An Urgent and Loving Appeal
A Sinister Movement
Old Paths and New Ways
Brotherhood and Brotherliness
R. C. Edwards
Making Wrongs Right
A Merciful and Faithful High Priest
AN URGENT AND LOVING APPEAL
By Wm. BUNTING.
NEVER was Satan busier than to-day in assailing the assemblies of God’s people. His master-plan is to disrupt their internal unity and destroy their testimony before the world. In the most unthought-of ways the great deceiver, ‘armed with hellish hate’ and cunning craft, sets in motion his evil, underhand designs. He influences our minds by lowering our sense of Divine holiness, by sowing in them the seeds of unbelief, by distorting our view of God’s ideal for corporate testimony, and by instilling in our thoughts ideas, which, while they appear logical, reasonable, scriptural, and necessary, are not actually true to God’s Word. No sadder example of the havoc of satanic effort in any community exists to-day than that of the Taylor party of Exclusives. Let this be a warning to all, for so clever is Satan that we might abjure Exclusivism and all that it stands for, and yet unsuspectingly be actuated by its principles ourselves.
That Satan has already had much success in bringing reproach upon the testimony of assemblies we must with shame confess. There is no group of gatherings, however orthodox and rigid, but has suffered from his cruel machinations. Hence it is only pride that causes some to ‘look down their noses’ upon others, and “pride”, let it be remembered, was the very “condemnation” or “fault” (J.N.D.) into which the devil himself fell (1 Tim. 3. 6). However, it is not my purpose to pursue this line. Rather, I wish to enquire, can we not with God’s help undo what the enemy has wrought? And can we not safeguard ourselves against his further attacks?
I would humbly and most earnestly beg of you, therefore, to bear with me while I address you. I plead for a healing of old and recent breaches of fellowship, and for a more balanced and scriptural understanding of inter-assembly fellowship. Is it too much to ask this of brethren beloved, to whom through sovereign grace, so much has been forgiven? I would also plead that we should most studiously avoid the introduction of any change in church order, or of any innovation from Christendom, however ardently we may desire it, which may cause tension and division. Let us do all possible to promote and preserve good relations among companies of God’s dear people. Why will some insist upon the introduction of, say, an organ, knowing full well that this will lead to embarrassment, friction and probably what is worse? Where is the appreciation of happy, harmonious, godly, unity? Moreover, what an indication of spiritual poverty it is that a “church of God” should stoop from the dignity of its high calling to copy the beggarly systems from which Divine grace has delivered us!
In recent years some assemblies go further, for they join and co-operate in large interdenominational evangelistic crusades, in which rank modernists and apostates from the faith are welcome upon the platform and share in the services. One has no sympathy at all with such co-operation. One views it with the most serious misgivings. It is fraught with peril for God’s assemblies, for the whole drift of the vast modern reunion movement is Romeward, and converts in these large crusades are allowed and encouraged to join congregations whose pastors entertain the strangest and most rationalistic ideas and blatantly deny the most vital truths of Christianity. These men are wolves in sheep’s clothing, or to change the figure slightly, they look like lambs but they speak as dragons The scriptural path here is perfectly clear, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity,” and, “If a man . . . purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour” (2 Tim. 2. 19, 21). It is because of such Scriptures that many saved clergymen—keen soul winners—refuse to associate with these great, popular crusades.
