Daily Archives: February 15, 2014

Theology 101

bonnie hills of Aberdeen

A scene showing the beauty of Aberdeen, Scotland

Kevin Macpherson walks through the rolling hills of Aberdeen, Scotland, on his way to divinity classes at the University of Aberdeen. He is training there to be a chaplain in the fall of 1985. Twenty-three-year-old Kevin is a skinny lad of 120 pounds with short brown hair with blonde highlights that glisten in the sunlight.

He sings his favourite song Amazing Grace in a splendid tenor as he walks. He reflects on when he first heard that song sung by John McDermott.

Kevin has had a personal relationship with Jesus for two years. He remembers that cold March night in 1983 when Reverend Maxwell McBride, the  Presbyterian minister at St. Stephen’s Church, speaks of Christ’s triumphal entry through the streets of Jerusalem. Reverend McBride asks a question that penetrates Kevin’s soul. “Are you riding in victory or walking alongside in defeat?”

Kevin hears the question not just with his mind, but with his heart. He has only half committed himself to God. This is the day the Lord changes his life forever.

He feels a force propel him to the altar. He walks, but he cannot feel himself doing the walking. He kneels. He feels guilty inside. Tears well up in his eyes. He sees the truth that he has been running from God and the call He has on his life.  He realizes that academics is his god. It is the one thing he can control. He can”t control the abuse of his schizophrenic father.

Kevin’s right hand shakes as he reaches for a tissue on the altar to wipe his tears.  He says to the counsellor, “I’ve spoken with Jessie Macdonald, the Presbyterian chaplain, about my life and how I feel God speaking to my heart. I work as a rehabilitation counsellor at Craiginches Prison. She said the best way to find out more about the Presbyterian Church was to attend one of their services.”

Kevin realizes he is talking too much about his present life because the pain of his life is too great to talk about. He struggles to speak the truth about his agony.

“I want to end this 20 year fight I’ve been having with not accepting God fully. I’ve always loved Him, but….” The pain of being beaten by his schizophrenic father is too great to speak. The words just won’t come. He cries out in his spirit, “God, the pain of my abuse is too difficult to speak out!” He shakes all over. He feels again the countless beatings. His father’s voice echoes in his mind, “You’re stupid. You’re lazy. You’re weak.  You disappoint me. You’re a mama’s boy. Your brother’s smarter than you’ll ever be. I wish you had never been born.”

Weeping, Kevin tells the counsellor all the ways his father has abused him. As he speaks out his scorching torment, he feels peace grow in him unlike any he has ever known.

The counsellor places his left hand on Kevin’s shoulder. He speaks slowly, seeking counsel with each word he speaks.”Kevin, God hears your wounded heart. Every time your father put you down and every time you were beaten, God’s heart of love cried for you. He felt every one of those beatings, every one of those cruel things which were spoken into your mind and heart.

Kevin, God has a huge call upon your life. Lad, He’s going to use these hurtful experiences, so that in His time, you’ll be a victorious healer of many wounded souls.”

The counsellor hears Kevin as he tells him all the pain he has gunny sacked for all of his life. Nausea churns in Kevin’s stomach as he wrestles with the darkness which has sought to destroy him before he is born. The Enemy knows Kevin will become a healer of many wounded souls. He wants to stop Kevin from leading many to life in Christ.

Through his tears, Kevin sees the picture the counsellor asks him to see, a picture of a stick figure and two hills. The stick figure is between the two hills. The counsellor reads Romans 6:23. ” For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“Kevin, see these two hills with the stick figure in between them?” Kevin whispers, “Yes.”  “Kevin, sin is the gulf that is between God and us. We be deserving of Hell, lad, for our sins, but God has a gift to give you today of His love if you just admit, Lord, I’m a sinner. I need You. I want You to come into my life.

The gift of God’s salvation is made far too complicated than it needs to be, lad. All you’re doing is saying you’ve messed up and need the gift of God’s saving love. It’s that simple.”

Kevin repeats after the counsellor, “Lord, I’m a sinner. I accept that Christ died for my sins. Forgive me for all the wrong things I’ve done and the anger I’ve harboured in my heart against my father. I ask You to come into my life. Amen.”

Kevin feels a huge weight lifted from his shoulders. Joy floods through him, a joy more profound and complete than he has ever known. He surrenders his life to Christ. It is his fresh start.

It is the beginning of his journey of faith. It is his Theology 101.