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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : What If There Had Never Been a Bible! ~ W. Graham Scroggie

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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 What If There Had Never Been a Bible! ~ W. Graham Scroggie

And a brief word must be said about


The Scriptures have never been the preserve of weak-minded men and sentimental women, nor of the unlettered and the ignorant, for even before they were written, the truth orally proclaimed made converts in the households of Herod and Caesar, and many of the early martyrs were men and women of social distinction and of intellectual eminence.

The difference between mediocrity and genius, when laid hold of by Christianity, is not in the value of souls, for all are alike dear to God, but in what ability can do for the Kingdom of God which inability cannot do.

AUGUSTINE, the intellectual, tells his story in his [i]Confessions[/i], and a sad one it is. He spent his youth in profligacy, while pursuing the study of rhetoric, and he was the heartbreak of his devoted and godly mother, Monica. When twenty-two years of age, while in a garden in Milan, contemplating his misspent life, he tells us that he heard a voice saying: "Take up and read, take up and read," and, opening a Bible which he had with him, his eyes fell on the words:

"Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envy; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."

By these words Augustine was led to a saving knowledge of God, and he became one of the greatest of the Church Fathers, of theologians, and of writers, whose influence has been stamped upon the Christian Church for 1600 years.

Had the Bible never been written, he could not have read it and if he had never read it, he would never have been heard of; and we would never have known of the [i]Confessions[/i] of that repentant sinner and forgiven saint; nor would we ever have heard of his [i]City of God[/i], and 250 other books.

It was in the library of the University of Erfurt that a student, twenty years of age, whose name was MARTYN LUTHER, had his attention attracted to a volume of the Bible, a book at that time practically unknown. This he read and re-read whenever he could.

Later, in the city of Rome, as he was saying prayers on the Lateran Staircase, the words of Habakkuk kept sounding in his ears, "The just shall live by faith."

As he climbed the Staircase, imagining that he was earning a year's indulgence at every step, he was startled again by the same words, as if a voice of thunder had uttered them - "The just shall live by faith."

"What folly," he said to himself, "to seek indulgence from the 'Church when God is willing to acquit me of all my sins, if I believe in His Son."

That was the Scripture which, through Luther, changed the course of the world. "It was," says F. W. Boreham, "as though all the windows of Europe had been suddenly thrown open, and the sunshine came streaming in everywhere."

Out of that truth, of justification by faith in Christ alone, came the mighty Reformation, and revival spread like an epidemic.

In his [i]Grace Abounding[/i] JOHN BUNYAN tells us that he never went to school to Plato or Aristotle, but, he says,

"I betook me to my Bible, and began to take great pleasure in reading it, but especially the historical parts thereof."

And again,

"I began to look into the Bible with new eyes, and read as I never did before; and especially the Epistles of the Apostle Paul were sweet and pleasant to me;

and he adds, "indeed, I was then never out of the Bible." And so by this means, the drunken tinker of Bedford was so enlivened and enlightened by the Spirit of God as to write the greatest book in the world next to the Bible, [i]The Pilgrim's Progress[/i].

But learned or ignorant, rich or poor, religious or irreligious, all men and women who have ever received eternal life have done so, and still do so, by the revelation which the Scriptures embody. [i]The Pilgrim's Progress[/i] opens with the words:

"I saw a man clothed with rags standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked and saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he broke out with a lamentable cry, saying, 'What shall I do?"

Yes, that is the Book which has brought conviction of sin, and. led to conversion through grace, of everyone who has ever become a pilgrim to the Celestial City in the Land of Beulah beyond the River; each one has gone through the Wicket Gate; and if the stories of all who have passed that way were written, "the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." These stories constitute the miracle of all the ages.

And when in a Methodist Society Meeting in Aldersgate Street in this city, on May 24th, 1738, the devout and seeking JOHN WESLEY heard someone read Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans, his heart, he tells us, was

"strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Out of that conversion came the revolutionizing 18th century Revival, and the rise of the great Methodist Movement. That Revival, as J. R. Green has shown, and later, Dr. Bready, changed the religious and social face of Britain, and has had repercussions to the ends of the earth.

And JOHN NEWTON has told us that when he was eleven years of age he went to Africa that he might be free to sin to his heart's content. There he sank into abject degradation, first becoming a slave, and later, a trafficker in slaves. His mouth was always full of oaths and curses, and he was on the highway to hell.