This co-operation which cuts right across the plain statements of the Holy Spirit, can result only in tension, strife, and confusion in inter-assembly relationships. It drives a wedge of division between gatherings which cooperate and gatherings which, because of the implicit teaching of the Word, will not co-operate. It popularizes much that appeals to the natural man, and strips the truth of a rejected Christ of its deep significance. This can only result in the loss of spiritual power, and the forfeiture ultimately of all testimony of a distinctive scriptural character. O how blind are they who cannot see this! Are companies in some parts of the world not already losing such a character? Let the following answer. A brother and his wife in England told me two years ago that their assembly had introduced the use of the organ to the Lord’s Day morning Remembrance Meeting, and that it was now proposed that the public notice upon the board at the front of their hall should be altered to read: “An Evangelical Church”. This surely indicated that the status of the gathering was in the course of a complete change. Could I object therefore when my friends said that should this be the case they intended to withdraw and seek fellowship elsewhere? How could I? Of course, had their complaint been merely that there was trouble in the assembly, or that some novelty or practice, considered by many to be wrong, was being foisted upon the saints, my advice would have been for them firmly yet graciously to protest against it, but to remain where the Lord had brought them. I believe that this is the scriptural attitude in such circumstances, particularly for elders and guides, for he is a worthless shepherd who leaves the flock when the sheep begin to stray. We thank God, however, that with the great majority of assemblies it is very different from the case to which I have referred. They stand firmly for New Testament principles. Nevertheless this serves as a warning light. The popular ecumenical winds may feel soft and gentle, but they are adverse and are all the more treacherous on that account. MARINER, BEWARE! MARINER, BEWARE! The leeward drift is strong. Neglect neither chart nor compass, and hold your rudder true.
(To be continued).
P.S. It is regretted that owing to illness it has not been possible for me to make a start upon the series, God’s Assembly, as was intended. The above paper was written last year.
I take the opportunity of thanking the Lord’s dear people for their prayers, and for the numerous kind letters received from them during recent weeks. To reply to all of these would be quite beyond my physical stength, as I am sure they will understand. W.B.
A SINISTER MOVEMENT
By ANDREW STENHOUSE, Chile.
1Y/IANY Christians in the assemblies to-day in this and other countries are becoming increasingly aware of influences that are at work to destroy not only the peace of the assemblies but also their stability. In spite of all the healthy scriptural ministry that has been given in the past, and the godly example of faithful and devoted men, we are faced to-day with the phenomenon of a movement to introduce features of Pentecostalism and other foreign elements into the assemblies, where formerly such things were considered to be quite unorthodox. And the question may be asked: To what is this movement to be attributed? Did it originate within the assemblies, or has it been brought in from an outside source?
Our attention has been directed in recent years to the existence in this country, and in many other countries, of a movement—more correctly, an organization—known as “The Honour Oak Fellowship”, having its headquarters at Honour Oak Road, Forest Hill, London; and we are persuaded that this organization is exercising a sinister influence on many Christians and assemblies in our land. In view of this, we consider it a duty to the people of God to expose the thing as a “mystery of iniquity” which is working in our midst.
The founder of the movement, T. Austin Sparks, was formerly a Baptist minister. He severed his connection with the Baptist denomination and set up what was called “The Christian Fellowship Centre” at Honour Oak Road. This has become a large congregation, and in addition to the Conference Hall there is a Bible College and printing press. From this centre the movement has spread to many lands. It has become affiliated or merged with the “Little Flock” movement in China and Formosa, under the leadership of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, and the Bakht Singh group in India.
The movement is a most remarkable one, combining features of Ultra-exclusivism, Irvingism, Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry. The public lectures, books and magazine articles do not make these features known to the general public, and some of the literature is most deceptive. It is customary to use very select material from the best of evangelical expositors, and the names of well-known brethren appear in the magazine, “Voice in the Wilderness” (which is the organ of the movement in America), alongside of articles by T. Austin Sparks, Watchman Nee and others. Such articles have as their theme, “God’s Full Thought”; “God’s Full Will and Way”; “Seeking God’s Best”, etc., and the impression is given that the reader will find in this literature a new and more elevated spiritual experience.
Students are trained at the Bible College to go as missionaries, not to the unconverted, but to Christians in churches and assemblies, for the purpose of indoctrinating them, privately and unobtrusively, in the special teachings and practices of the sect. And what are they? The fuller Christian life, Pentecostal gifts of tongues and healing, and such like, are only the bait with which to attract the young and uninstructed; much more lies beyond. What the uninitiated do not know is that these missionaries, posing as nothing more than spiritually-minded believers desirous of helping others, are in reality members of an organization, rigidly governed and teaching doctrines and theories quite subversive of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints”.
