King's Business - 1916-01



No. 1


The King’s Business

“ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood/*—Rev. 1:5



(Tir? K m } a ìh ia in ta a MOTTO : “ I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day/*—Isa. 27:3 . R. A . TORREY, D. D., Editor T .C . HORTON, J. H. HUNTER, W ILLIAM EVANS, Associate Editors A . M . ROW, Managing Editor Published by the BIBLE INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES, Inc. Los Angeles, California, U. S. A. Entered as Second-Class Matter November 17, 1910, at the postofiice at Los Angeles, Cal., under the Act of March 3, 1879. Copyright by R. A, Torrey, D. D., and Bible Institute of Los Angeles, for the year 1916.


Lyman Stewart, president. William Thorn, secretary. T. C. Horton, superintendent. E. A. K. Hackett. J. M. Irvine.

Rev. A . B. Prichard, vice-president. Leon V. Shaw, treasurer. R. A . Torrey Giles Kellogg. H. A. Getz.

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT We hold to the Historic Faith of the Church as expressed in the Common Creed of Evangelical Christendom and including: The Trinity of the Godhead. The Deity of the Christ.

The Maintenance of Good Works. The Second Coming of Christ. The Immortality of the Spirit. The Resurrection of the Body. The Life Everlasting of Believers. The Endless Punishment of the Im­ penitent. The Reality and Personality of Satan. (7 ) Bible Women. House-to-house visitation and neighborhood classes. (8 ) Oil Fields. A mission to men on the oil fields, (9 ) Books and Tracts, Sale and dis* tribution of selected books and tracts. (10) Harbor Work. For seamen at Los Angeles harbor. (11) Yokefellows’ Hall. Thoroughly manned. Our Mission for men with Street Meetings, and Bootblacks and Newsboys Sunday School. (12) Print Shop. For printing Testa­ ments, books, tracts, etc. A complete establishment, profits going to free dis-

The Personality of the Holy Ghost. The Supernatural and Plenary au­ thority of the Holy Scriptures. The Unity in Diversity of the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ. The Substitutionary Atonement. The Necessity of the New Birth. • The Institute' trains, free * of cost, accredited men and women, in the knowledge and use of the Bible. » , (1 ) The Institute Departments . Classes held daily except on Saturdays and Sundays. (2 ) Extension work. Classes and conferences held in neighboring cities and towns. (3 ) Evangelistic. Meetings conducted by our evangelists. (4 ) Spanish Mission. Meetings every night. (5 ) Shop Work. Regular services in shops and factories. (6 ) Jewish Evangelism. Personal work among the Hebrews. ”


THE KING’S BUSINESS Vol. VIL JANAURY, 1916 No. 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS Editorial: New Year Improvements— Opening o f the New Year— Unsolicited Manuscripts— Words o f Commenda­ tion— The Week o f Prayer— The War and Prayer— Pray, Brethren, Unceasingly Pray— Our Duty Toward Mexico ....................................................................................... 3 The Virgin Birth o f Jesus Christ. By Dr. William Evans......... 7 Great Revivals and Evangelists— IV. Chas. G. Finney (Continued). By John H. Hunter..................................... 17 Ours in the Field.............................. { .......;................. ...................... 21 Light on Puzzling Passages and Problems................... ............... 23 Through the Bible With Dr. Evans........ ....................................... 25 At Home and Abroad.................................................................... 29 Homiletical Helps......................................................................... 33 Bible Institute Activities.By theSuperintendents......................... 37 International Sunday School Lessons. By R. A. Torrey and T. C. Horton........................................................................... 43 Daily Devotional Studies in the New Testament for Individual Meditation and Family Worship. By R. A. Torrey......... 69

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...A New... Correspondence Course B y the Faculty o f the BIBLE INSTITUTE OF LOS ANGELES 1. Fundamental Doctrines DR. R. A. TORREY 2. The Life and Teachings of Our Lord DR. R. A. TORREY 3.- Through the Bible by Books and Chapters JOHN H. HUNTER 4. Personal and Practical Evangelism T. C. HORTON

