This website, Austin-Sparks.net, was created in September 2001 by a husband and wife team living in Wellington, New Zealand. Our intention was to make available the complete original works of Theodore Austin-Sparks on the internet. While we are physically located in New Zealand, the website is hosted on a server in Florida, USA to provide faster access to the site for the majority of website visitors.
In mid 2001 when visiting the USA and staying with friends, we were shown three books by T. Austin-Sparks, published by Emmanuel Church. We promptly wrote to Emmanuel Church in Tulsa, OK, to request the titles. The books confirmed what God had done and was doing in our lives and we wanted to read more. Upon returning to NZ, we looked on the world wide web for Theodore Austin-Sparks messages. We were very disappointed to find almost nothing by him online.
A few months later Emmanuel Church sent us a box of books by Theodore Austin-Sparks. The more we read, the more we were overwhelmed by the immense treasure and worth of the messages. We were surprised that we had found so little available on our searches on the web, so we wondered about making them available to others on a dedicated website. We mentioned this to Emmanuel Church who responded, "Please feel free to do whatever the Spirit leads you to do with the writings". And so Austin-Sparks.net was born! We began scanning and digitising books and articles and putting them onto the website in November 2001.
Emmanuel Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma still publish a number of titles by T. Austin-Sparks. The Golden Candlestick Trust also publishes original works by T. Austin-Sparks each quarter. Austin-Sparks.net is not formally affiliated with these groups, however, we deeply appreciate their work and do co-ordinate our work with them to ensure that T. Austin-Sparks' material continues to be available to Christians around the world.
Since the website's inception, we have been keenly aware that one of the dangers of anything that is of true heavenly value, is for the earthly to touch and associate itself with it. In view of this, we have sought to be anonymous on this website. It is not important who is doing the work, and we echo the sentiments of what TAS himself wrote in this regard in what he called a "Special Note":
It has always been our desire to make the ministry through this little medium available to all of the Lord's people; not regarding it as our personal property. "Freely ye have received, freely give" has been our principle.
Where we have felt we could do so we have granted, on request, permission to reproduce messages in other magazines. But we have come up against a difficulty, and are finding ourselves being seriously misunderstood by some of our friends. The messages have been embodied in magazines which have a particular 'ism' which is of doubtful rightness, and sometimes, harmful influence.
We just want to say to all of our readers that while those who use these messages usually do so in sincerity and because they feel their spiritual value, it must not be concluded that we accept the particular teaching which these dear people propagate. In some cases we would strongly repudiate the interpretation. In some cases we have had to request that our name should not be associated with their teaching.
If you have any doubts, you can let us know, and we will do our best to answer any enquiry.
(From: "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Jul-Aug 1963, Vol. 41-4.)
We have seen some who have used the name and messages of Mr Austin-Sparks to endorse and inflate their own reputation or "ministry", and even benefit financially from selling his messages. TAS would have "strongly repudiated" this and distanced himself from such behaviour. As developers of the website, we also do not support commercial exploitation of his messages.
Austin-Sparks.Net makes the works of T. Austin-Sparks available in a range of forms. This includes over 350 audio messages in MP3 format, copies of the original A Witness and A Testimony magazines in Searchable PDF format, and republished articles and books. Virtually all of the original messages by T. Austin-Sparks that were published either in his "A Witness and A Testimony" magazines or in pamphlets and books under the Witness and Testimony Trust, are now available in various formats on this website.
PDFs are provided for easy printing of articles and books for personal use. E-books in ePub and Mobi formats are available for reading on portable readers from the website as well as from Apple, Kobo and Amazon. Please note that Amazon.com requires a minimum fee of US 99 cents each (from which Austin-Sparks.Net receives a royalty of 35%). Amazon.com does not allow us to publish works free of charge. To offset this, in the description section of each book on Amazon, we have drawn attention to the fact that the book can be downloaded for free on Austin-Sparks.net. Note that royalties contribute only towards the costs of hosting the website.
