Torch, Fall 1978

EvANGElisM: DR. PAUL DIXON PRESIDENT 3 LookiNG bEyoNd OuRsElvEs S ixty years ago, P. G. Wodehouse wrote about fashionable parties where "men with new religions drink tea with women with new hats." Today, like yesterday, we produce our new fashions and spiritual fads. The newest religion could be called "the cult of self-actualization" or "the happiness cult." Its "bibles" line the local bookstore shelves with such titles as How to be Your Own Best Friend; Moodswing; The Third Revolution in Psychiatry; The Strategy of Self-Esteem; Psycho– Cybemetics and Self-Fulfillment; the best seller Looking out for# 1; and, believe it or not, I Ain't Much, Baby-But I'm All I've Got. Henry Fairlie, in his new book, The Seven Deadly Sins Today, calls these manuals "do-it-yourself God kits" which say what the serpent said: "Ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5). He points out that pride is the abiding sin of this movement which is "not only self-centeredness raised to self– obsession but a rationalization for self-aggrandizement." As Christians, we must beware lest we be caught up in the polluted waters of this craze. True, we are to love ourselves and our neighbors with the same kind of love (Matt. 22:39), but that is the second great commandment, not the first. The first and foremost one is to love God with everything that is in us (Matt. 22:38). It is only as we know God and love Him that we can know ourselves, understand ourselves and love ourselves. This issue of the Torch emphasizes evangelism. We do not err when we love those whom God loves and lead them to Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Every Christian is under marching orders from heaven. We are His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). He has entrusted to us the word of reconciliation. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of God and live to bring others to Him through Christ, then there shall be satisfaction and self-fulfillment. The story is told of a great gathering in the early days of the Salvation Army. All awaited the concluding address of their founder General Booth.At his appointed time to speak, he was not yet present. Everyone waited patiently. After much delay, a runner entered the auditorium with a telegram from the absent general. The moderator opened it and read the contents to the anxious crowd. It contained but one word: "OTHERS." May we but live these few fleeting years for God and others.