Many a good book has been lost due to loss of interest. Sometimes people want an answer but never ask the right question or are afraid of the answer to the honest question. "Let the tide come in!" is one of those books. Now here it is for serious believers of all kinds being conservative Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Exclusive Brethren, or anyone else which honestly wonders about the Charismatics, Pentecostals, and old fashioned Holy Rollers. If you are a bread breaker, practice the Lord's Supper, believe in the Bible as the final authority on earth about topics like prophesy, baptism in the Holy Ghost, Prophets, and correct teachings pertaining to speaking in tongues; you need to read, "Let the tide come in!". Some have said perhaps the tide went out? Is God the same or has the program changed? Read "Let the tide come in!" Brought to you by Dale Sabin.
Today local congregations many times split over many things. Perhaps your conservative group is struggling with "the gifts of the spirit" trying in earnest to draw closer to God. As time goes by we find ourselves drifting further a part as a congregation. Is there an answer? Read "Let the tide come in!"
In 1975 Mr. & Mrs. D.H. Sabin were baptized by an Elder at Palm Bible Chapel, Lake Park, Florida. At the side of the swimming pool stood the founder of the congregation. C. Ernest Tatham then in his 70’s. The Sabins only heard Mr. Tatham speak a couple of times, as a missionary from the Philippines was replacing him as Pastor at that time. Unbeknown to the Sabins the local congregation was going through what many Congregations are presently going through. Upon reading this "out of print" book, it has the answers and even a glimpse into the future. If it can be received.
C. Ernest Tatham has some solid answers in his book, "Let the Tide Come In !" , though he being dead yet speaketh. I would encourage each to read this old saints message from a life of service to Christ and patiently hear his wise words. This pre-introduction by D.H. Sabin.
Palm Bible Chapel started in 1960 and was a congregation which grew to about 300-400 people around 1975 made up of college educated families both self-employed and professional people. They had a lot to give to a lost world without hope in Christ. Yet it continually seemed they, themselves needed to be taught again(Heb.5:12). They did not actively evangelize and in 1998 Palm Bible Chapel ceased to exist. They should have . . .
A book for all who want God’s gifts but are unable to accept mainstream charismatic theology.
ON BACK COVER:
There was no more unlikely prospect for an open minded look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit than C. Ernest Tatham. A true conservative, he had been steeped in the doctrines of the Plymouth Brethren. As a Bible teacher for more than 50 years, Tatham has authored a number of Emmaus Bible School correspondence courses – among them one on the Holy Spirit, in which he assumed that certain spiritual gifts could NOT be exercised today.
Then it happened. After a lifetime of teaching and preaching against the demonstration of the sign gifts today, the Holy Spirit met C. Ernest Tatham in a unique, unmistakable way.
But should he speak out about his new convictions? Would his life-changing message – even though exciting – mean the end of old friendships and honors?
In "Let the Tide Come In !". Tatham details some of the steps in his investigation, and the conclusions he reached. This book will be especially meaningful and helpful to those who find themselves unable to accept mainstream charismatic theology, but who want the full life and ministry which the Holy Spirit gives.
For fifty years C. Ernest Tatham has been one of conservative Christianity's articulate voices. He has gained renown among the Plymouth Brethren as a Bible teacher.
Then, at the age of seventy, following fifty years of teaching ministry, this profound Bible scholar moved into a new dimension of spiritual experience.
The Bible, he told me with tears in his eyes, that old familiar companion he had loved and lived with for all those years, had now come alive in his hands- bursting with startling, fresh truth. Some around him questioned his strange new freedom in worship, his new joy in life, his power in ministry. But no one could say he had denied his faith - he had just moved onto another plateau of Christian experience.
Few men come into such an experience as well-equipped as Ernie Tatham. How desperately this new generation of Spirit-filled enthusiasts needs his mature, Christ-centered teaching. I, for one, believe God has prepared this man for this time - to teach us how to keep our feet planted on the Word even though our heads are in the clouds.
Foreword wrote by Jamie Buckingham.
It is embarrassing and humbling to admit that one has been wrong - especially when his position has calcified over the years. Well, mine wasn't quite calcified, for I had deliberately sought to keep it some - what malleable.
Nevertheless I thought I knew what I believed about the use of spiritual gifts in the contemporary church. But during the past five or six years I have met some challenges that have jolted me into a reinvestigation of the New Testament. I saw the burgeoning spiritual phenomena, coming in everywhere like an irresistible tide.