The Honour Oak Fellowship is a church organization over which T. Austin Sparks rules as Supreme Leader or Pope. There are other subordinate leaders, and these are called apostles. Only the leaders possess the true fullness of the Spirit, and the decisions of such must be obeyed implicitly. All Christians are children of God, but only the initiated of the Honour Oak Fellowship are “sons” of God. All should aim at becoming true “sons”, but this status is only acquired by becoming members of the sect and pledging allegiance and obedience to the leaders. At baptism, three of the leaders or apostles lay hands on the baptized one, who thereupon is admitted to “the body of Christ” and the “House of God”. From this time the new member loses his personal identity; he becomes part of the church and “moves on in relation to the body”.
The “body” is a doctrine or theory highly developed. It does not refer to the scriptural concept of a body which includes all Christians, and of which Christ is the Head. It refers to a sectarian body, of which T. Austin Sparks is head; but scriptural references to the body are made to apply to this. Baptized persons are said to be baptized unto their Leader, as the Israelites were “baptized unto Moses”. The main idea in baptism is identification with the “body” and submission to the Leader. A baptized person henceforth does not have any will of his own or any individual judgment or opinion or guidance about anything; his guidance must come through the leaders, and ultimately through T.A.S., to whom God gives special revelations. The leader appoints everyone to his service. If anyone should move independently, this takes him “out of the anointing”, and the Holy Spirit is not with him.
Submission to those in authority leads to maturity in the Christian life. This submission is equated with “full surrender” and being “crucified with Christ”. It is a kind of “second conversion”, and by it one attains to the status of sonship. The “sons” are also the “overcomers” referred to in the book of Revelation. They are the only ones whose service will not be consumed with fire. The Fellowship is said to be the “House of God”. The pattern of the house was as truly revealed to T. Austin Sparks as the pattern of the tabernacle was revealed to Moses. Anyone who falls back from the law of the House of God incurs in the wrath of God. Failure to accept the authority of a leader will result in spiritual death. Such a rebellious one may also expect a terrible physical death, or he will commit suicide.
The name of Watchman Nee is associated with the Honour Oak Fellowship, and his books are published by them. This brother was converted amongst assemblies in China and for a time was associated with them. He came to England and was influenced by Exclusive brethren of the so-called London or Taylor party, from which he acquired ideas of a central government and extreme forms of discipline. He also absorbed a good deal of subjective and mystical teaching of the J. B. Stoney and F. E. Raven school, and this is reflected in “The Normal Christian Life” and others of his books. He was with the Taylor party in America also, and on his return to China soon began to set himself up as a powerful leader and dictator of the “Little Flock” group of assemblies. Being a gifted teacher, he was able to exert a great influence over a wide area. The “Little Flock” denomination now harmonizes in teaching and practice with the Honour Oak Fellowship. Something of the “body” theory can be detected in “The Normal Christian Life”. It is a thousand pities that the gift and energies of a man like Nee should have been diverted into such an ultra-sectarian channel.
With regard to eschatological teaching, it may be said that both “Honour Oak” and “Little Flock” hold the error of a Partial Rapture and teach that all who do not attain to the category of “overcomers” (according to their standards) will be subjected to “a thousand years of darkness”. Sparks is also charged with teaching a doctrine relative to the humanity of our Lord that is similar to that of Edward Irving—the doctrine that He inherited our sinful nature. (See “A Witness and Testimony”, the official bi-monthly journal, Vol. 9, No. 2, p. 32).
In conclusion it should be said that the Honour Oak group does not consider itself a denomination, but the Super-denominational Church, the true church of Christ. Its members are taught to remain in the assemblies and churches to which they have formerly belonged and endeavour to foment there the desire for a “fuller revelation” and “deeper spiritual experience”, but never at any time to divulge any of the special doctrines or theories of the group except to such as may eventually become mature enough to receive them. More could be said, but we trust that this much will be sufficient to put sincere Christians on their guard against what is really a diabolical system.
