Editor's Letters
by T. Austin-Sparks

January-February 1962

TO OUR READERS

Dear Friends,

With this issue this little ship enters the fortieth year of its voyage. And what a forty years it has been! If storms from every quarter could have caused this barque to founder, it ought to have done so long ago. War, with all its features, raging right on to the very premises where it is printed: paper and all other commodities in short supply: sickness, and losses of fellow-workers: and almost bewildering opposition from spiritual and human forces, and much more, could so easily have resulted in cessation of production. But through all - a tremendous 'all' - not one issue has failed to go forth, and that to many countries. Survival alone would have been a miracle, but to be able to speak of growth, increase, and expansion, right up to date, does - to those who know best - speak of the wonderful power and grace of God. The full story will never be known this side of Heaven, but what is known is something which rightly provokes this testimony to His praise. We wonder whether - in the light of all that we know - even Paul had a monopoly of Divine support when he said: "Having received the help which cometh from God, we continue unto this day". If the Lord has needed any help from us, we feel that all that we have ever given has been a deep sense of dependence upon Him. For the rest, it is all of His grace.

And yet, we do recognize the faithful and sympathetic fellowship that we have had, and still do have, from the family of appreciative readers. If we can speak of the Lord's help, we can truly say that no small degree of it has come through His faithful fellow-workers over so wide a range. If you look through the 'Acknowledgment' columns for a single year you will realise that this is not an exaggerated testimony.

We are not out of the storms yet. The cost and conflict do not lessen and fresh winds of adversity are constantly blowing. But we realise that, if our sails of faith are rightly set, even adverse winds can be made to carry us forward.

But what is it all about? What is the function of this little and unpretentious paper? There are numerous magazines and journals in Christianity. Most of them have their own purpose: some for specialized teaching or doctrine; some for prophetic interpretation; some - very many - for missionary enterprise, propaganda and information; some are of a more general character, and so on.

But what is the function of this one if it is not just one more to the so many? So often in these pages one phrase from the Apostle Paul has been employed to indicate the particular purpose and special nature of this instrument - it is - "Having this ministry" - "This ministry". And, not detached from the context, but explained by it, we testify - "God... hath shined into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

It is the revelation of the significance of Jesus Christ in God's universe. The context speaks of "God, who said, let light be". Just as the Sun is the centre of the solar system and the source of all its light, life, and energy, so Christ is the Divine Centre of the spiritual universe, governing all things and giving light, life, power, and purpose to all in that sphere.

Yes, it is the absolute ascendency and victory of Christ, and His filling of all things which is "This ministry". The implications of this, and its ministration in the power of the Holy Spirit constitute a universal challenge and provoke every kind and quarter of antagonism. It is to "the testimony of Jesus" that God is committed, and, although the opposition may be very great, the vindication is with the Lord.

As we move on into another year of "This ministry" we count on your prayers and loyal standing with us in the battle.

The Lord make it the greatest year ever for you and for us, and, oh, that it might see 'His appearing'!

Yours in His grace,
T. AUSTIN-SPARKS

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