Revelation 2:2, 4

The Preacher:

G. C. Berkouwer is Professor of Dogmatics and the History of Dogma in the Free University, Amsterdam. Born in The Netherlands in 1903, he was ordained in 1927 as a minister of the Reformed Church, in whose parishes he served for some years. He earned his Doctorate of Theology from the Free University in 1932, and became in 1953 a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences. Dr. Berkouwer is the author of many volumes in the field of theology, latest of which is The Image of God.

The Text:

I know thy works … but I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.

The Series

This is the fifth sermon of a series in which CHRISTIANITY TODAY presents messages by notable preachers of God’s Word from Great Britain and the Continent. Plans for future issues include sermons by President Jean Cadier of the Faculty of Protestant Theology, Montpellier, France; Principal Charles Duthie of the Scottish Congregational College, Edinburgh; Dr. Ermanno Rostan, Moderator of the Waldensian Church of Italy; and Dr. A. Skevington Wood, of Southlands Methodist Church, York, England.

Criticism of the church of Jesus Christ is often badly conceived and conspicuous for lovelessness. Without a love for the Church, one cannot grasp her true nature. The critique without love soon betrays itself, as does the voice of a man standing aloof, declining to enter, yet demanding the prerogative of criticizing those struggling within. Such a critique is loveless; therefore valueless.

In the book of Revelation we read of the churches searchlighted by the Lord’s critique. That it is a holy judgment by One who loves the Church does not make the judgment easier, the critique less sharp. Rather, love makes the judgment more honest ...

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