Editor's Letters
by T. Austin-Sparks

January-February 1955

Beloved fellow-members of Christ,

With this first issue of another year, I want, on my own behalf and on that of all my fellow-workers, to send you warmest greetings, and to thank you most warmly for all your loving and helpful fellowship during the year now past.

This year has been outstanding in our history. On the one hand we have known very much Divine blessing. There has been constant growth in every way. More unsaved people have come to the Lord in our midst and through ministries out from here than in any previous year. The gatherings, both weekly and at the special times, have been larger than ever. A specially blessed feature is the large proportion of young people with us all the time.

Much life has characterized every part of the work. The output of, and demand for, the literature have increased considerably. There have been many outgoing ministries: to colleges, hospitals (medical Christian unions) and schools, and to other countries. The number of different countries represented at our 'Conference' times is always most impressive. All this, and more, without any 'attractions', 'entertainments', advertisements or propaganda: just a seeking to exalt the Lord Jesus and to make His fulness known.

This is written for two purposes only: one, to draw out praise to our Lord; and two, to encourage you to continue to pray.

There is another side to the story, but we have no desire to dwell upon it or to give details. Suffice it just to say that never in our history have we known so much opposition of every kind. Spiritually, the pressure has sometimes almost reached the limit of endurance. Opposition, in the form of misunderstanding leading to suspicion, misrepresentation and positive antagonism, has seemed to reach such dimensions and violence as to be intended to bring this ministry to an end.

When we were given our motto for 1954 - "THE LORD IS GREATER THAN ALL" - we little thought how great that "all" would be. But He has been faithful, and the motto for 1955 is born of that true experience - "JESUS HIMSELF... WENT WITH THEM". We go into the new year with this confidence, and believe that, although it may be a year of testing, we shall know that His presence is sure salvation.

We want to reaffirm that the sole object of this ministry is that of bringing our Lord Jesus into the fulness of His inheritance, and of bringing His Church into its inheritance in Him. It is intended to be a wholly spiritual ministry. We have no desire to set up or maintain any particular or separate 'movement' or 'sect'. We have no vested interests in this work, and when the Lord shows us that the purpose for which He brought it into being is fulfilled we shall have no difficulty in letting go. Our continuance, growth and sustenance over these years is not due to any effort of ours, but - we believe - because the Lord has had a use for such a ministry, and this is all we want.

We covet your prayers, dear friends, and are always grateful for your fellowship.

In a time when, because of the grave and terrible threat to the very destiny of the peoples of the earth, statesmen and responsible persons are wearing themselves out to find some way of mutual understanding and co-existence, should we not pray that - with a much more solemn issue in view - all the Lord's people, and responsible leaders in particular, may make a corresponding effort to destroy the spreading and intensifying work of Satan, as he seeks to divide the people of God, by pouring out clouds of suspicion and fear.

The greatest menace to his kingdom is a united people of God, and he will stop at nothing to put that beyond possibility. We must seek to meet on the ground of Christ - not movements, institutions, teachings, but just that we are His.

When He comes, that is the only thing that will go through and abide. It would be a glorious thing if this should be the year of His appearing! Let us remember our own part in "hastening" that day - to be prepared ourselves, and to labour that there shall be "a people prepared for the Lord".

Again, we greet you, and send you our love in Christ.

Yours in that "Blessed hope",
T. AUSTIN-SPARKS.

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