IT HAPPENED - (1)
DELIVERANCE, PAST, PRESENT AND TO COME; A DIVINE SPECIALTY FOR HIS CHILDREN
Again, we come to something that actually happened. Always it is fascinating, that IT HAPPENED!
You may think of Ministers of the faith as rather formal non-combatants in life. The truth is often far from this. We are invited to engage, all who are Christians (Ephesians 6) in what is no less than a spiritual warfare. In the heart is peace and love, but in the feet there may have to be agile movement, as the King commands His battalions, directed to enabling many to hear the Gospel and find a better life than that of turmoiled self-interest and international clash: more, to find God who made them, through Jesus Christ His express Saviour.
In 1966, one
Minister, a Presbyterian of Australian citizenship, was in
Time moved, as it has a habit of doing. Circumstances growled. A Professor in the Presbyterian Seminary had denied the power of God expressed categorically and essentially (I Corinthians 15, Luke 24), in the resurrection of the body of Jesus Christ. With anyone, hoax or holy is always crucial. It is eminently so with Jesus the Christ.
The people split, the nation split, but most moved to be on the side decidedly not of the angels. The Assembly took note, and the Session where the Minister was occupied, took a stand: NOT this new philosophy, but the grand established creed of the church, of the Bible!
No! NOT what you think, NOT what the Bible has, retorted the mood of the Assembly, but what we say... and that! It is that it doesn't matter. Believe in this contest whichever way you like. That certainly made being eaten by lions seem a little unnecessary, for early Christians. It was indeed a new way!
However, amid a challenge 'Presbytery will deal with you!', which seemed to have rather a Mafia feeling at the time, this Minister refused to agree, and when the crucial vote on whether or no the bodily resurrection would be adhered to (as if any Church assembly could change that! you might as well legislate the sun out of existence, a verbal folly), I voted against the betrayal, and for the bodily resurrection. Thus, having arrived there by the Lord's good providence, I was enabled to give an immediate, public, formal protest, duly registered by name in the Assembly; to which was to be added an extensive and wide-ranging condemnation of the Assembly's betrayal of Jesus Christ, of the Bible and of the Church that is His. This was given to the powers that be, in the Church.
For more on the Assembly activities in this field in 1966, this link supplies detail.
The newspapers could not be made to include this fact, that just one Minister had formally at this vote, opposed the Assembly, REGISTERING HIS DISSENT BY NAME! ONE HAD CERTIFIABLY CONDEMNED ON THE FLOOR OF THE ASSEMBLY, THE POSITION IT HAD TAKEN, THE DENIAL OF THE BODILY RESURRECTION AS INTEGRAL TO CHRISTIANITY.
That was real
action. It was as if the antichrist were here already; but in practice, it was
only a trial run for his best presentation. TRUTH in a 'Christian' country ! or
one of some Christian past, not even allowed to be printed in the papers! It
seemed at least like the worst of
The Presbytery DID indeed then come, and it DID seek to condemn and remove the Minister, but the elders who were still a majority, appealed to the 1967 Assembly (since they met in two halves, each annually), while the Minister warned the people of the appalling horror committed by their Assembly.
Then one elder, appalled at a Presbyter who indicated that they would run by the Rule Book, and not by the Bible, as he understood the claim, decided it was time to leave so antichristian a situation as he deemed it. Indeed, to say it was unbiblical would be British understatement. With his departure, there went the majority of elders. It was by this lost; so the Minister, having offered to the people a church without buildings, without success, was left to the operation of those gracious hands which were pierced by nails around A.D.30. Jesus Christ on whose name we call and have called, is not only alive but lively; and He acts for those who wait for Him. What then? He acted for this Minister.
THIS! This is
what happened. Within 3 days of departure, he was entered as an ordained
Minister in another Presbyterian denomination in the
There was of course an irony in this as well as a grand deliverance. In my deliverance, 3 days figured. In Christ's resurrection, 3 days figured. In the assault on the New Testament, irrationally perpetrated at Ormond College in Melbourne (when challenged, no rational answer was received from the Professor responsible), where the 3 days were simply philosophically dismissed. What God allegedly COULD not do, then, in the way of prediction from the lips of Christ concerning His own body - as if to mock the scornful and reject the rebellious, according to the unbelief pattern, He DID do now. I was delivered once again from an erring church body.
It was quite a feat in this instance, for the organised persecution of ecclesiastical wheels, which often run like tank tracks over those who dare to be both reasonable and Biblical, did not succeed. It did succeed only in being overthrown: and that ? In the New Zealand instance, in 3 days. Blessed be the name of the Lord who, as Paul puts it in terms of BIBLICAL BLESSING: "delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust the He will still deliver us..." (II Corinthians 1:10).
It reminds of an equally delightful blessing in II Timothy: " But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me form every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!" - 3:17-18.
(Submitted by Robert Donaldson, who praises the Lord of all power and pity, as well mighty to save as able to hear, for his deliverance as described. Please let us hear of YOUR deliverances by the same hand, writing to us Email at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
Further reference to these New Zealand days
and actions follows. It is taken from
Further reference to these New Zealand days and actions follows. It is taken from
Lights and Perfections in the Lord.
What a horrid joy and pernicious pleasure for those who condemn the godly, in their exercise of such rebukes as may be needed, against hypocrisy or misalliance, breach of righteousness in falling churches, blasphemy from the pulpit, evacuation of truth as happened in New Zealand in 1966, when the author was called (even by Session in that case) to confront the Assembly in an Overture concerning the denial of the bodily resurrection on the part of the Principal of their Seminary. What assaults, what attacks, and later, what efforts to remove even the fact that the Assembly was so confronted, what deceit, what denials, what unprincipled pretences even from an Australian Church concerning the matter: what a hullabaloo of horror there was.
It is as if the doctor who told you as in this case, the FACT that you had cancer is beyond the scope of normal evil, daring to speak as if your health system could conceivably have failed: arrogant, perhaps, dictatorial, intrusive, invasive. One can well remember as if out of a comic book, a letter received from Presbytery in New Zealand in the midst of this challenge, to them as to Assembly, detailing the exact evils of which one had allegedly been guilty, in daring to confront authority and make the point that Christ DID rise bodily from the dead, as the Bible indubitably pronounced, as in Acts 2, and that it WAS the most unholy evil to permit its treacherous denial in the Church. Romping home with the ball for the goal, the next day or so, the Presbytery expressed regret for having failed to include another few choice adjectives or expressions of loathing in their first letter, now adding these to the denunciatory team of words already sent to me; and so they concluded their efforts at their own exculpation with these tirades of illusory inculpation of oneself*1 . In logic, it is known as ad hominem, and in the annals of Church history, as departure from the faith. At least one was not being ignored!