OLD PATHS AND NEW WAYS
By ANDREW BORLAND, M.A.
DECAY OF FAMILY RELIGION
IF there has been an appreciable decline in personal piety which every spiritual heart laments, it is as apparent that there has been decay in family religion. That is a serious matter for consideration. When the sanctity of family life degenerates, a whole host of evils follows in the train. Family life is the core of church and national life. Its influence permeates society. Its example counteracts wickedness. Its power encourages good. A nation’s spiritual pulse is best determined by inquiry into the state of the family religion of the nation. If there is weakness there, the whole body is in poor health.
Personal observation confirms the opinions of others. Within the last twenty years the declension has been rapid. The effects of the Great War had tremendous influence on the lives of the generation which was born or reared during the years of laxity. The nation has never yet recovered its spiritual balance. Family life has been completely altered. One is loath to remark, but it seems too sadly true, that there is less concern for the conversion of all the members of Christian families than there was formerly. Parents do not seem to appreciate the gravity of the situation if the children are allowed to grow up through tender years into their teens without pressing upon them the great need of availing themselves of the sacrificial work of Christ as Saviour. So many are the allurements of the outside world that once their spell has been cast over the youth from a Christian home it is exceedingly difficult to pierce the armour of indifference to spiritual matters: and so many side-shows in life clamour for the attention of parents that all unwittingly the deep concerns of life slip back into a place of secondary importance and the real welfare of the children, if not altogether neglected, is relegated to the possible odd moments of leisure that never seem to arrive. That it is so is to be regretted.
Again, it may be asked if among the children in Christian homes who profess faith in Christ there is the same deep-rooted desire to learn the doctrines of the truth as there was in the youth of the years before the war. One is inclined to think that there is not. Life has become more superficial. More avenues have been opened up for the expenditure of leisure time: and never had young people so much time on hand as they have to-day. But are they using that time to the best of their advantage? How many of our young folks are spending evenings at continuation classes, not always for vocational training, but merely as a pastime to learn how to become proficient in some art or craft? As a consequence the attendance at week-night meetings is discontinued during the winter months, and in the summer months there is little or no inclination. How often the lament has been heard from elder brethren arranging week-night meetings, “It is hardly possible to get our young folks out!” And much of the remaining time of leisure is spent in courtship. How exacting post-war courtship must be? That our young folks should have the opportunity of meeting each other is both natural and desirable, but that they should meet so frequently as many of them do is not at all commendable. The conventions of earlier days have been rudely discarded, and not always to the benefit of our young people.
It is obvious that there should be reasons for this declension. Among them may be mentioned the following.
First, there has been a general laxity in maintaining the New Testament standard of teaching. The family circle is the place where a child should receive his first impressions of spiritual truths. His first teachers should be his parents. Both by oral instruction and living practice should the great facts of the faith be inculcated in the opening mind. Family worship is now much less common than it once was, and than it ought to be. When the family altar has been demolished, the great bulwark against the inroads of evil, both moral and doctrinal, has been removed. What the anchor is to a ship in danger of drifting the family altar is to the home in the midst of a perilous world. Modern inventions have come to usurp the place once given to family worship. Good and useful as the wireless apparatus is, it becomes a positive evil when it interferes with the time that ought to be devoted to the instruction of younger people in the proper conduct of life. Perhaps the variety of items to which audience is given kills the appetite for the things of God. It would be better to scrap the wireless than to endanger the children.
Second, there has been failure to appreciate the fact that the most valuable period in life is its earliest stages. The slightest acquaintance with psychology, and the statistical reports about the best age at which to trust Christ, are sufficient to impress the most diffident parents about the value of an early conversion. A mother’s knee is the best seed-plot of the Church. The sowing that is done there can never be surpassed, if equalled at all. That so little value is put upon it is a sad reflection upon our conceptions of worth.
