Friday, April 08, 2011

From 1882

For those who are grieved by the current wave of watered-down Christianity, here is a challenging excerpt written by one of the first opponents of the church growth movement -- in 1882!

We feel it is very timely and important word for Christian homeschoolers. It was penned by one of our favorite of the "great cloud of witnesses," C.H. Mackintosh....enjoy!


"Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds, lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown and the fruit of thy vineyard be defiled." (Deuteronomy 22:9)

What a weighty principle is here! Do we really understand it? do we see its true spiritual application? It is to be feared there is a terrible amount of "mingled seed" used in the so-called spiritual husbandry of the present day. How much of "philosophy and vain deceit," how much of "science falsely so called," how much of the "rudiments of the world," do we find mixed up in the teaching and preaching throughout the length and breadth of the professing church! How little of the pure, unadulterated seed of the Word of God, the "incorruptible seed" of the precious gospel of Christ, is scattered broad-cast over the field of Christendom in this our day! How few, comparatively, are content to confine themselves within the covers of the Bible for the material of their ministry! Those who are, by the grace of God, faithful enough to do so, are looked upon as men of one idea, men of the old school, narrow, and behind the times.

Well, we can only say, with a full and glowing heart, God bless the men of one idea -- men of the precious old school of apostolic preaching! Most heartily we do congratulate them on their blessed narrowness, and their being behind these dark and infidel times. We are fully aware of what we expose ourselves to in thus writing, but this does not move us. We are persuaded that every true servant of Christ must be a man of one idea, and that idea is Christ; he must belong to the very oldest school -- the school of Christ; he must be as narrow as the truth of Christ; and he must,with stern decision, refuse to move one hair's breadth in the direction of this infidel age. We cannot shake off the conviction that the effort on the part of the preachers and teachers of Christendom to keep abreast of the literature of the day must, to a very large extent, account for the rapid advance of rationalism and infidelity. They have got away from the holy Scriptures, and sought to adorn their ministry by the resources of philosophy, science, and literature. They have catered more for the intellect than for the heart and conscience. The pure and precious doctrines of holy Scripture, the sincere milk of the Word, the gospel of the grace of God and of the glory of Christ, were found insufficient to attract and keep together large congregations. As Israel of old despised the manna, got tired of it, and pronounced it light food, so the professing church grew weary of the pure doctrines of that glorious Christianity unfolded in the pages of the New Testament, and sighed for something to gratify the intellect and feed the imagination. The doctrines of the cross, in which the blessed apostle gloried, have lost their charm for the professing church, and any who would be faithful enough to adhere and confine themselves in their ministry to those doctrines might abandon all thought of popularity.

But let all the true and faithful ministers of Christ, all true workers in His vineyard, apply their hearts to the spiritual principle set forth in Deuteronomy 22:9; let them, with unflinching decision, refuse to make use of "divers seeds" in their spiritual ministry, to "the form of sound words," and ever seek "rightly to divide the word of truth," that so they may not be ashamed of their work, but receive a full reward in that day when every man's work shall be tried of what sort it is. We may depend upon it, the Word of God -- the pure seed -- is the only proper material for the spiritual workman to use. We do not despise learning; far from it; we consider it most valuable in its right place. The facts of science, too, and the resources of sound philosophy, may all be turned to profitable account in unfolding and illustrating the truth of holy Scripture. We find the Blessed Master Himself and His inspired apostles making use of the facts of history and nature in their public teaching; and who, in his sober senses, would think of calling in question the value and importance of a competent knowledge of the original languages of Hebrew and Greek in private study and public exposition of the Word of God?

But admitting all this, as we most fully do, it leaves wholly untouched the great practical principle before us -- a principle to which all the Lord's people and His servants are bound to adhere, namely, that the Holy Ghost is the only power, and holy Scripture the only material, for all true ministry in the gospel and in the Church of God. If this were more fully understood and acted upon, we should witness a very different condition of things throughout the length and breadth of the vineyard of Christ.

Here, however, we must close this section. We have elsewhere sought to handle the subject of "The Unequal Yoke," and shall not therefore dwell upon it here. The Israelite was not to plow with an ox and an ass together; neither was he to wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen. The spiritual application of both these things is as simple as it is important. The Christian is not to link himself with an unbeliever for any object whatsoever, be it domestic, religious, philanthropic, or commercial; neither must he allow himself to be governed by mixed principles. His character must be formed and his conduct ruled by the pure and lofty principles of the Word of God. Thus may it be with all who profess and call themselves Christians.