A Famine of the Word


In the prophecy of Amos we are told “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” Amos 8:11. Surely we live in such a day, in Great Britain at least. If one takes but a casual examination of the ‘churches’ up and down this land and consider what is proclaimed from their pulpits, if indeed anything is proclaimed from their pulpits, it soon becomes evident that what is conspicuous by its absence is the faithful preaching of God’s word, of the Gospel of Christ. There is plenty of activity, plenty of singing, plenty of meetings, plenty of entertainment, plenty to ‘keep the people happy’…. But an absolute famine of the hearing of the words of the LORD. For all the claims, all the promises, all the noise, all the bustle, the simple fact remains that what passes for ‘worship’ in many meetings has very little to do with, and very little resemblance to, the Gospel of Christ as it is recorded in the scriptures and as it was preached at the beginning by Christ and His Apostles, by which many were saved and the church established. Yet such a state of affairs has crept in to one meeting after another to be met by little but complacency and apathy. No wonder then that our country slips into ever deeper and deeper moral decline, turning away at an increasing and alarming pace from God and from truth. For, when the salt loses its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing. Matthew 5:13. When the ‘church’ ceases to be light, or hides the light ‘under a bushel’ it is no wonder that the world around lies in ever increasing darkness.

But what is the light of the church? The light is Christ, and Christ is made known, and only made known, in the preaching of the Gospel. It is by the preaching of that Gospel that the church, the ekklesia, of Christ is both established and built up, and by which the light of God shines forth in a dark world. Christ is the Head of His church, He died for His church, He loves His church, He dwells in His church, He is the very reason, the logos, for its existence. Yet in so much of what professes to be the church today, despite being named after Him, we hardly even hear Christ mentioned – He who is described as the one thing needful, Luke 10:42 – and if we do, it is rarely if ever in the full body of truth known as the Gospel of God. How rare is the preaching of Christ in the Gospel, as according to the scriptures, in the day in which we live. Why is this? Because there is “a famine in the land” Ruth 1:1.

It is then a matter for much rejoicing whenever and wherever the Gospel of Christ continues to be preached in such a time. Whilst there has been a great turning away from the truth in much of professing ‘Christendom’, and whilst the preaching of the Gospel has largely been replaced in most places by little more than drivel or worldly entertainment, yet the Lord continues to sound His word, He continues to send forth preachers to preach it, He continues to bring dead sinners to life by the mighty inworking of the Holy Spirit through that Gospel, and He continues to keep and to feed His people – however scattered and however few they may appear to be at times.

One example was the recent visit of Don Fortner of Grace Baptist Church, Danville, Kentucky to the United Kingdom in April 2007. His visit came as a real refreshment to many of God’s people in this country who have come to recognise the famine that there is in our land, and who have been given a desire, a hunger for the word of God. How good to hear the word of God preached plainly, clearly, boldly, and powerfully, without the fear of man, and without compromise. How much we need such preaching, that which comes “not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance” 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

In a day and age when such preaching is rare, when many have to travel quite some distance to hear the word of God preached, if at all, how thankful we are for those times when the Lord comforts His people through His word. But how much the more it should make us see that we do indeed live in the midst of a famine, when the LORD in judgment has withheld His word from a wicked and rebellious nation. How we need the Lord to send forth food, real spiritual food. We may live in a ‘day of plenty’ in terms of material things, but Britain has hardly known a time of such lack in spiritual things. Oh, that the Lord would remember His people, and continue to save, to gather and to feed the flock of Christ through the preaching of His Gospel. That Gospel, of which Paul was not ashamed, for “it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”.

Ian Potts – August 2007

“Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.” Psalm 77:7-15



  1. I have read the article ‘A Famine of the Word’ by Ian Potts and I heartily say AMEN.

    The visible church in the UK today abounds with all manner of gimmicks and nonsense. Let us ask for the old paths and pray that the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel would be preached again by men full of the Holy Ghost using the Authorised version of the scriptures who fear God and not man.

  2. Amen! But there will always be a remnant I believe until Jesus comes again, and we will be persecuted for speaking the truth and not compromising our faith. God give us strength to persevere to the end. God bless your ministry.

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