(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 8)

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 and refreshing, 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’m not crazy as some people, even those who profess to be Christians, try to make me feel when I raise these issues. I just love truth and am passionate about it, even when it presents a challenge to me!

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.


  • What’s the issue anyhow? What’s it all about? The greatest issue of all time has never caught the attention of the news media or congress or the UN or the Universities or the scientific centres. It was stated a long time ago by Pontius Pilate when he said, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?” This is the crisis. John 3:19, it says there, this is the condemnation…That light has come into the world and men love the darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil…This is what it’s all about. God has visited this world in the person of his son and we’re all on the spot because everybody must do SOMETHING about Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as doing nothing about Jesus Christ. He that believeth is not condemned and he that believeth not is condemned already because he has not believed on the name of Jesus Christ. He himself said, “He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad…”


  • 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.
  • There never has been a culture since this world began in which a New Testament Christian could feel at home.
  • 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.
  • Check your wardrobe as a Christian. Are you wearing the rags of self-righteousness, the spotted clothes of worldliness or the great garb of compromise?… We need to get back to the garments of the righteousness of the Lord.
  • …political campaigns, ball games, business advantages. It’s always a good thing to be a church member. It looks good on your obituary after you’re dead. But Jesus Christ is not on call to lend a religious aura and put a halo on human endeavours….Jesus Christ is not an additive to what you already have: your education, your personality, your prestige…Jesus said I’m not a new chapter in your book. We begin a new book. You MUST be born again. And may I say to you this morning, if you are what you’ve always been, you’re not a Christian. A Christian is not what he’s always been. Something has happened. The rich young ruler was beset with this same trouble. He said, I’ve been a good boy, I have marks to my credit. Now I’ll like to find out how to get eternal life and if I can add that to what I already have, I’ve got it made. Jesus said, you sell out what you already have. We start over…If you forget everything else I say this morning, remember this: Jesus Christ never comes next. He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last but he is not playing second fiddle to anything. He’s not an additive. There are two absolutes today: The written Word of God in the scripture and the living word of God in the Saviour. They’re not additives, they’re absolutes…If Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be, then I must accept him on his terms, about himself and on his terms, about myself. Lord, what will you have me to do? Not only what he claims to be but what he requires me to be. We cannot settle for a modified, abridged, watered-down Christian life that leaves out what I don’t want to do and what I don’t want to be and lets me be my kind of Christian. He didn’t give us that option. Some people tell us today, now I don’t want to get too deep in this religion business. I don’t mind being baptized and joining the church and paying my church dues and going when I feel like it but I’m not going too deep in this religion business. And may I say to all such, if you’re not going all out, you may as well stay out…Love so amazing, so divine, demands what? My soul, my life, my all…And he does…Deny yourself, take up your cross, follow me…Jesus Christ doesn’t want compliments. He wants commitment…


  • Too many are willing to sit at God’s table, but not work in his field.
  • We are the only army, the army of the Lord, that takes a three months furlough in the middle of a war.
  • Salt must be brought into close contact with whatever it is meant to affect if it is to do any good, Christians are the salt of the earth. We must be willing to be rubbed into the decaying carcass of an unregenerate society. Most of us are content to sit on Sunday in our little salt-shakers, far removed from a needy and lost humanity.
  • … he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). There is no such thing as an inactive church member. If you are not gathering with Christ, you are scattering abroad, and either is activity. By not actively working with and for Him, you are working against Him.
  • The tragedy of today is that the situation is desperate but the saints are not.
  • If we don’t get hold of God’s survival kit, we’ll never make it as victorious Christians, especially in a vicious generation such as this one.
  • 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.”
  • A church may have the bones of organization and sound theology.  It may have the body of a large membership. But if the breath of the Holy Spirit is not on it and in it, then it is only Sardis, having a name to be alive but dead. (My comment: This statement from Mr. Havner echoes my sentiments exactly. I’ve been saying to myself, in observation of a particular Church, that what is there now is the structure, based on what was set up before but the substance to be filled into that structure seems to be missing. What is there today seems like a mere semblance or caricature of what ought to be and as a result, dead, mindless routine, without genuine heart-felt engagement, based on what has always been done is the order of the day.)
  • 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 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 Timothy 1:6); “Break up your fallow ground” (Hosea 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.
  • Evangelism is the outflow and overflow of the inflow of the Spirit in a normal New Testament church. By “normal” I do not mean average, the average today is subnormal. Nor do I mean perfect, for there are no perfect churches. There can, however, be healthy churches, blameless though not faultless, mature though not perfectly so. When we try to pressure half-hearted and indifferent church members into soul-winning drives, it is an admission that we have failed in the New Testament pattern of faith in Christ, fellowship with Christ, faithfulness to Christ, and fruitfulness for Christ.
  • 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.
  • We are not here to endure the world or to enjoy it but to overcome it.
  • 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.
  • If the time, money, and effort spent in trying to work up evangelism in lukewarm churches were spent in calling the churches themselves to repentance, confession, cleansing and empowering, evangelism would be the natural result. We are trying to produce the results without the cause, the fruit without the tree. The New Testament epistle writers concentrated not on stirring up Christians to evangelize but rather on developing healthy Christians through spiritual food, rest, and exercise. Healthy Christians are naturally soul-winners, by life and by lip.
  • Which comes first, revival or evangelism? This is not a chicken-or-egg question. Scripture, reason, and experience teach that God begins with His own people. David must have the joy of salvation restored before he can teach transgressor’s God’s ways and see sinners converted. And Peter must be converted himself before he can strengthen the brethren and feed the sheep.
  • The last word of our Lord to the church was not the Great Commission. The last thing He said to the church was ‘Repent.’ He said that to five out of seven.


