This month sees our annual Combined Weekend for 1995 and, as in past years, our program centres around two principal areas. One aspect involves fraternal activities including Bible exposition, exhortation, praise, and Sunday School work to encourage and build up brethren and sisters and their families. The other aspect is our endeavour to spread the knowledge of the Word of Truth by means of Gospel proclamation to “those without”. In this issue of “The Lampstand” we are including as a special feature, a consideration of Gospel proclamation work past, present and future that we might see the value and significance of this activity and the onus that is laid upon all of us personally to be constantly engaged in this vitally important work.

The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:1,2: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God”. Paul saw the need to be actively engaged in showing forth the Word of life in every aspect of his daily living. Although it brought persecution and suffering upon him, he counted it a joy and privilege to suffer for Christ’s sake. As he said in verses 17 and 18: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal”.

 It was his vision of the future that motivated him at all times as it was also with the Lord himself so that Paul could say: “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak”.

The history of the Truth over the last 150 years has been intimately connected with vigorous Gospel Proclamation activity and this issue of The Lampstand considers some of this work in the past, the present and the future.

The “Our Heritage” section takes us back to the past and the early days of the revival of the Truth when Brother John Thomas laboured so hard to rekindle the light of the Truth in a world that had been steeped in darkness for many years. The very challenging article, “The Duty of Brethren as Christ’s Bowmen”, gives much serious food for thought to “Christ’s Bowmen” today.

Our “Special Feature” section looks at the present and considers aspects of Gospel Proclamation work conducted in more recent times including:

  • A brief history of the Gospel Proclamation Association which was formed in the late 1950’s. It looks at some of the circumstances and personalities involved in its formation and also its ongoing work today.
  • An encouraging report on Gospel activities at the recent Royal Adelaide Show.
  • An interesting outline of the Bible Seminar program commenced overseas and more recently introduced into South Australian Ecclesias.
  • The third in a series covering the origins of some of our ecclesias. On this occasion we consider the Enfield Ecclesia with particular reference to the involvement of G.P.A.

In the “Cameos of the Kingdom” section we are taken into the future as we commence a new series dealing with The Temple in the Age to Come. These articles will doubtless consider the greatest work of Gospel Proclamation in which we hope to be involved as we consider the House of Prayer for All Nations as the saints go forth “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth” (Rev 14:6).

The challenge to us is to ensure that we are all motivated and equipped to carry out this work in our personal and ecclesial environments in preparation for the greater work to come. Brother Thomas wrote in an article entitled “Preach the Word”: “The workman who preaches the Word is to divide it rightly. He is to “study” to divide the Word of Truth rightly. It requires study and much study, too, or its right division cannot be discerned. If this be neglected, the preaching or writing will be mere confusion, and the word quoted unintelligible.” The rarity of such preachers in his day and ours and the challenge that goes with it is aptly depicted in his concluding words. “Now, where are we to find such preachers and dividers of the Word of Truth? They are like comets in our heavens for multitude! Let the reader choose a clear dark night, and go forth and count them” (The Faith in the Last Days pp 247, 248).

Can we all in good conscience say with Paul, “I believed therefore have I spoken”.