Welcome to Albert's Sermon Illustrations

In this blog, I have collected many stories, quotes, jokes and ideas that I use regularly in my sermons.I have tried to put in the sources and origins of these illustrations. If I have missed some or gotten the wrong sources, please let me know. I will update them. Feel free to use these illustrations for the glory of God. If you have some illustrations that you like to contribute, kindly add them to my blog, so that I and others may benefit from them. God bless!
Reverend Albert Kang

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Introduction to R. A. Torrey

As an Evangelist, he was in the same league as D. L. Moody and Billy Graham.  As an apologist, his work compares to the best of Josh McDowell or C. S. Lewis.  As a preacher, he held massive crowds captive with his sensible appeals to Scripture.  As an author, his writings are regarded as classics in diverse fields including theology, apologetics, Bible exposition, and practical Christian living.  

His name: R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), the most undeservedly neglected Christian author of the past 150 years.  

Torrey's writings are succinct yet thorough in their treatment of real-life questions and issues.  His spiritual and intellectual journey led him slowly from agnosticism to liberal Unitarianism to a strong belief in what he considered the "fundamentals" of the Christian faith (hence the term "fundamentalism," lacking the negative connotations it's unfortunately acquired in recent years.)  Grappling with these questions in his own life made him able to bring a seasoned intellectual perspective to his faith that seekers and questioners will find helpful.  His many years of Christian work and service (from pastor to college educator to international evangelist) provide a gravity of experience that makes his writings valuable to seasoned ministry workers as well. 

Torrey believed in the power of the Word of God to change lives; his writings are saturated with Scripture explained clearly and sensibly.  Perhaps as a result, his theological thought defies easy pigeonholing into conventional labels.  Though he was strongly conservative in many respects, he also had a unique and valuable perspective on the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, which influenced many thinkers including his contemporary D. L. Moody.  He is regarded in some circles as a forerunner of the modern Charismatic movement, but Christians from any tradition will certainly be able to appreciate his writings.

Of all the classic Christian authors I've read, and there are many, Torrey strikes me as by far the most relevant to today's needs and concerns.  He knew the value of an intellectually consistent faith founded on the Word of God, and was able to provide reasoned answers to many of the most difficult questions about Christianity.  He anticipated many current trends and ideas in apologetics; indeed, one of his books contains a version of the "Trilemma" argument for the deity of Christ, predating C. S. Lewis's more famous statement by some 60 years. And of course his writings on the gospel, prayer, and the nature of the Christian experience will be valuable to all who desire to see their faith grounded in the Word of God.

Why are Torrey's writings not as widely known today as they surely deserve to be?  I have no idea.  But I do think it's time to start a minor Renaissance.  Perhaps this archive will be a small help; I've compiled several of Torrey's best sermons, articles, and a few complete books into easily viewable online files.  Find one that looks interesting and give it a try.  
--Eric M. Pazdziora, editor, R. A. Torrey Archive

Check out this R. A. Torrey Archive for some of Torrey's online books and articles

- First Steps in Faith
Beginning Right
How to be Inexpressibly Happy
The Day of Golden Opportunity
The Most Important Question
The Fool's Creed
- Christian Living
How God Guides
Looking to Jesus
Revival Addresses (Complete book.  A collection of dynamic sermons Torrey preached during his time as a worldwide traveling evangelist.)
The Secret of Abiding Peace
Why God Used D. L. Moody (Probably Torrey's most famous article; includes a brief explanation of his teaching on "The Baptism with the Holy Spirit")
The Voice of God in the Present Hour Complete Book. A collection of sermons Torrey preached at the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles, on subjects from the Authority of the Bible to the Spirit-filled Life.
The Secret of Blessedness in Heart, Beauty in Character, Fruitfulness in Service, and Prosperity in Everything (Psalm 1:1-3)
The Complete and Symmetrical Life, and How to Attain to it (Galatians 5:22-23) A study in the Fruit of the Spirit
Love Contrasted, Described, Exalted (1 Corinthians 13)
God's Keeping and How to Make Sure of it 
Did I Miss God's Will for My Life? NEW!! A thoughtful answer to a letter from a woman who was afraid she had missed out on God's call to the mission field. Thanks to Scriptorium Daily for uncovering this forgotten gem.

