Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Thursday, September 4, 2008

T. Austin-Sparks

There are a number of Christian writers and ministers who have influenced me throughout my life. Some years ago I went through a "dead writers" phase with another missionary while living in Hong Kong. By dead writers, I mean I would only read the writings of teachers who had passed away. The logic behind it was that writers who had passed away and still had an audience had "stood the test of time" Their teachings were not the "fly by night" writings of thousands of books that line the impulse purchase tables at the latest Christian convention. No, THESE were the respected writings of the great pillars of the faith who had gone before.

Of course, then you develop cocky arrogance as you look down your nose at people who DO buy "pulp" Christian teachings...and then the Holy Spirit has to come in and give you a spiritual spanking and...well, OK you get the point.


Lately I have been drawn back to the writings of one of these pillars of the faith. If you have never heard of T. Austin-Sparks or read any of his books, I encourage you to do so immediately. T. Austin-Sparks was a British evangelist who was born in 1888. He published the bi-monthly magazine A Witness and a Testimony from 1923 until his death in 1971 and his teaching ministry brought the Gospel of Christ across the globe.

During my personal prayer times this week I have been reading from his pamphlet, The Alter (The Cross) Governs Everything

"A truly crucified people are never in danger of the world. It is only when the Cross has not done its work that the world has a place. The world has no place with a crucified man or woman, or a crucified company of believers. The Cross is the great defensive against the world. If you want to keep the world out, put the Cross in its place. If the Cross is truly in its place in fulness, then everything else will come into order"

I find as I read this, the things that I thought were important burn away and are replaced by what is truly important. The Cross of Christ is a refining fire that will transform us if we let it.

Anyhow, if you want to check out some more Sparks, I encourage you to visit the online library and resource page http://www.austin-sparks.net/

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