IN DEFENCE OF TRUTH.
In our last issue, in the article headed "An Unpleasant Duty," we called attention to the "Day Star," a paper which we once warmly commended to our readers, and which we were pleased to recognize as a co-laborer in the spread of divine truth.
We called attention to the fact that the "Day Star" had recently left the basis of Christian hope, viz.: Redemption from sin and death by the ransom price--Jesus' death--and that it was evidently seeking to lead in a race for open infidelity by endeavoring (without cause) to throw discredit on the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, in order to support the erroneous claim that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and altogether born in sin and shapen in iniquity as much as any other man, having descended from the fallen Adam.
As we stated then, we repeat now, that this has been to us a very unpleasant duty. We are sorry to lose the company of the "Day Star," which for nearly a year gave promise of being a faithful co-worker in the spread of "good tidings of great joy."
Our grief is two-fold, however, for we not only mourn the loss of a fellow laborer, but we behold in it an "enemy of the cross of Christ," whose spread and increase means opposition to truth and increase of error. Nor have we any hesitation in saying that the fact that it still retains some of the truths of restitution will but aid in the overthrow of the faith of some, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Pet. 2:2.) Restitution will be the bait, error will be the hook, and sophistry the line by which the unwary will be drawn into infidelity. Sadly we mourn our loss.
We called attention to the "Day Star" because we wanted to put all on guard, for we well knew that all would not at once recognize the deadly mixture which is being presented to them under the cover of some truth.
We knew, too, that many had been so long starved in Babylon, that having come to taste and see the goodness of God and the beauty of His plan for the restitution of all things, their appetite for truth was so sharpened that they could easily be poisoned if not shown the error--hence our word of caution.
Arsenic is white and resembles sugar. If it were presented to you by a friend marked sugar, you would perhaps use it and be poisoned. The "Watch Tower" was the friend which handed you sample copies of the "Day Star" marked sugar, and now we find that it is changed to poison, though mixed with the sweets of restitution. Surely, then, if we did not cry aloud and properly label it poison, we should be guilty before God. (Ezek. 33:6.)
Druggists are accustomed to put the label, "POISON," on all poisonous drugs, not to prohibit their use, but to prevent any from using them in ignorance of this true character. So with us, we do not seek to prohibit our readers from reading the works of Paine, Voltaire or Ingersol, or the "Day Star," but we want the latter as well as the rest labeled infidel. All except the latter claim to be [R432 : page 5] infidel, i.e., rejecters of the Bible's teachings. The latter, claiming to be a believer, is "privately" (i.e., under cover) denying the redemption, seeking to undermine the nature of the Redeemer, and to overthrow confidence in the value of the New Testament generally.
In its last issue the "Day Star" takes notice of our "Unpleasant Duty." It affects a tone of injured innocence, and claims that our saying that it was seeking to "lead in a race for open infidelity" is unjust; but in the same paper it shows that our statement had the best of foundation, for in another column we find that it not only rejects those chapters of Matthew and Lukewhich teach that Jesus was born of a virgin--conceived in her by the power of Jehovah--but rejects the inspiration and value of the New Testament Scriptures totally. We quote the following sentences from it: "We feel confident that the acceptance of the Old Testament writings and the rejection of those of the New Testament, not in accord with it, will free us absolutely from Babylon's isms." "We have more confidence in the authority of the Old Testament writings taken as a whole, and of their importance in arriving at the truth, than we have in the reliability of all the New Testament Scriptures." "We repeat, that all who would GROW must rid themselves of the childish idea that it is wrong to question the sense or application of a Scripture, even though it be made by an apostle."
Why, this is just what Ingersol and all other infidels would say of the New Testament; the only difference is that they would say the same of the Old Testament. And at the present rate of progress, the "Day Star" will soon pronounce the Old Testament as unreliable as the New Testament. Already we regret to learn its Editor scoffs at the narrative of Noah and the Ark as recorded in Genesis.
And yet the "Day Star" states that it is misrepresented by us when we say it is on the race for open infidelity. Does our contemporary know the meaning of the word infidel? It signifies unbeliever--one who rejects the special inspiration of the New Testament--or one who denies that the man Jesus had Jehovah for a father. Since this is the unbelief of the "Day Star," why object to calling it by its true name, infidelity. It is those errors which are brought in "privately" (secretly under cover of truth) which the Scriptures call "damnable heresies."
But we are not satisfied fully yet. The "Day Star" tells its readers that we misrepresent it when we say it denies that the Lord bought us; and it contends that it does believe and teach that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures."
The "Day Star" has fallen into a habit common to some other publications, of quoting certain passages of Scripture and claiming that they believe them, and giving the impression that those Scriptures are favorable to their theories, when such is not the case. For instance, such texts as the following are often quoted: "Who gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:6). "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). "Ye are bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20). "Ye were redeemed ...with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1:18). Then, in the very same paper, the idea of our being "bought" will be scouted as ridiculous.
This conduct attempts to excuse itself by saying, "We do not believe that Christ died for any man's sins according to men's theories." Now, we ask, has any one the right to use the words ransom, redeem, bought, etc., and put a private interpretation on the meaning of those words in order to say he believes them? We think not. The "Day Star" is published in the English language, and common honesty demands that those words be used according to their true meaning and not according to the convenience of any theory. There are standard authorities on the meaning of both Greek and English words, and according to these the "Day Star" does not believe, nor teach, that Jesus was our "ransom," our "Redeemer," nor that we were "bought with a price."
It has been shown heretofore in these columns, not only that these English words (ransom, bought, redeem) mean the giving of one thing instead of, or as a substitute for another, but also that the Greek words which these are used to translate are, if possible, still stronger expressions of the same idea. We have shown scripturally that Jesus was a perfect man, and though born of a woman, his life came not from man, but from God. "The angel said unto Mary (Luke 1:35), The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: THEREFORE also that HOLY THING which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." He is here and elsewhere declared holy, undefiled and separate from sinners, even from his birth. Then he did not partake of the condemned or forfeited life of Adam through Joseph, but of a life as directly from God as was the first Adam's. We have shown that because thus born "holy," or sinless, he had an unforfeited life which he could give for the life of Adam and all who died in him. This he did. "He came to give his LIFE a ransom (exchange) for many" lives. (Matt. 20:28.) (See Rom. 5:18,19.)
Of course when the "Day Star" claims that Jesus got his life from Joseph, and was as much born in Adamic sin as any other man, it must needs deny the meaning of the word ransom, because one sinner cannot ransom another.
Now, we wish the "Day Star" to tell us, not what it does not believe, but what it does believe on this subject: Why did Jesus die? How does it effect our sins? How did he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself? In what way did he give "himself a ransom (Gr. antilutron --an equivalent price) for all?" In what sense was he a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins? In what sense were we "bought with a price"? We desire an answer to these questions full and explicit for the truth's sake, and any evasion of them we will regard as an admission of the "Day Star's" inability to answer. These questions relate to the very foundation of Christianity.
We have put these questions so pointedly that we hope the "Day Star's" private and peculiar and new use of English words will hereafter be understood. We esteem that method which attempts to palm off error under guise and cover of scriptural words and phrases, while ignoring their meaning, as the most insidious and injurious form of infidelity. We do not like to see the label "sugar" put on arsenic and handed to God's children without our emphatic protest and exposure of its true character. We are glad to know that some by use, have had their senses so exercised as to be able at once to distinguish between the truth concerning the restitution and the deadly error handed with it, which takes away the very and only basis of restitution--the ransom price. Put on the proper label, and then let every man who wants to use it do so, but so far as possible keep it out of the reach of babes.