I want to take time to tell a rather unusual and interesting incident that occurred at this juncture. There had been visiting in my sick room from time to time a minister of the Gospel, named David Catchpole, a very consecrated man of God. He was the pastor of the Baptist Church, one of the largest and strongest churches in our city. Brother Catchpole, best of all, believed the Word; he was no Modernist.
One day he came to visit and said to me: “Mrs. Berg, the Ministerial Association is to meet in the parlor of your home next Monday afternoon at 3 p.m., and, as your room here is right next to the parlor, I thought maybe we could keep the door open and you could hear their discussions. I know you must get very lonely and time passes slowly, and I believe that you would enjoy hearing at least part of the meeting. Now we would be glad to discuss some book which you choose, and I thought I would run over and ask you, so that we could prepare in advance. Just what book shall it be?” “Well, Brother Catchpole,” I answered, “that is so thoughtful of you for Mr. Berg has been reading me a book that I would certainly like to hear the Ministerial Association discuss.” The book was A.B. Simpson’s testimony of his life, wonderful healing, and other marvelous answers to prayer. On the following Monday the pastors of the various denominations came to the parsonage and, as planned, they discussed the book we had given them. I was very ill that day, in fact quite low, so I was unable to hear any of the first part of the meeting—the reading of the book or the first part of the discussion. But in the latter part of the meeting as the discussion grew rather heated and voices were raised to a higher pitch, I caught the following, and the details were told me afterwards by Mr. Berg and Mr. Catchpole, which were in substance as follows:
Reverend Phineas T. Lynn, pastor of the Methodist Church of that city and one of the most precious saints of God I have ever known, had the floor and was saying in substance as follows: “Certainly I believe that God means just what He says in His Word and I believe that Jesus Christ has never changed. We are the ones that have changed. We do not have the faith any more and instead of acknowledging our lack of faith, we blame it on the Word of God, and say that it isn’t for us today. Instead we should bring our faith up to the level of God’s Word.”
Mr. Berg: “Brother Lynn has exactly expressed my views. Because the church has failed in her faith, she has tried to bring God’s Word down to the low level of her faith; saying that these promises were only for apostolic times and not for today; and the miracles of Christ were only to usher in His ministry. This she has done rather than lift her faith up to the level of God’s Word. Just because we haven’t faith for a thing, we say it is not for us today.”
Brother Lynn: “Well, for my part, Brother, I want to confess that we are the ones that have failed. I believe just what the bible says: ‘nothing is impossible with God’ and Jesus Christ is just as ready to answer prayer and meet faith as He was in apostolic days. It is our lack of faith, not His lack of grace, that greater things are not done in His name.”
Brother Catchpole: “I believe just what the Bible says, that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.’”
A doubting Brother: (I refrain from mentioning this pastor’s name. He was greatly exercised as he spoke and seemed much disgusted): “Well, from what I can gather, some of you preachers believe that Christ still works miracles today and you take these promises quite literally. All right, I have a suggestion to make, which is somewhat in the nature of a challenge. In there in that sick-room lies Mrs. Berg, one of the most pitiful invalids I have ever seen; I met her doctor on the way over here and I stopped him to inquire how she was. He answered, “It is amazing to me how that woman lives on in the condition in which she is and being able to take so little nourishment. Every time I have heard the phone bell lately I have thought: ‘Well, this is the end, and Mrs. Berg is gone.’ Why, that woman’s life doesn’t hang by a thread—but by the barest hair.” Now brethren, I believe what her doctor says. you believe all this tommyrot. Let’s put it to the test. For my part, I want it clearly understood that I don’t agree with some of you. Why any fool knows the day of miracles is past. All right. There lies Mrs. Berg in there—a hopeless case; we’re all agreed about that. Now if you believe this stuff, try it on her.” And with that he walked towards the door and opened and closed it with a bang as he left the meeting.
But before he had closed it, Brother Catchpole had time to answer: “That’s exactly what we intend to do.”
I desire to say at this point, before I finish my story, that they “tried it on me,” and the next Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock I was in the ministerial meeting, “every whit whole,” and as happy and hopeful as any sturdy man there!
NOTE: I want my readers to know that I have more sympathy than censure for the man who left the room, and those who hold similar views, because I know there has been so much false teaching today along these lines; so many “cults” and “isms” and “sciences” that have made so much of healing, until you can hardly blame people for shying at the word. You will note I have tried to avoid it, in telling of my wonderful experience, because I do not want to be connected in any way with these healing cults or philosophical groups. We have never had any connection, nor do we want to have, with anything but the unadulterated Word of God, simple, old-fashioned faith and the promises of God set forth just as they are in His Word. However, just because these “philosophical societies,” “modern philosophers,” and “sciences” have taken some precious Scriptures and a few principles of faith from God’s Word and wrapped about them unscriptural teachings and presented them to the world as new teachings, should not keep us from appropriating God’s precious promises, or turn us against these very principles of faith which they have stolen.
True, there are “bloodless” religions that take a part of the wonderful whole and distort it beyond recognition. Thousands upon thousands of people have left our churches seeking mental and physical relief in these modern cults, just because this little grain of truth, i.e., the principle of faith, has been enlarged upon and explained to them for the first time by these cult leaders. Like dying men grasping at a straw, they see hope where there has been despair. They do not see however, that with this grain there is mixed so much that is false, that by accepting it from such questionable sources they involve themselves in a denial of some of the foundation truths of Christianity. Poor deluded hearts, they do not realize that the enemy of our souls often uses truth from the Word of God, and mingles it with error; thus striving to make a counterfeit religion. Thousands accept the counterfeit because it has Scripture in it. But we of the churches have neglected this mighty principle of faith, and as a result, thousands leave our groups and join the great temples of these cults. Some one has wisely said: “A sick sheep will follow anything or anybody.” Why do we not pray for our own sick? Our churches would be enlarged, our own faith strengthened, and wonderful things done in the name of the Lord if we taught these dear sick ones the way of faith. Let’s pray for our own sick.