Gleanings from the Diary of William Fetler (Basil Malof)
A compilation by James Alexander Stewart
Pastor William Fetler was a prolific writer on sacred themes. Although a very versatile man, his one great burden was REVIVAL. He never could be content with cold mechanical churches and church meetings. The fire of God had to be present. The fire of God had to fall. The glory of the Lord had to shine all around about the place. Backsliders had to be restored. Sinners had to be saved. Satan had to be defeated. The old wheels of the Gospel Chariot had to ride on in triumph over all the oppositions of the powers of darkness. He believed that the gospel was a "going" concern. He believed that when the Master had said "Go", one had to go! He believed that when Christ said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the church, that the local assemblies should be places of victory and conquest. He lived and breathed in the atmosphere of Revival because he lived and breathed in the atmosphere of prayer meetings. These sometimes were carried on for several hours — during night and day. It could always be said of our beloved brother's meetings and churches that THE SHOUT OF THE KING WAS AMONG THEM. These diary extracts eloquently reveal Pastor Malof's longings after God. It has been a very sad and yet glorious task to cull from his papers and diaries these precious truths which reveal our brother's holiness. With tears and holy joy I have edited these jottings. I have taken the liberty of selecting special portions which I have felt will have a public interest and appeal. As I have already said, Pastor Fetler wrote on many subjects, but his greatest themes were Revival and Holiness and the mighty anointing of the Holy Ghost for service - James Alexander Stewart.
2. DEDICATION & FAITH
3. REPENTANCE & RESTORATION
5. COMMUNION TIME
"So, therefore, whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." — Luke 14:33 ARV
"If any man desires to be my disciple, let him deny himself — that is, disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests — and take up his cross and follow me." — Matt. 1: 24 Amplified.
What does it mean to be a true disciple of Christ? Simply to believe? No! More than that. Faith in Christ? Yes, but more than that. We are saved by grace, and not of works; but to be just saved, and to be a disciple are two different things. The true Christian life is one of self-denial, of forsaking all personal interests, and delivering oneself from all worldly entanglements. The Scriptures are full of living illustrations of holy men of God who lived after these principles. Think of Daniel, for instance, and his experience in the ninth chapter of his Prophecy: "I, Daniel, understood .. " Daniel was studying the books of the prophet Jeremiah. As he read, he was deeply disturbed by what he read in these holy Scriptures and he determined to seek God as never before. He did not simply offer a prayer or two and go home to take it easy. No! No! "I, Daniel, UNDERSTOOD .. . and I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fastings, sackcloth and ashes."
Of course Daniel was a believer and one who feared greatly. If ever there was a saint, Daniel was one. And yet, he confessed his sins. His was not an easy-going, comfortable faith. We have made the evangelical life very easy here in America, proclaiming "Just believe, and you are a Christian." But, dear friend, faith is a disturbing thing. Faith revolutionizes the life. The standards of Christ are high, but the weighty requirements of Christ are almost forgotten in the present-day church.
Daniel was a man of great character and feeling. He was not just a surface reader of God's Word. He took pains to study it. And he was not just a student of prophecy. He was seeking the will of God for his own life and for that of his nation. And he was not only a student of the Word; he was a mighty man of intercession. Daniel lived a self-crucified life.
"But", some will say, "that was in the Old Testament when men were under law and not under grace. In the New Testament things are different — grace! grace! grace! Yes, dear friends, come into the New Testament, and right away in the opening pages you will discover that there is no doctrine of easy-going faith. When the disciples had failed to cast the demon out of the boy, they asked searchingly of the Master, "Why could not WE cast him out?" (Matt. 17:19). Jesus did not answer simply, "Only believe." He told them that they were powerless because of their unbelief and then added that this condition could not be removed except by prayer and fasting. "Howbeit, this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (v. 21). At least these disciples were dissatisfied and wanted to know the reason for their lack of power, The tragedy is that the present-day Laodician church does not ask that question. They do not care to know. They are quite satisfied to be powerless and thus to settle down in defeat.
But this was before the day of Pentecost. Did not the coming of the Holy Spirit abolish all the efforts and sacrifices of the disciples? Again I say NO! The record in the Acts of the Apostles is a record of self-crucifixion and self denial. In Acts 13: 2, for example, we find the local assembly in Antioch fasting. The Antioch church was composed of deeply-exercised brothers and sisters who loved the Lord and who had a burning desire to spread His gospel, even unto death. When they appointed Barnabas and Saul, we read, "And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away" (v. 30). The whole church could not go with these missionaries to heathen lands, but the whole church would stand by them and hold the ropes back home.
Think of the catalog of self-denials outlined by the apostle Paul concerning himself in II Corinthians 11:23—28:
Extensive and abundant labour, far more imprisonments, (beaten) with countless stripes, and frequently at the point of death.
Just take one phrase in verse 21: "Watching often through sleepless nights." Ask what a "watching" is from a mother who spends sleepless hours at the bedside of a sick child. Ask any who have passed through deep sorrow and who could not close his eyes for grief. Ask Christ in Gethsemane, Who agonized in prayer while His disciples slept. This is the "watching" which is urgently needed in the church today. Instead of the feasting, there should be the fasting.
The evangelical message heard in North America of "Do nothing; only believe" has produced a weak, easy-going, effeminate kind of Christianity without depth or height. It is a butterfly-picnicking kind of faith. No need for fastings and prayers here! The philosophy in the chorus, "A little talk with Jesus makes it right — all right" sums up the beliefs of the average church.
Our theological students today are initiated in homiletics and dogmatics, but are they taught by their professors that only a crucified preacher can preach a crucified Christ? Yea, modern evangelical Christianity comes under the threatening message of Jehovah in Amos 6:1: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion." Yet, think of our Redeemer who, after a day of strenuous ministry, spent the whole night in prayer. Think how He arose very early in the morning and spent hours in communion with the Father. And it is said of the apostle James that his knees were camel-thick from much prayer while kneeling. What a travesty is the standard of discipleship today to that taught and exemplified in the New Testament!
Published by The Russsian Bible Society