XXVIII. A GREAT LEGACY
By Rev. Paul Rader President of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
THERE have been but few world people. We read the history of great statesmen who were splendid defenders of their nation's rights and guiders of the bodies politic. We read of some of these who were diplomats, for they stood between their own and antagonistic nations in the hour of strain or war. We read of others who had breadth of heart and smiled with favor on a sister nation or a people near at hand who were in subjection. There have been people of world-travel fame who have discussed for us, on the printed page, the habits and customs of far away peoples. We have had great writers on international questions.
We are today considering the conflict of minds concerning a League of Nations. It seems that at last leaders of public thought have been forced by world calamity to think of a whole world. The back alley local murders and small town scandals were forced from the front pages of our dailies for at least four years, and the news of a world's troubles and woes was given to us for breakfast instead. To at least twenty-five per cent of the world's population the geography of the globe has changed. They now know, to some extent, where Belgium is, and Holland, Germany, Russia, France, and Great Britain. They were forced to follow their boys; they had to buy a map or use the one in the dailies.
Is it not a terrifying conclusion that, with the masses, there must be world agony before there is world thought? If world consideration is so hard to obtain, how much harder, and therefore rarer, is world sympathy. A world person -- that is, a person with a whole world on his heart, is a rare person and a person close to God, for God alone loves the world. Enoch walked with God and talked with God. His talk was of the whole world of people and the coming flood. Enoch gave his boy a name of warning, Methuselah, meaning, "When he dies the flood will come." Abraham talked with God, left his own and stepped out for a life that would mean a new race and a blessing through them finally to the whole race of mankind. Peter met Christ and believed that He was God. Then came that dream of a sheet let down from heaven. There God gave him a vision, not of one race -- his race -- but the whole human race for whom Christ has died. Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus, and went to the whole world to tell the news of salvation. Other people who have come close to the heart of Christ have caught a vision of a whole world and a Christ who loves and has died for all people. Race prejudice vanishes with a vision of Christ for a world of people.
My outstanding impression of Dr. A. B. Simpson is that he was the foremost world person of our generation. Many great people of missionary vision have joined hands with others to spread the Gospel in the darkened lands. Here is a person who, single-handed, started and carried forward a movement to the "regions beyond." He planted his workers in sixteen great mission fields of the earth, and did it in twenty-five years.
With his God-given message from pen and pulpit he gathered a constituency to stand behind his recruits. Time, money, energy, writing, preaching, prayer, ambition -- all was poured into a funnel that poured out in blessing on the whole world. Yes, Dr. Simpson talked with God until he became a world person. He is gone to be with the Lord, but with such master workmanship did he establish his society, that blessing is still flowing from it in a greatly increasing stream.
No founder ever held an organization with so light a hand as Dr. Simpson held the Alliance. Since the Lord has called him higher, we find that the Alliance, as always, is not in the hands of people, but in the hands of God, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Three things the Alliance was raised up of God to do. Dr. Simpson said in an outburst of soul, looking back over the years, I can well remember the nights I walked up and down the sandy beach of Old Orchard, Maine, in the summer of 1881, and asked God in some way to raise up a great missionary movement that would reach the neglected fields of the world and utilize the neglected forces of the Church at home, as was not then being done. I little dreamed that I should have some part in such a movement, but even then the vision was given of souls yet to be born like the stars of heaven and the sands upon the seashore. The movement has been wholly providential."
Here then we have this world person's own words. So it was, first, "neglected fields," second, "neglected forces," and God later led him to see the mighty, but largely unpreached truths for which the Alliance now stands. Therefore, thirdly, we have "neglected truths."
Dr. Simpson has been promoted, but the movement he founded is going forth to a whole world to preach neglected truths to neglected fields with neglected forces. Let us look at these three neglected things in the reverse order of the one in which we have named them. Very decidedly we say that first and foremost the neglected truths must be seen or there will be a movement without a message. The most outstanding weakness of our time is great movements without a message. The Alliance still holds and preaches these neglected truths.
Jesus As Savior.
