April 2003 Book Review
Collectible Treasures Antique and Collectibles
Book Review April 2003
A Living Faith For Today by Ernest Gordon
For God's Sake Say Something!
Mark 16:15. And Jesus said unto them, "Go ye into all the
world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."
In Great Britain the Brigade of Guards has a reputation for discipline
that is second to none. The men believe in dying with their boots on, providing they are properly polished. Anything that is inefficient or
sloppy has no place in the system; that is why guardsmen never
obey a wrong command given to them on parade lest it should result
in a confused drill movement. There is a story told of a young subaltern
who was given a task of marching his company down to the dock to
prepare for embarkation. In the best Guard's fashion he was determined
that everything should be done as smartly as possible. He decided, therefore, to bring the company to a halt only when the first rank had
reached the edge of the quay. Unfortunately, when he gave the order
to halt he gave it on the wrong foot, with disastrous results. Rank
by rank the guardsmen marched over the side in perfect order.
Dismayed at the sight before him, the poor young second lieutenant
was struck dumb. Just before the Company Sergeant Major took the plunge, he looked back for a moment and shouted: "For God's sake,
sir, say something, even if it is only good-by!"
Isn't that what the man in the street is saying to the Church these
days? "For God's sake say something, or else get out!"
And a very honest cry it is!
I am not so sure that our times are as bad as they appear. There is wickedness
and evil of every kind, it is true, but there is also a wistful yearning on
the part of modern man after spiritual things. He wants desperately to believe God but he is afraid if he does so, that he will be let down in
some way. He isn't too sure about the Church, because he feels that
she said too little in times past. She has been so tied to the apron
strings of the State, the landed aristocracy, or the wealthy capitalist
that there has been a hollow ring in her voice when she has addressed
Mr. Everyman. And so today, when he comes face to face with the
Church as she is embodied in people like ourselves, he cries out,
"For God's sake say something, even if it is only good-by! Say
something that is vital and say it quickly, or else shut up!"
The Church must respond to such a challenge. Is she saying as much
and doing as much as the opportunity warrants? Is the witness we bear
to the world of the redeeming love of God as obvious as it might be?
Haven't we got an unholy concern over denominational bits and pieces? Odds
and ends that ought to be kept in the periphery of the Christian life are
given a central place. Our fanatical faith in political democracy drives
us to the point where we shall fight tooth and nail for our own pet form of church polity. Haven't we seen Christians, hating each other in the
name of God, going to civil courts to have their conflicts settled by
secular, or even heathen judges?
We confess that "here we have no abiding city," yet at the same time
we feel that the possessions of property is so important that we will compromise ourselves in order to retain or gain that which we consider
to be our legal right.
We confess to believe in the Fatherhood of God, yet we live as though
the Christian brotherhood is made up of those with the same color of
skin, the same kind of accent, the same size of bank balance, and the
same kind of prejudices as ourselves.
We talk about the Church as being the household of faith, the family
of God, yet we deliberately remain ignorant of the hurts, the aches, the agonies, the dis-appointments, the fears, the joys, and the tears of
those who by faith, are our sisters and brothers.
By the time we have imparted all the confusion of the secular world into
the affairs of the Church there is very little place left for the preaching of
the glorious Gospel of our Blessed God! We have enthroned Mammon
in the place where God should sit, and Christ has been left out of our Christianity!
Yes, so often when we try to say something to some weary traveler on
life's highway we have nothing to say but words. We have become so intellectually respectable that our utterances are too reasonable to
have a note of faith in them. When we speak, we speak with the mind
and the lips and not with the heart and the hands. To starving people
we present "cold kale hot again" instead of the Bread of Life. Well
might someone say of us---
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door where in I went.
On the other hand, we may be so noisily dogmatic that what we have
to say cannot be heard for the thunder of our words and the booming
of our voices.
Saying something takes more than words. Very often we fail to convince
the world because we ourselves are not convinced! How can we expect other people to be changed by what we say unless we have been
changed by what we profess?
