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Nothing but the Bible

Our generation is not the first to doubt the sufficiency of Scripture to change lives. In Robert Moffat’s day, many believed that civilization needed to precede the gospel. Moffat and other pioneer missionaries challenged and disproved that theory. In 1816, Moffat was formally commissioned as a missionary of London Missionary Society and was sent to South Africa. Twenty-six years later, he could testify to the power of the gospel to transform lives.

Iain Murray‘It is now demonstrated,’ [wrote Moffat] in 1842, ‘that the Gospel can transform these aceldamas [fields of blood], these dens of crime, weeping and woe, into abodes of purity, happiness, and love . . . We are warranted to expect, from what has already occurred, great and glorious results.’ A moral improvement in society in general is not needed to prepare the way for spiritual success. On this point Moffat wrote:
Robert MoffatMuch has been said about civilizing savages before attempting to evangelize them. This is a theory which has gained extensive prevalence among the wise men of this world, but we have never yet seen a practical demonstration of its truth. We ourselves are convinced that evangelization must precede civilization. It is very easy in a country of high refinement to speculate on what might be done among rude and savage men, but the Christian missionary, the only experimentalist, has invariably found that to make the fruit good the tree must first be made good. Nothing less than the power of Divine grace can reform the hearts of savages, after which the mind is susceptible of those instructions which teach them to adorn the gospel they profess.
   This lesson needs to be remembered wherever the moral decay of society tempts Christians to suppose the plain preaching of the gospel cannot meet the situation. Moffat was certain that only one source is adequate to answer the effects of sin upon society, whether these are among ‘barbarians’ or ‘the civilized nations of Europe’: ‘Nothing but the Bible can save man from his woes.’

—Iain Murray, A Scottish Christian Heritage (Banner of Truth, 2006), 269–270.

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#1 || 09·02·12··10:19 || Doug

Powerful stuff! It is difficult to live this out though. Our human reaction to poor behavior is invariably to try to correct that behavior, which is law-based. This is because the law is written on our hearts. The gospel, however, is not written on our hearts and we need it's reminders frequently. As the post says, once the gospel takes root, changes in behavior are inevitable.

Unless you subscribe to the carnal christian theory, that is...

#2 || 09·02·12··16:25 || David

Unless you subscribe to the carnal christian theory, that is...

I first read “camel christian.” I was scratching my head for a minute, there. For the record, I believe in neither camel nor carnal Christians.

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