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THE KING’S BUSINESS EH -' ■ - ...— = n | Vol 7 JANUARY, 1916. No. 1 ' ........ ........ :-----[ 1 E D I T O R I A L With this, the first number of Volume V II of T he New Year K ing ' s B usiness , it is with pleasure that attention is Improvements. called to the new cover and other improvements in the general make-up of the- magazine. Our friends have been very kind in their expressions of approval, and it is the hope that they will be pleased with the improvements. Special attention is called to the attractive new departments, “ Thro’ the Bible with Dr. Evans,” and “Homiletical Helps.” Both are sure to prove intensely interesting and inspiring. With the able and practical exposition of the International Sunday School Lessons, by Dean Tor- rey and Supt. Horton, and all other departments better than ever, the 1916 volume of T he K ing ’ s B usiness will be most valuable to students, teachers and workers. We solicit the interest of all in extending the circulation. great host of prophets who undertake to tell us what the outcome of the war will be, but we have no reason to suppose that any of these prophets are sent of God. All we can do is to wait as God develops His own plans and purposes. We may be sure that God is back of all conflicting ambitions and passions of monarchs and nations. How the present dispensation will end we know, because that is clearly revealed in the Word of God, just how near we are the end of the dispensation no man can tell. The present war may be followed by a time of wide-spread peace and prosperity, or the present .war may lead up to other wars that will culminate in the awful calamities, national and individual, in which we know the present dispensation will end. No man can tell, but we do know that some day God’s own King is coming and that He will take the reins of government and out of chaos and confusion and the apparent triumph of iniquity will come order, and righteousness, and universal peace and prosper­ ity. In the meantime, while it is not for us to try to discover “ times or seasons which the Father has set within His own authority,” it is for us to go forth as witnesses, in the power of the Holy Ghost, to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1 :7, 8 ), and each of us should begin in Jerusalem, i. e., where we are. We should use every power, financial, physicial, intellectual, and spiritual, that we possess in making known to others the Gospel of the grace of God. We should make this year which we are now beginning, the most effective that we have ever known in the service of our Master. We are at the beginning of a new year. What this new year may bring no man can foretell. We are in the midst of such a crisis in the affairs of nations as the world has seldom, if ever, seen before. There is a Opening of the New Year.


THE KING’S BUSINESS The Editor’ s office rs being overwhelmed with the mass of manuscript sent in for publication. The articles are so numerous that we are not even able to read them all. The general policy of T he K ing ’ s B usiness , is to

Unsolicited Manuscripts.

solicit manuscripts along the line of the truths we especially desire to emphasize. The magazine has a very definite policy and finds that it can do a more satis­ factory work by having special writers prepare the articles desired, than by having people send them without request

We greatly appreciate the kind words that are coming to us from many lands, and from ministers and Christian workers in various denominations. For example, one prominent Lutheran Minister writes us:

Words of


“ Your magazine has no equal,, in my opinion, in all the field of religious maga­ zines. Its positive note of the faith once for all delivered to the saints is so very unusual today. I cannot express my appreciation in high enough terms. God bless you and make T he K ing ’ s B usiness a blessing wherever it goes.”

As already announced in our December issue, the Week of Prayer begins January 2 and closes January 8. TJie list o f topics appointed by the Committee o f the World’s Evangelical Alliance is given on pages 1066

The Week of Prayer.

and 1067 of our December issue, but we mention it again in order to emphasize the importance of all Christians and all churches observing the Week of Prayer. It is not as generally observed as it was a few years ago, and this is to be greatly regretted. When the custom was observed more fully than it is now it was not only a source of blessing to the churches at home, but unquestionably brought great blessings upon the mission work in all lands. In his experience in the pastorate the present writer has always observed with his church the Week of Prayer, holding meetings every night, using the topics given by the World’s Evangelical Alliance. Every year this was succeeded by a very defi­ nite awakening in his church, being followed by other weeks of prayer and by definite, special evangelistic services. The writer has been the pastor of four different churches, just as unlike one another as churches could well be, but never a January has passed without a very definite awakening in his church since the first year of his ministry, and this has been largely due to observing the Week of Prayer. In his first pastorate, in a town of less than 1000 inhabi­ tants, after he had been pastor for a little over a year, the Week of Prayer came. It was followed by a revival that shook the whole community, increased the membership in all the churches in it, and largely transformed the character o f the town. Every January thereafter offered a similar experience, and this was true in all the successive pastorates. Every church, large or small, in city or country, would do well to determine that everything else be put aside to give due time for the observation of the annual custom. The church owes this not only to itself and its community, but to the world-wide interest of God’s work. But there is a special reason why we should observe the Week of Prayer this year. Great calamities have overtaken nations, thè missionary work of the churches, and in many instances the home work. The present war has produced problems in foreign missionary work such as have not confronted missionary societies for many years. In many places it is demoralized, in some places

