The Berean Expositor
Volume 22 - Page 5 of 214
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Answers to Correspondents.
p. 20
G. J. P. Scheveningen, Holland, writes to the following effect:--
Would you kindly verify the reference in the "Hopes of the Church", by J. N. Darby,
that speaks of the coming in of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul into the early
church, as I gather some later editions omit it?
In answer to this request the British Museum Library has been visited and the
following extract made. The actual Readers' Slip with date, press mark and issuing
officer's signature has been posted to our questioner, so that there shall be no possibility
of doubt.
The Hopes of the Church by J. N. Darby, published in 1841 by Francis Baisler,
124, Oxford Street. On page 50 occurs the paragraph in question:--
"We would express our conviction that the idea of the immortality of the soul
(author's own italics) has no source in the gospel; that it comes, on the contrary, from the
Platonists, and that it was just when the coming of Christ was denied in the church, or at
least began to be lost sight of, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul came in to
replace that of the resurrection (author's own italics). This was about the time of Origen.
It is hardly needful to say that we do not doubt the immortality of the soul: we mark the
fact only that this view has taken the place of the doctrine of the resurrection of the
church, as the epoch of its joy and glory."
It is surely a comment upon the binding power of tradition for such words as: "has no
source in the gospel"; "it comes from the Platonists"; "it came in to replace the
resurrection", to be followed by: "we do not doubt the immortality of the soul."
One would have thought that no greater condemnation or exposure would be
necessary to convince the reader that such a doctrine was erroneous than the "conviction"
with which J.N.D. opens this paragraph.