Monday, March 03, 2008

What the Church Has Heard from God by L.W. Teeter

L.W. Teeter, from Indiana, spoke to the gathering of Brethren at the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren in June 1908 at Des Moines, Iowa. (Note: the name "Church of the Brethren" was first adopted in 1908). His address, along with many others, was collected and published as: Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren: Bicentennial Addresses.

Teeter begins his address with the following statement: To tell what the church has heard from God is nothing less than to tell what God has said to the church. God being perfect, he gave to the church a perfect message, with the design that the church should hear and accept that message in its perfection.

Teeter then goes on to clarify what is meant by the word "Church" in his address. That was the subject of yesterday's entry.

Next comes the heart of his message summarized in the following paragraphs:

The message, therefore, which the church of 1908 has heard from God, is the same message that her primitive ancestress heard from God, through his Son Jesus Christ, during his personal ministry and teaching among his disciples; and his spiritual ministry from his resurrection to his ascension; and through the inspiration of his chosen apostles.

Thus the entire message was delivered to the church during a period of nearly a century from its beginning. As to the contents of that message, our only reliable source of the most direct information is the last twenty-seven books of the Holy Bible, as canonized by the best ecclesiastical authority, many centuries ago, and entitled The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This blessed volume has ever been held as strictly sacred and divine.... It has stood the test, and been preserved, as we must believe, by superhuman power, and kept intact and inviolate against the fiercest opposition of all its enemies and critics. ....

L.W. Teeter goes on to present the New Testament message beginning with the birth of Jesus and concluding with "the great Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ; which God gave to him to give to the church."