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Quotes by Vance Havner


If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.


The task of the preacher is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.


We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions. That is the significance of baptism; we died with Christ and rose to new life.


Some missionaries bound for Africa were laughed at by the boat captain. “You’ll only die over there,” he said. But a missionary replied, “Captain, we died before we started.”


The early Christians condemned false doctrine in a way that sounds almost unchristian today.


If you lack knowledge, go to school. If you lack wisdom, get on your knees! Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge.


We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the cross.


No man or woman ever had a nobler challenge or a higher privilege than to bring up a child for God and whenever we slight that privilege or neglect that ministry for anything else, we live to mourn it in heartache and grief.


We have suffered from the preaching of cheap grace. Grace is free, but it is not cheap. People will take anything that is free, but they are not interested in discipleship. They will take Christ as Savior but not as Lord.


Most church members live so far below the standard; you’d have to backslide to be in fellowship. We are so subnormal that if we were to become normal, people would think we were abnormal.


Church members too often expect service and never think of giving it.


Too many are willing to sit at God’s table, but not work in his field.


Too many Christians are stuffing themselves with gospel blessings while millions have never had a taste.


The devil will let a man prepare a sermon if that will keep him from preparing himself.


The temple of truth has never suffered so much from woodpeckers on the outside as from termites within.


The alcoholic commits suicide on the installment plan.


I heard of a man who said to the preacher, “I want to sing in your choir.” The preacher replied, “But you don’t belong here. Where do you have your membership?” He said, “I don’t belong to any local church. I belong to the invisible church.” The pastor said, “Then I suggest that you join the invisible choir.”


I’m tired of hearing sin called sickness and alcoholism a disease. It’s the only disease I know of that we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to spread.


I’m tired of hootenanny religion, the new brand of Christianity that pagans do not feel embarrassed to join. I’m tired of Batman, the Beatniks, the Beatles, the “God is dead” movement, the new morality, situation ethics, existentialism, and the latest theological aberration out of Germany. If my faith were so weak that a professor down in Georgia could shake it, I’d get another kind. I’m tired of hearing in our church bodies that we must get away from our humble beginnings, shake the hayseed out of our hair, and come of age. I hear a lot today about grandstand seats in glory, but I don’t hear much about the baptism of Christ’s suffering. We’re wearing a lot of medals these days, and not many scars.


Taking it easy is often the prelude to backsliding. Comfort precedes collapse.


Worry, like a rocking chair, will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.


The thermometer of a church is its prayer meeting.


God knows His own.  It is well that He does, for sometimes it would be difficult for us to determine who are His!


Popularity has slain more prophets of God than persecution ever did.


We are not bearing our crosses every time we have a headache; an aspirin tablet will take care of that. What is meant is the trouble we would not have if we were not Christians.


A preacher should have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child and the hide of a rhinoceros. His biggest problem is how to toughen his hide without hardening his heart.


Where are the marks of the cross in your life? Are there any points of identification with your Lord? Alas, too many Christians wear medals but carry no scars.


I know that some are always studying the meaning of the fourth toe of the right foot of some beast in prophecy and have never used either foot to go and bring men to Christ. I do not know who the 666 is in Revelation but I know the world is sick, sick, sick and the best way to speed the Lord’s return is to win more souls for Him.


The deader your gospel, the flashier your package.


The greatest friend of truth is time. Error is always in a hurry, but God’s man can afford to await the vindication of time. And if he is not vindicated in his own lifetime, eternity will settle the score.


Many churches are like an ailing lung with only a few cells doing all the breathing. The real life of a church is in a few faithful people who keep it from being an animated corpse.


The cause of Christ has been hurt more by Sunday-morning benchwarmers who pretend to love Christ, who call Him Lord but do not His commands, than by all the publicans and sinners. They say they are evangelical but not evangelistic. They glory in being… disciples of the Lowest Common Denominator. They traffic in unfelt truth and refuse to get excited over religion. Their ideal service is “a mild-mannered man standing before a group of mild-mannered people, exhorting everybody to be more mild-mannered”… How many nice, comfortable, lovely people rest smilingly in church pews, their conscience drugged, their wills paralyzed, in self-satisfied stupor, utterly unconscious of their danger while the Lord of the Lampstands warns them, “I am about to spit you out of My mouth.


Men love everything but righteousness and fear everything but God.


What our Lord said about cross-bearing and obedience is not in fine type. It is in bold print on the face of the contract.


A wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all. There is no such thing as part-time loyalty to Jesus Christ.


The primary qualification for a missionary is not love for souls, as we so often hear, but love for Christ.


The devil will let a preacher prepare a sermon if it will keep him from preparing himself.


Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts, the gift of God to man – His unspeakable gift of His Son, and the gift of man to God – when we present our bodies a living sacrifice.


Some preachers ought to put more fire into their sermons or more sermons into the fire.


It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls.