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Galatians Waggoner Against Butler

Galatians Waggoner Against Butler

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Published by: propovednik on Aug 31, 2010
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10/25/2010

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OR DOES IT REFER TO
THE LAW
BOOK OF GALATIANS:
IN THEIS IT
THE MORAL LAW,
THAT SYSTEM OF LAWS PECULIARLY JEWISH?
~~~~~~~~~BY ELD. G. I. BUTLER~~~~~~~~~BATTLE CREEK, MICH.:REVIEW & HERALD PUBLISHING HOUSE1886.
 
INTRODUCTION.What law is the
 principle
subject of the apostle’s dis-course in the epistle to the Galatians? Is it the morallaw? or the typical remedial system and laws peculiarlyJewish? Perhaps there has never been a theological ques-tion in all the history of our work concerning which therehas been so much disagreement among our ministry andleading brethren as this. Such differences have existedmore or less with varying phases, singe the rise of the mes-sage, and at times have been discussed with more or lesswarmth. At other periods they have been tacitly left un-touched. Generally, a mutual forbearance has been exer-cised, so that bitterness of feeling between brethren hasbeen avoided.Leading brethren have been on both sides of the ques-tion. In the early history of the work, it is probable thatquite a majority of them accepted the view that the morallaw was the main subject of Paul’s consideration in the bookof Galatians. But there came quite a change in this re-spect at a later period, when some of our leading brethren,to whom our people have ever looked as safe counselorsin questions of perplexity, gave up the view that the morallaw was mainly under discussion, and took the positionthat it was the ceremonial law. Many others who havecome later to act a part in the work, have accepted the latterview with strong confidence. It would be quite difficult toascertain the comparative strength in numbers on eitherside; but to the best of the writer’s judgment (and his op-portunities of forming a fair opinion have not been meager),he would say that at the present time at least two thirdsof our ministers hold the latter opinion.For half a score of years past, the question has lain quitedormant. Not that either of the classes referred to have

(3)
 
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changed their opinion. By no means. But there hasseemed to be an avoidance of the question quite largely,and a desire to spare the feelings of those holding an op-posite view as much as possible; so that the law in Gala-tians has not been dwelt upon in articles coming beforethe public through our periodicals and publications asmuch as it otherwise would have been.We say this has been the case quite largely until withina comparatively brief time. But the writer acknowledgesconsiderable surprise that during the last year or two thesubject has been made quite prominent in the instructionsgiven to those at Healdsburg College preparing to labor inthe cause; also in the lessons passing through the
In-structor
, designed for our Sabbath-schools all over theland, and in numerous argumentative articles in the
Signsof the Times
, our pioneer missionary paper, thus throwingthese views largely before the reading public not acquaint-ed with our faith. Thus, strong and repeated efforts havebeen made to sustain the view that the moral law is thesubject of the apostle’s discourse in the most prominenttexts under discussion in the letter to the Galatians.Now we are not disposed to find fault with the spirit inwhich the articles are written, or to say that the matter hasnot been managed ably on the part of those engaged in it.Indeed, we are free to admit a keen perception, yea, a de-gree of admiration, of the tact and ability displayed inbringing this controverted question of long standing, heldin abeyance for a time, before our people in the mannermentioned. It shows a degree of shrewdness in planningto carry the views of the writers and actors which, if ex-erted in a better way, might be truly commendable.But we decidedly protest against ths bringing out of con-troverted views in the manner indicated, concerning mat-ters upon which our people are not agreed. It violates aprinciple well understood in the practice of this body, whichhas usually been regarded with respect. It has been taughtby high authority that where such differences exist, at leaston the side of a minority, they should either be held withoutgiving them much publicity, or be brought before our leadingbrethren and acted upon by them. Then it would be time topublish them, and not before.But even if it were thought consistent to publish contro-verted views to a reasonable degree, we should still pro-test against doing it in the manner mentioned. It seemsvery objectionable to us, to urgently teach views not heldby a majority of our leading brethren, to our college stu-dents who are preparing to go out and labor in the cause.We do not believe our denominational institutions of learning were established for any such purpose. Ourwork has been noted for unity; but unity will not be in-creased by such methods. There are plenty of thingswhich can be taught without going into controvertedfields. We conceive that the fact that such differenceshave been made prominent in teaching these young minds,must tend to give them a less favorable impression of thecharacter of our work than if an effort had been made tomake our differences as small as possible.So of the lessons going through the
Instructor
, in whichthose points have been presented. To our personal knowl-edge, and from the reports of leading ministers, in manyplaces throughout the field a great amount of argumentand controversy has been indulged in over this question of the law in Galatians, often with heat and contention.When such positions are taken on controverted points, thefact that they are published in our denominational journals,and hence are believed to be the views of 
all
our people,leaves an unjust impression in the minds of those whostudy the lessons, concerning the larger number of thosein the cause who hold opposite views. It is taking an un-fair advantage. Our Sabbath-school lessons should teach
only
views held by the large body of our people.The same principle applies to articles published in ourpioneer paper. They should represent only the views of the body, and not ventilate views held by any writer, how-ever strongly he may hold them, when he knows they arenot the views of the body, or the principal portion of ourpeople. To pursue the opposite course would be far moreobjectionable in our pioneer paper than in the
Review
,the organ of the church. The former was established byour people as an agency through which to introduce ourviews to the public, who are supposed to be unacquaintedwith them. Every one would have the strongest reason tosuppose that articles coming from the pioneer paper of the denomination, established by the, church to teach itsspecial views, were indorsed by the body. But such isnot the case with the articles in question. The application

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