Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Critical point to not miss in Church History!!

Like many believers I can remember well my initial exposure to different preachers and missionaries of old, which for me spread a great light on the struggles and victories of the saints, it was later however that I was blessed to begin to understand the truths they lived!
My first exposure to books, were primarily biographies, from Voice of the martyrs material to the 'Heroes of the faith' series.
I was also one of those naively zealous young guys who thought that the greatest problem facing the leaders, teachers I knew was UNDER-exposure to good stuff. How wrong I was, I used to think all you had to do was give someone a sermon by Ravenhill or Edwards, or mention the things Whitefield or Mueller experienced then presto, things would change. To my utter amazement, the common response that I encountered was, 'Oh, yeah I've heard that' or 'I've read that' or 'Yeah, that was good!'.
It was Ravenhill in 'Why revival tarries' who made the pointed statement, that men will read, quote, use, or what have you of the lives and teachings of dead men, 'anything but follow them'!

Is this not true? Why some men admire certain preachers should greatly confuse us, if we only knew their lives. This is certainly why I'm not moved by someone saying they enjoy 'Edwards or Spurgeon', the question that should be asked is 'but do you read them rightly????' I was perusing the 'interesting' blog of Tim Challies and he had mentioned that Rick Warren (The Bill Gates of the Saddleback corporation) 'loves and is reading' Jonathan Edwards, you see this is exactly what I mean, 'but' you say 'God could use it' and I say Yes God could but the fact is that it's being read as an interesting piece of history (the 'when that worked' era).

One thing I would beg for your consideration beyond examining your own motives for reading 'classics', is that you would read looking for two things before you 'admire' such great men. The two things that are too often neglected are: What did these men suffer from within the church? and Why did they suffer??
In remembering the great revivals, don't forget those like Edwards, who was fired by his congregation, who were NOT honored while they lived! It's one thing to suffer persecution from the outside of the church and quite another to suffer within! To be so zealous for the truth of God and for His glory that you are willing to go AGAINST the traditions or the streams of popular thought at the cost of being greatly misunderstood and out-casted!
Never forget the missionaries that had to suffer years upon years of suffering and loss before anyone would support or take notice of them, never forget the Spurgeons, the Lloyd-Jones' that took stands against compromising church unions while being labeled hard-hearted, stubborn, and divisive!
This also reminds of what Paul Washer has said concerning the same issue, that though men quote these guys they WOULDN'T let them preach in their churches! People like Ravenhill and Tozer were NOT men that churches and conferences were lining up to invite! Oh how greatly in need we are of some fiery WILD men who just don't fit the popular molds, preachers that are hard to ignore! I must however address this one thing, perhaps someone is thinking:
'you mean men like Mark Driscoll?! Because he's breaking against the norm and suffering persecution?!'
NO! I absolutely don't mean THAT! This is why I said to ask WHY they were suffering from 'within', they contrary to MD were not persecuted for novel or explicit forms of preaching (such as recommending preachers learn from vile comedians 'cynics' like Dave Chappelle) so regardless of who might endorse such garbage and regardless of your thoughts to that subject, what can't be ignored about the great sufferings of Godly dead men, is that what set them apart was their GODLINESS, it was their ZEAL for HOLINESS, for TRUTH, for SOULS, for the GLORY of God that caused them to be put into the 'fanatical' category from within the church!

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