THE PARADOX OF OUR TIMES!
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D. At the end of a long and successful career, Clarence Darrow, the lawyer who gained great notoriety during the Scopes ‘Monkey Trial’ in 1925, said, “I feel like the disciples who said: We have toiled all night and caught nothing!”
The Encyclopædia Britannica states; “William Jennings Bryan (q.v.), a firm believer in the literal interpretation of the Bible, went to Dayton to assist the prosecution. Widespread popular interest was manifested in the case which…assumed the form of a contest between fundamentalism and modernism.
“Bryan had been prevented, through the tactics of Darrow, from delivering the elaborate speech that he had prepared in refutation of Darwin’s theories.
“Five days after the conclusion of the trial, Bryan died; his admirers, as a memorial to Bryan, founded William Jennings Bryan University, on a hill over looking the town of Dayton.” Darrow received numerous accolades for his long career, but his life ended on a sad note. He confessed that his life was empty and that he “had toiled all night and caught nothing”.
It is noteworthy, that in the Encyclopædia Britannica, Clarence Darrow received one small paragraph to list his accomplishments, while an entire page is given to William Jennings Bryan!
TEMPLETON DEAD FROM
ALZHEIMER'S AT AGE 85!
The brilliant mind of Charles B. Templeton is finally still; at least on this planet! The man who helped found Youth for Christ, built a large evangelical Church in Toronto, worked in mammoth gospel crusades together with Billy Graham in North America and Europe after WW11, died recently, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for four years!
“It’s hard to remember all the things Charles did”, said his friend Pierre Burton. “He was a top evangelist, along with Billy Graham. They were great friends. Billy came up to see him this year, when he was sick.” When he was asked what Charles Templeton would be remembered for, Pierre Burton replied: “A preacher who left the faith.”
I had the privilege of debating with Charles Templeton on several occasions and like so many other preachers, I am sorry to have to write these lines. As intelligent a man as he was, that he would fall for Darwin’s evolutionary ‘APE-TEACHING’, is doubly sad!
St. Paul, who is believed to have been one of the most brilliantly intellectual young men in Palestine, having earned the equivalent of two Ph.Ds by the time he was 21, stated:
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed unto thy trust, avoiding vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith.” (1 Tim, 6:20, 21)
In his autobiography ‘Farewell to God’ (1995), Templeton wrote: “I believe that there is no supreme being with human attributes – no God in the biblical sense – but that all life is the result of timeless evolutionary forces…over millions of years. I believe that in common with all living creatures, we die and cease to exist as an entity.”
Although Charles Templeton became demented and his brilliant mind lost its ability to function properly during the last four years of his life, he nevertheless, had an appointment with God, which he had to keep!
Although Templeton had lost most of his faculties through dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) he will be totally coherent as he stands before God for judgment, as a blithering idiot trying to explain why he rejected the truth for Satan’s monstrous lies!
Templeton knew God at one time but chose deliberately to reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Almighty God. History has a strange way of repeating itself! St. Paul gives us this history lesson, as a warning:
“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE: Because that, when THEY KNEW GOD, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness…Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature (the ‘ape-as-father’ evolutionary theory) more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever.”
(Rom 1: 18-25)
The Devil (deceiver, liar, false accuser, traducer) is the world’s greatest deceiver because he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and unfortunately, Templeton and millions like him, fell for Satan’s lies and became proud, “their foolish hearts became darkened”. St. Paul tells of those who had already fallen: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:18-22).
Templeton who once preached the gospel and built the church, in later years said: “I oppose the Christian Church because, for all the good it sometimes does, it presumes to speak in the name of God and to propound and advocate beliefs that are outdated, demonstrably untrue, and often, in their various manifestations, deleterious to individuals and society.”
