By H.P. Mansfield
This series of studies is designed to present in connected form the fundamental teaching of the Bible. The reader is invited to examine it critically, with the Bible at his right hand, without which nothing can or ought to be determined in relation to God's truth. Though much that we have set forth may appear strange or new when compared with the teaching of most churches, we submit that it can all be substantiated by a "thus saith the Lord."
Is a correct understanding of God's revelation essential to salvation? Does it really matter what we believe, so long as our motives are sincere? The answer to these questions is in the affirmative, as attested by the Lord Jesus himself. He declared:
"True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him ... they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and In truth" (John 4:23-24).
The Lord thus discriminated between mere -worshippers" and "true" worshippers, and emphasised, by repetition, that the latter worship the Father in truth.
Surrounded by a multiplicity of sects and churches all claiming to set forth truth, it becomes incumbent upon the individual who would correctly worship the Father, to seek out the Truth for himself.
We believe that this series of lessons will help him in his search.
But why is such help needed? If a correct understanding of the Bible is essential to true worship, why did God set forth His revelation in a book so difficult to comprehend?
The answer is an important one. God's purpose is not merely to save people, but to make them worth saving. This can only be brought about by changing their outlook and characters to conform to His, and this can only be done by superimposing His mind on theirs.
To that end, it is essential for Him to make flesh think along the channel of His own mind so far as principles and precepts are concerned. If a person is induced to think as God would have him do, then such thoughts will color his outlook and ultimately his conduct. How often has the power of words swayed men and women! The case of Hitler, who changed the character of Germany by his use of words and oratory, is a typical example.
God desires to change the characters of individuals. He has thus provided a book sufficiently profound as to cause its readers to "think" in order to understand its message. As thoughts beget ideas, actions, habit, character, so this habit of thinking on Gods word can change men, fulfilling the prayer of Christ: "Sanctity them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
Let the reader bear that fact in mind, as he ponders the pages of the Bible, and do not let him despair of understanding the basic simple message it contains. By perseverance and prayer (James 1:5), he will attain unto such an understanding as can change his life and win for him immortality in the Kingdom that God will ultimately set up on earth (Daniel 2:44; 7:27). May God's blessing be with this book, to the end that its readers will be drawn to the Bible, and come to better understand its life-giving message.
H. P. MANSFIELD, November, 1968.