The Pilgrim's Messenger
"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year
Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.
DO I PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL?
A brother says he remembers the days when I used to preach the gospel, and he loves be because of those days. "Gospel" means "well-message." When it is proclaimed or taught it brings satisfaction to those who hear and believe it. To be the gospel it must also be truthful; so the question may be changed to "Do I Proclaim the Truth?"
I know how very honest and earnest the brother is. Also I pity him. He does not study the scriptures. There is no need! He knows what they teach! They teach exactly what is found in the creed of his church! To study is to make an effort to learn. What is there for the brother to learn? He is satisfied on every point.
Gut he is compelled to think, sometimes, when forced to handle a passage that seems to contradict the creed. "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth," I Tim. 2:3, 4, King James Version, is one such passage. He has to think how to make this conform to the creed. I know this, because I spent several years just where the brother is now. When forced to give an opinion on the passage he will say it means some—not all.
For more than a score of years I preached that the "all" in this passage means some, but cannot mean all. I proclaimed that "God will not have all men to be saved." In those days I was a "leading" preacher and held some of the "best pastorates" in the denomination. What made me an acceptable preacher? Preaching the Bible? No; preaching that which cannot be found in the Bible. That is what the brother refers to as "the gospel."
The brother is a Calvinist, and takes the position that I formerly took—and it was not original with me. I don't know where it started. An Arminian would interpret the verse differently, but certainly no better. He would say God wishes to save all, but that the obstinate will of man prevents God from carrying out His will, and, therefore, only a part of the human family will be saved.
When, a few years ago, I began to proclaim that "all" means all, and that God certainly will save all mankind, and eventually bring them into a realization of the truth, the people of the churches, with few exceptions, hailed the message as satisfying to both heart and head. They rejoiced in it. But soon the preachers upset them, and caused many to turn from this new-found truth, back into the dismal teaching of endless torment for a large portion of the human family. Finally I, with others who clung to this teaching, left the church, because we were adjudged unfit for the fellowship of those who held to the creed.
"God will not have all men to be saved!" Is this passage to be found anywhere in any version of the Bible? It certainly is not. "God will have all men to be saved." Is this in the Bible? It most certainly is—I Tim. 2:3, 4. Was I non-fellowshipped for teaching that which is not in the Bible? No; I suffered that fate when I began to teach what IS in the Bible!
God is the great Teacher. His school has not ended. None of us knows very much now. But the time is coming when all shall be graduated in truth. When will this be the case? Don't become inpatient about it. There is plenty of time. They will be saved first, and then taught about it. There is plenty of time. They will be saved first, and then taught. Not one will flunk. Everyone will make a hundred on the examination, when the Teacher has finished with him. All shall be saved and come into a realization of the truth. This is gospel. The brother says not. In his opinion, I was teaching the gospel when I was boldly proclaiming that which is not in the Bible.
Many times I said, boldly, "Christ did not die for all." The brother says the same thing today. Is that statement in the Bible? It is not! So, when I was teaching it, I was going exactly contrary to the scriptures. But I was a great preacher, then! I was popular. I had some of the wealthiest churches. My remuneration was more than ten times the amount I receive now. Finally, I began to proclaim, "He died for all." Is that statement in the Bible? Yes; turn to II Cor. 5:15 and you will find it. What occurred when I began to teach just what the Bible says on this point? I was no longer fit to associate with the "church."
Does the brother believe Christ died for all? No; he knows the Bible says He did, but he is convinced that it means that He died for only a portion of the human family. An arminian would agree that Christ died for all, but would say His death is valueless in the case of many of them, for their will is contrary to God's, and there is nothing He can do about it.
"Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life," Ron. 5:18. In those days when I was "preaching the gospel," I said the first "all" in the passage means the entire human family, but the other "all" means a portion of mankind—not all of them. I was a BIG preacher, then. I could make any part of the Bible agree with the creed! It took a "smart" man to do this! Or course, I learned it from those who went before me, and I am glad to say that I disclaimed any credit for originality. The brother probably learned the same manner of twisting the Bible, from someone. But when I began to say that the word, "all," means the entire human family in both instances, I was "cast out of the synagogue."
Yet, how satisfying the truths, to those who believe. Paul says Christ was given up because of our offenses, and was roused again because of our justification, Rom. 4:25. The King James Version says FOR our offense and FOR our justification. But the word is used in the sense of "because of," and, indeed the Greek word DIA, which means because of. Because we were offensive, Christ died. Because His death justified us, He was roused.
Christ, in the days of His flesh, cried to God Who was able to save him out of death, Heb. 5:7l He Who knew no sin was make Sin for us, when He was no the cross, II Cor. 5:21. Bearing our sins, He was lost as He hung on the cross. His Father abandoned Him. His cry, "My God! My God! Why didst Thou abandon Me?" was the cry of a lost man. Because of our sins, He went into death. But, glorious thought! God saved Him our of death. Then He was no longer lost; He was saved. Our sins were on Him; He died because of them; His Gather saved Him out of death, and from our sins. What, then, is to keep us from being saved? And, since He died for all, all are justified in God's reckoning. As sinners mankind have disappeared from the horizon of God. Men are yet winners, and know it. They must be bothered with it until such time as their full salvation becomes a reality in their experience. But it is already a reality in the reckoning of God.
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," I Cor. 15:22. In the days when I "preached the gospel," according to my brother, I steered clear of this passage if possible. If I was forced to notice it I changed it to read, "By Christ shall all be made alive." no doubt the brother would take the same position today. When I began to quote it as it is in the King James Version, and said all are to be made alive IN Christ, and that all in Christ are new creatures, II Cor. 5:17, and beyond condemnation, Rom. 8:1, I was non-fellowshipped.
"We trust in the living God Who is the Savior of all men, specially of those who believe," I Tim. 4:10. When I "preached the gospel," I said "He is not Savior of all men; He is Savior of believers only." I think the brother would preach it that way now. I got in a whole lot of trouble when I said God is the Savior of all men, and the special Savior of the believer. You see, this is what the Bible says. My offense was in believing the Bible. Yet, think how reasonable it is. All are to be saved, but only believers are saved this side of the consummation. Others are to go into the judgment before the great white throne, and be saved at the consummation. How blessed it is to be a believer not! It guarantees immunity from judgment. It promises salvation before this blessing comes to the rest of mankind.
"Christ puts away sin by the sacrifice of Himself," Heb. 9:26. The death of the sinner does not put away sin. Sending one to endless hell does not put it away. But, thanks be to God! The death of Christ puts it away. When this is done there will be no sin anywhere in the universe.
Hell must operate before the time of the great white throne judgment, for it is cast into the lake of fire at that time, Rev. 20:14. And those who say no one ever leaves hell after entering it, would do well to remember that hell delivers up the dead in it. The dead! Dead people not living ones, are in hell.
All dead ones are to be segregated in the lake of fire, which is the second death. And death is to be destroyed, I Cor. 15:26. The word used here means "abolished." When death is abolished there will be no dead one in all the universe. Life will take its place. It is then that the saying, "Death is swallowed up in victory," will be a reality. Endless life will not be a life of misery for some. It will be a life of VICTORY for all. When death is destroyed, it does not mean torment for some; it means life in its fullest sense, for all mankind. I think THIS is the gospel, and an thankful that I proclaim it.