Where Is the Spirit of Elijah?

Where is the burning evangelistic zeal that characterized men like Elisha? Does it still flare forth?

ROBERT E. DUNTON, Evangelist, Upper Columbia Conference

Striding swiftly to the edge of Jordan, Elisha quickly folded the newly acquired mantle of Elijah and smote the waters, and "they parted hither and thither." Students from the nearby school of the prophets witnessed the scene from a hillside prominence. They had watched also as Elisha, beholding the transla­tion of Elijah, had cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof."

On fire for God, Elisha went quickly about his Father's business. Had he labored as apa­thetically as do many today, the requested double portion of the Spirit should not have been his. A lackadaisical attitude in a worker is an affront to God, a disappointment to men, and a savor of death to the servant himself.

Where is the burning evangelistic zeal that characterized men like Elisha? It has flared forth occasionally—in the times of the apostles, during the Reformation, and during the Ameri­can religious awakening of the 1800's. Even to­day it flickers in the hearts of dedicated men. God's people witness it and give it lip service. But is there sometimes too much lip, and not enough service?

Criticism has cooled the ardor of many, but it will not be sufficient excuse when we meet Jesus. We labor on behalf of fallen humanity, but we labor for God. David could not fight in Saul's armor. So methods may vary with the preacher. But Christ is looking for evangelists today—Spirit-filled men who have wrestled with God in prayer for the lost, who are bur­dened for the careless, who "weep between the porch and the altar," who "sigh and . . . cry for all the abominations" of Israel.

Satan has enveloped us with Laodicean tor­por. Worldliness creeps in among us. Are old standards being lowered? That is the danger when we grow larger and find greater popular­ity. We plead for an awakened laity, but we must first have an energized ministry. If every herald of the Advent message would seek God upon his knees, then in his pulpit lift up his voice like a trumpet, proclaiming the message with power, men would come to listen. The light from God's Word would illumine the path of duty, and Israel would move forward.

The cause of evangelism languishes when churches lean more and more upon the pastor. This weakens the church and robs the minister first of time for evangelism and finally of the desire to evangelize. Let us teach the people to look to the cross of Christ as Israel looked upon the brazen serpent.

"There are many flippant talkers of Bible truth, whose souls are as barren of the Spirit of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain. But what we need is men who are thoroughly converted them­selves and can teach others how to give their hearts to God. The power of godliness has almost ceased to be in our churches."—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 166, 167.

With Elisha of old let us inquire, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" Does not our God yet live? Will He not divide Jordan for us? Let us pray, brethren, that God may roll upon our hearts a burden for the lost. Calling upon the name of the Lord, let us with courage and a new-found zeal bring the last warning message to a crumbling world.

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ROBERT E. DUNTON, Evangelist, Upper Columbia Conference

May 1956

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