When asked to write a foreword to Dr. Stalker's "Life of Saint Paul," I thought of two things: first the impression which I had received from a sermon that I heard Dr. Stalker preach a good many years ago in his own pulpit in Glasgow, Scotland, and secondly, the honor conferred in this privilege of writing a foreword to one of Dr. Stalker's books.
I felt sure before even glancing at the pages that I should be pleased and profited by their perusal.
The first thing that I did was to glance over the pages for the headings of chapters and the summaries of paragraphs. I found the arrangement admirable, and would advise those into whose hands this fine volume may come to follow this plan. The only sentence apart from the headings which I read in the aforesaid preview was the last one in Chapter 10, and that. because the closing words, "the best of friends," especially arrested my attention.
I wondered before I read this sentence if the author was saying of Paul that he was going out of the world to the One who had been to him the best of friends. From this you may gather what you like. Only I felt sure before reading the pages that Dr. Stalker would interpret Paul in a manner such as I could enthusiastically approve. And now having read the volume I heartily commend it. It is the best brief life of Paul of which I know.
Before reading the book I said to myself, I shall put down what I think the writer will make the heart of the secret of Paul. It was this: The key to Paul's efficiency was his wholehearted persistent loyalty to CHRIST, his Saviour and Friend. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. He stood fast in the liberty wherewith CHRIST set him free. He was three things all stated in one verse, and put thus: "I am crucified with Christ - Christ liveth in me - I live by faith."
Here are some, a very few of many striking, true thoughts presented by Dr. Stalker:
-"Paul was the interpreter of CHRIST, saying what CHRIST Himself would have said under the circumstances."
- "Paul's entire theology was nothing but the explication of his own conversion."
- "In bringing Paul West, Providence gave to Europe a blessed priority, and the fate of our continent was decided, when Paul crossed the AEgean."
- "A secret of Paul's success was his sense of having a mission and his freedom alike from the bondage of bigotry and the bondage of liberty."
A writer recently gave me this thought about Paul: "What makes Paul so interesting is his conception of the dimensions of life."
Back to CHRIST? Yes, the whole world needs it, but the way to get back to CHRIST is through the Apostolic interpretation of CHRIST in words and life. This is the only way, and Dr. Stalker's book is a great help in this direction.
Wilbert W. White, D. D.