Thursday, November 8, 2012

Discourses of Redemption

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In 1867, Stuart Robinson placed before the American public "specimens" of his biblical expositions, which considered a logical development of the gospel as it unfolded historically. In this brief description of his book, one learns that redemption ("the gospel") was in view as it was progressively unfolded. In short, Robinson was presenting to the public the Scriptures as redemptive history, showing sensitivity to the linear-historical nature of revelation....

Robinson explained that the mode of the Bible's revelation is through a series of covenants, each one a larger development of that which precedes it. Successive covenants mark the expansion of revelation as it flows from the gracious hand of God. This idea ... guided Robinson ten years earlier when he published his work on ecclesiology. Each period of revelation is marked by a divine covenant — Adamic pre-lapsarian, Adamic post-lapsarian, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and Messianic (New Covenant). During each of these periods, there was a development and accumulation of revelatory data regarding what man was to believe concerning God and what God demanded of man.

These expositions were preached to growing congregations in order to display the organic unity of Holy Scriptures and the center of theology — redemption through the Seed promise. Robinson's rationalization of these expositions should excite every pastor-teacher: "Having, through a ministry of twenty years, to congregations variously composed, in four different cities, [I have] been accustomed, in pursuance of the latter theory of preaching, to appropriate one of the public services of the Sabbath to showing the people how to read the scriptures, and to follow the development of the one great central thought of the Book through the successive ears of revelation — the author can testify from practical experience that the people need no other attraction to draw them to the house of God than a simple, rational and practical exposition and illustration of the Bible. And he who may once attract them by such teaching will find no occasion for devising sermons on special subjects, or any other theatrical devices to draw men to the sanctuary," (Discourses, iv).

From the Introduction to the new edition, by C.N. Willborn

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