"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 5, Number 7, July 2002
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
I will show partiality to no one. Nor will I flatter any man.”
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. Some may also be downloaded at http://www.tegart.com/brian/bible/kjvonly. Articles on the King James Bible controversy and recent issues may be accessed at www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
THE SURPRISING NEGLECT OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST
“[M]ay I call attention to a strange phenomenon among ministers--the mysterious neglect of studying the life of Jesus Christ. A few years ago I happened to be speaking in one of the most important evangelical churches of North America, of which the gifted pastor is now about fifty years of age. The opportunity of looking over his library led me to make the remark, ‘I do not see any volume on the life and work of Jesus in your library.’
“This seemed to take him by surprise, and then he acknowledged, ‘Well, I guess I don’t have any book on the life of Christ.’ Preaching the gospel for a quarter of a century to large congregations, a man well-informed on prophecy and earnest in the matter of missions, has no life of Christ in his own library! I am referring to this not because it is something rare, but rather, I am afraid the same can be said of a great many ministers of our generation.” (Wilbur M. Smith, The Minister in His Study. Chicago: Moody Press, 1973; p. 57)
Not only was this true nearly thirty years ago when Wilbur M. Smith, the pre-eminent bibliophile of 20th century American Christians, said it, but it persists to this hour. Just a few days ago, I came across a most remarkable omission in a seminary catalogue: there was NO course listed in the description of courses on “the Life of Christ.” None at all. In prior catalogues of this seminary, “Life of Christ” was only an elective course, meaning that a person could complete his Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, a Master of Divinity, a Master of Theology, and even a Doctor of Theology degree in this institution and yet never formally study the life of Christ!!! I found that prior arrangement remarkable, but now “Life of Christ” has been omitted altogether, so that any student wanting to study this, the most important subject of all, will be compelled to study it on his own. By its omission of “The Life of Christ” from its curriculum, this seminary is de facto saying that the subject is not all that important and may safely be ignored.
Surely, you are thinking, this must be some rankly liberal seminary such as Harvard or Princeton, or some wishy-washy, compromising neo-evangelical or neo-orthodox institution such as Fuller. Surprisingly, no. The seminary (which I will leave unnamed) that now has eliminated entirely the “Life of Christ” from its curriculum is a deservedly respected school that has stood rock-firm for decades for the fundamentals of the faith, has affirmed and practiced Biblical separatism, and has trained a significant number of ministers who now serve as pastors, missionaries and professors in Bible colleges and seminaries. This being the case, I am at a loss to account for this remarkable omission.
(To be entirely fair, this seminary does require a two-hour course on “The Gospel of Matthew” and requires the study of Christology as part of a three-hour course that also covers soteriology; it also has elective courses in Greek exegesis on Mark, on Luke-Acts, and the Synoptic Gospels, and an elective course in Bible exposition on the Gospel of John. However, none of these individually, nor all of them collectively, has the same focus and content as “The Life of Christ.”)
I have noted over the years a similar neglect of the life of Christ by preachers in their pulpits. All too many are exceedingly clever at finding Christ in every detail and feature of the tabernacle, or of finding Him in a broad spectrum of Old Testament types (some of which are rather dubious), yet they seem unable to find Him in the Gospels. They overlook, neglect, and by-pass the accounts of the person and work of Jesus in the four Gospels where there is no doubt at all that He is to be found and that as plain as day! They constantly scratch and scrape for something to preach on, yet somehow miss the most important subject of all: the Christ of the Gospels.
The “Life of Christ” is THE PRE-EMINENT SUBJECT in the Bible. God has given us not one or two accounts of the life of Jesus, but four. And these make up in length collectively almost precisely 45% of the entire New Testament. Beyond all question, the Gospels are the most important documents ever written in Greek or in any other language. Ancient Christians understood the pre-eminence of the Gospels, for among ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, those of the Gospels predominate. The same is true of manuscripts of ancient translations of the New Testament into Latin, Syriac, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and the rest.
For my own part, I find that I simply cannot get far away from the Gospels. In my preaching in Romania, Serbia, Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, fully half my sermons are from the Gospels. In preaching and teaching at the local jail, the subject to which I turn most of the time is the person and teaching of Christ as presented in the Gospels. More than anything, people need to meet Christ. They do that most directly in the Gospel accounts.
Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), the famous Dutch humanist, scholar, Roman Catholic priest and editor of the first published Greek New Testament (1516) wrote--
“Do we desire to learn, is there any authority better than Christ? We read and reread the works of a friend, but there are thousands of Christians who have never read the gospels and the epistles in all their lives. The Mohammedans study the Koran, the Jews peruse Moses. Why do we not the same for Christ? He is our only teacher. On him the Spirit descended and a voice said, ‘Hear ye him!’ What will you find in Thomas [Aquinas], what in [Duns] Scotus to compare with his teaching? But as there are school masters who by their severity make boys hate learning, so there are Christians so morose as to instill distaste for the philosophy of Christ, which could not be more agreeable. Happy is he whom death overtakes meditating thereon. Let us then thirst for it, embrace it, steep ourselves in it, die in it, be transformed thereby. If any one shows us the footprints of Christ we Christians fall down and adore. If his robe is placed on exhibition do we not traverse the earth to kiss it? A wooden or a stone image of Christ is bedecked with jewels and should we not place gold gems and whatever may be more precious on the Gospels which bring Christ closer to us than any paltry image? In them we have Christ speaking, healing, dying and rising and more genuinely present than were we to view him with the eyes of the flesh.” (cited in Roland Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1969; p. 140. Cf. a similar quote from Erasmus in A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934; preface, p. xix).
Jesus commanded, “Take my yoke upon you and learn about Me” (Matthew 11:29). Peter ‘s final exhortation to us is, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). These commands cannot be fulfilled without a focused and close study of the life of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. It simply is not possible. I have never yet met a fervent, growing and dedicated Christian who was not much steeped in the Gospels.
Spurgeon got the emphasis right when he declared in his first sermon in the new Metropolitan Tabernacle, March 25, 1861--
“I would propose (and O may the Lord grant us grace to carry out that proposition, from which no Christian can dissent), I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist, although I claim to be rather a Calvinist according to Calvin, than after the modern debased fashion. I do not hesitate to take the name Baptist. You have there (pointing to the baptistery) substantial evidence that I am not ashamed of that ordinance of our Lord Jesus Christ; but if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply--‘It is Jesus Christ.’ My venerable predecessor, Dr. Gill, has left a body of divinity, admirable and excellent in its way; but the body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself for ever, God helping me, is not his system of divinity or any other human treatise, but Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the Gospel; who is in himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life.” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1861, p. 169; this sermon, on Acts 5:42, is, in my judgment, the best by Spurgeon out of the hundreds by him I have read, and merits close attention and repeated reading and re-reading)
Rather than dropping “Life of Christ” from the seminary curriculum, and rather than offering it as a mere “elective,” I suggest that it should be a required two-semester course, three hours each semester; that the textbooks for this study be Alfred Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah along with a “harmony of the Gospels,” of which I prefer the old Broadus’ harmony as revised and edited by A. T. Robertson. To this would be added suitable supplementary reading in other lives of Christ, commentaries, theologies, Bible dictionary and periodical articles, topical works, works on ancient Judaism, Holy land geography, customs, Greek and Roman history, and whatever else is pertinent to this subject of unsurpassed importance. Drop any and everything else from the curriculum if necessary that this Subject, this Person, this Life, may ”in all things have the pre-eminence.”
Thomas Linacre (1460?-1524) was a most learned man in medicine, and in classical Greek and Latin, and was by turns tutor to Prince Arthur, teacher of Erasmus and Thomas More, founder of the British royal college of surgeons and adviser and physician to King Henry VIII of England. Toward the end of his life, he turned, for the first time ever, to the study of the Gospels and their accounts of the Life of Jesus. He was astonished by what he discovered there, and exclaimed, “Either this is not the Gospel, or we are not Christians!” (quoted from Roland Bainton, Erasmus of Christendom, p. 58). That we might be spared from such an embarrassing, incredible confession!
PRIESTS, PEDOPHILIA AND PREACHERS
An avalanche of scandal has crashed down upon the Roman Catholic Church in America of late over the matter of hundreds of cases of child-molesting Catholic priests. A serious breach of trust, of morals, of Bible teaching, of criminal laws has been exposed to public gaze. Since the scandal as currently reported reaches as far back as the 1960s, its existence has either been effectively concealed by the Church from the public eye for decades, or was willfully ignored by the news media. I strongly suspect the latter is the chief explanation; by way of contrast, the moral failures in the 80s of just two high-profile Protestant ministers--I speak of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker--were immediately exposed for all to see, and served as news media fodder for years, still getting an occasional mention today.
