The Mail Room
Letters from Volume 15
Welcome to the Mail Room for Present Truth Magazine! This is where we post some of the interesting letters which we receive 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!
Bravo! Your eschatology issue is nothing less than a masterpiece! Present Truth Magazine truthfully is a great present for anyone! It's interesting to see Pre-Trib reactions to our book, The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin. The September Moody Monthly reviewed it and, though disagreeing with some things, did state at the end of the review that our book is "well worth acquiring by those interested in the history of eschatology." And The Witness (oldest and largest Darbyist Brethren magazine in England) reviewed it in its April issue and actually stated: "What he has succeeded in establishing is that the view outlined was first stated by a certain Margaret Macdonald." Which is quite an admission considering that many Pre-Tribs teach that the apostle Paul was first! When Darby said he merely rediscovered "old" truths, he really meant truths three or four months old!
I was raised and reared in the Calvinistic faith and, until I was twenty-five years old, was warned by parents and church alike to beware of those people called "dispensationalists." I remember bringing a Scofield Bible into my Dutch home for the first time after I was saved and had learned some of the great eschatological truths as taught by Scofield. (My oldest sister did not dare to even touch a Scofield Bible!) Thank God for a wonderful salvation and indwelling Holy Spirit, who has shown me the great truths of "things to come'! That Calvinistic doctrine goes a long way, but it has proved to be as dry as dust when carried to its limit. I am a dispensationalist—not by training but by choice and His leading. However, I thank God for my devout heritage and Christian Reformed background with catechism, Christian school, confession of faith at the age of eighteen, the law, the creeds, etc. But thank God for the day He opened my eyes to the glorious truths of the premillennial, pretribulational truths of prophecy!
J. B., Baptist Minister
Certain of your viewpoints in your issue are deeply disappointing. Concerning the future destiny of Israel, the posterity of Noah demands the existence of the descendants of Shem as a people apart, and this is clearly seen from Isaiah 19:24, 25, where Israel is seen as a third with Egypt and Assyria in the midst of the land and is spoken of as "Mine inheritance." You would also find it profitable to look into Isaiah 66:8 in this connection, where a miraculous rebirth of the nation is depicted following the rapture of the church. With regard to the identity of antichrist, he is described in Revelation 17:8-11 as a historic personage mortally wounded in battle by the sword, who is resurrected and shown to be one of seven kings. He cannot even be remotely identified with the papacy as you indicate. This presages an unpromising augury for your venture.
Your issue on eschatology is a very complete presentation of "Reformation" doctrine. Premillennial pretribulationists go back to the "truths" given to J. N. Darby, while you go back to "truths" given to Martin Luther. And in both cases the assumption is made that New Testament purity of doctrine has been restored. If you would forget being "Protestant" and become, instead, a New Testament Christian, you would learn that "the Israel of God" in Galatians 6:16 are those of the circumcision who, like the apostle Paul, believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Messiah. A learned Hebrew Christian once said, "If you want a boiled potato, you start with a potato. If you want a fried potato, you start with a potato. If you want a baked potato, you start with a potato. And if you want a spiritual Israelite, you start with an Israelite." A Gentile can become a child of Abraham by faith, because Abraham was justified by faith before he was circumcised! But a Gentile can never become an Israelite, or even a "spiritual Israelite," except by also being circumcised! And this, of course, is not mandatory; in fact, it is even discouraged, because the believing Gentile is only under the obligations of the decrees in Acts 15. Strange, that you take the Bible literally only when it happens to agree with your preconceived notions, and spiritually when it does not. By the way, have you spiritualized the curses to the church as you have the blessings?
Thank you, anyway, for a comprehensive summary of the Reformation doctrines that underlie the organized antagonism to futurism. You are committed to follow the children of Rome rather than primitive New Testament faith.
W. L., Minister
Your issue is a great boost for historicism. However, I feel you are veering to amillennialism. One hundred percent historicism includes the premillennial coming of Christ (cf. Elliott, Guinness, Tanner, Cachemaillie, T.R. Birks, et al.). I sincerely hope you are not advocating amillennialism. You are against futurism, and that is a Heaven sent break!
