•  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
1. W, W., Chester, There does not seem to be any direct evidence in John 19:19-2219And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. (John 19:19‑22), or Acts 4:26, 2726The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (Acts 4:26‑27), that Pilate was personally present at the crucifixion of the Lord. He gave orders for the title which was placed on the cross. Alas! there was time enough for the Jews to go to him desiring the title to be altered. Still we could not say he was not present. There the whole world was represented in its deadly enmity against the Lord and against His Christ. “For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together.” But whether Herod and Pilate were actually present at the crucifixion, we are not told. We know from history that the church of Rome has sought to have the rulers present when they have put to cruel deaths the saints of God. And they have copied largely from pagan Rome. What a revelation of the world that lies in the wicked one—the murderer from the beginning. The Lord separate us more and more from that evil world.
2. S. J. P., London. You ask the editor to give you “an explanation of the difference between primitive catholic truth, Reformation truth, and recovered truth. Answer suitable for Bible class would much oblige. Am at a loss for list of recovered truths. What is the best book to read?”
You do not give your address, and you probably have a reason for not doing so. From the peculiar style of the above this is probable. Truth is truth, and there can be no essential difference between what is the same. There may be different measures of truth known, at any given time. What do you mean by primitive catholic truth? Why not use the term, scriptural truth?
In the completion of scripture we have the whole, complete truth. Christ there is set forth, the revelation of the Father. Every ray of light, or every particular truth, is from Him and to Him. Any one going beyond this, or pretending to do so—what is called development—is to be utterly rejected. See the original of 2 John 1:99Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9) literally translated, it is “Whosoever goes forward, and abides not in the doctrine of the Christ, has not God,” &c. As you put it, Reformation truth would seem to be something in addition to what had been given by inspiration in the scriptures at the beginning; but at the Reformation, much truth was recovered, truth which had been lost, or denied. And traditions which neutralized the truth were found to be false, and were discarded. The tradition of the Mass was found to be utterly contrary to holy scripture. Worship of idols, angels, and the blessed Mother of Jesus, and many other things, were found to be utterly false traditions, errors, not primitive truth, nor truth given in the scriptures. It was felt that every tradition that was contrary to the revealed truth of scripture, must of necessity be false. But truth could not be called properly speaking Reformation truth; but the recovery of truth which was in the beginning.
Recovered truth, then, is the same also as was in the beginning, and found in the word of God. Not new, or additional, truth; but long buried or. lost truth, restored. Take, as we have named it, the Mass, and its bearing on the one sacrifice of Christ. The truth as to that one sacrifice was given in the word—Heb. 9; 10 There, such was the infinite value God set upon the sacrifice, that “there is no more offering for sin.” “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Chap. 10:18, 26.) If you please, that was primitive catholic truth, true to every Christian on earth. Now, before the Reformation, this truth was practically lost, and the scripture flatly denied by the pretended sacrifice of the Mass. And the Mass was an invention of men, not found in scripture—an idolatrous denial of the infinite value of the one offering, as revealed and declared in holy scripture. The Reformers saw this and rejected it, at the cost of their lives. They saw it was utterly wrong; but they do not seem to have recovered the full truth of Heb. 9; 10: that, as to the conscience, every believer is perfected forever, in unchanging continuance, by that sacrifice, once offered. Here, then, recovered truth is not new truth: it is simply, through the kindness of God, the recovery of that which has ever been plain enough in the scriptures.
Let us not forget that the scriptures themselves were recovered for Christians to read, at the Reformation. For this we praise God, and we will also thank Him for a clearer understanding of those scriptures during this century. And the best book to read, as to recovered truth, is that Book of God, the Bible, and test everything you find around by its teaching. It would require a volume to tell out the list of precious heavenly truths that God has been pleased to restore to those who make the word their joy and study.