Kim and I are gigantic fans of E. Stanley Jones (ESJ) and the ESJ Foundation. I wish I could tell the whole world about ESJ, his amazing life and writings, and the awesome work of the Foundation. I believe I own almost every book ESJ has written and my life has been blessed immeasurably through his ministry.
My wife and I have breakfast every morning and talk about what’s going on in our lives. Then, before we pray, we say, “Let’s see what Stan (ESJ) has to say” and Kim reads from whatever ESJ devotional we are reading at that time. And, usually, we say “Wow!” because ESJ is addressing the very thing we are going through, or whatever wisdom he is sharing blows our minds. He is the third person at our breakfast table or actually the fourth because Jesus is also with us. We love what you do at the E. Stanley Jones Foundation and want to continue supporting your ministry as possible.
My E. Stanley Jones Story: I met Dr. Jones at Skyland Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA. It must have been 1972 because I had just come to Christ with my whole heart one year earlier. Dr. Jones seems fascinated with my mentor and friend, Jim Pirkle, who later became a medical doctor and captivating speaker. The two of them got off in a corner, even though the room was full of people. In excited tones, they talked about the things of the Kingdom. Dr. Jim Pirkle still attends that church and leads people to gaze at Jesus and glance at everything else. I am now 68 years old and am energized to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to men through the non-profit organization I started in 2009. Dr. Jones continues to mentor me, primarily through the devotional, In Christ. Buz Mayo
This excerpt is part of Nobuko Lillian Omi’s story included in the Nisei Christian Oral History Project, book 2, page 100. At the onset of the US involvement in WWII, the Japanese and Japanese Americans on the US West Coast were removed from their homes, put into “Assembly Centers” (read: horse stables and rustic cabins at fairgrounds and rodeo grounds) before being transported and contained at “Evacuation Camps” (read: incarcerated at US prision camps in violation of their civil rights). In this personal history, the inteviewee was held at the Santa Anita Raceway “Assembly Center” in Southern California, and at the WRA Camp at Jerome, AK.
Nisei Christian Journey –its promise and fulfillment 1988: Nisei Christina Oral History Project, page 100, Nobuko Lillian Omi:
“I’ll always remember when Stanley Jones came to speak to us at Santa Anita. He talked about the eagle in Isaiah 40:31 and our experience. He said, “Don’t let this experience destroy you. Use it like an eagle to lift yourselves up. The eagle doesn’t go against the storm clouds, it uses them to rise higher, giving it strength and this is what you people will have to do so you won’t be destroyed.: That has always remained with me and I passed this story to the parents in the Parent Teachers Association in Jerome. I would tell them what Stanley Jones had said to use this experience to rise above, so that everyone would be better than before.
“I felt that God went with us and didn’t desert us. As for our church, we could always build another one. I felt that there was a wall between American (White) churches and the ethnic churches, that we were deserted at a crucial time.”
This, the final book from E. Stanley Jones, is one he never saw in final form. It was published after his death through the loving efforts of his daughter, Eunice Jones Mathews and her husband, Bishop James K. Mathews. They devotedly brought together in orderly form the recordings Dr. Jones has made while in the hospital recovering from a stroke and set them forth beautifully into the contents of this book. The book is an expansive commentary on Moffatt’s translation of 2 Corinthians 1: 19-20. “The divine Yes has at last sounded in him, for in him (Christ) is the Yes that affirms all of the promised of God.” Chapter after chapter gives answers to the basic questions related to the Christian life. The books opens with a tribute statement by Jones’ daughter and ends with a nine page account by Bishop Mathews of his gratitude to God for such a life – the life of E. Stanley Jones.
This book is based on two statements in the book of Hebrews: “Thank God we have a Kingdom that cannot be shaken” and “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” Every kingdom of man is shakable. The world is seeking for stability and permanence but doesn’t know where to find it. This book is no utopian dream. Here Jones spells out the nature of God’s Kingdom and its social and practical implications for our time. This is God’s new order. H.G. Wells once said, “The Kingdom (of God) is the most radical proposal ever presented to the mind of man.” It was central to Jesus who “came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.” The church has largely made the Kingdom peripheral. It must make it central instead. God’s order is totalitarian, demanding total obedience in the total life. This requirement for obedience is not bondage, it is total freedom.