Now forced to face up honestly to certain sticky New Testament passages that I had tended to piously duck, plus personal contacts with many believers who had met the Lord in a new and revolutionary way, I was compelled to reevaluate some pat answers. I had to thaw out and examine my tidy packages of deep frozen theology. Not all will agree that my examination was what it should have been. Nevertheless I have tried to tell my story honestly.
Since God's Holy Spirit touched me in a new way, I have received many inquiries. Some have been friendly, some hostile, and some just curious. To these, friends I owe some clear, answers.
The position outlined here has not been reached hastily. I came to these conclusions only after a number of years of fresh investigation of the Scriptures and considerable reading on both sides of the subject.
As Paul would put it, "I speak as unto wise men: judge ye what I say."
Recently, I was strolling along a lonely beach on one of the islands in the Bahamian chain.
The wide expanse of hard golden sand, the whisper of the Casuarinas, and the dancing translucent waters caught me in their spell. The tide was unusually low that day. At one spot I came upon several acres of exposed brown rock. Carefully, I picked my way over this jagged surface to examine more closely the exposed formation. The entire area was pock marked with small pools that swarmed with tiny marine life. Stooping down, I began to interview the little creatures.
"How long have you been living-here?" I asked boldly.
"Oh, for a long time," replied one, "ever since the tide went out."
"Well," I remarked, "I see that you are not alone. You have plenty of neighbors just like you. Why, there's a pothole full of them right next to you here."
"But we have nothing whatever to do with them!" snapped one gregarious wiggler. "Those people left us, you know. We used to be all together, but they got mad and broke away when the tide went out."
"That's really too bad," I observed. "They look like you, they behave like you, and swim like you do. In fact, I can't see any difference between you and them at all."
"But there is a difference," insisted my friend. "They are extremely shallow fellows, and really have no depth at all."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, look for yourself. Their pothole is only seven inches deep."
"And how deep is yours?" I inquired.
"Ours? Why, ours is eight and a half inches! In fact, we have one spot that is over nine."
I scratched my head in puzzlement while he continued, "But let me tell you something else. Those people are quite narrow, too."
"Narrow?" I asked.
"Sure. Their pool is only ten inches wide. Ours is eleven and a quarter!" The little swimmer swelled up as he made this significant pronouncement.
My curiosity now unrestrained, I chanced one more question.
"Say, what do you call your...your place here?"
"This, sir," and now he really did expand, "is the Atlantic Ocean!"
I picked my way back over the rocks.
High tide came in six hours later. Those acres of potholes were completely covered, and all those little creatures were swimming together again.
I looked and then cried, "Lord, send in Thy tide today!"
A Glance over the Shoulder
All of my Christian life has been spent in the fellowship of the Brethren assemblies, whose virtues and weaknesses I have learned to appreciate.
My earliest memories cluster around two scenes - one a neat stone cottage on Norwich Street, the other a large hall above the Royal Bank on Wyndham Street in Guelph, Ontario, the city where I was born. At the cottage was a rope with which my mother would tether me to a verandah post in order to curb my wanderlust. And the lodge hall. There met the small "Exclusive Assembly" to which I was carried, and later led, Sunday after Sunday.
Known to us as The Meeting Room, the lodge hall was large, carpeted, and heavily scented with a most disagreeable odor. The hall contained several small platforms and lecterns. As a young boy, I often tried to divine the significance of the framed emblems and symbols that hung on the walls. The mystery of it all was too great, however, and I soon gave up.
Here in The Meeting Room, the faithful gathered each Sunday for the eleven o'clock Breaking of Bread and the evening Bible reading. Convinced that they alone possessed the Lord's Table, they were solemnly concerned to maintain its sanctity. The assembly consisted of Father and Mother, Uncle John and Aunt Eva, my maternal grandmother and Aunt Lula, my brother Sid, and cousins-Olive, Willie and Mamie. Oh yes, there was also a great uncle and a great aunt. In fact, only three members were not relatives. This family combine, which we called The Meeting or The Gathering, looked to my father as the leader. Father was recognized by Gatherings throughout the country as a distinguished Bible teacher and spiritual leader. This unusual respect rested upon him right up to his death. One of the three non-relatives was a bachelor named John Mitchell. He had a small cancer on his lower lip, and in self-defense, a special communion cup was provided-a great concession indeed in view of the strong conviction that the common cup alone conformed to the Lord's appointed way! Watching this dear man reach out for his tumbler, following the dribble of wine down his chin, and the wipe of his soiled red handkerchief, never failed to awaken my compassion and my fascination Sunday after Sunday.
