The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 175 of 207
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"What manner of persons ought ye to be."
The relation of doctrine and practice.
pp. 1, 2
Human testimony, however honest and however well intentioned, will always carry
with it those evidences of frailty that belong to all things mortal. The criticism of the
witness of The Berean Expositor over the past years leaves us with no illusion on that
matter. There has been, we admit, a preponderance of doctrine. There has been a most
careful scrutiny of the meaning and usage of words. But while admitting this, and
wishing that our testimony had been more complete, and that more space had been
devoted to the practical aspect of the truth, we believe that there is some justification for
the methods we have pursued, and for the line of teaching that has been uppermost.
First of all, The Berean Expositor was not inaugurated to fill the role of a magazine for
general Christian reading: it commenced with a mission "to make all men see", so far as
grace enabled, "what is the dispensation of the mystery". The subject was by no means
popular, and for years our testimony was like "a voice crying in the wilderness". The
very fact that every item of our teaching would be criticized, quite apart from the positive
necessity to "prove all things", made us adopt methods of research that involved the
setting out of structures and the concordant study of words, all of which may to many
have seemed heavy reading. In the next place, our space was always circumscribed, and
when we would have expanded a theme and "pointed the moral", the limit had already
been reached.
While the subject of the mystery will never be popular, it has been our joy of late
years to see that others, in this land and elsewhere, have joined in the witness. We
therefore feel more at liberty to devote some of the attention given in time past to
doctrine and dispensation, to the necessary practice without which the knowledge of
Christ remains "barren and unfruitful". Moreover, this order is scriptural. Practice can
never precede doctrine. Practice is the fruit of doctrine. I must know, before I can do. I
cannot walk worthy of a calling that I do not believe or understand. I cannot adorn a
doctrine that I do not know or believe.
Those of our readers who have any knowledge of the epistle to the Ephesians, will be
already acquainted with the perfect balance of truth presented in that marvelous epistle.
Three chapters of doctrine are balanced by three chapters of practice in such a way that
practically every item of doctrine finds its corresponding item of practice. This has been
graphically set out on page 15 of our book entitled: The Testimony of the Lord's
Prisoner, which the interested reader is asked to consult. The word translated "worthy"
in Eph. 4: 1 has associations with "the beam of a balance", and to walk worthy of our
calling brings to mind the idea of practice balancing doctrine.