The Gospel must be for us a firsthand experience. It must be so real to
us that we are prepared to proclaim it to the whole world, beginning in
our own home. It must so take possession of us that we give ourselves gladly to its service; and when the going may be rough, that we keep the light of the first love still sparkling in our eyes. It must be the beginning
and the end of our lives; the greatest and most glorious thing there is in
the whole wide universe.
People are eager to hear a confession of Christian faith that is vital. So many of our generation are longing to believe in God but they lack the
heroic character to do so. They need to be inspired by a Christian who
lives as though what he professes is the only thing that matters. Faith
is contagious! It is passed on by men and women who have it burning in their hearts and shining in their minds. Faith does not mean the blind acceptance of irrational dogma but the living of a Christ-centered life
without fear of the consequences!
Our faith has to be more than sufficient for our day and generation. It
has to be greater by far than all the destructive forces of evil in the world which are arrayed against us! In this Atomic Age we must be able to
lead the way along which mankind must walk in order to experience the peace and joy of the creative life of the spirit.
The world challenges us! What have we to say?
What have we to say to the workingman who is frustrated by the cold
impersonalism of the city and by the wearisome monotony of mass production?
What have we to say to the father who has had his child fiendishly
tortured by some sex maniac?
What have we to say to the mother who has lost her son in some
What have we to say to the millions of people in the world who are
vitiatied by disease and who are dying of starvation?
What have we to say to the man or the woman who asks us,
" Tell me about God?"
What are we going to say? People will not be satisfied for long with
empty platitudes or outworn shibboleths. They are not concerned
about what you believe Dr. Hardhead believes you ought to believe.
A thirdhand faith is not even third-rate; it is no faith at all! It is nothing!
And there is little point in telling folk that everything will work out all
right in the end; that, "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world." Because it isn't as easy as that; and so often what is a fairly good
imitation of the "worst" does happen.
Nor is it enough to talk about the necessity for living by the good, the
true, and the beautiful: for that is a language which few understand.
Life goes deeper than that! Put a Rembrandt beside the shattered
body of your friend who was killed in action, and I doubt very much if
you would be able to see the Rembrandt's beauty for the reality of your sorrow and the mangled flesh of your chum.
Nor is it enough to evoke the infallibility of reason. In the kind of world
in which we live, love, laugh, and suffer, it is impossible to produce a philosophy which will satisfy the restless seeking of a man's soul. It
takes more than a philosophy to do that; it takes the Gospel ! That
is, the good news of God's love presented personally to us by
There are times in life when the Christian faith may seem to be absurd,
yet with our "tummies" held in, our chests stuck out, and our chins
held up, we must stand proudly at attention and say, " I believe in God
as my Heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ as my Savior, and the Holy
Spirit as my companion," and know it to be true!
With breaking hearts we may be able to do nothing as we listen to the
cry of an innocent child as he suffers in agony; yet through our sobs we must declare to the world, " I believe that God is love!"
We may be tortured by the hatred and injustices of others, yet we
must say, " I believe in forgiveness; in that seventy times seven
forgiveness which forgives until there is nothing left to forgive!"
And as we stand falteringly at the door of death, we must say,
" I believe in eternal life!"
Don't you see? If we can say, " I believe," when the whole worldis
crashing in ruins at our feet, the distraught spectator will be able
to say, " He has said something. He believes!"
If we can so fall in love with Jesus Christ that men know we come to
them with His love in our hearts and in our eyes, we shall be saying something.
If we can stand in the market places of the world and dare to declare
that Jesus Christ is Savior, Victor, Lord, and Friend, we shall be saying something!
If we can introduce men and women to our Lord; if we are prepared to
lose ourselves that others may be saved; and if we are willing to forget
the crown and carry the cross, we shall be saying something and
saying it supremely well!
"For God's sake," and it is for God's sake, "say something!"
Go into all the world, into your homes, your offices, your factories, your stores, your Senate and House of Representatives; and say something! Proclaim from the housetops that God loves us, and that his Son died
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