Austin-Sparks.net endeavours to provide a duplicate of the original text wherever possible. Editing is limited to correcting punctuation and misspelled words, translating Roman numerals (some folk can't read them), breaking up long paragraphs or sentences that reduce readability, and on rare occasions inserting small words if they are obviously missing (such as "the", "and", "in", "is") to improve readability. Some of the audio messages are distorted or the quality is poor, so if a word is not clear in the original message and we have to guess, we put these words in [square] brackets to make this clear.
Some more recent publications were prepared in American English, but where the original is available in UK English, the original form of spelling and punctuation is retained as this was what Mr Austin-Sparks requested. When the website was first put together, words in italics were changed to capitals due to italics not showing up in email at the time. Capitalisation will be returned to italics as time permits.
Where multiple versions of a work exist, we prioritise making available the final version of a work that was edited by T. Austin-Sparks himself. As time allows, other earlier versions of the material will also be made available. We will only use material edited by other parties when the originals are not available to us. We have sourced material edited directly by Mr Austin-Sparks himself wherever possible. Where only secondary sources are available, the source is referenced. All messages that say "Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust" are from the Netherlands and are likely to have been edited, as the source was generally hand written material by T. Austin-Sparks himself.
The Daily Open Windows messages are an exception. Excerpts have been taken from a wide range of T. Austin-Sparks' works. The excerpts are unedited, but selected Bible passages (drawn from various translations) have been included to accompany the excerpts. Selection of verses was mostly by Austin-Sparks.net and not T. Austin-Sparks. Note that the selection of Open Windows excerpts and layout are subject to Austin-Sparks.net copyright.
Dating of works on the website takes the following approach:
Translations of T. Austin-Sparks works can be found for a number of languages on the Austin-Sparks.net website, but are the responsibility of individual translators. We are thankful for their tireless and unpaid work in making these translations available to people whose first language is not English. Enquiries regarding translated works should be made directly to the Translator, using the email address provided on each language site.
We never ask for funds. As indicated, the website is operated by a couple who employ no staff. One of us works full time on the website. God has graciously met the costs of the website over the years, initially through our own earnings, and then with the assistance of gifts from appreciative readers. This has been without any encouragement or soliciting from Austin-Sparks.net. For many years now, these gifts have paid for all direct costs of maintaining the website. Austin-Sparks.net is both a Witness and a Testimony to God's abundant provision! We are very grateful witnesses of what Mr Austin-Sparks wrote in this regard: "God only takes responsibility to supply and to carry on that which is essentially heavenly, and in the measure in which a thing is heavenly, and only in that measure (but surely in that measure), God takes responsibility for it. If it is in any way linked with this world, becoming a part of this world system, related to this earth, it has got to take responsibility for itself to carry its own weight, to find its own resources, to see its own way through... Only that which the Father is doing can carry His resource." We continue to witness the truth of this and delight in our Father's faithfulness! This work is truly His.
While we offer the messages on the website free of charge, we do ask that others also give the messages freely and without making any changes to them, in accordance with Mr Austin-Sparks' wishes. A statement to this effect can be found on each page of the website:
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.
Before commencing work on this website, we sought, and received, permission to publish his works on the internet from those publishing T. Austin-Sparks books (Emmanuel Church). Since that time, the advice we have consistently received from those that were close to the work at Honor Oak was that Mr Austin-Sparks intended that his works be made widely available to all, but that they should not be edited or have their content changed. TAS was adamant that his messages be reproduced word for word. He wrote, "It has always been our desire to make the ministry through this little medium available to ALL of the Lord's people; not regarding it as our personal property. 'Freely ye have received, freely give' has been our principle." The costs of the magazine were covered by unsolicited gifts from appreciative readers.
Please note that all of Mr Austin-Sparks messages are covered by moral rights under the Berne Convention. For more information on this, please visit the page on Copyright. Please note that this website's content, including the photos and images on this website are subject to copyright under New Zealand Digital laws and may not be copied and used elsewhere without permission from Austin-Sparks.Net.