Quotes from Lewis Sperry Chafer

"As well might a medical doctor discard his books on anatomy and therapeutics as for the preacher to discard his books on Systematic Theology; and since doctrine is the bone structure of the body of revealed truth, the neglect of it must result in a message characterized by uncertainties, inaccuracies, and immaturity." -- From the Preface to his Systematic Theology.

"The church is ever in peril - and never more so than now - of the disaster which must follow when she allows men of distinction in the sphere of human attainments, who are unregenerate or unscriptural, to dictate as to what her beliefs shall be." -- Systematic Theology Volume I, Page 10.

"Holiness dictates that there shall be no leniency toward evil on the part of God. It is true that He considers our frame and remembers that we are dust; but God never condones sin. God is not said to be merciful or kind when He justifies the one who believes on Christ; He is said to be just (Rom. 3:26)." -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, page 204.

"The strange harmony between predestination and human sin is asserted in Acts 2:23, 'Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.'" -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, page 250.

On Bibliology

"According to the Word of God and to human experience, man, apart from divine illumination, is wholly unable to receive or understand the truth about God. Who among blinded humanity is the fiction writer capable of originating the conceptions of the triune God of all eternity that are spread on the pages of the Scriptures? Who among men has designed the peculiar and perfect balance of the parts each Person of the Godhead takes in redemption, or the divine character in its consistent and unalterable display of infinite holiness and infinite love - the divine judgments, the divine valuation of all things including the angelic hosts and evil spirits? Who among men has been not only able to conceive of such a fabrication of interdependent notions, but has been able to make them express themselves perfectly in an ongoing history which, being fortuitous, is, after all, only sham - a hypocritical, disingenuous counterfeit of truth? How absurd is the assumption that unaided man could write the Bible if he chose to do so! But if man did not originate the Bible, God did, and because of that fact its authority must be recognized." -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, page 24 (the Bibliology section).

"Among many subjects upon which man could have no unprejudiced information, the fact of sin and its evil character is obviously one of the foremost. Yet if it be contended that the Bible - the only source of reliable information on this theme - is not of divine origin, there is no alternative other than the supposition that man, as supposed author of the Scriptures, has sat in judgment on himself and is able to comprehend what everywhere he demonstrates himself to be unable to comprehend, namely, the sinfulness of sin." -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, page 26 (the Bibliology section).

"The message of the Bible is complete. It incorporates its every chapter and verse into its perfect unity, and all its parts are interdependent. The mastery of any part necessitates the mastery of the whole. If disproportionate emphasis is tolerated or fads in doctrine indulged, but little progress can be made in its accurate understanding. The sixty-six books, which by divine arrangement make up this incomparable whole, are divided into two major parts -- the Old Testament and the New Testament --, and these Testaments lend themselves to the unfolding of two paramount divine purposes -- that which is earthly and that which is heavenly. The books of the Old Testament are classified as historical -- Genesis to Esther --, poetical -- Job to Song of Solomon --, and prophetical -- Isaiah to Malachi. The New Testament books are classified as historical -- Matthew to Acts --, epistolary -- Romans to Jude --, and prophetical -- Revelation. As bearing on the Person of Christ -- He who is the central theme of all the Scriptures --, the Old Testament is classified as preparation; the four Gospels as manifestation; the Acts as propagation; the Epistles as explanation; and the Revelation as consummation." -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, pages 36-37.

"Revelation and inspiration are each in themselves cardinal Bible doctrines and are often confounded. This confusion is perhaps due, to a large degree, to the fact that revelation and inspiration must concur, or converge to one point, in securing that infallible, divine Oracle which the Bible unhesitatingly asserts itself to be. It is, by its own claims, not only a revealed body of truth, but is the only revealed body of truth. It is a supernatural interposition into the affairs of men. This claim, of necessity, implies two divine operations, namely, revelation, which is the direct divine influence which communicates truth from God to man; and inspiration, which is the direct divine influence which secures an accurate transference of truth into language which others may understand.

"While these two divine operations do often concur, it is equally true that they often function separately. By revelation of the purest character Joseph was warned of God in a dream that he should flee into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus. It is not asserted, however, that he was inspired to record the revelation for the benefit of others. In fact, multitudes heard the voice of God when they heard the gracious revelations which were the substance of Christ's preaching; but none of these, save the chosen disciples, were called upon to undertake the functions of inspired writers." -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, pages 49-50.

"It is significant that in one passage, namely, 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, there is reference to revelation in verse 10, to illumination in verse12, and to inspiration in verse 13.

