First published by Christian Publications, Inc., 3825 Hartzdale Drive,Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011 Republished by www.kneillfoster.com in 2005. K. Neill Foster, Publisher. Paul L. King, Editor. A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice.
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#1 CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE INDEX
1) THE PUBLISHER ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
2) THE EDITOR ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
3) A.W. TOZER ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY--"DECLINE OF THE CLASSICS"
4) E.M. BOUNDS ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY--"HOLD TO THE OLD TRUTHS"
5) A.B. SIMPSON ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY--"ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS"
6) RECOMMENDED READING: HEALING: THE THREE GREAT CLASSICS
7) ANDREW MURRAY ON "HEALING AND HOLINESS"
8) J. HUDSON TAYLOR ON "THE SUPERNATURAL"
9) CHARLES SPURGEON ON "THE SECRET OF POWER IN PRAYER"
10) GEORGE MUELLER ON "STRENGTHENING OUR FAITH"
11) RECOMMENDED READING: BINDING AND LOOSING
12) EARLY CHURCH FATHER MINUCIUS ON "SUFFERING AS WARFARE"
13) OSWALD CHAMBERS ON "DISCERNING IMPRESSIONS"
14) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
15) LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
1) THE PUBLISHER ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
An e-zine for CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY? Yes. In fact, sure. The idea grew on me till I checked legally to see if anyone had reserved the name. Some use had been made of the name but it was still available for a purpose like this. So now, it ours to use.
And why CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY? Focused as it is upon evangelical writers from the last 200 years or so, all safely dead (the living do embarrass us sometimes), it is a reach back. I will admit that part of the motive is somewhat nostalgic. There is a reach back as well for more solid times, and for discernment in this frothy age. Without knowing it, I provided part of the rationale for CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY back in 1981 in a book on discernment:
This will be surprising to some of my readers, but it is true nevertheless. Discernment comes by experience. That is why an adage "Experience is the best teacher" has had such a long life. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:14). Discernment comes with time. Trial and error. Age and experience. [CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY, ANYONE?] That is why Paul went about ordaining elders, not "youngers." That is why gray hair is one of the indicators of discernment. (K. Neill Foster, THE DISCERNING CHRISTIAN. Christian Publications, Inc. Camp Hill, PA, 1981, p. 69)
The impedance of historical drift is another motive. Looking back shows us where we were and how far we may have drifted. Reasons enough for a new e-zine on a theme we already know is a hot-button subject. Welcome to what we fully expect will be an exciting ride.
2) THE EDITOR ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
Hi! My name is Paul King, the editor of this new e-zine. I have always enjoyed classic authors, and I hope you do too. We will focus primarily on classic Christian leaders of the past two centuries, as well as periodic gems from earlier writers or church fathers. They have a richness and depth of spirituality not often recognized or appreciated by Christians today. Have you ever wondered, with so many conflicting contemporary teachings regarding such issues as faith, prayer, healing, holiness, the Holy Spirit, the supernatural, etc., how are we to know what is sound doctrine and practice and what is not? Again and again I have gone back to classic writers who built their faith and teaching on the Word of God, often in fiery trials. And so I commend them to you.
There has been much emphasis on the new things God is doing. And He has been doing many new things. But the new must not be detached from the old. The new things God is doing are based on the foundation of what He has already declared and done. The word we need to hear today is: "This is what the Lord says, 'Stand at the crossroads and look: ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.' " (Jeremiah 6:16). Listen to what eternal truths these sages of the old paths, the good way, have to say to us today.
Note: Some of the language may be updated in current language, paraphrased for clearer understanding or condensed for space. Where the language has been changed, brackets [ ] are used. Please let us know what topics and issues you want to hear about from these classic men and women of God.
3) A.W. TOZER (1897-1963) ON CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY--"DECLINE OF THE CLASSICS"
The people of God should run to [great spiritual classics] as a thirsting stag runs to bury his muzzle in the cooling stream. Actually only a relatively few welcome them. Most Christians find them dull, and even though they may buy them, they seldom look into them, and wonder how they got their reputation as religious masterworks.
Why is this? Why do the majority of present-day Christians prefer shallow religious fiction? Or uninspired Bible talks that never get beyond the "first principles"? Or one-page daily devotions? Or water-downed Christian biography? I think the reasons are two:
First, present day evangelical Christianity is not producing saints. . . . To come to our devotions straight from carnal or worldly interests is to make it impossible to relish the deep, sweet thoughts found in the great books we are discussing here. We must know their heart-language, must vibrate in harmony with them, must share their inward experiences or they will mean nothing to us. Because we are too often strangers to their spiritual mood, we are unable to profit by them. . . .
Secondly, people are unable to appreciate the great spiritual classics because they are trying to understand them while having no intention to obey them. . . . There need only be genuine faith in Christ, complete separation from the world and eager cleaving unto God and a willingness to die to self and carry the cross, and the Holy Spirit will introduce His people to each other across the centuries and teach them.