But in March, 1748, when he was twenty-three years of age, he was caught in a terrific storm at sea, and his ship was foundering. In utter despair he cried to God for mercy, and mercy God showed him.

That deep-dyed sinner became the Rector of St. Mary Woolnoth of this City, the writer of that religious classic, the [i]Cardiphonia[/i], and the joint-author with William Cowper of the Olney Hymns. The hand that had sent so many to an ignominious death, wrote, [i]How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear, and, One there is' above all others, well deserves the name of Friend, and Begone unbelief, my Saviour is near[/i], and many another which Christians will sing right up to the Golden Gates.

Take one more instance:

When CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON was fifteen years of age, one snowy day in a Primitive Methodist Church in Colchester, in January, 1850, he heard a preacher say a few simple things on the' text, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."

Then the preacher, catching sight of this youth, addressed him personally. He told him that he would be miserable all his life unless he looked to Jesus for salvation. And Spurgeon tells us that he looked and looked until he almost looked his eyes away, and he saw what he looked for; and that day God laid His hand upon one who was to become the greatest Gospel preacher of the Christian age; who, for over thirty years, preached to 10,000 people every Sunday in the Metropolitan Tabernacle at Newington Butts; who brought hundreds of thousands of people to the Cross of Christ; whose sermons are published in more than 6o volumes; who founded a College for those who would preach the Gospel he so deeply loved an Orphanage, and a Colportage Society; and whose death fell upon London as a calamity.

These men owed everything to the Bible, and had there been no Bible, there would have been no Augustine the theologian, no Luther the reformer, no Bunyan the immortal dreamer, no Wesley the revivalist, no Newton the hymn writer, and no Spurgeon the evangelist; and if these were taken out of history, the rent would be so great as to render the garment of Christendom almost unrecognizable.

Mike Balog

 2006/9/29 9:53Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 What If There Had Never Been a Bible! ~ W. Graham Scroggie

And finally, our rapid survey must include a word on


The homes of a nation must be its greatest blessing, or its greatest curse. No nation has yet survived whose home life was not founded on true religion. Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and Rome all passed away because they had not the true foundation; but for nearly 2000 years the Christian Church has survived because the Bible struck root in the homes of the people.

Bible instruction in the family began centuries before the Incarnation, and Jewish children were taught the story of their nation from the time of Abraham.

Harnack has shown that in the apostolic age the Old Testament had its place in the Christian home. Timothy, we read, was early taught the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother, and this practice continued, with the New Testament Writings added, throughout the early centuries. For a thousand years Romanism tried to prevent it, but with the Reformation it came in again like a flood, and to-day no home need be without a Bible.

The question was put more than once to Bunyan's pilgrim: "Where are your wife and family?" The Bible, and the Christ of the Bible, are for the home as well as for the individual soul. The [i]Family Bible[/i] is a noble idea, until it becomes merely a register of births, marriages, and deaths. The mother is the maker of the home, and the contribution of mothers to the building of the Church of God can never be fully known, but something of its significance may be seen in the offspring of godly mothers.

Think of Monica and Augustine, of Susanna and the Wesley sons, of Mary and George Washington, of the mother of John Newton, of Nancy and Abraham Lincoln, of Margaret Ogilvy and J. M. Barrie, and a host of others, women builders of the City of God.

Surely in all literature there is no more moving picture of a pious home than the one Robert Burns has given us in his Cottar's Saturda Night:

[i]"The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,
The big ha'-bible, ance his father's pride:
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide.
He wales a portion with judicious care;
And 'Let us worship God!' he says with solemn air.

Then kneeling down to Heaven's Eternal King.
The saint, the father, and the husband prays:
Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing,'
That thus they all shall meet in future days,
There, ever bask in uncreated rays.
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their Creator's praise,
In such society, yet still more dear;
While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere,"[/i]

But if there had been no Bible, such homes would never have existed.

Perhaps enough has been said to show that the Bible is the most creating, regenerating, civilizing, humanizing, educating, reforming, and inspiring power in all the world, and that the most lurid imagination cannot conceive what would be the state of the world to-day if there had never been a Bible.

But we place this emphasis on the Book, only because it is the one inspired and authoritative record of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

It is little wonder that, throughout the ages, the devil has attempted to discredit or destroy the Bible, in spite of Christians, and, alas, sometimes by means of them.

If he had succeeded, what a kingdom he would have had by now But he has not succeeded. We still have Christ, and the Bible, and the Christian, and the Church, and the Gates of Hell shall never prevail against them.

