only for the serious!

Didn’t think, being a Christian who has read the Bible for most of his years so far, that I could start to see the Bible in a different way.   But looking at Torrey’s book ‘How to Bring them to Christ’ has made me think that the real meat of the Bible is in the power it has to break down a person’s defences and strip away the props that they thought they were depending on.

Do you think that you are too bad to come to saving faith?  Do you want to believe but don’t know how?  Are you indifferent about God, or even skeptical?  The assumption in Torrey’s book, dated but helpfully updated by Whitaker (with some omissions, but you can always find the original book in a pdf online, under the title ‘How to Bring Men to Christ’), is that whoever it is is interested in the Bible.

Personally, I find what I read in Scripture as bracing and affirmative, often intimidating, as I read anywhere else.  And it doesn’t have the same tang of despair about it as humanist or postmodern texts.  It draws on something larger than itself, there is no doubt about that.  What I like about folk like Torrey is that he was dead certain about his faith.  And the way he draws on Scriptures is fabulous.

It is hard to give glib answers to those who ask, now, ‘Why does God allow suffering?’  But, without necessarily turning up the Bible, it is still possible to use the ideas from Scripture to respond, and then we are allowing God to speak, rather than feeling that we have to come up with a solution.  I have to say, Torrey’s responses might often put people off from becoming Christians: ‘What if I get persecuted’.  Torrey instructs us to show them, from Scripture, that ‘persecution is the only path to glory’.  But I have to say, from my recent reading and studying in 1 Peter, and 2 Timothy in particular, that that is what the NT says.

Torrey is a recent discovery of mine, a real boon for Bible study and for anyone wanting revival.  His sermon ‘The greatest sentence that was ever written’   http://www.ccel.org/ccel/torrey/revival.v.ii.html

A font-friendly selection from the original work

doesn’t fail to impress, for example.  The only caveat with this book is that it all appears too easy.  You have to know these verses, and make them your own, and pray them through with particular people in mind, to see results.  Torrey advises, in his book ‘How to Study the Bible’ (another RHP classic!) that you do your own study of Scripture identifying verses that will help with particular categories of those who do not know Christ.

Some would feel that this somehow violates the freedom of the individual.  However, I believe that Satan has already violated the freedom of the individual.  He has stolen our freedom.  We are in darkness unless we know Christ. Many of us who have met Christ remain in darkness still. Show me a believer who will not benefit from closely scrutinising the pages of Scripture for texts that will help people come closer to saving faith.  Do.

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