Archive for the ‘John Murray’ Category

John Murray, John Calvin and the Will of God

November 25, 2011

Here is an interesting and thought provoking section from John Murray on Calvin on the Sovereignty of God:

Collected Writings of John Murray: 4.…

There is a twofold aspect to the will of God.  And there is the disparity between the decretive and preceptive will, between the determinations of his secret counsel that certain events will come to pass and the prescriptions of his revealed will to us that we do not bring these events to pass.  It cannot be gainsaid that God decretively wills what he preceptively forbids and decrectively forbids what he preceptively commands.  It is precisely in this consideration that the doctrine of God’s sovereignty is focused most acutely with demands for our faith and reverence.  If I am not mistaken it is at this point that the sovereignty of God makes the human mind reel as it does nowhere else in connection with this topic.  It should be so.  It is the sanctified understanding that reels.  And it is not the mark of intelligence to allege or claim a ready resolution of the apparent contradiction with which it confronts us.  How can God say: This comes to pass by my infallible foreordination and providence, and also say to us: This thou shalt not bring to pass?

john-calvin.jpg

Calvin was well aware of this question and he did not tone down the mystery with which it confronts us.  He is constantly refuting, by appeal to Scripture, the objections which unbelief registers against this doctrine.  Much of the argumentation in the last three chapters of Book I of the Institutes is concerned with it.  It is of interest that the last work in which Calvin was engaged before his work was arrested by the hand of death was his exposition of the prophet Ezekiel … At Ezekiel 18:23, in dealing with the discrepancy between God’s will to the salvation of all and the election of God by which he predestinates only a fixed number to salvation, he says, “If anyone again objects, This is making God act with duplicity, the answer is ready, that God always wishes the same thing, though by different ways and in a manner inscrutable to us.  Although, therefore, God’s will is simple, yet great variety is involved in it, as far as our senses are concerned.  Besides it is not surprising that our eyes should be blinded by the intense light, so that we can not  certainly judge how God wishes all to be saved, any yet has devoted all the reprobate to eternal destruction, and wishes them to perish.  While we look now through a glass darkly, we should be content with the measure or our own intelligence.”[1]

[1] Comm. ad Ezekiel 18:23; E.T. by Thomas Myers.  It is more probable that the Latin verb velle, translated on three occasions above by the English term ‘wishes’, should rather be rendered ‘wills’.
The present writer [Murray] is not persuaded that we may speak of God’s will as ‘simple’, after the pattern of Calvin’s statement.  There is the undeniable fact that, in regard to sin, God decretively wills what he preceptively does not will.  There is the contradiction.  We must maintain that it is perfectly consistent with God’s perfection that this contradiction should obtain.  But it does not appear to be any resolution to say that God’s will is ‘simple’, even in the sense of the Latin term simplex.

John Murray’s Hope for the Future

September 13, 2011

Again, I submit that we have been too ready to succumb to a defeatism by which we fail to entertain any confident hope respecting the future prospects of the kingdom of God and of the church in this world.  If the texts I have quoted (Rom. 11 etc), and others I have not quoted, are the Word of God, they are words of promise and hope for unprecedented success for the gospel and for a transformation that measures to the proportion of life from the dead.  Surely there is a convergence of the word of Scripture, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the fervent exercise of prayer upon the assurance given that, if the trespass of Israel is the riches of the world, how much more their fullness!  Promise dictates prayer, and hope is the incentive to prayer.  When we pray for the conversion and restoration of Israel, what Paul calls their fullness, their receiving, and their salvation, we are praying for that which will be, in God’s saving programme and purpose, the signal for unprecedented extension of gospel blessing for the world.  Reformation in prospect is the demand of Christ’s honour; as promise it is the ground of hope.

John Murray, Collected Writings, 1:297

A sentiment James Durham would echo!

Breakfast with John Murray

October 9, 2010

At Cambridge Presbyterian Church our Pastor recently began a Saturday morning study group where we are working through various chapters in volume one of John Murray’s collected writings – The Claims of Truth.  This Saturday we looked at chapter 9 which is entitled “The Atonement and the Free Offer of the Gospel.”