THE KING’S BUSINESS 5 paralyzed; e. g., in one field under the care of the Foreign Missionary Society o f which the writer is president, we have been unable even to hear from our missionaries for more than a year, except for one short and unsatisfactory let­ ter. The same thing is true of fields under some other societies. This is simply an illustration o f the conditions that confront them. Our only recourse is to prayer, but that is all-sufficient. Let us make the Week of Prayer a. very real and effective one this year. The exigencies and sorrows of the present war are The War awakening all classes of people everywhere to the need and Prayer. of prayer. In an address delivered from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral on Declaration Day, August 4, the Bishop of London said: “ No calamity can be pictured more awful than if, at this supreme crisis in the history of the world, England should fail.” He then went on to say, “ But, if we are to rise to our vocation, the first essential thing is that as a nation, not as a few groups of pious individuals, but as a nation, we should turn to God. The only power which can save Europe today is a nation which, while it fights and works and serves and saves without stint, is also a nation on its knees. Do we really believe in God’s strength ? Do we believe in an Almighty God at all ? ,Or is prayer a waste of time ? Do we really . believe in the promise, Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’ ?” Many things are greatly needed in our day, but the Pray, Brethren, greatest need o f the hour is prayer. There is great Unceasingly Pray. need of more intelligent and thorough study of the Word of God, but there can be no true study of the Word of God without much prayer. There is great need that professing Christians should lead holier lives and should be utterly separated from the world, but there is no possibility of holiness, and there can be no real separation from the world except on the part of those who spend much time alone with God in prayer. There is great need of more generous giving on the part of professed Christians, both for the work at home and abroad, but there will be no sustained, generous giving without much prayer; prayer on the part of those that give for themselves, and prayer on the part of those who have learned to give, for fellow-believers who have never learned the blessedness of systematic and generous giving. There is great need of more and better candidates for the ministry, but the way to get the right kind is by earnest, believing, persistent prayer (Matt. 9 :36-38). There is a crying need for advance in all foreign mis­ sionary fields; there are such openings as were never offered before in the his­ tory of the world, but there will come no real and well sustained advance with­ out much prayer. There is great need o f a deep and thorough-going revival throughout America, and England, and Ireland, and Scotland, and other lands, but real revivals have always been the result of much prayer. There is great need that our ministers preach a simpler and purer gospel, and that they preach it in the power of the Holy Ghost. But they will never preach the gospel they ought to preach, nor with the power that should be theirs, unless they are sus­ tained by the persistent, earnest, agonizing prayers of God’s people. What every church needs to hear, and what every individual in the church needs to hear, more than all else at the present time, is a call to prayer—a call so loud, so persistent that they must hear. Pray, brethren, pray.


THE KING’S BUSINESS -Many editorials have appeared in the secular press as to the duty of the United States toward Mexico, in these days of unrest, revolution and calamity. Very divergent opinions have been expressed as to what the


Our Duty

Toward Mexico.

President and the Country should do, but a recent letter to the Editor, from, one who has given his life for Mexico, suggests a line of duty for all Christians about which there can be no doubt. His letter reads in part as follows: While in Saltillo, Mexico, last week I found Vol. 12 o f “ The Funda­ mentals,” which had been sent to my ante-bellum address, also a copy o f the magazine, “ T he K ing ' s B usiness .” I am glad to get these publications. Your article in Vol. X II on “ The Place o f Prayer in Evangelism” was especially interesting to me. Permit me to tell a little bit o f personal history. The first years o f my missionary work in Mexico were eminently unsuc­ cessful. I found it hard to get into the hearts o f the Mexicans. They didn’t understand me nor I them. I had trouble with some o f our own mission­ aries; the field was unpromising; fanaticism ruled the masses; social power, self-indulgence, pride and skepticism the classes; there was no open door. Then came a never-to-be-forgotten day in my life—May 27, 1902. I went into my study to begin the day’s work. Before I began work I tried to pray. As I prayed the thought came to me that it would be so easy for God to do all that we found impossible. I was moved to ask for a great revival; an earth shaking movement that would make the deadly doubt o f the high-ciass ' Mexican pass away, that all might know that there was a God in the earth. How long I prayed I do not know. My heart was melted; I could pray for those with whom I had had trouble. I prayed for my old school-mates by name, for the old country church that I joined years before. My heart was enlarged for the coming o f the Kingdom. It seemed that it would all be so easy for God. Since that memorable day I have been sifted as wheat. Ill health has permanently taken away my bodily strength; doubt has laid its numbing hand on my heart; death has invaded my home; I had to leave my field o f labor; Mexico has been swept as by a cyclone. But today my heart is hungrier than ever for the great awakening that Mexico needs. The spirit o f prayer and supplication has never left me for very long at a time. Before the revolution there were mercy drops that came down to refresh our weary hearts. In the summer o f 1910 I thought I saw the great move­ ment coming and I said to some friends: “ The Revival will come if the revo­ lution is staved off another two years.” But the revolution came, Just now there are open doors where there were stone walls before. W e need the prayers o f all Christian people that the Great Awakening may come now and not tarry. Now is the accepted time for our evangelical work. God grant that we may become God’s prophets o f a better day. There are dangers that, threaten us from every side. W e shall meet the Catholic reaction. It has been beaten on the field o f battle and in the council chambers o f diplomacy but it will lift its head now in a flood o f lies and untrue charges against American Protestant work. W e are in danger o f degenerating into a social service bureau for the physical betterment o f the nation. Won’t you pray for the missionaries that we may have the enduement o f the Spirit for the work that God has given us? Won’t you pray that the hearts o f the people may be opened to our message? , Here, then, is a plain path of duty, the path of prayer. How many of us are praying for Mexico? How many are praying for the Christians who are there? How many are praying for the workers in these very difficult times? If we are not praying, let us begin to pray. If we are praying, let Us pray more.

By Dr. William Evans Associate Dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles

from the Christian faith, and Christianity still remain intact? POSITION OF OPPONENTS The opponents to the doctrine reply in the affirmative. They maintain that the foun­ dations o f our faith are not shaken by a refusal to believe in the supernatural birth o f Christ; that there were conversions in the Acts o f the Apostles and in the early Church, when the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth was unknown; that men believed in the sinlessness o f Christ and His redemptive work even though they knew nothing o f His supernatural birth. The attitude o f the opponents to this doctrine is expressed by the following quotation: Soltau, in his book, “ The Birth o f Jesus Christ,” says: “Whoever makes further demands that an evangelical Christian shall believe in the words ‘Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born o f the Virgin Mary,’ unwittingly constitutes himself a sharer in the sin against the Holy Spirit o f the true gospel as transmitted to us by the apostles and their school in the apostolic age.” Soltau, then, makes belief in the Virgin Birth a sin against the Holy Ghost. Reginald T. Campbell, in “ The New Theology,” says:

INTRODUCTION. The mod­ ern critical spirit with its antagonism to the supernat­ ural, its evolutionary teach­ ings concerning biology and

the processes o f life, its attempt to bring the supernatural into the realm o f the nat­ ural, so; that much which heretofore has been attributed to unique divine action, is now purported to have taken place through ordinary natural means—these things com'- pel the Christian to .consider anew and afresh, in order to be able to give a reason for the hope that is within him, touching 'the Virgin Birth. The reasons for the discussion o f the doc­ trine o f the Virgin Birth are therefore more than personal or individual. Something much larger is involved. The faith o f the Church is at stake. Is the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth a necessary article o f the Christian’s creed? Shall this doctrine, which for all these centuries has been con­ sidered a fundamental plank in the plat­ form o f the Christian faith, remain there? Is it necessary any longer to believe in this account o f the entrance o f our Lord into the world? Is it incumbent upon the Chris­ tian to so believe and confess'his faith? Can belief in the Virgin Birth be expunged



“ The credibility and significance o f Chris­ tianity are in no way affected by the doc­ trine o f the Virgin Birth, otherwise than that the belief tends to puj a barrier be­ tween Jesus and the race and to make Him something that cannot properly be called human. Like many others, I used to take the position that acceptance or non-accep­ tance o f the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth was immaterial, because .Christianity was quite independent o f it; but later reflection has convinced me that, in point o f fact, it operates as a hindrance to spiritual religion and a real living faith in Jesus. The simple and natural conclusion is that Jesus was the cjiild o f Joseph and Mary and had an uneventful childhood.” “It is a dangerous and fallacious dilem­ ma that the idea o f the God-Man stands or falls with the Virgin Birth.”—Harnack. “Good Christian men may take opposite sides of this question without giving up that which is vital or cardinal to the faith. No doctrinal use is made o f it (the doc­ trine o f the Virgin Birth) in the New Tes­ tament.’^—Ropes. It is clear from these statements o f rep­ resentatives o f the opponents to this doc­ trine that it is not only a matter o f indif­ ference whether we accept the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth or not, but that it is a positive hindrance to spiritual religion and a real living faith in Jesus, and that it is virtually a sin against the Holy Ghost. As­ sertions like these force upon us the neces­ sity o f considering this doctrine o f the Christian faith. POSITION OF ADHERENTS The adherents to the doctrine claim that it matters much and affects Christianity and the Christian life greatly whether we believe in the Virgin Birth or not. They maintain that the life o f Christ cannot be considered in a fragmentary manner, but as a whole. The Virgin Birth is but a fragment o f the Christian story, and the denial o f it is but an attempt to rule out the supernatural from the entire life o f Jesus. It is not a question o f one, but of all the miracles, that is at stake. I f we begin by denying the supernatural charac­

ter o f Christ’s entrance into the world and then deny His Resurrection from the dead, it will not be long before His sinless and spotless life will be challenged, for a sin­ less human being in history is as much a supernatural fact as a Virgin Birth or a Resurrection. It is maintained that the Virgin Birth cannot be denied and the other facts o f Christ’s life stand valid and provide a firm basis for faith and hope. The life o f Christ cannot be considered piecemeal. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is a foundation stone and it cannot be removed without pulling down some part o f the building with it. I. The Record of the Evangelists, Matthew and Luke— The Scriptural Data for the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth. “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, o f whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. . . . Now the birth o f Jesus Christ was on this w ise: When as his mother Mary was espouse a to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child o f the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not will­ ing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel o f the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son o f David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy w ife: for that which is conceived in her is o f the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name J esjjs : for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, thatN it might be fulfilled which was spoken o f the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel o f the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his w ife : And knew her not till she had brought forth her first­ born son : and he called his name J esus .”— Matthew 1 :16, 18-25. “ And in the sixth month the angel Gab­ riel was sent from God unto a city o f Gali­ lee, named Nazareth. To a virgin espoused



