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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Big Mack Attack

My transformation into complete "nerd-dom" was almost completed when I ordered The Complete Writings of Alexander Mack. I've read the biography, First Brethren Tract, Letter to Count August and Basic Questions. It has certainly been some interesting reading.

For those who are not familiar, Basic Questions was Mack's answers (on behalf of the "New Baptists") to local "Inspirationists" concerns. I found the following answers intriguing:

When asked if a direct divine calling is necessary and required for re-establishing baptism:
We do indeed believe that a direct calling and impelling of the Spirit of God is necessary for the practicing of the teachings of Christ. That, however, this calling must be confirmed and manifested before men by signs or miracles, we will not presume to dictate to God. If the calliing is of God, it is sufficient, whether men believe it or not. This must be left up to the individual.
Mack is not motivated by the "shock and awe" that signs and wonders could have accompanied their passion for baptism. He simply states that if the Word says it, that should be enough to compel. And that God would reveal it, and do a work in our hearts to receive it, is miraculous enough.

Mack gives a great answer to works-salvation claims against the Brethren:
It has been testified above that we do not seek to earn salvation with these simple works, but by faith in Christ alone. If it is to be saving faith, it must produce works of obedience. Where that faith is not present which produces obedience (not according to the pope's doctrine and command but rather by the command of Jesus the crucified), then no salvation is promised for a single work done without faith.
Mack's writing is full of the understanding that God sanctifies those whom He justified...a message we Brethren could do a better job reiterating.

I also liked that Mack's "spunk" is pretty visible in a couple of comments:

When asked "Are all of those whom you baptize immediately reborn of God in truth?" Mack answers:
That would indeed be a good baptism...

With one question, the inquisitor concludes his question by stating "see Matthew 12:49-50"

Mack answers that claim and concludes his answer with
see Matthew 12:49-50 correctly

It was interesting to see that many of the 40 questions seemed repetitious, yet their multiplicity allowed Mack to give a full-orbed answer. At times, his answers made me a little nervous. Usually, though not always, he later clarified his thoughts.

Yet I found myself encouraged by the read. For one, some of the vague or concerning answers may come from the translation (though I have no reason to believe William Eberly didn't do fine work). Second, Mack and the church worked from a Luther Bible, it was still rather new that a Bible could even be in their hands. Third, the Brethren showed a humility and teachability in their responses and even within their literature distribution. They admit when they previously understood things improperly.

I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm enjoying it to the point. I'd encourge you to pick up a copy. (Of course, I may be just trying to recruit some fellow nerds so I can feel a bit cooler.)


  • At 7:33 AM, Blogger RevPharoah said…

    Greetings from a fellow resident of Nerdville. I just got really excited about receiving a signed, first edition of ...(drum roll, please)...Conquering Frontiers. The dust jacket has a red white and blue rendering of a covered wagon and a prop driven airliner. (No jets yet in 1958)

  • At 7:39 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    that was a good book too....though i haven't seen the original edition.

  • At 3:38 PM, Blogger BReformed said…

    And I assume you will move on to the biography, "Counting the Cost" by Willoughby...


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