The above quotations illustrate the belief in a human responsibility that goes beyond the bounds of personal sins. What this responsibility is and what its limits are, we have yet to define. The problem is stated but not solved by A. H. Bradford, Heredity, 198, and The Age of Faith, 235 ? ?Stephen prays: ?Lord, lay not this sin to their charge? ( <440760>Acts 7:60). To whose charge then? We all have a share in one another?s sins. We too stood by and consented, as Paul did. ?My sins gave sharpness to the nails, And pointed every thorn? that pierced the brow of Jesus? Yet in England and Wales the severer forms of this teaching [with regard to sin] have almost disappeared. The population, with its awful and congestion attendant miseries, has convinced the majority of Christian thinkers that the old interpretations were too small for the near and terrible facts of human life. At the London gin-shop, they see women with babies in their arms giving the infants sips of liquor out of their glasses, and a tavern keeper setting his four or five year old boy upon the counter to drink, swear and fight in imitation of his elders. No more thorough study of the Scripture is given.

(c) There are two fundamental principles which the Scriptures already cited seem clearly to substantiate, and which other Scriptures corroborate. The first is that man?s relations to moral law extend beyond the sphere of conscious and actual transgression, and embrace those moral tendencies and qualities of his being which he has in common with every other member of the race. The second is, that God?s moral government is a government, which not only takes account of persons and personal acts, but also recognizes race responsibilities and inflicts race-penalties. In other words, it judges mankind, not simply as a collection of separate individuals, but also as an organic whole, which can collectively revolt from God and incur the curse of the violated law.

On race-responsibility, see H. B. Smith, System of Theology, 288-302 ? ?No one can apprehend the doctrine of original sin, or the doctrine of redemption but who insists that the whole moral government of God has respect only to individual desert or does not allow that the moral government of God as moral. This has a wider scope and larger relations so that God may dispense suffering and happiness (in his all wise and inscrutable providence) on grounds other than that of personal merit and demerit. The dilemma here is: the facts connected with native depravity and with the redemption through Christ either belong to the moral government of God, or not. If they do, then that government has to do with other considerations than those of personal merit and demerit (since our disabilities in consequence of sin and the grace offered in Christ are

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment