The Spirituality of AB Simpson

…thoroughly I am satisfied that this is the great secret of failure in our Christian life. We come a little way with Jesus but we stop at Gethsemane and Calvary. They followed Him in His ministry in Galilee. The Sermon on the Mount was splendid orality. They loved the feeding of the thousands, and said, What a blessed King He would make! They would not have to work as they used to. But when He stands and talks about Calvary and speaks of the cross for them as well as for Him, and how they must go with Him and go with Him all the way, they say, “This is a hard saying; who can bear it?” (The Self Life and the Cross Life)
AB Simpson is the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination and forerunner to church strategy of mission movements overseas specifically to Asia, Africa and South America.
Simpson’s spirituality was Christological and was marked by service in sacrifice. Even though his writings would not appeal to this generation due to an emphasis on extraordinary occurrences. Simpson provides a balanced thought of service and spirituality. Service for Simpson required believers to dig deeply from the wells of Christ.

I also liked Simpson’ allusions to the Old Testament as he was well versed in the depth of Old Testament literature to inform our own character formation especially in the area of ministry and leadership.
Poor Jonah lost this honor, because he sought it, and  Paul found it, because he renounced it, and sought only to live that Jesus might be satisfied, even if Paul should be forever forgotten
 Pauline spirituality shows that Paul was willing to honour God because he renounced his own honor. What is never shown is that Paul made countless of decisions in his life – willing to lose everything. Simpson knew the meaning of death to oneself.
What I can see is an awareness of the tensions or the shadow parts of ourselves that Simpson recognized in every person and even those who were a part of leadership.
The orator, as he holds spellbound the hearts of  thousands, even when he tells them of Jesus and  salvation, may be just as selfish and self-conscious
Did his own failing in health lead to a realization that self-sufficiency was not the right way of ministry? His sufficiency was in Christ. A sufficiency that is self-less, a removal of influence, or gratification in the spiritual sense.
Simpson has truly a depth of understanding of sacrifice and service as a world changing leader. His spirituality is similar to Pauline spirituality – one that reminds ourselves of sanctification and service.

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