Editor's Letters
by T. Austin-Sparks

November-December 1967

With this issue of A Witness and A Testimony we conclude the forty-fifth year of its ministry. In doing so, and reviewing that considerable period, we - in the words of a greater servant of Christ - "are bound to give thanks". "Not by might, nor by power..." But "having received the help which comes from God, we continue unto this day". There is no room for boasting, neither is there elation. Rather is it wonder and humiliation. Indeed, we have to confess to real surprise. Not just survival, but right up to date - this very year - the unsolicited demand for the little paper and related books is increasing. The Lord alone knows the depths of the waters through which He has brought us!

Perhaps it will not be amiss if we make a precis of the nature and purpose of the ministry which we believe was God's purpose in bringing this instrument into being. It can be tabulated in a four-fold relatedness.

1. The eternal counsels of God, firstly in relation to His Son, who became Jesus, the Christ, our Lord. The superlative and transcendent place and greatness of God's Son in the counsels of God from everlasting to everlasting. We have been extended far beyond our ability in seeking to convey to our hearers and readers the Greatness of Christ, and to indicate His significance in God's universe.

2. The greatness of man in those thoughts of God. "What is man?" has remained an unanswered question as to its fullness in God's purpose concerning him. With all his "Fall" and depravity; his ruin and evil propensities, he still remains a conception of God for glory, honour, and dominion over "the inhabited earth to come". This is not "Humanism", the antichrist counterfeit of God's thought.

3. The greatness of the Church; the "one new man", the complement of Christ. We have given much time and space to trying to show the true nature and vocation of this elect Body of Christ; its present out-calling and preparation, and its glorious destiny and function in the ages to come. What the Word calls "a glorious Church".

4. The greatness of the Cross, by which Christ gains His pre-eminence of victory. By which alone man - redeemed man - can reach his purposed nature, glory, honour, and dominion. By which the Church can attain to its "Eternal purpose".

We could add a fifth feature to these four magnitudes of Divine revelation, which has had to be mentioned in this ministry: it is the great warfare. Not because we are interested in Satan and his evil hosts, and certainly not because we want to keep him and them in a foremost place - God forbid! - but because he is a reality and his sinister shadow lies across the history of God's ways and purposes. The arch-enemy of God and His Son; of man according to God's intention; and of the Church as the elect vessel of Divine fulfilment to supplant that evil kingdom.

If these are the realities of God's eternal counsels, and if ministry concerning this has - in a small way - been entrusted to us, it is not to be wondered at if this adversary has done a good deal to discredit, injure, limit, and malign both ministry and its instruments.

No, there is no pride nor boasting. This ship of ministry is not likely to be top-heavy with pride. The ballast of adversity is sufficient to safeguard that. With renewed earnestness we seek the prayers of those who have any sense of value in this ministry that, neither by over-pressure nor by subtle seduction, may we be turned from truth and purity, strength and faithfulness until the Lord says "It is enough".

We did seek your prayers in relation to the two conferences, in Maryland (U.S.A.) and Aeschi (Switzerland), and we can report that these were times of spiritual strength and blessing.

Many of our readers will have known, either by name or in person, our brother Harrison, who has been with us in this ministry for quite a number of years, and for the past ten years has been in Los Angeles. The Lord has called him away suddenly, and the ministry is that much short of a valued servant. The Lord graciously make good this real loss.

T. AUSTIN-SPARKS,
Editor.

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