[i]"The Cross it standeth fast, Hallelujah!
Defying every blast, Hallelujah
The winds of hell have blown,
The world its hate hath shown.
Yet it is not overthrown,
Hallelujah, for the Cross!"[/i]

Mike Balog

 2006/9/30 21:50Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 What If There Had Never Been a Bible! ~ W. Graham Scroggie


"And what in a passing moment can we say about [i]Revivals[/i]? It has been thought that the Christian Church exists, as a motor car is worked, upon a succession of explosions. It is a fact, at any rate, that in the history of the Christian Church a law of periodicity, in this matter of revivals, is discernible.

This law is implicit in all progress. There are times of ebb and times of flow in poetry, and art, and literature, and learning, and science, and commerce; and it would be strange indeed if there were no such times in spiritual experience. But the fact is, there have been religious revivals throughout all ages, and these, we may see, have been essential to spiritual progress.

Revival is a re-awakening to something that has been forgotten, a flourishing again of something that appears to be dying, a stimulus of attention and interest in something that has been neglected; and this, I say, has characterized the history of religion for millenniums. We have illustrations of it in the time of [i]Moses[/i], of [i]Samuel[/i], of [i]Hezekiah[/i], of [i]Jonah[/i], and of [i]Ezra[/i] and [i]Nehemiah[/i].

In the [i]first[/i] century [i]Pentecost[/i] was a mighty leap forward in the spiritual experience of men. In the [i]fifth[/i] century Chrysostom's preaching of the cross enraptured multitudes in Constantinople.

In the [i]twelfth[/i] century the [i]Waldenses[/i], in the Piedmont valleys of the Alps, were preaching the simplicity, purity, and authority of the Gospel; and notwithstanding persecution, they became the chief evangelists of Italy. In the same century, and also in Italy, [i]Francis of Assisi[/i], by example and proclamation, was succeeding in calling men from the indulgence, deadness, and papal absolutism of the Medieval Church.

In the [i]fourteenth[/i] century [i]Wycliffe[/i] fought, almost single-handed, for purity of worship, and to make the people of England familiar with the Bible, and in this ministry he anticipated and prepared for the Reformation.

In the [i]fifteenth[/i] century [i]Savonarola[/i] was proclaiming his message of sin and redemption to great effect in Florence, arousing the people from their moral stagnancy and turpitude.

In the [i]sixteenth[/i] century, [i]Luther[/i], in Germany, [i]Calvin[/i] in Switzerland, and [i]Knox[/i] in Scotland, were, in different ways, making religious history, and the results have been seen and felt ever since. [i]Calvin's[/i] great message centred in the truth of God's sovereignty, and is embodied in his [i]Institutes[/i]; and [i]Luther's[/i] great message centred in the truth of Justification by Faith in Christ alone, and its abiding expression is in Protestantism. [i]John Knox[/i] in Scotland, with tremendous power, attacked the ignorance, superstition, and tyranny of his time by proclaiming emancipation in Christ. His uncompromising and fiery ministry gave to Scotland a national life and a national Church, and made religion the dominating factor in the common life of the people.

Then, in the [i]eighteenth[/i] century came the great Evangelical Revival under the ministries of the [i]Wesleys[/i] and [i]Whitefield[/i], John the theologian, Charles the poet, and George the evangelist. This movement changed the face of England, not only spiritually, but also socially, politically, and educationally, and the effects of it are still with us.

Towards the end of the [i]nineteenth[/i] century came the movement inspired instrumentally by [i]Moody[/i] and [i]Sankey[/i], a movement which stirred the whole of the British Isles; which brought salvation and spiritual renewal to multitudes of people, and a great impetus to missionary work abroad.

And at the beginning of the [i]twentieth[/i] century revival again visited Wales, which, among other benefits, resulted in a diminution of drunkenness, an abandonment of feuds, and the restitution of property.

Who can compute the compelling and restraining power for good of all this preaching, and all these revivals! Yet, had there been no Bible there would have been none of it, and instead of spiritual renewal there would have been a deepening and damning degradation. But for the Bible there would have been no revivals of religion, for there would have been no religion to revive. But for the Bible the world would have been, and would still be, a loathsome reeking charnel-house."

Mike Balog

 2008/2/25 9:57Profile

 Re: What If There Had Never Been a Bible! ~ W. Graham Scroggie

Thank you for this.

 2008/2/27 19:48

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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