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Yikes: “Your hand placed upon his shoulder may help him make the decision.”

I “talk back” to my books as I read them, which is why I hate borrowing books. I use a variety of symbols, including a key for vital points, a pair of glasses for references or books I’d like to look up later, a “Q” for great quotations, etc. If I’m not sure what I think, I’ll either write “?” (for statements I probably doubt) or “Hmm” (for statements I probably affirm). Sometimes, of course, I disagree with a writer entirely. I’ll normally indicate my disagreement with a simple “X” in the margin.When especially exercised, though, I’ll say “That’s nuts!” or “Yikes!” Well, the following statement in an article on evangelism in a well-known publication got a “Yikes!”

“After Scripture has had its chance, and decision should be reached, get your friend on his knees, and ask him to decide after you have poured out your heart to God for and with him. I have known more men who have yielded on their knees than anywhere else. At just the right time, when genuinely  prompted by loving impulse and sincere motive, your hand placed upon his shoulder may help him make the decision….

When you pray with the one for whom you are working, be most specific and plain in your petition. Then ask him to pray for himself. If he cannot, frame his prayer for him, and ask him to repeat.”

“Mercy.” I write that sometimes, too. Now, on rare occasions even the old hand-on-the-shoulder trick doesn’t work. The author offers some practical advice for that scenario:

“If you fail, do not be discouraged, but determine to get nearer to God and to gain more power through your apparent failure. Write a good letter to the one you have failed to reach or failed to find after repeated calling. Many have been won by correspondence. He knows you are interested very difinitely if you write.”

Getting nearer to God is a great thing. So is writing evangelistic letters. In fact, I appreciate the author’s urgency about getting the gospel out as effectively as possible. But calling evangelistic conversations in which one doesn’t repent and trust Christ “failures”? “Yikes!”

Now, here’s the fun part. Any guesses regarding who the author is/was, or at least the name of the publication that printed the article? You can at least guess the author’s denomination, I’d think. Anyone? (No googling allowed.)

25 Responses

  1. Aw, that’s easy. It’s gotta be “Sword of the Lord.”

  2. Sounds like something from Jack Hyles or the “Sword of the Lord” crowd.

  3. It way predates the Sword. (If I hadn’t just re-read the book, I might have thought so though). And the author wasn’t a Baptist either. The phrase “after Scripture has had its chance” is truly astonishing. Yikes seems to be the only appropriate response.

  4. I know! It’s from that verse that says “and faith cometh from a decision and the decision cometh from the placing of thine hand upon the kneeling reprobate’s shoulder”?

  5. Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, or DL Moody

  6. Nope, nope, nope, and nope. Not Sword, not Hyles, not Spurgeon(!), not Finney, and not Moody.

    (And I’m offended on behalf of Spurgeon!) :)

  7. Nik, you crack me up. :)

  8. C.S. Lovett

  9. “If you fail…”–that rates a “Holy cow!” as well. For shock value, I’ll bet the author is Presbyterian.

  10. No to Lovett.

    Yes to Presbyterian. :)

  11. D. James Kennedy?

  12. Not Kennedy.

    The writer is “Rev. John Timothy Stone, D. D.”

    He is described as “Ex-Moderator General Assembly Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.”

    Any guess on the name of the publication?

  13. I find that leaning over and wagging my eyebrows meaningfully is also… well, useless. But it gives me something to do.

  14. “Put Your Hand On My Shoulder”

  15. Now I’ll have that tune in my head the rest of the day…

  16. Wow, you guys are OLD.

  17. Because I can’t imagine anyone guessing, because I have other things to do this evening, and because we’re heading toward the ridiculous (HT: Andrew)…

    Stone wrote this in an article entitled “Pastoral and Personal Evangelism, or Winning Men to Christ One by One” in…

    …(drum roll please)…

    …(and no, I don’t know why he couldn’t decide between the two titles)…

    The Fundamentals.

    No kidding. I have the red, 4-volume edition by Baker. Volume III, pp. 178-198. It’s not entirely unhelpful. But, well, “Yikes!”

    Surprised? Is that what you had, Watchman?

    Leave it to those pragmatic Presbyterian fundamentalists… :)

  18. Funny:

    You can see it here. But apparently Dr. Charles Feinberg edited the “put your hand on my shoulder” portion out in the 1958 reprinting (it is omitted from the first paragraph of p. 471). Can’t blame him. :)

  19. “Heading toward”?

  20. Yep, that’s the one. Re-read it very recently or there’s not a chance I would have recognized the quote or the source. It sounds very modern.

    There’s a whole lot of interesting (for many different values of the word interesting) material in there. Many, many people who claim to be fundamentalists today wouldn’t be caught dead associating with most of the authors if they were still around…and this is far from the only eyebrow wagging statement in there. Everybody really should take the time to plow through the whole thing at least once.

  21. Bro Dan,
    I was rehearsing various deliciously saucy retorts to your comment, but then I realized…

    *obviously* you must be talking about Andrew. =)

    Alright….from the ridiculous back to the sublime.

  22. Ok. I’m going to change my vote. This has got to be Finney.

  23. oops! Should have read the whole thread. lol

  24. I think Dan was saying that the thread was “ridiculous” from the moment I started the quotes. :)

  25. While that may be true (lol), I’m referring to his usage of the “o” word (in all caps, mind you)–suggesting that *some* of us may be chronologically challenged. But I’ve since decided I’m too mature to respond to such accusations.

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