remembered in this connection that they are the only two that deal with the infancy o f Christ at all and that they testify that the mode o f Christ’s entrance into the world was supernatural; that a miracle attended the manner in which the only begotten Son o f God came to sojourn with the sons o f men. II. Objections to the Doctrine of the Vir­ gin Birth. Those who refuse to accept the* doctrine o f the Virgin Birth o f our Lord do so for the following main reasons: 1. It is against the laws o f nature. These critics assume that what is super­ natural must be ruled out o f religion. Fos­ ter says that a man who believes in the supernatural “can hardly know what intel­ lectual honesty means,” although he him- . self says, in speaking o f the self-conscious­ ness o f Jesus, that it is “ empirically inexpli­ cable,” and that a “creative” element from God must be recognized in it. It is asserted that God’s means for the production o f the race is marriage; that this method is o f His ordaining and is accord­ ing to the natural law; that there is no necessity for any interference with this law; that it is more natural, therefore, and more in harmony with the ordained laws of God that Christ should be born as other men. But is it not rather presumptuous, we may ask, to say what God would or would not do under such unusual circum­ stances? Surely if anything supernatural could be released from the rigid hand of law, it would be at this time when the King o f all laws cometh into the world. I f angels have any message, surely this is the time for its announcement. I f the stars can minister to the guidance o f mankind, what more fitting occasion could there be1 for such service than this? W e speak o f the difficulties o f the Incarnation as though there were any difficulties with God. How do we know but that the manner o f Christ’s advent into the world as described in Matthew and Luke was the easiest and most natural way for Deity to become hu­ manity? Romanes, the agnostic, admitted that “ a Virgin Birth, even in the human

to a man named Joseph, o f the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind What manner o f salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name J esus . He shall be great, and shall be called the Son o f the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne o f his father David: And he shall reign over the house o f Jacob for ever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power o f the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born o f thee shall be called the Son o f God. And, behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God noth­ ing shall be impossible.” *—Luke 1 :26-37. Considerable space is devoted by Matthew and Luke to the birth o f our Lord; both testify that Christianity was -introduced into the world by a supernatural event. More space is given by these evangelists to the account o f Christ’s birth than to many other events in our Lord’s life, the Transfigura­ tion for example. Those who believe in the inspiration o f the Scripture believe in what is called the inspiration o f selection; that is to say, that only those events, ser­ mons and miracles in the life o f Christ are recorded which are absolutely necessary for His manifestation to the world as the divine Saviour and Lord. Therefore, the fact that the Evangelists give so much space To Christ’s birth gives that event an important place in the Christian system. It may, or may not, be true that these two are the only evangelists who record the Virgin Birth o f our Lord, yet it should be



race, is by no means out o f the range of possibility.” Parthenogenesis is scientific­ ally admitted in certain forms o f life. To dismiss a priori the Evangelists’ ac­ count o f Christ’s birth because it contains the element o f the supernatural, is to set oneself up as a judge o f what God can and ought or cannot and ought not to do. It is certainly clear that the evangelists consider in their genealogical tables that no laws of heredity* are sufficient to account for the generation o f Jesus Christ; to them, at least, His birth was outside o f the ordin­ ary; it was as though by a “creative act God broke through the chain o f human« generation and brought into the world a supernatural being.” Why might there not be in the case o f the second Adam, as in the case o f the first, “no violation o f a natural law, but only a unique revelation o f its possibilities ?” 2. That having but one human parent would not guarantee sinlessness; conse­ quently it would be of no advantage for Christ to have been born as the gospel records declare. It is held that Christ could contract a sinful nature from one parent as much as from tw o; that being born o f the Virgin Mary could not produce •a sinless being. There may be a sense in which this objec­ tion is valid, but we must not forget that in the announcement- to Mary o f Christ’s forthcoming birth, it was distinctly stated that His conception was a specific act o f the Holy Spirit and that “therefore” Christ should be holy. The exact quotation is as follow s: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power o f the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore.also the holy thing (or that which is to be born shall ‘he called holy) which is begotten o f thee shall be called the Son o f God.” (Luke 1:35). Jesus’ conception was holy and un­ tainted, not because “man had no 'part in the conception, but because He was Sancti­ fied by the Spirit, so that His generation was as pure and holy as it would have been before Adam’s fall.”—Calvin. 3. That the New Testament, with the exception of Matthew and Luke, is silent

