Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Through Many Trials' David Brown - XXXV.

The centre of David Brown's theology was Christ and Him crucified. Writing to a friend on the subject of a lecture given by Mr. Batchelor on 'Rationalism in the Free Churches', he said: "Batchelor's position is the one in which I mean to live and die - the propitiatory sacrifice of the Lord's death as the central article of Christianity - not the Incarnation." That is not to say that he thought the incarnation unimportant. No, he accepted fully the Apostle's position that to deny that Christ is come in the flesh is to manifest the spirit of antichrist. Every doctrine has its place in the system of Christianity, and as James Denney so truly says, the atonement, not the incarnation, is the diamond pivot on which Christianity turns. Christ is, as Robert Robinson so eloquently put it, 'The Lord who came to die'. The reason for the incarnation was the atonement.
In his long life, David Brown had found that whenever the doctrine of the atonement was undervalued, it was the beginning of a downward spiral that ultimately landed the errorist in Unitarianism. For if man does not need the Lord of Glory to die in his place, but needs an example, or moral instruction, then a created being could have done that, perhaps some great angel (Arianism). Then the question is asked, why an angel? Why not just a very holy man who was incredibly close to God? And without the revelation of the Son of God incarnate, there is no Trinity, and the man who began by undervaluing the atonement has denied Christ.
Thus, as he looked out on the Evangelical denominations of his day, Brown was increasingly fearful. Here were these men, in the name of academic freedom, soft-pedalling the atonement. The next generation would deny it, the generation after would deny Christ, and bring utter ruin on themselves and all who followed them. Blind guides and blind followers would alike fall into the ditch of Unitarianism.
SO IT HAS PROVED. And yet, as the young, intellectual ministers of Brown's day were not proclaiming the atonement with the clear ring demanded of them by the Scriptures, so the young, intellectual 'Evangelicals' of our day are! It is time to wake up! Time for us to contend earnestly and to PUT OUT of our Churches those errorists, those heirs of the liberal theologians who have sunk most of professing protestantism in Unitarian heresy.
Some men, as they grow older, become more tolerant of heresy. David Brown, the champion who had long contended for the faith, became more and more INtolerant of it. Rightly so! 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.' And David Brown gloried in the cross.

God willing, next time we shall have a little to say about David Brown and C.H. Spurgeon.



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