Preface from the book "Grist From Adams' Mill"

(In 1977) my family and I moved from Philadelphia to the Georgia countryside near Macon and began the unforgettable experience of converting an old grist mill into a home.

Just after the turn of the century, when it was built, our new home was a functioning grist mill with two steel water wheels powered by Rum Creek, which flows behind it. Both corn and wheat were then grown in the area and brought for milling. These crops gradually disappeared, and the land was turned into tree farms, where more profitable crops of loblolly pines were grown and harvested.

When the original owner of the mill died, it became a retreat house for fishermen and weekend campers. For one year a family did try to live in it, but the cold was unbearable, and subsequently the structure was insulated and partially heated. But, esthetically, there was much to be desired. Old four-by-eight sheet paneling was used on the walls the successive owners threw up here and there without planning, and at times, it seems, with little or no reason. The original post-and-beam construction was covered, and over the years most of the machinery, including the two metal water wheels, was stolen or used for scrap. During the two years that the mill lay fallow, some wiseacre blew up the dam. That was the condition of the mill when we bought it.

In the first week we found it necessary to tear down fourteen inside walls, rip out all of the windows and doors, pull down the ceilings, and eventually, even replace the floors. Ever since, we have been remodeling as we found time and money. It has been quite an experience!

But while this book takes its title from the mill - which, after six years, we reluctantly left in 1982 - it is not a book about mills; as the subtitle (Suggestions for Living the Christian Life) indicates, it is a book about Christian living. It contains an assortment of thoughts that may help you in the struggle we call living the Christian life. The word “grist” comes from an original term meaning “to grind” and refers to the product of the milling process. At our mill we still have one of the four millstones that were used in pairs to grind corn and wheat. In His refining process, God often grinds us between the stones of adversity in order to make us palatable to the world around us. As He has done so in my life, I have learned a few things I want to share with you. That is why I have written Grist.

The essays and articles in this book are not connected. They cover a wide range of topics related to various themes not frequently touched on by me or other authors. They are not personal reminiscences. Rather, they are my seasoned reflections on a number of matters I consider important to Christians.

Some of the topics have to do with trends and general problems and influences about which the average Christian should be aware, but about which few, if any, ever say anything. Others have to do with practices in the church that should be reconsidered from a biblical viewpoint. Still others have to do with personal problems with which Christians struggle. I would characterize this book, therefore, as containing a variety of tracts for the times.

For whom is it written? For you. If you are a Christian and if you are concerned about your life, the welfare and witness of your church, and the kind of home and church you will leave as an inheritance for your children, then this book is for you.

You will find some of what I have written controversial. Indeed, you may not always agree with what I have said. That’s all right. The important thing is that you think. You cannot go on, as so many Christians do, simply avoiding all of the hard problems. Actually, those unanswered problems have a way of catching up with you anyway. But when they come, it is not in the comfort of the easy chair; instead, they come with an existential force that allows little or no reflection. They often come as emergencies or crises that demand immediate answers. It is far better, then, to consider such questions and form a biblical opinion on them beforehand, when in the relative quiet of the moment you can think without pressure.

I believe this book will make you think. When I say that, I don’t want you to get the idea that it is written only for intellectuals; I have tried to keep all levels of Christians in mind. The book might even be used as the basis for a series of group discussions.

There are issues here that have been avoided or glossed over for too long. I hope that they will stir you to thought and to proper biblical action, and that you will be blessed as you read.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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