I received your issue entitled "Justification by Faith and Eschatology," and I must say that I am very interested in the presentation you are giving to this subject. Of particular interest is your reference to Ribera and Alcazar. I have tried for almost twenty years to verify my information concerning them. To me, this is a tremendous find.
H. H., Church of God Minister
What a blessing it is that truth can still be found! I have been so fed up with an Arminian type of evangelism, with all its stress upon an "experience and rededication," and an endless line of sensational figures in revivalism, that I almost despaired of any voice from the Lord. Present Truth Magazine is a voice crying in this wilderness of cheap, shallow conception of sovereign truth. Your contention that current Protestant evangelism is a far cry from Reformation theology seems to be an indictment, but true.
Present Truth Magazine is outstanding, and you are to be commended for your efforts in challenging the seemingly popular religious trends of today.
Your articles provide stimulation of thought regarding both the basis of our faith and one's personal walk, that we might "walk, not as unwise men, but as wise." I especially like to see exposure of works from men such as Luther, Spurgeon and John Owen, whose legacies to us we often overlook amidst the flood of contemporary books on "how to live the Christian life."
Mr. Charles Hodge agrees with your position on subjective and objective profession controversy. In volume 2, page 537 of his Systematic Theology, he says: "It is another fatal objection to this scheme that it subverts the whole gospel plan of salvation. Instead of directing the soul to Christ, to his righteousness, and to his intercession; that is, to what is objective and out of itself, as the ground of its hope toward God, it turns the attention of the sinner in upon himself." "To call on men to trust for their acceptance before God on the ground of what they are made by this inward change, is to call upon them to build their eternal hopes upon a foundation which cannot sustain a straw." The whole discussion is "children's bread" for true saints.
The illustrations in Present Truth Magazine are a significant contribution to the readability of the articles. The illustrations frequently, if not always, capture the spirit of what's being said. It would be hard for me to select a favorite, but as a new father, I am especially appreciative of the illustration of Ezekiel 16:1-6 . It brings to me a new and deeper apprehension of God's mercy and grace as I consider this truly striking Old Testament picture of salvation. Many thanks to your illustrator for his contribution to the format of Present Truth.
I have no time for a magazine or any other reading matter that gives me neither information, inspiration nor aspiration. You say your purpose is to bring back New Testament Christianity. That is exactly what the Pentecostals have said of that movement for fifty years, and time will tell which of you is right. I have tried to read your magazine with an open mind, but it almost always leaves me disappointed and depressed. There is no help in it for everyday, practical Christian living. I have no patience with the dogmatism, pessimism and bigotry that I find in its pages. New Testament Christianity is practical. It enables people to live victoriously and joyously, to love God and other people, and to face the problems and responsibilities of life with faith and fortitude. In a word, it is salvation in this life as well as for the future.
For Such a Time as This
During these days of much religious confusion, it is good to receive such an outstanding magazine as Present Truth Magazine. It is indeed helpful in my ministry! Surely God Himself raised up this particular Christian publication "for such a time as this." One receives and can read many religious magazines, but what we want and need is truth. We want to uphold "the whole council of God." We need to uphold "Christ alone, Word alone, faith alone, grace alone" and "the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible." Thank you for printing Spurgeon's sermon on "Indwelling Sin" and Luther's "Preface to the Epistle to the Romans" in the May, 1974 issue. I was richly blessed. Long live Present Truth Magazine!
A New Reformation
Each issue has spoken to some vital need of truth in our day. Every article has been a blessing and help in my life and ministry. How we need a Reformation of truth When the light of truth dims, the darkness of error and deception floods in. I pray that your goal will be reached—restoration of New Testament Christianity in this generation!
I want to express my appreciation for your magazine and the doctrinal clarity that is being revealed to a religious world that is theologically confused and in the dark. It is encouraging to see your efforts to rightly handle the Word of truth.
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