with regard to the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth. I f this doctrine is so important to believe and has so fundamental a place in the Christian system, why, it is argued, do Mark, John, Peter, James and Paul say nothing about it? The silence o f these New' Testament writers, then, is used as an argu­ ment against belief in the Virgin Birth. But this argument ex silentro, even if true, can be made too much of. “The old claim o f the criminal that whereas only two men saw him steal and because he could bring one hundred that did not hence he should be acquitted,” is now put forward as an argument against the truth o f these gospel narratives. W e | must remember, however, that silence does not imply ignorance. Only Matthew and Luke record the Lord’s Prayer. Does that mean that there never was a Lord’s Prayer given, because the rest o f the New Testament is silent about it? While it may be true that Matthew and Luke alone regord the Virgin Birth, it is to be remembered also that they are the only accounts we have o f our Lord’s infancy. Dispense with them and you have no word concerning the Christ until His baptism. take up the argu­ ment o f silence in detail. (a ) The Silence of Mark. The purpose o f Mark’s gospel should be a sufficient reason for this silence regarding the birth o f Christ. Mark’s intention is to give an account o f the life o f Christ “within the limits o f the common apostolic testi­ mony,” from the baptism o f Christ to His ascension (Acts 1:22). He begins his gos­ pel with Christ as a mature man, thirty years old. He describes the Messiah as the Servant o f Jehovah. No genealogy is given and no reference to His birth or infancy is made for this reason. But does Mark’s silence imply that he was ignorant o f the manner o f Christ’s birth? Because he does not mention the birth o f Christ in any wise, does this mean that he did not know that Jesus was born at all? He surely must have known about the Virgin Birth, for the early Chprch met



It is agreed among scholars that John’s Gospel was supplementary to the other Gospels. John knew what Matthew and Luke had written regarding the Virgin Birth. If what they had written was wrong, it was John’s duty to have contradicted it and to have so stated in his gospel. On the contrary, he seems to confirm the miraculous birth o f Christ in the following way: The bitterest enemy o f the apostle John was Cerinthus, the famous gnostic, whose principal objection to Christianity was the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth. Cerinthus taught that Jesus was the son o f Mary by ordinary generation and that the Spirit came on Jesus at baptism and left Him at the Cross. In other words, that Jesus was j ust an ordinary man when He came to the baptism and an ordinary man when He died on the Cross. This doctrine John very positively denies in his first epis­ tle: “ This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood” (5 :6 ). See also 4 :2, 3: “ Here­ by know ye the Spirit o f G od : Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is o f G od : And every spirit that confesseth not (or annulleth, i. e. separat- eth, between Jesus and the Christ) that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.” John wrote his gospel at the close o f the first century. He knew that for many years the Church had believed in the doc­ trine o f the Virgin Birth and had accepted it as a part o f its creed. If the Church was wrong in its belief, John should have corrected the error. Further, did not John owe it to the mother o f Jesus, who lived with him from the day o f Christ’s crucifixion until her death, to protect her from this calumny and to repudiate the story o f the Virgin Birth, if it was false? The silefice o f John indicates his acceptance o f the fact. That John was thoroughly conversant with the birth o f Christ at Bethlehem is evident from the reference to that fact: “ Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out o f Galilee? Hath

at his mother’s house, and1 Mary was among the number who met there. , Again it is worth our note that Matthew, in citing the question of the people regard­ ing Christ, asks, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” while Mark, recording the same question, says, “Is not this the carpenter, the son o f Mary ?” The introduction to Mark’s gospel, in which Jesus is called the Son o f God and is linked with Old Testa­ ment prophecy, also leads us to infer Mark’s knowledge o f Christ’s supernatural birth. (b ) The Silence of John. Again we must remember the purpose of John’s gospel, which was to present the divine and heavenly, not the human and earthly, descent o f our Lord. Not Christ’s humanity but His deity is the purpose John sets himself to reveal, hence his gospel begins (1:1) with the statement o f Christ’s' deity, and ends (20:28, i. e. considering c. 21 as an epilogue) with an assertion o f the same. But do not the words o f John 1 :14, “And the W ord was made flesh,” hint at the Incarnation? There is a reading set forth by some o f the Church fathers (Jus­ tin, Iranaeus, Tertullian) o f John 1:13 which is interesting, and while it may not be exegetically correct, it is nevertheless suggestive in this particular connection. John 1 :12 reads: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons o f God, even to them that believe on his name.” This is followed by the words o f the 13th verse: “Which were born, not o f blood, nor o f the wdl o f the flesh, nor of the will o f man, but o f God.” ^ The fathers, to whom reference has been made, instead o f the words “ which were born,” make the passage read, "'Who was born, not o f blood, nor o f the will o f the flesh, nor o f the will o f man, but o f God,” thus making the verse refer to Christ. Here “natural gen­ eration by a human father is denied and excluded in the most categorical manner.” Why not? Why may not the supernatural birth o f Christ be a type o f the new birth o f the children o f God? As He was born in a supernatural way, so. are they—not according to natural but supernatural means.



