Evangelicalism – The Old and The New (Kaum Injili – Lama dan Baru)


Oleh Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Aku hendak mengingat perbuatan-perbuatan TUHAN, ya, aku hendak mengingat keajaiban-keajaiban-Mu dari zaman purbakala” (Mazmur 77:11).

Pada musim panas 1961 saya masuk ke Toko Buku Biola, toko buku Kristen kecil milik Church of the Open Door, yang kemudian digembalakan oleh Dr. J. Vernon McGee, di 550 South Hope Street pusat kota Los Angeles. Saya melihat buku kecil berwarna kuning yang menarik perhatian saya. Sub judul yang membuatnya saya mengambil buku itu adalah, “Tiada satu figurpun yang pernah mempengaruhi pikiran banyak orang, tiada satu suarapun yang pernah menyentuh hati banyak orang. Tiada seorangpun yang pernah melakukan pekerjaan kehidupan bagi Inggris seperti orang ini.” Saya membalik buku itu dan membaca sampul bagian belakangnya, “Seperti seseorang yang menghirup harumnya bunga teratai tersihir untuk selamanya, demikian juga pembaca tentang kehidupan orang ini tidak dapat menolak untuk tidak tertarik untuk mengetahui bagi dirinya sendiri betapa tinggi dan dalamnya kasih Allah yang John Wesly layani.”

Judul sebenarnya dari buku itu adalah The Journal of John Wesley (Moody Press, no date, edited by Percy Livingstone Parker). Buku ini berisi kira-kira seperempat dari Journal asli Wesley, yang sekarang diterbitkan dalam empat volume buku yang berjudul The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, 1979).

Kemudian saya membaca apa yang Augustine Birrell, seorang pengacara untuk Raja, katakan dalam pendahuluan edisi terbitan Moody Press,

Jika Anda ingin masuk ke [abad 18th], untuk merasakan denyut nadinya berdenyut di jari Anda,…naik dan turunlah [dari punggung kuda] Negara ini bersama dengan kekuatan terbesar dari abad ke delapan belas di Inggris… Journal-journalnya masih ada, dan dari journal-journal itu kita dapat belajar lebih baik dari pada bahan manapun tentang bagaimana orang ini hidup, dan karakter zaman pada waktu ia hidup (ibid., hal. 23).

Lalu saya membeli buku itu, saya pikir, pada waktu itu harganya sekitar tujuh puluh lima cent, lalu membawanya pulang dan membacanya dari sampul bagian depan sampai belakang. Pada sampul bagian belakang dikatakan bahwa ini adalah

“Buku yang penuh dengan alur cerita dan drama dan novel, dan buku yang penuh tokoh-tokoh yang menggetarkan kehidupan. Dengan menawarkan Journal Wesley lagi kepada kalangan orang Kristen, Moody Press sedang menghadirkan bentuk ringkas dari salah satu buku yang sangat penting, instruktif, dan menarik yang pernah diterbitkan dalam bahasa Inggris. John Wesley bukan hanya telah mempengaruhi Inggris pada abad ke delapan belas – kekuatan hidupnya dirasakan sampai hari ini, dan akan terus menerus dirasakan.”

Ketika saya membaca John Wesley’s Journal ini, saya menemukan bahwa saya sungguh “tersihir untuk selamanya.” Ketika saya membaca, saya “tidak dapat menolak untuk tidak tertarik untuk mengetahui bagi [diri saya sendiri] betapa tinggi dan dalamnya kasih Allah yang John Wesly layani.” Saya percaya bahwa Journal-nya menjadi salah satu dari tiga atau empat buku yang telah menolong untuk mengubah pandangan saya tentang penginjilan dan kebangunan rohani sejati. Saya belum pernah melupakannya.

Sebagai seorang yang masih muda, pada waktu itu saya belum mengenal nama-nama seperti George Whitefield, John Cennick, Howell Harris dan pengkhotbah-pengkhotbah dari zaman Kebangunan Rohani Pertama atau First Great Awakening (1735-1760) penting lainnya. Namun Wesley’s Journal telah memberikan saya rasa tentang kebangunan rohani yang ia layani pada hari-hari itu ketika Allah mengirim kebangunan rohani pada abad delapan belas.

Saya melihat sekeliling saya pada abad dua puluh dan tidak melihat pencurahan kuasa Tuhan seperti yang pernah terjadi pada abad yang lalu. Namun Journal itu membuat saya lapar untuk mengetahui tentang masa yang hampir “tidak dapat dipercaya dengan pikiran manusia” ketika ada puluhan ribu orang mengalami pertobatan sejati, sebelum C. G. Finney meruntuhkan penginjilan dengan mengubah pertobatan yang adalah karunia Allah ke dalam “decisionisme” kosong yang sekarang menelan begitu banyak orang di dunia ini.

Ya, saya memberi nama untuk anak saya yang kedua adalah John Wesley Hymers oleh karena rasa hormat saya kepada penginjil besar ini. Saya tidak menyetujui sedikit poin pemikiran Wesley. Namun bagaimanapun juga saya setuju dengan berita penginjilan dasarnya, yang ia dan Whitefield khotbahkan ke seluruh dunia.

Untuk teologi yang lebih jelas tentang beberapa poin, tulisan dari para penulis Puritan yang lebih awal harus dibaca, dan dibaca dengan sangat hati-hati, yaitu tulisan dari orang-orang seperti Flavel, Hooker, Owen, dan lain-lain. Namun menurut saya, adalah suatu kesalahan bila kita terlalu terfokus pada tulisan-tulisan para penulis Puritan awal ini. Tulisan-tulisan itu harus dibaca dan dikonsultasikan. Namun untuk memahami penginjilan lebih mendalam kita tidak harus berhenti pada tulisan-tulisan mereka saja. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sering berkata bahwa fokus studi kita harus tertuju kepada tulisan-tulisan George Whitefield, Howell Harris, John dan Charles Wesley, dan lainnya yang membawa berita Puritan tentang pertobatan yang tidak dibatasi oleh gedung-gedung gereja, di lapangan-lapangan terbuka, kepada orang-orang yang tidak pernah ke gereja, begitu banyak orang yang belum diselamatkan.

