| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 32 - Page 179 of 246 Index | Zoom | |
We have on several occasions expatiated on the exalted sphere of the church of the
present dispensation, and to put pen to paper once again in the interest of that high calling
is indeed by no means "grievous", the more so as the truth concerning it is repeatedly
challenged. In dealing with this subject we shall assume nothing as true until every point
has been proved from scripture. We shall "prove all things", and then, against all
opposition, endeavour to "hold fast that which is good". This being the intention,
progress must necessarily be "slow" to be "sure"; we shall have to cover ground already
traversed, and "prove" many a point about which we have ourselves no doubt. But the
cause of truth demands our utmost, and the establishment of fellow-members can only be
"in the faith". If, therefore, the labour be sometime tedious, the goal is glorious, and so,
as we have already quoted, to us who write, such reiteration will not be "grievous", and
for those who read we believe it will be "safe".
Not only has the claim that "three" spheres of blessing are revealed in the Scriptures
been challenged, but even the employment of the English word "sphere" has been
questioned. For anyone whose mother tongue is English, to question the propriety of this
usage of "sphere" sounds the reverse of true criticism. It seems to result from either lack
of knowledge, or an attempt to utilize a specious argument for the sake of victory rather
than for the love of truth. Perhaps we should be justified in dismissing such an objection,
but as our endeavour is to prove all things we waive the point, and give the judgment of
the Oxford English Dictionary. After defining the primary meaning of a sphere, the
Dictionary proceeds to its figurative use, thus:
"A province or domain in which one's activities or faculties find scope or exercise, or
within which they are naturally confined; range or compass of action or study 1606.
The whole province, domain or range of some quality or activity 1602."
When, therefore, we use the term "spheres" of blessing we use a word that has the
highest sanction, and can well afford to ignore our would-be mentor.
For the sake of the truth we restate our theme thus: "There are three distinct provinces
within which the distinctive blessings of the various callings revealed in Scripture are
naturally confined." In order to avoid circumlocution we adopt the word "sphere" to
express this fact.
As this item has been established beyond the possibility of denial, so we intend to
establish every other item, and ask the reader to keep check upon our procedure and its
Preparatively, let us settle another point. A phrase or an expression may not be
"scripture", yet it may be "scriptural", but, because the distinction between these two
terms is not clearly understood, the unwary may be impressed by the statement that a
particular expression is not "scriptural".
Now because the term "sphere" does not occur in the Scriptures, is it therefore
unscriptural? According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word "scriptural" is anything
"based upon, derived from, or depending upon Holy Scripture". Because , therefore, an