HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Our fellowship has endured a time of division and hostilities. We have seen spiritual pain, hurt and wounds. Our members have been in the middle of this “hand-to-hand” combat.
Some saw it fit scandal others when they have already walked away, only to find themselves in the middle of the battle.
They have been unable to leave the field of battle, for it has followed them everywhere. Many churches have broken up over the biblical teachings we have come to see and accept. Friendships have ended because of the grace on which we now see we stand. And there have been ugly scenes of hostility and animosity played out, with emotions fractured and nerves frayed. Walking among us, all the while, have been our leaders and ministers. Comforting, soothing, encouraging, uplifting, directing and gently admonishing. It is fitting that we consider the humility that our leaders have had in coming to the realization that they had to “go back to school.”
There are those who would say they never learn anything where they were nested, so they have to move on and start all over. However, they still hold in their hands the same things that condemn and are building on them.
Everything they were taught was Wrong. Of course, that is what will be said until you hit a brick wall. But what would Jesus have done without Judas?
It is not an easy thing to face this reality. Some of us, like Jonah, initially tried to run from what God was showing us. Each of us, of course, has our own specific story. But needless to say, it has not been easy to face the fact that we all have many things to learn. Leaders have to stand before congregations and teach.
We thank God that so many men and women have yielded to the lead of the Holy Spirit and have not allowed pride, vanity and ego to cloud their judgment. I thank God for faithful men and women who have taken care not to inflict their own uncertainties and difficulties on the flock. Along with you, our leaders, ministers and elders have taken a stand for truth. And, of course, in some cases, our lay members have taken a stand for truth when the former leader did not. I think of the symbolism of that old favourite hymn, “Faith of our Fathers.” In many cases, we have all continued to stand up for Jesus “in spite of dungeon, fire and sword.”
As I believe we have all experienced, it is not easy to be ridiculed or to hold up to be shamed because you believe in and accept Jesus Christ. It is not a pleasant experience to hear that you are the object of vicious rumours and slanders simply because you believe that grace makes us free from man-made legalism and traditions as well as the old covenant. It is not easy to be characterized as a permissive, antinomian liberal. It is not easy to be blamed for abuses, dysfunctions and unbiblical practice and teaching, especially when you were not directly responsible.
Peter reminds us that such suffering is Christ-like, part of the Christian calling. “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this end were you called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1Peter 2:19-21). Therefore it is entirely fitting that we honour our Christian soldiers who have displayed courage under fire. A big “Thank you” to all of our members, men and women of God, and especially our leaders and ministers who have endured criticism because of the cross of Christ. We salute the bravery and the humility, the love and the dedication of the men and women who stand for Jesus Christ in the face of opposition. We honour you and God bless you.