Converts must stop relying on the most important and respected tools of converting grace.The most successful evangelists are men, and, singularly, they are often very ordinary and very weak men—neither models of taste nor eminent teachers of the truth, nor impressive illustrations of humility. They are not men whose distinctive qualities as men one would care to covet or copy. They are but “voices,” whose personalities may as well be kept out of sight, whose success one wonders at, but because of whom we may give glory to God for the mystery and the abundance of his grace. To this rule, there are notable exceptions, and for the evangelistic ministry as a whole, the church should be grateful, and concerning its employment, wise and careful.
But let it be kept in mind that the success of evangelists is not a criterion of their personal piety or the strength or symmetry of their religious character. Some of the most inexplicable phenomena in Christian activity are just now developing. Nowhere else are human conditions so essential to success. And just here, also, the greatest injustice is done to the majority of Christian pastors, who, lacking the peculiar natural endowments in which lie the secret of “revival power,” are nevertheless consecrated, industrious, faithful, consistent, humble, and truly sanctified men, building up the church, and, perhaps, in the course of a 25-year healthful, normal ministry, bringing far more souls into permanent connection with the church than do the so-called “revivalists.” The convert must not exaggerate the personal piety and power of the evangelist and must not depreciate the less demonstrative power and worth of the pastor, but he must be trained to fix his eager gaze above men and ministers, above Paul and Apollos and Cephas, on Christ and Christ alone.
By J. H. VINCENT
Updated 2023 Nathan Zipfel