Diana of the Ephesians


Diana of the Ephesians

January 24th, 1954 @ 7:30 PM

And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshiper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Acts 19:28

1-24-54    7:30 p.m.


This morning we began the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts and continued through the seventh verse [Acts 19:1-7].  Tonight we begin at the eighth verse and go through the remainder of the chapter [Acts 19:8-41].  For our reading let us begin in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts and the twentieth verse, Acts 19:20:

So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed—

Now the twenty-fourth—

For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, you know that by this craft we have our wealth.

Moreover you see and hear, that not alone in Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that there be no gods, which are made with hands:

So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshipeth.

And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus . . . the companions of Paul . . . why, they entered into the theater with the people . . .

And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward.  Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made a defense unto the people.

But when they knew he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours howled him down crying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

When the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, You men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshiper of the great goddess Diana—and of the things—and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against . . .

and so on, and he completed his address—

. . . . then he dismissed the people.

[Acts 19:24-41]

Now that is the part of the background of the message tonight on Paul and Diana of the Ephesians.

There is not anything that a schoolboy does not hear more about when he studies ancient history than the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  And those words are almost household words with us, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  They were the hanging gardens of Babylon, the pyramids in Egypt, the Alexandrian lighthouse Pharos, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus at Rhodes, Phidias’ statue of Jove at Olympia, and the temple of Diana in Ephesus.

And of the seven wonders of the ancient world—far and away—the most magnificent and impressive and glorious of them all was the incomparable temple of Diana in Ephesus.  The glory of that temple could hardly be described.  I copy from Pausanius who was an ancient Greek traveler and geographer: quote, “It surpassed every structure raised by human hands.”  And another ancient writer, quote, “I have seen the walls and hanging gardens of old Babylon, the statue of Olympian Jove, the Colossus of Rhodes, the great labor of the lofty pyramids, and the ancient tomb of Mausolus, but when I beheld the temple at Ephesus towering to the clouds, all of these other marvels were eclipsed.”

The temple at Ephesus was far larger and far more magnificent and far more famous than the Parthenon in Athens, which to us is the greatest building of antiquity.  And the reason for it is that the temple at Ephesus was destroyed by the Goths in about 250 or 260 AD, and it sank out of sight, and it sank out of memory.  And it has only been since the days of the Renaissance that its glory, and its splendor, and its beauty, and its grandeur has ever come to light.

Pliny said it was two hundred twenty years in building.  And the size of it was about two city blocks long—about six hundred feet long—and about a city block wide.  And it was surrounded by a hundred [twenty]-seven columns of Carian marble and they were arranged eight at the end, eight at the end, and all of the rest of them on the sides.  They were sixty feet tall.  As you entered Ephesus going up the ship channel of the Cayster River, you got a view of about three-quarters of the building.  It was placed exactly east and west, and when a stranger first looked upon it, his breath was almost taken away by the awe-inspiring sight.  It had one architectural feature that distinguished it from all of the rest of the buildings of the world.

When you see any column over there in ancient Greece, in Egypt, here in the homeland, anywhere, any column I have ever seen; when you see the column, they are always belled out at the bottom—called a “drum”—unless it is an Ionic column, which lies flat, it stands flat on the pavement.  And then the column itself is either plain or it is fluted.  It is either just plain around or it has those indentations, those flutings on the side.  I have never seen any column different from that.  The one exception is the columns of the Ephesian temple of Diana.  They had sculptured sides—sculptured reliefs all the way around, up to the height of about a man’s head.  And those sculptured relief columns themselves were one of the glories of the ancient world.

On the inside of that glorious temple of marble and gold and silver, on the inside was the statue of Diana.  Now you have it translated “Diana” here.  Diana is the Roman word for their goddess of hunting, Diana.  The word used here in the Greek is Artemis.  Artemis is the Greek goddess of hunting.  In reality, the goddess at Ephesus was not either one.  Artemis of the Greeks and Diana of the Romans was a beautiful, lithe, graceful, gorgeous goddess, but this goddess at Ephesus looked like an ogre out of the dim past of man.  It says here in the Bible that she was supposed to have fallen down out of heaven from Jupiter [Acts 19:35].  Apparently what happened way back there in the day of Anatolian antiquity; there must have been a meteorite that fell out of heaven.  And they began to worship it way back in the dim ages.  And then as time went on, the meteorite was placed beside, and some crude image of a goddess was placed in its stead.