Jika saya sedang membimbing anak muda tentang masalah penginjilan yang sejati, saya akan mengatakan kepadanya untuk menjadi familiar dengan para Reformis dari abad enam belas, khususnya Martin Luther (1483-1564) dan John Knox (1514-1572). Saya akan mengatakan kepadanya untuk membaca dengan teliti tulisan-tulisan John Owen (1616-1683), Richard Sibbes (1577-1633), Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), John Flavel (1627-1691), Joseph Alleine (1634-1668), John Bunyan (1628-1688), dan khususnya Richard Baxter (1615-1691) yang terkenal dengan perkataannya,

“Saya berkhotbah seperti tidak yakin bisa berkhotbah lagi, dan seperti seorang yang sedang sekarat bekhotbah kepada orang yang sedang sekarat.”

Namun setelah membaca karya-karya kaum Puritan, saya berharap anak muda itu mau kembali mempelajari dengan mendalam tulisan-tulisan dan khotbah-khotbah penerus kaum Puritran, yaitu orang-orang yang telah mengikuti kaum Puritan pada abad delapan belas, pada masa Kebangunan Rohani Pertama (First Great Awakening), yaitu orang-orang seperti Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Howell Harris, dan para pendamping mereka pada seluruh masa kebangunan rohani terbesar di dunia berbahasa Inggris, oleh sebab itu para penerus kaum Puritan ini membawa pengajaran mereka ke jalan-jalan, dan mengkonfrontasikan dengan setiap jiwa yang hidup sehingga mereka mendengar berita Injil kaum injili masa lalu yang mengubah kehidupan ini.

Saya percaya bahwa kita salah bila terlalu memfokuskan hanya kepada para Puritan. Inilah yang saya sadari bahwa kita juga harus berkonsentrasi pada warisan mereka, orang-orang dari abad delapan belas seperti George Whitefield. Orang-orang seperti ini adalah orang-orang yang keluar dari gereja mereka dan menghadapkan peradapan yang sedang sekarat dengan Injil Kristus yang tidak dapat diperzinahkan. Dan saya percaya bahwa kita tidak harus melalukan kurang dari apa yang mereka pernah lakukan di zaman kita ini. Kita harus mentaati Kristus, seperti mereka dan

“Pergilah ke semua jalan dan lintasan dan paksalah orang-orang, yang ada di situ, masuk, karena rumahku harus penuh”
(Lukas 14:23).

Di atas semuanya, saya harus sampaikan kepada para pengkhotbah muda untuk membaca The Life of the Reverend George Whitefield, dua volume besar karya Luke Tyerman (Need of the Times Reprint, 1995). Dua buku Tyerman tentang Whitefield belum pernah ada yang menandinginya. Kedua buku tentang Whitefield ini adalah buku yang harus dibaca oleh setiap pengkhotbah. Buku-buku tentang biografinya yang lebih belakangan cenderung “mengaburkan.”

Dalam pemikiran saya George Whitefield adalah pemberita Injil terbesar sejak Rasul Paulus. Setiap anak muda yang merasa terpanggil menjadi hamba Tuhan harus membaca karya Tyerman ini. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones menyebut Whitefield, “pengkhotbah terbesar yang Inggris pernah hasilkan.” Saya sepenuhnya setuju bahwa ia adalah pengkhotbah yang paling penting di segala masa di dunia berbahasa Inggris.

Setelah mempelajari doktrin-doktrin dasar tentang karunia pertobatan dari para Puritan, kita harus segera pergi kepada para mahasiswa perguruan tinggi dan orang-orang di jalan-jalan, seperti yang dilakukan oleh Whitefield, Wesley, dan orang-orang lainnya pada abad delapan belas seperti dengan meterai dan ketentuan yang telah ditetapkan oleh Allah sendiri. Orang-orang ini tidak saling setuju berhubungan dengan beberapa poin teologi, namun mereka semua dengan begitu mendalam menyadari pemikiran dasar Puritan berhubungan dengan penginjilan dan pertobatan. Pandangan mereka tentang pertobatan sangat identik tidak peduli bagaimana pemikiran mereka tentang subyek-subyek lainnya.

Ada sebuah buku baru menarik yang ditulis oleh Iain H. Murray yang diberi judul The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening (Banner of Truth Trust, 2005). Saya percaya bahwa judul buku ini secara literal “dikirim oleh Allah.” Murray tidak menunjukkan pandangan sektarian sempit. Ia mengutip dengan bebas dari seorang Armenian seperti John Wesley sebagaimana ia mengutip dari seorang Calvinist seperti John Owen. Dan melalui pendekatan subyeknya dengan menunjukkan kebesaran hatinya, ia menemukan perbedaan yang sangat mendasar antara penginjilan modern dengan apa yang ia sebut dengan “Kebenaran Lama untuk Kebangunan Baru” (Old Truths for a New Awakening).

The Old Evangelicalism, menurut saya merupakan pengembangan dari buku Murray yang lebih awal yang berjudul, Revival and Revivalism: the Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 edition). Bab empat belas dari buku itu menunjukkan bagaimana konsep lama tentang pertobatan dan kebangunan rohani digantikan oleh “sekolah baru,” yang dipimpin oleh C. G. Finney (1792-1875). Dua kutipan dari pasal empat belas mengilustrasikan perbedaan antara “sekolah lama” penginjilan dari abad 18th dan “sekolah baru” penginjilan yang muncul pada zaman Finney di abad 19th. Kutipan pertama mengatakan:

…generasi yang lebih tua membantah bahwa jika seseorang diselamatkan ia dapat dilihat dari gerak tubuhnya yang nampak [misalnya ‘maju ke depan,’ mengangkat tangan, memanjatkankan ‘doa orang berdosa,’ dsb], dan bahwa para pendengarnya diberitahu bahwa itu ‘sama mudahnya dengan mengubah hati seseorang dari cintanya kepada dosa’ dengan menunjukkan suatu tindakan seperti itu, kemudian orang banyak akan dikuatkan dengan jaminan yang palsu. Hal seperti itu, seperti yang lainnya, tidak pernah menjawab apa-apa (Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism: the Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 edition, hal. 368).

