In this issue of Present Truth Magazine the articles deal with the formal and material principles of the Reformation — the supremacy of the objective, written Word of God over religious man, and the primacy of justification by God over religious experience.
If we frequently refer to errors which threaten the purity of biblical faith, it is not because we fear the ark will fall unless we undergird it with our feeble hands. The triumph of truth is a forgone conclusion because of Calvary. But even error is useful to a degree. Zwingli put it well in his famous letter to Francis, king of France:
Of all things produced by this tempestuous epoch, there is nothing more useful, most pious king, than dangerous falsehood! For one thing, it is only the good seed of the harvest which the author of evil, the devil, is always attempting to choke (Matt. 13:24 f.); for another, the divine husbandman of souls uses wickedness and unbelief to nurture and increase faith and virtue, like the Spartan S, who when they had captured a town with much sweat and blood, forbade its utter destruction in order that they might have somewhere to exercise their soldiers in close combat. In the same way, the Lord God allows us too to be threatened in unexpected ways in order that we may be proved usable before him. For how can we learn bravery or temperance except where there is the stress of danger or ample scope for self-indulgence? And so too, now that the truth has begun to raise its head, it shines all the more brightly and boldly by reason of falsehood. For as falsehood attacks her on every side, shooting out its poison upon her, she is forced to rouse herself and to wipe away the poisonous stains and to protect her members. In this way the mask of falsehood and the dear face of truth are the more clearly revealed and illuminated. —Library of Christian Classics, Vol.24, p.245.
Come, let us reason together.