, and must be rejected when these are rejected.

Some of us ran away with the doctrine of "election," thinking it the whole Gospel of Christ; whereas, our fragment was incomplete, unsatisfactory, and misrepresented the Gospel, when taken alone. Others grasped the doctrine of "free grace," and ran away with that, claiming that it was the entire Gospel ignoring the Scriptures which referred to "election," etc. These made a similar mistake, and similarly misrepresented the Gospel of Christ in its wholeness, its solidarity. Others grasped those Scriptures which assure us of a universal opportunity for salvation, and interpreted them to mean that all mankind will attain eternal salvation, regardless of their wills and co-operation. Others found difficulty in harmonizing the relationship between the heavenly Father, the heavenly Son, and the holy Spirit, and this contention led to Unitarianism on the one hand, and to Trinitarianism on the other. Others of us caught the doctrine of "baptism," and made of it the entire Gospel, and thus did violence to the lengths, and breadths, and heights, and depths of the true message the true Gospel, of which St. Paul in our text declares that he was not ashamed.

Noting the logical mind of St. Paul, who can doubt that he would be ashamed, as we ourselves are, of the fragmentary presentations of the various creeds which more or less oppose and contradict each other? We may be sure that what the Apostle would endorse, as the "Gospel of Christ," we need not be ashamed of. Hence our determination should be to search the Scriptures, and find that one reasonable message of the Divine Plan which centers in Jesus our Redeemer.


Men and women do not find it difficult to believe in a wise, just, loving and powerful Creator; just such a God our hearts and heads tell us we should expect; just such a God rational people find no difficulty in worshiping. Indeed, while some of us in the past may have believed in the "total depravity" of the race, may we not realize that notwithstanding the fall, there is still in the human mind and heart something which has "longings infinite," something which cries out for the living God, and which commands our reverence and worship, in proportion as he is recognized?

Spiritually we gagged at the suggestion that a God of all wisdom, love, justice and power ever created our race with the foreknowledge and foreordination that practically all of these thousands of millions must suffer either purgatorial torture for several centuries, as our Catholic friends present the matter, or at the still more irrational theory of us Protestants that eternal torture is to be the fate of all except the elect few, the saints, who now follow in the footsteps of Jesus a course contrary to the world and all the tendencies of life around us. Well may we gag, and the sooner we reject and eject this entire mass of un-Scriptural dogmas, the better. As a whole it comes to us from our honest, but unenlightened forefathers, who verily thought they did God service in torturing one another, even to the extent of burning one another at the stake, because of little differences along the lines of these "doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). [HGL448] The rich spiritual food and the strong faith, which we, dear friends, as Bible students, should desire and seek for, are to be found only in the Bible itself. We should not spurn suggestions from one another, but we should receive such suggestions

tentatively, and the Word of God should be searched, so that our faith should not stand in the teachings of men, but in the power of God, as set forth in the Word of God. From this quarter only can we expect information respecting


of which St. Paul was not ashamed. That Gospel has two distinct features. Primarily it relates to the world of mankind, and instead of telling us that either centuries of purgatorial suffering, or an eternity of torture awaits the world, its message is that, in God's due time, a great blessing awaits the world through the glorified Christ, and as a result of the sacrifice which he finished at Calvary.

This great blessing will not be universal salvation, but it will be a universal opportunity for salvation. It will not be a salvation in ignorance and heathen superstition, but a salvation from such conditions, with full opportunity to return to the image and likeness of God, lost in Adam, and redeemed by our Savior. This is the same Gospel that was heralded by the angels on the night of our Lord's birth in the words, "Behold we bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people, for unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior (Life-Giver), which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10). This version of the Gospel, a good message, and for all mankind, corresponds exactly with the first statement of the Gospel made by God to Father Abraham, saying: "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:2, 3).

Nor should this surprise us that a loving and gracious Creator, who knew the end from the beginning, created the human race with the full foreknowledge that Father Adam would be disobedient, and that his life would be forfeited, and that all his children would share in his mental, moral, and physical decline, even unto death! Why should it seem strange that this God, this All-Wise Creator should plan an opportunity for the complete recovery from the effects of sin and death for all mankind? Why have we allowed our minds to refuse the message sent to us through the angels respecting the "good tidings of great joy to all people?" Why have we allowed the Adversary to make us think for one moment that our God, instead of being gracious, loving, and kind, and helpful to his creatures, has, on the contrary, made provision for their eternal misery? Why have we allowed ourselves to believe from this standpoint that our Creator was the greatest demon of all demons not only that he has power, but that he chooses to use that power for the eternal torture of his creatures, who were not even given a choice as respects their creation?

Ah, my dear friends, with tears and in sack-cloth, we should confess to our blindness in the past respecting the true character of God. Humble should we beg forgiveness for having misrepresented the Holy One of Israel. But he knows that we did this in ignorance, and he is both gracious and generous to forgive us our trespasses, and to cleanse us from all iniquity according to his gracious arrangement for us, which centers in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Some, perhaps, would answer, Surely, if the "Cross of Christ" means the blessing of all the families of the earth, the fact would have been demonstrated somehow during the nineteen centuries since. The fact that only a comparatively small number have accepted Christ and been blessed is therefore the ground for the belief that God is merely seeking out of the world an "elect" "little flock." Surely, if he had been seeking to convert the world, he could and would have made much more progress in that direction than has been made, in all this time.

We reply that this is no argument whatever. The same God delayed to send his Son, delayed the sacrifice on Calvary for more than four thousand years after sin had entered the world. And yet, according to the Scriptures, the merit of the sacrifice of Christ is not merely intended to bring blessing to those who have lived since Calvary, but also to all nations, kindreds, peoples and tongues from the day of Adam to the end of the Age.

According to the Scriptures, the death sentence was pronounced against Father Adam, and all of his children have shared in the blighting effect of that sentence through heredity. Not only has our race been growing weaker, mentally, morally, and physically, but by the thousands of millions, they have dropped into the tomb, the great prison-house of death, from which there is no escape, except by and through the Son of God. His sacrifice for the sins of the whole world secures to him the right to the control of Adam and his race. This control, the Scriptures assure us, Christ will assume and exercise during his Millennial reign. During that thousand years all the families of the earth will be blessed, as promised.

Meantime, in the grave (sheol, hades, the hell of the Bible), where the "dead know not anything," they merely wait, or as the Scriptures declare, they "sleep in the dust of the earth." The Redeemer's authority over them is beautifully symbolized in his own words, "I am he that was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and have the keys of death and of the grave." (Rev. 1:18) He will exercise his keys of authority and deliver all of the prisoners from the power of the tomb, and additionally from all the weaknesses and imperfections incidental to the sentence. He will bring the willing and obedient back to full human perfection, and to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by Jesus. This, we declare, according to the Scriptures, is the Gospel in its primary sense a message of "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people," that in the "Seed of Abraham, all the families of the earth shall be blessed" not only the living at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, but all that are in their graves who shall come forth, "every man in his own order."

As I beheld in your city the great amphitheater which once witnessed the terrible sufferings of some of God's faithful ones in the past; and again, as I viewed the room once used as a torture-chamber, in the days of the Inquisition, I said, Thank God for the blessings of light and liberty, which belong to our day, and yet I reflected that even though they be different in form, there must needs be "fiery trials" for every true child of God, for it is the will of God that all should be thoroughly tested, as respects reverence, loyalty, [HGL449] and devotion to principle, that they may be counted worthy of a share with Immanuel in the glories of his Empire.

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