We are in the heart of the apostasy. Many are falling away. The fundamentals of Christianity are being attacked by a new and subtle method. The war is on against the Bible, the Blood, and the Blessed Hope. It is a highly organized war with highly educated, highly respectable, and highly paid people as officers over its ranks. "Salvation through social service" is the battle cry in this war against the saints. There comes then a fresh call to raise our battle cry of, "Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King," above all this Cain religion.
In thousands of churches on this continent where the blood used to be preached and sinners used to be saved, there is no cry of new-born babes about their silent altars. In thousands more no one occupies the pews, no one the pulpit. Empty, forsaken, they stand in mute appeal for people with vital breath and a soul-saving Gospel to come and open them and pass the Bread of life to the multitudes and villagers about them. It is imperative that some movement preaching Jesus as Savior step into this great breach at once. The neglected truth of Jesus as all sufficient Savior must go forth. I did not say "be believed and held," I said, "go forth." Though our founder has gone, we, as an Alliance, say, "go forth," not in words but in new systematic, powerful evangelizing methods. This world person's evangelizing vision is still our vision.
When the Alliance was born, the message of Finney was still in the air, Moody and Sankey were mighty in power. Dr. Simpson caught his first vision of the neglected crowds outside the churches through an evangelistic meeting in his Kentucky town conducted by Major Whittle and P. P. Bliss. That mighty person among us in the early days, Dr. Wilson, fell at an old-time Salvation Army penitent form, when already an ordained clergyman, because of the salvation fire of the Army of those days.
The very air was pregnant with Holy Ghost conviction when the Alliance came into being, and sinners by the thousands found a living, life-giving Savior. What a contrast to the atmosphere in which we, as an Alliance, find ourselves now planning for the preaching of Jesus the Savior around the world. Where are the Holy Spirit filled evangelists now? The war, with one fell stroke, seems to have wiped commercial evangelism from the earth. It has seemingly, also, laid a giant hand of frost upon all evangelism. The Alliance takes for itself from God to see to it that every last branch is a soul-saving station through the week and on Sundays.
The old rescue mission is gone. The Alliance founded by this world person will still open missions to the masses. The incorporation certificate of the first Alliance society stated that the object of the society was "to do the work of evangelism, especially among the neglected classes by highway missions and other practical methods."
We surely believe in defending the fundamentals, but, as an Alliance, we will defend them by taking them with renewed consecration and fiery fervor to the masses, any way, every way -- but take them and preach them. These great fundamentals of the faith will defend themselves in living witness of their life-giving power when preached.
Yes, Jesus as Savior is a greatly neglected truth in our day. God will give us grace and practical sense in planning a larger way of coming to the rescue as flaming evangels in this sad hour.
Jesus As Sanctifier
When the Alliance was born, the holiness movement that had its start with Finney and others was at high tide. Camp meeting grounds dotted the groves near great city centers as well as at the seashores and the lake fronts. Methodism led the way under the mighty generalship and inspiration of such Spirit-filled people as Bishop Joyce and Mallalieu and Dr. S. A. Keen of Ohio. Much controversy concerning holiness and its place in Bible doctrine was stirring evangelical forces everywhere.
Into this ripe hour God led Dr. Simpson, bringing the great heart and power and cleansing message of the Alliance. Hearts that had hungered for the deeper life, found in the Alliance message on the crisis of the Deeper Life a splendid Bible ground for their feet, and thousands found Jesus as their Sanctifier and were filled with the Holy Spirit, counting not their lives dear to themselves, but finding Jesus all and in all. The heart of this message of the Alliance is in the hymn which I consider the greatest hymn that Dr. Simpson ever wrote:
"Once it was the blessing.
Now it is the Lord.
Once it was the feeling.
Now it is His word."
Especially in the lines --
"Once it was my working,
His it from now on shall be.
Once I tried to use Him,
Now He uses me."
