What Others Say

Thank you for writing the article in Saturday's edition of New Castle News. It was very good and very interesting. You bring it all to light, making everything very simple and easy to understand. - Kathy L. - New Castle, Pennsylvania

Monday, May 25, 2015

Witness of the Word

I don’t go to garage sales very often, but once in a while my wife and I will get up early and search for treasures that have gathered dust in attics and closets.  We have even hosted a few garage sales ourselves, trying to pare down our collection of "stuff." 

I like to breeze in and breeze out.  A quick survey usually does it and I am ready to hop back in the car.  She likes to "finger the merchandise" and visit with the people.  On one of those recent excursions, I spied the usual stack of books.  A few of them frayed from use, some of them crisp as new, never opened.  I picked out a fifty cent paperback, found two quarters in my pocket, and I was done for the day.  

I felt compelled to read the book to get my money’s worth.  I guess I am too cheap to waste two quarters.  The book was more used than I realized.  For some reason it had been stabbed with a knife and had a hole punched through the first two chapters. But I ignored the paperback wound and started reading Daniel Defoe's classic, Robinson Crusoe.

About two-thirds of the way through the book, I came across this quote: “How infinite and inexpressible a blessing it is that the knowledge of God and of the doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus is so plainly laid down in the Word of God, so easy to be received and understood … As to all disputes, wranglings, strife and contention which has happened in the world about religion, whether niceties in doctrines, or schemes of church government, they were all perfectly useless to us, as, for aught I can see, they have been to all the rest of the world.”

It sounded like a critique of contemporary Christianity.  But the book was first published in 1719, almost three hundred years ago. I had always dismissed it as juvenile literature without having read it.

Daniel Defoe’s story of Robinson Crusoe is considered by many to be the first novel written in the English language.  I was surprised by its powerful Christian content. Writing more than a decade before the Great Awakening, Defoe captured the essence of a journey to faith in Christ with no other aid than the Bible.

Unlike the modern “Castaway,” played by Tom Hanks, who spends years of isolation on an island talking to a volley ball, Defoe’s character finds a Bible in the ship’s wreckage and begins a conversation with God. Through Scripture alone, Robinson Crusoe is led to profound repentance and faith.

In Isaiah, God says, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11) 

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