Kutipan kedua memberikan pemandangan yang lain berhubungan dengan metode penginjilan yang lebih tua:

…para calon petobat tidak akan pernah didorong untuk membuat pengakuan instant. Kira-kira setelah enam bulan berlalu… antara pertobatan yang penuh pengharapan dan pengakuan iman secara publik. Dalam [kebangunan rohani yang lebih awal] itu adalah fakta yang menonjol bahwa para hamba Tuhan memberikan perhatian yang sangat besar dalam memberikan pemikiran-pemikiran berhubungan dengan keadaan rohani… frase seperti “diperbaharui” atau lahir dari Allah,” adalah yang kemudian umumnya digunakan untuk menunjukkan pengakuan para petobat, setelah 1852, penulis yang sama mengatakan, ia mendengar tentang ‘pertobatan,’ atau ‘pertobatan yang ajaib’ yang hanya diharapkan telah terjadi ‘kemarin siang’ atau ‘tadi malam.’ (ibid., hal. 369).

Saya percaya bahwa pasal empat belas dari Revival and Revivalism harus dipelajari dengan sangat hati-hati untuk memberikan latar belakang buku baru Murray yang berjudul The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening. “Sekolah baru” “decisionisme” yang diperkenalkan oleh C. G. Finney dan para pengikutnya belum pernah menghasilkan kebangunan rohani, namun justru telah memenuhi gereja kita dengan ribuan orang yang belum bertobat. Dalam buku Revival and Revivalism, Murray menelusuri sejarah Kekristenan tentang perubahan yang terjadi pada zaman Finney, yang saya mau sebut sebagai “anti-Reformasi,” di mana penginjilan diubah dari pencarian pertobatan-pertobatan sejati untuk menghasilkan “para pembuat keputusan” (decisions), dan kebangunan rohani sejati digantikan dengan “kebangunan rohani” buatan manusia. “Sekolah baru” penginjilan dari Finney menjadi dasar serangan teologis terhadap doktrin-doktrin Reformasi. Jadi, itu adalah “anti-Reformasi” sesungguhnya yang telah merampok kita, pada zaman kita ini, dari pemikiran para Reformator dan Puritan yang agung.

Dalam buku The Old Evangelicalism Murray menjelaskan apa yang para orang injili percaya tentang pertobatan sebelum perubahan yang terjadi pada zaman Finney. Dengan istilah “injili lama” ia tidak mengacu kepada generasi tertentu atau denominasi tertentu, namun kepada kepercayaan-kepercayaan para pemimpin Kristen dari lima abad yang lalu, dari Martin Luther di abad enam belas, kepada kaum Puritan abad tujuh belas, kepada Whitefield, Edwards, dan Wesley abad delapan belas, kepada C. H. Spurgeon pada abad sembilan belas, dan kepada Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pada abad dua puluh. Walaupun Murray sendiri adalah seorang Calvinis, ia menulis berhubungan dengan “conversionists” (orang-orang yang menekankan pertobatan) baik dari Protestan maupun Baptis, termasuk orang-orang yang memiliki faham yang berbeda dengannya sebagai seorang Calvinis, misalnya seorang Armenian seperti John Wesley, yang kepadanya Murray mempersembahkan seluruh pasal ini (“Apa yang Dapat Kita Pelajari dari John Wesley?”). Kesarjanaannya dan kelapangan hatinya dengan luas ditunjukkan dalam sampul bukunya baik pada bagian depan maupun belakang, di mana ia mendaftarkan nama-nama dan tahun dari para penulis injili “lama” yang ia kutip. Di sini adalah beberapa orang yang ia tekankan dalam daftar sebagai orang-orang injili “lama” itu.

Martin Luther, 1483-1546.

John Calvin, 1509-1564.

John Knox, 1514-1572.

Thomas Hooker, 1586-1647.

William Gurnall, 1616-1679.

John Flavel, 1627-1691.

Joseph Alleine, 1634-1668.

John Bunyan, 1628-1688.

John Wesley, 1703-1791.

Jonathan Edwards, 1703-1758.

George Whitefield, 1714-1770.

Robert M. M’Cheyne, 1813-1843.

Alexander Whyte, 1836-1921.

John C. Ryle, 1816-1900.

C. H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892.

A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963.

D. M. Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981.

Pada permulaan daftar ini ia mengutip Martin Luther:

Kami tidak mengajarkan hal baru, namun kami mengulangi dan mendirikan pengajaran lama, yang para rasul dan semua pengajar saleh telah ajarkan sebelum kita.

Di akhir daftar itu ia mengutip Spurgeon:

Bersihkanlah lukisan-lukisan lama yang agung tentang para guru pilihan Tuhan itu; gantungkanlah semua itu pada bingkai-bingkai yang baru; tempelkanlah semua itu pada tembok-tembok untuk dikenang oleh orang-orangmu, dan ajaran mulia mereka akan memberkatimu.

Bab satu dari buku The Old Evangelicalism adalah bagian yang paling penting dalam buku ini. Bab itu berjudul “Preaching and Awakening: Facing the Main Problem in Evangelism” (Khotbah dan Kebangunan: Menghadapi Masalah Utama dalam Penginjilan). Poin utama dari pasal ini adalah sebagai berikut:

“Tidak Seorangpun akan Menjadi Perhatian tentang Dirinya Sendiri sebelum Ia Belajar tentang Allah.”

“Di Bawah Konviksi Orang-Orang Biasanya Berusaha Mengubah Tingkah Lakunya.”

“Dengan Hukum Taurat Orang-Orang Belajar tentang Keadaan Mereka yang Tanpa Pengharapan.”

“Kebutuhan Awal dalam Penginjilan Bukanlah Memenangkan Orang Bagi Kristus.”

“Kelahiran Kembali dan Petobatan.”

“Kesimpulan: 1. Kasus yang Didemonstrasikan oleh Sejarah
2. Apa yang Para Pengkhotbah Butuhkan.”

“Catatan Tambahan:
John Brown of Wamphrey: What Preparation is Not and What It Is.
Thomas Scott: The Offence of the Cross Ceasing.
Alexander Whyte: Preaching to the Conscience.
D. M. Lloyd-Jones: The Law.”