It is ironic, to think that just a year or two after making that boastful statement, Templeton’s dementia began. The Bible says: “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:3,7)
Before making the break with Billy Graham, Youth for Christ and the Evangelical Church, in 1948, Templeton warned Graham that it was “intellectual suicide” to not question the Bible and to go on preaching God’s Word as authoritative!
Billy Graham made a decision to believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that Jesus Christ is world’s only Saviour. He has carried the Gospel across the globe for nearly sixty years and is loved by millions!
Billy Graham will go down in history as one of the greatest evangelists of all time, while Charles Templeton’s place in history will be only a footnote! It will highlight his connection with Billy Graham and that he had a loss of faith and left the ministry. It will record his work as a writer, editor and manager in the media, and that he was married three times!
MANY ARE CONFUSED,
DEPRESSED & UNHAPPY!
A lot of wealthy, prosperous and prominent people feel empty, let down and depressed after being highly successful and notable achievers! The rich have discovered that money can’t buy everything in life, the famous soon realize that when their star begins to fade, they often lose their sponsor, fail to get their contract renewed and lose their popularity!
And when a person has serious health problems, it affects his employment, his family, his ability to pay his mortgage, educate his children and his social standing in the community! Nothing is permanent and like the old proverb – nothing is certain except death and taxes!
And may I add, the ‘day of reckoning’; when we will all stand before God to give an account of our lives! Jesus told a story about two men – one was wealthy, self–centered and unrighteous in his life-style and the other man was a sick beggar named Lazarus. They both died and went to different eternal abodes; the rich unbeliever went to Hell where he was tormented and the poor beggar was carried by angels to Paradise, where he was comforted!
FEAR GOD AND WORK HARD!
Dr. David Livingstone was born in Scotland in 1813. He studied medicine and theology, and in 1840 was sent to Africa by the London Missionary Society. After 30 years of exploration and missionary work traversing one - third of the African continent in mostly uncharted territory - often battling dysentery and fever and burying his beloved wife Mary with his own hands -he died on his knees beside his bed in 1874!
The ‘Encyclopædia Britannica’ states: “In the annals of exploration of the dark continent,” wrote Stanley many years after the death of the missionary explorer, “we look in vain among other nationalities for a name such as Livingstone’s. He stands preeminent above them all; he unites in himself all the best qualities of other explorers...Britain ...excelled herself even when she produced the strong and perseverant Scotchman, Livingstone.
“But the direct gains to geography and science are perhaps not the greatest results of Livingstone’s journeys. His example and his death acted like an inspiration, filling Africa with an army of explorers and missionaries, and raising in Europe so powerful a feeling against the slave trade that through him it may be considered as having received its death blow.
“Personally, Livingstone was a pure, and tender - hearted man, full of humanity and sympathy, simple-minded as a child. The motto of his life was the advice he gave to some school children in Scotland – “Fear God and work hard.”
It is alleged, that thenatives loved “the great master” so much that they buried his heart in Africa, saying: “His heart belongs in Africa.”
They wrapped his body carefully up and together with his papers, instruments and other things, carried it across Africa to Zanzibar. His body was then transported to England with all honour, and on April 18, 1874, was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey!
In his final diary entry, Livingstone commented on the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:20: “Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the world”, thus: “These are the words of a Gentleman of the highest order. They are true. Doubt is inadmissible, surely. All will be well.”
He wrote: “I walk to the drumbeat of Heaven; no reservations, no regrets and no retreat. No sacrifice I can make can begin to compare with the sacrifice my Lord made for me. I don’t want to possess anything unless it will further the kingdom of God. There will be all of eternity to enjoy the rewards of my labour.
“I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made, who left His Father’s throne on high, to give Himself for us.”
GO FOR THE LOST AND
GO FOR THE WORST!
General William Booth, another hero of the faith was a fiery evangelist for the Methodist Church. He was drawn to poor derelicts of society in London.
