King's Business - 1948-08

No hymn has been more fiercely as­ sailed than this one. Sir Edward Arnold, the author of The Light oj Asia, said it was “shocking to his mind.,” It has been attacked from all sides. Yet I would rather have written it than to have been the author of all the books that came from the pen of the Arnolds. It has transformed thousands of lives, has given rest to many hearts as they approached the “Valley of the Shadow,” and it contains more real gospel than is found in the whole volume, For Sinners Only. The Nature of Sin ' We also take issue with the Oxford Group on the doctrine of sin as taught in For Sinners Only. Only the fringe of the doctrine of sin as taught in the Bible is touched. After reading the chapter, “ What is Sin?” I readily understood why Christ was not mentioned as a Re­ deemer. The sin referred to in this chap­ ter does not need blood to wash it away or a vicarious death to expiate it. Sin, as here shown, is just a misfortune that can be corrected, the correction to be made on the sinner’s part. On page 269, sin is defined as being whatever keeps a. man from God and from other people. On pages 269 to 275, sin is further de­ fined as being whatever is contrary to absolute honesty, absolute truth, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness. True, this is sin, but sin is a thousand times more than these things. Some time ago, I was preaching in an Iowa penitentiary and became interested in an inmate. I determined to have him paroled to me. He told me his story, but alas, it was true only as far as it went. When I wrote to the Governor of the State of Iowa in regard to this man, I got his full record, and I concluded that the penitentiary was a safe place for him. What he had told me was the truth, but it was not the whole truth. The full record of sin is found in the Bible—the record of what it is, and what it does, and what the eternal conse­ quences are. The chapter, “What is Sin?” does not deal with these things. There is not a suggestion there that sin will eternally separate a man from God. There is no intimation given that it has outraged the righteousness of God, and that one day the justice of God will deal with it and with the sinner, unless a man is separated from it and it from him through the death of Christ. Men have lost their sense of sin today because they have lost the vision of a holy God. Sin, as defined in For Sinners Only, would be perfectly acceptable to modern­ ists, Unitarians, and preachers of ethics as a means of salvation. The Introduction of the Confessional The third criticism we make is that the Oxford Group attempts to intro­ duce into the Protestant Church the con­ fessional. It is a well-known fact, and admitted by even many Roman Catholic adherents, that the confessional is and always has been an abomination. The establishment of a laymen’s confessional will not prove any better than that of Page Fourteen

the Roman Church. The Group bases its belief in a confessional upon James 5:16 which reads, “ Confess your faults one to another.” That verse is to be interpreted in the light of Matthew 5:23, 24: “ If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Another verse which they emphasize is First John 1:9: “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all un­ righteousness.” If that verse refers to a confession to man, then all through the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has- been right and the Protestant Church has been wrong. It does not take any spiritual insight to see that the con­ ln some parts of the foreign mission field it is said that the natives divide the Christians into two classes, and call the religion of one class "the monkey re­ ligion" and that of the other "the cat religion." There is a reason. The mother monkey carries her young as she jumps from tree to tree by having them hold onto her tail. If the little baby monkeys have sufficient strength to hold on tightly enough, all well and good. But if through sickness or weakness one should lose his hold, then goodby" for little baby { monkey. Now with the mother cat it is different. She takes hold of her baby ' kittens with her teeth, and their safety depends, not upon the hold of the baby kitten upon its mother, but that of the mother cat upon her kitten. This is much better. It is not our hold on Him that makes us safe, but His hold on us. —Sunday School Times *•-------- ------------------------------------------------------- fession referred to is to be made to our great IJigh Priest, our Advocate, and “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all un­ righteousness.” The Bible teaches that confession should be made. Confession should be made first of all to God. Read carefully Psalm 51, “ Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” We are also exhorted to confess to one another, if we have wronged a brother and are able to rectify it.. Con­ fession and restitution should be made. When Zacchaeus met the Lord, he said, “ Half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” It is every man’s respon­ sibility to do this; but as for men con­ fessing in a general way, rehearsing the details of their sins and “ sharing” them, we find no such command in God’s Word. In fact, we find a command distinctly forbidding it in Ephesians 5:3, l l , 12: But fornications, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named

among you, as becometh saints . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. It is my opinion that the Oxford Movement is a subtle attempt to break down that seemingly insurmountable barrier between Romanism and the Prot­ estant Church. Through the centuries, the Order of the Jesuits has realized that the objection of Protestantism to the confessional and its evils must be overcome if there is ever to be a united Christendom under the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglo- Catholics in England are very active in endeavoring to introduce prayers for the dead into the prayer book, and the con­ fessional into the church. Many Anglo- Catholics in days gone by have proved to be Jesuits. To say the least, it is a very significant thing that the Anglo- Catholics find a great appeal in the Ox­ ford Movement. To my mind, it is just another step in the progress of the Evil One to bring about that great religious confederacy, “ The Great Whore,” de­ scribed in Revelation 17 and 18. In For Sinners Only, page 1, we read, “ It (the Oxford Movement) may speed up the re­ union of Christendom, even Catholic and Protestant.” Christians, think this statement through; it is very significant. During my conversation with members of the Oxford Group, one of the leaders of the Movement asked, “How do you account for the changed lives? Does not that bear witness to the fact that the Movement is of God, for only God changes lives for the better?” I answered him, “No, my friend, I would have to talk with these men whose lives have been changed before I could come to any conclusion in regard to who brought about the change.” I then quoted Second Corinthians 11:13-15: “ For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming them­ selves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is trans­ formed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be ac­ cording to their works.” The ministers of Satan are “ministers of righteousness”—not ministers of un­ righteousness. What is Satan’s plan and purpose? It is to give a man everything that God will give him—apart from Christ. Does God offer righteousness? Satan offers one, too. God’s righteous­ ness is given on the basis of the re­ demptive work of Christ. Satan offers a righteousness apart from this redemp­ tive work. I told the leader in the Oxford Group about a man who claimed that he had been marvelously changed through the acceptance of Christian Science. To this he replied, “Well, you can thank God for that, can you not?” (Continued on Page SO) TH E K I N G ' S B U S I N E S S

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