277. A DOSE OF REALITY – VANCE HAVNER QUOTES
(The Information & Edification Series)
About a week ago, I happened upon a page featuring information about a man of God now deceased, by the name of Vance Havner. He lived between 1901 and 1986 and having stumbled upon one of his statements, I was blown away! I had never heard of him before but what he had said was so wise, so thought-provoking and so true about the Church and other life issues, that I knew that I had found a real gem.
Intrigued by him and curious to find out more about him, I went in search of information online. I could not understand why I had never heard of him before. I knew of Charles Spurgeon and some other men who served the Lord greatly in their time but nothing of this man. However, it was clear that, as a man full of God-given discernment and wisdom, he had left quite a legacy of faithful service to God while on earth.
His statements are cutting, piercing even. They stir up conviction in the heart of the Christian and draw reference to the harsh realities of the times that we live. He did not hold back or try to couch the truth in diplomatic terms but was brutally honest on a number of matters.
It was surprising to me, when I realized that a lot of the issues he spoke about are issues that we face today. I had not realized that some of these problems plaguing the Church for example, went so far back. Perhaps they are more prevalent, rampant and pervasive today but they existed in his time as well.
In researching this man, whose raw honesty I respect, I compiled a list of some of his most thought-provoking, heart-stirring quotes on issues that are close to my heart, as featured below.
It is an honour for me to share them here, on this Page. I place him on the same level with Charles Spurgeon in terms of the extent of his devotion, godliness and the wise statements that God enabled him to make, for the benefit of the Church. Hopefully, those that have ears to hear, will hear. Those that have itchy ears though, will continue to itch.
Below is a list of the Vance Havner quotes that resonated with me the most. They are on issues that I have long lamented on, in observation of what is happening both in the world and in the Church. It is reassuring to see that these issues that have weighed heavily on my heart and mind and which I have written at length on on this Website were also issues that this man of God saw need to lament over, in his time.
I have categorized the statements under headings, as I thought best. Here’s to hoping that they grab you, the way they grabbed me and provoke you unto love and good works (Hebrews 10: 24). Here’s to hoping that something will strike a chord with you, spur you on to be introspective, to make the changes where necessary in your life and to take positive action, to the honour and glory of almighty God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
SUFFERING & SACRIFICING FOR CHRIST vs COMFORT, COMPROMISE & FITTING IN
- We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions. That is the significance of baptism; we died with Christ and rose to new life.
- Where are the marks of the cross in your life? Are there any points of identification with your Lord? Alas, too many Christians wear medals but carry no scars.
- We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross.
- We are not bearing our crosses every time we have a headache; an aspirin tablet will take care of that. What is meant is the trouble we would not have if we were not Christians.
- The middle of the road is a poor place to walk. It is a poor place to drive. It is a poor place to live…We’ve been brainwashed into a pleasant and middle-of-the-road-ism, trying to be neither/nor in a day that’s either/or.
DOING GOD’S WORK VS COMPLACENCY
- Too many are willing to sit at God’s table, but not work in his field.
- The tragedy of today is that the situation is desperate but the saints are not.
- The cause of Christ has been hurt more by Sunday-morning benchwarmers who pretend to love Christ, who call Him Lord but do not His commands, than by all the publicans and sinners. They say they are evangelical but not evangelistic. They glory in being… disciples of the Lowest Common Denominator. They traffic in unfelt truth and refuse to get excited over religion. Their ideal service is “a mild-mannered man standing before a group of mild-mannered people, exhorting everybody to be more mild-mannered”… How many nice, comfortable, lovely people rest smilingly in church pews, their conscience drugged, their wills paralyzed, in self-satisfied stupor, utterly unconscious of their danger while the Lord of the Lampstands warns them, “I am about to spit you out of My mouth.”
- Too many Christians are stuffing themselves with gospel blessings while millions have never had a taste.
- Too many Christians live their Christian lives inside their heads; it never gets out through hands and feet and lips.
- I know that some are always studying the meaning of the fourth toe of the right foot of some beast in prophecy and have never used either foot to go and bring men to Christ. I do not know who the 666 is in Revelation but I know the world is sick, sick, sick and the best way to speed the Lord’s return is to win more souls for Him.