In general in the chapter Murray takes people on a journey.  He begins by defining the gospel and the scope of the gospel – which is undeniably for “all men, everywhere.”  He then explains the heart of the gospel which is the atoning death of Christ and the reason for the provision of the death of Christ – the love of God.  After considering a general love of God for all, and some general benefits with flow from the atonement to all, Murray defends the particular electing love of God and a definite (particular) redemption.  This leads to the question Murray has been building up to all along – “How can the gospel be universal when the electing love of God, and the redemption of Christ are particular?”  His answer: the gospel does not call us to faith in the electing love of God, or the extent of the atonement, but to Christ as he is offered to us in the gospel.  Anyway here are the questions with more thoughts to follow hopefully over the course of the week.

The Atonement and the Free Offer of the Gospel (Chapter 9)

Section I

Introduction

1. What is the gospel? (p59)

2. To whom is the gospel sent? (p59-60)  What are the implications of this?  How do we, and how does CPC live these out? 

3. Why might a passion for proclaiming the gospel be lost? (p59).  Do we have that passion?  What can we do to stir that passion up in us?

4. What is the basis for the universal preaching of the gospel?

The Love of God as the Source

5. What is the source of the atonement? (p62).

6. What do we mean by atonement? (p62).

The Love of God and the Non-Elect

7. Murray gives scriptural reasons for believing in “the love of God for the ungodly, the unthankful and the evil” (p66).  What does this mean for us e.g. our attitude to those outside of Christ?

The Difference in Benefits

8. Who did Christ die for as a substitute?  Is this the Scriptural meaning of “die for”? (p68-9 – see also p63)

The Difference in the Love of God

9. Does God love all equally?  What is the most convincing scriptural evidence to suggest that is not the case? (p69-72)

Disclosure of this Love in the Gospel Offer

10. Note how Murray describes the gospel offer as “the wooing appeals of love”?  How should that influence our sharing of the gospel? (p73)

Section II

Murray’s Exegesis and Definite (Particular) Atonement

11. How do these verses support a particular atonement?  Is Murray’s exegesis of John 3:16-17 correct? (p74-80)

Section III

Unlimited Overtures of Grace

12. What is freely offered in the gospel? (p82-4)

John Murray on Evolution and Adam

April 17, 2010

There have been significant discussions recently on-line and elsewhere over the validity of “theistic evolution” in Reformed theology – sparked by recent comments from a Reformed Old Testament scholar.  As is usually the case these matters are not new and light from past reflection is readily available.  Here are some words of wisdom on this topic from the late great theologian of Westminster Seminary, Prof. John Murray:

The crux of the question as it is posed for us by the theory of evolution is: can the portrayal given us in the Bible, and particularly in Genesis 1 and 2, be interpreted as compatible with a theory that man as we know him and, for that matter, man as represented in Genesis, came to be by a process of evolution from lower forms of animate life?  It matters not which particular form of evolutionary theory is in view, and it would be extraneous to this study to deal with the various evolutionary theories, even with those of most recent vintage.  The issue is the same.  As applied to man, is an evolutionary view of his origin compatible with the biblical representation?  There are several considerations that demand a negative answer.

1. Man’s identity consists in the image and likeness of God.  This is man’s differentia from the beginning (Ges. 1:26; 5:1; cf. 9:6); he was made in this image and likeness and therefore cannot be conceived of on any lower level.  When we ponder the stupendous import of this characterization and of the implications for the cleavage between man and all other orders of being in this world, then we are compelled to conclude that no actions or processes such as would account for other forms of life would be sufficient for the order to which man belongs.  It is only when we fail to assess the significance of the image and likeness of God that we could offer entertainment to a theory that posits continuity with other orders or species of animate life in this world.  In other words, to suppose that a process of evolution by forces resident in an order of things incalculably lower in the scale of being could account for man’s origin, involves an incongruity once we appreciate the identity of likeness to God.

2. Genesis 2:7 cannot be reconciled with the evolutionary hypothesis, and it confirms the conclusions derived from Genesis 1:26; 5:1; 9:6.  It was by ab extra impartration, communication from God described as inbreathing, that man became animate creature as well as man in his specific identity.  In no respect, therefore, could man be regarded as animate being by evolutionary process.  The postulate of evolutionary theory is to the opposite effect.  It must maintain that the ancestors of homo-sapiens were animate.  So in the one text which delineates for us the mode of God’s action in making man there is explicit contradiction of the evolutionary postulate.  From this contradiction there is no escape, unless we do violence to the elementary requirements of biblical interpretation.