So in the passing of the centuries—this was the eighth temple built on that site—in the passing of the centuries, there came to be around that goddess all of the superstition, and all of the dark magic, and all of the heathen worship that had accumulated for centuries and for centuries.  Now the goddess, I say, was not beautiful at all.  Around the lower part of her body she looked like an Egyptian mummy—wrapped around, and around, and around—and then the upper part of her—the hands and face and body—were of a woman.

Now on her body was a multitude of little objects.  Sir Ramsey Moore says that they are the ova of bees.  Everybody outside of Sir Ramsey Moore—the great antiquarian archaeologist—outside of him, all of them say they were breasts.  In any event, the goddess there in Ephesus was the goddess of fertility and fecundity.  And she represented the proliferation of all life—animal, vegetable, and human—and she was worshiped as such.  Now they had a system of religion there in that Ephesian temple that was marvelous to behold.

 The sign, the insignia, of ancient Ephesus was a bee.  When you find an Ephesian coin, it’ll have a bee on it, and this goddess, doubtless, was the queen bee, the goddess bee.  And she had a great retinue of servants, of men—of drone priests who dressed like women—and she had a great retinue of priestesses who were the worker bees; and then beside them there was a vast concourse of flute players, and trumpeters, and acrobats, and dancers, and singers, and everything else that went with a gorgeous Oriental ritual.

Now when Ephesus was in its prime and glory—when Paul visited it two thousand years ago—nobody in this earth would ever have dreamed but that the city was invincible and impregnable and eternal.  What is Ephesus today?  It is a haunted, weird, mausoleum of the dead.  Nobody goes there.  Malarial mosquitoes for many, many years have driven all men away.  And for centuries and for years and years, over a thousand years, the very site of the temple itself disappeared.  But in the day of its glory Ephesus was one of the remarkable cities of marble of the world.

And one of the marks of the Hellenization of the Ephesian goddess was this: that once a year, on her birthday in May, they celebrated for a solid month the Artemisia.  In that month nobody worked for a solid month, the entire city was given over to play and pilgrims came there from the ends of the earth, and they had a typical Greek holiday.  One of the things you will find in the writings of Paul is this.  He wrote to the Corinthians church, while he was there in Ephesus, and he said, “But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.  For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” [1 Corinthians 16:8-9].  Well, when you read that, you do not see a thing in the world there.  He is just going to stay until Pentecost.  Oh, no! That was not what he was talking about.

Pentecost—he was going to stay until Pentecost [1 Corinthians 16:8]—Pentecost was a Jewish holiday that came about, say, in June, some such time as that, the first of June.  What Paul meant was that they—that he was staying in Ephesus through May.  That was, through the Artemisia, because the pilgrims going there from the ends of the earth gave him an infinite opportunity to preach the gospel.  I can give you a parallel to that.  When the World’s Fair was held in Chicago, Dwight L. Moody carried on his tremendous revival services, and he turned all America to God; by the people, by converting the people who converged there on the Chicago’s World Fair.  Now that was what Paul was intending to do here in Ephesus.  During the days of the Artemisia, when the pilgrims were there from everywhere, he was going to preach the gospel so the entire world could hear about it.

Now in those days, in the glory of the temple and in the Artemisia, why, they carried the effigy of the goddess through the city.  And when the people left, why, they wanted a shrine, they wanted a memorial, and many of them wanted a god to place in their houses to worship.  So, this man Demetrius, the silversmith, he and his craft made little silver goddesses like that statue on the inside of the temple of Diana.  And they made lots of money doing it [Acts 19:24-25].  Well, the whole city was given over to idolatry, to black magic, and to superstition.  And whenever Paul came along and began to preach the gospel; well, you know what happened, there was a certain and an inevitable conflict.