There are numerous facets to the present scandal. First is the extent of the scandal: not one or two, or a few, or even dozens of priests are involved, but at least hundreds have engaged in moral debauchery, and in not a few cases, the offenders were repeatedly involved in this depravity. Worse is the Catholic Church’s hierarchy’s attempts at suppressing the scandal--concealing the truth from congregations, transferring of unrepentant and unpunished offending priests to new venues where they all but invariably repeated their crimes, and paying of massive amounts of hush money to victims and their families to buy their silence. And adding insult to gross injury, the Catholic leadership now seems unable to decide whether one such offense is enough to disqualify a priest (perhaps those making the decision are trying to make allowances for their own past behavior)!
That pedophilia, sodomy, and adultery would be plagues on Catholicism is no surprise. The Church dogma that prohibits priests to marry is all but guaranteed to draw to their priesthood those kinds of individuals who would have no natural interest in marriage: homosexuals and those with inclinations toward pedophilia. Yes, we will allow that some individuals, maybe even many, entered the priesthood out of altruistic motives of wanting to devote their lives without distraction to serving the Catholic Church, but the marriage ban is a natural magnet for those for whom celibacy would be no burden or sacrifice.
The Roman Catholic Church’s enforced celibacy by its priests is, frankly, “a doctrine inspired by demons,” as Paul in I Timothy 4:1-3 characterizes it. By way of contrast with Roman practice, Peter, who is claimed (falsely) as the first pope, had a wife, as Paul reports (I Corinthians 9:5), and a mother-in-law, as Matthew records (Matthew 8:14, 15). Hebrews commands that marriage as an institution should be honored by all (Hebrews 13:4). Compelling celibacy dishonors and denigrates marriage, reducing it to a spiritually inferior status.
Among the qualifications for overseer/pastor/elder in I Timothy 3:1-7 are that he have a wife and children (see also Titus 1:6). And while these are not absolute requirements (a widower pastor is not suddenly disqualified from the ministry because his wife has died, nor is a childless couple excluded by these qualifications), marriage is to be the common, the general, the usual pattern of life for preachers. To expressly prohibit marriage among pastors is a blatant and direct affront to the plain teaching of the New Testament. It is no surprise, then, that this direct rejection by Rome of the teaching of the Scriptures with regard to marriage, substituting instead their man-made traditions, should eventuate in a scandal involving sexual immorality.
Molesting children is a much more despicable offense than theft, drunkenness, or even adultery with a willing adult partner, since the victims are almost always unable to resist, and because of their youth and relative innocence, are usually left deeply scarred emotionally for life. Some are even driven to suicide. The Catholic Church’s concealment of such sins of the worst sort by priests is unconscionable, because they are much more than sins--they are heinous crimes that call out for immediate punishment at the hand of man not just ultimate retribution at the hand of God, foremost being the confinement of the offender to prevent his seeking additional victims. Yet concealed these offenses were, and the offenders were simply moved on to another place, where they could repeat the offense.
If Rome were actually concerned with dealing forthrightly with this scandal, it would have at once adopted a zero-tolerance policy, would actively work with police authorities to identify, locate, apprehend, try and imprison the offending parties, and, to reduce the likelihood of a future recurrence, would immediately adopt a policy allowing priests to marry. Indeed I would strongly recommend that they do so.
I of course do not expect Rome to do any of these things.
Having held Rome’s latest scandal up to the light for examination, let us now turn the light on ourselves. We profess to have the light of Scripture in its purity, uncorrupted by human tradition. We profess to follow the teachings of the Bible alone (“sola scriptura”). We profess to have the Holy Spirit living within us as our Divine Teacher, Illuminator, and Guide. These things being claimed, and rightly so, there is far less excuse for any Rome-like conduct among fundamentalists. And yet it is tragically common; I dare say, practically the rule.
If I were to sit down and write a list of all the fundamentalist preachers, pastors, evangelists and professors known to me in my limited experience who jumped (not “fell” as though it were a passive act) into sexual immorality (usually adultery, but in at least a few cases involving homosexuality or pedophilia), it would be a very long and very troubling list.
