Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

September-October 1944

Beloved of God,

The contents of this letter will doubtless come as a shock to many of our friends, especially to those who have had personal fellowship with us in London. But as you read on, while there may remain some questions and problems, perhaps light will filter through which will help. The news is that, during the new phase of things - the "flying bomb" attack on London - our Conference Centre - house and hall - has fallen to this destructive activity, and for residence and conferences is no more. The same applies to other adjoining premises which were used for accommodation.

There is a wonderful story of simply miraculous deliverances and preservations; for while quite a number of friends were in residence, not only was there not a single life lost, but only very superficial scratches were suffered. In the cases of Mr. and Mrs. Paterson and Mr. & Mrs. Foster the house was wrecked on top of them and the rooms in which they were in bed were demolished, yet they were unharmed. Not only so, but in the days following when we have had to face a situation of devastation which might well have made the stoutest heart sick, on my arrival on the scene I found everyone most triumphant, and all in a state of spiritual ascendency. Through the days of working amidst the ruins to salvage all that was possible, we have been a "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" company. This is no small testimony to the inworking of His mighty power.

It is too early yet to forecast anything, or to say what may be the Lord's meaning in this. For some time past the Lord has been increasing His emphasis among us upon the essentially spiritual nature of His work in this dispensation, and the necessity for heavenliness in our position, relationships, and character. Only on the Lord's Day prior to this happening we were led to speak of how heavenly vision led Abraham from the solid civilisation of Chaldea and kept him in a tent. This we do not interpret to mean that the Lord will never want and use temporal things to spiritual ends, but it is perfectly consistent with the position that we have always taken that the spiritual must always eclipse the material. We hold earthly things very lightly, and whether or not we are able to resume in a new Conference Centre in London, we are glad that with us there is such an extensive and strong spiritual ministry and testimony that we do not feel that real values need be affected by such happenings as these. We were given the text at the head of this letter as the motto for this year, not knowing then what was before us, but it is now coming into its own, and it is true!

We have to see in His time what the Lord's major thought is in allowing what has happened. Through four years, and at times when destruction approached to within a few yards, the whole place has been marvellously preserved. But now His time has come for a suspension of activities there. It may mean that He desires a change in form or location. It may be unto expansion; or it may be something quite unimagined; but of this we are sure, it will prove to be the working of the law of the grain of wheat: life out of death; gain out of loss. It will be increase in some most essential form. So we wait and watch.

Some practical points immediately arise; others will appear as time brings new situations. In the meantime,
1. Conferences at that Centre will be suspended indefinitely.
2. All communications should be addressed to me at Kilcreggan.
3. Patience will be shown by our friends if any delays occur. (All the literature and printing-room equipment is safe, and it is only a matter of transferring the former, with office equipment, as may be necessary).
4. The local assembly will continue to meet in the basement of the old "Centre".

There is nothing definite upon which to build such expectation at present, but it may very well be that the Lord is purposing to have the coming Winter months occupied with wider ministry, rather than centralised or localised; and who knows but that it might be very wide, to the countries abroad which are a continuous burden upon our hearts? During the War years while travelling abroad has been impossible, there has been a very real preparation in various ways for such ministry, and many in various countries have come to reach out strongly for the ministry with which the Lord has entrusted us. There is no doubt that a very deep movement is taking place in many hearts and many places, with a growing consciousness that the general Christian system, and very largely, the evangelical bodies have not the spiritual food that is necessary to real spiritual maturity. Reality and fulness are becoming a growing demand, and we know of very many who are deeply disappointed with the "measure" that is in the churches and organisations. "Revival" in the sense in which that idea is generally held is not the need, but a return to, or recovery of, the true revelation of God's order, method, and purpose.

You will be praying over all this, and for us at this time, that we may see the way of His meaning in "the things which have happened".

Yours in the fellowship of His Son,

T. Austin-Sparks

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