The word "doctrine" – or "teaching" – is not the most popular in the Christian vocabulary – it sounds dry and demanding – but it is very important.
The lack of attention to sound doctrine is evident on all sides as it has been largely displaced by opinions.
As a young believer searching for a collective pathway pleasing to the Lord, an old brother – Mr. Walter Pittman of Toronto – wisely gave me this Scripture to guide me:
"If any one desire to practise His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is of God, or that I speak from Myself", John 7: 17.
In the bright early years of the assembly Paul stressed the value of "sound teaching", 1 Tim. 1: 10:
"Laying these things before the brethren, thou wilt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which thou hast fully followed up", 1 Tim. 4: 6.
"Give heed to thyself and to the teaching; continue in them; for, doing this, thou shalt save both thyself, and those that hear thee", 1 Tim. 4: 16.
In days of decline, Paul exhorted,
"Have an outline of sound words, which words thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus", 2 Tim. 1: 13.
Paul put doctrine – teaching – first because without sound doctrine all will be lost:
"But thou hast been thoroughly acquainted with my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings", 2 Tim. 3: 10.
"Every scripture is divinely inspired, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness", 2 Tim. 3: 16.
"Proclaim the word; be urgent in season and out of season, convict, rebuke, encourage, with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not bear sound teaching", 2 Tim. 4: 2-3.
In the last days, John too stresses holding fast to the doctrine of the Christ:
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world, they who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in flesh – this is the deceiver and the antichrist.
"See to yourselves, that we may not lose what we have wrought, but may receive full wages.
"Whosoever goes forward and abides not in the doctrine of Christ has not God. He that abides in the doctrine, he has both the Father and the Son.
"If any one come to you and bring not this doctrine, do not receive him into the house, and greet him not; for he who greets him partakes in his wicked works", 2 John 7-11.
The above Scriptures ought to convince the most skeptical of the need of sound doctrine.
The articles presented here are believed to be the sound doctrine – or the suitable practice that flows from it – that is needed at the present time.
As in the
Ministry group, whenever possible, articles presented here are by servants whose names may not now be generally known.
Some ministered more extensively than others, but all served in the Spirit of Christ.
Their ministry is particularly valuable as bearing witness to the Spirit's testimony to the truths advanced by those more prominent in the work of the Lord.
If the Lord will, a full range of the sound doctrine held and valued among the brethren will eventually be covered.
The "vagueness in the minds of many as to Forgiveness, and also … with relation to Propitiation and Substitution" which prompted Mr. Hayward to write the following paper is common among so-called evangelicals.
That it should have been – and perhaps still is – so among brethren who have had the advantages of clear and powerful teaching, is a reproach and a shame,
and if those who preach or teach are not clear, what can be expected of their converts or their hearers?
While the certainty or fulness of our salvation may not – and thank God, does not – depend on how clearly we understand these great matters,
who is there who loves our Lord Jesus and values His death who would be satisfied with being vague as to these holy truths?
Paul exhorted Timothy, "Have an outline of sound words", 2 Timothy 1: 13. Mr. Hayward provides some "sound words" which we do well to "hold fast".
FORGIVENESS or PROPITIATION and SUBSTITUTION A. M. Hayward
It has come to the writer's notice that there is good deal of vagueness in the minds of many as to Forgiveness, and also, as might be expected, with relation to Propitiation and Substitution.
One would not pretend to be able to fathom the immensity of the work of our Lord, but it is hoped that a few remarks on forgiveness and then upon propitiation and substitution, as the basis of forgiveness, maybe of service.
It is believed that the difficulties as to forgiveness arise from a lack of apprehension of God's great basis, so that some with the desire to render the gospel as wide as possible, teach that all are forgiven.
Further, it is found there are other vague thoughts existing, as for instance, that there is no future judgment except for the rejection of Christ, and that judgment should not be presented with the gospel.
Such teaching and vague thoughts can hardly be expected to bring about effective work in the gospel, whereas all would greatly desire to see this increased amongst us.
Before touching on the actual work of the Lord, one would point out that in any language we use we must have in mind the impression such language conveys to others,
so that if we say "All are forgiven", we must expect our hearers to assume we mean that their obligations are discharged and their sins and iniquities will be remembered no more.
This essentially will be the impression conveyed whatever the speaker may intend and, as it is presumed this is not intended, such language should surely be avoided.
Certainly one finds no scripture which states, "All are forgiven",
"In whom we – as distinct from all – have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins", Col. 1: 14.
So, too, Christ is exalted at the right hand of God to give repentance to Israel – to the Jew first – and remission of or forgiveness of sins, as Peter says in Acts 5: 31-32.
If all are forgiven, what meaning was there be in Christ being at God's right hand to give repentance and remission? And the note that repentance is linked with remission.
Further, the Lord refers to some of whom He says if they speak against the Holy Spirit "it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in that to come", Matthew 12: 32.
So that to say "all are forgiven", is clearly contrary to Scripture.
Many more scriptures could be adduced but one is enough, and two ample, nor can any scripture contradict another, so
Colossians 1: 14 shows we have forgiveness in contrast to all;
Acts 5: 31-32 that Christ is that God's right hand to give it on condition of repentance, and
Matthew 12: 32, but all are not forgiven, and some never will be.
As to what men are judged for, Scripture is also quite definite for the books are opened and the dead are judged out of the things written in the books, according to their works, Revelation 20: 12-13.
This clearly is not judgment only for the refusal of Christ.
That surely would be one of their works, but all are here included, and Scripture says every idle word is to be given account of.
Further, the end of such is shown, or after they are judged, they are cast into the lake of fire, and there it is the Lord indicates "their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched"; so this is final and for ever.
A very important part of the preacher's service, is to press home that judgment is pending, that is, the execution of it, or as it is put in Romans 2: 5-6,
"according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation" that is bringing in active execution "of the righteous judgment of God who shall render to each according to his works".
Paul calls this part of this gospel, for he says, "in the day when God shell judge the secrets of men according to my glad tidings by Jesus Christ", Romans 2: 16.
It is stated in Romans 1: 18, that "there is revealed wrath from heaven", and Paul says "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men".
Further he reasoned "concerning righteousness and temperance and judgment about to come" so that Felix trembled, or "being filled with fear answered, Go for the present", Acts 24: 25.
We need more of this deep sense of the terror of the Lord that it may be evidenced in our preaching,
for without it the conscience is little, if at all, affected and hence, there not being conviction, sins do not stand out before the soul and forgiveness goes unsought.
Even where there is brought into the soul some sense of forgiveness the work without this convicting element is shallow and weak.
That God's attitude towards all is forgiveness is blessedly true, as is intimated in Luke 24: 47,
in that He [i.e., Christ] would have repentance and forgiveness of sins prieached in His name to all nations,
but if it is to be assumed that all are consequently forgiven, it must also be assumed that all have repented, which is untenable.
The preaching shows that forgiveness is God's attitude or disposition towards all alike,
and the preaching of repentance indicates that a way has been provided for self-judgment, and that God in His goodness is leading that way, for the goodness of God leadeth to repentance.
All this is based on the great work of Christ, whereby He has become "the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the whole world", 1 John 2: 2.
Letters of James Taylor 2: 305-06, February 9, 1943
Mr. J. H. Trevvett.
Beloved Brother, – What you wrote as to the collection box is quite interesting.
It is quite obvious that the 'box' is not part of the Lord's supper, and from this point of view literality would not have it on the table at all. But this would be an example of the letter killing.
The teaching as to the collection in 1 and 2 Corinthians is such as to lift the actual money involved to a spiritual level.
The empty box is only material as on the table in an empty room, and the same is true as to the bread and cup – that is, they are material.
It is when the saints are together in assembly in relation to them that they – the bread and cup – take on a spiritual significance.
The box itself has no spiritual meaning. What is placed in it, however, has a spiritual meaning – the gifts of the saints expressing their love. This love is the outcome of the love of God shed abroad in their hearts. The love of the Father for the Son is in them according to the Lord's prayer in John 17.
Then a comparison of the Bridegroom's valuation of the love of His spouse in the Song of Songs would prevent us from making the love of the saints – the expression of it – in any way unsuitable to be set down in relation to the love of Christ. In a sense love is love in whomsoever it may be. John's epistle helps greatly as to this.
The love of Christ for the assembly is greater than the love of the assembly for Christ. But they meet at the Lord's supper, and the Lord would not have us stress any inequality. The Lord's supper as celebrated is a public matter, and the love of the saints – of the assembly – has part in it. The Lord says:
"By this shall all know that ye are disciples of mine if ye have love among yourselves".
This is just after He had said that they should love one another as He had loved them. Thus it is perfectly clear that the love of the saints for Christ and for one another has the same character as His love for them.
The congruence, therefore, of the physical expression of the love of the saints on the same table as the symbols of the love of Christ are placed, is quite evident.
I believe the bread and cup should be together – the box should not be placed between them; but beyond this there is little to say.
As I said, physically they are on the same level; the spiritual meaning comes in when the saints are convened; and as to relative spiritual values, they (the saints) are normally discriminative.
We should certainly hold to the suitability of the expression of the love of the assembly having a place in relation to the Lord's supper.
Affectionately yours in Christ, James Taylor.
Letters of James Taylor 2: 342-3, June 3, 1944
The matter of means for meeting physical needs among the saints was prominent from the outset and occasioned difficulty even in apostolic times as it does in our own.
Evidence of this exists in the printed ministry; and I well remember when it was customary to pass round the receptacle for the collection at the end of the meeting.
I recall, too, a public statement that in some meetings the box was not placed on the table of all.
But during the last fifty years – at first through the ministries of Mr. Stoney and Mr. Raven – the Lord gave light as to all the features of the service of God, including the collection.
About fifteen years ago the latter obtained particular prominence.
There was no effort to treat the subject in an exhaustive way.
The Lord seemed to stress the matter as it bore on persons – meeting the need of those who served as sent by Him, and those regarded as poor.
It seemed as if the Lord intended to appeal to love in His own, for one another, working out towards those who serve Him in a special way and towards those who are poor.
As it regards New York, this exercise led to the special collection, for there had been for many years much need in this city.
In meeting it, which was difficult, and in furnishing help to the Lord's servants, which was comparatively small, it was forced upon us that in considering the need
we should consider what we possessed rather than the amount of the monthly collections – or rather the surplus of these after the fixed charges were met, for that was all we had to disburse.
Thus we adopted the special collection, as intended, as seen in the letters to Corinth and elsewhere,
to stimulate the saints to more giving – in some sense in an equitable way.
This, as already said, directs to what the saints possess rather than the amount of the collections.
Of course, if the epistles and scriptures treating of this matter generally do not warrant simulation, what we at New York have been practising as to the collection should be abandoned as wrong.
But they do stress stimulation in this matter, and the Lord has blessed in this city and, as facts show, generally.
As far as I can remember, the term 'budgeting' was not at first used as expressing the procedure as to the collection in New York;
it was suggested to be by someone in England, and I accepted it as right or scriptural, but only as covering immediate need …
As regards New York, as I said, we were affected by the urgency of meeting the need of persons,
and we decided – according to the scriptural principles cited above – to have a collection on one Lord's Day of the month for this purpose.
The other three – or four – collections we leave for known or fixed charges. Adjustments are made at the end of the months. Surpluses are added to the special collection.
Letters of James Taylor 2: 346, June 12, 1944
As to early or Pentecostal conditions there were no collections; they were not needed as a "common" state of things existed.
Money was laid at the apostles' feet. An economy exercise by the apostles was established.
The idea of collection is seen in relation to Paul.
At Antioch the disciples who were well off sent to meet the need in Judea – "each of them" sent. It was not a collection as we speak.
Then through Paul's influence and services we have a formal collection made in several assemblies for Jerusalem.
Thus Paul's apostolic authority formally and extensively enters the matter of collection for persons and it was special.
Mr. Hemmings was local at Acton, just outside London, and was a valued servant. He, as Mr. G. R. Cowell, had been put out by the legal sect. EJH continued to serve the brethren, including a trip to Australasia to comfort the few castouts there.
The Lord took him to Himself on December 13, 1962, just two weeks before GRC was taken. At his burial at Guildford, on December 20, 1962, GRC said, "Having known him since 1919, I can speak with personal knowledge of his devoted service to the Lord and to the church through a long life. I do not think I can recall a life of more constant labour among my contemporaries, labours which often involved journeys of great length in order to succour isolated souls – surely a life which is an example for us all".
… When my wife and I were at Ealing recently for the gospel we were shocked to find they had no notices [at the breaking of bread] and a basket at the back for anybody to make a contribution, and they seem very sure they are right …
My dear wife joins in much love in the Lord to you and all with
you. Affectionately, your brother,
September 7, 1961 Edward J. Hemmings.
CONCERNING THE COLLECTION FOR THE SAINTS E. J. Hemmings – May 1961
The aberration noted in the letter above which led to his article took place among brethren who had withdrawn from the legal sect c. 1960.
It was, and is, an isolated situation and is certainly not typical. But, despite its occasion, the article is a valuable exposition. GAR
In our lives here we all have to do with both spiritual and material things and it is a part of our spiritual education to know how and when to distinguish or collate them.
It is clear from Scripture that material giving in relation to the
support of divine interests is pleasurable to God.
The willing-hearted and wise-hearted men and women supplied all the [material for the] furniture and furnishings of the tabernacle.
When every individual and collective contribution was fitted together, it is said "And so Moses finished the work. And the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle", Exodus 40: 33.
The approach to all the blessedness and preciousness of the thoughts of
Jehovah for His people was by way of the brazen altar of sacrifice, an
affecting suggestion of the sacrifice of Christ.
David in his day, providing all the material for the house of God, can say of himself,
"And moreover, in my affection for the house of my God I have given of my own property of gold and silver … and who is willing to offer to Jehovah this day? …
"And the people rejoiced because they offered willingly, for with perfect heart they offered willingly to Jehovah; and David the king also rejoiced with great joy".
Later on he says, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer willingly after this manner, for all is of Thee, and of that which is from Thy hand have we given Thee", 1 Chronicles 29.