The central criticism of the church today is its irrelevance. From that perspective, Jones presents the New Testament pattern for the reconstruction of the church based on the model of the church in Antioch. Jones makes it clear that the church is always a relativism, while the Kingdom of God is an absolute. Yet Jesus talked of “my church.” He loved the church and “gave himself for it.” “The church has many critics but no rivals in the work of human redemption.” Dr. Jones saw the church itself as the greatest mission field today and pressed it for both unity and evangelism.The
Taking this title from the Psalms, Jones thinks of his life as a pilgrimage. This is a summary of his ministry in which Dr. Jones reveals his steps as missionary, evangelist, author, and theologian. Here is “the inside story” of his Christian walk, of his difficulties along the way, guidance in times of stress, and victory over potential failures. Jones affirms that “Jesus is Lord,” and ends with a survey of “what life has taught me so far.” One decisive turning point includes this observation, ”My theology was neat and tied up with a blue ribbon – unchanging. I felt I should take the adventure and follow truth anywhere to whatever end it would lead me. I inwardly turned pale as I let go of the securities of a ‘blocked off’ faith to follow truth to unknown destinations. I was free—free to explore, to appropriate any good, any truth found anywhere, for I belonged to the Truth – I belonged to Jesus Christ.” This marvelous book shows what God can do with an ordinary person when that person is surrendered to Christ.
“I cannot go down any road with any person on any problem without running directly into the absolute necessity of self surrender.” E. Stanley Jones has made this a fundamental element in his life and ministry. If one side of the Christian coin says Jesus is Lord, the other side calls for surrender of the self. Self centeredness is the root of all our problems. The question is what to do with the self. Based on Jesus’ words, “If you save your life you’ll lose it, but if you lose it for my sake you will find it.” This marvelous book shows through a convincing series of illustrations the secret of discovering the self made new. In a day when the various schools of psychology are exalting self realization, Jones simply says, “Yourself on your own hands is a problem and a pain; yourself in the hands of Christ is a possibility and a power.”
The incarnation of the living God in Jesus Christ is the greatest of all historical facts. It is also “the great divide” that separates all religions and philosophies from the Good News. “There are many religions but only one gospel.” Here is Dr. Jones most theological work. It is an answer to present day tendencies toward pluralism, multi-faith accommodation, and syncretism. While holding the religions of the world in deep respect, this book emphasizes the uniqueness of Jesus, the only incarnation of God. Many in the church, even theologians, would set aside Jesus Christ in the interests of good will. This remains perhaps the most decisive issue in Christendom today. If we fail here, we have nothing to give the world. This book is a call to see again that Jesus stands alone.
This book is a thorough New Testament study of the 172 times the phrase, “In Christ” or its equivalent is found. Jones makes the startling statement that not only does Jesus reveal God but that God reveals Jesus. Jones supports this finding with appropriate New Testament passages. The book is a devotional challenge for us to decide to walk daily with Jesus. In one Daily Affirmation, Jones writes, “In the heart of man a cry, in the heart of God — supply.” This is a deeply satisfying book filled with creative insights.
This book highlights the significance of Christian conversion as essential to address the emptiness of our age. Real conversion is to affirm and experience Jesus as Lord. The need for conversion also arises out of the inner needs of our own nature. The need for conversion is a challenge to the modern church.
“If I were called upon to put my finger on the most pressing need of our age, I would unhesitatingly say one thing — maturity.” From that statement, Jones convincingly says that the key to maturity is love. He then traces the nature and meaning of love. Jones writes that when John wrote, “God is love;” all heaven broke out in applause as if to say, “They’ve finally got it.” Jones (and John) are talking about Christian love, which is not just sentiment but real and essential to the development of our own nature. Mature people have learned how to love.
Mastery is a marvelous searching of the book of Acts with many illustrations showing how those first Christians, through the Spirit of Christ, gained mastery over every area of life. “Whatever gets your attention gets you,” Jones wrote. The risen and present Christ held the attention of the early church. Here is a challenge to the contemporary church to take seriously and live on the resources poured out by the Holy Spirit in those first days. Those resources are still available to us in abundance.
This devotional book is a study on the fruits of the spirit. “We are made to grow into the measure of the stature of Christ. In Christ the past is buried, the present blessed and the future beckoning. We grow by “all the stimulus of Christ.” (Phil.2:1)
Dr. Jones writes that, “Everything is being transformed and transformation is particularly true of persons. Transformation is not a choice because it is happening inevitably. Everyone can say, “I was once that person. I am not now that person.” However, we must decide what forces will mold us. Jones traces the transformation of persons in the Bible and in history and then points to the way Christ has changed persons from being stunted souls to being fully alive, fully effective, and joy filled.
This book asks the question, “What is the dynamic of our Christian life?” In searching through the scriptures and human nature, Jones uncovers our need for inner peace and outer power. Jones then describes the work of the Holy Spirit which transformed timid disciples into energetic apostles. The Spirit gave them courage and victory in a pagan and “dangerous” society. The Holy Spirit can do the same for us. The Holy Spirit gives adequacy, peace, and power.
