Question.—The world is full of aches and pains, disease, and naturally we look about us for relief. You have already expressed your judgment that the cures effected by Christian Scientists and Spiritualists are probably produced by improper spiritual influences, altho exercised to some extent at least in harmony with natural laws. I desire now to inquire respecting cures by hypnotism, and still other cures by so-called magnetic healers. What shall we think of these, and will it be proper for the Lord's consecrated people to avail themselves of such means for attaining health?
Answer.—We feel suspicious of magnetic and mental healing. In our judgment they in many instances are allied with or related to hypnotism; yet it is particularly difficult to draw the line here, because we all know that there is such a thing as a legitimate mental influence which we all exercise upon one another, favorably or unfavorably. We know, for instance, that hope and faith, love and joy, are healing [R2629 : page 143] and helpful influences, and that doubt and despair, anger and malice, are injurious influences, whether exercised by our own minds upon our own bodies, or upon others. In this proper sense of the word every child of God possessing the spirit of love, the spirit of a sound mind, is a mental healer, and a heart healer, a wound healer; wherever he or she may be, the influence will be uplifting, comforting, strengthening to good impulses. If therefore the Lord's consecrated ones visit the sick, their presence should be a refreshment, comforting, cheering and helpful, and so much the more if they carry in their hearts and communicate with their lips the exceeding great and precious promises of our Father's Word. With this much of mental healing we are most thoroughly in accord.
But Christian Science, Mind Healing and Magnetic Healing, running upon this same line, seem to us to carry it to an extreme—in the case of Christian Science to the extreme of lying to oneself and believing the lie, and thus gradually becoming a liar, self-deceived and deceiving others in respect to all of life's affairs. We cannot believe that any course so opposed to that which the Scriptures mark out can be of God, nor can we believe that the cures it at times effects are either natural or of God; we can only suppose, therefore, that the Adversary favors this lying and deceiving process to the intent that he may beguile the mind through further lies and deceptions far from God and the truth.
Magnetic Healing is more on the order of hypnotic healing; that is to say, the magnetic healer gains a control over the mind of his subject which is somewhat akin to the control gained by mesmerists and hypnotists, and akin to the spirit control of spiritualism over its mediums. We can have no sympathy with anything of this kind, for even if we were satisfied that the power of control was merely a human power and not a Satanic one (and we are not satisfied of this), we cannot feel that it is right for one human being to subject his mind, his will, to another, when the evidences prove that every such subjection decreases his will power and places the subject more and more in the position of a slave or machine, subject to the influence or control of others—breaking down his personality.
The Lord's people are admonished to make such a submission of their minds to the Lord, and no one else; and we are confident that the Lord will take no advantage of us under such conditions, to rob us of any good quality. On the whole, then, we urge all of the Lord's people to be on guard against mind healers, magnetic healers, etc., especially where, as in the case of Christian Science, the mind is to be given up to believe a lie, or in the case of hypnotism, it is to be given up or subjected entirely to another. Our minds are our greatest possession, and are to be given only to the Lord and to each other as directed by the Word of the Lord; and if we cannot have health without violating these principles, we can afford to be without the health for the few more days that remain under the present conditions, knowing that by and by, if faithful to the Lord, we shall have the perfect resurrection bodies promised.
Question.—In 1 John 5:1 we read, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Does this signify that we are begotten of the spirit at the same moment that we are justified through faith?
Answer.—No; the Apostle, in the words quoted, is not attempting to give the complete philosophy of salvation, that being given in other parts of his own testimony, and that of the other apostles. He is discussing the condition of a believer who has not only been justified through faith, but who, continuing to be a believer, is acting upon that faith and the Lord's call which comes to the justified, and who, in harmony with that justification and call, has presented himself a living sacrifice to the Lord, and has been begotten of the Holy Spirit. He is still a believer, must always continue to be a believer, must always continue to maintain his faith, which is the foundation of his reckoned new nature in Christ.
Numerous Scriptures show us that our condition as sinners is such that we cannot be begotten of God through his holy spirit until after we have been justified through faith. As sinners we were "children of wrath even as others," and were "called to repentance" (but not called to the "high calling"): as repentant sinners we are pointed to the Lord Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life, by whom alone we can return to harmony with the Father. When we accept Christ as our Savior and his sacrifice as our ransom price we are justified by faith—reckonedly perfected—and have peace with God, and realize that we are no longer children of wrath, aliens, strangers and foreigners, being brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Our justification, however, is not our begetting to new nature, but, as the Word itself signifies, a making right of our old natures—a compensating on our Lord's part for the weaknesses and imperfections of the flesh which are ours through the fall, so that we are reckoned as tho we were perfect men—like father Adam before he sinned.
It is to such justified or reckonedly perfect men and women that the Lord sends the "high calling" of this Gospel age—a call to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, a call to suffer with him for righteousness' sake in this present time, with a promise of sharing with him glory, honor and immortality in the future, of being joint-heirs with him in the Kingdom which is to bring restitution blessings to all mankind.