3. Genesis 2:7, as we found, shows man has affinity with the material stuff of the earth, and with the animate creation as well.  There is likeness and for that reason congruity.  So we should expect resemblances of various kinds.  If there were complete disparity, how incongruous would be man’s habitat and vocation.  We see the wisdom and goodness of the Creator in these likenesses.  No evolutionary hypothesis is necessary to explain them; they are required by the relationship man sustains to his environment.

John Murray, Works, 2:12-13.

Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering?

December 12, 2009

John Murray’s commentary on Romans is a rare treat.  Murray’s commentary was faithful to the Scottish Reformed tradition in which he was raised.  It was also a continuation of the great works in the Old Princeton tradition of theologians who were master exegetes.  There is much in the work that is valuable on the subject of the free offer but Murray’s comments on Romans 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” are particularly pertinent.

Murray observes that this verse teaches that “God suspends the infliction of punishment and restrains the execution of his wrath.  When he exercises forbearance and longsuffering he does not avenge sin in the instant execution of wrath.” 

But what is the point of this suspension of wrath – and is it related to the goodness and love of God?  Yes, “It needs to be noted that the apostle does not think of this restraint as exercised in abstract from the riches of God’s goodness, the riches of his benignity and loving-kindness.  There is a complementation that bespeaks the magnitude of God’s kindness of which the [outward] gifts of covenant privilege are the expression.  It is a metallic conception of God’s forbearance and longsuffering that isolates them from the kindness of disposition and of benefaction which the goodness of God implies.”

Of course included in the outward “gifts of covenant privilege” is the free offer of the gospel and the spirit of Rom 2:4 should animate the free offer.

John Murray on “Justification and Good Works”

November 28, 2009

Murray was, in my view, the Reformed theologian of the 20th Century.  (Maybe as a fellow Highlander I’m biased!)  If only his voice had been listened to things would be different to what they are now.  On worship, the Lord’s Day and on the free offer of the gospel (to name but three) Murray applied historic reformed theology faithfully to the contemporary Church scene.  Another area on which Murray testifies to the church today is that of justification.  In is Collected Writings 2:219-222 Murray discusses “Justification and Good Works”.  His thoughts on this follow.

Murray begins his discussion be highlighting the potential conflict between justification by faith alone and the necessity of good works: “It has been objected that the doctrine of justification by free grace through faith alone is inimical to the interests of ethical living and of good works, that it tends to the lascivious and licentious principle, ‘let us do evil that good may come’.”  Murray meets this objection to justification by faith alone with five points of response.

First, justification “is only one part or aspect of the redemptive process and must never be viewed in disjunction from its place in the context of all the other steps of the process.”  That is, “redemption is unto holiness and justification as a part of the process cannot be to the opposite end.”

Secondly justification by faith alone “is the only basis upon which good works can be performed.”  Murray argues that without the confidence of an already complete and perfect justification by faith all works done will be tainted by a fear of guilt and alienation from God.  Justification by faith alone frees us from this and enables us to serve God.

Third, Murray argues that justification by faith alone is not inimical to good works in that “since faith is a whole-souled movement of trust in Christ, its very spring and motive is salvation from sin.  How can it be an incentive to sin?”

Fourth, Murray simply states that the faith that does not produce good works is not the faith that justifies.

Finally Murray states that while “it makes void the gospel [note the strength of this statement!] to introduce works in connection with justification, nevertheless works done in faith, from the motive of love to God, in obedience to the revealed will of God and to the end of his glory are intrinsically good and acceptable to God.  As such they will be the criterion of reward in the life to come.”  Murray refers to Mat 10:41; 1 Cor 3:8-9, 11-15, 4:5; 2 Cor 5:10 and 2 Tim 4:7 to make his case.  He argues that “we must maintain therefore, justification complete and irrevocable by grace through faith and apart from works, and at the same time, future reward according to works.”  Murray made four important clarification to his point here.  In the first place “this future reward is not justification and contributes nothing to that which constitutes justification.”  Secondly “this future reward is not salvation.  Salvation is by grace and it is not a reward for works…”  Third “the reward has reference to the station a person is to occupy in glory and does not have reference to the gift of glory itself.”  Fourth “this reward is not administered because good works earn or merit reward, but because God is graciously pleased to reward them.”

