The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
The Church of Christ
The Church of Christ.
14th September, 18—.
Dear Sir,—With reference to the objection you raised the other day to the statement made, "that Christ was born in His Church, and of a member of the Church," and your reply, that "the Church of Christ did not commence before the day of Pentecost," I would remark that, seeing we materially differ on the question, and as this is a matter of great importance, I hope you will forgive me for stating my views at some length. In order to make the matter clear I shall take the subject from the commencement, and draw your attention to the fact that the Church of page 50 Christ commenced when God commenced to extend pardon to man in the forgiveness of his sins; for I suppose you will agree with me that it is only in the name of Jesus that God can extend and man can obtain pardon in the forgiveness of his sins. And further, I shall have to draw your attention to the passage in Rev. xiii. 8, referring to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Considering these two subjects—viz., That Christ was slain from the foundation of the world; and that the Church of Christ commenced when God commenced to extend pardon to man in the forgiveness of sins, will clear up the question at what time the Church of Christ commenced.
And now please notice : If Christ was slain from the foundation of the world, it follows that, in the same sense, Christ was born from the foundation of the world; as of course he could not be slain before he was born. This is, I am aware, a mysterious expression; still so are all God's ways, in His kingdom of grace, of a mysterious nature to our natural understanding, and even for an enlightened mind it requires in many cases a deep searching to understand them. It follows, further, that His Church commenced, as well as the forgiveness of man's sins, from the foundation of the world. In order to arrive at a clear understanding of this important subject, we shall have to glance (1.) at the creation of man; (2.) at his fall, which is often, even by good Christians, seriously misunderstood; and, (3.) at the judgment or sentence after his fall.