powers of corruption within every man. These powers defile his best deeds and give to even his holiest efforts that ?nature of sin,? of which the 9th Article in the Church of England Prayer Book speaks so strongly.? Yet it is evident that this corruption is not regarded as real sin and is called ?nature of sin? only in some non-natural sense.
Dr. George Peck says: ?In the life of the most perfect Christian there is every day renewed occasion for self-abhorrence, for repentance, for renewed application of the blood of Christ, for application of the rekindling of the Holy Spirit.? But why call this a state of perfection? F.
B. Meyer: ?We never say that self is dead. Were we to do so, self would be laughing at us round the corner. The teaching of Romans 6 is not that self is dead but that the renewed will is dead to self, the man?s will saying ?Yes? to Christ and ?No? to self, through the Spirit?s grace it constantly repudiates and mortifies the power of the flesh.? For statements of the Perfectionist view, see John Wesley?s Christian Theology, edited by Thoruley Smith, 265-273; Mahan, Christian Perfection, and art, in Bib. Repos. 2d Series, vol. iv, Oct. 1840:408-428; Finney, Systematic Theology, 586-766; Peck, Christian Perfection; Ritschl, Bibliotheca Sacra, Oct 1878:656; A. T. Pierson, The Keswick Movement.
In reply, it will be sufficient to observe:
(a) The theory rests upon false conceptions. The first misconception of the law, is a sliding scale of requirement graduated to the moral condition of creatures, instead of being the unchangeable reflection of God?s holiness. The second misconception of sin is that it consists only in voluntary acts instead of embracing also those dispositions and states of the soul, which are not conformed to the divine holiness. The third misconception of the human will, is able to choose God supremely and persistently at every moment of life and to fulfill at every moment the obligations resting upon it, instead of being corrupted and enslaved by the Fall.
This view reduces the debt to the debtor?s ability to pay a short and easy method of discharging obligations. I can leap over a church steeple, if I am only permitted to make the church steeple low enough and I can touch the stars, if the stars will only come down to my hand. The Philistines are quite equal to Samson if they may only cut off Samson?s locks. So I can obey God?s law, if I may only make God?s law what I want it to be. The fundamental error of perfectionism is its low view of God?s law and the second is its narrow conception of sin. John Wesley: ?I believe a person filled with love of God is still liable to involuntary transgressions. Such transgressions you may call sins, if you please. I do not.? The third error
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