This simple and profound Truth inspired by Warren Wiersbe’s famous quote to succinctly focus we Christ-Followers was most appropriately shared with me during these uniquely historic times while I was speaking with my sister Verla this past Saturday. In fact, do understand, that this “if – then” was solely my idea, resulting no doubt from the quote rattling around in my brain the past 48 hours, and perhaps rather appropriately, since we’re visiting our first grandchild here in Northampton Massachusetts, the pre-revolutionary war bastion during the 1730’s and 40’s, for such as long time resident Jonathon Edwards, and later the visiting English evangelist George Whitfield, and more than a century later, even for D L Moody.
Back to Wiersbe first though, Wikipedia states Warren Wendell Wiersbe (do you suppose his parents possessed a sense of humor with the initials WWW, and not merely a World War Warrior either!) Born on May 16, 1929 and passing May 2, 2019, I have associated Wiersbe being birthed in Nebraska but it was actually in E Chicago. Now, Warren Buffet, my father, and I always thought Johnny Carson to have been birthed in NB also, but Carson was actually born in Iowa; though he was a Cornhusker grad. Dad and Carson were born in ’25, Wiersbe in ’29, and Buffet in ’30, and now, Buffet is the last man standing.
Wiersbe was an American Christian clergyman, Bible teacher, conference speaker, and a prolific writer of Christian literature and theological works. He is perhaps best known for his series of 50 books in the “BE” series: Be Real, Be Rich, Be Obedient, Be Mature, Be Joyful, et., and other theological works.
As a middle and high school students, my sister and I would watch from the utility room window to catch a glimpse of the orange bus crest a hill a half mile away enabling us to walk timely to the road to meet the bus without waiting too long in the MN sub-zero temps. During those years mother had the kitchen radio tuned to KFNW Fargo ND 1200 AM (the decade prior FM arrived) that featured then M-F 7:30-8:00 AM Theodore Epp in his “Back to the Bible” radio broadcast who was later succeeded by Wiersbe during 1980-1992.
Prior to that, Wiersbe pastored Calvary Baptist in Covington KE ’61-’71 and the historic Moody Church ’71-’78. It is also interesting for KMC readers, and especially the pre You-Tube crowd, familiar with the Detweiler family having birthed and maintained The Calvary Hour in NE OH for nearly 70 years, to note Wiersbe’s Calvary Baptist Sunday sermons were also broadcast as The Calvary Hour on a local Cincinnati radio station. More information is available in Warren’s autobiography “Be Myself: Memoirs of a Bridge-Builder.”
Back to the rich history here in Northampton area for the earlier giants, you may enjoy the following clip from christianity.com titled “Ten Things You Should know About Jonathan Edwards.” This clip rather de-bunks the negativity towards Edwards I’m hearing in some circles of late. Here is some of what I learned:
1.) Jonathan enrolled in what became Yale when 13 and graduated at the top of his class at 17
2.) After serving the Northampton Congregationalist Church nearly 30 years, they voted to remove him from pastoral service for barring “unconverted” people from partaking in communion. Having both married at 23 and beginning as a pastor scholar under his grandfather at this church, his grandfather died three years later and Jonathan then assumed the pastorate. Whereas his grandfather had welcomed all to participate in communion, believing the sacrament could become a “converting ordinance” helping bring the lost to Christ, Edwards disagreed and maintained that only believers should partake in the Lord’s Supper. Any of this sound familiar? But bear in mind, it took 30 years for the vote to materialize. And we don’t know either, when Jonathan became so convinced, but as he was a prolific writer, I’m sure it is well documented and not a spur of the moment whim or vote.
At 47 then, Edwards and his family (11 children) moved to the frontier in western MA known today as the Berkshires, where he pastored a small congregation of settlers and preached through an interpreter to Housatonic and Mohawk tribes people. Edwards genuinely loved and cared for the natives, frequently writing about the quality of their character and the culture. The two tribes showed reverence for Edwards, and his ministry bore lasting spiritual fruit.
3. At 54, Edwards reluctantly agreed to leave his writing retreat and effective ministry in the Berkshires for full time academia accepting the Presidency of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Shortly after assuming his post, in Jan 1758, Edwards received a smallpox inoculation. Less than a month later, Jonathan Edwards died from the inoculation’s complications. Please, this occurrence is not necessarily to be associated with the events of today, though I’m sure this was well documented medically as well, being in an academic environment, but then again, assumptions do…
Read it without my editorializing by clicking the link below.