An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 7 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 129 of 297
We sometimes speak of the 'Three R's' when thinking of fundamental
features of any system, and we have already considered in other pages
Reconciliation and Redemption.  We are by no means limited to three, but
we must at least add one more to our list, namely Resurrection, for without
the hope of resurrection ichabod is written across all life and effort, and
without resurrection, redemption remains ineffective and the Gospel is
preached in vain; we who believe are of all men most miserable, and even they
who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  The doctrine of resurrection
covers a vast amount of ground, and necessitates an examination of such
allied themes as the immortality of the soul; life only in Christ; the
doctrine of demons and spiritism; the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,
considered historically and doctrinally; the resurrection and the
hope of believers and the peculiar character of those resurrections named
'the out-resurrection', 'the better resurrection', 'the first resurrection'.
Men of God of all ages have expressed their conviction that the
resurrection is emptied of meaning, if the dead are existing in a state of
conscious bliss, as for example did Justin Martyr (a.d. 150) who wrote:
'If you fall in with those who are called Christians who confess not
this truth (namely resurrection) but dare to blaspheme the God of
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in that they say there is no resurrection
of the dead, but that immediately when they die their souls are
received up into heaven, avoid them and esteem them not Christians'.
We may not feel called upon to question the Christianity of those believers
who thus believe, but Justin Martyr puts his finger upon the danger incipient
in the doctrine 'sudden death, sudden glory'.  So ingrained is the Platonic
idea of the natural immortality of the soul, it may be a useful introduction
to this study if we give a few more extracts.  We are indebted to the organ
of the Conditional Immortality Mission Words of Life for the following
quotation given by the Rev. H. A. Barnes in his article entitled The Platonic
'At an early period in the Christian Church it became fashionable to
believe that there was much similarity between the teaching of Plato
and that of Christianity, until it actually came to pass that the
authority of the heathen philosopher was recognized almost as if he had
been a teacher of the true religion' (Kalamos p. 625).
Dr. E. Petavel testifies to the same effect:
'The rising tide of Platonic theory was made to triumph in the
Christian Church by the false Clementines, Tertullian, Minusclus Felix,
Cyprian, Jerome, and especially by St.  Augustine, but the primitive
teaching was maintained here and there' (The Problem of Immortality p.
To quote a French theologian, Professor Ernest Naville:
'In the formation of Church Science there were introduced elements of
ancient thought which were incompatible with the direct and true
meaning of the Gospel ... while gathering up with pious care all that
is pure in the intellectual heritage of past centuries, we need to
break away more than has yet been done from the false and unsatisfying
doctrines of Greek tradition' (Chretien: Evang.: p. 470).