Forward, Not Backward, To Christ -- By: J. Edward Moseley

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 088:352 (Oct 1931)
Article: Forward, Not Backward, To Christ
Author: J. Edward Moseley


Forward, Not Backward, To Christ

J. Edward Moseley

Any number of present day books dealing with late trends in religious thought proclaim with an amazing degree of uniformity: “Back To Christ.” The basis for this cry has been that the church has deviated too much from the Early church and, hence the return of the New Testament church’s practices and teachings is now necessary. It is heard on every hand, that in order to reach any degree of oneness in Christianity, to survive criticism of the non-spirituality of the church of to-day and, to bring the practice of the New Testament back in experience as well as theory, the church must return to Jesus: the ultimate center of Christianity— Jesus Christ—can be attained by no other means than by turning back to Him.

Yet how can it be that the church has forged so far ahead of the One it claims as its founder and as its leader? What a pitiable lamentation indeed for it to claim that it has gone so far ahead of Christ that it must now set its face backward and seek again the Christ whom it has passed in this great progression. The church may indeed have failed to keep step with the other strides made in civilization’s great advances and, yet, that is all the more reason why it will not find the Christ by a U turn at this late hour.

If it be possible for the church, amidst all of its bickerings and strife, to see through the dim mist, let it then set its eyes toward the front, in order to find the Christ, whom it seeks to follow. Christ—the only perfect man—who was tempted like as other men, who lived and let live, and in the end made the glorious and triumphant conquest over death and the grave in the resurrection—can only be ahead. Mortal man, full of sin, is not ahead of the Christ, but the thinking mind seems to have been enveloped by a cloud that has surrounded understanding. What a striking bit of irony! When did Christianity make such tremendous strides, as to pass the Christ, and leave Him behind, with “Excuse our Dust,” as the rear banner of the mammoth parade? Indeed, it must have been a truly remarkable feat!

One can turn to history and find there any number of instances that illustrate what has happened when a nation failed to go forward. The story of the twelve tribes of Israel, through the ages, is a reminder that no progress is made when the advance is not forward. Not less appalling is the fate of Greece and Rome. It was the wife of Lot, who was turned to a pillar of salt when she looked backwards. The Hebrews spent forty years in the wilderness because they wished they had never been led out of the land of Egypt, after they had made some progress toward the land of milk and honey.

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