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The Deeper Life, by A.W. Tozer, Part 1
 

 The Deeper Life : Part 1
By A.W. Tozer

A generation ago, as a reaction from higher Crticism and its offsping,
Modernism, there arose in Protestantism a powerful movement in defence of
the historic Christian faith. This, for obviuos reasons, came to be known as
Fundamentalism. It was a more or less spontaneous movement without much
organisation, but its purpose wherever it appeared was the same : to stay
"the rising tide of negation" in Christian theology and to restate and
defend the basic doctrines of New Testament Christianity. This much is
history.

What is generally overlooked is that Fundamentalism, as it spread throughout
the various denominations and non-denominational groups, fell victom to its
own virtues. The Word died in the hands of its freinds. Verbal inspiration,
for instance (a doctrine which I have always held and do now hold), soon
became afflicted with *rigor mortis. *The voice of the prophet was silenced
and the scribe captured the minds of the faithful. In large areas the
religious imagination withered. An unofficial hierarchy decided what
Christians were to believe. Not the Scriptures, but what the scribe though
the Scriptures meant, became the Christian creed. Christian colleges,
seminaries, Bible institutes, Bible conferences, popular Bible expositers
all joined to promote the cult of textualism. The system of extreme
dispensationalism which was devised, relieved the Christian of repentance,
obedience and cross-carrying in any other than the most formal sense. Whole
sections of the New Testament were taken from the Church and disposed of
after a rigid system of " dividing the Word of truth".

All this resulted in a religious mentality inimical to the true faith of
Christ. A kind of cold mist settled over fundamentalism. Below, the terrain
was familiar. This was New Testament Christianity, to be sure. The basic
doctrines of the Bible were there, but the climate was just not favourable
to the sweet fruits of the Spirit.

The whole mood was different from that of the Early Church and that of the
great souls who suffered and sang and worshipped in the centuries past. The
doctrines were sound but something vital was missing. The tree of correct
doctrine was never allowed to blossom. The voice of the turtle dove was
rareley heard in the land; instead the parrot sat on his artificial perch
and dutifully repeated what he had been taught and the whole emotinal tone
was sombre and dull.

Faith, a mighty, vitalising doctrine in the mouths of the apostoles, became
in the mouth of the scribe another thing altogether, and power went from it.
As the letter triumphed, the Spirit withdrew and textualism ruled supreme.
It was the time of the believers's Babylonian captivity.

The error of textualism is not doctinal. It is far more subtle than that and
much more difficult to discover, but its effects are just as deadly. Not its
theological beliefs are at fault, but its assumptions.
It assumes, for instances, that if we have the word for a thing, we have the
thing itself. If it is in the Bibble, it is in us. If we have the doctrine,
we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity
true of us because we accept Paul's epistles as divinely inspired. The Bible
tell us how to be saved, but *textualism goes on to make it tell us that we
are saved, *something which in the very nature of things it cannot do.
Assurane of individual salvation is thus no more than a logical conclusion
drawn from doctrinal premises, and the resultant experience wholly mental.

to be continued.......................

(From : The Deeper Life by A.W. Tozer , Sovereign World )


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