by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXIII

April, 1944

Number 9

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

In a figure of speech, Paul designates as "milk," that part of the evangel which a saint will readily believe and relish if he is allowed to do so.  And thereby hangs a tale.  

I was not allowed to believe such passages as these: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive;" "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth;" and "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."  I had been told all my life that these passages do not mean what they say, and that each must be phrased differently to the true meaning.  

I was conducting a series of meetings, and in the course of a talk I said, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ we shall be made alive."  After the meeting a lady said, "You didn't quote that as it is in the Bible, but I am sure you gave the meaning of it.  If you had given the exact words it might have confused the people.  I'm glad you didn't."  

This sent me to thinking, and the more I thought the more uncomfortable I became. I didn't want folks to believe that passage, for I felt sure its meaning could be better told by the preacher than by the Bible.  I felt the same about the other passages quoted above. 

Why could I not believe that God will make all alive in Christ, and justify and save all mankind?  Because I was sectarian.  In Corinth were sectarian saints—Paulinians, Cephians, Appollonians and Christians.  They did not know that it was not proper to use the name of either Paul, Cephas Apollos or even Christ, to designate a religious party.  In this very epistle—I Corinthians—the proper name is given.  It is "the out-called," or, it is in the Greek, "the ekklesia."  We give it the English adaptation, "the ecclesia."  

Paul was yet feeding them milk, even in this epistle.  This figure of speech is used in contrast with the teachings in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and II Timothy, which is solid food, or "strong meat."  

A babe in Christ should be able to take the whole milk, unless he has been filled with trash.  That was my trouble.  I had been given a lot of trash, and while I could relish the fact that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He arose, I Cor. 15:3, 4, yet I would "gag" at other milk found in the same chapter, notably verses 22-28.  

It is thought by some that maturity means an understanding of the teachings in the perfection epistles, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and II Timothy.  Not necessarily so.  Maturity denotes the ability to receive these teachings.  Maturity is the development reached as the result of assimilating all the teachings of Paul's earlier epistles—I and II Thessalonians, I and II Corinthians, Romans, Galatians, Titus, I Timothy.  All this is milk, and makes one strong enough to receive the solid food.  The perfection epistles not only are built on these earlier ones, but also show us what parts of the earlier ones are modified to accord with the perfection writings, and what parts are abrogated.  

The "milk" writings are not all abrogated.  Mature people still relish milk.  No matter how mature a saint is, he still needs the milk as part of his spiritual diet.  

Why is it that, today, we have more trouble "getting over to the people," the doctrine of the salvation, justification and vivification of all mankind, than in teaching them anything else?  It is because the church some years ago, adopted the fallacy of never-ending torment.  Having adopted this, the main thought of the ministry ever since, has been to keep the people from believing that God has resources of grace sufficient to save all mankind.  This doctrine was not a bone of contention in Paul's day, nor for centuries thereafter.  And it was never stopped by argument, even after the church so far departed from the faith as to make salvation dependent, not on believing in Christ, but on believing in endless torment.  This is the attitude of many today.  No one who knows me doubts that I believe in Christ, but some seem to think that I am going to an endless hell, because I do not believe in one.  

The teaching left on record by Paul was suppressed by force, some centuries after the death of the apostle.  It was done by the Catholic church, which, during the dark ages that followed, devised the creeds which govern Christendom today, in large measure.  

Force is used today—the threat of excommunication from the church.  The dire consequences feared, is not much less than that with which the Catholic church threatened "heretics."  I can remember when I could not think of a worse thing than being "turned out of the church."  I well remember how I trembled when I was summoned before three preachers, and told that I must quit teaching the salvation of all mankind.  But for the grace of God, I would have given up.  

However, those who believe in endless torment, think of it only in the "abstract."  Never is it said in funeral sermons that the deceased person has gone, or is going, to endless hell.  The preacher will try hard to convince his hearers and God, that the dead one has done quite a bit of good, of that he has not done much harm.  It reminds me of the case of the dead Indian.  The custom was, that the dead should not be buried unless someone could say something good about him.  In this case, everyone in the audience sat silent and sad.  Until, finally, an old man arose and said, "Our dead brother was a good smoker."  This gave him the right to burial.  So it is easy to find enough good in a man to convince God that He ought to take him to glory!  If this cannot be done—if he was not even a "good smoker,"—the preacher will fall back on grace, as the last resort, and claim eternal happiness for the "brother," on the ground of the kindness of God.  

While no human reasoning is sufficient to reach the truth—and, fortunately, no reasoning is necessary—yet, when one believes the truth he finds it in perfect accord with reason.  If I know a child is going to walk into the fire if I don't prevent him, and I refuse to do so, this makes me morally responsible for his death.  Everyone knows that God was fully aware of what man would do if left to himself, and yet He did not prevent him.  Would a loving God have allowed this, if it were not part of His Design?  And would He allow it unless He meant to save humanity from the results of this step?  He accepts full responsibility, for it is said in His word, that all is OF him, or "out of Him," as the Concordant Version renders it, Rom. 11:36.  As a matter of fact, God did not merely "allow" men to sin.  It is of Him.  The same verse says that all is THROUGH Him.  He was the Channel of it.  And it shall eventuate in His glory, for the verse also says that all is TO Him, or "for Him," C. V.  Having accepted responsibility for sin, God would be eternally dishonored, if He did not use it for His glory and the good of man.  It was all in His purpose.  Nothing is more reasonable than to believe that He will save all mankind, and bring them to Him self.  

While the King James Translation teaches the salvation of all mankind, yet the Concordant Version should always be used.  It is the best English translation ever made—in fact, the only TRANSLATION, in many centuries, since others are merely revisions.  

I believe a history of the doctrine of the salvation of all mankind would be helpful to the readers.  The Lord willing, the nest issue will be devoted to this.  In spite of opposition and church decrees, there have been notable instances down through the centuries, of men believing and teaching this precious doctrine.  Readers will want extra copies of that issue.  Do not wait until they are printed.  Order your extra copies now, so I will know how many to print.  I believe it will be a most helpful editorial.  

Methodist will be astonished to find that Dr. Adam Clarke and John Wesley taught this doctrine at times.  Baptist will find, to their surprise that there were times when Charles H. Spurgeon taught it.  Americans will learn for the first time that our greatest philosopher, Benjamin Franklin loved this teaching.  So look for the next issue if the Messenger. 

Please save me much trouble by giving your name as it is on my book, and on your wrapper, when you renew. 

Don't be astonished if the paper is late occasionally.  War conditions have swamped our printer. He can't avoid it.  Also, there are bound to be errors, with so much work crowded into the days. 

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