Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

September-October 1940

Beloved of the Lord,

We do not know how many further issues of the "Witness and Testimony" will be possible, or whether this may be the last, at least for a time. Many parts of the world to which it has been going for some years are now closed to this ministry, and others are threatened. We want to say, then, at once, that we recognise that, as with everything else which has been related to the Lord, now is the time when the one crucial test is being pressed home. How much of all that we have is just teaching and interpretation; and how much is the Lord Himself, and of practical working value? To our readers we would like to say again that the great fact of the oneness of the Body, to which we have testified, and for which we have stood, will be our ground when all outward communications and ministries cease. We shall all the time be ministering to you all by prayer and supplication, and we shall seek to stand with you in spirit for your triumph in the testing days. Truly we are seeing a development of the 'overturning, overturning', but we know that it is said that this will be God's act "until he comes whose right it is".

This letter will come to a great number of our friends further West than England, and to them I would just say this. If what is taking place on the earth today is something more than "European political strike"; that is, if it is related definitely to the close of the dispensation, and is a part of the final Satanic battle for the domination of this world through antichrist (not necessarily any man at present in view) then you cannot keep out of it, you must become involved. It therefore becomes of the utmost importance that, before conditions arise which will make it so difficult to secure true spiritual ground, you - with us - should examine your foundation to be sure that it is the Lord Himself Who is your life and Everything, and not Christianity in any one or more of its mere externals. The one thing which has governed our ministry and been the principle of all our goings throughout these years has been the fact - as we believe it to be - that in the dispensation commencing at "Pentecost" and ending with the Lord's return, all the Divine interests and activities are spiritual; not temporal, earthly, nor merely visible. His object is to make spiritual people of believers; a spiritual church, a spiritual ministry, with a glorious spiritual consummation in rapture and the receiving of a spiritual body. Only what is spiritually the measure of Christ will abide. Hence it is gratifying to us that we have so little of the material and temporal side of Christian work to lose when the test sets in. The blessing of the Lord upon any temporal means is only on the basis of its spiritual fruitfulness. But, we believe that as we get nearer to the end the Lord will be more direct and seek to reach His spiritual purpose by allowing the means to be set aside, and spirituality be our immediate matter. We leave this with you as something to consider in the light of what is happening in so great a part of the world.

Not what we have done or may do, not what we know of Christian truth, but the measure of Christ is ultimately the criterion with God.

The Lord give us all grace to abide in Him when all things crash around us.

Yours in Him Who is Faithful and True,

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.