And just like Rome, in many cases the scandals were “covered up” and the pernicious deeds concealed (“for the sake of the church”), leaving the perpetrator unrepentant, unpunished, and free to move on to another “ministry,” as though one’s conduct had no bearing on qualifications for the ministry. Rather than concealing the sin and shielding the sinner, Paul gives explicit instructions: “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder, unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.” (I Timothy 5:19, 20)
I think of one appalling instance from the 1970s--a noted long-standing professor in a Bible college undeniably engaged in homosexual activity with a student who came to him for counseling. To “save face” for the college and the individual, a cover story (in plain English, a public lie) was fabricated to the effect that the individual was leaving the college to complete a doctorate degree (which of course never happened--he stayed in town, and in his church, undisciplined, and merely got alternate employment as a public school teacher).
Or the notorious case from the 1980s of a now-dead Chicago-area pastor whose son, known by his father to be guilty of repeated acts of adultery while on staff at his father’s church, was sent off to pastor a church in Texas, where he repeated and multiplied his adulteries until publicly exposed. (The father himself was known to be scandalously involved for decades in an adulterous relationship, and yet a large number of fundamentalist preachers came to his defense when his sin was exposed publicly after repeated private admonitions in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-18 proved fruitless.)
And there is the (to me) infuriating case of a famous national ministry in which a prominent teacher/writer/editor has been removed for adultery at least twice and yet each time ultimately restored to a high profile place. When is enough enough?
We who profess to have the truth and to follow it are solemnly bound to live up the standard we profess, if we wish to honor God and maintain any degree of credibility with the world. Let Rome’s scandal humble us, and lead us to carefully examine ourselves. There is no room here for us to gloat or boast or sneer. Let us rather beware (see Galatians 6:1).
Because of the present scandal, not a few in the Catholic Church are likely to abandon their religion and renounce Christianity altogether, supposing incorrectly that Romanism is true Christianity, and therefore Christianity is a fraud. Some others are likely to be open to consider alternative forms of professing Christianity, to see if they might have a greater degree of reality. Let us pray that the eyes of these and others Catholics, especially those directly affected by the current scandal, will be opened to the real nature of Roman Catholicism--that it is not true Christianity at all, and indeed it is at best a gross corruption and massive misrepresentation of the teachings of the Bible. May they read the Bible for themselves and find there the truth of peace with God, not through rituals and sacraments and religious organizations, but through genuine repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as their only hope of heaven.
ANOTHER QUOTE IN PRAISE OF THE LATIN VULGATE OF JEROME
“S. Hierome [i.e., Saint Jerome], a most learned father, and the best linguist without controversy, of his age, or of any age before him, [was moved] to undertake the translating of the Old Testament, and out of the very fountains themselves [i.e., from the original Hebrew text]; which he performed with that evidence of great learning, judgement, industry, and faithfulness, that he hath for ever bound the Church unto him, in a debt of special remembrance and thankfulness.”
--Miles Smith, “The Translators to the Readers,” fifth page, Authorized King James Version, 1611 edition.
GEORGE MUELLER OF BRISTOL by A. T. Pierson. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1899. 462 pp., hardback.
Of all the names of great Christians of the past who demonstrated by their lives what it is to truly, Biblically, “live by faith,” none stands higher than that of George Mueller (1805-1898). Born in Prussia, Mueller led a shameful life of lying, thievery, deception, drunkenness and addiction to immediate self-gratification during his teen years and on into his early twenties (he even spent some time in jail as a teen for fraud). This is especially remarkable, since he was in preparation to become a clergyman of the state church! Like the great mass of those preparing for the ministry in Germany, he had chosen the profession, not in response to a divine call, but as a good career choice--plenty of money, “respect,” no manual labor, leisure to pursue academic or other aims, and other considerations. Mueller’s problem was that he was utterly unregenerated, lost in sin, and wholly ignorant of his lost estate (he possessed no Bible at all up to that point, and had never read any of it). Invited to a small Bible study by devout believers, he was immediately and completely converted. Mueller’s lifestyle was entirely transformed, and he sought to serve Christ instead of his own desires. He was appointed as missionary to Bucharest in Romania but political circumstances (i.e., a war in that region) prevented fulfillment of this purpose. He next sought appointment as a missionary to the Jews, and was to be sent to Poland, but ended up in London working with the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews. Here he labored as much as twelve hours a day learning the Hebrew language (he also at some point learned Latin, Greek, French, and English, besides his native German).