There is no such thing as superstition and magic—necromancy, soothsaying, fortunetelling, witchcraft—no such thing as that continued by the side of the Christian faith.  Let me tell you something.  If you go to a fortuneteller, and a soothsayer, and a palm reader, you are crazy; beside not being a Christian.  Did you know that?  You just are.  You ought to go to have your head examined and not your palm examined; you just are, you just are.  That is the craziest, inane thing I know anybody can do; go to a crystal gazer, go to a fortuneteller.  And my, they tell me—I never went to one in my life, but I do not go there to find out—but they tell me there are endless numbers of people who patronize those things.

All right, let us go back to Ephesus.  That Asiatic goddess brooded over the city and magic was in the air.  Phrases, powerful phrases, all kinds of incantations—“hocus-pocus, hocus-pocus,” catch-all sayings—all of that stuff, it was everywhere!  And so, when Paul began to preach and the people began to see the true light of God [Acts 19:10-18], why, they brought their recipes, and their black magic, all of their superstition, and they dumped them in the fire, and they had a big bonfire right in the city of Ephesus [Acts 19:19].

Well, it did not stop there.  You can’t be a Christian and go to fortunetelling and palm reading and all of this or that inanity.  The future belongs to God; go to Him; go to Him.  Now, nor can you be a Christian and worship images, be an idolater.  So when the people began to turn to God, why, they began to turn away from these shrines and these little goddesses and the temple.  And this man, Demetrius, when he saw that his craft was about to be destroyed by the preaching of that man of God, he gathered his people together, and he said, “Listen here, listen here.  Not only are you and I about to get out of a job, and not only are you and I about to lose our craft, but say, the great temple itself is about to be despised, and destroyed, and forgot, and neglected” [Acts 19:24-27]. 

Now when they had those big Artemisias, they sang hymns to Diana and went through the city—and you could just find this everywhere—went through the city crying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!  Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” [Acts 19:28]. Just like when the Arabs hold a political meeting, they repeat one sentence over, over, and over, and over again.  I don’t know what the sentence is, but they just say the same thing over and over and work themselves up into a frenzy.  That is exactly what happened here.  When Demetrius called that group together and told them what was happening, why, they began to shout, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” and poured out into the streets saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians”; and went up and down the streets of the city crying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”  And nobody knew what it was all about, but they were just working up into a frenzy, into a riot, into a mob!  And the place for demonstrations in Ephesus was in the theater.  The theater is still there.  It seats twenty-four thousand people.  Grown over with vegetation, and dirt, and  debris, and rubble, but a tremendous place, and they poured in that theater and began to shout, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”  [Acts 19:28].

Now, some of those Jews who were in the city were terrified by what was happening.  They were afraid that the thing would take an anti-Semitic turn, that they would lay all this fault at the door of the Jews.  So that’s the reason you don’t see it here in the Book.  You wonder, “Well, what in the world is Alexander doing whom the Jews put forth?” [Acts 19:33].  Well, the reason for that was this: I say those Jews were terrified!  They were scared to death, that tremendous mob in a frenzy, chanting, “Diana of the Ephesians!”  And of course, the Jew wasn’t an idolater, and he wasn’t worshiping Diana.  So they were afraid that it would take an anti-Semitic turn and the mob would just wipe the Jewish population off of the face of the earth.  So when they saw that vast concourse of people in the theater, they put forth Alexander to speak for the Jews and tell them they wouldn’t cause all of that, they had nothing to do with Paul, they washed their hands of his Christian religion, whatever it connotated.

So Alexander, the Jewish orator, stood up and beckoned with his hand as though he was going to make a speech to them [Acts 19:33].  And somebody said, “He’s a Jew!”  And when they heard that, the whole crowd howled him down and for two solid hours, they cried, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” wouldn’t listen to him or anybody else; just a riot!  [Acts 19:34].