Except under extreme circumstances, my brother and I were never permitted to miss the morning meeting. But that regimen was somehow not applied to, the evening Bible reading. So the memory of those solemn Communion Services was deeply etched on my young mind, and I concluded that here was the peak of Christian experience.
For us children, though, these services were lengthy and frequently tedious. Permitted to quietly draw pictures, we produced some strange scribblings during these sessions. But woe if we rattled the paper or squirmed too much! And so worship became a weekly endurance feat to which we submitted along with the other disciplines of family life.
Two recollections of these meetings particularly stand out. One Sunday morning my venerable, gray bearded great uncle, after offering thanks at the Communion Table, accidentally upset the chalice, spilling the red wine allover the white tablecloth. Can I ever forget this dear man's embarrassment and how we boys struggled to stifle our mirth?
Then there was the solemn morning when we were visited by Mr. Michael Delaney, the corpulent Irish brother. As though it were yesterday, I recall him rising to minister the Word, and quickly departing from his text to embark on an excursion of personal anecdotes. His flashes of humor forced smiles on even the grave faces of Father and Uncle John. What a delight to hear him turn back the pages of his life and show us the spiritual struggles of his younger days. And all spiced with his fame Irish accent. But such breaks in the normal tedium were rare.
However, this weekly discipline was not without value. From the perspective of sixty years, I can bear witness that despite certain trifling oddities that marked this tiny exclusive company, spiritual impressions were fixed upon my heart that shall remain forever.
I recall our emphasis on the person and cross of Christ, the glories of His priesthood, and above all the imminence of His return. In this solemn atmosphere I learned the meaning of reverence. I could not escape the feeling that this little company, amidst all their severe austerity, was doing business with the Unseen. Theirs was no religious shadow-boxing; they were in the presence of One whom they knew and loved.
Dwelling upon the infinite value of the glorious obedience of the Father's Son, even unto death, for an hour every week gave me a strong foundation for later convictions. I shall be thankful for this always. It could never be charged that, in this case, the packaging obscured the content, for there really was no packaging at all. Perhaps our a-capella singing was less than harmonic, but the words of those scriptural and worshipful hymns became an early part of me-spiritual spoil that would enrich my entire Christian life.
If these obscure believers had their strengths, they also had weaknesses. And serious weaknesses they were. The Gathering's eventual death and disintegration suggested that irrelevant elements were already working in those early days.
First, ingrown thinking impregnated the whole atmosphere. The text I heard most frequently was the precious promise of Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst." I was given the impression that here lay the justification for our remaining in the "two or three" category, and that the Lord would be displeased should we outgrow this dimension. Our two-or-three philosophy encouraged small thinking; small thinking issued in small aims; small aims yielded small results. How different might have been the outcome had we balanced Matthew 18:20 with Acts 4:32: "The multitude of them that believed" (KJV).
These dear folk, however, could never be charged with a lack of other-worldliness. If overdoing this virtue were possible, they certainly pressed toward the furthest boundaries. For they had little communication with a perishing world. Heavy on worship, they were light on witness. Our haven insulated these brethren from the Christless masses that marched past the Room on sidewalks below. There was no evangelistic outreach. Not that these Christians had disavowed evangelism; they had not. On the contrary , Father occasionally ventured onto the street corner alone to proclaim the Good News-alone because timidity or apathy had seized the rest of our little flock, and none came to support him.
But there may have been a more subtle reason. Had not the Lord placed worship before service? Was not the up building of saints really more important than the conversion of lost sinners? Did not the breaking of bread and Bible study deserve higher priority than witnessing and preaching the Gospel? After all, God could use the Open Brethren or even the Salvation Army to preach on the street corner. True, a couple of devoted and courageous ladies made attempts at a home Sunday School. But these had petered out.
Some of our young people drifted into the world upon reaching adolescence. I was one of these. When Father died during my early teens, Mother seemed to lose her grip on me and away I plunged for three turbulent years.
Much later I observed that if we as believers don't go out to witness of our faith, we may die out. And die out that little company did. Such a doom is the inexorable result of spiritual childlessness.
The lesson is plain. Devotion to God must be balanced by ministry to lost humanity in evangelism and missions, or your church will only amount to your pedigrees. If worship is genuine, witness will be fervent. One hand, filled with incense, will reach up to the throne while the other, filled with heaven's bread, will reach out to a lost and hungry world.
1. The Brethren, often dubbed Plymouth Brethren, are a loose association of independent local congregations which date back to 1830. Thoroughly conservative and evangelical in doctrine, they reject clerical officialism and strive to maintain organizational simplicity.
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