Health problems attributable to life in London, along with policy disagreements with the London Society led Mueller away from London to Teignmouth, where he became associated with the Plymouth Brethren, and then to Bristol, which remained the center of his lifelong labors for more that 60 years.
Mueller set as his life’s goal to demonstrate by his own life and as a testimony to the believing and unbelieving world that God hears and answers prayer, and that great works can be accomplished and sustained by a life of entire dependence on God to provide the necessary means. And Mueller was singularly successful in attaining this goal (he recorded in his journals some 50,000 specific Divine answers to specific prayers, many of them astonishing in their precision, timeliness, and extent).
Mueller is most famous for the orphanage work that God led him into in Bristol. He prayed in, without asking a single soul for any financial assistance, more than a million British pounds (in today’s money--surely more than $20,000,000) for the work of the orphanages, besides many multiplied thousands of pounds to support foreign missionaries and the publication and distribution of printed Scriptures in the millions of copies. (In his lifetime, Mueller personally gave more than 81,000 pounds to such causes). The number of orphans supported--housed, fed, clothed, educated, and evangelized--at its peak exceeded 2,000; all of the necessary financial support for such an immense enterprise came, not as a result of clever fund-raising or frequent pleas or personal requests from men, but solely and entirely in response to believing prayer which claimed God’s provision for His work. Trials, testings, agonizing prayers--of these there were many; but God always met the need, the children never went hungry or cold or inadequately clothed.
After leading the orphanage work for more than 40 years, at age 70 he embarked on a series of missionary tours of Great Britain, continental Europe, America, Australia, the Orient and the Middle East. These tours totaled 17 in all (some lasted a few months, some well more than a year), and occupied 17 years of his life (from age 70 to 87!). He traveled more than 200,000 miles, visited 42 countries, preached between 5,000 and 6,000 times, to a total audience of more than 3 million people. Often he preached directly to the people in their native tongue (in German, French or English) and where necessary, through an interpreter. His purpose was to evangelize the lost, build up the saints, and everywhere bear personal testimony to the reality of the God of the Bible, who hears and answers prayer, and that a life of complete dependence on God is not only possible, but the greatest possible way to live.
Mueller himself was greatly influenced by reading the accounts of the lives of August Franke (1663-1727), founder of German Pietism and a pioneer in Christian orphanage work. So also, the life of George Whitefield (1714-1770), the English evangelist (and founder of an orphanage in Georgia), and the life of John Newton (1725-1807). Of Christians known personally to Mueller, Friedrich Tholuck (1799-1877), a Bible Professor at the University of Halle, seems to have had the greatest impact on his whole Christian perspective. In turn, it was Mueller’s example that led J. Hudson Taylor to found the China Inland Mission.
We must never minimize the impact--for good or ill--that the lives of others, either as recorded in books or as experienced in personal acquaintance, have on us, or the impact that we in turn have on others. Let us choose the best of Christian examples for our study (Mueller is one such worthy example), and let us strive to be the best examples in our conduct.
[Besides Mueller, the greatest examples known to me of truly “living by faith” in complete dependence on God are J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), founder of the China Inland Mission; William Carey (1767-1834), the “father of modern missions” who labored long and well in India; and Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), pioneer missionary to Burma. We would do well to closely examine their lives and emulate their practice--editor]
Notable Quotes from GEORGE MUELLER OF BRISTOL by A. T. Pierson--
“[W]here a state church exists, the ministry of the Gospel is apt to be treated as a human profession rather than as a divine vocation, and so the standards of fitness often sink to the low secular level, and the main object in view becomes the so-called ‘living,’ which is, alas, too frequently independent of holy living.” (p. 19)
“Prayer for direct divine guidance in every crisis, great or small, was to be the secret of his whole career.” (p. 33)
“George Mueller learned the valuable lesson that one must preserve his independence if he would not endanger his integrity.” (39)
“He learned two lessons, which new dealing of God more and more deeply impressed: first, that the safe guide in every crisis is believing prayer in connection with the word of God; secondly, that continued uncertainty as to one’s course is a reason for continued waiting.” (p. 41)
“One lesson yet to be learned, was that the one fountain of all wisdom and strength is the Holy Scriptures. Many disciples practically prefer religious books to the Book of God. He had indeed found much of the reading with which too many professed believers occupy their minds to be but worthless chaff--such as French and German novels; but as yet he had not formed the habit of reading the word of God daily and systematically as in late life, almost to the exclusion of other books. In his ninety-second year, he said to the writer, that for every page of any other reading he was sure he read ten of the Bible.” (p. 49)
“The most intimate knowledge of God is possible on one condition--that we search His Holy Scriptures, prayerfully and habitually, and translate what we there find, into obedience.” (p. 50)
“Tempted to the continual use of his native tongue by living with German countrymen [in London], he made little progress in English, which he afterward regretted; and he was wont, therefore, to counsel those who propose to work among a foreign people, not only to live among them in order to learn their language, but to keep aloof as far as may be from their own countrymen, so as to be compelled to use the tongue which is to give them access to those among whom they labor.” (p. 55; amen and amen!)