Then the town clerk came, the official of the city, and he stood up there and looked at that vast mob—twenty-four thousand or more people in that great semicircle on those marble tiers—he looked at them, and he made a typical Greek speech.  And his cold logic was like ice on their heated spirits, and he dismissed them and sent them away and said, “You go back.  You go back.  Nobody has robbed the temple and everybody knows that Diana is the goddess of the Ephesians, and she is worshiped all over the world.  Now seeing these things are true, go on home and go about your business.”  So he dismissed them [Acts 19:35-41], and those Asiarchs, those rich men who carried on the government of the city, who were friends of Paul.  Isn’t that remarkable?  They counseled Paul, and then Paul bid the disciples, “Goodbye,” and they sent him away.  And he continued his third missionary journey up into Macedonia [Acts 20:1].

Well, that is the background of the story.  Now, one or two things to say about it: first, all of mankind, all of mankind, there is no exception to it, all of mankind, all of mankind, all of mankind has something in the head, or in the heart, or wherever else you locate it—all of mankind does—and it’s a spot that something is going to fill of the supernatural, of the other world.  Going to get in there, it always will; it always has, it is today.  I can’t understand the spirit world.  If you want to stop me good and hard, you just say, “Now pastor, sit down there.  I want to read to you out of this Bible.”  Then you just open and read to me anywhere it says—and it is a lot of places in the Bible—about the casting out of evil spirits.

Take that story of the swine: the man that had the legions of devils in him, and they wanted to be cast into the swine [Matthew 8:28-32].  You just sit me down anywhere, any day, and say, “All right, pastor, start, explain that to me.”  Well, I just don’t know.  I just don’t know.  There is a lot of that that I don’t understand.  But there is some of it I do understand!  And what I do understand is this—that there is a vacuum in our cranium, in our heart, soul, wherever it is—there is a vacuum on the inside of us, and it is going to be filled by some kind of a spirit!  It will be either the spirit of superstition and magic, or it will be filled by the Spirit of the true and the living God!  But there is something on the inside of you that is a vacuum, and there is a spirit of some kind, some kind, going to get in you, going to get in you.

“Well, I don’t know about that, preacher.”  You don’t know about it?  Then look at it just for a minute; look at it just for a minute.  You think we are the only civilized people in the world?  Listen here; you haven’t studied!  Thousands, and thousands, and thousands of years before you were born, and before the American nation was conceived, or before anybody spoke the Anglo-Saxon or the English language, they had a tremendously advanced, developed civilization in China.  Where did you get gunpowder? They invented it!  Where did you get china, china?  Well, it came from China, obviously, china came from China.  They invented it.  Printing, writing, I don’t know what all.  They were a cultured people thousands of years before we ever came along.  What is the matter with them?  From the dynastic head to the coolie on the street, they were filled with superstition and fear—spirits, spirits, spirits, evil spirits, perilous spirits, devils everywhere!  And I told you the other day, you can see it in the architecture of their buildings, all of them go up at the end—the eaves go up at the end—so when the spirits fall on the house, they won’t come back in but they slide off out in the distance, to get away from you and the house.  That’s China—China.  India is the same way, filled with all kinds of superstitions.

My first contact in Africa was at Legas, really.  So I was walking with a missionary and I said, “Listen here missionary, these folks here in Legas look like they do in Birmingham, Alabama.”  I said, “Take that boy right there.  Take that boy right there.”  I said, “There are a thousand boys riding bicycles on the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, that look exactly like that boy, look exactly like him.”  I was surprised.  I don’t know why, but I thought over there in Africa they would look a little different.  Well, they don’t.  They look just like they do over here.  He said, “Yeah, that’s right.  He said, “That  boy looks just like a boy that you might meet on the streets of Birmingham, Alabama.  But,” he said, “the difference is this.  The boy in Birmingham, Alabama, has been reared under a Christian culture and a Christian civilization.”  He said, “This boy has been reared in heathen Africa.” And he says, “He looks the same on the outside.  But,” he says, “you do not know the fear and the superstition that lives on the inside of that boy’s head, and that boy’s mind.”  A heathen, a heathen; and that is true all over the world.  All over the world, men are going to worship something.  Men are going to worship somebody.  And if we don’t have God, and if we don’t have the true Spirit of God, and if we don’t have the enlightenment of the Lord, we are going to turn to an ignorance and illiteracy, spiritual illiteracy, and superstition of every kind and degree!