Saya akan menyimpulkan poin utama dari pasal ini dengan kata-kata ini: Pertobatan adalah riil. Pertobatan sejati mulai dengan kesadaran akan Allah, dan kesadaran akan dosa dan keberadaan dirinya yang tanpa pengharapan. Dalam penginjilan “lama, “…salah satu yang paling dominan diperhatikan adalah penaklukan perasaan akan dosa” (hal. 4). John Bunyan berkata, “Lebih mudah membujuk orang sehat pergi ke dokter untuk perawatan, dari pada membujuk orang yang tidak melihat penyakit jiwanya, untuk [benar-benar] datang kepada Yesus Kristus” (hal. 7).

Kebangunan rohani sejati adalah saat ketika hati nurani diperingatkan. Begitu juga halnya dengan pertobatan sejati seseorang. Orang-orang tidak akan memperhatikan pentingnya pertobatan sejati kecuali mereka merasa bahwa mereka adalah orang-orang berdosa yang tidak memiliki pengharapan dalam pemandangan Allah yang suci. Ketika hati nurani mereka diinsafkan, orang-orang berdosa itu akan mencoba untuk mengubah tingkah laku hidupnya. Kemudian mereka menyadari bahwa mereka tidak dapat mengukur atau memenuhi standard Allah. Melalui khotbah tentang hukum Taurat orang-orang belajar tentang keberadaannya yang tanpa pengharapan. Sama seperti yang ditekankan oleh Gresham Machen,

Tanpa kesadaran akan dosa, seluruh Injil akan nampak sebagai cerita omong kosong (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1923, reprinted 1983, hal. 66).

Murray mengingatkan bahwa seseorang secara mental mungkin bisa “percaya” Injil tanpa bertobat. Hati nurani harus secara menyeluruh diperhadapkan kepada hukum Taurat, seperti yang ditunjukkan oleh Machen (hal. 13). Kesalahan dari penginjilan “baru” terletak pada berhenti mengkhotbahkan Taurat kepada orang-orang berdosa sehingga mereka mau bekata, ‘Oh Tuhan, selamatkanlah aku dari diriku sendiri” (hal. 14). Hari ini ada begitu banyak “petobat” yang tidak pernah tahu kedalaman dari keadaannya sendiri yang telah rusak, atau tidak pernah takut akan Allah. Murray menentang “decisionisme” modern dengan mengatakan bahwa gol dari penginjilan mula-mula bukanlah memenangkan “orang-orang untuk menerima Kristus.” Ia berkata, “Pertobatan tidak terjadi ketika pengkhotbah mendapatkan orang berdosa menerima khotbahnya” (hal. 15). Sebaliknya orang berdosa harus disadarkan atau diinsafkan akan keadaannya sendiri yang tiada pengharapan, kesombongan hatinya, dan naturnya yang selalu memberontak kepada Allah.

Murray berkata,

…kaum injili pada seratus tahun yang lalu bertentangan dengan orang-orang sesudahnya. Salah satu orang injili yang lebih tua yang meramalkan tentang akan datangnya perubahan adalah C. H. Spurgeon [yang meramalkan bahwa pot berisi Lumpur mendidih dari penyesat” akan mengkharakteristik Kekristenan pada abad dua puluh]; yang lainnya adalah William Booth. Ketika Booth ditanya oleh surat kabar Amerika tentang apakah ia pandang sebagai bahaya untuk abad dua puluh satu, ia menjawab dengan singkat dan padat: “Agama tanpa Roh Kudus, Kekristenan tanpa Kristus, pengampunan tanpa pertobatan, keselamatan tanpa kelahiran kembali, politik tanpa Allah dan sorga tanpa neraka.” Kemunduran dalam khotbah Alkitabiah seperti itu sungguh telah mengambil tempat dan kaum injili yang lebih lemah menjadi tidak dapat mengatasi kesukaran (p. xi).

C. H. Spurgeon menulis,

Kadang-kadang kita ditundukkan untuk berpikir bahwa porsi besar dari kebangunan rohani modern lebih menjadi kutuk dari pada berkat, karena itu telah memimpin ribuan orang untuk merasa damai sebelum mereka mengetahui kebinasaan mereka; mengembalikan anak durhaka ke rumah Bapanya, dan tidak pernah membuat dirinya sendiri berkata, “Bapa, aku telah berdosa.” Kesadaran akan dosa yang ditekankan dalam penginjilan model lama diremehkan… Sebagai konsekwensinya adalah orang-orang itu melompat masuk ke dalam agama dan kemudian melompat keluar lagi. Dengan kesombongan mereka masuk ke dalam gereja, dengan kesombongan mereka tinggal di dalamnya, dan dengan kesombongan mereka pergi keluar dari sana (hal. 27).

Murray berkata, “Peringatan Spurgeon tidak diperhatikan. Kemunduran rohani terus terjadi. Ketika Injil dikhotbahkan tanpa hukum Taurat, iman tanpa pertobatan, sorga tanpa neraka, ketidakpedulian roh meningkat” (ibid.). Sebagai hasilnya secara literal sejumlah besar orang yang tak terhitung jumlahnya telah mengalami “pertobatan” palsu pada hari ini. Tidak akan ada pertobatan sejati tanpa sesuatu yang tajam, kesadaran akan dosa dan ketidaklayakan. Orang-orang tidak akan datang kepada Kristus untuk diselamatkan kecuali mereka dibawa ke bawah Taurat melalui khotbah yang tajam, diikuti dengan pemeriksaan hati nurani oleh pengkhotbah, sendiri dengan orang-orang yang mengaku bertobat (inquirers) dalam ruangan yang tenang setelah khotbah disampaikan,. Hanya dengan khotbah dan konseling yang seperti itulah yang akan membawa mereka untuk mengakhiri usaha mereka sendiri, dan kemudian membawa mereka kepada Kristus untuk diselamatkan.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones berkata, “Esensi dari penginjilan adalah memulai dengan khotbah tentang Hukum Taurat” (ibid.). Lloyd-Jones berkata,

Usaha penginjilan bukan hanya menyelesaikan masalah-masalah orang…. Hal yang memisahkan Injil dari setiap pengajaran lainnya adalah bahwa Injil terutama merupakan proklamasi dari Allah dan hubungan kita dengan Allah. Bukan masalah-masalah partikuler kita, namun masalah yang sama yang telah datang kepada kita semua, bahwa kita dihakimi sebagai orang-orang berdosa di hadapan Allah yang suci dan hukum Taurat. Itulah penginjilan (ibid.).

Untuk pernyataan itu Iain H. Murray menambahkan,

Kesadaran tentang takut akan Tuhan, dan tentang kebencian-Nya akan dosa yang begitu besar, adalah kebutuhan zaman kita ini (ibid., hal. 31).

Murray secara mutlak benar!

Saya berharap setiap pengkhotbah di seluruh dunia membaca buku Murray yang luar biasa ini, The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005). Murray kurang lebih lebih menekankan pandangan Calvinistik tentang kelahiran kembali dan pertobatan dari pada penekanan saya. Namun banyak yang dapat dipelajari dengan membaca bab satu. Saya tidak tahu tentang buku modern yang berbicara sejelas ini untuk zaman kita ini tentang tema penting penginjilan yang benar dan pertobatan sejati. Belilah satu. Baca lagi dan lagi. Itu akan memberikan banyak hal yang baik di zaman yang jahat ini.

[ENGLIH VERSION]

A REVIEW OF IAIN H. MURRAY’S ‘THE OLD EVANGELICALISM’

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).

In the summer of 1961 I went into the Biola Bookroom, a little Christian bookstore next to the Church of the Open Door, then pastored by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, at 550 South Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles. I saw a small yellow book that caught my attention. The subtitle made me pick it up, “No single figure influenced so many minds, no single voice touched so many hearts. No other man did such a life’s work for England.” I turned the book over and read on the back cover, “As one who inhales the lotus fragrance is forever charmed, so the reader of Wesley’s life is irresistibly drawn to know for himself the heights and depths of the love of the God whom John Wesley served.”

The main title of the book was The Journal of John Wesley (Moody Press, no date, edited by Percy Livingstone Parker). It contained about one-fourth of Wesley’s original Journal, now published as volumes one to four in The Works of John Wesley (Baker Book House, 1979).

Then I read what Augustine Birrell, attorney for the King, said in the introduction to the Moody Press edition,

If you want to get into [the 18th century], to feel its pulses throb beneath your finger,…ride up and down the country [on horseback] with the greatest force of the eighteenth century in England…his Journals remain, and from them we can learn better than from anywhere else what manner of man he was, and the character of the times during which he lived and moved and had his being (ibid., p. 23).

I bought the book, I think, for about seventy-five cents, went home and read it from cover to cover. The back jacket said that it is

“A book full of plots and plays and novels, which quivers with life and is crammed full of characters. By offering Wesley’s Journal again to the Christian public, Moody Press is presenting in handy form one of the most important, instructive, and entertaining books ever published in the English language. John Wesley influenced not only eighteenth-century England – the force of his life and exertions is felt today, and will continue to be felt.”

As I read John Wesley’s Journal, I found that I was indeed “forever charmed.” As I read, I was “irresistibly drawn to know for [myself] the heights and depths of the love of the God whom John Wesley served.” I consider his Journal to be one of the three or four seminal books that helped to change my views of evangelism and real revival. I have never fully gotten away from it.

Being a mere youth, I knew not as yet the names of George Whitefield, John Cennick, Howell Harris and the other important preachers of the First Great Awakening (1735-1760). But Wesley’s Journal gave me a taste for the sort of awakening he ministered in during those days of God-sent revival in the eighteenth century.

I looked around me in the twentieth century and saw nothing of the mighty outpouring of God which occurred in that far off century. But the Journal made me hungry to know more about that almost “mystical” time when tens of thousands experienced real conversion, before C. G. Finney ruined evangelism by changing God-given conversion into the empty “decisionism” which now engulfs so much of the world.

Yes, I named my second son John Wesley Hymers out of respect to this great evangelist. But I do not now agree with Wesley on a number of lesser points. I do, however, agree with his basic message of evangelism, which he and Whitefield preached up and down the world.

For a clearer theology on some points, the earlier Puritan writers should be read, and read carefully, men like Flavel, Hooker, Owen, and the others. But it is, I believe, a mistake to dwell excessively on the writings of these earlier Puritans. They ought to be read and consulted. But to gain a full understanding of evangelism we must not rest on their writings alone. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones often said that the focus of our study should be on George Whitefield, Howell Harris, John and Charles Wesley, and others who took the Puritan message of conversion out of the confines of the churches, into the fields, to the unchurched, unsaved multitudes.

If I were counselling a young man regarding true evangelism, I would tell him to become familiar with the Reformers of the sixteenth century, particularly with Martin Luther (1483-1564) and John Knox (1514-1572). I would tell him to peruse the writings of John Owen (1616-1683), Richard Sibbes (1577-1633), Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), John Flavel (1627-1691), Joseph Alleine (1634-1668), John Bunyan (1628-1688), and especially Richard Baxter (1615-1691) who famously said,

“I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”

But after reading the Puritans, I hope a young man would then turn his study in depth to the writings and sermons of their successors, the men who followed the Puritans in the eighteenth century, during the time of the First Great Awakening, men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Howell Harris and their co-laborers during the greatest of all revivals in the English speaking world, for it was these successors of the Puritans who took their doctrines to the streets, and confronted every living soul in their hearing with the life-changing message of the old evangelical Gospel.

I believe that it is an error to focus exclusively on the Puritans. It is my conviction that we should concentrate on their heirs, the eighteenth century men like George Whitefield. These were the men who went outside their churches and confronted a dying civilization with the unadulterated Gospel of Christ. And I believe we must do no less than what they did in our time. We must, like them, obey Christ and

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

Above all, I would tell a young preacher to read The Life of the Reverend George Whitefield, two thick volumes by Luke Tyerman (Need of the Times Reprint, 1995). Tyerman’s two books on Whitefield have never been surpassed. These are the books on Whitefield a preacher should read. The newer biographies tend to be “watered down.”

In my opinion George Whitefield was the greatest Gospel preacher since the Apostle Paul. Every young man who feels the call to preach should read Tyerman’s work. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called Whitefield, “the greatest preacher that England has ever produced.” I fully agree that he was the most important preacher of all time in the English speaking world.