“In fifty thousand cases, Mr. Mueller calculated that he could trace distinct answers to definite prayers; and in multitudes of instances in which God’s care was not definitely traced, it was day by day like an encompassing but invisible presence of atmosphere of life and strength.” (pp. 73-73)
“Let no one ascribe to George Mueller such a miraculous gift of faith as lifted him above common believers and out of the reach of temptations and infirmities to which all fallible souls are exposed.” (p. 85)
“[I]n things common and small, as well as uncommon and great, he took no step without first asking counsel of the oracles of God and seeking guidance from Him in believing prayer. It was his life-motto to learn the will of God before undertaking anything, and to wait till it is clear, because only so can one either be blessed in his own soul or prospered in the work of his hands.” (p. 87)
“If much hangs and turns upon the choice of the work we are to do and the field where we are to do it, it must not be forgotten how much also depends on the time when it is undertaken, the way in which it is performed, and the associates in the labour. In all these matters the true workman will wait for the Master’s beck, glance, or signal before a step is taken.” (p. 93)
“George Mueller was conscious of being too busy to pray as he ought. His outward action was too constant for inward reflection, and he saw that there was risk of losing peace and power, and that activity even in the most sacred sphere must not be so absorbing as to prevent holy meditation on the Word and fervent supplication.” (p. 130)
“No man, perhaps, since John Wesley has accomplished so much even in a long life as George Mueller; yet few have ever withdrawn so often of so long into the pavilion of prayer.” (p. 130)
“[H]is soul was brought into that state where he so delighted in the will of God as to be able from his heart to say that he would not have his disease removed until through it God had wrought the blessing it was meant to convey.” (p. 141; how unlike us today: our only concern in time of sickness is to be healed at once, not that God through the trial might mold us more into the image of Christ--editor)
“The helpers [at the orphanages] were often reminded that the supreme object of the institutions, founded in Bristol, was to prove God’s faithfulness and the perfect safety of trusting solely to His promises; jealousy for Him must therefore restrain all tendency to look to man for help. Moreover, they were earnestly besought to live in such daily and hourly fellowship with God as that their own unbelief and disobedience might not risk either their own power in prayer, or the agreement, needful among them, in order to common supplication. One discordant note may prevent the harmonious symphony of united prayer, and so far hinder the acceptableness of such prayer with God.” (pp. 155-6)
“God’s interposing power and love could not be doubted, and in fact made the more impression as unquestionable facts, because help came so frequently at the hour of extremity, and in the exact form or amount needed.” (p. 160)
“In Halberstadt [in Germany], Mr. Mueller found seven large Protestant churches without one clergyman who gave evidence of true conversion.” (p. 166)
“Five grand conditions of prevailing prayer were ever before his mind:
1. Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only ground of any claim for blessing. (See John 14:13,14; 15:16, etc.)
