The Spiritual Fingerprints of the Visible Church -- By: J. Vernon McGee

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:452 (Oct 1956)
Article: The Spiritual Fingerprints of the Visible Church
Author: J. Vernon McGee


The Spiritual Fingerprints of the Visible Church

J. Vernon McGee

[J. Vernon McGee is Pastor of the Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles, California, and a Visiting Lecturer in Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary.]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has the fingerprints of 140,000,000 Americans on file in Washington, D.C. Of this number, 35,000,000 are filed for personal identification, and 8,000,000 are in the criminal section of the files. It may shock some to know that 1,000,000 fingerprints are on file in the criminal section in Los Angeles. Since this information was given us by an expert in the field of dactylography, we have something authentic upon which we can rely.

Now the fact that no two fingerprints are identical is interesting. Ripley was wrong a few years ago when he claimed he had found two identical sets. They were proved not to be identical.

Today, if a criminal were to leave a good set of fingerprints at the scene of a crime, those fingerprints could be sent to Washington and in less than one hour the criminal would be identified. If you were to be involved in an accident and your fingerprints were on file in Washington, you would be identified in the same length of time. Or, in the case of an amnesia victim, under the same conditions the same results would obtain.

May we bring to your attention the fact that in this matter of fingerprints we find the very personal attention God has given to each of us. It means that you and I are separate individuals, having separate personalities, and that no one who has ever lived, or ever will live in this world, can take our place. We were created by God with infinite care for a very definite purpose.

The Church Has Fingerprints

Added to the spiritual significance of fingerprints and the individual, we find another spiritual truth suggested here. Before the honest inquirer there lies a very real problem in this day of truth and error, for both truth and error are moving forward under the common caption of the church. Today right and wrong come wrapped in identical packages and the average person cannot distinguish, nor evaluate, the difference between that which is truth and that which is error.

Therefore, the question arises: “How can each position be brought into bold relief? Is there some positive method of identification in spiritual matters such as the system of fingerprints in the physical field?” Certainly the markings of the true and the false are not the same; therefore, we believe that we have spiritual fingerprints of the visible church, and can identify that which is genuine as compared to that which i...

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