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     From: T. P. Simmons, editor, The Baptist Examiner, Marion, KY, 1931, April. (first issue):
     This paper is an independent Baptist paper. This means that the paper is under no control, except that of the Holy Spirit. It means that it is bound by no obligation, except an obligation to be true to the Word of God. It means that it owes no allegiance and loyalty to anything, or anybody, except the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God. It means that the paper will be free to print the whole truth without fear or favor. This paper is as independent as the first Baptist was when he came crying in the wilderness and calling the people to prepare the way of the Lord. Our mission is essentially the same as his.

Spiritual Reality
Pastor Gerard Knot
Lake Drive Baptist Church,
East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

      "Who hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." -- 2 Corinthians 3:6.

      In the third chapter of 2 Corinthians the apostle speaks of the superiority of the new covenant over the old in that the old was the ministration of condemnation. Verse 9, "For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more cloth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory."

      It is, therefore, a great truth "that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:14). Hebrews 8:6, 7, "But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." But the apostle insinuates in 2 Corinthians 3:6 that it is possible to have a mental knowledge of these great truths and be spiritually dead. It is the purpose of the writer, and surely the yearning of God's heart, that saved people shall be stirred into a spiritual or living appreciation of all the great doctrines and practices of the New Testament.

      The apostle speaks first of being made an able minister. He has said in verse 5: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."

      This is of great importance and is absolutely necessary if we are to be used of God. The first lesson to learn is that all that is of the old creation is condemned. God cannot use it unless it has first been to the cross. No flesh shall glory in His presence!

      The great mistake that so many Christian workers make is that they are going to do something for God, when God is looking for those through whom He can accomplish His purpose. Therefore the apostle says our sufficiency is of God.

      What God then is after is an instrument stripped of self and ready for the Master's use.

      Now then, God will enable such an one to be His minister of the New Testament, and this ministry is to be a spiritual ministry. It is generally admitted that there is a deadness in the churches, and is it not very probable that the reason for this lies in the ministry of the letter instead of the spirit?

      We still teach the doctrines such as justification by faith, election, or the return of the Lord, just to name a few; but have these truths become living realities to us, or are they just theological terms?

      Martin Luther preached justification by faith and stirred all of Europe, and caused Rome to tremble; but today this life-giving doctrine has become a dead dogma. Even the doctrine of the Lord's return, which a few years ago so wonderfully moved God's people, has now become a speculative teaching. The time-setters and ultra-dispensationalists have robbed it of its power. The danger against which we would warn is reducing things spiritual to the realm of the mind, and thus robbing them of their spiritual power. The same might be said as to the ordinances. There is a great danger of being correct in form and yet miss the spiritual significance.

      If all those who are baptized and who partake of the Lord's supper realized that these ordinances symbolize the whole work of redemption, and that by them is assured the power of the resurrection of the Son of God for a victorious Christian life, would we not experience that revival in the churches for which we are praying?

      May the Lord grant us a new spiritual perception of the doctrines and practices of the Bible, for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.


[From T. P. Simmons, The Baptist Examiner, Marion, KY, 1931, April, p. 8. (first issue) Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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