Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

January-February 1965

This issue of the little paper sees the beginning of Volume 43, and a new year. It provides the opportunity for reflection upon this ministry; some recapitulation, some reflection; and some contemplation. But first, a note of warm gratitude for all the spiritual and temporal support given so generously by so many for longer and shorter periods of time. We have often remarked that, in view of much opposition - Satanic and human - and many forms of difficulty, it would not have been possible to continue this unbroken course of ministry without the very real help of the Lord and the co-operation of His people. So, we - at this time - lay a fresh tribute of gratitude at His feet, and an expression of real thankfulness at the door of our faithful friends. We would like to say that we truly wish for you very large blessing in the new year.

The reiterative word at this time is just a reaffirmation of the nature and purpose of this ministry. It remains wholly true to the statement inside the front cover page. [see below] There is no conceit or spiritual pride bound up with this ministry; that is, we have no ideas or illusions that it is either unique or more important than other ministries. The Lord is doing many important things for both unsaved and saved and it would be most abhorrent to be selective when anything is really under His blessing. Everything truly of God is relative, not absolute. The dictionary says that 'relative' means 'dependent on, or related to something else; not absolute'.

That is the most that we would hope or claim for this ministry. It is complementary and auxiliary. No sect or separate body of Christians stands behind it to give it the character of a 'Movement'. Our idea or motive is definitely not to form groups or companies of people around a special teaching. This is a ministry to all of God's people, and while it is true that life - spiritual, human, animal, or vegetable - will inevitably take form, we still stand to it that it is not for man to make that form, but that it shall just be the spontaneous obedience to its own laws of life. While it may seem a bit idealistic, we feel that any true expression of what is constituted and governed by the Holy Spirit will have every aspect of Divine truth and function present and active. Toward that "Fulness of Christ" we pray that this ministry may make a vital contribution. We would that it could help the Apostle, the Prophet, the Evangelist, the Pastor and Teacher, in some measure at least.

But having said that, no one who knows this ministry will call it just general, indefinite, nondescript, and characterless. It has a very definite object and character. There is so much of spiritual tragedy in Christian life and work, due to inadequate foundation and edification. The tragic loss in so many cases and in so much earnest effort is so largely due to what is called 'Follow up', or the absence of it. There is a gap which spells leakage and waste. There is a superficiality which means lack of stamina under strain. There is ignorance which means confusion in crises. There is a testing which sees much "wood, hay and stubble" going up in smoke. It is to meet such needs that we have a real burden, and it is a need, a pathetic need!

As to prospect and hope. Again we have no illusions. We do not know how much longer we may have for the fulfilment of our given piece of work. Everything in the world is so uncertain and ominous. The need for the Lord to come, and come quickly, grows every day. But this only means that we must be the more about His business. If you feel that this ministry is needed, please do all that you can to help it by prayer. We are asking the Lord that we may see a great reduction of the literature stocks, making it imperative that we keep our printers very busy with reprinting the existing, and the production of the so much more that we have, but has not yet been produced. We do nothing to advertise. We have no commercial representatives. We make no profits. We pray, and trust that - as it has been from our beginnings - the growth will be spontaneous, not of our own natural strength, but "of God". Will you pray with us?

His blessing be abundantly yours.


Text from inside front cover of magazine:

The object of the ministry of this little paper, issued bi-monthly, is to contribute to the Divine end which is presented in the words of Ephesians 4:13 - "...till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge (literally - full knowledge) of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we be no longer children..."

It is not connected with any 'Movement', 'Organization', 'Mission' or separate body of Christians, but is just a ministry to "all saints". Its going forth is with the prayer and hope that it will so result in a fuller measure of Christ, a richer and higher level of spiritual life, that, while bringing the Church of God into a growing approximation to His revealed will as to its 'attainment', the Church may be better qualified to be used of Him in testimony in the nations, and to the completing of its own number by the salvation of those yet to be added by the Lord.

This ministry is maintained by the Lord through the stewardship of those who value it. There is no 'subscription', but gifts can be sent to the Editor... The paper is sent only to those who personally desire it, and we count on friends to advise us if this is no longer the case, or if they change their address.

In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks' wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statement included.