We find ourselves today in no such atmosphere as that in which the Alliance was born. We feel the tramp and the tread of the great army toward the winding up of humanism. Above this army waves the world-movement banners. The social service slogans fill the air. The printed pages of rationalism are scattered all about. The circulars concerning the isms of the day are handed to us on car and street. The world attractions blaze on the city highways. The movies have lengthened their reels to accommodate church and theatre alike. The Church's standards and social standards are dropping, dropping. We can only gasp as the news comes of newer and wider departures from the old fundamentals of the faith.
Is there lack of money, of organization, of attraction, of eloquence, of education, of culture, of popularity? No, NO. It all comes from no lack whatever of power without, but the lack of the living Christ within.
Truly, the atmosphere of this day is far different from the atmosphere a quarter of a century ago; but, atmosphere or no atmosphere, the Alliance has still a message in Jesus as our sanctification for the crisis of the deeper life which leads to the fullness of the Holy Ghost and fire. This fullness and fire are the greatest needs of the saints of all time, and surely today. There was darkness in Egypt that could be felt, but we read further in God's Word that Israel, at the same time, "had light in their dwellings." It was supernatural light. It was a type of the full light of the Holy Spirit for these last dark days. There is teaching today, thank God, concerning the Holy Spirit, and the setting forth of the doctrines of the Holy Spirit. The need of the hour is for this movement, with these neglected doctrines very clear, but with a method just as clear. Our doctrine must be clear; so must be a time table, but the time table and the train are not the same thing. The doctrine of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, even when believed in, is not the fullness of the Holy Spirit. There are those who preach these doctrines without seeing any one filled with the Holy Spirit, because they never even clear the decks for action with an altar service. They never even use the crisis moment at the close of their teaching for a crisis decision right where the hungry hearts are seated. God is moving freshly upon us in power, with Holy Ghost directed altar work, for clear cut decisions and definite Spirit-filling. There is great need for a revival in the Body of Christ. This revival will start and run through the Alliance ranks like fire, for we are going back to our old altar services, using the Word of God and keeping human's hands off the wrestling heart.
Jesus As Healer.
Thank God, the home-going of our founder finds us true as a Society to the doctrine and practice of Jesus as our Healer. The hem of His garment is still being touched by the hand of faith. True, the crowd around are hurling their anathemas, but He still heals. It is the great answer to Christian Science. God has brought many workers to the Alliance through miraculously healing them, and made the work a miraculous blessing in thousands of homes.
As the Wise Men followed the star, so the Alliance company of faith folk follow lovingly the Blessed Hope. It is the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. We never can stop in the forward march started by the mighty people of God to the regions beyond until we see Him face to face, since the vision of an open heaven and a descending Lord has reached our ranks.
The Alliance is going to the ends of the earth, to the last tribe and tongue because of the Great Commission and because His coming back depends upon the going out with the message to evangelize the world. This movement is following the God-given program in gathering out a people for His name. Then He will return. The Alliance heartily says, "Even so, come. Lord Jesus," but it does not say it idly at home. It is saying it from every quarter of the globe after these more than thirty years of missionary effort.
The incense from the silent graves of more than seven score of missionaries, the clarion call of their laid-down lives comes up to God in mighty tones and sweet savor, pleading His return. This call is not in sentiment but in sacrifice and service. A few more lives, a few more members of His Body gathered out from the lost, and He will come.
With a new Spirit-planned and anointed forward movement the Alliance is going to the regions beyond to bring back the King. He is still beckoning from Macedonia. Thank God that bringing back the King is not only the Blessed Hope of the Alliance, but the great business to which it has consecrated its all.
The world person who founded this Society has taken off his armor, but nothing better could be said of the fight he fought than that the ranks he commanded are still in the fight, with the same message, the same vision, the same fire and with increasing victory.
The Life of A. B. Simpson is the Official Authorised Edition by A. E. THOMPSON, M. A. with Special Chapters by Paul Rader James M. Gray, D. D. Kenneth Mackenzie, J. Gregory Mantle, D. D. F. H. Senft, B. A. R. H. Glover, M. D. W. M. Turnbull, D. D. Published by Christian Alliance Publishing Co. 318 West 39TH St., New York in 1920. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.
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Life of A.B. Simpson - C&MA
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