When I was a young man, I was much privileged to work with godly men—my betters in every way: Missionaries, teacher, preachers and godly men and women of all sorts. This to me was an inestimable blessing and to this day I can still feel the working of their prayers and of my own observations of their lives. I owe them—and God for allowing it—a great debt un-repayable in every way.
One man gave me a bit of wisdom once as I was ranting about certain persons who were undermining every thing we were doing at the time. Including, in my mind, preaching the gospel. I may have written about this before but it sticks out again as applicable.
“A Bois d’Arc stump can be removed in two ways” he told me. “One way is to dig down and place dynamite all around the stump and blast the thing out of the ground—making a huge mess of whatever it was near or in the middle of…”
“Ah, I said,” thinking this wasn’t a very good idea “what’s the other?”
“Be patient.” He said, “It’ll rot out on its own in a few years.”
He’s right. I’ve seen it—both in stumps and in people. The ones who make the most trouble generally rot out. It may take awhile, but God has a way of taking care of obstacles like that.
I am further encouraged by this.
The following quote is taken from p.66 “The Son of Iniquity” in Roland H. Bainton’s biography “Here I Stand”. I occurs just after Luther has posted his 95 thesis on the Wittenberg Door. The Pope has appointed ‘a new general of the Augustinians’ and Luther is going to a gathering of his brethren to deliver a report of his first year as vicar and to defend the theology of the father of the order, St. Augustine and the view of human depravity that it offers.
“If the peasants heard you say that, they would stone you,” was the frank comment of one hearer, but the company roared. Acrimonious letters against Luther were presented before the chapter, but there were no repercussions. The older men did no more than shake their heads, and the younger were enthusiastic. “I have great hope,” Luther said, “that as Christ when rejected by the Jews, went over to the Gentiles, so this true theology, rejected by opinionated old men, will pass over to the younger generation.”
And, of course, so do I.
Our hope for the truth to be preached does not lie in converting the likes of those currently assailing biblical theology or Calvinism or Augustinianism its in Christ and his completed work on the cross. We know that anything short of a view of sin that pictures man as radically depraved and damned diluted that work because it leads to a sort of moral bank account where a really good Baptist can earn his way into heaven. Therefore let us look to the young, where the future really lies. Let us realize that they are not fool and they are watching both them and us. If you want reform, reform yourself and pray for the church. She will follow—or not. But these young preachers will be watching either way.
If there is a place to insert a long sigh its here because I have very little hope for these folks who are about my own age. Those who are sneaking up on forty or just past it. They are a hard headed lot to whom, even as I taught the bible according to the letter of SBC dictates, were mostly uninterested. Teach those you can especially the young and be grateful for it.
I think anything else will cause madness in this day.