One Of My Favourite Preachers

Often in the ministry I have worked to help people come to a point of faith. Not only faith in God and His Son, Jesus. But, faith in the accuracy and need for God’s Word, the Bible today. When speaking to many who are not believers they see little purpose or value in reading God’s Word and simply regard it as antiquated and irrelevant. As I look back on the many years I have believed the Bible and lived according to God’s Word, I have reached the point where I would no longer entertain people’s discussion (alright – arguments) about the Bible. I would simply challenge them to actually read it. If they do rise to the challenge and read it with an open mind I am convinced God will show them that His Word is very valuable for life today on planet Earth.

To move forward in faith believers and non-believers alike need to understand and accept that the Word is true and very applicable to today. And, to reach that point they need to engage with the Word and let it do its work in their lives. 

Sidlow Baxter wrote: “To my own mind, the most satisfying proof that the Bible is divinely inspired are not those which one ‘reads up’ in volumes of religious evidences or Christian apologetics, but those which we discover for ourselves in our own study of the Book. To the prayerful explorer the Bible has its own way of revealing its internal credentials.”

That miracle – of the Word of God convincing its reader that it is God’s Word and is active and alive working in hearts that are open and minds that are inquisitive. That miracle of the Word working happened once to a young man called G. Campbell Morgan (one of my favourite preachers to read (1863 to 1945). He had grown up in a Christian home, never questioning that the Bible was the Word of God. But in college, his faith was severely challenged and he began to entertain doubts. “The whole intellectual world was under the mastery of the physical scientists, and of a materialistic and rationalistic philosophy,” he later said. “There came a moment when I was sure of nothing.”

That was an era when it was fashionable to launch attacks on the veracity of Scripture. The new crowd hired out great lecture and concert halls across England for the purpose of attacking the authority of the Bible. Armed with their intellectual artillery, the army of skeptics troubled the young Morgan. He studied every book he could find – for and against the Bible, for and against Christianity – until his mind was reeling with arguments and counter-arguments.

He finally heaved a sigh, gathered up all the volumes, and locked them in a cupboard. He then walked to a bookshop and purchased a brand-new Bible. He had decided it was time to let the venerable old Book speak for itself. The young Morgan believed that if the Bible was truly divinely inspired, and if he would simply read it with an open mind, then the Book would do its own convicting. So he opened it’s covers and began to read.

The Bible spoke to him with eloquence and authority. The unity of the sixty-six inspired books, the many literary forms gathered across time, and the depth of the message itself – all these elements of the Bible experience overwhelmed him. The clear power and presence of God could be encountered here! “That Bible found me,” he later said. After that year, 1883, he was a devoted student of the Scriptures for the balance of his life. And a great preacher.

Our cynical culture would like you to believe that the Christian life is a mindless thing, built around an ordinary book that is a dusty grab bag of mythology. It’s all so much emotion, they claim, so much self-deception. According to the stereotype, you check your mind at the door when you take up Christianity, and smart folks should stay away.

Now for the truth of the matter: the Word of God is the most rational, accurate, well-documented book of literature in the history of the world. It requires our God-given intellect to even begin the life-long process of embracing the many dimensions of profound teaching. Great thinkers throughout the ages have discovered just that: Sir Isaac Newton, who gave us our basic laws of physics; Blaise Pascal, world-class mathematician and scientist; Sir Francis Bacon, who introduced the scientific method; Michael Faraday, foundational pioneer of chemistry and electromagnetism. And today, to give one example of many, there is Professor Henry F. Schaefer, one of the most distinguished physical scientists in the world, a five-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a devout follower of Jesus Christ. 

Here is what many of those men would tell you: if it requires faith to be a Christian, how much more faith does it require to dismiss this amazing, timeless book call the Bible? People today say the age of miracles is over, and that they’ve never seen one. But if you own a Bible, you hold a living miracle in your hands.