Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A. T. Pierson on the Gospel

     Let me begin by telling you about a man who probably needs no introduction.[1] He was an American Presbyterian pastor,[2] early fundamentalist leader, and writer of over fifty books including Many Infallible Proofs, The Heart of the Gospel, and Acts of the Holy Spirit. He preached over 13,000 sermons and gave Bible lectures as part of a transatlantic preaching ministry that made him famous in England and Scotland. He was a friend of D. L. Moody and spoke with him at the Northfield Conferences. He lectured at the Moody Bible Institute. He was a speaker at the Keswick Convention. He succeeded C. H. Spurgeon in the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. He was a friend of George Muller whose biography George Muller of Bristol he wrote. He was a consulting editor for the original Scofield Reference Bible of 1909, and friend of C. I. Scofield. He was a pioneer advocate of faith missions and the leading evangelical advocate of foreign missions in the late 19th century. He was a man whose most notable influence was due to his commitment to orthodoxy. When liberalism began sweeping through the mainline denominations, this individual joined other concerned Christian leaders in publishing "The Fundamentals," a series of essays designed to answer the critics of Christianity. Because of his apologetic abilities, he was invited to write five of the major articles. Since then, this man has often been called the "Father of Fundamentalism".[3] Who is this man? You probably guessed it: his name is A. T. Pierson.
     A. T. Pierson died June 3, 1911 - almost exactly 100 years ago. But "though he is dead, he still speaks" (Heb. 11:4). Notice how this champion of the faith defines the essence of the gospel in his article "The Resurrection of Our Lord".[4] Expounding on 1 Corinthians 15:4, Pierson writes: "Christianity rests on four facts - the death, burial, rising, and appearing of Christ. This constitutes the essence of the Gospel. Upon a cross and an empty tomb our faith is built."[5]
     Sadly, some modern-day Free Grace advocates of the Duluthian faction (1 Cor. 11:19) have itching ears for something new (cf. Jer. 6:16, NKJV; 2 Tim. 4:3, NET).[6] They say that the full gospel of Christ's death, burial, rising, and appearing is "incorrect" and "wrong" - even "heresy"![7] They promote a partial gospel and a new non-buried and never-seen savior.[8] Tragically, their new no-burial gospel is a distortion of the biblical gospel and thus falls under the curse of God (Gal. 1:6-9, ESV; cf. 2 Cor. 11:4, NKJV). A lost and dying world doesn't need some new pop-theology, a sound-byte gospel, or a stripped-down message. Instead, they need the simple, straight-forward, and saving old-fashioned gospel of the Bible - the message that has been preached by the likes of A. T. Pierson and the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:1-5).[9]


ENDNOTES:

[1] Adapted from "Arthur Tappan Pierson," Wikipedia (accessed May 3, 2011).

[2] A Presbyterian who later became a Baptist! See Clinton Macomber, "Arthur Tappan Pierson," Berean Bible Heritage Church (accessed May 3, 2011).

[3] See "Arthur Tappan Pierson," Wikipedia (accessed May 3, 2011).

[4] Arthur T. Pierson, "HELPS AND HINTS, TEXTUAL AND TOPICAL," The Homiletic Review, Vol. 26 (July 1893): pp. 72-73. 

[5] Ibid., p. 72, italics his.



[8] Ibid.

[9] For more information see the article: "Getting the Gospel Right," pp. 27-28; Cf. "The Free Grace Gospel Debate" chart. (See the section titled "Proponents" under the heading "The Glorious Gospel".)

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