"Finally, both revelation and inspiration may be distinguished from illumination in that the last named is promised to all believers; that it admits of degrees, since it increases or decreases; that it depends not on sovereign choice but rather on personal adjustment to the Spirit of God; and without it none is ever able to come to personal salvation (1 Cor. 2:14), or the knowledge of God's revealed truth." Systematic Theology, Volume I, page 51.

On Materialism

"The history of science is one of endless admissions of misunderstanding and error. In the field of that which is merely physical, certain progress has been made; but in the field of that which concerns life and spiritual being, there has been no progress, nor can there be until scientific men welcome revelation as a valid source of information. If all science hesitates over the problem of mere animation, when will its high priests awaken to an appreciation of the greater marvel of 'the gift of God [which] is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'?" -- Systematic Theology, Volume I, pages 171-172.

On the Spiritual Life

"Substitution is the only reason assigned in the Bible for the death of Christ. He was taking the place of others. It was an infinite undertaking which accomlished infinite results. There is nothing more fundamental in a believer's understanding than that he apprehend to some degree just what the death of Christ wrought. There should be more teaching on this great theme. One result of the act of remembering the Lord's death in the breaking of bread is the deepening of the personal consciousness of the meaning and value of that death. It is noticeable that those Christians who are frequently exercised in spirit toward His death in the breaking of bread are most awake concerning the value of the sacrifice of Christ for them. The disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7). They knew the real desire of the Lord for them in this important matter and they knew the value of this ordinance in their own lives. A child of God should always be increasing in heart appreciation of his Saviour's finished work. Provision for this has been made in the faithful remembering of His death at His table." -- He That Is Spiritual, p. 119.

On Satan

"The unregenerate are, then, unconscious of their position in the arms of Satan, and blind in their thoughts toward the gospel of mercy and grace, -- their only hope for time or eternity. Satan, like a fond mother, is bending over those in his arms, breathing into their minds the quieting balm of a 'universal fatherhood of God' and a 'universal brotherhood of man'; suggesting their worthiness before God on the ground of their own moral character and physical generation; feeding their tendency to imitate the true faith by great humanitarian undertakings and schemes for the reformation of individuals and the betterment of the social order. God's necessary requirements of regeneration are carefully set aside, and the blinded souls go on without hope, "having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18). How important, as a preparation for salvation, is the illuminating work of the Spirit in conviction, by which He lifts the veil and opens the mind to a new vision of the redemption and glory that is in Christ! Without this God-given vision there can be no understanding of the way of life, nor any intelligent decision for Christ." --Satan, p. 48.

"Again Satan's ambition is leading him to make this age of his special opportunity as nearly perfect as his wisdom and power will permit. And in this connection it may be noted that Satan's ambition was not to become a fiend, but rather to become like the Most High. He will, therefore, strive for all that is moral and good: yet at the same time do all in his power to draw men from their natural reverence of God, in order that, in due time, they may acknowledge himself without fear. The Satanic ideal of this age is, then, an improved social order, a moral and cultured people who are devout worshippers of himself, though for the present they may imagine that they are worshipping Jehovah through their empty religious forms and ceremonies, while they are really in a state of God-dishonoring unbelief, and all their thoughts are energized by Satan alone. The Satanic message for this age will be reformation and self-development, while the message of God is regeneration by the power of the Spirit." --Satan, Pp. 75-76.

"Again, the self-saving principle is utter folly, since God must demand a quality which no human being can present. God's requirement is not unreasonable, however, for He also proposes to bestow, in grace, all that He ever demands. The absolute righteousness of God demands no less than absolute righteousness in all who are acceptable to Him; yet He has never mocked man by asking him to make himself acceptable, or even to attempt to do it by divine help. True salvation is wholly a work of God, and provides a standing in Christ which is the very righteousness of God. It is said to be both a finished work and a gift, and, therefore, it lays no obligation upon the saved one to complete it himself, or to make after payments of service for it; though the saved one is called upon to serve from another and more glorious motive." --Satan, Pp. 115-116.

"The controversy between Satan-ruled man and God is one of method. It is one of self-righteousness and character building, or one of bestowed righteousness and character by the fruit of the Spirit. Will man try to save himself, or humbly submit to being saved by Another? Will he try to conform himself to what little he knows to be good and true, or will he be transformed by the power of God into that which is no less than the image of Christ? Will he present the sacrifice of a sincere effort to be moral and religious or accept the God-provided sacrifice for all sin in the shed blood of Christ? Will he try to establish himself before God on the ground of his own works, or rest in the finished work of Christ for him? Will he try to improve his fallen nature, or partake of the divine nature and become a son of God by the power of God, through faith in Christ Jesus?" --Satan, Pp. 116-117.

Dispensationalism, Anyone?

"God has but one Book and that Book includes all people of every dispensation. In it we find His will and purpose for Israel in the age before the cross, and His will and purpose for Israel and all the Gentile nations in the age to come. So, also, we find His will and purpose for the heavenly people of the present dispensation. The children of Israel were redeemed and delivered out of Egypt and He gave to them their rule of life which should govern them in their land. These particular rules were never addressed to any other people than Israel, and these rules addressed to Israel made their appeal to the "natural man." They ceased to be in effect, as the required rule of life, after the death of Christ (John 1:17; Romans 6:14; II Corinthians 3:1-13; Galatians 5:18). There is also revealed a rule of life which is to govern Israel when she is regathered and re-established in her own land under the earth-wide rule of her Messiah King. His reign will be legal in character, or of the character of the law. Its principles are stated and anticipated by the prophets of the Old Testament and are also further revealed by passages in the New Testament. The Bible also contains a rule of life which applies to the heavenly citizens of the present dispensation, who, though heavenly in position and responsibility, are called upon to live as 'pilgrims and strangers' in the earth, and as witnesses in the enemy's land. Their governing principles will be found stated in The Acts and Epistles and portions of the Gospels. These heavenly standards are not imposed upon the unregenerate world. They have not received the Spirit and therefore have no enablement whereby they might live according to the standards which are committed to the Christian. It is both useless and unreasonable to apply Christian standards to an unregenerate world. Again, the heavenly standard of life is as much higher in character than Israel's law, as heavenly citizenship is higher than a citizenship in the earth. Israel's law incorporated many of the eternal principles growing out of the very character of God. These principles, as such, do not pass away; but the exact manner of their statement is changed that they may be adapted to the new relationships which the heavenly people sustain to God. Thus the believer is "not under the law"; though nine commandments of Moses in the Decalogue are carried forward and reappear with a different character and emphasis within the injunctions under grace. Neither is he "without law," being inlawed to Christ. There is priceless value in knowing all that God has spoken to any people at any time; but the Christian is primarily concerned with the exact purpose and plan of God for him. The heavenly citizen will not find the full revelation of the will of God for him in any portion of the Scriptures spoken to people of other ages; though he may find much that is in common. There can be no clear apprehension of God's Book apart from this distinction.

"In the Scriptures the Christian is addressed as a supernatural man and a superhuman manner of life is placed before him. This is reasonable. Christians are citizens of heaven from the moment they are saved and it is naturally required of them that they 'walk worthy of their heavenly calling.' From such a consistent life they cannot be excused. They are not made citizens by any manner of life, but being made citizens by the power of God, it becomes them to live according to the position that God has given them." -- He That Is Spiritual, Pp. 99-100.

"In connection with the time of the Man of Sin, it is also to be noted that the believer is not directly warned against his person, but is, rather, warned against the conditions that are to prevail as a preparation for his coming. This is due to the fact that the true believers are to be gathered to their Lord before that "wicked one" appears, and they are, therefore, only in danger of being influenced by that which precedes and prepares for his coming. His description is set forth at length only in such passages as deal with the whole and final development of the age." --Satan, p. 99.

"From this chapter [Daniel 2] it may be seen that the setting up of the Messianic Kingdom is to be both sudden and destructive to all human governments, and that it is in no way the result of an age of development and progressive improvement." --Satan, p. 101

"An exalted position is usually accompanied by great responsibity. This is certainly true, according to the Scriptures, in the case of the believer in his heavenly position. For when he is seen as a citizen of heaven, and a partaker of those associations, he is also required both by Scripture and by reason to "walk worthy of the calling wherewith he is called." The statement of these heavenly demands upon the child of God forms a distinct body of truth, and there are at least three such bodies of truth in the Bible, each appearing as a rule of conduct for some special people in some particular time. The Mosaic Law was given primarily to God's ancient people through Moses; but it has a message still, as it reflects the holiness of God and prepares for the salvation which is in Christ. In like manner the "Sermon on the Mount" with the injuctions of John the Baptist and the early teachings of Christ were given with the coming kingdom age in view and, therefore, form an important revelation in regard to that time when "all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest." Though there are some common principles running through all these separate teachings, those Scriptures which apply directly to the people of this parenthetical age of the Church will be found only in portions of the Gospels, and in the Epistles of the New Testament." --Satan, pp. 159-160.

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