Trenchant Truths

Brother Preacher, are you feeding your people with the bread from heaven or with the bread from earth——human thoughts, human quotations, human philosophies, human futilities?

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

It is not the number of sermons, but the number of souls, that counts.

It is possible to know a thousand things about Jesus, and never to know Him.

Let us look after the primaries of Christianity, and the secondaries will care for themselves.

We all want power. But are we will­ing to pay the price of power? That is the acid test of our sincerity.

Christian service is a question that concerns only Christian disciples, for none other have Heaven's high com­mission to do anything for God.

The danger spot of this movement is not in the laity, but in the ministry. Our peril lies not in what the member­ship may do, but in what we fail to do.

Brother Preacher, are you feeding your people with the bread from heaven or with the bread from earth —human thoughts, human quotations, human philosophies, human futilities?

Are your converts converted? Our distinctive doctrines are essential; we believe in and love them. Our under­standing of prophecy is important; we revere it and should study it more. But what will all this avail if the soul is not regenerated? What eternal profit is there In mental assent with­out spiritual transformation? We live in a godless age when genuine conver­sion is rare. God wants subjects for His kingdom; and only twice-born folks will enter there.

We need to be constantly reminded that growth, numbers, and material equipment are not trustworthy evi­dences of God's benediction, nor do they constitute evidence of truth. In 1906 there were 635 Christian Science churches with 85,717 members, while to-day there are 1,912 churches and 202,098 members. Let us stress statis­tics less and " the truth as it is in Jesus " more.

Truth is eternal, while error passes with the exposure of time. Truth has nothing to fear, for it is bound to sur­vive amid the collapsing ruins of un­sound argument, untrustworthy evi­dence, and distorted facts. Therefore the challenge is to scrupulous fidelity in the presentation of God's final proc­lamation of His truth to men.

Inventory time in 'business? Why not in the personal life of the minis­ter? Retrospect and prospect, assets and liabilities, inventories and balance sheets in evaluation. Where stand we? Let us individually seek an answer in the secret presence of our God.

The central principle of Christian­ity is Christ's death for us and our ac­ceptance of Him as our Saviour. Such is the heart of this threefold expansion of the everlasting gospel.

Even we who are preachers of the word can keep our souls alive only by daily, vital contact with Him who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Every minister should be an active recruiting agent for the ranks of the ministry. Look out young men of promise and encourage them.

Never trim your message; God wants men with a spiritual backbone.

Some folks are not actively harmful; they are simply passively harmless. God give us the power to grip and lead all to the transforming Christ.

Never should we introduce person­alities into our discussion of great principles, else we weaken our case. Prejudice and suspicion should have no part in the defense or investigation of truth which transcends time and men.

Heaven save us from the blight of cramped and contracted heresy hunt­ers that have marred other move­ments,— men who are forever whet­ting their theological razors to split ecclesiastical hairs. Let us exclude nonessentials from the arena, and hold unitedly to the great verities upon which we are united.

Preachers are human, having " like passions " in common with other men. And our allotted work brings its temp­tations. Therefore in dealing with members of the other sex, we must guard so carefully the barriers of Christian reserve that every thought, word, and act shall be spotless in pu­rity and integrity, and our reputation untarnished, even though we must deal with sin and sinners.

Some men are reputedly better speak­ers than others,— more interesting, forceful, persuasive. But this is not simply a matter of natural endow­ments. It is the outgrowth of deeper study, clearer vision, better organiza­tion of material, keener understanding of the laws of effective approach to the mind, and above all, abandonment to the operation of the Holy Spirit. We must never be content with less than our best.                                        

L. E. F.


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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

December 1928

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Studies in Historical Theology

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