The Naysayers Will be Forgotten by Michael L. Brown for Ask Dr Brown / Stream
Here’s a little Bible quiz for you. Name for me the 10 Israelite leaders who were sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan, only to return with a bad report, saying, “We cannot take the land!”
You can’t name them?
Let’s make it easier. Name for me just one out of the 10 who came back with a negative report.
Still can’t do it?
Then let’s try this. Name for me the two leaders who said, “We can take the land, because God is with us!”
I can already hear your answer: “Joshua and Caleb!”
The reality is that, over the course of time, the naysayers and the doubters and critics will be forgotten, while the people who believed God and acted in faith will be remembered.
It has happened before and it will happen again.
Faith Brings Blessing, Exposing the Bankruptcy of Doubt
That’s because the fruit of faith — by which I mean, the results of stepping out in faith to trust God’s promises — will always leave the emptiness of unbelief in its wake.
People may mock and malign today, but when the thing they rejected lives on in power and with the evident blessing of God, the bankruptcy of their position will be exposed.
To give some examples from the 1700s, have you ever heard of Rev. John Kirkby? How about Bishop George Lavington? The names don’t ring a bell?
What about Rev. Alexander Garden? Never heard of him either?
How about John Wesley or George Whitefield? Of course you’ve heard of them!
Wesley and Whitefield were two of the prominent leaders of the great 18th century awakenings in England and America.
In contrast, Kirkby, Lavington, and Garden were some of the ministers who hotly opposed and maligned Wesley and Whitefield. Yet the names of these destructive critics have long since been forgotten, while the names of those who stood tall for the purposes of God in their generation are honored to this day.
Revivalists Opposed and Slandered by Fellow Church Leaders
It’s the same with Charles Chauncy and Jonathan Edwards, both prominent ministers in the 1700s in America.
Chauncy was the foremost critic of the Great Awakening and is virtually forgotten today. Edwards was the foremost leader of that Awakening.
The pattern repeats itself.
As I pointed out in the Revival Answer Book, in his illuminating work on the life of John Wesley, J. Wesley Bready contrasted the harsh judgments of Wesley’s 18th century opponents with the retrospective judgments of later historians.