The Stewardship of the Mystery, Volumes 1 & 2 by T Austin-Sparks and published by Classics.
“To make all men see (marg. ‘to bring to light’) what is the stewardship of the mystery which from all ages has been hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9).
There are some pertinent and serious questions which lie behind this consideration. It has always been cheaply easy to criticize Christianity and the Christian Church. We are well aware of that, and its peril of treachery and disloyalty. We could be deterred from anything that looks like a criticism by the fear of real or alleged spiritual pride, superiority, and arrogance. But – as in the case of Nehemiah, Daniel, and others such – we cannot take an objective position. Rather, as they, so we are involved, and have to speak of ‘the state that we are in’. It is a matter of ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘us’. That sense of involvement and identity, however, did not make them silent and inactive. They had to cry out, to pray, to speak, and to act.
The doubt about things being all well with the Church has become a very big one, a very far-reaching one, and one which is born of a recognition of much weakness, ineffectiveness, and loss of authority. A state of confusion, frustration, and impotence is bringing great discredit upon the Church and much dishonour to the Lord. While, not so long ago, Christian leaders boasted of the great traditions of their particular form of denominational heritage and attributed these to the sovereignty of God, in our time the most common phrase in Christian circles is ‘Our unhappy divisions’ or ‘Our man-made divisions’, etc..