Further, in many cases it is to be feared that teaching in Sunday School has been substituted for parental instruction. Admirable as may be the work done by those who respond to the call of need for service among the young, the teaching received in Sunday School should never be allowed to take the place of home influence. Children who undergo a real spiritual training from their parents are more likely to be of future value to the assembly than are those whose chief source of instruction has been the Sunday School, whose duty is simply to supplement what is taught at home. Let us thank God for the splendid work being done by many of our teachers, but let parents see to this that they do not delegate to others duties that are inalienably their own.
Again we must not minimise the fact that the counter-attractions of the world have much to do with the lack of spirituality in many of our young people. Family religion has decayed because the spirit of the world has filtered through into Christian homes. Year after year the tide of worldliness becomes more and more menacing. Parents insensibly succumb to the allurements around. They do not become outrageously worldly, they would not practise anything that is glaringly wrong, nor would they discard the conventions of their confession of faith, but they, notwithstanding, have lost their keenness after spiritual realities, and have sunk back into the ranks of those who do not share the burden of the work of the assembly. It is to be deplored that some Christian homes are halfway houses to the world. A great deal of sympathy must be extended to parents with children attending our modern schools, where conditions do not encourage the spirit of protest against worldliness, but children from homes under the daily regulation of the Word of God will find no difficulty in steering a path that will not be detrimental to their confession of faith in Christ. If the counter-attractions of the world are negatived in the home their influence in the outside will be greatly reduced. But if family religion is in a state of decay we cannot but expect that the allurements so prevalent around will entice to a path of evil.
Perhaps family religion is on the decline because we have begun to put emphasis upon the wrong things. Many a parent is more concerned about his child’s social position than about his child’s soul preservation. When that is so temporal matters loom too largely on the horizon of the home.
Scripture teaches us that wide-spread declension is often the result of departure from God in the homes of His people. So was it in the days of Eli. So was it in the days of Solomon whose son Rehoboam led the nation far enough away from God. So was it, too, in the days of Ahab when the king of God’s chosen people married an idolatrous woman, Jezebel. So will it be again in our day if the professed followers of Christ begin to neglect their primary duty towards their children.
Conditions are not any more difficult now than they were. Moses was trained for God amidst the idolatry of Egypt, but the teaching received from his mother enabled him to esteem the reproaches of Christ greater treasure by far than that in Pharaoh’s palace. Daniel lived for God in exile in a Babylonish city and resisted the temptations of a corrupt court. Esther did not succumb to the luxury and vice of a Persian monarchy. And what God did for those young people in a bygone day He can do again for our children in a worldly generation. If we have failed, the way back is Gideon’s way:—to destroy the altar that is usurping God’s place and rebuild that which honours His name. It may be a costly way but it will be an exceedingly remunerative one in the next generation.
(To be continued).
BROTHERHOOD AND BROTHERLINESS
“THE WORK OF THE LORD”
By Dr. R. C. EDWARDS, Australia.
“WHEREFORE, my beloved brethren”. With these words, in 1 Cor. 15. 58, the Apostle Paul begins his final injunction in the main body of the Epistle. These brethren were constituted such by spiritual birth, not by attachment to a “Brethren” movement, not by spiritual attainment. This, in fact, was not what it should have been, though the Apostle acknowledged that they came behind in no gift. As Acts 18. 8 tells us, each of them had submitted to believers’ baptism, an ordinance which is not without a forward look towards a new kind of life, one, namely, of individual subjection to the Lord Christ. They had been notorious on pre-conversion days for their riotous, uninhibited individualism, but now, as brethren in Christ, sanctified and justified, they had been taught to be together in an assembly or church of God, sharing witness in fellowship one with each other in subjection to God’s Son—“Jesus Christ our Lord”. Corinthian response to this teaching was very varied.
Some of them washed themselves clean in practical amendment of their wicked ways. In others the old leaven was only too evident. Selfish partisanship, childish exhibitionism, malicious litigiousness, and sexual immorality were in evidence among these. A great deal of correction was necessary. Indeed, the Apostle felt impelled, as in 2 Cor. 13. 5, to charge them to examine themselves as to whether they really were in the faith of Christ.
