What Scriptures could we use to support the truth of the eternal Sonship of Christ?
Of all the fundamental doctrines of Scripture the truth that Christ is the eternal Son stands out. Upon this fact the whole of Christianity rests. There are those today who deny this truth and assert that Christ became the Son of God at His incarnation. In the last century ardent followers of J N Darby began to teach this as new light and assumed that Darby believed this, but back in 1938 the following statement was found among his manuscripts, letters and papers: "I hold it vital to hold the Sonship before the world. It is the truth". Many Scriptures support this doctrine, but we select the following which have an important bearing on it.
John 5.26: "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself". When did the Father's life begin? The obvious answer is that it had no beginning. But we ask now, "When did the Son's life begin?". Like the Father it had no beginning. Clearly this supports His eternal Sonship.
Galatians 4.4: "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son". It is good to link this with v.6: "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts". As He who was sent was the Spirit before He was sent and did not become the Spirit in the sending, so the Son was always Son and did not become Son in His coming. From this passage it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that Christ is the eternal Son.
Romans 8.3: "God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh". If the meaning of this passage is that the Lord Jesus Christ was not God's Son before He sent Him, but became His Son by being sent, we might as well give up all hope of understanding the Scriptures in their plain simple meaning.
John 1.18: "The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father". In the light of this verse we ask the question, "Had the Father no bosom until Bethlehem?". With the witness of the Word of God before us there is but one answer to this question. Indeed He had! Was not the Son ever in the bosom of the Father? Is this not an eternal thought? Does not the statement here indicate the truth of our Lord's eternal Sonship?
John J Stubbs
What advice would you give to a preacher who arrives at a Hall to preach the gospel and is advised to preach as he would have done, in spite of the fact that all present are believers?
Such a situation may be considered from different viewpoints. There is a sense in which the assembly inviting the brother to preach the gospel is endeavouring to fulfill its responsibility to make known the glad tidings by holding a regular Gospel Meeting; thus Paul says to the Thessalonians, "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord" (1 Thess 1.8). However, consideration might well be given to the recently published article entitled, "Does the Gospel Meeting work? If not...?" (Believer's Magazine, May 2013, pp148-149). In this article, it is stressed that it is incumbent upon each local assembly to review its "gospel effort". If no unbelievers are attending the "conventional" Gospel Meeting, then a different form of outreach should be considered. We should not sit back complacently and feel that we have done what we could by going through the motions of "having a Gospel Meeting at 6.30pm on a Lord's Day evening".
It should also be borne in mind that, although on a given occasion all present appear to be believers, having been baptised and received into the fellowship of the assembly, there have been instances (a few known to the present writer) where certain such individuals have, on hearing the gospel faithfully preached, realised that they have not experienced salvation and have then responded to the message in a positive way.
On the other hand, the invited speaker, whilst faithfully preaching Christ as the sole Saviour of sinners and thus discharging his responsibility, might well take the opportunity to expound certain doctrines of the gospel. After all, the Epistle to the Romans is essentially an exposition of the gospel, albeit written to "called...saints" (Rom 1.7), and Paul says, "I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome" (Rom 1.15). Some believers who have been on the Christian pathway for many years would be "hard pressed" to explain the doctrines of salvation, justification, substitution, propitiation, redemption, reconciliation, regeneration, and sanctification. Christians need to be taught the basic truths of the gospel.
David E West