- Prayer
How to Pray So As to Get What You Ask
How to Pray (complete book) A real classic on prayer
Keep Praying Until God Answers
The Power of Prayer
The Prayer of Faith
The Place of Prayer in Evangelism  A Bible study contributed to The Fundamentals
- Bible Study
Ten Reasons Why I Believe the Bible Is the Word of God (One of D. L. Moody's most requested sermons)
Principles of Biblical Interpretation
Studies in the Life and Teachings of Our Lord    NEW!  A hard-to-find series of 140 studies through the four gospels, exploring the ministry of Jesus.   Torrey emphasizes the "Inductive Method," not giving answers but asking questions to encourage in-depth interaction with the text.   A great resource for Bible study groups, Sunday Schools, or personal study.   Special thanks to site reader Wanda Dunavan for making this rare book available to the archive.
Workbook Edition of Studies in the Life and Teachings of Our Lord. NEW! Includes a set of examination questions from the original Moody Bible Institute publication. Ready to download and print! Thanks again to Wanda Dunavan for her editing work.
Profitable Bible Study
How to Study the Bible  (a.k.a. The Methods and Fundamental Conditions of the Bible Study that Yield the Largest Results)   Complete Book.  Practical tips, methods, and examples for getting the most out of Bible study.
Torrey's New Topical Textbook  (offsite)  Complete Book.  Thorough lists of Scripture references on many major topics. A classic reference work.
Difficulties in the Bible: Alleged Errors and Contradictions  NEW! Complete Book. Torrey explores the Bible to address "those objections of which the modern infidel makes the most, and which are most puzzling to many Christians."  First published in 1907, but the issues covered are surprisingly current. A thoughtful read for anyone with doubts or questions about the Bible's authenticity.
- Biblical Theology
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit  NEW!!  Complete book. A thorough, straightforward examination of the Bible's teachings on the Holy Spirit and what He does-- in ways that just might change your life. (E-text courtesy of Project Gutenberg.)
The Power of the Word of God  From the book How to Obtain Fullness of Power
The Christian Conception of God
The Deity of Jesus Christ
The Power of the Blood of Christ  From the book How to Obtain Fullness of Power
The Certainty and Importance of the Physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead  A theological and apologetic study Torrey contributed to The Fundamentals
The Personality of the Holy Spirit  From the book The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit  A theological study Torrey contributed to The Fundamentals, same subject as above but more detailed
The Power of the Holy Spirit  From the book How to Obtain Fullness of Power
True Christian Union and the Devil's Counterfeit
- Practical Ministry
Holding Him to the Scriptures - an account of Torrey's effective use of the Scriptures in personal work
How to Work for Christ: Volume 1, Personal Work (Complete Book. Gives Scriptural advice on how to share your faith with people in every situation.)
How to Work for Christ: Volume 2, Methods of Christian Work (Complete Book. Practical suggestions for ministry in every setting.)
How to Work for Christ: Volume 3, Preaching and Teaching the Word of God (Complete Book. Includes over 100 of Torrey's own sermon outlines as examples!)
Open-Air Meetings (a sample chapter from How to Work for Christ)
The Great Attraction: The Uplifted Christ
The Importance of Personal Soul Winning
Anecdotes and Illustrations NEW!! Complete book. Selected stories and illustrations from Torrey's evangelistic sermons, including many true accounts from Torrey's ministry and many of his contemporaries, such as D. L. Moody, Charles Alexander, W. S. Jacoby, and others. Ranging from the wryly insightful to the sentimental, it's an excellent supplement to Torrey's teaching ministry.
- Other Torrey Links of Interest (offsite)

R. A. Torrey Bookstore  NEW!! Many of Torrey's books are still in print, in current editions or in facsimiles of the originals. Check out the links and order them from Amazon.com.
Scriptorium Daily: The Dean NEW!! Regularly updated theology and culture blog sponsored by BIOLA University, often featuring essays by or about its founder R. A. Torrey.
R. A. Torrey Debunks The Da Vinci Code  A fun collection of quotes from R. A. Torrey's writings, addressing popular misconceptions of the Bible a la Dan Brown. By Eric Pazdziora.
How He Worked for Christ Appreciation and biography of Torrey as a "super-heroic" spiritual ancestor. By Fred Sanders.
The Fundamentals  The influential theological treatise which Torrey co-edited and contributed a few articles. Torrey's articles are all available on this archive, but those interested in perusing the writings of his colleagues can find them at this link.
Photos  Photos of the Montrose Bible Conference center in Pennsylvania (founded by Torrey), including Torrey's home and gravesite. Contributed by site reader Violet Herlocker.
Glimpses of Paradise This exciting historical novel by award-winning author James Scott Bell features R. A. Torrey as a pivotal character. Several of Torrey's sermons and articles are given verbatim. Includes an afterward explaining Torrey's importance as a theologian and writer. A very creative way to introduce Torrey's ministry to modern audiences. (Note: contains some mature situations that may not be suitable for all readers.) Click the link to order from Amazon.com.
R. A. Torrey, Hymnwriter  Torrey wrote only one hymn, "Bless Thou Jehovah", which unfortunately never became popular because the original tune was rather difficult to sing. Now it's been given a new tune by a Christian composer (who also, interestingly enough, edits this website). The link includes lyrics, an MP3, and free downloadable sheet music.,.
Complete Obedience  An informative documentary produced by students of BIOLA University. Features biographical information on R. A. Torrey, his son, and his grandson, and their enduring ministries of truth and hope.
R. A. Torrey, Apostle of Certainty  The definitive biography of R. A. Torrey by Roger Martin. A treasury of fascinating information about Torrey's life and ministry. Click the link to order from Amazon.com.
Moody Bible Institute Archive  A good biographical sketch and several pictures.
Wheaton College Library   In addition to providing tons of links for serious Torrey researchers, the Wheaton College Archive includes dozens of rare photographs, reproductions of letters and papers, and a complete audio sermon recording (the only extant recording of Torrey's voice), and it's all available for you to view!  Wow!
Here is another source for the sermon recording, from archive.org. Offers online streaming and free (legal) downloads in several audio formats.
Sermonaudio.com offers audio versions of several of Torrey's sermons and extracts from books. (Not in Torrey's voice, but great for people on the go.) Streaming online and free MP3 downloads available.
CCEL is the best source for etexts of classic Christian books.  Check out their online copy of Torrey's Topical Textbook.
Notice: We are not responsible for the content of external sites. If you should find broken links or objectionable content, however, please let us know.

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