What an elevation is given to all this free-hearted offering!
When the house fell into disrepair, Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest and said
"Why have ye not repaired the breaches of the house? And now receive no money of your acquaintances but give it for the breaches of the house".
The house of the Lord was to be put before all personal needs. 2 Kings 12.
So may we think of the widow commended by the Lord in that "of her destitution" she "cast in all that she had, the whole of her living".
When we come to Christianity we find wholehearted giving at the very beginning – Acts 2, together with other references in the book.
The "collection for the saints" is connected in 1 Corinthians with the first day of the week.
The question then arises as to the most suitable time and circumstances for this to be taken according to the "spirit" and not the "letter" of Scripture.
Are not the saints gathered together at the Lord's supper as on no other occasion in an atmosphere of love permeated by the spirit of sacrifice on the part of the One of Whom Paul says
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sakes He, being rich, became poor, in order that ye by His poverty might be enriched", 2 Corinthians 8: 9.
Now at the supper we have three material things which on such an occasion take on a spiritual meaning, the loaf and cup speaking of divine love towards us,
and the answer on our part free-hearted giving, an answer of love to love in relation to the support and maintenance of divine interest in this world.
Would not wisdom's children, left ofttimes to do what is comely and practical, put the three together or have part in them in a successive way that the material things with their spiritual significance should lead us on to what is wholly spiritual in the service of God?
Could the separation of these two parts – love on the divine side and our response – be considered more comely, more practical or more spiritual?
Surely the 'box' on the table unites in our minds and hearts three material things each with a spiritual meaning, the emblems having their own distinctive meaning to all our hearts and minds.
To put the box at the door means we have two fellowships, one for privilege and one for responsibility;
for those not in the former, including unconverted persons, may have part in the latter.
Does God need or want a gift of unconverted persons to further His work?
The only receptacle described, as far as I can recall, for giving
in relation to divine interests is that prepared by Jehoiada the priest,
the description and position of the receptacle being of great importance.
"And Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the
lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the
house of Jehovah", 1 Kings 12.
It was not an open vessel and it was clearly visible "beside the altar" so that anyone approaching the altar took account of the sacrifice made for him and of the receptacle provided by its side for "free-hearted liberality".
We sometimes fail to put a right value on material giving. Paul says in Ephesians 4,
"Walk in love, even as the Christ loved us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour".
But when Paul speaks of material giving of the saints he says in Philippians 4,
"the things sent from you, an odour of sweet savour, an acceptable sacrifice, agreeable to God".
Also we get in Hebrews 13, "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of the lips confessing His name. But of doing good and communicating of your substance be not forgetful, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased".
JT, in his Letters 2: 305, sets out in a practical way the spiritual significance of the whole matter. There he says,
"The love of Christ for the assembly is greater than the love of the assembly for Christ. But they meet at the Lord's supper, and the Lord would not have us stress any inequality. The Lord's supper as celebrated is a public matter, and the love of the saints of the assembly has part in it".
The following outlines the procedure as to the collection in the years immediately prior to the 1953 death of JT Sr.
The decisions as to the special collection were made at the monthly 'care meeting' on the Saturday before the first Lord's Day of the month.
The details of the regular collections were handled in each local meeting, unless some problem arose.
The brothers entrusted with the care of the funds for the city – as well as those who made the announcements in the local meetings – would take down the names, purposes and other details as to amounts suggested and agreed upon.
Suggestions – which could be made by any brother – might be amended, deferred or set aside depending on various priorities, circumstances or information.
The total amount desired remained constant, being increased permanently or temporarily according to the ability of the brethren or special needs.
The purposes were handled in order:
Need: The poor or widows as made known by each local meeting. General economic prosperity had made this need rare. Need was often met by private giving.
Servants: In recognition of their service and travelling expenses, with priority to those invited to serve locally, and those who had to travel long distances. Widows of servant and sisters who served in taking the notes of special meetings were included.
Fellowship Meetings: Rental of room for local one-day meetings on Saturdays, if the local city room could not accommodate brethren from nearby meetings.
Special Meetings: Rental of room and other expenses for annual local three-day meetings – to which general invitations were issued – and as fellowship with localities from which invitations had been received and with localities which issued worldwide invitations.
Bible and Tract Depot: Subsidy of printing costs to reduce price of printed ministry.
Other: Special needs that might become known.
The details of the special collection were announced at the beginning of the meeting – before other annoucements – on the first Lord's Day of the month for collection that day.
All collections were taken after a short pause following the breaking of bread.
The collection from each local meeting was given to those entrusted with city funds for distribution. This would be reported on at the next care meeting.
Before the sisters began attending the care meeting the special collection was also announced two weeks in advance and the care meeting was therefore held a week earlier.