Monday, June 11, 2007

George Smeaton on the Church

I spoke recently against the art of excessive quoting in one's blogging. I am going to break that rule today and crave forgiveness. I've been reading a wide selection of books on the Holy Spirit including my favourite and classic "Joy Unspeakable" by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I posted three awesome quotes I found on "Underlined Bits" - here, here and here. They really stirred me - especially the one about the Church abandoning this vital concept of the Spirit "falling upon".

But I have also been re-reading George Smeaton's; "Doctrine of the Holy Spirit" and I was amazed at some comments he had to make about the Church especially in regard to my two most recent transcripts by Ern Baxter on "Ultimate Triumph". Here's the quote (pp264-265);

"The Church, partly militant on earth, and partly triumphant in heaven, thus forms one society, one Church of the first-born so called, with special allusion to those who were protected by the blood of the Lamb ... and were thus made a holy nation, a perculiar people.

This is the city of God! The indwelling of God in this city constitutes it's glory which the natural eye cannot discern. Mention is also made of an innumerable company of angels who are at once their fellow citizens in the city of God and ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation".

Now note this;

"These lofty terms belong not merely to the Church triumphant but to the Church militant on the earth; for it is expressly said that true believers are come to the City of God. From all this it is evident that the true Church is invisible, that God is a wall of fire about it and the glory in the midst of it (Zech 2:5) and that all true Christians are a spiritual priesthood, carrying on a true spiritual worship and having access to a throne of grace".

I found that absolutely incredible! So often the charge is made against restorationists that it's a "modern phenomenon" and only came with the advent of the Charismatic Movement. To me this quote suggests that the Church gains a fresh optimism whenever the Spirit of God is moving, and that suddenly we realise that our fatalistic attitude to leaving everything to the Second Coming of Christ is missing the point!

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