Retarded Growth

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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What joy and fellowship there is in gatherings where the newly-saved are present! In the spiritual realm, as well as in the physical, everyone loves a baby! But the joy that fills the hearts of loving parents is turned to bitter sorrow and disappointment if their babe fails to grow. The latter condition is as unspeakably sad and embarrassing as the former is joyous. Just so it is in the realm of the spirit. The “carnal” Christian has failed to grow. He continues in a state of protracted infancy. He must be kept exclusively on a milk diet because, though saved for years, he is still unable to “bear,” or digest, solid food, still “unskillful in the Word” and needing to be taught the elementary things.

Retarded spiritual growth is evidenced in many ways, all of which come under the heading of carnality or fleshliness. The Corinthians, so sternly rebuked for their carnality by the Apostle Paul, are said to have been careless about morals (I Cor. 5:1), puffed up (I Cor. 4:18; 5:2), inconsiderate of each other (I Cor. 6:1-7; 8:1,9,12), stingy (II Cor. 8:6-11; 11:7-9). While possessing the Spirit, they walked after the flesh.

One of the most marked indications of retarded spiritual growth is self-interest and party strife, as seen in the case of the Corinthian believers. They were spiritually small and petty, so that the Apostle had to write to them:

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

“For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” (I Cor. 3:3,4)

Thus Peter’s exhortation to “newborn babes” to “desire the pure milk of the Word” that they may “grow thereby,” is prefaced by the words: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” (I Pet 2:1). The carnal nature is not appropriate soil for spiritual growth.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.

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