A.W. Tozer, THE SIZE OF THE SOUL (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1992), 48-49.
4) E.M. BOUNDS (1835-1913) ON CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY --"HOLDING TO THE OLD TRUTHS"
It is not new truth that the world needs, so much as the constant [re]iteration of old truths, yet ever new truths, of the Bible. . . .
The great truths of revelation are neither able to preach nor defend themselves. They must have soldier preachers who proclaim and defend them. They have never conquered as silent force, they have never won as a reserve corps. They are not only to be declared, but put in the front as veteran legions on whose action are staked the empire of God's truth, not as an occasional force, but in the fiercest and most decisive conflict. These are the trained legions that win on every field God's victories. It is the failure, in season and out of season, to proclaim these great doctrines that accounts for their fading from sight and from faith. Every doctrine of the Bible that is not continually preached dies out of the faith of the people. Our fathers had to fight for every inch of ground on which they advanced these great truths, and this age requires a loyal and militant campaign for God's great truths. An unsheathed sword is the only preserver and defender of God's truth. The truth of God will flourish and conquer if its preachers have faith to boldly proclaim and courage to fight for it without compromise or wavering. --CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE, Dec. 20, 1890
Hold to the old truths--double distilled [refined].--postcard, June 26, 1913, shortly before his death.
Lyle Wesley Dorsett, E.M. BOUNDS: MAN OF PRAYER (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 62, 72, 74-75.
5) A.B. SIMPSON (1844-1919) ON CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY--"ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS"
One great asset of our work is the Divine Word of inspired truth, and the special testimony and message which we have been called to maintain. We are not originators of truth. We are not sent to formulate a new gospel or a new theology. Rather we are to "stand . . . in the ways, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest to your souls."
A.B. Simpson, quoted in THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY, December 27, 1941, 826.
While all inspired truth is necessary and important yet there are certain truths which God emphasizes at certain times. He is ever speaking to the age and generation, and He never speaks at random, but always to the point and to the times. . . .
And so from age to age God speaks the special message most needed, so that there is always some portion of divine truth which might properly be called present truth, God's message to the times.
A.B. Simpson, PRESENT TRUTHS OR THE SUPERNATURAL (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1967), 9, 10.
6) RECOMMENDED READING:
HEALING: The Three Great Classics on Divine Healing
Andrew Murray/A.J. Gordon/A.B. Simpson
375 pages, Hardcover
How do you answer the big question about divine healing? HEALING presents a balanced, biblical response as it answers the most frequently asked questions on the subject, offers help to those who are suffering, provides solid scriptural truth for those in lay and pastoral leadership, deals with the relationship between sin and sickness and points out how to recognize false healing brought about by the adversary.
A SAMPLING OF CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
7) ANDREW MURRAY (1828-1917) ON "HEALING AND HOLINESS"
Oh, that we could learn to believe in the promise of God! God does not go back on His promise. Jesus still heals both soul and body. Even now, salvation offers us healing and holiness, and the Holy Spirit is always ready to give us some manifestations of His power. When we ask why this divine power is not seen more often, He answers us, "Because of your unbelief."
The more we allow ourselves to personally experience sanctification by faith, the more we also experience healing by faith. These two doctrines walk together. The more the Spirit of God lives and acts in the soul of believers, the more miracles He will work in the body. By this, the world will recognize what redemption means.
Andrew Murray, DIVINE HEALING (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1982), 9, 10.
8) J. HUDSON TAYLOR (1832-1905) ON "THE SUPERNATURAL"
We are a supernatural people born again by a supernatural birth, kept by a supernatural power, sustained on supernatural food, taught by a supernatural Teacher from a supernatural Book. We are led by a supernatural Captain in right paths to assured victories.
J. Hudson Taylor, message at the Ecumenical Missionary conference, New York, NY, April, 1900. Quoted by Andrew Murray in KEY TO THE MISSIONARY PROBLEM, contemporized by Leona F. Choy (Ft. Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1979), 88.
9) CHARLES SPURGEON (1834-1893) ON "THE SECRET OF POWER IN PRAYER"
The gifts of grace are not enjoyed all at once by believers. Coming unto Christ, we are saved by a true union with him; but it is by abiding in that union that we further receive the purity, the joy, the power, the blessedness, which are stored up in him for his people. See how our Lord states this when he speaks to the believing Jews [in John 8:31-32], "If ye continue in my word, then ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" [KJV]. We do not know all the truth at once: we learn it by abiding in Jesus. Perseverance in grace is an educational process by which we learn the truth fully. The emancipating power of that truth is also gradually perceived and enjoyed.
