William Swan Plumer on Approaching Hebrews 6:4-6

In his commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews, the 19th century Southern Presbyterian William Plumer gives an extended introduction to his comments upon that most debated of passages regarding the perseverance of the saints, Hebrews 6:4-6. It is well worth the read. His view in sum is this: “The apostle is urging the Hebrews to make progress, and warning them against a course, which naturally leads to apostasy. He proceeds to show that one may go far in a way that looks promising, and yet not be a genuine Christian, and finally become so vile and so hardened as to be a hopeless castaway.” The apostle (Plumer believes him to be Paul, contrary to most modern scholarship) is speaking to a mixed multitude, wheat and weeds, sheep and goats, gathered together in the church of God. And as he does not know the hearts of his hearers/readers, he casts his warning widely. And well ought we preachers today; as Plumer says elsewhere, “It is a duty of all who have the care of souls to be faithful, and warn men of their danger; not to heal slightly the hurt of God’s people, nor to daub with untempered mortar the tottering wall of false hopes, nor to cry Peace, peace, when there is no peace…” For the remainder of Plumer’s exegesis, see his commentary here.


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