King's Business - 1968-11

“Restare unto me the joy o f thy salvation (Psa. 51:12)

critics ridiculed Wesley and Moody but they had no answer for that singing! We have lost our joy today and the experts aren’t helping us any. We need to return to old- fashioned preaching, prayer and praise. A resur­ gence of that would sweep everything before it. Liberalism, cold o r th od o x y and worldliness wouldn’t have a chance. We are trying to create a substitute for true joy with hill-billy religious rag­ time, jazz in the churches, off-beat rhythm in young people’s meetings, weird extremism in fanatic groups rolling in the hay and foaming at the mouth. Even in more conventional circles, song leaders try to whip up a joy that isn’t there. This joy of the Lord is not a matter of noise. The early American revivals on the frontiers in the old camp-meetings were accompanied by shout­ ing and singing that could be heard for miles around. The Welsh Revival set the nation singing. But the Scottish and English people couldn’t be expected to demonstrate like the Welsh. It is a matter of temperament. Dr. A. J. Gordon’s great Boston church rang with the songs o f a Spirit- filled congregation but they didn’t clap their hands and yell, “ Hallelujah!” The joy o f the Lord must not be confused with hootenanny and hullabaloo excitement under reli­ gious auspices but if we have another awakening it will come among common people with old-fashioned preaching, prayer and praise. After all, not many wise, mighty and noble are called. When the church majors on and glories in wealth, education, pres­ tige and aristocracy, God writes Ichabod over our mausoleums and starts over with plain people on the other side of the railroad tracks. We are developing a type of super-intellectual who sits in our meetings in stratospheric isolation, looking down from Mount Olympus with a pale smile and lofty condescension, so full of the new

T h is is n o t o n l y t h e p r a y e r of a repentant back­ slider ; it is also a petition the church might well make today. The New Testament is a glad book. It begins with the song of angels and ends with the chorus o f a redeemed throng around the Throne of God. The Gospel is good news and glad tidings of great joy. Our Lord’s characteristic greeting was “Be of good cheer.” He spoke of His joy that should remain in us, His kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; Paul bade us, “Rejoice evermore.” Before Jesus came, the world’s music was largely in a minor key. Pagan music is not glad music. There are few joyful faces in Russia. I re­ member my visit, years ago, to the Russian exhibit at a World’s Fair. The minute I walked in, I felt that I was in the ante-room to hell. The world has no joy, only revelry, the hilarity o f animal spirits and bottled spirits. The rock-and-roll of the beat­ niks is the devil’s joy, demonic excitement from hell by way of the jungle. If we eliminated poverty, there would still be no real joy. Some of earth’s most miserable souls are millionaires. Principal J. P. Jacks wrote years ago about “ The Lost Radiance o f the Christian Faith.” The church has lost much of the joy of salvation. The early Christians rejoiced even when they faced violent death because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. The great revivals set people rejoicing. The Wesleyan Awak­ ening gave England a song as John Wesley preached and Charles Wesley sang the Gospel. When Moody visited Great Britain, someone wrote: “ It seemed as though someone had set to music a tune that had been haunting thousands o f ears.” The churches had been cold and unhappy following a period of strife known as the Disruption. They had lost the joy of salvation. They didn’t need an expert; they needed an evangelist. Skeptics and



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