  • It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls.
  • To some, Christianity is an argument. To many, it is a performance. To a few, it is an experience.
  • 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?
  • Paul speaks of spiritual babes who won’t grow up. Some of these 150- to 200-pound church babies keep the Pastor running around with a milk bottle when they should have been on beefsteak years ago. When the church calls a new Pastor, these infants may be heard to complain, “I don’t like the new preacher-he changed my formula!” 
  • Most church members live so far below the standard, you’d have to backslide to be in fellowship. We are so subnormal, that if we were to become normal, people would think we were abnormal.


  • 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.
  • People used to blush when they were ashamed. Now they are ashamed if they blush. Modesty has disappeared and a brazen generation with no fear of God before its eyes, mocks at sin. We are so fond of being called tolerant and broadminded, that we wink at sin when we ought to weep.
  • Some Preachers ought to put more fire into their sermons or more sermons into the fire.
  • Too much preaching nowadays pats the back and tickles the ear but does not get under the skin. There is no conviction and therefore no conversion. I am thinking not only of the ministry of reproof and rebuke but also of the message of inspiration, of encouragement, of comfort. People go out of church at noon with the depths unstirred, the heart untouched, the conscience unpricked.
  • 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.
  • I thank God for old-fashioned preaching. The sun’s old-fashioned but no substitute’s been found as of now. Air’s old-fashioned but without it, you’ll gasp and die. Water’s old-fashioned but without it you’ll go mad. No substitute. Don’t you get excited just because we’ve split the atom and gone to the moon and talking about DNA and all the rest of it. Sin’s as black as ever and hell’s as hot and judgment’s as certain and eternity’s as long and salvation is free and nothing important, has changed.
  • 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.
  • When our Lord cast out the demon from the Gadarene, the hog-owners wanted Him to leave the country because the devil-possessed hogs had drowned. At Ephesus and Philippi, Paul ran into violent opposition because the gospel had broken up the devil’s business. I question any religious enterprise that does not arouse the powers of evil in the community. Any so-called revival that does not disturb the prevailing spirit of the neighborhood is a farce.
  • If you think that getting right with God is going to make it peaches and cream from then on, you’ve got a lot to learn. The minute you start out for a closer walk with God, the devil is aroused and you can look for trouble and plenty of it. The devil hates that sort of thing. The average Church member is not causing the devil enough trouble to even get his attention but you take somebody who does and the devil gets after him.
  • 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.
  • You remember that Laodicea was neither cold nor hot. Just lukewarm. It might shock some comfortable Sunday morning Christians to remember that our Lord prefers a cold Church to a warm Church. He said,”I’d rather you be cold or hot. One of the two.” Isn’t it better to be a warm Church than a cold Church? No…Cold water wouldn’t make you sick. Hot water wouldn’t make you sick but lukewarm water is nauseating. And a lukewarm Church is nauseating to the Lord. He said so here: “I’m about to spue you out of my mouth.”
  • You remember that Solomon had such wealth that the imagination is staggered. I read through Kings and Chronicles every once in a while in my devotions and I never cease to marvel at the wealth that that man had in that magnificent temple. And we read that all the vessels were made of gold. No silver…But one day when Rehoboam became king, old Shishak invaded Jerusalem and saw all those golden shields hanging up around the temple and he made off with it, of course. And Rehoboam the king, in his embarrassment, said, “Well we have to have something”…Rehoboam hung up brass shields. Now that’s a countdown from gold. It was shine but its not gold. And I’m sure those Jerusalemites must have said to their company, “I’m sorry. We used to have better days than this. We had golden shields all the way around. And you notice what a tumble we’ve taken, all the way down to brass.” Now that’s where the Church is today. We started out with the real thing and the devil has robbed us and we wouldn’t admit it and instead of getting on our face and saying God we’ve been robbed of the real thing. We want to get back on the gold standard. Instead of that, we’re scrubbing brass all the time, trying to make it look like gold. God knows the difference. Nobody’s fooled but us. The world knows it…And we need to get on our face and say, “Lord we’re going to have the real thing or nothing. We’re tired of putting up with a substitute.”
  • It is possible to work in a bakery and lose one’s appetite for bread. What is our living is not always our life. We can become so familiar with the coinage of spiritual truth, that we rarely examine it to see whose image and superscription may be thereupon. Tending the vineyards of others, we may neglect our own.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, “shake well before using.” That is what God has to do with some of His people. He has to shake them well before they are ever usable.
  • 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.”
  • And then I found in Psalm 84:6, about the man who walking through the valley of Baca, makes it a well. There’s a song out: “Leave a Well in the Valley”. I’ve never heard it yet but I’ve seen it. I believe that when God sends trouble our way, we ought to dig a well for the next traveller, instead of bemoaning everything and pitying ourselves. I think of Fanny Crosby. If anybody had occasion to grumble at God, she did. Why did they put the wrong poultice on her eyes when she was a baby and blinded her for ninety years? Couldn’t she have fussed with God? But instead of that, she started digging wells. “To God Be The Glory”, “Blessed Assurance”, “Redeemed”, “How I Love To Proclaim It”, “All The Way My Saviour Leads Me”, “Draw Me Nearer”, “Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross”, “He Hideth My Soul”, “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling”, “Saviour More Than Life To Me”, “When Jesus Comes To Reward His Servants”, “Rescue The Perishing”, “Someday The Silver Chord Will Break”, “I Shall Know Him”, “Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour”, that’s just a few of the wells. And there’s not a Sunday goes by but that somewhere in America we’re singing, we’re drinking from those wells. And I think of that dear man who was staying at home alone, while his wife and two daughters had gone on a trip to Europe. And then came that awful telegram from his wife: “I have been rescued in the shipwreck but the girls are lost.” And he sat there, transfixed, numb, he couldn’t move for a few moments. And then his hand reached out for pad and pencil: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”


