Monday, September 11

Interesting Figures in Church History!

I just thought that I'd post these interesting excerpts, just goes to show that we are called to live lives of impact and not mideocrity, sometimes we join the masses in what they are doing just because we think that we cant affect change! I want to be a worldchanger, even if it's the world immediately around me!

Be encouraged!

John Wesley
(a contemporary of Mr Edwards) and Charles Spurgeon were both known for their outspoken opposition to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Spurgeon is said to have spoken out so storngly against it that his semrons stopped being published in the 'states! Check out these powerful words:

John Wesley Thoughts On Slavery, published in 1774:
"[To the captains employed in this trade] may I speak plainly to you? I must. Love constrains me; love to you, as well as to those you are concerned with. Is there a God? You know there is. Is he a just God? Then there must be a state of retribution; a state wherein the just God will reward every man according to his works. Then what reward will he render to you? O think betimes! Before you drop into eternity! Think now, "He shall have judgment without mercy that showed no mercy."

Are you a man? Then you should have an human heart. But have you indeed? What is your heart made of? Is there no such principle as compassion there? Do you never feel another's pain? Have you no sympathy, no sense of human woe, no pity for the miserable? When you saw the flowing eyes, the heaving breasts, or the bleeding sides and tortured limbs of your fellow-creatures, was you a stone, or a brute? Did you look upon them with the eyes of a tiger? When you squeezed the agonizing creatures down in the ship, or when you threw their poor mangled remains into the sea, had you no relenting? Did not one tear drop from your eye, one sigh escape from your breast? Do you feel no relenting now? If you do not, you must go on, till the measure of your iniquities is full. Then will the great God deal with you as you have dealt with them, and require all their blood at your hands. And at "that day it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for you!" But if your heart does relent, though in a small degree, know it is a call from the God of love. And "to-day, if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart." To-day resolve, God being your helper, to escape for your life. Regard not money! All that a man hath will he give for his life! Whatever you lose, lose not your soul: Nothing can countervail that loss. Immediately quit the horrid trade: At all events, be an honest man."

See also, John Wesley's last letter before he died, sent to anti-slavery campagner, and fellow saint, William Wilberforce.

Charles Spurgeon, sermon entitled Separating the Precious From the Vile preached in March 1860:
"But now I have a very sad thing to say—I wish that I could withhold it, but I cannot. Unless, brothers and sisters, you make it your daily business to see that there is a difference between you and the world, you will do more hurt than you can possibly do good. The Church of Christ is at this day accountable for many fearful sins. Let me mention one which is but the type of others. By what means think you were the fetters rivetted on the wrist of our friend who sits there, a man like ourselves, though of a black skin? It is the Church of Christ that keeps his brethren under bondage; if it were not for that Church, the system of slavery would go back to the hell from which it sprung. If there were no slave floggers but men who are fit for so degrading an office; if there were not found Christian ministers who can apologise for slavery from the pulpit, and church members who sell the children of nobler beings than themselves—if it were not for this, Africa would be free. Albert Barnes spoke right truly when he said slavery could not exist for an hour if it were not for the countenance of the Christian Church.

But what does the slaveholder say when you tell him that to hold our fellow-creatures in bondage is a sin, and a damnable one, inconsistent with grace? He replies “I do not believe your slanders; look at the Bishop of So-and-so, or the minister of such-and-such a place, is not he a good man, and does not he whine out ‘Cursed be Canaan?’ Does not he quote Philemon and Onesimus? Does he not go and talk Bible, and tell his slaves that they ought to feel very grateful for being his slaves, for God Almighty made them on purpose that they might enjoy the rare privilege of being cowhided by a Christian master. Don’t tell me,” he says, “if the thing were wrong, it would not have the Church on its side.”
And so Christ’s free Church bought with his blood, must bear the shame of cursing Africa, and keeping her sons in bondage. From this evil, good Lord deliver us. If Manchester merchants and Liverpool traders have a share in this guilt, at least let the Church be free of this hell-filling crime. Men have tried hard to make the Bible support this sum of all villanies, but slavery, the thing which defiles the Great Republic such slavery is quite unknown to the Word of God, and by the laws of the Jew; it was impossible that it ever could exist. I have known men quote texts as excuses for being damned, and I do not wonder that men can find Scripture to justify them in buying and selling the souls of men."

No doubt when Jesus met messrs. Welsey and Spurgeon, He said to each of them, "Well done good and faithful servant." They had the opportunity to stand up and speak out against evil, and they did so with gusto.

Consider these when testing the Scripures:

Sound principles to identify sound doctrine:
1. Absolute Authority of Scripture
2. Consistent (not "wooden") Grammatical - Historical Interpretation of Scripture
3. Sound Logic
4. Historical Precedent in the Early Church

One, Les!

Share my heart and share my burden!
To Him who is able to keep us!

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