T h e
K i n g ’ s B u s i n e s s
B y W . G raham S croggie * Edinburgh, Scotland
self is dateless. Puritan terms and methods would be as un suitable today as crinolines would be inconvenient, but the realities, of which these were the drapery, have not changed. The gospel itself is not subject to fluctuations of fashion, however greatly may vary the terms in which it is expressed, and the methods by which it is applied. But it is not merely in its terms and methods that the church of our time differs from that of the period of the evangelical revival in its presentation of the gospel, but to large extent, in its contents also. The name is retained where the message is changed, and so we have heard of the ethical, the social, and other gospels. O f course the gos pel is ethical in complexion, and it has its social implica tions, but the heart of it is not the Sermon on the Mount, nor some dream of a city of God. Some preachers talk as though individual regeneration were a by-product of social service, and so transpose the fact and truth that social service is a by-product of evangelical conversion. It is just because the social implications of the gospel are so manifold and great, that it requires, as a primary necessity, the purifying and healing of the individual cells of the organism of each national society and of the body of hu manity. And in like manner, the ethical requirements of the gospel presuppose a moral dynamic in us which our fallen nature cannot supply. What the people need, and I believe want, is the gospel, the good news of a Deliverer from bondage, and of a Saviour from sin. The ethical Christ will not d o ; men need the redeeming Christ. It is not His holy life that saves us, but His atoning death, and they who stumble at the cross can never know the meaning or power of the gospel. If there is to be revival anywhere, the great notes of the evangelical message must be understood, accepted, and proclaimed, and with intense conviction and simple sincerity. „ r . T he N ote of S in There is, first of all, the note o f sin. Has that dropped out of our preaching ? Under the title, “ The Confessions of a Church Goer,” a writer in a certain magazine says, “ It wo'uld appear as though we in the pews no longer have sins worth.talking about. We have mental complexes, distorted points of view, and all that sort of thing, but as for the Garden of Eden variety of sin, it seems to be as scarce a- mong us as the dodo. They say some of the so-called funda mentalists talk about sin, and that among certain other ‘schools of thought,’ long since decadent, it is an accepted subject. Perhaps it is, but it is a shame that such an expres sive word should be confined to the vocabulary of con troversy, and not used in the field of practical living.” Is that a true indictment? Then it is time we got back
he hour is ripe for a rebirth of evangelism. The de cade which immediately followed the conclusion of the Great War was one of the most difficult in the history of the modern church, and for two reasons chiefly: The church had lost its head, and the world had lost its feet, or, in other words, the church had largely sacrificed its true message, and the world was living on delusion. But during the last two years or more, a change has been ob servable in both directions. The world has got through its delusions and is now facing naked facts, and the church, to some extent at any rate, is beginning to realize again that only the message of the gospel can meet the need of a tired, perplexed, and suffering world. The church has now a supreme opportunity, and if she misses it, she may become finally discredited in the eyes of mankind; but if she will now wash her heart, her eyes, her feet, and her hands, she will do for this century what the evangelical revival did for the eighteenth century. How, then, is such an end to be attained? It can be attained only by our facing up to the fundamental realities and relating them to the present opportunities. •F undamental R ealities But some one will ask, “What are the fundamental realities?” Well, it is of the first importance that we should know, and we shall begin to know when we clearly recog nize that Christianity is not an institution but a life, not a tradition but a revelation, not an ethic nor a philosophy, but a gospel. Too long and too widely the old gospel has been regarded as not adequate for the modern world, and it has been assumed that what is old is outworn, and that only that is true which is new. But this is an utter fallacy. The majestic and the potent things are the old things. The sun is old, but it has lost none of its life-giving power. The sea and the mountains are old, and yet they are ever new. Sin is old, but it is still a tragic reality. Death is old, but no one can discount it. Love is very old, but it is the great est moral force in the universe. And does not the gospel belong to the category of the age-abiding things? Has it ever been found inadequate when fairly tried? Has any substitute for it ever been found adequate? Let us face up to these searching questions, and answer, “ Yes” or “ No.” O f course,. I am speaking now of the good news itself, and not bf. the terms in which it is expressed, nor of the man ner in which it is applied. Terms and methods must be adapted to the heeds of each generation, but the gospel it-
*Pastor, Charlotte Baptist Chapel.
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