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W.P.

Nicholson,

Gods
Rough
Diamond

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

IN THIS ISSUE....
No secrets................................................ Page 3
BBC Radio Ulster Broadcast.................. Page 4
Natural Selection & Evolution................ Page 6
Opening the archive................................ Page 7
How can I pray for my church?.............. Page 10
Gods rough diamond............................. Page 12

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The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

F1RST WORD
No Secrets!
Recently there has been a great deal of discussion taking place regarding our MLAs and the whole
issue of expenses. Two BBC Spotlight programmes examined the expenses claims of numerous
assembly members and declared that there were some dubious things happening at Stormont. Now,
its not for me to comment on whether I think these allegations are correct or not, especially in the
light of the fact that the police have now got involved in investigating the whole situation. However, the
whole debate does raise an interesting issue scrutiny. Would you like your life to be scrutinized?
Would you like an investigator to look into your life and to examine how you have conducted yourself
financially or otherwise? Have you any secrets that you would prefer others didnt hear about?
Some years ago there was a popular TV programme entitled This is your Life. On the programme the
lives of celebrities were revealed to all except that, from recollection, most of the lives were somewhat
edited. Just the good bits were on display. Most of us could cope with that kind of presentation.
However, a warts and all presentation of who we are is something we would probably shrink
away from.
The solemn thing is that the Bible tells us that on the day when Jesus comes again our lives are going
to be laid bare in His presence and our words, actions and deeds fully revealed to others.
In 1 Corinthians 4:5 we are told:
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what
is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of mens hearts.
As I consider that day the day of Jesus return I am immediately troubled. The pictures given to us
in the Bible of what the Day will be like are simply frightening. However, that initial fear subsides when
I remember that Jesus Christ, the Judge of all the earth, is my Saviour. I can contemplate the great
Day of Judgement knowing that the One who will sit upon the throne on that day is none other than
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who in His life and death has dealt with all my sin. This comfort can
also be yours if, by faith, you trust in Him as your Saviour.

Youth Committee is seeking to appoint a

Voluntary Youth Administrator


As directed by and in conjunction with the Youth Committee the Youth Administrator will have
responsibility for the planning, preparation, organisation, delivery and evaluation of all areas of camp
administration for both EPC summer camps and re-unions along with the administration for overseas
outreach teams.
Please respond to Rev Robert Johnston at knockepc@gmail.com by 28.02.2015
For full job description visit www.epcni.org.uk/YAjobdescription.pdf
The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

The following sermon was preached by Rev. Gareth


Burke during a BBC Radio Ulster broadcast service from
Stranmillis church on Sunday 23rd November 2014.

The wheat and the weeds are growing up together. Its not
a good look. The field should be full of ripening wheat but
instead there are weeds everywhere.

Bible Passage: Matthew 13 v 24 30 and v 36 43

The servants come up with an idea. They suggest that they


will go weeding. They volunteer to weed! The idea is good
and the motive excellent. It demonstrates that an obviously
good relationship exists between the farmer and his workers.
However the farmer isnt for it. He reckons that if they go out
and start weeding theyre going to do some damage. Theyll
end up pulling up the wheat along with the weeds the good
crop will get destroyed in the process. This is good advice,
for weed experts tell us that the particular weed that Jesus is
speaking about here the tare had a tendency to go down
quite deep into the soil and entwine itself firmly around the
roots of other plants.

So what were you doing yesterday afternoon? Often we


have a Saturday afternoon routine. Something that we
do every Saturday. Maybe you faithfully go to Solitude or
Windsor Park or somewhere else - the Irish league is your
thing on a Saturday. Perhaps you do some other sport like
rugby or hockey. Or maybe youre an armchair supporter and
look forward to slumping onto the settee and watching one
of the Premiership greats on the TV. Of course for those of
us who support Leeds United such a luxury is not possible at
present - well not until we return to the Premiership. Soon.
Maybe shopping is your thing. Every Saturday you head to
the shops with your mummy, your auntie or your friends and
engage in some retail therapy. Got to confess that Ive never
found it very therapeutic but if it does it for you fine.
Others love the garden. They get a real buzz of getting
out there for a couple of hours and have a great sense
of satisfaction when they arrive in the house at tea time
all caked in mud. I cant see it myself. Now my father
liked the gardening. He was into it. All year round. Roses
and chrysanthemums were his speciality until he got his
greenhouse and then the tomatoes took over.
I dont know what happened but I didnt get the gardening
gene. To me some of the things people get up to in the
garden are just baffling. Take weeding. Whatever would
possess you to go out and spend a good Saturday afternoon
weeding? Now I have tried it. Like many things in life its a
lot harder than it looks. I was plucking up all sorts of straggly
green things which definitely looked like weeds, only to be
told that they were plants that should not have been so
prematurely uprooted. That was the end of the weeding.
In our Bible passage this morning - Matthew 13 Jesus is
speaking about weeding. Thats one of the great things about
the sermons of Jesus his illustrations are so down to earth.
So ordinary. So normal.
Weeding - thats his theme in Matthew 13. Its a parable. One
of those stories that Jesus told which we sometimes say are
earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. He tells a story
but its more than a story. Jesus is teaching us something
deep and important in the parables. Thats how it is with this
parable - The parable of the Wheat and the Weeds.
Well, how will we unpack this story this morning?
Lets go for a threefold approach.
1. Lets consider the story just take a look at the story itself.
2. Lets consider the question the disciples asked - they
wanted to know what the story meant.
3. Lets consider its relevance for us - thats the amazing
thing. Its not just a great story which Jesus explained to
his disciples a long time ago. But its for me and for you this
morning. Jesus is speaking to us today.
1. THE STORY
Theres a farmer and he has a big farm. We know that hes
into farming in a big way because he has servants farm
workers - working with him on his farm. Its time to sow
some grain in his fields so out he goes and sows some
wheat. All seems to be going well until one day his workers
come in to see him and they are very agitated. Theyve been
out to inspect the crop and its not looking good. No. In the
field they can see not only wheat growing up but also weeds.

No, they must wait until the day of harvest. At harvest time
they can go out and cut down everything. The weeds can be
put into bundles and thrown into the fire. The wheat can also
be bundled and then stored away in the barn.
Now there is a slightly sinister element to this story that
Jesus told. For the farmer explains that the reason all these
weeds are found in the field is simply because he has an
enemy who has gone out at night time equipped with a wee
bag of weed seed and he has deliberately scattered the
weeds among the wheat. How shabby is that! Yet to my
amazement, in reading up on this passage, I have discovered
that such things still happen today. It seems that in rural
parts if youre niffed with your neighbour you might just head
down to his field and sow some weed seed on his land.
Well, thats the story Jesus told.
But notice the question his disciples asked.
2. THE QUESTION
In verse 36 we read that Jesus sent the multitudes away and
went into the house. And his disciples came to Him, saying
Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.
The disciples wanted to know what this was all about. They
wanted an explanation. They wanted to clearly understand
the spiritual significance of what he is saying.
A FARMER SOWING
The farmer says Jesus is Me, the Son of Man. Jesus has
come from heaven to earth and hes out there sowing the
good seed of the gospel. Now although Jesus is no longer
with us on earth that good seed of the gospel is still being
sown by those who are Christians. We are to take the good
seed - the good news that Jesus saves - and to make it
known to others.
Please remember the field. Jesus said the field is the world.
We are to sow the good seed throughout the world. Its a
picture for us of the church, the people of God, following
Jesus and reaching out with the gospel throughout the world.
Theres nothing parochial about Jesus. So often we who live
in Northern Ireland can be so turned in upon ourselves. Now
dont misunderstand me. I love this country. But lets not
forget that theres a world out there. A world that needs you
and me, if we are Christians, to go out with the good seed of
the gospel.
All very well, you say. But what does this mean in real
terms? You know, thats a lovely expression go forth into
the world with the good seed of the gospel. But what exactly
are you talking about? What does that mean in real terms?

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

Well, what Im doing now preaching thats sowing the


good seed. As you pass on Christian literature to your friends
and family - thats sowing the good seed. As you speak to
others about Jesus thats sowing the good seed.
A farmer sowing.
But also notice here theres wheat and weeds.
WHEAT and WEEDS
Interestingly theres only wheat and weeds. Theres only
the two things mentioned. Jesus is wonderfully black and
white. In another place he speaks about sheep and goats.
Sometimes he talks about the godly and the ungodly or the
righteous and the unrighteous. Hes wonderfully black and
white. What Jesus is saying is basically, when you boil it
all down, that theres only two types of people in the world.
Those who have faith in him the wheat - or those who do
not the weeds. Pretty solemn stuff. Wheat or weeds.
THE ENEMY
Then of course theres the enemy. The enemy, says Jesus,
is the devil. Now, you might be amazed to hear that I
believe in the devil But I do. Yes, I believe that those who
are Christians are often troubled by the enemy the devil.
Hes real and hes out there. I know that its not popular in
2014 to believe in Satan, the enemy of Gods people, but
Jesus believed in him and taught us about him Indeed in
Matthew chapter 4 we are told about Jesus in an eyeball to
eyeball encounter with the devil in the wilderness. Make no
mistake hes for real!
THE HARVEST
The harvest is when the wheat and the weeds are going to be
separated into bundles and then stored in the barn or burned
in the fire. Its a picture of the day of Christs return. On that
great day when Jesus comes in his power and glory hes
going to separate all mankind into two groups the wheat or
the weeds. Jesus doesnt beat around the bush here. Listen
please, not to me, but to Jesus. He said, concerning his
Second Coming:
The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will
gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those
who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace
of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Of course thats not all that he said.

For the wheat is bundled and brought into the


barn its a picture of you and me, if we have faith
in Jesus, being gathered up on the day when he
comes and Jesus bringing us into the glory of
heaven. Moreover not only will we be brought into
the glory of heaven but well be given a new body
to go with it.

3. THE RELEVANCE
Allow me to ask three questions as we draw to a close
this morning
1. Are you sowing?
If you are a genuine Christian, if youve turned from your
sin and youre trusting in Jesus by faith then youve a
responsibility to sow the good seed. Youve got to take the
good news of the gospel the good news that Jesus saves
and share it with others. Jesus did it and he expects us
to follow him. Dont hold back. Get sowing. Speak to those
around you text, tweet do whatever you do.
Sow the good news.
Are you sowing?
2. Are you going?
Remember the field. The field represents the world. Jesus
wants us to get out there to go into all the world.
Ive been greatly struck in recent times by the ministry of
some folks who have taken early retirement and have gone
out there to serve the Lord in mission situations. Maybe
its something youre thinking about doing maybe youre
considering it even today.
Or perhaps retirement isnt on your mind. Youre young
youre in the final year of your course at uni and youre
praying about the future. As you pray and seek counsel
and look out into the future you are becoming increasingly
convinced that the Lord wants you to serve Him overseas.
Youre thinking of going. Well, dont hold back - go - and may
the Lord go with you.
Are you going?
3. Are you ready?
The harvest approaches. Jesus is coming. Now it mightnt
feel like that. Many days are humdrum and ordinary. One
week gives way to the next. Nothing really seems to change.
Yet the Bible is clear that one day, suddenly, the humdrum of
life will end and Jesus will come. The harvest approaches.
We need to be ready for that day. We need to look to
Jesus now confessing our sin we need to cry to him for
forgiveness.
If we do our future is amazing. Just amazing. Glory.
Perfection. Thats whats ahead for those Jesus brings into
his heavenly barn.
Thats our future if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our
Saviour
As we close lets listen again to Jesus as he speaks of the
day of his coming. He said:
The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of
their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Jesus again
Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom
of their Father.
So there it is the story and the question.
But what does all this mean to you and me?

Amen.

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

Natural Selection does not


explain Evolution!
There is much confusion and at times deception about how evolution
is said to occur. Often this relates to what is called natural selection
and the claim that it adequately explains how evolution has brought
about the many life forms that exist in the world. Jerry Coyne,
evolutionary Professor at the University of Chicago, has said There
is only one going theory of evolution, and it is this: organisms
evolved gradually over time and split into different species, and the
main engine of evolutionary change was natural selection. Sure,
some details of these processes are unsettled, but there is no
argument among biologists about the main claims. But does this
statement stand close scrutiny?

Distinguishing Terms Clearly.


The term natural selection is used in different ways which often
results in confusion. One common definition can be used as an
example Natural selection is the process in nature by which,
according to Darwins theory of evolution, only the organisms
best adapted to their environment tend to survive. These transmit
their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding
generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated.
When winter frosts come many of our garden plants will be killed,
but some which we describe as frost hardy will survive. Nature is
said to be selecting out the best plants for a cold winter environment
and eliminating those which do not have the qualities to survive
freezing. Described in this way it seems that Nature has the ability
to make intelligent choices regarding which plants should survive
frost. However this is misleading as Nature has no ability to make
intelligent decisions. In reality it is the genetic constitution which
determines which plant will survive frost. There are numerous
examples of natural selection. These include variation in coat length
in animals which are adapted to tropical or cold environments; also
coat colour and markings which enables an animal to be almost
invisible e.g. leopards, and disease resistance in rabbits exposed to
the deadly myxomatosis virus, when a few usually survive. However
natural selection is not one-directional. The trend can be reversed
when climatic conditions are changed as occurs frequently with the
finches on the Galapagos Islands. Evolution requires change to
be in one direction only for long term progress to be made. Natural
selection is not the same thing as evolution and should not be
confused with it.
Sometimes the misnomer micro evolution is used to describe the
common variations we see in nature which are not evolution. This
needs always to be distinguished from macro evolution which is
theorised as an explanation for the development of higher forms of
life from a simple cell. Micro evolution is common but the evidence
for macro evolution is non-existent.

Darwin did not discover Natural Selection


Many people mistakenly give credit to Charles Darwin for formulating
the theory of natural selection as described in his book On the
Origin of Species. Few realize that Darwin only popularized the
idea and actually borrowed it from several other people, especially
a creationist by the name of Edward Blyth. Blyth published several
articles describing the process of natural selection in Magazine of
Natural History between 1835 and 1837a full 22 years before
Darwin published his book. Darwin had copies of these magazines,
and parts of On The Origin of Species are copied nearly verbatim
from Blyths articles.
Blyth, however, differed from Darwin in his starting assumptions.
Blyth believed in God as the Creator, rather than the blind forces of
nature. He believed that God created original kinds, that all modern
species descended from those kinds, and that natural selection

acted by conserving rather than originating. Blyth also believed


that man was a separate creation from animals. This is especially
important since humans are made in the image of God, an attribute
that cannot be applied to animals (Genesis 1:27). Blyth seemed to
view natural selection as a mechanism designed directly or indirectly
by God to allow His creation to survive in a post-Fall, post-Flood
world. This is very different from Darwins view. Darwin wrote,
What a book a devils chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful,
blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature. He was referring
to natural selection through which he thought the world of nature that
he knew had evolved. A process that is red in tooth and claw. But
he was mistaken.
Selection is also part of the relationship between man and animals.
Farmers carefully select the parent breeding stock of each new
generation of farm animals. Dog owners over many centuries have
developed hundreds of different breeds ranging from the giant
Great Dane to the tiny Chihuahua. This is called artificial selection
and parallels what happens in nature. In every case selection is
limited to the animals which already exist. As the name selection
suggests it selects but does not create anything which does not
already exist. This is where the claim that evolution occurs through
natural selection is patently untrue. For evolution to result in the
development of new types of creatures it is necessary for the
creation of new genetic constitutions from which the bodies of the
new creatures will be derived.

Natural selection cannot create new genetic


constitutions.
It can only select the parents of the next generation from individuals
which already exist. No matter how long dog breeders continue their
selection process they will never succeed in creating a cat! No dog
possesses the distinctive genes of a cat and the task of evolving a
cat from a dog is therefore an impossible one. The same principle
holds true for every attempt to explain how any creature has evolved
from a different kind of one. Natural selection, no matter how long
it is continued, can never be the mechanism by which one creature
evolves into another.
There are changes to the genetic constitution which occur through
mistakes in copying DNA called mutations. However their low
frequency and undesirable effects rule them out from being the
mechanism for evolutionary genetic change. Extreme selective
pressures can often be responsible for the extinction of some
creatures and many animals are on endangered species lists
or have already become extinct. This is the reverse of what
evolutionary theory requires. It is however totally in agreement with
what Genesis teaches about a created world that was originally
perfect and complete but has degenerated as a result of Gods curse
due to Adams sin.

Rev. Robert Beckett is minister of the


Crosscollyer Street congregation. For many
years he has been studying the whole
area of Biblical Creation and has lectured
extensively on this vital subject.

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

Opening the archive


Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia,
has archived 50 letters that passed between
J Gresham Machen and W J Grier between
August 1925 and October 1936, of which 22
were Machens and 28 Griers. They began when
Grier was in Canada in the summer of 1925 and
resumed when he returned to Belfast later that
year. The correspondence dealt with the growing
Church conflict in Ulster in 1926, the Presbyterian
Bible Standards League, its Book Shop and books,
James Hunters SOS pamphlets and related public
meetings, the Heresy Trial and Machens 1927
and 1932 visits to Belfast. Later it moved to The
Irish Evangelical, the developing Irish Evangelical
Church, current ecclesiastical issues on both sides
of the Atlantic and Christian books. Machen was
always encouraging and supportive, but cautious
over involvement in a situation outside his own
domain.
The Grier letter and the Machen reply of October
1928 concluded the 1920s correspondence. It is
a significant interchange. Griers reference to the
developing Princeton crisis in the United States
revealed his ongoing interest in the clash with
Liberalism which had done so much to shape his
thinking while a student at Princeton, 1923-25.
And it gives insights into what was uppermost in
his mind in the autumn of 1928. One thing was the
tangible progress of the Irish Evangelical Church,
then just one year old. Another was the demands
of his work as Editor of the Irish Evangelical,
launched in June 1928. He was utterly selfeffacing about his Editor role, but he did the job for
53 years, producing 625 issues and achieving a
circulation that reached various parts of the world.
He said in later life that he never expected to be
Editor of a Magazine for over 50 years. Machens
reply reveals something of the tremendous strain
he was under at that time.
W J Griers letter heading tells a story too. The
Presbyterian Bible Standards League had opened
the Evangelical Book Shop in 1926 when the
doctrinal controversy which led to the 1927 Heresy
Trial was at its height. He was its Superintendent.

After the Trial the shop passed to Trustees who


belonged to the Irish Evangelical Church, but
by October 1928 W J Grier was still using Bible
Standards League letter heading with the former
title deleted!
The General Assembly referred to was that of
the PCUSA, 1928, held at Tulsa, Oklahoma. The
great issues before it were the reorganisation
of Princeton Seminary recommended to the
Assembly in 1927 and Machens appointment to
the Chair of Apologetics to which he had been
elected by the Princeton Directors in 1926. Faced
with a petition signed by over 10,000 Ministers
and Elders to reject the Princeton re-organisation,
the Assembly postponed action on it in 1928, but
proceeded with its theologically driven agenda in
1929. Machen and others resigned and formed
Westminster Theological Seminary the same year.
The Princeton Review which Machen mentions as
being in real straits began in 1825 as the Biblical
Repertory, with Charles Hodge as Editor. When
it became the Princeton Theological Review in
1903 that was its tenth title! It championed the
historic, reformed faith and O T Allis and B B
Warfield had been among its distinguished editors.
It was discontinued after the re-organisation in
1929. Paul Woolley was a PCUSA Minister but
transferred to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
in 1936 and served as Professor of Church History
at Westminster 1929-1977. Correspondence
between Grier and Woolley has not been
preserved but Machen does refer to it. Machens
book, The Virgin Birth, was published in 1930.

Ernest Brown of Knock is well known


throughout the EPC. For many years
he represented the church on the
International Missions Board of the Free
Church of Scotland. Ernest is also the
historian of the EPC and is a recognised
authority on the 1927 Heresy Trial.

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

The Evangelical Presbyterian JAN-FEB 2015

In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul prays for the church in Ephesus,


and he prays for the blessing of the triune God to be known
amongst them. While we must pray for one another in our
physical and social struggles, Paul, in this section emphasises
the need to pray for the spiritual well being of our congregation.
His prayer is humble as he bows, and yet bold as he
approaches almighty God as the Father of his Saviour. Paul
has witnessed what God has started in Ephesus, and he prays
that God will continue to work in them and build them up. He
prays for the whole family of God, that they may know the
LORD more fully. The Lord has already given them His name
and now Paul prays in accordance with the name of God:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Pray for spiritual strengthening by the Holy Spirit.

Paul refers to himself elsewhere as both weak and sinful, but


he delights in the strength and salvation of Christ. It is because
he knows something of his own sinful weakness, that he
prays this prayer. He knows that every believer that makes up
every church needs to be strengthened, and they need to be
strengthened inwardly.
Paul knows that if churches are going to be strengthened, it
wont be by external means. It wont be through more bodies in
the pews; it wont be through greater financial income; it wont
be through more social events or dare I say it... more people at
the prayer meeting.
These things are good: they all are blessings from God that I
trust we will experience in the this new year. Your congregation
needs you to be at the prayer meeting! But all these things are
external. Real spiritual strengthening is an inward work of the
Holy Spirit. Our souls need Him! We are designed and made
to live and work with the Holy Spirit. As Augustine said Our
souls are restless unless we find our rest in Thee. We need
the power of the Holy Spirit in the inner man! So Paul prays for
Him!
This is something that Paul has experienced himself. He says
in 2 Corinthians 4:16:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man
is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
And again in 2 Timothy 4:17 But the Lord stood with me and
strengthened me...
Paul knows what the Spirit can do in the heart of a weak
sinner! And so he prays that He will strengthen the believers
in Ephesus. We too must pray for Him! For His power to be
known in us and amongst us. Jesus said in Luke 11:13 If you
then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask Him!

10

Pray for the loving presence of Jesus Christ.

The Spirit testifies of Christ, and as He works in our inner


being, we are directed to Christ and His amazing love. Paul
prays that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith.
Now remember, Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. He
is writing to believers, to those who already have faith, and he
prays that they might believe!
We need this! I hope you dont ever think: Well I do believe
already. Pray for something else! We need to pray this way
for one another, that we will keep on believing. Pray for every
member and adherent, and for all who already profess faith
pray that they will still believe! Jesus prays this for the church
in Smyrna in Revelation 2:10 Be faithful until death... Keep on
believing.
Believe that you are loved. The devil tries to undermine the love
of God in every single temptation. If God really loved you, you
wouldnt be sick. If God really loved you, you wouldnt be lonely.
If God really loved you, youd have more stuff. If God really
loved you, He would not impose limits on you If He really
loved you, you could eat from every tree in the garden!
Christian, you must get hold of this. You must believe it
above all else!! You are loved by Jesus Christ! This enables
us to enjoy His presence! We are loved! He is not an angry
headmaster trying to catch you out. He is not hiding in the
ditch waiting for you to fall again so that He can wag His finger
at you. Hes not rubbing His hands and waiting for your New
Years resolutions to fail before the end of January. He loves
you! He indwells you! He will never leave you nor forsake you!
This, I believe, is the most pressing need of every saint to be
rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. Thats exactly what
Paul is praying for in v17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
We must be rooted. If the roots are stunted, the growth above
ground will be stunted.
Unless we grow down deep, well not grow up or out. But Paul
prays specifically that these believers will be rooted in the love
of Christ. And grounded as well a slightly different picture.
We need a firm foundation if the church is to be built up and
established. Such a foundation is again the love of Christ.
Christ loves His people thats our foundation. Call Him Jesus
for He will save His people from their sins. Thats the sure
Gospel foundation we must build upon.
Sadly in the church, we fail each other and hurt each other.
At such times the devil pounces all the harder and turns friction
into strife and pain. At such times we need a firm foundation,

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we need deep roots; otherwise youll be tempted to up and


leave and try somewhere else. Deep roots draw life from the
love of Christ. In the times of personal hurt and pain, we need
to draw upon His love.
Its my brother I have hurt. Its my sister who has offended
me. Though they might have caused me pain Jesus loves
me, and Jesus loves them! If I only dwell upon my brothers
weakness or his sins, then I find myself on very shaky
ground. But the love of Christ covers a multitude of sins. The
loving presence of Christ is the essential foundation for any
church. Without His love we are nothing. So says Paul in
1 Corinthians 13:2 ...though I have the gift of prophecy, and
understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have
all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I
am nothing.
His love is deep, His loves nourishes the whole life of the
church. His love is our foundation, and without it we are
nothing. It is so absolutely vital that the believers in Ephesus
get this! Paul prays on in v18 and 19a that they may be able
to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length
and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes
knowledge
Note, the with all the saints they need to grasp this as a
congregation. They need to grasp the vastness of Christs
love! And yet Paul admits that such love actually surpasses
knowledge! They cannot possibly comprehend the full
magnitude of Christs love, but they must know that it is very
big!
So wide it reaches to every tribe, every tongue, every people,
every nation. So long that we are chosen in Christ before the
foundation of the world, and such grace will never end! So deep
it reaches down to the pit of hell and lifts sinners up so that
they dont ever have to cry My God, My God, why have you
forsaken me. So high that we are blessed with every spiritual
blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
The presence of Christ teaches us how much we are loved.
And only when we grasp that only then will we love each
other, and only then will we love the lost. 1 John 4:10-11 says
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and
sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God
so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Paul prays that the presence of Christ may be known in their
hearts. It is only when His great love is understood, only when
the vastness of it sinks in to our own weak and sinful hearts
only then will we be rooted and grounded a growing and
stable church, filled with the love of Christ. We must pray for
this!

Pray for the fullness of God with the exclusion of self


Paul prays that God will have total dominance in their lives, that
they will be filled with all the fullness of God. We still use this
turn of phrase to be filled with something. If you are filled with
love for your husband youre not comparing him to others.
Your heart is filled with love for him: theres no room for rivalry
or covetousness. If youre filled with rage youre not seeing

sense: youre just seeing red. Its a dangerous filling, theres no


room left for reason or accountability.
To be filled is always to the exclusion of other things.
To be filled with the fullness of God means to be empty of
self.
Paul is praying for what Jesus talked about in Mark 8:34-35
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples
also, He said to them, Whoever desires to come after Me, let
him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For
whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses
his life for My sake and the gospels will save it.
What a transformation it would bring to our lives and the life of
our church if we were truly filled with the fullness of God! Its an
internal work, where the Holy Spirit takes His word and applies
it to our hearts. He shows us Christ and His love. Christ comes
and indwells us, and makes His home with us. And the more
we believe in Him, the more we deny ourselves and follow Him,
the more of His fullness we experience.
As one CEF chorus used to put it: The more I surrender to
Jesus my Lord, the more of His fullness I know... Its hard for
Northern Ireland Christians to surrender. Its hard for every
Christian to surrender completely. But if were to know His
fullness, then self must be crucified and Christ enthroned.
And yet, Paul doesnt pray that these believers in Ephesus
would fully surrender to the LORD. He doesnt directly pray
that they would believe in Jesus more; that their faith would
increase... He doesnt pray that theyd be strengthened as
they read their Bibles and pray together... We must do these of
course! But the source of Christs growth and strength doesnt
lie in what WE do. It doesnt lie in our abilities...
Paul doesnt pray that God will build them up according to their
own abilities, but rather that they would be built up according to
Gods ability. He prays that theyd be built up: By the power of
the Holy Spirit according to Gods riches. By the presence of
Christ according to His amazing love. By the fullness of God
according to His ability.
Paul is in no doubt of Gods ability to change peoples lives and
build His church. He knows it first hand, in His own life, and in
the lives of many others in the churches he has been privileged
to establish and minister unto. And so he concludes in v20
and 21: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think, according to the power that
works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all
generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Let us have this same confidence in our triune God. And let us
pray that in 2015, we will know the power of His Spirit, the love
of His Son, and the fullness of our Father as He works in ways
above all that that we ask or think. To Him be the glory. Amen.

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11

W.P. Nicholson,

Gods Rough
Diamond

In 1921 Ireland was partitioned, with the new


six-county state of Northern Ireland being
created amidst much controversy and strife.
The future of this new state was uncertain,
and violence and sectarian confrontation were
the order of the day. Into this tense situation
God sent a man, a man who was to be used
mightily in the conversion of sinners. If we had
had the choosing I am sure that we would have
chosen some-one else. I dont think that those
of us who like to think of ourselves as adhering
to the Reformed faith would have laid hands
on this man. Those of refined disposition, who
like things done nicely, would have looked
elsewhere; those who detest controversy
and discord within the church would not have
selected this man. His name?
William Patteson Nicholson. I want to consider
WP (as he became commonly known) from
three angles.
1. A quick biographical overview.
2. A consideration of his ministry focussing
especially on the evangelistic campaigns which
he conducted in Belfast in the early 1920s.
3. An assessment of his life and ministry.

HIS LIFE
William Patteson Nicholson was born on 3rd
April, 1876 in Cottown, near Bangor, County
Down. His mother, Ellen Campbell to her maiden
name, was a native of Cottown. His father, John
G. Nicholson, was a captain in the Merchant
Navy. There were seven children in the family.
12

In later years several of them became


overseas missionaries.
After a time the family moved from Bangor to
a house in the University area of Belfast. WP
received his early education at a local school
connected to Fisherwick Presbyterian Church.
Later he attended the Model School on the
Falls Road.
Mrs Nicholson seems to have been a woman of
faith and every Lords Day she walked her large
family several miles to attend both services
in Albert St. Presbyterian Church, where Rev
Henry Montgomery was exercising a strongly
evangelistic ministry.
At the age of sixteen WP went to sea as an
apprentice on board the sailing ship Galgorm
Castle. He had many adventures and on
one occasion he thought that he would drown
when his ship, having just rounded Cape Horn,
almost sank. At this point he cried out to God
for forgiveness and mercy, but when the danger
was past he returned to a life of rejection of what
he had been taught from childhood.
As soon as the four years of his apprenticeship
were up WP left the navy. He worked on a
railroad construction gang in South Africa.
There he kept bad company and acquired bad
habits. At the age of 23 he decided to return
to his family, who, by this time were again
living in Bangor. On the morning of 22nd May,
1899, sitting by his mothers fireside waiting for
his breakfast he suddenly came under deep
conviction of sin. Suddenly and powerfully
and consciously, as he later recounted, I was
saved. Such a peace and freedom from fear
such a sweet and sure assurance filled my soul.
I turned to my mother and said, Mother, I am
saved. She looked at me and nearly collapsed
and said, When? I said, Just now.
Where? Here where I am sitting.
She cried with joy unspeakable.
Some months later WP attended a conference
for the deepening of the spiritual life. These
meetings were addressed by his brother, James,
and Rev Stuart Holden, and the hearers were
encouraged to seek the Second Blessing.
Although they had already come to faith in Christ
for salvation they were told that they needed to
seek a further experience in which they would
receive a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God
lifting them up to a higher spiritual plane. On
receiving this blessing they would lead more
sanctified lives and know greater power and
effectiveness in Christian service. WP felt that
this was exactly what he needed and looked
upon this convention as the time when Billy
Nicholson caught the fire.
I lost my reputation and fear of man, and I
found the joy and peace of the overflowing
fullness of the Spirit.

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He told the following story about how he came


to lose his fear of what others thought of him:
The Salvation Army had come to our town. The
Corps consisted of two wee girls in uniform.
They held open-air meetings and made a noise
with their tambourines. Their first soldier was a
man called Daft Jimmy. He had hardly enough
brains to give him a headache, but he had
sense enough to get saved. ..The very thing
I dreaded most before the blessing, walking
down the street with the Salvation Army , had
to be facedas I walked down the street that
Saturday it seemed to me as if every friend and
relative I ever had were out and about. When I
came to the open-air meeting and saw the two
wee Salvation Army girls singing and rattling
their tambourines and poor daft Jimmy holding
the flag, I nearly turned backThe crowd
gathered round. I could hear their laughter and
jeersand then, to my horror, one of the wee
girls said, Brother, take the tambourine and
lead the march down the street to the Barracks.
I couldnt let a girl beat me, so I took it.
That did it. My shackles fell off, and I was free.
My fears were all gone.
In 1901 WP entered the Bible Training Institute
in Glasgow with a view to entering some form of
full-time Christian service. Among the lecturers
who visited the BTI were Dr James Denney and
Dr James Orr, professors of New Testament and
Systematic Theology respectively at the United
Free College in Glasgow, and the famous Dr
Alexander Whyte, minister of Free St Georges
Church in Edinburgh. In his summer holidays
WP worked in the Shankhill Road mission of
the Presbyterian Church, alongside his former
minister, Rev Henry Montgomery, who was the
superintendent of that work. On completing
his studies in 1903, WP began working as an
evangelist with the Lanarkshire Christian Union.
The Lanarkshire Union had been created in the
late 1800s following the Moody and Sankey
missions in Scotland. It had as its aim the
evangelism of the coal miners and steel workers
of Lanarkshire. This was no easy assignment.
Sometimes even gathering an audience was
a challenge: The town hardly knew that I was
there or that I was holding an evangelistic
mission. I didnt know what to do. One day
I met the town-crier ringing his big bell and
telling about an auction to be held. It was their
way of advertising. I got an inspiration. I gave
the crier two shillings and sixpence and asked
him to lend me his bellI started down the
street ringing the big bell and shouting with all
my might, FIRE! FIRE! What a commotion!
Windows were flung open; doors banged.
The peoplethought the town was on fire.
We passed the Wee Free Church. They were
holding their weekly prayer meeting with about

twelve people; out they came. When I got to


the bottom of the street where there was a
covenanting memorial, I climbed up on it and
cried out with a loud voice, Hell fire is coming,
you covenanting Presbyterians, and I am trying
to keep you out of it. I got some rubbish thrown
at me, but I got a crowd and packed my hall.
The minister said that any man who could do
that to get people under the Gospel- he would
stand by him, and he did; he came night after
night to the meeting. The people said, If he
can go then we will go too. The minister and
I became and remained fast friends until he
passed away. He was Rev Dr Alexander Smellie
who wrote the historical classic The Men of the
Covenant, a moving story of the
Scottish Covenanters.
WP laboured in Lanarkshire for five years before
leaving, with his new wife, Ellison Marshall from
Bellshill, for the USA in 1908 to start working
with Wilbur Chapman and Charles Alexander.
Chapman and Alexander were evangelists who
toured the world holding evangelistic meetings.
WP worked with them in America and Australia
from 1908 to 1910.
In 1911 the Nicholsons returned to Scotland,
and WP ministered at St Georges Cross
Tabernacle, Glasgow during the ill-health of the
congregations own pastor. He stayed for a year
and was invited to remain longer, but he felt that
he was unsuited to a regular pastoral ministry.
I dont believe it is ever Gods will to put a
square peg into a round hole or vice-versa.
He made me for an itinerant sort of life so I feel
very much at home and enjoy the journeying
here and there doing Gods work. To be a whole
year in the one place is a queer strain on my
nature and the grace of God in me.
From Glasgow WP moved back to USA, where
he engaged in further evangelistic campaigns.
On 15th April 1914 he was ordained by the
Carlisle Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church
in the USA. Some years later he joined the staff
of Dr R A Torreys Bible Institute of Los Angeles
in their extension and evangelism department.
In 1920 WP returned to Ireland for what was
intended to be a short visit. In the providence of
God he was to remain in Ireland for three years,
during which time he conducted many missions
and knew the blessing of God in a mighty
way. We will look at these missions in more
detail shortly. In 1923 Mr and Mrs Nicholson
went back to USA, but they returned to Ireland
after a year. WP conducted a further series of
missions throughout the Province from 1924
to 1926. The unity which had characterised
the earlier missions was not so evident during
this period, with many Presbyterians no longer
showing the same enthusiasm for WPs
forthright evangelistic ministry. WP had three

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13

most interesting invitations in the year 1925. In


July he was one of the speakers at the Keswick
Convention. He led a mission for CICCU at
Cambridge University when Rev Stuart Holden
had to pull out on health grounds.Inspite of the
fact that he upset many by declaring that there
are too many hypocrites in the church. Too
many blue-eyed, hatchet-faced, yellow-livered
hypocrites! , one hundred students professed
faith. In November he conducted a mission
in the Metropolitan Hall in Dublin under the
auspices of Dublin YMCA.
In June 1926 WP conducted a series of
meetings in Sydney, Australia. His wife took
ill suddenly and died, to the great grief of the
evangelist. Some time later, still in Australia, he
married Fanny Elizabeth Collett and returned to
his home in Los Angeles.
The Nicholsons spent the years from 1928 to
1930 in UK. WP conducted missions in Ireland
and Scotland. The couple returned to USA in
1930 and for the rest of his life WP engaged
in an itinerant ministry, preaching all over the
world in South Africa, USA, Australia and New
Zealand. He returned to conduct missions in
Ireland in 1936, 1946 and 1958.
In 1959 the Nicholsons set sail for Ireland on
board the liner Mauretania with the intention
of settling in Bangor. During the voyage WP
suffered a series heart attack. When the ship
arrived in Cork, he was taken to the Victoria
Hospital where he died two weeks later on 29th
October. He was eighty-three. His funeral took
place in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church,
Bangor, and he was buried in the Clandeboye
Cemetery.

HIS MINISTRY
I would like now to consider the ministry of this
remarkable man, paying special attention to the
great campaigns which he conducted in Belfast
In the early 1920s. I will approach this subject
in two ways. Firstly, I will consider where these
campaigns were held and the effect that they
had. Secondly I will try to visualise what a typical
Nicholson meeting was like.
In October 1920 WP held a mission in Bangor
which was singularly blessed by God. He then
conducted a series of meetings in Scotland,
but returned to the Province to preach in many
different locations between 1921 and 1923.
Portadown, Newtownards, Lisburn, Lurgan,
Londonderry and Ballymena were all visited by
the evangelist. In all of these places the Lord
worked mightily by his Spirit, but we will focus
on WPs Belfast missions.
In October 1922 WP held a mission in the
Albert Hall on the Shankhill Road. This mission
had been organised by his old minister, Rev
14

Henry Montgomery, and was supported by


more than twenty ministers in the Shankhill
area. Thousands attended, and many hundreds
professed faith in Christ. Missions followed
in different parts of the city Newington
Presbyterian Church, St. Enochs, the Cripples
Institute Hall, Rosemary Street Presbyterian
Church but particular attention must be given
to two missions which took place in East Belfast,
one in Newtownards Road Methodist Church
(now East Belfast Mission) and the other in
Ravenhill Presbyterian Church. Every evening
thousands of men employed in the Harland
and Wolff shipyard in Queens Island marched
to these services as soon as their working day
was over. On one occasion the crush to enter
the Ravenhill church building was so great that
the gate-post was moved off its foundations. It
remained crooked for many years afterwards,
and WP later referred to the incident as the
night of the great push. Many men from the
shipyard and the factories and workshops of
east Belfast dated their conversions to the
mens only evenings which were part of
these campaigns.
Mr Herbert Ireland, General Secretary of Belfast
YMCA, assessed the spiritual impact of these
missions on the city in the following way:
Gods tide is rising herewe call it revival.
Yes, a mighty revival. Deputations of cabmen
and tramway men, gangs that lounged at street
corners, groups of girls out of warehouses,
smart young businessmen and women,
people of leisure and wealth, students in our
universities, and employers of labour rising
in testimony meetings and witnessing for the
Master whom they now serveMid-week prayer
meetings not as formerly with ten or twenty
but overflowing, in instances with between 300
and 400 with warmth and fervour unbounded.
Mission halls everywhere are participating in the
blessingOn the streets and on the tramcars
one frequently hears earnest conversation about
personal religion and the atmosphere is such
that it is easy to speak about spiritual things.
From 1924 to 1926 WP conducted missions
in Ballynahinch, Portglenone, Donaghadee,
Whitehead, Coleraine and in Ulsterville
Presbyterian and Kilpatrick Memorial, both
Belfast. In August 1925 there was a mission
attended by thousands in the Assembly Hall,
Belfast. This mission was organised by an
interdenominational committee and was much
blessed by the Lord.
A typical Nicholson meeting would last three
hours with the sermon lasting at least an hour.
In his services Mr Nicholson neither desired
choir or choir leader. Once he got on the
bridge he was captain and remained there in
charge, leading the praise service, preaching

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and conducting the After-meeting.


While he detested choirs, WP loved hearty
congregational singing. One of his quaintest
choruses was:
Down in the dumps Ill never go
Thats where the devil keeps me low.
So Ill sing with all my might,
And Ill keep my armour bright,
But down in the dumps I will not go.
WPs preaching was direct and pithy.
There are those who wont believe that their
righteousnesses are filthy rags in the sight of
God. My dear friends, God is no rag merchant
and heaven is no raghouse. God wont have
your dirty rags in Heaven.
He spoke out against formalism within
the church.
The Lord never says in His Word that we are
bricks. No. But He does say we are stones.
Man makes bricks, but never made a stone.
God makes them. There are too many brick
Christians in the Church today, and not enough
living stones.
Many of his listeners might be regular and
committed church-goers without being
converted. Such people he openly condemned
as confirmed, baptised, catechised candidates
for hell.
WPs style of preaching was nothing if not
graphic, as the following account illustrates:
The preacher described the days going by,
Noah sawing and hammering, the neighbours
mocking, and the sky brazen and blue. Then
the narration gained intensity as the listeners
heard of the cloud that appeared and spread
overhead. And now the first big drops of
rain had begun to fall. So realistic was the
preachers presentation that several people in
the pews were seen to reach out and clutch their
umbrellas, as if they expected any moment now
to be drenched.
He did not spare the feelings of his listeners.
The town clerk of Lurgan was a Christian. He
was entirely bald! He had not a hair on his head.
He had a bad habit of coming to church late.
WP did not like late comers. So one night the
Presbyterian Church was packed, and here
comes the bald town clerk of Lurgan. He walks
into the aisle and he looks around for a seat.
Nicholson stops the meeting and he says,
Hi man, it was not combing your hair that kept
you late.
He had his own way of sorting out
domestic strife:
A woman came to him once and said, Sir,
my husband beats me. He said, I can easily
remedy that. Get him to the service. She said,
I will do my best. He said, The night you are
in the service and he is with you, give me a nod

and I will know he is there. And sure enough,


one night the woman was there, and a man was
sitting beside her. She gave the preacher a nod.
He nodded back. When it came to the offering,
the preacher said I have somewhat to say.
There is a man in this meeting who beats his
wife. What a dirty coward and rascal he is. Then
he gave this man, without mentioning him, a
dreadful dressing-down. Now I am prepared to
be generous, he said. As the plate is passed,
I will watch what that man gives and if he does
not give a ten shilling note, I will name him after
the offering is lifted. That night the plates were
cluttered with ten shilling notes.

