All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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In our preceding article we were discussing the truth of plenary inspiration. Plenary means “full, complete.” Plenary inspiration is opposed to partial inspiration. Plenary inspiration does not mean that these holy writers were imbued with plenary knowledge of all things, so that they were thoroughly acquainted with science, philosophy, history, astronomy, etc; it does mean, however, that, as they spoke or wrote concerning God as the God of our salvation in Jesus Christ, they were fully and completely inspired.

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We were busy in our preceding article with a description of Augustine’s influence upon posterity and his relation to Catholicism and Protestantism, as set forth by Philip Schaff in Vol. III of his History of the Christian Church. And we noted that this church father contributed much to the development of the doctrinal basis which Catholicism and Protestantism hold in common against such radical heresies of antiquity as Manichaeism, Arianism, and Pelagianism.

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We concluded our preceding article with the question and our answer to it: What is organic inspiration? God and man did not write the Bible. Although we speak of the Primary Author and the secondary authors of the Bible, the Primary Author of the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit. God wrote the Bible. Only, He wrote the Bible through men. Organic inspiration means that these several human writers are God’s organs of inspiration.

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There cannot possibly be any doubt as to the position of Calvin on the doctrine of sin. Over against all Pelagianism, he maintains original guilt and also original pollution or corruption. He certainly sets forth the Scriptural doctrine that sin came into this world through the sin of Adam, the head of the human race. He speaks of the human mind or reason and of the human will, and maintains that both are completely dominated by the power of iniquity.

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In our preceding article we had begun to call attention to the doctrine of sin as appearing in our reformed symbols. And we were calling attention, at the close of the article, to Question and Answer 5 of Lord’s Day 2 of the Heidelberg Catechism. We noted that this answer is striking. That we are prone to hate God and the neighbor does not mean that we merely have leanings and inclinations in that direction, but that it is the inclination of our entire nature to hate God and the neighbor.

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We concluded our preceding article, in connection with the distinction between the true and false church, with a quotation from John Calvin. In this quotation the noted Reformer, who is known for his severe condemnation of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, states that there are also some of the true marks in the Roman Catholic Church. And we know, for example, that we have always acknowledged the sacrament of baptism as administered in the Roman Catholic Church. Dr. H. Bavinck, as we might expect, has also expressed himself upon this subject. A few years ago, in Volume 34 of our Standard Bearer,...

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In our preceding article we called attention to the doctrine of sin as set forth in the Heidelberg Catechism and in the Belgic Confession or Thirty-Seven Articles of Faith. In these creeds the fathers maintain the Scriptural doctrine of sin and oppose the Pelagian conception of it. According to Art. 15 of the Belgic Confession Pelagianism teaches that sin proceeds only from imitation. The Protestant and Reformed conception maintains that we are by nature corrupt, that we commit sin because of what we are by nature. This is also the presentation of the Heidelberg Catechism.

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The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is, of course, treated in all the Protestant and Reformed Symbols. We wish to quote, first of all, from the Gallican Confession, the French Confession of Faith, composed in 1559, approximately the same time as our Heidelberg Catechism and our Belgic Confession. This Gallican Confession was addressed to the king of France, having been prepared by Calvin and one of his pupils.

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At the conclusion of our preceding article we had quoted Art. IV of the Rejection of Errors of Heads III and IV of the Canons of Dordtrecht. In this article the fathers set forth, clearly and unequivocally, the Arminian conception of the goodness pf the natural man. This error of the Remonstrants is not unknown to us: man can at least desire his own salvation. He can hunger and thirst after righteousness. And therefore he can also long to be delivered out of his misery. And we know how this same error is proclaimed today from what are supposed to...

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