Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Someone recently described me as being tenacious. This word can have both positive and negative connotations. An online dictionary defines it in a generally positive way thusly: ardent, dogged, pertinacious, zealous or persistent and generally negative as obstinate, unyielding, dour, stubborn, or unregenerate. I know at least one of these synonyms doesn’t apply to me – I am not unregenerate.
As for tenacity, Lionel Deimel, an officer of the Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh, wrote in a post about me on his blog,“Wilson has been an uncompromising supporter of Bishop Robert Duncan’s plan for “realignment.” He has also been a strategist whose purpose has consistently been to defeat the forces of moderation and progressivism at diocesan conventions, no matter how minor the issue at hand”. And Jim Simons, rector of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Ligonier, on his blog described me as “a strident supporter of the realignment.” Interestingly, for many years Dr. Simons and I worked together to defeat the very forces Lionel describes. It sure is interesting to see how I morphed from being an ally to being such an uncompromising and strident politico. Politics sure makes strange bedfellows!
When it comes to biblical truth and orthodox doctrine, I am doggedly uncompromising and zealous to defend it. This week I am taking a DMin course titled “Evangelical Theology for a Pluralistic Age” and taught by the Very Rev. Prof. Justyn Terry, PhD, dean of Trinity School for Ministry. He said today evangelicals have always been in conflict with the Spirit of the Age and with those in the Church who would embrace that same Spirit. Nothing is new under the sun.
One of my Anglican heroes is J C Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool in the late 19th century (pictured above). He, too, was a tenacious exponent of the evangelical faith and an ardent defender of Protestant Anglicanism yet he was said to be as pastoral a bishop as lived in that day and age. He was a zealous advocate of all the clergy of his diocese, ritualists, liberals and evangelicals alike. My friend Bruce Robison, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Highland Park has a link on his website where you can find a daily quote from the bishop, click here .
Another of my Anglican heroes is the early 19th century missionary to India, Henry Martyn. He too was known as tenacious. In fact, on his deathbed he was heard to say, "Let me burn out for God". An indication of his zeal for the things of God.
If I am ever compared to Bishop Ryle or Henry Martyn, I would consider it a high honor and I would die a happy man.