“Suspicion about superficial evangelism was common in the north of Scotland at this date. In the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland in 1923, one of the denomination’s leading preachers, George Mackay of Fearn, warned that the absence of conviction of sin and true repentance was too common among professed converts in the country. Then he went on, as reads a report of his address,
To quote a dictum of that greatly-blessed servant of the Lord, the Rev. A. Douglas Brown [ed. Brown’s son], whose name is a household word in all our fishing villages on the north-east of Scotland-‘Revival’, says he, ‘is not going down the street with a big drum, it is going back to Calvary with a big sob.'” (Murray, Iain. Archibald Brown, Banner of Truth, 331-332)
In our day of salvation by man’s will, this is also the church of Christ’s great absence and affliction. The publican standing afar off could not even “raise his hand for salvation” for sorrow of sin. He beat his breast. It was the pharisee that was still standing and could still “walk an aisle” and “raise his hand” (Luke 18:9-17). While, I can admit no certain degree of sorrow over sin, I can also admit to no sorrow at all. A man crying in his heart for mercy in Christ carries with him a weakness that can only be removed by being the joy of being born from above.