The Assurance of Faithby Louis Berkhof
THERE are some subjects that have a perennial appeal for all serious-minded Christians. And among these the subject of the assurance of faith or of salvation occupies an outstanding place. When our preachers address their churches on that vital topic, they may be sure of a goodly number of interested hearers, who are anxious for a description of the foundation of their hope, and who long for a word that will help them to obtain that blessed assurance and will thus fill their hearts with the joy of salvation.
It is true that many professing Christians to-day will not subscribe to this sentiment. In their estimation one who undertakes to speak or write on the subject of assurance is hopelessly behind the time and altogether out of tune with the present trend of religious thought. They do not all formulate their objections in the same way, but they all agree in the desire to ignore or at least, to soft-pedal the question of assurance.
Some emphasize the fact that the character of the Christian battle has changed and the battleground has been shifted. Time was when the Bible was accepted as the infallible Word of God and Bible truths were taken at their face value. Whatever doubts were entertained concerned one's being in a state of grace. The battle was fought single-handed in the citadel of the heart. But now the trustworthiness of the Bible is called in question and even the great verities of faith, such as the incarnation, the virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, and his physical return in glory, are not only doubted but boldly denied. This calls for a battle in the open field, in which all those who recognize Jesus Christ as their Lord should stand shoulder to shoulder. The struggle to maintain the fundamentals of the Christian religion is so all-absorbing that it really leaves no time for the question of personal assurance. Far more important issues are at stake and must be settled before this question can really mean anything.
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