But in 1 Cor. 15. 58 he has a message for them as genuine brethren, beloved, notwithstanding all their unworthiness. “Be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”. They were acquainted with the activities of Timothy and Apollos and of Paul himself, as well as with those of the household of Stephanas. That these men were engaged in the work of the Lord was presumably easy for them to credit. See 1 Cor. 16. 10, 12, 15-18. But the injunction was addressed to the whole congregation, the stay-at-home believers of “the rank and file”, no less than to the itinerant workers. Its language, moreover is far more forcible than that referring to Timothy, of whom Paul said that “he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do”. But the Corinthians are enjoined, not to be mere spectators, mildly interested in looking on at activity from outside, at a distance, but to be stedfastly, unmovably active in it—not only in it, but abounding in it—not in spasms but “always abounding”—in the assurance that such labours “in the Lord” are “not in vain”. That is, it is not an empty thing, but is to be esteemed as of spiritual substance and weight.
“The work of the Lord”, what is it? The expression is nothing if not definite and impressive. We have the definite article of course in our English language. The many who spoke Latin in former days did without it. But in the Greek original of the New Testament it was used far more than it is in English. Think how definite, emphatic, and decisive is Peter’s avowal, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Think also of Paul’s declaration in 2 Tim. 4.7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith”. He was not claiming that he was an expert runner or fighter, but holding up the fight, the course, the faith for honourable recognition. So in 1 Cor. 15. 58 he was not suggesting that the Corinthians “do something for the Lord”, or “go in for some work for the Master”, or, “get busy about some religious activity”. All this falls far short of “the work of the Lord”. What, then, is it?
In the first place, being “work”, it is a continuous purposeful activity. Secondly, being “of the Lord”, it is along lines prescribed by Him. Thus it is a state of continuous purposeful activity along lines prescribed by the Lord Jesus for the believer to carry out. There should be no difficulty in identifying this with what is called the Lord’s commission of Matthew 28. 18-20. This is a programme of three terms, namely,
- making disciples of all nations,
- baptizing the disciples thus made, and
- teaching them to observe all that the Lord Himself had charged His original disciples to do. It is advisable here to insist on the inclusion of the words, “to observe”. Unintentionally, but no less lamentably, speakers often omit them, and thus misrepresent the teaching of the Lord Jesus, making it out to be something to be learned as a mere collection of ideas instead of a practice in which to be worshipfully engaged, in all obedience to Him.
The three headings mentioned above are headings only. The explanation of any of them is too large a task for the present. A few comments will suffice.
In the first place, let us note the obvious fact of there being three, and not one only. These three are not mentioned in Mark 16. 15, 16, but whatever the reason for this may be, the statement of the full commission in Matt. 28. 18-20 includes three headings. It is not realistic, therefore, to disregard everything but the preaching of the gospel and claim that this is carrying out the Lord’s commission. It is to be recognised, moreover, that the sense of the Lord’s spiritual presence—“all the days”—is meant for those who honour the commission in its entirety.
If it be objected that no one person can possibly engage in all the detailed activities of the full commission, this must be conceded. It is a good thing that, as 1 Cor. 12. 5 tells us, there are different ways of serving the one Lord. It is also good to find in Eph. 4. 7 that to each one of us is grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. This reminds us of the allocation of duties mentioned in Mark 13. 34, “to every man his work”. But all this does not mean that any random, self-chosen activity is “the work of the Lord”. All Christian service is meant to be in keeping with the terms of Matt. 28. 18-20. Otherwise, despite appearances which might be to the contrary, it is merely some form of self-expression. It is not Christo-centric. It centres around the self. It is not “the work of the Lord”.