. . . One bond after another snaps, and we are free indeed. . . . There are these degrees of attainment among believers, and the Savior here incites us to reach a high position by mentioning a certain privilege which is not for all who say that they are in Christ, but for those only who are abiders in Him. Every believer should be an abider, but many have hardly earned the name as yet. Jesus says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." You have to live with Christ to know him, and the longer you live with Him, the more will you admire and adore Him.
Charles Spurgeon, "The Secret of Power in Prayer," THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE PULPIT, 32:2002, Jan. 8, 1888 (Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library, n.d.), 1, 2.
10) GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898) ON "STRENGTHENING OUR FAITH"
How [may we strengthen our faith]? The answer is this: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17, KJV). As the increase of faith is a good gift, it must come from God, and therefore we ought to ask Him for this blessing. [We should use the following means]:
1) The careful reading of the Word of God, combined with meditation on it.
2) [In order to grow] in every grace of the Spirit, it is [vitally important] that we seek to maintain an upright heart and a good conscience, and therefore do not knowingly and habitually indulge in those things which are contrary to the mind of God. So it is also particularly the case [in order to grow] in faith.
3) If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried and therefore, through the trial, be strengthened.
4) Let God work for us, when the hour of the trial of our faith comes, and do not [attempt to] work a deliverance of our own.
George Mueller, quoted by Roger Steer, SPIRITUAL SECRETS OF GEORGE MULLER (Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers and Robesonia, PA: OMF Books, 1985), 76-78.
11) RECOMMENDED READING:
BINDING AND LOOSING: Exercising Authority over the Dark Powers
K. Neill Foster with Paul L. King, 352 Pages, Softcover, 1-800-233-4443
What has been written about exercising authority over the dark power in the Bible, in history and in present times? Although the subject is frequently referenced in Scripture, very little has been written about binding and loosing. In this groundbreaking volume, popularly written within an academic framework, Foster and King trace the history of the doctrine from the Old Testament to the Early Church Fathers, the Reformers and the past 150 years to the present. Thoroughly documented.
"BINDING AND LOOSING has the potential to open up a new dimension of life and ministry for all God's people."
-- Dr. Timothy Warner, author, SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Victory over the Powers of This Dark World
12) EARLY CHURCH FATHER MINUCIUS FELIX (c. 210) ON "SUFFERING IS WARFARE"
Impure spirits. . . . feign diseases, alarm the minds, strain the arms and legs . . . . [The fact] that we feel and suffer the human troubles of the body is not punishment--it is warfare. For [courage] is strengthened by infirmities, and affliction is very often the discipline of virtue. In addition, strength both of mind and of body grows inert without the exercise of struggle . . . . But in adversity God gazes into and searches out each one; He weighs the disposition of every individual in dangers, even to death at last; He investigates the will of man, certain that to Him nothing can perish. Therefore, as gold is refined by the fires, so are we declared by critical moments . . . . How beautiful is the spectacle to God when a Christian does battle with pain.
Minucius Felix, "The Octavius of Minucius Felix," Chapter 27, ANTE-NICENE FATHERS, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979), 189-190.
13) OSWALD CHAMBERS (1874-1917) ON "DISCERNING IMPRESSIONS"
Beware of using the phrase "Yield, give up your will." Be perfectly certain to whom you are yielding. No one has any right to yield himself to any impression or to any influence or impulse; when you yield, you are susceptible to all kinds of supernatural powers and influences. There is only one Being to whom you must yield, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ; but be sure it is the Lord Jesus Christ to whom you yield. In religious meetings it is the impressionable people who are the dangerous people. When you get that type of nature to deal with, pray as you never prayed, watch as you never watched, and travail in communion as you never travailed in communion, because the soul that is inclined to be a medium between any supernatural forces and himself will nearly always be caught up by the supernatural forces belonging to Satan instead of by God. . . . Beware of impressions and impulses unless they wed themselves to the standards given by Jesus Christ.
Oswald Chambers, BIBLICAL PSYCHOLOGY (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1962, 1995), 144-145.
14) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: What makes a writer classic? A: 1) He demonstrates a standard of excellence and spiritual depth; 2) He is authoritative. To paraphrase a popular commercial: "When a classic writer speaks, people who are seeking God listen!" 3) His works are enduring-they have been published and republished. They are timely and timeless. (Adapted from Webster's Dictionary).
Q: What other classic writers will be featured? A:Evangelical and holiness leaders since 1800--R.A. Torrey, A.J. Gordon, Hannah Whitall Smith, Mrs. Charles Cowman; George B. Watson, John A. MacMillan, Amy Carmichael, F.B. Meyer, A.T. Pierson, Charles Finney, Watchman Nee, Jessie Penn-Lewis, G. Campbell Morgan, and the list goes on and on!
15) LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Send in your comments and your questions. Please keep your comments brief.
VOL. I, ISSUE 1, April 1, 1999. Published every other month 2/1; 4/1; 6/1; 8/1; 10/1; 12/1. Archives on www.kneillfoster.com.
Copyright 1999, Christian Publications, Inc. Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.