On the day that Gandhi was killed, E. Stanley Jones arrived in Delhi and was on his way to see the Mahatma. That visit was not to occur. This wonderful book is an account that Jones wrote soon after the death of his friend. There is another story embedded in this book…it is the story of a young seminary student reading the section on page 88…Martin Luther King, Jr., read this passage…
“The Mahatma repudiated with all his might the idea that the method of trust and nonviolence was used because you are weak and cowardly. He insisted that it was the method of the strong, and only the method of the strong.”
My mother told me of the occasion in Boston when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was honored by Boston University at a convocation prior to his leaving for Sweden to receive the 1964 Nobel Peace prize.
At the reception following, my mother was introduced to Dr. King and my grandfather, E. Stanley Jones was mentioned. Dr. King immediately became very serious and said: “Your father was a very important person to me, for it was his book on Mahatma Gandhi that triggered my use of Gandhi’s method of non violence as a weapon for our own people’s freedom in the United States. “ He continued, that though he had been very familiar with the writings on Gandhi and had been interested in his method of non-violence for years, still it had not “clicked” with him that it was a vehicle for “use” in the United States. Reading my grandfather’s book on Gandhi may have assisted King with the application of Gandhian principles within a Christian context.
E. Stanley Jones has said that of all his books, this one best summed up his life message. The Christian way, he writes, does not come merely come down revelation through tradition, the Bible, and Jesus, but is being revealed from the facts up! Jones draws from every branch of knowledge and experience, quoting people in practically every field to show that the Christian way is the way in everything. It’s the only way life will work, in our own bodies as well as in society. Jones says that the greatest adventure of the future is learning that the judgments of Christ and the judgments of life (and science) come out at the same place — at the feet of Christ.
Born and raised in America, Jones spent his years traveling and speaking to the world. On the principle that we must get away from a place in order to really see it, Jones returns to his native country with both discerning criticism and deep appreciation. Through this book, he traces the achievements and failures of the American dream. What do Jesus and the Kingdom mean to the Western world today? With understanding and objectivity, we are led to see both the pitfalls and the possibilities of our culture and democracy. Jones observes that the possibilities are all rooted in God’s revelation of Himself in Christ. Jones also includes in this book the proposal of a Federal Union of the churches, a most insightful and workable plan to unite denominations and heal the divisions in the body of Christ.
“I’ve learned how to make money, but I haven’t yet learned how to live.” From this starting point, E. Stanley Jones moves through the enemies of Abundant Living and then explores the way of Christ and the resources available through Him for living life with a capital “L.” Jones notes Jesus’ stated purpose, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly,” and Jones makes it clear that this magnificent possibility is open to everybody. It has been said that success is becoming yourself at your very best. Jones writes in this book, “I am in the serious business of being at my best for Christ,”—a mandate for us all
Here with careful analysis and deep perception, E. Stanley Jones presents the Kingdom of God as the way we are made to live, individually and collectively. This conceptualization is in contrast to much contemporary thinking that spirituality is unrealistic idealism, very nice but irrelevant to practical living. Christianity does have its ideals but it is basically a down-to-earth, hard rock reality that we ignore at our peril. Jones quotes William Sadler, “Someday our boasted scientific development, as regards to mental and important improvement may indeed catch up with the teachings of the Man of Galilee.” Dr. Jones continues:” Someday science is going to lay it all down on the table and say, ‘this is the way to live.’ We will look at it and say, ‘why this is the Kingdom of God way.’ They will answer, ‘we don’t know about that but this is the way life works. It will work this way and no other.’”
After 30 years in India, Dr. Jones looks back and traces his own development, especially regarding his relationships with other faiths. He began his ministry by trying to be God’s lawyer, but soon found his back to the wall in the many debates with defenders of various religions. Jones had a hard time standing his ground from the “legal” position. Then he discovered the uniqueness of Jesus in the fact that “the Word became flesh.” It was a radical personal adjustment for him. Jones ardently studied the other faiths and he saw the fulfillment of them in Jesus. Jones began to see that there was no Eastern problem or Western problem—it is all melting into one human problem. He writes that in Jesus and His Kingdom, “we have found the spiritual ultimate and this message is as essential for every person as air is to lungs and love is to the heart.”
A few years later, this book is a natural follow up to Christ’s Alternative to Communism. In this book, Jones examines Fascism and Nazism and comments: “The world is hungry for something so universal that takes in every human relationship and gives meaning and purpose to the whole. Is the Kingdom of God that conception? We think that it is.” Someone said, “Stanley Jones seems to be obsessed with the idea of the Kingdom of God on earth.” When Jones read that observation, he replied, “My heart inwardly leaped. Would to God that I were! It would be a magnificent obsession.” Jones notes that ours is a prodigal society and must now come home (to God, our Father). He highlights the role of youth, big business, labor, universities, governments, clergy, and laity in making the “choice” in favor of God’s kingdom.
