A Remarkable Account
Immediately after the hymn before the sermon, the church’s pastor slowly stood up and walked over to the pulpit, but before commencing his sermon, he briefly introduced a guest minister who was with them in the church that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he now wanted him to have a few words to greet the church and share whatever thoughts he felt would be appropriate for the service.
The elderly man stepped into the pulpit and began to speak as follows: “A father, together with his son and a friend of his son, were sailing off the Pacific coast when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that even though the father was an experienced sailor he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who, for the first time since the service began, were looking interested in his story. The aged minister continued, “Grabbing the rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy should he throw the other end of the lifeline? He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew his son was a Christian and also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of the decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, “I love you my son,” he threw out the lifeline to his son’s friend. By that time his son had disappeared beneath the raging waves into the black of night, and his body was never recovered.” By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in their pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth. “The father“, he continued, “believed his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he couldn’t bear the thought of his son’s friend entering into eternity without Jesus. He therefore sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for sinners” he said. “The heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son to save rebellious sinners.” With that the old man sat back in his chair as silence filled the church.
The Pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon. After the service ended, the two teenagers went to the old man, and said politely, “That was a nice story but not very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in the hope that the other boy would become a Christian.” “Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his Bible. A smile then broadened his face as he once again looked up at the boys, and said, “It surely isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God the Father to give His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for a sinner like me. And, you see, I was that father and your pastor was my son’s friend.“
A Letter to a Minister’s Wife November 12, 2019
The following is taken from the excellent Memoir of John H. Rice, W. H. Maxwell (Philadelphia; 1835), pp. 334-337 * * * Union Theological Seminary, Feb. 13th, 1828 My Dear Jane, I have a thousand times purposed to write to you, since your marriage; but have never yet seen the time when I could fulfil my intentions. […]
The First Nonconformist Ordinations in Yorkshire November 8, 2019
The years between 1662 and 1689 witnessed the ejection from the National Church Establishment, and then the persecution of approaching two thousand of the best ministers England has ever possessed. The Act of Uniformity, the immediate cause of their ejection, was soon followed by the Conventicle and Five Mile Acts. The former prevented their gathering […]