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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Men’s Movements

The late Evangelist Wes Auger

From The Baptist Challenge, January 2014

If the Word of God teaches anything at all it teaches that all true believers are to be witnesses. All are commissioned to win the lost. All are responsible to take the Word of Life to the corners of the earth.

The Scriptures do not recognize any difference between what we commonly call the “clergy” and the “laity.”

But — and here is the rub — the Scriptures certainly do teach that there is a vast difference between laboring in the flesh and actually being called to perform a specific ministry for the Lord.

And there is also a difference between gift and talent. Sometimes talent is mistaken for gift and there have certainly been times when gift is wrongly described as talent.

Talent is what unsaved men have. Talent is also what can be found among many untaught and unyielded Christians. Talent runs loose in many church programs and it controls the spiritual lives of too many people. Talent always produces entertainment, joy, happiness, laughter, a feeling of ease and comfort. Talent is enjoyed, it is lapped up, it is sought after. Talent is wanted on the programs of centers that must attract the attendance and support of church members. Talent can be cultivated, taught, polished up, tuned up, played up and exploited.

Gift is what comes as a direct ministry of the Holy Spirit to the churches. He has chosen certain men and given to them the gift of Teacher or Pastor or Evangelist.

Gift usually does not produce entertainment alone, it does not give momentary joy that ends with the benediction or happiness of the sort that the world thrives on when it unwraps a new package or falls heir to a new fortune. Gift many times produces restless days and sleepless nights; gift challenges and stirs; gift causes people to probe the depths of their hearts, gift sometimes upsets; it can produce a gnashing of teeth — but it always comes forth with some real fruit! It will produce genuine conversions. It will result in real growth in Christian life. It will plant new churches and revive and stir and teach old ones.

That is why Jesus Christ said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church. He had gifts to give the churches and no matter how worldly and carnal and sleepy and cold some of these churches become there will always be men of gift walking among them — and they will not die — some real fruit will be evidence! Gift is not cultivated; it is not taught; it is not something that is sharpened up It doesn’t need dramatic lessons or window dressings of any kind.

Some people have sat under talent all their lives — but they have never been under gift! That is why so much in the way of Christian work is as shabby as it is! That is what has allowed the new evangelicalism to sweep the scene!

Talent always produces people without standards, without convictions, with wishbones in place of backbones. Gift, on the other hand, produces men of stature and standard; men who will not compromise; men who can and will open the book and say, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Talent has not populated the mission stations and built new churches. Talent has not produced praying and separated Christians. Talent builds seminaries that veer from the faith; founds Bible Conferences that become centers of ease and entertainment where a plain word on separation is not welcome, establishes youth movements that easily descend into antinomianism and organizes Christian commercialism that makes their founders fat!

Gift builds New Testament churches and produces believers who are well taught on issues. Gift rouses youth to lead the way — to consecrated living, to the mission field, to dedicated service. Gift will always produce the kind of schools that are “Schools of the Prophets,” that turn out men of conviction rather than men of convenience.

And right here is where most of the laymen’s movements get right off the track! They’re generally in the hands of promoters who despise the New Testament church and who know little, if anything, of the truths that God’s Word teaches that are cross current to somebody else’s thinking.

The average Business Men’s and Laymen’s movement is built upon the premise that you must never bring up and preach or teach on controversial truth. And what truth is there that is worth much, that somebody doesn’t disagree with somewhere along the line?

Most of the Laymen’s Movements today, are, sadly, not worthy of the interest and support of real New Testament churches because basically they do not and will not support New Testament churches.

They want support and backing — and they are willing to go anywhere for it. And it is certainly true that the men who do most of the speaking at Laymen’s meetings are no more qualified to teach and preach than a dog is qualified to stand on its hind legs and sing a solo. The only place that they find appreciation is in the hearts of others who want to do the same thing themselves. They just don’t have gift. Generally, usually, in most cases, when God gifts a man, He also calls that man into His vineyard full time with a gift to the churches. Search the Scriptures — God has given His gifts to the local church — not to any other organization or movement.

We all would like to see some men’s movements that would be free of promoters. We all would like to see some men’s movements that would not be dominated by a group of self-appointed strutters. And it would seem that the place to find such a movement is in the confines of that which Jesus built in the first place — His church.