This then is how Murray defended justification by faith alone apart from works from the charge of licentiousness.  It is a tragedy that the works of Murray are not read and loved more today.

John Murray on the Free Offer

January 24, 2009

Some interesting thoughts from the great defender of the free offer of the gospel:

It is the word of reconciliation that is committed to the church, the proclamation of the reconciliation once for all accomplished when ‘God was reconciling the world unto himself in Christ’ (2 Cor. 5:19).  This is the gospel message.  The corresponding exhortation addressed to man is ‘be ye reconciled to God’ (2 Cor. 5:20).  And the import of this plea on Christ’s behalf is that men should enter into the relation constituted by ‘the reconciliation’ and appropriate the grace that it establishes and conveys.  No office possesses greater dignity and glory than the proclamation of the message and of the plea.  For it is as ambassadors on behalf of Christ, and as of God beseeching through them, that the preachers of the evangel pray men to be reconciled to God (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20).  All that the atonement means and secures is that of which sinners dead in trespasses and sins are invited to become partakers.  And the demand of Christ’s commission to his ambassadors is that he, in the integrity of saviourhood and lordship as prophet, priest and king, be presented to lost men for their faith, love, and obedience.  In this presentation there is no restraint.  He can not be brought too close to men’s responsibility and opportunity…

Two immediate thoughts:
1) Murray is correct in highlighting the dignity that belongs to the office of the ministry.
2) Murray is correct that the gospel does not offer half a Christ – it offers the whole Saviour in all the glory of his person.

Catch the Vision?

October 25, 2008

My dear former pastor John J. Murray recently published a brief history of the recovery of Reformed thought that occurred largely in the early 1960s.  He looks at men like Lloyd Jones, Geoffrey Williams, James Packer, Iain Murray and Prof. John Murray.  The book is well written and an enjoyable and informative read but the most important section is right at the end when Murray picks up on “the vision unfulfilled,” highlighting where the vision of the early 1960s has not come to pass and what is required to recover it.  Murray highlights three points in particular where recovery is necessary:

First Murray highlights that it is vital to maintain “a full-orbed witness to the Reformed faith.”  That is, the church has a duty to confess the whole counsel of God and can not be satisfied with doctrinal minimalism.  Here he quotes Prof. John Murray who asked the question, “Is it sufficient to have a common denominator confession, general and broad enough, to express the faith of all true evangelicals, but lacking in the specifics on which such evangelicals are divided?”  Prof. Murray answered his own question by noting, “the confession to be made is the whole counsel of God.  There is no restriction that may properly be devised, proposed or imposed.  Its faith is the whole counsel of God.”

John J. Murray argues that being satisfied with minimalistic doctrinal confessions simply to achieve unity is to “go back on what has been a development of creeds and confessions of faith over the centuries and … discard[s] the work of the Holy Spirit in the generations of Christian history.”  He further argues that a “full-orbed witness safeguards against the danger of doctrinal indifferentism” quoting Carl Trueman to the effect that minimalistic statements of faith imply “important areas of doctrine, such as sacraments, salvation and the last things are marginalised, relegated to irrelevancies and sometimes all but forgotten.”

So to recover the Reformed faith a desire to recover and confess the whole counsel of God is required.

Second Murray argues “it is vital to maintain zeal for church reform.”  He quotes Packer who stated that “Puritanism was essentially  a movement for church reform, pastoral renewal and evangelism and spiritual revival…”  Murray notes that the reformed recovery of the early 1960’s was largely lead by parachurch organisations (in which Murray himself was involved) whose expectation “was that as a result of the new understanding, new church life and order would arise.”  Highlighting Westminster Chapel as an example Murray notes the movement never really became embedded in the church.  The Chapel itself “resembled more a preaching station than a church.”  Murray’s solution is a return to doctrinally rich church centered reform, “It is clear that the way of trying to unite evangelicals by common adherence to a minimum of essential scriptural truths has not been a success.  The only way that this can be done is through the restoration of a fuller, stronger testimony to the New Testament concept of the church.  She has been formed as a visible, corporate entity under the Headship of Christ and in submission to his Word as her only rule.  She has no authority to limit her corporate testimony to the truths essential to be believed in order to be saved … Is the teaching on government, worship and ministry vital to the well-being of the church?  If we are convinced that they are, we will hold them and seek that the church be restores as near as possible to the pattern set out in Scripture.”

