King's Business - 1914-06



his results ? We have seen him in ac­ tion, and have studied him and his work, and have endeavored to find what it is that enables him to perform feats so extraordinary that they seem well-nigh miraculous. .We have found one person who an­ swers unhesitatingly and without res­ ervation. That is Sunday himself. His explanation is that he has a message of divine truth; that he believes it with every fiber of his soul and delivers it with every ounce of his strength and conviction; that he is true to the God who has given him this message, and that, therefore, God is true to him and helps him to win. " I ’m doing my best.” would be his platform version. “ I’m on the level with God and He’s on the level with me. We’re working together. I do my part the best I know how, and He puts it across.” No one else, we believe, has ever satisfactorily explained, even to him­ self, the success of Sunday. If we dis­ miss his own theory—which with him is an absolute conviction—as fantastic, the fact remains that no other has been advanced that is conclusive. There are those who say lightly; for example, that he works these wonders by evoking a sort of religious ecstasy, in which the intellect and judgment succumb to uncontrolled emotionalism. But those who have seen him know this is untrue. We have seen as much emotionalism at a political meeting and ten times more at revivals conducted like the old-time campmeetings. The converts do not rush weeping to the front; there 'are no evidences of hys­ teria, and they do not wake the next day with a sense of reaction from an intoxicating experience. This theory won’t do. Others suggest that he sways the crowds by his skill in stagecraft and theatrical effects.. The reverse is the fact. He studiously avoids the lure of

suggestive environment. Absolute naturalness is the keynote of his whole .setting. He creates the compelling at­ mosphere of religion without the subtle influence of dim aisles and glowing windows and rolling organ and in a structure as “worldly” in appearance as a circus tent. It is argued, again, that the secret is his superb organization. There is some force in this. The organization is amazingly efficient. But if organization were the only requisite for a great religious revival, the Sunday scheme could be mastered, duplicated and excelled in a month. If organization were all, the Men and Re­ ligion Forward Movement would have swept the country. If organization were all, John D. Rockefeller would gladly finance a campaign that would evangelize the world in a year. Or­ ganization does not explain. Perhaps, then, it is urged, it is or­ ganization plus psychology. This, too, is plausible. There is undoubtedly psychological skill in every detail of the Sunday management. The taber­ nacle must be built by the people them­ selves—this gives them a vital interest in the work. The lighting is scientifi­ cally effective. The absence of uni­ forms and vestments and churchly sur­ roundings has its effect in creating quick and .close sympathy between platform and audience. The very saw­ dust is suggestive of the absence of barriers. But where was the organization, where was the psychology, in that as­ tonishing meeting at the University on Monday night? Sunday was a stran­ ger. There had been no advance work, no committee work, no prayer meet­ ings ; there was no tabernacle, no saw­ dust trail, no great throng of eager sympathizers. Yet the results were without a parallel. We think that even his friendliest critics underestimate the tremendous

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