“Danger - Live Wires”
C. T. Hussey, Cardiff, Wales
We have no quarrel with “live wires,” but we believe our contributor points out a real danger.
EVERY time I pass through a certain street my attention is arrested by a notice: “DANGER—LIVE WIRES,” and I pass on my way wondering as I think of that other sense in which the term is sometimes applied, metaphorically, to an extremely active person.
I have often heard it said, “You should get Mr. Pep at your hall, he’s a live wire!” or “Things are bucking up at . . . since Mr. Blitz arrived; he’s a live wire, you know.” Still wondering, I remember that live wires can be a danger unless insulated and controlled according to the unchanging principles under which electricity works usefully and safely, such a danger indeed that burning and death can result. Of course, a dead wire, one that has never been connected with the source of power, or one that has become disconnected, can produce nothing, but a live wire can do incalculable, perhaps irreparable harm if out of control or wrongly directed. It is well known that a misguided child of God, out of touch with God and His word, can even be a tool in the hand of the Adversary.
There are undoubtedly assemblies of God’s people apparently dead, and have been so for years. They show no evidence of real life. They fail to grow. What is the remedy? There may be Godly enterprise, and it is not wise to reject a proposal simply because it is new. At the same time it is equally unwise to adopt an innovation because of its novelty. Surely the real remedy lies deeper. A spiritually low assembly primarily needs heart searching, humiliation, prayer and Bible searching rather than to turn automatically to new methods, or religious stunting, for these may merely appeal to the flesh. The men of Mar's Hill, who spent their time in nothing else than to hear or tell of something new, probably thought themselves very “progressive,” but they were disappointed with the truth when Paul spoke of Jesus and the resurrection, and when he reminded them that they were living in ignorant times, insisting upon repentance and warning of judgment to come. Some mocked, some procrastinated, but certain clave to him. Note the sequel. The dynamic “live wire” apostle left them. He did not stay to make the gospel more palatable by social methods, but proceeded to Corinth where for eighteen months he ministered with eternal result, having determined to know nothing among them save Jesus Christ and Him as the crucified One.
History has its lessons for us in this very connection. At a certain denominational conference in England, just prior to the end of the recent war, the President warned the Assembly that “the Church would not hold youth by any sort of stunt intended to attract them,” and quite recently, at the annual meetings of the same denomination in South Wales, the President, in reply to criticism of the churches’ lack of social activities, clubs, etc., said that “if the draw was any one of those things, and not first the spiritual and moral uplift of Christian Worship, no advance was made by the church.” If those who have tried these things for years have come to that conclusion, why need we experiment further? All “modern” innovations have been tried before and the results are evident. Too often the “live wire” atmosphere eventually destroys the appetite for instructional ministry, and by its lightness creates the impression that that which is wholesome is dull, dry and heavy.
There is nothing so attractive as the truth ministered in clarity and Holy Ghost passion. There is an unrivalled fascination in the ministry of such subjects as prophecy, The Tabernacle, The Feasts, The Resurrection, The Eternal State, etc., of which we hear comparatively little, but which fortify against the false doctrines abounding on every hand.
We are told that we must do something to attract the outsider and keep the young people as “there is nothing here for them.” This is precisely what the mixed multitude of Numbers 11 said. Mark well the words. “We remember the fish . . . cucumbers and the melons, the leeks and the onions and the garlick . . . there is nothing at all beside this manna.” Now if Moses had been a certain type of “live wire” he might have made some new arrangement, e.g., an excursion back to Egypt to procure a few of the aforementioned delicacies. It seems foolish and almost profane to suggest it but it is typical of modern methods. God's Word is clear: “Neither let us tempt Christ” (1 Cor. 10. 9), an action which brought the judgment of serpents. Rather let us get back to the manna, and enjoy Christ through the word, and so grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3. 18).
The injunction is clear for all time: “Feed the flock.” That involves lambs as well as sheep. It is FEED them, not ENTERTAIN them. Gifts for the maintenance and growth of the Church are provided; evangelists, pastors and teachers, but no mention is made of the social organisers and entertainers, nor did these appear amongst the stalwarts of yesterday who laid the foundation.
This surely should move us to heed the warning, “We are labourers together with God . . . according to the grace of God which is given unto me as a wise-master-builder. I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon” (1 Cor. 3. 9, 10).