Tuesday, November 06, 2007

'Through Many Trials' David Brown - Conclusion.

As we have seen, David Brown lived during a period of great change in British evangelical Christianity. He experienced first hand the proto-pentecostalism of the Irvingites, and had to come to his own conclusions about it. He struggled to find a pastorate, and then he went through all the difficulties of the Disruption. Yet even then his trials had just begun. To his distress, David Brown discovered that even a denomination as purely evangelical as the Free Church of Scotland could, within fifty years, decline from the old Calvinistic orthodoxy. In his Highland college in Aberdeen he did what he could to contend for the faith, his students strengthening the things that remained. Though an academic, he lived his life in the thick of the conflicts of his day, and then, full of years, he died.
Now David Brown would have been the last man to say that we should admire him. He would tell us rather to admire the God who made him what he was. By the grace of God, and not otherwise, he was what he was. He always pointed to Christ, like John the Baptist, he said "behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world."

What can we learn from David Brown? First we can learn the lesson of faithful contending. As he grew older, he did not grow more but less tolerant of error. That is how it ought to be. Heretics must be fought, especialy when they are within our own evangelical denominations. As far as possible, those who deny Christ must be expelled if they cannot be convicted of their error. It was a failure to expell heretics that wrecked the Free Church of the 19th century.
Second, while eschatology is important, it must be assessed carefully. Extravagant claims are often made concerning positions on the millenium. For example there have been many Dispensationalists such as Hal Lindsay who have contended that other views are 'antisemitic'. Rubbish! David Brown was a postmillenialist who took an historicist interpretation of Revelation, yet he was absolutely devoted to the cause of Jewish missions. Not only did he write an exegetical study of the Bible's teaching on the restoration of the Jews, he used his biography of 'Rabbi' Duncan to plead the cause of Jewish missions.
We see in David Brown SCHOLARSHIP joined with true RELIGION. The two rarely meet, but when they do the product is wonderful to behold. Brown was one of God's scholars, like Dr. Gill and Dr. Warfield. His scholarship was all subordinated to the glory of God, and he had no place for the so-called higher criticism. If anything he was TOO LEARNED to be taken in by it. He tried it by the Word of God and found it wanting.

David Brown's name is best known today in connection with the Jamieson, Faussett and Brown Bible commentary, or from his work on the Four Gospels. He was a skilled commentator, mighty in the Scriptures, and we think that so long as there are men who love sound scolarship joined with a deep experimental religion, David Brown shall not lack readers.
But not unto him, but to his Lord, be all the glory. For he did it all by the grace of God that was with him.



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