Often suffering terrible abuse from rowdies and persecution from the Anglican state church, he soldiered on preaching the gospel, salvaging alcoholics from enslavement, feeding the poor, rescuing hungry children and unwed mothers from their horrible plight and liberating prostitutes from their pimps!
Booth’s slogan was, “Go for Souls and Go for the Worst”! And that is what they did. He founded the Salvation Army and won tens of thousands of souls for Christ.
Through his efforts he helped to liberate thousands of prostitutes from their slave owners, thereby changing Japanese laws concerning the brothels in that country!
After years of tireless, hard labour and ‘agape’ love toward the worst in society, Booth became an international hero and honoured by many world governments because of it!
In the ‘The General Next To God’, Richard Collier writes: “The tribute was in keeping. Thirty-five years of persecution had passed like an evil dream and now statesmen and crowned heads vied with one another to do Booth and his army honour.
Eighteen hundred and ninety-eight saw him open the US senate with prayer; 24th. June, 1904, saw him at Buckingham Palace, with King Edward V11, shaking him cheerily by the hand, avowing, ‘You are doing a good work, a great work, General Booth.’
And how, the king wanted to know, did the Churches now view his work? ‘Sir’, replied Booth, with the humour that never failed him, ‘they imitate me.’
“When the King, chuckling, begged Booth to write in his autogragh album, the old man bent forward to sum up his life’s work.
Some men’s ambition is art,
Some men’s ambition is fame,
Some men’s ambition gold,
My ambition is the souls of men.
Some men’s ambition is fame,
Some men’s ambition gold,
My ambition is the souls of men.
“But if Booth walked with kings, he kept his bearing: He never lost the common touch.” His rallying cry was always” “Go for Souls and Go for the Worst.” His burden for lost souls was of mammoth proportions and it permeated his family members as well as the officers of the Salvation Army for many years.
Cecil Rhodes – who, as premier of Cape Colony, South Africa presented The Army with a 3,000 - acre farm north of Fort Salisbury – found Booth’s absorption in degraded men a puzzle. Booth had to confess it: “To me men, especially the worst, possess the attraction of gold mines.”
When Rhodes died in 1902, William Booth to him was still “the only one who believes I have a soul.”
When Lord Rothschild told Booth: “I’m going to give you a thousand pounds, General. When will you have it? Booth answered “Now” with such authority that Rothschild began immediately fumbling for his cheque book!
When Booth was scolded by another Christian for accepting a donation from the Marquis of Queensbury – a professed agnostic– the General was unrepentant: “We will wash it in the tears of the widows and orphans and lay it on the altar of humanity!”
Booth’s daughter Evangeline, who laboured tirelessly in the USA for the Salvation Army stated: “Stoop as low as you lawfully can to pick them up rather than let them become worse while you stand on your dignity.”
About three months before his death on May 9, 1912, 7000 Salvationists heard the ‘great warrior of the cross’ deliver one of his most impassioned sermons! Here was his final war-cry:
“While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, I’ll fight; while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight’ I’ll fight to the very end.”
HERE IS THE GREAT PARADOX!
The rich man who had everything, lost it all in death and all that remained was a tormented memory, while Lazarus, the beggar, who had nothing, gained everything in death as he entered into God’s paradise!
Clarence Darrow, the famous lawyer ended his life saying: “I feel like a failure. My life’s work is meaningless. I am empty. My successes were not what they were cracked up to be.”
William Jennings Bryan died as a believer in the Word of God and we know where he is today. Only God knows the whereabouts of Darrow!
Charles Templeton was deceived by demons of unbelief and pride! He threw away one the greatest opportunities afforded to mankind – to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! He could have helped millions of struggling souls find peace with God, while enjoying God’s peace and blessing for himself and his family!
And then, we think of David Livingstone, William Booth and Billy Graham, who did not flinch in the battle with the world, flesh and the devil and who will forever stand tall as victorious ‘soldiers of the cross of Christ’!
Jesus warned: “What shall it profit a man (or woman) if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36, 37)