Having learned the basic doctrines of converting grace from the Puritans, we must break free from their somewhat introverted applications, and go after college students and the man on the street, as Whitefield, Wesley, and the other eighteenth century men did with such zeal and God-given determination. These men did not agree on some points of theology, but all of them were deeply aware of basic Puritan thought concerning evangelism and conversion. Their views of conversion were nearly identical regardless of their thoughts on other subjects.

A fairly new book by Iain H. Murray is titled, The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening (Banner of Truth Trust, 2005). I believe this little book to be literally “sent by God.” Murray does not present a narrow sectarian point of view. He quotes as freely from the Arminian John Wesley as he does from the Calvinist John Owen. And by approaching his subject in this large-hearted way, he strikes at the very center of the difference between modern evangelism and what he calls “Old Truths for a New Awakening.”

The Old Evangelicalism is, I think, an outgrowth of Murray’s earlier book, Revival and Revivalism: the Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 edition). Chapter fourteen of that book shows how the old concept of conversion and revival was replaced by the “new school,” led by C. G. Finney (1792-1875). Two quotations from chapter fourteen illustrate the difference between the “old school” evangelism of the 18th century and the “new school” evangelism that arose in the time of Finney in the 19th century. The first quotation says:

…the older generation argued that if being saved became identified with performing a bodily act [such as ‘going forward,’ raising the hand, saying a ‘sinner’s prayer,’ etc.], and if hearers were told that it was ‘as easy to change one’s heart from the love of sin’ as to perform that act, then multitudes would be encouraged in a false assurance. This point, as others, was never answered (Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism: the Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 edition, p. 368).

The second quotation gives another insight concerning the older evangelicalism:

…would-be converts were never encouraged to make instant profession. About six months would pass…between hopeful conversion and a public profession of faith. In the [earlier revivals] it is a prominent fact that ministers used great caution in giving opinions concerning the spiritual state…phrases such as “hopefully renewed,” or “hopefully born of God,” were then commonly used of professed converts, whereas by 1852, says the same writer, he heard of ‘conversions,’ ‘wonderful conversions’ which were only supposed to have happened ‘yesterday afternoon’ or ‘last evening’ (ibid., p. 369).

I believe that chapter fourteen of Revival and Revivalism should be studied carefully to give the historical background of Murray’s new book, The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening. The “new school” “decisionism” introduced by C. G. Finney and his cohorts has not produced revival, but has instead filled our church rolls with countless thousands of unconverted people. In Revival and Revivalism, Murray traced through Christian history the profound change that occurred in Finney’s time, which I would call the “anti-Reformation,” where evangelism changed from seeking real conversions to producing “decisions,” and true revival was replaced by human “revivalism.” The “new school” evangelism of the Finney men was based on a theological attack on the doctrines of the Reformation. Thus, it was really an “anti-Reformation” which has robbed us, in our day, of the great insights of the Reformers and the Puritans.

In The Old Evangelicalism Murray explains what evangelicals believed about conversion before the change began in Finney’s day. By the term “old evangelicalism” he refers not to a particular generation or a single denomination, but to the beliefs of Christian leaders of the past five centuries, from Martin Luther in the sixteenth century, to the Puritans of the seventeenth century, to Whitefield, Edwards, and Wesley in the eighteenth century, to C. H. Spurgeon in the nineteenth century, and to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the twentieth century. While Murray is himself a Calvinist, he writes concerning the great sweep of Protestant and Baptist “conversionists,” including men belonging to different schools of Calvinism, as well as the Arminian John Wesley, to whom Murray devotes an entire chapter (“What Can We Learn from John Wesley?”). The scope and breadth of his scholarly yet warm-hearted coverage is shown inside the front and back jackets of the book, where he lists the names and dates of the “old” evangelical authors he quotes. Here are some of the men he mentions in that list as “old” evangelicals.

Martin Luther, 1483-1546.

John Calvin, 1509-1564.

John Knox, 1514-1572.

Thomas Hooker, 1586-1647.

William Gurnall, 1616-1679.

John Flavel, 1627-1691.

Joseph Alleine, 1634-1668.

John Bunyan, 1628-1688.

John Wesley, 1703-1791.

Jonathan Edwards, 1703-1758.

George Whitefield, 1714-1770.

Robert M. M’Cheyne, 1813-1843.

Alexander Whyte, 1836-1921.

John C. Ryle, 1816-1900.

C. H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892.

A. W. Tozer, 1897-1963.

D. M. Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981.

At the beginning of this list he quotes Martin Luther:

We teach no new thing, but we repeat and establish old things, which the apostles and all godly teachers have taught before us.

At the end of the list he quotes Spurgeon:

Clean the grand old pictures of the divine masters; hang them up in new frames; fix them on the walls of your people’s memories, and their well-instructed hearts shall bless you.

Chapter one of The Old Evangelicalism is the most important part of the book. It is titled, “Preaching and Awakening: Facing the Main Problem in Evangelism.” The main points of the chapter are these:

“No One Will Become Concerned About Himself Until He Learns About God.”

“Under Conviction Individuals Commonly Endeavor a Change of Behavior.”

“By the Law Men Learn Their Helplessness.”

“The Initial Need in Evangelism Is Not to Win an Acceptance for Christ.”

“Regeneration and Conviction”

“Conclusion: 1. The Case Demonstrated by History.
2. What Preachers Need.”

“Additional Notes:
John Brown of Wamphrey: What Preparation is Not and What It Is.
Thomas Scott: The Offence of the Cross Ceasing.
Alexander Whyte: Preaching to the Conscience.
D. M. Lloyd-Jones: The Law.”

I would sum up the main point of this chapter in these words: conversion is real. True conversion begins with an awareness of God, and one’s sin and helplessness. In the “old” evangelicalism, “…the one dominant note was an overpowering sense of sin” (p. 4). John Bunyan said, “It is an easier thing to persuade a well man to go to a physician for a cure, than it is to persuade a man that sees not his soul-disease, to [truly] come to Jesus Christ” (p. 7).

Real revival is a time when consciences are alarmed. This is also true of individual conversions. People will not be concerned about being truly converted until they feel that they are hopeless sinners in the sight of a holy God. When their consciences are convicted, sinners will try to change their behavior. Then they discover that they cannot measure up to God’s standard. By the preaching of the law men learn their helplessness. As Dr. J. Gresham Machen pointed out,

Without the consciousness of sin, the whole of the gospel will seem to be an idle tale (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1923, reprinted 1983, p. 66).

Murray warns that a person may mentally “believe” the message of the Gospel without being converted. The conscience must be thoroughly dealt with by the law, as Machen indicated (p. 13). The error of the “new” evangelism lies in ceasing to preach the law to sinners so they will say, “O God, deliver me from myself” (p. 14). Today there are many “converts” who never knew the depths of their own depravity, or the fear of God. Murray argues against modern “decisionism” by saying that the goal of evangelism is not initially to win “an acceptance of Christ.” He says, “Conversion does not come about by the preacher gaining the sinner’s acceptance of his message” (p. 15). Instead the sinner must be convinced of his own helplessness, the pride of his heart, and the rebellion of his nature against God.

Murray says,

…the evangelicalism of the last hundred years contrasts unfavorably with what went before. One of the older evangelicals who forecast the coming change was C. H. Spurgeon [who prophesied that “boiling mud-pots of apostasy” would characterize Christianity in the twentieth century]; another was William Booth. When Booth was asked by an American newspaper what he regarded as the chief dangers ahead for the twentieth century, he replied tersely: “Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.” Such a decline in the biblical message has indeed taken place and a weaker evangelicalism has been unable to stem the tide (p. xi).

C. H. Spurgeon wrote,

Sometimes we are inclined to think that a great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, “Father, I have sinned.” The old-fashioned sense of sin is despised…The consequence is that men leap into religion and then leap out again. Unhumbled they came into the church, unhumbled they remain in it, and unhumbled they go forth from it (p. 27).

Murray says, “Spurgeon’s warning was unheeded. Spiritual decline followed. As gospel was preached without law, faith without repentance and heaven without hell, a careless spirit increased” (ibid.). As a result literally uncountable numbers of people have experienced a counterfeit “conversion” in our day. There can be no real conversion without a sharp, deep-working sense of sin and unworthiness. People will not savingly come to Christ until they are brought under the law by sharp preaching, followed by a probing of the conscience by the preacher, alone with the inquirers in a quiet place after the sermon. Only by such preaching and counselling will they be brought to an end of their own efforts, and then brought savingly to Jesus.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “The essence of evangelism is to start by preaching the law” (ibid.). Lloyd-Jones said,

The business of evangelism is not just to solve people’s problems…The thing that separates the gospel from every other teaching is that it is primarily a proclamation of God and our relationship to God. Not our particular problems, but the same problem that has come to all of us, that we are condemned sinners before a holy God and a holy law. That is evangelism (ibid.).

To which Iain H. Murray adds,

A recovery of the fear of God, and of the greatness of His displeasure against sin, is the need of our times (ibid., p. 31).

Murray is absolutely right!

The second chapter of The Old Evangelicalism is devoted to C. H. Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers.” Spurgeon was the leading figure of the Third Great Awakening (1857-1861) and was, in my view, the most important Baptist pastor of all time. He was also a man who leaned toward the past. Conservative by nature, he has been called “the last of the Puritans.” Murray is exactly right to devote an entire chapter (“Spurgeon and True Conversion”) to him in his book. On the back jacket, Murray quotes Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,

Modern evangelicalism is very unlike the evangelicalism of the eighteenth century and of the Puritans. The genuine evangelicalism is that older evangelicalism.

Spurgeon lived close enough to our time to be considered a bridge to the older evangelical view of true conversion. In his analysis of Spurgeon, Murray takes a more distinctly Calvinistic view of the order of conversion than I would. Yet much can be learned from this chapter regarding what Spurgeon thought about conversion, and Murray has done a great service by making available, in this easily read format, what Spurgeon thought about this all-important subject.

Spurgeon believed in real conversion, not a mere “decision.” He believed that true conversion includes a strong awareness of sin and a “looking” or “coming” to Jesus – union with Christ. Spurgeon said,

In all true conversions there are points of essential agreement: there must be in all a penitent confession of sin, and a looking to Jesus for forgiveness of it, and there must also be a real change of heart, such as shall affect the entire after life, and where these essential points are not to be found there is no genuine conversion (quoted in Iain H. Murray, The Old Evangelicalism, Banner of Truth Trust, 2005, p. 41).

Murray says that Spurgeon’s view of true conversion may sound simple, but “all that is involved is more profound than we can attain to in our present understanding…Our danger today is to suppose that the truth about conversion is only a preliminary to the Christian faith, something like the two-times table is for mathematics, and therefore that it need not detain our attention for long” (ibid.). He says that there are very few modern evangelical books on the subject of Biblical conversion. “What is central in the New Testament has been moved to the periphery, and this reflects a general situation in our churches” (ibid., p. 42). “But when the subject [of conversion] ceases to be paramount it ought to be no surprise that evangelistic endeavour falters” (ibid.). “If our practice was closer to Spurgeon’s who can doubt that true conversions would be more common among us. I propose, then, in this address to take up Spurgeon’s thought as a stimulus for us on this great issue” (ibid.).

Spurgeon believed in the necessity of law work in evangelistic preaching. Spurgeon himself had been “under conviction of sin for several years…But the important thing for him was not the length of time, it was the scriptural principle that law is necessary before gospel” (ibid., p. 48). Spurgeon said,

The Christian minister should declare very pointedly the evil of sin…Open up the spirituality of the law as our Lord did and show how it is broken by evil thoughts, intents and inclinations. By this means many sinners will be pricked in their hearts. Robert Flockhart used to say, ‘It is no use trying to sew with the silken thread of the gospel unless we pierce a way for it with the sharp needle of the law.’ The law goes first like the needle and draws the gospel thread after it (ibid., pp. 48-49).

Murray then traces how the preaching of the moral law was gradually left out of evangelism after the time of Finney. Yet, as important as the preaching of the law is in evangelism, conviction of sin is not the goal. The goal is for sinners to come to Jesus. “Law preaching” made Felix tremble, but he was not converted. Sinners must not take comfort in an awakening of conviction. As important as law preaching is, it is not an end in itself. Spurgeon said that “awakened sinners will be damned unless they believe in Jesus. You must not make a Christ out of your tears, you must not hope to find safety in your bitter thoughts and cruel despair. Unless you believe [in Jesus] you will never be established” [as a truly converted person] (ibid., p. 51).

Murray says that law should be preached to the unconverted, not because it teaches them “what they can do, but what they ought to do…It brings home to the non-Christian that he cannot change his own nature, he cannot save himself. It was of conversion that Jesus was speaking when He said, ‘With men this is impossible’ (Matthew 19:26)” (ibid., pp. 52-53). Preaching on the inability of the unconverted man, Spurgeon said,

Would to God we could bring you, not only to discouragement, but to despair of yourselves. When you… feel you are powerless we shall have hope for you, for then you will leave yourselves in the hands of him who can do all things. When self’s strength is gone, God’s strength will come in…I do not want to rouse your activity, you unconverted people: I want you to rouse you to the conviction that you are lost, and I pray God the Holy Spirit may convince you (ibid., p. 53).

Murray shows that the eighteenth century evangelist George Whitefield desired that lost people “might be convinced of your unbelief, and be led to ask faith of him whose gift it is” (ibid.).

Murray says that regeneration (the new birth) is instantaneous and once for all, never needing to be repeated. “Regeneration is an event, not a process. It is the entrance of the resurrection life of Christ” (p. 55). I believe regeneration is the other side of conversion (the human side) and so I teach that both are simultaneous and instantaneous. But this is really a minor difference, not worthy of further comment, in my opinion.

Murray correctly says that modern evangelicals are as wrong to identify regeneration with a “decision for Christ” as Catholics were to identify it with “baptism” (p. 56). He says,

The time of rebirth belongs to God. The one thing that is certain is that God brings men low before he raises them up. Before the Prodigal Son ‘came to himself’…he knew something of the pain of being in a far country (ibid.).

Some may be under conviction of sin for a long time before conversion, as was Spurgeon. Others may have a quick stab of conviction followed by a sudden conversion. Murray says, “Conviction does not save anyone but no one is saved without conviction” (p. 57). A person may come under conviction and yet not be converted. Also, a person may “believe” the doctrines of salvation without coming to Christ (pp. 57-58). Belief in the doctrines of grace never saved anyone. To be converted, one must be awakened to his terrible, sinful, lost condition and then actually be united with Christ, otherwise his “belief” will produce nothing but a dry acknowledgement of the facts of salvation, and he will never truly come to Christ Himself to receive the saving benefits the Saviour offers to sinners.

Spurgeon regarded the altar call (“coming forward”) as “calculated to confuse the meaning of conversion.” Spurgeon “knew that receiving Christ is never without a change of nature (regeneration) and such a change cannot be effected by any physical action such as asking a person to come to the front” (p. 63). “Spurgeon never added to his preaching an ‘appeal’ or ‘altar call’ for an immediate public decision on the part of individuals who wished to become Christians” (ibid.). “The ‘public decision’ as a means to number converts Spurgeon regarded as utterly untrustworthy” (pp. 63-64). He said,

Some of the most glaring sinners known to me were once members of a church; and were, as I believe, led to make a profession by undue pressure…I am weary of this public bragging, this counting of unhatched chickens (p. 64).

“Of other places where [Spurgeon] preached, including in the open-air…no such appeal was ever given” (ibid.). That is, Spurgeon never gave an “invitation” to come forward, raise the hand, etc. Having the enquirers dealt with “was a different matter, which he encouraged” (ibid.). But he did this in his vestry, often on Monday nights and other evenings of his work week, not as a sudden thing at the end of each sermon, as we usually see done in our day of “new school” evangelism.

In the later nineteenth century the idea [from Finney and his followers] became very popular…that if conversion could be ‘simplified’ into a once-done act, performed at [any time] by any person, then evangelism would be more successful. ‘Success’ came to displace every other priority. Spurgeon, and [some others of the “old school” of evangelism] were in a minority in warning that the gospel wrongly presented was doing injury and [would] bring calamity to the churches [in the future] (p. 65).

In particular, what [Spurgeon] came to miss in the wider [new] evangelical scene was the absence of the conviction of sin and the fear of God. [Conviction of sin] was disappearing in the churches, and with [it] came a loss of reverence and awe. The description of Christians as ‘God-fearing people’ passed out of fashion. Happiness, not fear [became] the one theme, But Spurgeon argued that the two [could not] be separated (p. 66).

“Spurgeon had no doubt that the superficial evangelism [of the ‘new school’] was a major contributing cause for the absence of [true] converts” (ibid.).

Murray quotes Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who made this all very clear when he said, that in the “new” evangelism,

You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd [at the “invitation time”], and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of “decisions” reported…It is entirely [different from] the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others [of the eighteenth century], which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months (page 69).

Murray closes this chapter by giving the view of an older evangelical, Dr. A. W. Tozer, who said,

The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to…the Adamic ego.  Christ may be “received” without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver (page 70).

Murray said,

There is an urgent need today for the recovery of the truth about conversion. A widespread controversy on this subject would be a healthy wind to blow away a thousand lesser things. A renewed fear of God would end much worldly thinking and silence a multitude of raucous services. There has been much talk of more evangelism, and many hopes of revival, but Spurgeon would teach us that the need is to go back to first things [as they were preached in older evangelism] (page 68).

I agree with Iain H. Murray with all my heart. That is why I so strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of his book, The Old Evangelicalism (Banner of Truth, 2005) and read it over and over until the “scales fall from your eyes,” and you feel a desire to join with those of us who want to go back to “the old paths” of real evangelism. A thoughtful modern reader will be challenged to at least consider the fact that nearly all of today’s evangelism has fallen short of what the old evangelicals once believed and preached up and down the land. I believe that we will never see a true classical revival of any magnitude unless we return to the beliefs and principles of the “old evangelicalism.”

May some who read Murray’s book be challenged to do just that! It will be hard to do so in these days of declension, but the results will glorify God and the Lord Jesus Christ. And many more souls will be brought to conversion than by using the modern tricks and manipulations to get “quick,” superficial results by the methods of modern evangelical decisionism.