2. Separation from all known sin. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us, for it would be sanctioning sin. (Psalm 66:18)
3. Faith in God’s word of promise as confirmed by His oath. Not to believe Him is to make Him both a liar and a perjurer. (Hebrews 11:6; 6:13-20)
4. Asking in accordance with His will. Our motives must be godly: we must not seek any gift of God to consume it upon our own lusts. (I John 5:13; James 4:3)
5. Importunity in supplication. There must be waiting on God and waiting for God, as the husbandman has long patience to wait for the harvest. (James 5:7; Luke 18:1-10)” (p. 170)
“Any believing child of God may safely gauge the measure of his surrender to the will of God, in any matter, by the measure of impatience he feels at the obstacles in the way.” (p. 187)
“He had observed that whenever God had put into his heart to devise liberal [i.e., generous] things, He had put into his hand the means to carry out such liberal purposes.” (p. 195)
“One great law for all who would be truly led by God’s Pillar of cloud and fire, is to take no step at the bidding of self-will or without the clear moving of the heavenly Guide. Though the direction be new and the way seem beset with difficulty, there is never any risk, provided we are only led of God. Each new advance needs separate and special authority from Him, and yesterday’s guidance is not sufficient for to-day.” (p. 196)
“His one supreme aim was the glory of God; his one sole resort, believing prayer; his one trusted oracle, the inspired Word; and his one divine Teacher, the Holy Spirit.” (p. 212)
“Many Christian parents have made the fatal mistake of intrusting their children’s education to those whose gifts were wholly intellectual and not spiritual, and who have misled the young pupils entrusted to their care, into an irreligious or infidel life, or, at best, a career of mere intellectualism and worldly ambition. In not a few instances, all the influences of a pious home have been counteracted by the atmosphere of a school which, if not godless, has been without that fragrance of spiritual devoutness and consecration which is indispensable to the true training of impressible children during the plastic years when character is forming for eternity!” (p. 217)
“Mr. Mueller’s solemn conviction was that all this wedded bliss [note--he and his wife were married for 34 years before her death in 1870] was due to the fact that [his wife] was not only a devoted Christian, but that their one united object was to live only and wholly for God, in which they were heartily united; that this work was never allowed to interfere with the care of their own souls, or their seasons of private prayer and study of the Scriptures; and that they were wont daily, and often thrice a day, to secure a time of united prayer and praise when they brought before the Lord the matters which at the time called for thanksgiving and supplication.” (p. 235)
“I [i,.e., the author, A. T. Pierson] had opposed with much persistency what is known as the pre-millennial view, and brought out my objections, to all of which he made one reply: ‘My beloved brother, I have heard all your arguments and objections against the view, but they have one fatal defect: not one of them is based upon the word of God. You will never get at the truth upon any matter of divine revelation unless you lay aside your prejudices and like a little child simply ask what is the testimony of Scripture.’ “ (p. 261; Pierson became a pre-millennialist!)
“Quantity of service is of far less importance than quality. To do well, rather than to do much, will be the motto of him whose main purpose is to please God.” (p. 264)
“Fluctuations in income and apparent prosperity did not take George Mueller by surprise. He expected them, for if there were no crises and critical emergencies how could there be critical deliverances.” (p. 272)
“[Mueller] had himself read the Bible from end to end nearly two hundred times.” (p. 287)
“No honest man dishonours a past debt, or compromises with his integrity by simply beginning anew and paying as he goes. Reformation takes a retrospective glance and begins in restitution and reparation for all previous wrongs and unfaithfulness.” (p. 335)
“[A] donor [to Mueller’s orphanages] suggest[ed] that it might be well if Professor [T.H] Huxley [also known as “Darwin’s bulldog” for his zealous promotion in England of atheistic evolutionism--editor] and his sympathizers who had been proposing some new arbitrary “prayer-gauge,” would instead of treating prayer as so much waste of breath, try how long they could keep five orphan houses running, with over two thousand orphans, and without asking any one for help,--either God or man.” (p. 357)
“The fact is that one half of the infidelity in the world is dishonest, and the other half is ignorant of the daily proofs that God is, and is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (p. 357)
“While Satan’s motto is ‘Spare thyself!’ Christ’s motto is ‘Deny thyself!’ . . . . Self-denial is not cutting off an indulgence here and there, but laying the axe at the root of the tree of self, of which all indulgences are only greater or smaller branches.” (p. 365)
“We speak of our ‘crosses’--but the word of God never uses that word in the plural, for there is but one cross--the cross on which the self-life is crucified, the cross of voluntary self-renunciation. . . . This cross is not forced upon us as are many of the little vexations and trials which we call ‘our crosses’; it is taken up by us, in voluntary self-sacrifice for his sake. We choose self-abnegation, to lose our life in sacrifice that we may find it again in service.” (pp. 365, 366)
“No situation, no business will be given to me by God, in which I have not enough time to care about my soul.” (p. 451)