73, Victoria Avenue,
Chatham, Ontario, Canada.
September 23, 1965.
Dear Brother Withers,
I have been reading with great interest your article on "Forgiveness without Repentance" and your appeals to certain ones to "repent" for the grave injustices committed against Mr. Alexander Thomson, the hurt and heartache of which cannot possibly be felt or measured as much by ourselves as by Mr. Thomson himself. However, my early following with these dispensationalists many years ago, and my recollection of some of their beliefs, leads me to not only sympathize with Mr. Thomson, but also with you; for, regrettably, you are simply batting your head against a brick wall!
In your current editorial, you also make mention of the Bema at which time all things will be made right, and of course, your ominous warning, that not only the GOOD things will be rewarded, but that the BAD will also be requited.
Apparently dear brother, throughout all of your appeals, you have forgotten to take into account one of their most important doctrines, namely "ALL IS OF GOD."
You see, it is absolutely inconceivable to them that their course of action is anything else but the direction of God, so that to "repent" for that which is out of God is unthinkable.
I well remember many years ago confessing to one of them some of the things I had done in my youth that I was not very proud of, things for which I was, and still am, totally ashamed, but I was told not to worry about it, since "All is of God" He made me do these things for a reason yet unknown to me, but would likely be made clear when we attain our reward. For some reason, this sort of thinking never sat well with me, for though it was a perfect excuse (or reason if you like) for misconduct, I still had conscience to contend with. Quite sometime later, Mr. Thomson wrote an excellent paper on ALL THINGS which I think he entitled "TA PANTA" where he showed that there were indeed many things which were not out of God. Among them, I. John 4:6 concerning those" not of (ek—out of) God," see I. John 4:3. Also I. John 2:16 which plainly states that lust for example "is not out of the Father." Also the first verse of chapter 4 asked the beloved to "test the spirits whether they are of God," which admonition would simply be a game if ALL spirits were of God! Acts 10:34 tells us of yet another thing that God is not, namely, "a respecter of persons." Mark 12:27 and Matt. 22:32 tell us that He is not the God of the dead. James 1:12-15 that God is trying no man, II. Tim. 1:7 that God has not given us the spirit of fear. And of those committing idolatry on three occasions (Jer. 7:31; 19:5; 32:35) God not only denied that He was responsible, but went further and stated categorically "neither came it into My mind."
So what I am getting at is simply, that those with this kind of thinking, that is, that ALL is of God, whether it be good, bad or just offensive to a fellow believer, cannot possibly repent, because, after all, and in the final analysis, God Himself is responsible for these things, and why should one repent for a course of action that GOD is responsible for? That is also why there is no great concern with them in regard to the Bema, for, say they, how can God requite them for BAD things that He Himself caused? Now perhaps they will not actually say these words, but what else are we to deduce? So this is why I sympathize with you, for you can be sure that, undoubtedly, your appeal will fall on deaf ears.
As for Mr. Thomson, it should be of no little consolation to you, or to him, that there are some of us who, through his labours of love, have become far richer in spirit, and have gotten to know God in a much closer and personal way, and indeed, have gotten an insight into some things that perhaps even the angels have not been given to know. HIS REWARD IS CERTAIN.
R. J. Sheffield Last updated 8.10.2008