Joshua might as well have advised regrouping and closing ranks after the defeat at Ai but it would have done no good. There was sin in the camp and Achan must be dealt with. Paul might have overlooked the evils in Corinth and started with the love chapter but the carnalities had to be faced before the spiritualities could be preached. One might as well tell a sick man that all he needs to do is to go out and act like a well man. There is something wrong with a sick man and the trou ble must be removed; then naturally he will act like a well man. Trying to get church members to witness, tithe and engage in other church activi ties before they get right with God and men is trying to play the game without the ball. We are trying to recruit a larger orchestra when most of the present members neither practice nor play. When the joy of salvation is restored, we are ready to teach transgressors God’s ways and sin ners will be converted. If pastors would call their congregations to repentance, if conferences and conventions would call their crowds to repentance, more would be accomplished in a day than in a year o f promoting evangelism without revival. If it be objected that conventions meet to attend to church business, we ask, “What greater business can we have than the renewal of the church?” Our first business is not to evangelize but to get ready to evangelize. There is no use trying to excite an unprepared, undedicated mob o f church members to rush into a movement for which they are not ready in mind or heart. There is no point in sending out a Gideon’s thirty-two thousand without training, a carnal, mixed multitude march ing to spiritual warfare o f which they know noth ing and for which they couldn’t care less. The top item on the agenda is to produce a better grade of Christians before we add more names to the roll when we already have too many o f the kind that most of them are. We need seriously to ponder our Lord’s words to the Pharisees: “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him two-fold more the child o f hell than your selves” (Matt. 23:15). The Pharisees had many good points. Jesus said of them, “Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do.” They read the Scriptures, went to God’s house, tithed, lived separated lives. They were anxious to preserve religion in Israel. There was a time when winning converts to the religion o f Moses was the good and right thing to do. But religion had become institu tionalized and now they were propagating a dead faith and every new convert was both a lost hea then and a lost Jew. Generally, — there are excep tions of course that prove the rule — we are propa gating a subnormal and degenerate brand of Chris tianity today. Dr. Findley Edge says that we are developing a massive number of twentieth-century
Lets find the B a l l !
b y Dr. Vance H a vn er S ome small boys , out to play ball, discovered when they reached the playground that they had not brought a ball. After some moments of frustration, one of them said, “ Forget the ball and let’s get on with the game!” We are trying to go ahead with evangelism nowadays before we have had repentance and re vival in the church. I never thought I would see the time when there would be such ignorance of and indifference toward our first and foremost need. I have looked and listened and read and al most without exception we are being exhorted from pulpit and press to go on with the game before we have found the ball. They tell us that we should forget our faults and failings, our theological differences and our worldliness, close ranks and march ahead. But as in Viet Nam there is no front line today. The enemy is around us, among us and behind us as well as before us. One traitor in the ranks can cause more trouble than a regiment out front.
THE KING'S BUSINESS
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