So to recover the reformed faith we must be willing to be reformers and to be reformed.

Third Murray believes the vision of the early 60’s stalled is because “it did not reach down to the level of the family in the way that it did in the Puritan era.”  Murray believes we have essentially lost a robust doctrine of the family, “Reformed Christians, whatever our view on baptism, must place greater emphasis on the solidarity of the family.  The family is a God-given pattern and forms an essential feature of God’s created order.  The created order of the family is not ignored but taken up in God’s redemptive provision.  How good it would be to see that vision restored to church life today!”

So to recover the reformed faith we must take our family responsibilities seriously.

It is not surprising that some evangelical reviews of Murray’s book have been lukewarm as in his concluding diagnosis he points out the great weaknesses of contemporary evangelicalism.  For my part, Murray’s analysis is accurate.  Whilst we may have seen a revival of interest in the doctrines of grace and an abundance of good literature reprinted we have seen a corresponding collapse in any doctrine of the moral law, a revolution (for the worse) in worship practices and have reached a stage where even ‘reformed’ evangelicals can openly question the infallibility and inerrancy of scripture.  We do desperately need to “catch the vision” that Murray outlines, but I suspect for most of evangelicalism that will involve a 180 degree turn from the direction they are headed in.

Does Particular Redemption destroy the Well Meant Gospel Offer?

October 18, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before John Murray is one of my favourite theologians.  His positions on the free offer of the gospel, the fourth commandment and worship need to be heard and recovered by reformed and evangelical churches today. 

Recently while looking through some old Banner of Truth magazines I came across an article by him where he notes, “It is sometimes objected that the doctrine of limited atonement makes the preaching of a full and free salvation impossible.”  Murray does not give this objection much weight stating that it is “wholly untrue.”  What follows are his more detailed thoughts on the matter:

“The salvation accomplished by the death of Christ is infinitely sufficient and universally suitable, and it may be said that its infinite sufficiency and perfect suitability grounds a bona fide offer of salvation to all without distinction.  The doctrine of limited atonement any more than the doctrine of sovereign election does not raise a fence around the offer of the gospel.  The overture of the gospel offering peace and salvation through Jesus Christ is to all without distinction, though it is truly from the heart of sovereign election and limited atonement that this stream of grace universally proffered flows.  If we may change the figure, it is upon the crest of the wave of divine sovereignty and of limited atonement that the full and free offer of the gospel breaks upon our shores.  The offer of salvation to all is bona fide.  All that is proclaimed is absolutely true.  Every sinner believing will infallibly be saved, for the veracity and purpose of God cannot be violated.

The criticism that the doctrine of limited atonement prevents the free offer of the gospel rests upon a profound misapprehension as to what the warrant for preaching the gospel and even of the primary act of faith itself really is.  The warrant is not that Christ died for all men but the universal invitation, demand and promise of the gospel united with the perfect sufficiency and suitability of Christ as Saviour and Redeemer.  What the ambassador of the gospel demands in Christ’s name is that the lost and helpless sinner commit himself to that all-sufficient Saviour with the plea that in thus receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation he will certainly be saved … the primary act of faith is self-committal to the all-sufficient and suitable Saviour, and the only warrant for that trust is the indiscriminate, full and free offer of grace and salvation in Christ Jesus.”

So is anyone still prepared to claim John Murray was a quasi-Arminian because of his excellent report on the free offer of the gospel?

(All quotations from The Banner of Truth, 211 (April 1981), 5)

Weekly Update 45 – Two Johns on Preaching, Systematics and being a Warrior

March 8, 2008

I’ve been very busy this week writing up, reading some more material, tracking down some new books, etc., so I’ve not had much time to dedicate to thinking about the blog.  Still waiting then to be put into digestible format are David Dickson’s views on the free offer and James Durham on the Lord’s day.

Once I finish this chapter on the Free Offer in the Creeds (which I am finding a bit of a bind to write up) and move straight into writing up the two chapters on Durham’s theology and understanding of the free offer of the gospel the blog should flow naturally from what I am writing up.  But at the moment things are slow.  So what follows is a fairly random selection of comments and extracts that I’ve been thinking about this week.