It’s true with all people, in all generations, and in all time.  Why, it started out, there wasn’t any people more cultured and literate than the Greeks.  And they were filled with the most unspeakable, indescribable superstition, and their gods and their goddesses were beyond description.  The Romans were the same way.  All humanity is the same way.  We either give our hearts to God, the true and living God, or we give them to something else—live in fear, live in terror, live like animals, live like beasts—cringe before the future and grope for it like a blind man looking for the wall.  Or you live and walk in the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 4:6]; and it will be one or the other.

Now go on: one other thing here.  I want you to look at this man, Demetrius, for just a minute, you look at this man Demetrius [Acts 19:24-27].  Well, he lived two thousand years ago.  You think so?  No, he didn’t.  Demetrius never dies.  Demetrius is always with us, always.  He made that speech today somewhere, Demetrius did, and he made it yesterday somewhere, and he will make it tomorrow somewhere.

Now you look at Demetrius as he makes this speech.  He gets up there and he says, he says, “You know what?  You know what?  This great temple of Diana is in danger of being destroyed.  This great temple of Diana is in danger of being obliterated and forgotten” [Acts 19:27].  So ostensibly, the appeal that he made was in behalf of the great temple Diana.  In reality, the reason he was making his speech was because he made money selling silver shrines of Diana, and he was losing his business!  He was losing his trade [Acts 19:24-25].  Why, he had made images for Olympian Jove, or he would have made images for the Aphrodite of Paphos just as quick and just as easy as he’d have made them for Diana of the Ephesians.  Had you gone to him and said, “Listen here, I’m a devotee of Isis and Osiris down there in Egypt.  I want you to make me an image of Isis.”   Well, he’d have said, “Sure what does she look like?  What does she look like?”  He didn’t care anything about the temple of Diana, nor any other place like that.  All he wanted was money.  But when he made his great appeal to the people, what he was talking about was this temple here and the true religion of Diana—when in reality, what he was talking about was money.  He was losing money [Acts 19:24-26].

Well, I say Demetrius makes those speeches today.  I hear them all of the time.  I remember when we were talking about prohibition.  I remember in Kentucky, where I was living at that time, I never heard such speeches in my life on personal liberty.  “Here in the United States of America, what?  You cannot tell us what to do and what not to do!  We are a free people and we are defending personal liberty!”  And the brewers and the distillers, oh, how they rang the stages on “liberty and freedom in America”; when all of the time what they were working for was to make money selling liquor.  That’s all they were interested in, that’s all they were interested in.  And that is all they are interested in now.  Ostensibly for a great principle; actually, making money, making money.  That’s a dastardly thing; did you know that?  Because of personal gain, to defend a thing on account of an ostensible principle, when in reality the reason you are for it is on account of personal gain, personal aggrandizement.  Ah, that’s terrible!  That’s terrible.

Well, I have to close.  He is greatly worked up about the temple of Diana of the Ephesians; greatly worked up [Acts 19:25-27].  “Well,” you say, “that’s two thousand years ago, two thousand years ago.  We don’t have anything like that today.  Nobody is worked up about the temples we have today.”  You think not?  Why, I have been worked up myself, in a panic myself.  So the last part of the sermon, I just want to preach it to myself, I need it.

All right, let’s go; on the last part of this sermon, which is to myself.  I tell you, and I’m honest in telling you this and it is an honest confession, there have been times when I have been scared to death for the Christian religion and the Christian church, just scared to death, just in a panic, just in a panic.

