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Definitions of Doctrine
by C. D. Cole
Pastor C. D. Cole has a doctrinal mind. He thinks doctrine, preaches doctrine, and loves doctrine. He is logica1 and methodical in all he does. But most of all he is a diligent student of the Scriptures, and knows how to correlate and systematize its teachings. There are few men who are so able along this line. His writings are easily grasped and readily understood. The teachings in this book are popular and most profitable. We had many testimonies of approval when his articles on doctrine were run in the Florida Baptist Witness. They created a wide interest among the readers. There were many requests for these articles to be put in book form. Brother Cole is a clear thinker, a ready writer, a strong preacher, and a man of positive convictions. We most heartily commend this book.
E. D. Solomon, Editor
Florida Baptist Witness.
It requires the space of only one generation for a people to drift from their doctrinal moorings. One generation which knew not Joseph loosed its persecution on the children of Israel, reversed the national policy and started Egypt to her doom, hence the vital necessity of reiterating and confirming the doctrines of our faith in every generation. Truth crushed to earth will rise again, but only as it is known and believed by men who have the conviction and courage to proclaim it. That is why the apostle Paul said to his student Timothy: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also,” (2 Tim. 2:2). As every generation must be evangelized, so must every generation be indoctrinated.
Pastor C. D. Cole renders a timely and an invaluable service to the people of God in the message of this marvelous book. He calls us back to a Scriptural study of the person, nature, and glorious attributes of our great God. The author wisely says, “The foundation of true religion is to have proper thoughts about God. The man who thinks right about God will not be far wrong in his thinking about other things. A thousand evils grow out of wrong conceptions about God.” The present tendency is to emphasize the doctrines which deal with man. Psychology and Sociology are more popular than Theology. Such popular expressions as, “Competency of the human soul,” “Creative thinking,” “The dignity of man,” “The value of human personality,” “Social implications of the Gospel,” “Enlisting our man power,” and “Building a new world” indicate the tendency to magnify man and minimize God in religious thought and activity.
The small conception which some have of God makes them mere apologists for God. They speak of God’s wanting to do this and trying to do that, of giving God a chance, of letting God have His way, as if God were the suppliant and man the sovereign. I heard a preacher say in pathetic tone, “I am sorry for God” as he pleaded with his congregation to give God a better deal. My dear brethren, study this book, read it’s Scriptural references and absorb its message and you will never be sorry for God. He is revealed as One who is amply able to take care of Himself. You will pity those who discount His power, resist His will, and belittle His universal sovereignty.
Deep things of God as set forth here are not seen by the natural mind and are seldom discerned by the Christian who is superficial in study. The ponderous mass of the doctrines of our faith, like the submerged two thirds of an iceberg, is below the surface of popular thought and appreciation. Worldly statesmen praise the work of missionaries because they have built a reservoir of good will for America among the nations while they are blind to God’s eternal purpose to visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. Five thousand ate loaves and fishes and wanted to make Jesus king, but only a dozen remained to hear Him preach on election, effectual calling, and the sovereignty of God. For lazy minds looking for ready material for popular sermons and pep talks this book will have little appeal, but for those whose hearts yearn for a deeper acquaintance with their God, it will be worth its weight in gold. My heart has thrilled, my soul has rejoiced, all that is within me has blessed the Lord, as I have read the manuscript. What a wonderful God is our God!
Such conception of God, as revealed in this book, will promote humility and reverence in our worship as no soft music, art, glass windows, mellow lights, or psychological schemes ever will. It will melt pride and banish formalism and ritualism from the churches. It will establish the preacher on solid ground of assurance and save him from despair in the presence of seeming failure by bringing him to rest the results of his ministry on the unfailing purpose of God. It will safeguard our evangelism against spurious methods and high pressure salesmanship. It will relax the spiritual tension in our religious activity. It will put triumph in the soul and cause us to shout with Paul, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
To the saints everywhere and especially to my Baptist brethren, I commend this book; May God speed it on its way to bless and strengthen our people in “The Once Delivered Faith.”
Yours by Sovereign Grace,
D. F. Sebastian,
Plant City, Florida.
The Author’s Foreword
The author of this book claims one qualification for offering a work on theology, his love for the subject. Any man who decries doctrine as impractical and uninteresting can’t be qualified to deal with the teachings of the Bible. The person who speaks of solemn doctrine with a solemn sneer is at once disqualified as a teacher of the Scriptures. He who puts the Bible in the crucible of human reason and twists it to say what his reason thinks it ought to say has no place in a Christian pulpit.
More than twenty years ago the writer delivered addresses on the Divine Attributes in his own pulpit and at Bible Institutes in various churches. Some years later he taught theology to a group of ministers and included lectures on the attributes. And still later he wrote for the Florida Baptist Witness under the general caption “Definitions of Doctrine”; and this is the name given to the work on theology, which he expects to publish in three or four volumes. His first volume treats of The Doctrine of God, than which there is no greater or grander theme for study and meditation.
Bacon says that some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. He who merely tastes this book is apt to disrelish it; it might not be safe to swallow it; but if it is chewed and digested, the writer believes it will strengthen the faith of the reader by revealing to him how great and wonderful is our God.
Claude Duval Cole
December 19, 1944
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