John Murray on Preaching

John Murray was a theologian whose writings I was taught to treat with the utmost respect when I was growing up.  Some of the older saints in the Highlands still speak with reverence of his preaching.  Murray spent a considerable amount of time thinking and writing about the free offer of the gospel (defending the traditional position) and here is one of his challenges about the practical outworking of the free offer:

It is a fact that many, persuaded as they rightly are of the particularism of the plan of salvation and of its various corollaries, have found it difficult to proclaim the full, free and unrestricted overture of gospel grace.  They have laboured under inhibitions arising from fear that in doing so they would impinge upon the sovereignty of God in his saving purposes and operations.  The result is that though formally assenting to the free offer, they lack freedom in the presentation of its appeal and demand.
John Murray, “The Atonement and the Free Offer of the Gospel,” Collected Writings, 1:81

Perhaps if more freedom were evident in the presentation of the gospel, conversions would be more evident also (with due deference to God’s sovereignty).

On the Value of Systematic Theology

There is a movement amongst certain sections of evangelical (& perhaps Reformed) thought to decry systematic theology.  John Dick in his Lectures on Theology has a few glorious statements in his introductory chapter which puncture the arrogance of these claims beautifully:

It is granted, that the Scriptures do not deliver religion to us in that artificial form which we find in the writings of the schoolmen … although there is certainly an approach to it in some parts of the Bible … but no man, I think, who is in possession of his senses, and understands what he is saying [ouch!], will deny, that religion is systematic.  The Word of God is not an assemblage of writings which have no other relation to each other but juxtaposition … There is arrangement here … although it may require time and patience to discover it … The study of the Scriptures is not recommended to us, that we may load our memories with a multitude of unconnected ideas, but that we may bring together and combine the truths which are scattered up and down in them, and thus “understand what the will of the Lord is.”
John Dick, Lectures on Theology, 1:6-7.

I am at a loss to understand the declamations which are so common against systematic Theology; and am disposed to think, that they are often as little understood by their authors, unless it be their design, as, in some instances, we have reason to suspect, to expose to contempt a particular set of opinions, to cry down, for example, not the system of Socinus or Arminius, but the system of Calvin.  Were their objections pointed against a particular system, as improperly arranged, as too technical in its form, or as encumbered with a multiplicity of useless distinctions; we might concur with them on finding the charge to be true.  But to admit, as they must do, that religion is not a mass of incoherent opinions, but a series of truths harmonized by the wisdom of God, and, at the same time, to exclaim against its exhibition in a regular form, as an attempt to subject the oracles of Heaven to the rules of human wisdom, is conduct which ill befits men of judgment and learning, and is worthy of those alone, who “know neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm”.
John Dick, Lectures on Theology, 1:7-8

He doesn’t mince his words, does he!  Systematic theology should be the crowning glory of Christian theological endeavour.  Historical theology is but a humble handmaid.

On being a Warrior (Polemic Theology)

A term of abuse which is often directed at those who value doctrinal exactness is to be called one of “Machen’s Warrior Children” (a reference to the founder of Westminster Seminary J. Gresham Machen).  This aversion to polemic theology is not new and has been well answered by John Dick:

In … Polemic Theology, the controversies are considered which have been agitated in the church … A polemic divine is a warrior; he goes forth into the field to encounter the adversaries of the truth.  The word has an odious sound, and seems to accord ill with the character of a teacher of religion, who ought to be a minister of peace.  On this ground Polemic Theology is often held up as the object of scorn … and it is loudly demanded, that the voice of controversy should be heard no more within the walls of the church, that the disciples of Christ should bury all their disputes in oblivion, and without minding differences of opinion, should dwell together as brethren in unity.  There is much simplicity and want of discernment in this proposal, when sincerely made.  It is the suggestion of inconsiderate zeal for one object, overlooking another of at least equal importance, accounting truth nothing and peace every thing … Often, however, it is intended to conceal a sinister design, under the appearance of great liberality; a design to prevail upon one party to be quiet, while the other goes on to propagate its nostrums without opposition … Nothing is more obvious, than that when the truth is attacked it ought to be defended; and as it would be base pusillanimity to yield it without a struggle to its adversaries, so it would be disgraceful … in one of its professed guardians not … to uphold the sacred interests of religion by his arguments and his eloquence.
John Dick, Lectures on Theology, 1:8-9

It is as if John Dick were writing today and not the best part of 200 years ago.  Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun!