From Andrew A. Woolsey's "Channel of Revival: A Biography of Duncan Campbell," (The Faith Mission: Edinburgh, 1974, reprinted 1982), 127-129 (boldface mine):
There was nothing complicated about Duncan's preaching. It was fearless and uncompromising. He exposed sin in its ugliness and dwelt at length on the consequences of living and dying without Christ. With a penetrating gaze on the congregation, and perspiration streaming down his face, he set before men and women the way of life and the way of death. It was a solemn thought to him that the eternity of his hearers might turn upon his faithfulness. He was standing before his fellowmen in Christ's stead and could be neither perfunctory nor formal. His words were not just a repetition of accumulated ideas, but the expression of his whole being; he gave the impression of preaching with his entire personality, not merely with his voice.
It was prophetic preaching, not diplomatic, and the hearers were called to make a clear choice, for there was middle path. During the revival the wrath of God was emphasized and the coming judgment. God has given him this emphasis. Once he tried to be more pleasing in the presentation of truth but without effect and in spite of constant criticism continued to press the flaming sword into the very heart of the foe, resisting every effort to make him retreat. Leaving a service one night after listening to a famous preacher who was noted for his 'positive gospel', he found himself beside another minister who had often censured his ministry. The sermon they had listened to was on Paul's word to the Philippian jailor: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'
'What did you think of that?' his critic asked. 'Not telling him to flee from the wrath to come!'
'Maybe not,' replied Duncan slowly 'but you must remember that the dear many was already in full flight.'
While he thundered the judgments of God unsparingly on those who continued in sin, there was a beautiful tenderness when he addressed those seeking Christ in true repentance. The jewel of grace shone more brightly against the backcloth of law and judgment. Indeed, those who listened sometimes saw his countenance glow with light as he dwelt on the love of Christ and God's welcome to returning sinners.
Undoubtedly the insistence on a true knowledge of sin and genuine repentance was one of the reasons for the deep conviction of sin which characterised the movement. At times the preacher's voice was drowned with the sound of men and women weeping uncontrollably; on occasions he found it necessary to stop preaching because of the distress manifested by those whose consciences had been awakened. Men, broken in spirit, wept openly over their sin. Here is one working at peats on the moor and suddenly bursts into a flood of tears. 'Why am I crying?' he asks 'I didn't used to be so soft.' He remembers the two ships that had gone down under him at Dunkirk and he had shown no fear; now he trembles. Hastening home he goes to the barn and yields with the prayer: 'Oh God if it's my surrender You want, You've got it now.'
Another, who had been given up by the ministers as totally indifferent, is cycling along the road with the Word of God pounding in his brain causing him to dismount; it seems that hell has opened up, spitting out balls of fire on the road before him.
In the fields, or at the weaving looms, men were overcome and prostrated on the ground before God. One said; 'The grass beneath my feet and the rocks around me seem to cry: "Flee to Christ for refuge!"'
The agony of conviction was terrible to behold, but Duncan rejoiced knowing that out of the deep travail would be born a rich, virile Christian experience, unlike the cheap, easy-going 'believism' that produces no radical moral change. An old man underlined this in his prayer when he said bluntly: 'Lord, now that You have us in the big pot, boil us as well!'
* * *It's far too easy for any of us to fear and to compromise.
It's far too easy for ME to fear men rather than God. It's far too easy for ME to compromise! It's far too easy for ME to seek to please men rather than pleasing God! This is a temptation I constantly face, but I know that along with the apostle Paul, I CANNOT rightly claim to be a servant of Christ so long as I am seeking to please men...
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
And I also know what our Lord had to say about those who feared men rather than God:
Matthew 10:26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
This morning, I was rereading the accounts of Moses' repeated visits to Pharaoh.During that time, there were four opportunities when Pharaoh dangled before Moses' ears four different compromises
(Exodus 8:25; 8:28; 10:8-11; 10:24):
Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.
So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you must not go very far away...
So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. But which ones are to go?” Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.” But he said to them, “The LORD be with you, if ever I let you and your little ones go!
Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.”
Yes, these were certainly options
, but not one of them was in line with God's
uncompromising will for His people!
We learn a great deal from Moses' response to Pharaoh in Exodus 8:27:
"We must go three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as he tells us.""AS HE [the LORD our God] TELLS US."
In other words, we can't serve the LORD in any way other than the way HE TELLS US. No matter the circumstances, no matter our feelings, no matter what anyone else is telling us – our obedience to the living God must be based on what the LORD our God has told us in His Holy Word. We see the disastrous results for King Saul when he did not serve the LORD as the LORD had told him (see I Samuel 13 & 15). We make a fatal error whenever we begin to rely on ourselves, i.e. - when we begin to consider and think through a situation using our own human wisdom and try to solve a problem using our own fleshly resources, when we toss aside the Word of God and no longer bow down to God's sovereign authority. We can't ever fight the battles of God using Saul's fleshly armor! Unless we seek the will of God through prayer and the Word of God, unless we ask for the Holy Spirit of God to lead us into all truth and to pour out upon us what He alone can supply, we'll be led astray onto the broad path of expediency and common sense. We have to remember that God's thoughts and God's ways are higher than ours. God's thoughts and God's ways often don't make sense to us. His wisdom is inscrutable. We are not His counselor! The LORD is GOD, after all, is He not? The way of the Spirit of God is always the way of life; while the way of flesh of man is always the way of death:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, let's never forget how our Lord Himself did battle: He used the Word of God!
May we each take heed that we might not fall! May I take heed that I might not fall!
Notice Moses emphatic, uncompromising, and unwavering tone: "We must.
" And as Moses answers Pharaoh's proposals, we find him using the same words in Exodus 10:9 and 10:25-26:
Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.”
But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the LORD our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we arrive there.”
Moses was concerned about the people of God worshiping the LORD in the exact way GOD Himself had prescribed. Aren't we constantly tempted to remake God into our own image and worship Him in the way that seems
right to us? Aren't we flooded with temptations to make that smallest little compromise? Don't we find a million and one reasons rising up to rationalize our disobedience to God's Word?
Know this: apart from the persevering grace of God at work in us and apart from the love of God constraining us, each one of us would very quickly end up running after the imagination of our own evil hearts (~ Jer. 16:12, KJV), doing what's right in our own eyes (Judges 21:25), turning our backs on the LORD our God (II Chron. 29:6), and saying to the one true God: "We are lords; we will come no more unto thee" (Jer. 2:31, KJV). How pathetic that we would even consider forsaking the fountain of living water to hew broken cisterns! (Jer. 2:13) How loathsome that we might forsake the cold flowing waters for strange waters! (Jer. 18:14)
Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (adapted)
I've found myself between a rock and a hard place on many occasions, and particularly quite often as of late... God forbid that I succumb to fear and compromise!~ Lord God, multiply Your grace toward me, so I might be strengthened to offer myself to You as a living sacrifice. Work in me to will and to do of Your good pleasure, that I might not shrink back, but be fearless and uncompromising – no matter the cost. ~Like the apostle Paul
, I long to finish my course and the ministry I received to testify to the gospel of the grace of God fearlessly and without compromise:
Acts 20:18 “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears..."
Impossible with me, but possible WITH GOD, as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
In much of the western world today, the church is so very far from the bright and shining torch we're intended to be (Isaiah 62). We are in a state of great ruination, much as we read of in Psalm 74. We are a reproach and disgrace to the name of our holy God. We're looking very much like the temple and the city of Jerusalem after the exile (e.g. - see the books of Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah). We must consider our ways! The gold has grown dim (Lam. 4:1), and it grows dimmer day by day, as you hear of the erosion of denomination after denomination, as we you find further slippages of doctrinal truth. My friends, the lampstands have been removed from congregations and denominations that were once known for their orthodoxy, and they are being removed as you read these words. We are now reaping what what has been sown over the course of many, many years as fleshly, man-centered, expedient, and people-pleasing decisions have made by a whole host of people throughout the course of many, many years – people who chose not to be fearless and uncompromising. Instead of being valiant for the truth, they chose to shrink back in fear and to make little compromises here and there. I don't want to be counted among those people! O! for the grace of God to abound so I might be fearless and uncompromising
all the days of my life, like Duncan Campbell, Moses, and Paul!
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
"Peace if possible, truth at all costs."
And Elijah came near to all the people and said,
“How long will you go limping between two different opinions?
If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
And the people did not answer him a word.
(I Kings 18:21)
For more about Duncan Campbell, please read my last post, God's greatest gift to any generation
, and this Brief Biography of Duncan Campbell
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Scripture quotations unless otherwise indicated are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Emphasis mine.
Scripture quotations marked KJV are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.Work found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tissot_Moses_Speaks_to_Pharaoh.jpg / CC BY-SA 3.0