AN ASSSESSMENT
I now come to the most difficult part of this
paper. It is made particularly difficult because
I have not been able to find an objective
account of his life and ministry anywhere.
Perhaps the events are still considered too
recent, or perhaps it has been felt that any
honest assessment would be seen as criticism,
dishonouring to WPs memory. Let me state
clearly that that I have no doubt that this man
was sent by God at a time of great need. He
was Gods man in an hour of crisis. Hundreds of
people were converted through WPs ministry,
and for the most part their profession was
genuine: they went on in the faith. To quote Dr
Graham Scroggie: They may say what they like
about Nicholson, but after all the test of a mans
work and words is the the goods he deliversand he has delivered the goods.
I want nevertheless to make an attempt at an
assessment of WP Nicholson.
Lets begin with his churchmanship.
WP was brought up in the Irish Presbyterian
Church. After his conversion he moved in
evangelical circles of an interdenominational
nature the Lanarkshire Christian Union,
the Chapman/ Alexander campaigns, Los
Angeles Bible Institute. He was ordained by the
Presbyterian Church of USA. Later he left this
denomination and joined Carl McIntires Bible
Presbyterian Church. During his ministry some
pulpits were barred to him, sometimes because
of his doctrine, sometimes because of his style.
On one occasion an invitation was withdrawn
because he could not promise to comply with
the stipulation that he must use language
acceptable to man and glorifying to God.
His funeral service was held in Hamilton Road
Presbyterian Church and conducted by leading
members of the evangelical party within
that denomination.
Although he roundly condemned liberalism
within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland,
WP was not a seceder. In many ways church

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15

affiliation was not overly important to him.


His approach was pragmatic: he was willing to
preach the Gospel wherever he was invited
to go.
Many Nicholson converts adopted a certain
pattern of church attendance, a pattern which
Nicholson did not promote, although he did
not discourage it either. They would attend the
big church to which they traditionally belonged
even though it might be spiritually dead, in the
morning, but in the evening they would go along
to the local mission hall where they would get
spiritual help and fellowship. They would attend
the mid-week meeting and send their children to
the Sunday School in the hall and it became
their spiritual home.
What was the substance of WPs preaching?
He taught the need to be born again, presented
faith in Christ as the only way of salvation
and believed in substitutionary atonement.
He was clear about the perseverance of the
saints and about the eternal punishment of the
unregenerate in hell.
WP looked for a change in the lives of those
converted through him. True repentance ought
to show itself in a persons actions.
In the course of his preaching Nicholson insisted
on the need for restitution when something had
to be put right with another person. After one
mission held in East Belfast early in 1923 many
tools and pieces of equipment which had been
purloined earlier were returned to the shipyard
and in such quantities that an additional store
had to be provided to hold them.
WP was firmly convinced of the need for
Christians to experience the Second Blessing.
He preached against pride, hypocrisy,
formalism, luke-warmness, cowardice and
defective consecration. He regarded the Filling
of the Holy Spirit as an experience separate and
separable from conversion. He spoke frequently
of the many sincere believers who got stuck
between Calvary and Pentecost. To quote
from his published sermon After Pentecost
What? , The blessing of a personal Pentecost
is always a second subsequent blessingIn
regeneration there is an impartation of life and
the one who recives it is saved. In the Baptism
of the Holy Spirit there is an impartation of
power and the one who receives it is fitted for
service. For his personal reading he used the
Schofield Bible.
Living a life separated from the world was
another matter on which WP had deep
convictions. He was strong in his condemnation
of sin. There were certain practices which he
frequently spoke out against and urged his
converts to shun. He stated that if God had
intended man to smoke he would have created
him with a chimney pot on top of his head!
16
16

Anyone who found more joy in the picture-house


than he did in the prayer meeting would do well
to question whether or not he was truly bornagain. He was outspoken against the use of
alcohol, dubbing the public house the human
slaughter-house.
WP did not spare liberals or Unitarians in his
sermons, but there is little to be found by way
of condemnation of the Roman Catholics. Dr
Austin Fulton makes the following
staggering statement:
It is said that in these circumstances a
highly placed person in the Northern Ireland
government appealed to Nicholson not to
acerbate the situation by inflammatory words
about the Roman Catholics and their church.
Nicholson is said to have assured this person
that he would be careful not to do so he would
lay of the Papishes and instead take it out on
the Plyms.
So why did God use WP Nicholson, a man with
many flaws, so mightily? Of course we can
answer this simply by saying that God chose to
use him. He was an instrument in the hand of
God. But we must not forget the sheer godliness
of this man. His power in the pulpit and his
perseverance in prayer in the secret place were
undoubtedly linked. Mr Lindsay Glegg wrote
about him:
The secret of his power was no doubt in his
prayer life. He stayed at our house for ten days
during the campaign and he was up in the
morning at six oclock, but he never appeared
until twelve noon. My wife would take up his
breakfast and leave it outside his bedroom door,
but it was rarely taken in.By his own special
request he was not disturbed by telephone or
visitor, no matter how urgent.
On another occasion the Cleggs discovered on
WPs departure that his bed sheets were torn
to shreds.
What had happened was that he unconsciously
agonising in prayer ripped the sheets into strips
with his strong hands.
Mighty in the pulpit, but mighty also in prayer.
I want to conclude by sharing a verse of
Scripture. This verse speaks about John the
Baptist, but it is also peculiarly applicable to the
life and ministry of WP Nicholson.
In fact it is engraved on his tombstone in
Candeboye cemetery.

John did no miracle but all things


that John spake of this man (Jesus)
were true and many believed on Him
there. (John 10:41&42)

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