The second term of the commission treats believers’ baptism as unique. Of all aspects or topics of Christian faith and practice, the Lord Jesus here specifically mentions baptism, and baptism alone. Later, the same uniqueness, or exclusiveness, is seen in the statement of Eph. 4. 5, “one baptism”, meaning one and one only, to be recognised as valid. We are now told however that literal baptism is not the real baptism, but that this place must be given to the baptism of the Spirit. Are we to say then that literal baptism is unreal? This is the opposite of ‘real’. Is literal baptism a sham? The many men and women who have died for it during the centuries in persecutions by both Roman Catholics and members of Reformed Churches found it real enough. There are regions where to-day baptism carries the same danger. Let us regard baptism in the light of the Lord’s express commandment. What He thought fit to mention in His impressive way is not to be deemed secondary or optional or unimportant by any true servant of His. (It may be considered worthy of note that within about half a century after the last book of the New Testament was written, the most eminent professing Christian in all the world, known as Justin Martyr, had gone astray in his doctrine of baptism).
As to the third term of the commission, where are we to find those commandments the Lord gave to His first disciples? There is only one answer of course; we must go to the Gospels for this. As we do so, we read of His teachings concerning a variety of individual responsibilities. There is also one passage, and one only, where, ten weeks before there were any such in existence, He introduces the subject of local churches. This, of course, is Matt. 18:15-20. This portion, the significance of which eludes the great majority of professing Christians, is not only initial, and thus also fundamental in connection with its subject, but germinal as well.
And so it is to be realised that the establishment of local churches of the New Testament order is included in the third term of the Lord’s commission of Matt. 28. 18-20 In keeping with this, a well-known German teacher of a few years ago declared, “What is needed is not only . . . a general evangelisation . . . but also a gathering and development of churches according to the principles of the Divine word”, and again, “Biblical churches are the presupposition of all mission and evangelistic work, and should also be its goal and its fruit”.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable … ”
MAKING WRONGS RIGHT
By DONALD ROSS
NOTHING is settled permanently until it is settled right. Shifts, concealments, subterfuges, and evasions, amount to nothing. A wrong may be apologized for, defended, endured, covered up, lied about, daubed over, winked at, or silently endured; but so long as it exists, there is trouble in store. Build your house as big as you like, if there is a wrong in the foundation, you have put powder under the whole concern; a spark will find it out some day, and then comes an explosion.
However the matter may be stifled, smoothed over, or misrepresented, every wrong not righted will come up, and keep coming up.
A wrong is not made right unless it is confessed, repented of, repaired, done with, and done with forever; but a matter decided wrongly, by craft or trickery, or guile, follows on and on until God Himself shall settle it in an inexorable manner. Let us search and try our ways, and be more anxious to do right by others than to wrangle with them for the rights we claim. No matter what we suffer if all is right on our part. No matter how we prosper, all is vain, if wrong-doing is left unsettled. Have we righted every wrong? Have we cleared ourselves of everything which shall secure the anger of God?
Let us do right, “And who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1 Peter 3. 13).
As you read these lines, begin at once. Rectify the past wrongs or God will do so, to your shame, some day. The clean path is the easiest, after all.
A MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST
- A tender heart throbs on the Throne,
- And feels the pangs of all His own,
- It is the Christ who died and rose
- Who understands our deepest woes.
- The sighs and tears, the losses too,
- It is the way that He passed through.
- At Lazarus’ tomb He weeps and sighs,
- He’s just the same above the skies.
- The interceding Great High Priest,
- He carries all upon His breast,
- And from the Throne He gives them grace,
- In His great strength to run the race.
- Sufficient grace and timely power
- Are promised for the testing hour,
- O, let us then His promise take
- Till night shall cease and morning break.
Samuel Jardine, Belfast.
The Master Weaver
- When gray threads mar life’s pattern,
- And seem so out of line,
- Trust the Master Weaver
- Who planned the whole design.
- For in life’s choicest patterns,
- Some dark threads must appear,
- To make the rose threads fairer,
- The gold more bright and clear.
- The pattern may seem intricate
- And hard to understand,
- But trust the Master Weaver
- And His steady, guiding hand.