- We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God.
- Taking it easy is often the prelude to backsliding. Comfort precedes collapse.
- The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.
- It is better to wake up five hundred Christians than to convert five hundred sinners, for if five hundred Christians really wake up, they will win more than five hundred sinners.
- …We need to get going for God. Faith in itself has no value unless it connects you with God. The Bible is constantly trying to wake us up: “Stir up the gift of God” (2 Tim. 1:6); “Break up your fallow ground” (Hos. 10:12); “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13). We need to take ourselves by the nape of the neck and make ourselves do what we know we ought to do, whether we feel like it or not.
ALLOWING GOD’S WORD TO CHANGE AND GROW US AS CHRISTIANS
- It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls.
- Plenty of church members are shaky about what they believe, while not many are shaken by what they believe.
- We are fighting the greatest battle of all time with the most untrained army on earth. If strict discipline is necessary in art and athletics, how can we expect to be advanced Christians and stay in kindergarten?
EFFECTIVE PREACHING AND AN EFFECTIVE CHURCH
- God is on the lookout today for a man who will be quiet enough to get a message from Him, brave enough to preach it, and honest enough to live it.
- Some preachers ought to put more fire into their sermons or more sermons into the fire.
- The task of the preacher is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
- It is not our business to make the message acceptable but to make it available. We are not to see that they like it but that they get it.
- The church is a hospital for sinners, and not a museum for saints.
- The deader your gospel, the flashier your package.
- We have suffered from the preaching of cheap grace. Grace is free, but it is not cheap. People will take anything that is free, but they are not interested in discipleship. They will take Christ as Savior but not as Lord.
- We are suffering today from a species of Christianity as dry as dust, as cold as ice, as pale as a corpse, and as dead as King Tut.
- You can’t function without unction.
- The Church is so subnormal, that if it ever got back to the New Testament normal, it would seem to people to be abnormal.
- Salt seasons, purifies, preserves but somebody ought to remind us that salt also irritates. Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way.
- We are the salt of the earth, mind you, not the sugar…
- We need to take down our do not disturb signs…snap out of our stupor…come out of our coma and awake from our apathy.
PATIENCE & WAITING ON GOD
- The greatest friend of truth is time. Error is always in a hurry, but God’s man can afford to await the vindication of time. And if he is not vindicated in his own lifetime, eternity will settle the score.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD MORE IMPORTANT THAN MINISTRY FOR THE LORD
- It is one of the ironies of the ministry that the very man who works in God’s name is often hardest put to find time for God.
- The devil will let a man prepare a sermon if that will keep him from preparing himself.
THE NEED FOR BROKENNESS
Jack Wellman in commenting on Havner’s beliefs, stated that “He desired a church that was broken over their sin and falling so far short of God’s glory. Brokenness is seen as a weakness to the world but a sign of strength for the believer and so he often reminded the church that:”
- “God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”
TARES AMONG THE WHEAT – FALSE PROFESSERS
- The temple of truth has never suffered so much from woodpeckers on the outside, as from termites within.
- Satan is not fighting churches, he is joining them. He does more harm by sowing tares, than by pulling up wheat. He accomplishes more by imitation, than by outright opposition.
- …There is the notion that we must make the gospel acceptable to the wisdom of this world. You can’t do that. The Bible plainly says it’s nonsense to this world. It’s moronic to this world. It was a long time ago that a great old saint said (get it): If the preaching of the cross is to this world, foolishness, that of necessity, makes the preachers of the cross, to this world, fools. Think that one over. If you’re preaching something that’s foolishness to them, that makes you a fool to them. And there aren’t but two kinds of fools anyhow: Professing themselves to be wise they became fools AND fools for Christ’s sake. Take your pick. I think about that half-wit that had more sense than some whole-wits, going down the street with a sign in front of him: “I’m a fool for Jesus.” And (as) he got by, he had another sign on his back: “Whose fool are you?” That’s a good question. That’s a good question.
(Quotes from Vance Havner uploaded on 03rd February, 2023)
Dear Reader, if you found the above quotes to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 168 – Some Of My Favorite Charles Spurgeon Sayings