Welcome to the Mail Room for Present Truth Magazine! This is where we post some of the interesting letters which we have received from our viewers. All of our viewers are invited to E-mail us your comments and views and we will post these views for all to consider!
"Essays on Election"
Sir: While I found the recent issue on election of some value in criticism of abuses of this doctrine, I did not find the issue very valuable as a positive contribution to my understanding of election. But I take heart, for surely you will again return to one of the many subjects on which you write so well. If you are going to write on election only every three years, I can look for much valuable and insightful theology on justification, etc., in other issues.
Donald D. Crowe
Sir: I wish to commend you for publication of Robert J. Hiliman's "Scriptural Election: The Third Way". It is the most clarifying and lucid exegesis of predestination and election from the scriptural standpoint that I have been privileged to read. Taking the whole issue out of the realm of philosophy and cold rationalism and placing it back in its proper scriptural setting is a masterly way of handling the subject. This should answer once for all the "symmetrical," "logical" conclusions accepted by many.
Donald E. Kohlstaedt
Sir: Your emphasis on the objective gospel is indeed good news for today and for every age. The depth of scholarship is stimulating. However, your biases and contention for the truth sometimes swing you to making ridiculous statements. In Geoffrey Paxton's article, "The Gospel and a Controversial Text," is the unwarranted contention that the Spirit is not an independent area of study. Your bias against the subjective results of the gospel shows through in your attitude toward the Spirit, since He is the Agent in the changes within the believer.
Bruce L. Blowers
Nazarene Mission Director
Justification and New Birth
Sir: I would respectfully submit that the question of the relationship between justification and new birth can be likened unto the situation where a man would labor many extra hours in the evenings and weekends and give his all to purchase for his betrothed a most perfect gift for her adornment at their wedding. It would be a crude, most ungrateful and wretched bride who would think and talk only of her gift and forget totally her beloved and the price that was paid to purchase that gift. Are not many churches today in danger of the same offense? While feigning to speak of Jesus, the major concern in so many churches and teachings is about anything that might center on or exalt man, not God.
The relegation of the Lord and His work to a position of secondary (if any) import and concern (after our works or the work done in us) is the evidence of that age-old sin, idolatry (Ex. 2:3), which has always accompanied so-called men of religion from the Jews in Jeremiah's day, through the Pharisees of Christ's time, to many today. This apparently minor change in emphasis attempts to totally undermine the work of Christ and commends the worshiping and serving of the creature more than the Creator (Rom. 1:25 ). There is a consistent heresy the flesh always preaches and leads men toward one of works-righteousness, which must result in an all-encompassing concern and preoccupation for and about one's self and not Jesus. If these views were just idle and ill-advised ramblings, we could ignore them; but these words are words and life of antichrist and must be seen for what they constitute—an attack on the very heart of the gospel.
Being "born again" is a gift no man can ever purchase, a great and precious gift from God most perfect in every way. No one would (if in living faith) dare speak against rebirth, for without it one cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. But as we find ourselves in an age in which it is not uncommon to find disgusting demonstrations of selfishness and egotism among worldly brides, is it any wonder that the carnal and fanciful notions of a deceived world (and her ministers) would make gods of God's most perfect gifts, thereby once again giving the flesh a chance to exalt itself in endless vain and egocentric self-testimonies and discourses? While falsely claiming to be speaking as Christ's bride, the spirit which gives birth to such distortions is readily shown to be that of the whore of hell—antichrist. Test the spirits behind the words and works of antichrist in the churches today, and see the whorish façades of good works and good men (self-justification) spring up like those which resisted Jeremiah's indictments against Israel . Oh weep ye churches, for the Lord must expose these whoredoms, whoever and whatever the source, so that we might be led to trust in Him who alone can save. If He stifled not the truth to cover the sins of His nation's king but from the lips of Nathan in the sight of all indicted David, are we so foolish as to think that the "kings and kingdoms" of religion today are not to be touched by the truth when whoredoms are found in them?
The center of salvation is the Lord Jesus and what He has done, and not ourselves and what we have done (nor, more subtly, what has been done in us). Beware of any false prophets and teachers who would cause us to look to ourselves and attempt to keep us from trusting in Christ and what He has done. Let our testimonies be of Jesus, and let our lives be forever filled with all the gifts and fruit which the Lord intended to proceed from His most perfect work.
Amen. You 're a kindred spirit!-Ed.
Agrees with Luther
Sir: Your journal is a source of real blessing to me. The articles are well written, the topics presented are timely. You have helped me immeasurably to see the centrality of the doctrine of justification by faith and to thus love my Lord more for His doing and dying on my behalf. I would certainly agree with Luther that this doctrine is the one on which the church stands or falls. I am also in agreement with you in stressing the need for this emphasis in this day of doctrinal laxity and indifference.
Normund W. Leas
Sir: While reading some back issues of your journal, I recovered the truth of justification through faith in Jesus Christ, my Righteousness and Substitute. Praise God! This has changed both my entire life and my ministry. My personal blend of process theology, liberation theology, neo-orthodoxy (a la Emil Brunner) and holiness theology (a la Charles Finney) has given way to Jesus Christ and the great gospel truth of justification by faith.
In this day of extreme religious subjectivism (both from within Christianity, liberal and conservative, and from without, especially from the Eastern religions), only the gospel (the objective gospel) truly provides the answer to save a moribund world.
Sir: May I say a word of appreciation for the Letters-to-the-Editor section. Don't ever discontinue it! If nothing else can be said for it, it surely stirs up and energizes one's mind.
Mail Room index
Volume 47 index