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Volume 24 - Page 149 of 211 Index | Zoom | |
accept without alteration all that God has written, but unless you divide rightly the Word
of truth, you will discover this to be impossible. Let an example suffice.
We believe that in promising, in the Sermon on the Mount, that "The meek shall
inherit the earth", that the Lord means what He said. We also believe that Abraham--
and those blessed with faithful Abraham--will be blessed in the heavenly Jerusalem. We
believe, further, that the church of the mystery will be blessed "in heavenly places far
If "B" believes that the church in the Gospel according to Matthew is not to be
distinguished from the church in Ephesians (and he has practically said so, as will
appear), then he cannot, even though he would, accept each of these three distinct spheres
of blessing as written. We, on our part, would say, that realizing there are three spheres
of blessing (i) The earth, (ii) The heavenly Jerusalem, and (iii) heavenly places far
above all, we leave each company where God has placed them without confusion and
The chief item, however, in the criticism is found in the statement that the word
"dispensation" is not used in Acts 28:, but we certainly believe that there is a
"clear indication" that a dispensational change had come, and this from two sources, viz.,
(1) the last chapter of Acts itself, and (2) from the epistles written during the two years
of imprisonment with which Acts closes.
A dispensation is marked by certain characteristics, and if these be set aside, we have
negative evidence of a change. If, further, this be supplemented by positive testimony, as
we find in Eph. 3: and Col. 1:, then we have all that can be reasonably asked for.
We open the last chapter of Acts, and observe that the miraculous gifts of Mark 16:
are still in force. We are certain that "B" is no quibbler, and the fact that after Paul in
Acts 28: 3-6 fulfilled the reference to "taking up serpents", he did not supplement it
by drinking something poisonous, will not be used by him to invalidate our claim that
Mark 16: 17-20 was in force. The deadly disease of dysentery was healed by the
apostle, and then other diseased persons in the islands were healed in the same way.
Here, then, is one feature, characteristic of the Pentecostal dispensation. We believe the
"shall follow" of Mark 16: 17 to be as true as the "shall be saved" of Mark 16: 16. We
have never had "these signs" following, yet we are not perturbed. On the other hand, he
who claims the Gospel of Mark as true for himself, has no evidence of salvation unless he
has Pentecostal gifts. The modern exhibition of "gifts" and "healing" we do not deal with
here. Sufficient, for the moment, to say that never have we heard of a "Healing
Campaign" being advertised with the assuring statement that the Healer or Preacher
would drink poison or be bitten by a serpent to prove to the world his bona fides.
The next dispensational feature is found in the fact, that while Paul had expressed his
longing to see the believers of the church at Rome, there is no record that he visited them;
on the contrary, the close of the Acts gives prominence to his calling together the chief of
the Jews. "The Jew first", means just what it says--"First in time, and first in all things."