not -the scripture said, That Christ cometh o f the seed o f David, and out o f the town o f Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:41, 42). (c ) The Silence of Paul. W e are not so sure that Paul was silent on the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth, but even if he was, that would be no evidence that he was ignorant o f it or disbelieved it. He does not mention Mary the mother of our Lord irr any o f his writings. Are we to understand by this silence that he did not believe in her existence ? It is true that Paul refers to Christ as o f “ the seed o f David,” but that is no argument against the Virgin Birth, for Matthew (1 :1) and Luke (1:32) refer to Him in like manner, and they most certainly were cognizant of the miraculous birth o f Christ, for they S record it. Is not Luke Paul’s gospel? It is so admit­ ted by all scholars. Luke was the com­ panion o f Paul. Is it likely that Luke would be cognizant o f so important a fact and the apostle Paul not know it? To Paul, Christ was the second Adam, the sinless One. He must have known that no clean thing could come from an unclean thing. T o him the second Adam was from heaven, from above; May it not have been Luke’s purpose, in tracing the genealogy of Christ back to Adam, to show that He was the second Adam ? as miraculously brought into the world as was Adam the first? Luke’s gospel is Paul’s gospel. Why may npt Romans S :12-21 and Luke 3 :38 be one in aim and purpose? Logician as Paul was, he must have known that any ordinary mortal was subject to Loth sin and death and that Christ, being subject to neither, must therefore have not sprung from the first Adam alone, and in the same sense that all other men have done. In Romans 8:3, Paul refers to Christ as being made in the “likeness o f the flesh of sin.” Does not this intimate a knowledge o f the supernatural birth? In Philippians 2 :S-8, he speaks o f Christ as emptying Him­ self o f the form o f God which He previ­ ously possessed. Does not this intimate a knowledge o f the miraculous birth? In

Galatians 4 :4, he refers to Christ as “being born o f a woman.” May we not suppose that he had in mind Genesis 3:15, which refers to the coming Redeemer as.“ seed o f the woman” and not o f the man ? It is true that Christ uses a similar expression o f John, “o f all men born o f women;” but the words translated “born” are not the same in both passages. Indeed Paul uses the word “ born” three or four times in Galatians 4, but in speaking o f Christ’s birth (4 :4) he uses a different word than he does when speaking o f Isaac and Ishmael (vs. 23, 29). 4. That the story of the Virgin Birth grew out of a mistaken application of prophecy. It is stated that the disciples believed Jesus to be the Messiah because o f His wondrous and unique life and that the story o f the Virgin Birth was invented to account for the superhuman element in the life of Jesus. In looking around for material to enforce this claim, Matthew lighted upon this prophecy o f Isaiah, o f which he makes a free use by referring it to Christ as he does o f the prophecy in connection with the flight into Egypt, the residence in Naza­ reth, and Rachel weeping for her children. W e are told that the religious faith o f the disciples was on the lookout for Old Testa­ ment intimations, and this prophecy in Isaiah agreed with their notions, therefore they applied it to Christ. It has been reasonably questioned by some conservative scholars whether Isaiah 7 :14 was ever looked upon by the Jews as being Messianic, and hence it cannot be proven that [Matthew quoted it because current opinion associated it with the Mes­ siah. Would not the story o f the Virgin Birth, intimated in prophecy, be a stumb­ ling block to the Jews? Matthew’s apolo­ getic would seem to indicate it. Matthew’s treatment o f the Virgin Birth o f our Lord is polemic. Joseph’s part in the narrative is emphasized to show the Jews that Joseph gave Mary and the Child his pro­ tecting care and vindication, and thus not only vindicated the miraculous conception,



but protected Mary from slander and calumny. A close study o f the prophecy in Isaiah, which begins with 7 :14 and is really not finished until the 6th verse o f the 9th chap­ ter, shows that the prophecy does really refer to Christ. Whether the Jews ever looked upon this prophecy as Messianic or not is not to the point just now, for there are other prophecies, the 53rd o f Isaiah for example, which we know are Messianic, but which the Jews would or do not, by any means, admit to refer to Christ. The context o f this prophecy is instruc­ tive. Let us examine it. The prophecy, as we know, was made to king Ahaz, who was being sorely oppressed by the hostile armies o f Syria and Israel which threatened to destroy his kingdom. The prophet Isaiah is sent to warn Ahaz against alliance with the king o f Assyria whose help he has sought, and to assure him o f the perpetuity o f the throne o f David, which the invasion o f these kings threatened with destruction. The fulfillment o f this prophecy is to be in the nature o f a sign. Something super­ natural is to occur. O f course, there is a sense in which the promise was partly and naturally, fulfilled in the birth o f Isaiah’s son, but Isaiah’s son was not named “Won­ derful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince o f Peace” (Isaiah 9 :6—a part o f the prophecy begin­ ning at 7:14). It was not o f Isaiah’s son that the prophet said: “ O f the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne o f David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal o f the Lord o f hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9 :7 ). That this prophecy (9 :6 ) refers to Christ is evident from Matthew 4:14, 15: “ That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land o f Zabulon, and the land o f Nephtha- lim, by the way o f the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee o f the Gentiles” (cf. Isaiah 9:1, 2). It is a characteristic o f Scripture that it is so full that it does not exhaust itself in its application to the people to whom it was