A woman writes to E. Stanley Jones: “I am an average young American mother with two children. I have read several of your books. They are great, but leave me with a terrific thirst… how to get into it (the Kingdom). How does the Kingdom of God deal with my unruly, discontented, selfish, ungrateful, impatient, and sullen self? You paint a glorious picture of living life, but you forgot to tell us what brushes and colors to use when we try to paint the picture. Won’t you write a book about Christ and the Kingdom within?” From that letter and to meet her challenge, Jones begins this book at the basic level and with primary inquiries and responses, begins to answer her questions. He asks, “Is there nothingness at the heart of our existence or is it filled with potential?” Jones examines the victorious life from both the negative and positive perspectives. He writes about our instincts and emotions, as well as the subconscious. Step-by-step, he leads us from false answers to the re-shaping of our nature according to the pattern we see in Christ. Jones writes, “Don’t just cry to God for spiritual equipment. Take it.” Keep saying to yourself, “I can do anything I ought to – through Him who strengthens me.”
While this book was written in the heyday of communism, it holds a critical challenge to Christians today. When he wrote it, Jones believed that we were on the threshold of “a new world order.” What shape will it take? In those early years, E. Stanley Jones wrote: “I will make a prediction. Communism will be broken from within: it will flounder on the rock of its own amorality. Communism dismisses the moral universe and sets up its own goals as determining right and wrong.” Today, that prediction is proven true. In this book, we see plainly the Kingdom of God as the only viable alternative to atheistic communism. Jones presents the Kingdom of God along with its economic, social, political, physical, and moral implications. E. Stanley Jones calls us to a new beginning on a world scale. Will the church fritter away its energy and time on secondary issues or can we think big enough to implement God’s kingdom, the greatest and most total revolution ever to be presented to human kind?
In his world travels, E. Stanley Jones observed the mountain of human suffering. Many people ask a good God permits it. Why do the innocent suffer? Is there an answer? There is tremendous confusion about the matter of human suffering. Some religions endure suffering while others deny suffering. Some say suffering simply is a part of life and there is no escape. Others say it is punishment for past sins. Still others think of suffering as the way through multiple rebirths to the final state of non-suffering. After examining sympathetically the various answers to human suffering, Jones directs us to the Christian way of using suffering both to the glory of God and for our personal spiritual growth. Jones writes that God suffers, a reality made clear by the cross and a fact that stands in stark contrast to the half answers of the world. God is tied to the world because He is love. When love meets sin the result is a cross.
“Men need nothing so much as a working philosophy of life and an adequate way to live.” With this statement, E. Stanley Jones begins an incisive study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, speaking to the importance of the Sermon as a valid, vital, and practical way to live. This sermon strikes at the whole selfish, competitive idea underlying modern economic life and demands that men cooperate in love or perish in strife. This book is a ringing call for a new type of humanity living out the principles of Jesus. At the heart of the Sermon on the Mount is the person who calls us to life on the “narrow road.” Life built on Jesus is built on a solid rock and will stand all the storms. One man put it, “We cannot get away from Christ in religion any more than we can get away from Copernicus in astronomy and still remain sound and sane.” So here is a book that describes not just a way of life, but the only way that life will work.
This book is a study of Pentecost and its meaning for Christians today. As Jones writes, “The human spirit fails unless the Holy Spirit fills.” Jones warns the church against becoming “a mush of amiability.” In this book, Jones shares his experience of conversion and receiving the Holy Spirit, God’s greatest gift. He addresses the church and writes that Pentecost is not a luxury, but a stark necessity for church renewal and mission. Before Pentecost, the church was behind closed doors. After that moment, it went forth with amazing courage and boundless energy into all the world.
E. Stanley Jones tells how he gathered people from various religions and viewpoints into a series of round table conferences. These persons were brought together not to discuss creeds or to argue positions but to share what they have learned of God through personal experience. This is an important book for our time because our world has become a small community. We must learn to listen to one another in mutual respect, but at the same time be prepared to be open about what God means to us personally. In these roundtable settings, Jones found that the person of Jesus easily stood out as the only One in whom we find Reality. During a time when people are longing for ultimate truth, Jones makes it clear: “We never become more universal by being less Christian. Truth, by its very nature is narrow and God has only once revealed Himself in a person. Jesus in the ultimate truth available to every age.”
When Jones first went to India in 1907, he felt bound to defend the bible, Western civilization, the church, and many of the other “trappings” of Christianity. That proved both impossible and inadequate. Jones then said, “I decided to shorten my line and take my stand at Christ, refusing to know anything save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” This book, which sold more than a million copies, is still a textbook for training local church leaders and missionaries and lays a deeper foundation for missions than merely attacking the evils of society. Jesus is seen as being indigenous to every culture and race. In a day when Christian mission seems to be under paralysis, here we see a universal Jesus presented without compromise or shame.
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