Now, I know that all ministers and Christian teachers are not agreed about this. There has been a controversy in the Church, both long and sometimes bitter, unfortunately, about the Lord's return and the setting up of the Kingdom. And I have no desire to take any part in that, but instead, a strong desire to keep out of it. There is too much pressing emergency among men for helpful service to spend any time or strength in controversy.
In a word it may be put this way. There are those who believe that Jesus' coming is a thing to be expected as likely to occur at any time, or within our lifetime, within any generation. His coming is to be the beginning of the Kingdom period, when all peoples will be loyal to Him.
The others believe that the preaching of the Gospel will bring the whole world into allegiance, and that will be the Kingdom, and then Jesus will return. Both agree fully that the thing to be desired, and that will come, is the world-wide acknowledgment of Jesus as Saviour and King.
It may be added, however, that of later years there is a third great group in the Church, which is really the largest of the three. These people practically ignore the teaching about an actual return of Jesus to the earth. They believe that He has already come, and is continually coming in the higher ideals, the better standards, and nobler spirit that pervade society.
If it be true that the present preaching of the Gospel is to result in winning the whole world at once, without waiting for this programme of which I have spoken, then there is in that a very strong argument for world-wide evangelization. For only so can the desired result be secured. And so we can heartily join hands together in service regardless of what we believe on this question. I make a rule not to ask a man on which side of the question he stands, but to work with him hand in hand so far as I can in spreading the glad good news of Jesus everywhere.
The difference of view regarding the Lord's return need not affect the practical working together of all earnest men. We are perfectly agreed that the great thing is to have the story of Jesus' dying and rising again told out earnestly and lovingly to all men. And we can go at that with greatest heartiness, side by side.
The great concern now is to make Jesus fully known. That is the plan for the present time. It is a simple plan. Men who have been won are to be the winners. Nobody else can be. The warm enthusiasm of grateful love must burn in the heart and drive all the life. There must be simple, but thorough organization.
The campaign should be mapped out as thoroughly as a Presidential campaign is organized here in our country. The purpose of a Presidential campaign is really stupendous in its object and sweep. It is to influence quickly, up to the point of decisive action, the individual opinion of millions of men, spread over millions of square miles, and that, too, in the face of a vigorous opposing campaign to influence them the other way. The whole vast district of country is mapped out and organized on broad lines and into the smallest details.
Strong brainy men give themselves wholly to the task, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars within a few months. And then, four years later, they proceed as enthusiastically as before to go over the whole ground again. We need as thorough organizing, as aggressive enthusiasm, and as intelligent planning for this great task which our Master has put into our hands.
And we have a driving motive power greater than any campaign-manager ever had or has—a Jesus who sets fire to one's whole being, with a passion of love that burns up every other flame. We need a Church as thoroughly organized, and every man in it with a burning heart for this great service.