immediately written (cf. Romans 4:23, 24; 15:4). This is sometimes called “the law o f recurrence.” The destruction o f Jerusa­ lem was a fulfillment, but not the complete fulfillment, o f the Second Advent o f our Lord. In like manner, the birth o f Isaiah’s son was a fulfillment, but not the complete fulfillment, o f their prophecy. The prophet looks beyond the present and assures Ahaz that in a miraculous way God will raise up a King for David’s throne, whose name shall be “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince o f Peace.” This prophecy Matthew rightly connects with Christ, who is the heir to David’s throne and whose name is Immanuel (Matthew 1:23, cf. Luke 1:32, 69). It might be well to note in thi&- connec­ tion the present tenses o f this prophecy, for they may help us to see its prophetic signifi­ cance. The prophet speaks o f the concep­ tion and birth as actually taking place at the moment o f -speaking. The passage reads: “ The (or better, one) virgin is with child and beareth a son.” The Hebrew original there would be a participle, and the exact rendering would be, “ Behold, thou art conceiving now.” An immediate con­ ception is meant (cf. v. 39, “ and with haste;” the reference to Elizabeth that “ she also hath conceived” indicates that conception had taken place with Mary at the time o f the announcement by the angel, and this was before Joseph’s marriage to Mary). The reference that “no word of God shall be impossible” would be sense­ less in this connection unless something supernatural and different from a natural conception were meant. Surely there would be nothing that called for any miraculous display o f God’s power in Mary’s conceiv­ ing a son as Joseph’s wife. The fulfillment 'o f this prophecy certainly implied a sign, Something supernatural which did not take place in the birth o f Isaiah’s son. Further, there has been considerable con­ troversy over the word translated “virgin” ( almah ). The opponents to the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth maintain that this word simply means a young woman o f marriage-



able age, not necessarily a virgin; that another word ( bethulah ) is used for a real virgin. It is a remarkable fact, however, that this word bethulah, which the critics claim is used only o f a real virgin, is actu­ ally used in Joel 1 :8 o f a bride weeping for her husband, while the word almah, which it is claimed does not mean an actual vir­ gin, is used in this and six other places ( Genesis 24:43; Exodus 2 :8 ; Psalm 68:26; Proverbs 13:19; Song o f Solomon 1:3; 6:8) and never once in any other sense than as an unmarried maiden. Luther’s challenge: “ I f a Jew or Christian can prove to me that in any other passage of scripture ‘almah’ means ‘a married woman,’ I will give him one hundred florins, although God alone knows where I may find them.” Dr. Willis Beecher says that there is' no trace o f the use o f this word to denote any other than a virgin. S. That Joseph and Mary are called the father and mother of Jesus. This statement is true, but it is o f inter­ est to ascertain by whom they were thus called. Was it not by the people o f Naza­ reth, Bethsaida and Capernaum? How could they speak otherwise, unless they had been let into the secret o f the miraculous birth o f Christ? Four times Joseph and Mary are called the father'and mother o f Jesus or the parents o f Jesus by others, but only once by Mary herself. In the visit to the temple, Mary, in addressing Christ, says: “ Thy father and I have sought thee.” But how could Mary speak otherwise o f Joseph, seeing he was her husband? Then again Christ was born in Joseph’s house; Jesus stood in the legal relation to Joseph as son and was under his protection. Joseph in marrying Mary under the circumstances had assumed full parental responsibility for the Child. It was natural, therefore, that Mary should speak o,f him as the father. It should not be overlooked, however, even in this connection that .Christ apparently cor­ rected any such misunderstanding when He replied: “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” implying that God, not Joseph, was His Father. Note that while in the case o f John the

Baptist, the announcement o f his birth is made to Zacharias, the father, yet in the case o f Jesus, the announcement is made to Mary, the mother, and not to Joseph. Again, the joy o f Zacharias is so great at the birth o f his son that he breaks out into glad-song, but nothing o f such a nature is recorded of Joseph. Why not, if Joseph was the father o f Christ? Note also in the gospel narratives how that Mary and not Joseph is in the fore­ ground. It is to Mary the angelic message is delivered; the prophecy o f Zecharias has to do with Mary, as has also the declara­ tion o f Simeon. It is Mary who speaks to the Child found in the temple, Joseph says nothing but keeps in the background. 6. That the early Church did not accept the Virgin Birth. This statement is clearly untrue, for with the exception o f some very minor sects like the Ebionites and Gnostics, the early Church did accept, and the Church for 1S00 years continued to accept, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. The Apostle’s Creed is witness to this fact. As early .as 140, A. D., we have the words in the old Roman form o f the creed, “Who was born o f the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.” The writings o f Ignatius, and Justin Martyr in his Apology and his Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, defend the doctrine o f the Virgin Birth. It was not until the 18th century that the real conflict concerning the Virgin Birth arose, and then it had its birth with Voltaire and Tom Paine; the noted infidels. In the 19th century it was again reviyed by Strauss and Renan, the famous skeptics. In the 20th century we find it again revived by the professed friends o f Christ. 7. The scholarship o f the day is said to be against it. This would not prove anything, even if it were true. Scholarship has not saved and it cannot save the world. The world by wisdom knows not God. On one occa­ sion Jesus said: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord o f heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and under­ standing, and didst reveal them- unto babes” (Matthew 11:25 R. V .).

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