I didn’t live in the days of evolution, I mean Darwinian evolution when the storm broke.  I wasn’t alive then, I wasn’t born then, but goodness knows I have read it by the yard, and the hour, and by the library.  There was a time when the whole Christian world was rocked and scared to death!  They felt that Darwinian evolution; the theory of it, was going to read God out of the universe.  That’s what they honestly felt, they honestly felt.

And you had men on every side.  Why, I remember reading in the minutes of the Baptist General Convention in Texas and the Baptist General Convention in Oklahoma, I remember reading their talking about that, and passing resolutions, and passing all kinds of words, and sentences, and paragraphs, and papers, about that thing; about our institutions, and about the Louisville seminary, and about Baylor University, I don’t know what all.  They were scared to death that the hypothesis and theory of evolution was going to wipe our churches and our ministry and God clear off the map.  I read that everywhere.

All right, come down to my day. I can remember when I first started out in this business of preaching, I can remember when I felt, I had the conviction that, I tell you, I believed the whole Christian world is going modern, going liberal.  They are, they all are! The seminaries are, the schools are, everything is!  It is going liberal, it is going modern, and historical criticism is going to undermine the whole fabric and foundation of the Word and ministry of God.  I remember that; scared me to death!  And I tell you, I was quaking in my own heart. I felt maybe those fellows had the truth, maybe this thing is just a product of man and not God-inspired at all [2 Timothy 3:16].

Digging around and studying that stuff for a long time, it shook me to my heart-soul!  And I am frank tell you there are days even now, when back there in the Old Testament, I have to get a hold of God in order to keep my faith, that some of those things those brilliant professors and historical critics have said about the development of the Old Testament Scriptures; [I] tremble in my boots.

All right, I want to say a little word to myself, and maybe it might encourage somebody you here tonight. You listen to me, you listen to me; any temple that can be pulled down by man’s hands was made by man and not by God!  You don’t need to fear, you don’t need to be afraid, you don’t need to tremble.  Truth can never die, never!

And when we think some blind Samson [Judges 16:21-30], is going to put his arms around the pillars of this world that hold up the sky, and he’s going to pull down on our heads the contents of heaven; silly me, silly me!  We don’t live in a world in which a man could pull the sky down on our heads.  And we don’t have a faith and we don’t have a religion that a man could destroy.  No, sir!  No, sir, it doesn’t die.  They don’t even move the portals. They don’t even crack the foundation.  They don’t even jar the plaster on the wall.  They don’t even make a chandelier swing by all of their commotion and oratory and historical findings.

The Word of God, the temple of the Lord, the revealed faith of Jesus stands forever and forever! [Isaiah 40:8; John 1:1].  And you know, since I have been persuaded of that, oh, listen, do I ride in victory on the crest of the wave!  I don’t care what happens, or what a man says, or who he is!  I don’t care what.  The victory, and the truth, and the life, and the rightness, and the reality, and the eternity lies with my God and His Christ, and He shall reign and live forever and ever; world without end, triumphant over all! [Revelation 11:15].  Amen and amen.

Well, that was just to myself, just to myself.  Now you’ve got to go home sometime tonight.  Billy, have you got a good song to sing?  Do you mind if I change it?  Let’s sing out of our souls:

My hope is built on nothing less

than Jesus Christ.

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

All other ground is shifting sand.

 [“The Solid Rock,”  Edward Mote]

Sing that song; number 34, number 34.  “On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand,” number 34, number 34.  And while we sing the song, while we sing the song anywhere, anywhere, somebody you, somebody you, “Preacher, here I am.  Here I am.  I believe in that God that lives forever.  I believe in the revelation of God in His Son, Christ Jesus [John 1:18].  I believe.”  You come and stand by my side.

  Anywhere, somebody you, somebody you, “And preacher, on that confession of faith, I give you my hand, and my heart I give to God” [Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:8].  Would you do it now?  Somebody you, come into the fellowship of the church, stand here by my side.  Stand by my side, “Preacher, to pray with you, to work with you, to look to God with you, here we are, and here’s my family,” if there’s a family by your side.

As God shall make the appeal, as He shall bless His Word, would you come?  Would you make it now?  While we stand and while we sing.