The call of this Gospel age is to find the "Royal Priesthood," of which our Lord Jesus is the Head or Chief Priest, and all his faithful ones the under priests. The work of this priesthood is especially future—during the Millennial age the instruction, guidance and teaching of the world of mankind. The call to this priesthood includes two things: (1) A call in the present time to faithfulness even unto sacrifice, and none can be in this priesthood except he offers up himself a willing sacrifice in the divine service. (2) It includes the [R2629 : page 144] glorification that shall follow the exaltation of the sacrificers.
The thing which each is to sacrifice is himself, his will, his life, his all (Heb. 8:3; Rom. 12:1); but God cannot accept to his holy altar any blemished sacrifice, and hence he has not invited sinners to sacrifice themselves—for they are all blemished. None but our Lord Jesus, therefore, could be actually acceptable as a sin-offering on Jehovah's altar; hence the provision is that his church, called to present their bodies living sacrifices, and to thus have fellowship in Christ's sufferings, and by and by in his glory, must first be "justified freely from all things" by the merit of Christ's sacrifice, before they could be accepted as sacrificers "holy and acceptable to God" or in any degree come within the limitations of the high calling.
Altho the Apostle, in the verse you quote, does not particularize the three steps of (1) knowledge, (2) faith and (3) consecration, he nevertheless implies them, as will be noticed from the context: vss. 3 and 4 tell us that the class the Apostle refers to are overcomers of the world, and that they seek to keep God's [R2630 : page 144] commandments, and do so willingly, not feeling them "grievous." Thus we see that he is speaking only of the consecrated class; and since we know that there were none righteous,—no, not one,—of all of Adam's race, and since we know also that the unrighteous could not be accepted as joint-sacrificers with Christ, we know assuredly that the Apostle John had in mind a class of consecrated and spirit-begotten ones, who previously had been prepared by a knowledge of Christ and by a faith in him unto justification.
That "new creature" represented by the new mind which is now begotten of the holy spirit when the justified believer reaches that point where he sacrifices the human will and presents himself unreservedly to the Lord, is merely "begotten." The present life is the formative period during which there is no independent life, but merely the reckoned one of our "mother," the Abrahamic Covenant. (Gal. 4:23-31.) Our birth will be in the First Resurrection, when we shall be "born from the dead." Then we shall have life and our mother covenant will be dead, having borne the promised seed that shall bless all nations. Compare Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5.
Question.—What is implied by the expression, "The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and they that hear shall live"?—John 5:25.
Answer.—The Greek text seems to be in full harmony with the English, and neither can be understood logically and in harmony with other Scriptures, except by understanding this to mean that the dead of mankind shall be awakened to such a condition as will permit them to hear, comprehend, understand, tho they will still be dead from the divine standpoint—dead in trespasses and sins—dead in the sense of being still under divine sentence of death. Then after hearing, comprehending, if they respond to the hearing, if they obey the voice, the command, the instruction, of that day of judgment, they shall eventually attain to perfection of life—being raised to the living point gradually by the processes of restitution or resurrection, by (through) judgments, during the Millennium.
The fact is simply this, that a fall took place, a fall from a certain standing or condition of perfection and life and a redemption was provided at Calvary, on account of which there may be extended to all who fell an opportunity to rise again. The rising, be it never so insignificant in its beginning, must go on to completion—until the subject shall have been raised out of death into life. This raising up is necessarily up to the point or condition from which the fall occurred, and anything short of that would not be in the proper sense of the word a raising out of death and to perfection of life.
When considering the word anastasis it is proper that we should interpret it along this line, which is its only true and logical meaning, and if it were in any place used in a less comprehensive sense, it would evidently be the exceptional use of it, and should not militate against its full meaning.
But let us look for a moment at the resurrection of the just ones and the resurrection of unjust ones. There will be no question as to the resurrection of just ones, that to them anastasis means a perfect raising up to perfect conditions in the First Resurrection. Likewise, we claim, is its meaning in respect to unjust ones. It does not say that all of the unjust ones will be raised up, and other Scriptures show that this will not be the case, but that only such of the unjust ones as will conform themselves to the laws of the Kingdom will thus be raised up, and that others will fall back when but partly raised up and suffer Second Death;—those who refuse to hear (obey) their Lord in that day. Compare Acts 3:23.
Answer.—The Lord's injunctions are specifically along the lines of religion, and hence our separateness from unions should be specially along this line. A trade union has nothing of a religious worship connected with it, as have the churches and some of the secret orders. Of course, as those who are free indeed in Christ, we would prefer not to incur any obligation except to the Lord, but if obliged to join a Trade Union to obtain employment, I think you would do right to join one. I would, however, state to them that I preferred not to join them (not for the sake of the dues, being quite willing to pay my share of maintaining the proper price of labor), but from a desire to be free, lest at some time the Union might wish to dictate to my conscience what would not agree with it. I would therefore give them notice at once that I would be obedient to the demands of the Union so far as my conscience agreed, and that only.