  • 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.
  • ” … he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). There is no such thing as an inactive church member. If you are not gathering with Christ, you are scattering abroad, and either is activity. By not actively working with and for Him, you are working against Him.
  • Our Lord said in Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” It’s one of the greatest texts on soul winning I’ve ever known… There are only two types of people: Those that are with him and those that are not with him: gatherers and scatterers. There isn’t such a thing as an inactive Church member. If you’re not gathering, you’re scattering. If you are not drawing people to Jesus, you are by that very thing, driving people away from Jesus.


  • …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.
  • Light and darkness: You can’t get them together. What communion hath light with darkness? No twilight zones. Black and white have been smudged into indefinite grey now but right is still right and wrong is still wrong and truth and error cannot be reconciled. The same fountain cannot send forth both bitter water and sweet. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed. The New Testament takes a firm stand against false doctrine and in language utterly foreign to the compromisers today, who want to blend into unfellowship, men who doubt or deny the Word of God with those who believe it. You can’t mix the Church and the world. What concord hath Christ with Belial?… You’ve heard about the unfinished symphony. This is the impossible symphony. There is no harmony, no concord, between Christ and Belial. What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?…The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And that doesn’t make for amalgamation and togetherness, between the Church and the world. Jesus said in Matthew 16, I send you forth, not as white sheep among black sheep. I send you as sheep, among wolves…Evil men are spoken of as wolves, God’s people as sheep, under the Great Shepherd…There are no other two animals on earth so unalike as wolves and sheep. Opposite ends of the spectrum. The wolf is the symbol of all that’s vicious and violent and rapacious and destructive and the sheep is a figure for all that’s gentle and innocent and peaceful and benign. And there’s no way on earth, to establish peaceful co-existence between wolves and sheep. They’ll lie down together in the Kingdom age and the sheep wouldn’t be inside the wolf but we’ll have to wait ’till then. There are those who are trying to establish liaison and rapport between the wolves and the sheep, between the Church and the world, evil and good. Some try to smooth out the differences. They say, well the good is not so good and the bad is not so bad. But God sees only the wolves and the sheep, the lost and the saved, the once born and the twice born. That’s the real race issue today and you never hear much about that…The trouble is that most of this world today is run by the once born. That makes it a little rough on the twice born. The wolves are out to destroy the sheep. The idea that this world is kindly disposed to the Church is a lot of eyewash. The true Shepherd does not invite the wolf into the fold in the hope of establishing communication. He lays down his life for the sheep. It’s about time we got wise as to what we’re up against in this world of darkness, a demonic world masterminded by the devil. Sometimes these wolves wear sheep’s clothing. Matthew 7:15. They creep into pulpits and into Churches and would deceive the very elect if they could. Satan as an agent of light is much more dangerous than Satan as a roaring lion.

(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

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