All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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In our preceding article we began calling attention to the doctrine of Semi-Pelagianism. How true it is that the union of the Pelagian and Augustinian elements never really satisfies either the one interest or the other! Compromises never satisfy. And, as we noted in our preceding article, the view known as Semi-Pelagianism is really more dangerous than outright Pelagianism. Any attempt which takes off the sharp edges constitutes a sinister attack upon the fundamentals of the Word of God.

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It may certainly be stated that the Church, in its development of the doctrine of creation, has consistently maintained the literal interpretation of the account of creation as set forth in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis. The Church has consistently maintained that the creation of the world is nothing else than a work of the almighty God Who of nothing created the heavens and the earth and the sea and all things that are therein. First, we call attention to this truth as set forth in several confessions. 

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“III. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves.) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not present in the congregation.

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In our preceding article, calling attention to Article III of Heads III and IV of the Canons of Dordrecht, we noted that, according to this article, man is not only born in sin but also conceived in sin. And we also called attention to how and what man actually has become because of his having been conceived and born in sin. We now conclude our brief discussion of this article.

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The late Professor L. Berkhof, writing on the doctrine of creation in history, writes the following in his Reformed Dogmatics, page 126-127: “While Greek philosophy sought the explanation of the world in a dualism, which involves the eternity of matter, or in a process of emanation, which makes the world the outward manifestation of God, the Christian Church from the very beginning taught the doctrine of creationex nihilo and as a free act of God. This doctrine was accepted with singular unanimity from the start.

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We concluded our preceding article with a very brief resume of the history of Irenaeus, whom we wish to quote in connection with the history of the doctrine of creation. To this very brief resume we wish to add the following quotation from the same book, the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, page 310: “The Episcopate of Irenaeus was distinguished by labors, ‘in season and out of season,’ for the evangelization of Southern Gaul; and he seems to have sent missionaries into other regions of what we now call France.

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We remarked at the close of our preceding article that the Augustinian and Scriptural doctrine of sin and grace is never popular. We may recall that Cassian, the founder and abbot of the monastery of Massilia, stood at the head of the Semi-Pelagian party. A certain Prosper Aquitanus, an Augustinian divine and poet, wrote a book against this Cassian, and he also composed a long poem in defense of Augustine and his system. But, the Semi-Pelagian doctrine was the more popular and made great progress in France. We were to call attention to this development in this article.

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