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Letter Two By Mrs. Marjorie Bond

October 31, 2014 1 comment

1505 Scotland Street
Calgary, Alberta
November 6, 1959

Dear Dr. Cole:

Do you think you can stand another letter from me? I shall try not to be so verbose this time!

Your wonderful and most helpful letter came two weeks ago tomorrow, so you can see it was in plenty of time for our meeting last night. I was going to acknowledge it immediately; then it occurred to me that if I waited till after the meeting, I could “kill two birds with one stone,” so to speak—thank you for the letter and report on the meeting as well.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate the time and trouble you have taken to help a complete stranger—and yet, perhaps, we are not such strangers after all, as we are related through the bonds of the gospel. But you went to a great deal of work, I am afraid, to answer my letter at such length and in such detail and I appreciate it more than I can say. But above all, I feel I owe you a debt of boundless gratitude for your article on Election which sparked off my interest in it and subsequent study of it. I feel as if a completely new world has opened up to me; I get almost excited over it all, Dr. Cole. I do hope it is not wrong to attach so much importance to it, but somehow, I feel as if it is the most significant and personal doctrine in the whole Bible. Nothing should eclipse the Atonement I know; but I feel that even my conversion, somehow, never made the impression on me that Election has. When you have been brought up in a Christian family, heard the Scriptures from childhood and been active in the Church, there isn’t the marked cleavage, somehow, when one becomes a Christian that there is if you have been turned from a life of vice. Is it because we don’t feel, in the innermost recesses of our being, that we need Christ as badly as the other type does?

I don’t know; but I have often felt that I didn’t have the joy in my Christian life that I should. It seemed stale and flat, so often; one did things for the Lord from a sense of duty. Sometimes I have even wondered if I were saved at all. Now all that is changed. The very fact that my salvation is all of grace—in the application of it as well as the provision of it—has transformed everything for me. And I have you to thank for it. Oh, how wonderful it must be to a minister to be so used of God.

When I first read your pamphlet, in addition to all my other objections to Election, I didn’t like the idea that (in a sense) I had nothing to do with becoming a Christian. I had always supposed that, with the Spirit’s help, I had had sense enough and intelligence enough to recognize something worthwhile and take it! It didn’t appeal to me at all to think that if I had been elected, I really had nothing to do with my salvation at all—even in the accepting of it. But now that is almost the best part of it! It is humbling and breath-taking and frightening and thrilling all at once. I just can’t get over it, Dr. Cole. To think that all these years (I am 41), I have missed this tremendous teaching and the thrill and joy of it.

It has made my salvation and conversion much more real and personal. I have always envied people who spoke with such joy of their conversion and felt that something had happened, I never could. I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t believe, if you know what I mean. And it has worried me; I’ve had a sneaking fear that maybe all I had was a head or credal belief because I was brought up in a Christian home and accepted that as I did other patterns of behaviour and thought. I have prayed off and on for months that if I were saved the Lord would make me realize it beyond all shadow of doubt and give me “the joy of His salvation”. Not just a barren orthodoxy.

Never did I dream of getting the “witness of the spirit” through the doctrine of Election. I wouldn’t want the Lord to think I’m not grateful for salvation. I am; but right now, I feel as if I’m more grateful for Election. Is that wrong?

Over and over I keep saying to myself, like someone rescued from a sinking vessel, when others are lost, “Why me? Why me?”. When I wake up in the morning, I used to feel tired and exhausted and wish I didn’t have to go to work (I am a war widow); now, almost as soon as I am conscious, I have the feeling that something new and exciting has happened—and then it flashes across my mind in a wave of remembrance—”you are elected” and I get so excited I am wide awake instantly and ready to be up and doing.

I cannot explain it—but somehow as long as you feel that you had the least little bit to do with your own conversion, it takes away some of the thrill and bloom of it. But when the full impact of the thought and realization hits you—that not only the provision of salvation is due to God’s grace but also His choice of you as recipient, one can only stand back and marvel—lost in wonder, love and praise.

Now, I must tell you about last night. There were nearly 30 women out. Nothing that we have studied in the 7 or 8 years that I have taught that class has so stirred them as this Doctrine! They came with Bibles and pens—and objections! I went all over it again very carefully, reminding them first that:

1. The depravity of man required it (election) elaborating on your point that we are just deceiving ourselves if we think any of us would ever want or seek God in our unregenerate state apart from the Holy Spirit and election. (#Ge 6:5 Ps 14:3 Isa 64:3 Ro 3:10 Eph 2:1 —I had them look up and read aloud these references).

2. The sovereignty of God justifies it—He has the same rights over us as the potter with the clay, etc., emphasising such qualities of God as His absolute Righteousness, Holiness, Omniscience, Self-Existence, etc. which entitles Him to act in a sovereign way.

3. The righteousness and Holiness of God safe-guards it; it cannot be unjust for it is absolutely impossible for God to do anything wrong, be unfair, unjust, unfaithful… “He cannot deny Himself”. Regardless of how it may appear to us we have this knowledge and comfort that the Judge of all the earth will do righteously.

Well, after I had made my points, the members asked questions. I felt really sorry for one woman in my class. She has come to our church from the United Church. I think she is saved—but periodically one detects in her thinking and from her remarks, a throwback to the United Church doctrine of salvation through works! Evidently she has been really wrought up over this subject—which I consider a good sign. I told her she couldn’t have been any more disturbed than I was at first. She cannot see that it is not unjust of God. I thought your illustration of being on the fence and God pushing them to one side or the other excellent, so I elaborated on that. I think, with most of them, they finally began to see a glimmer of light that if God hadn’t elected some, none would be saved.

We all seem to have the same reaction—that if the decision had been left to us, we had a better chance of getting saved than by having God settle it all in Eternity; because we don’t or won’t accept that teaching that of ourselves we are incapable of reaching out for God. I told them that in our natural state, we are dead in trespasses and sins and a corpse just cannot flicker even an eyelash! So they were just deceiving themselves if they thought for one minute that they would ever accept Christ, apart from God taking certain measures to make them.

Well, our discussion went on for about 1 1/2 hours! This woman also thought as did others that Scriptures elsewhere we contradicted by Election—such as #Joh 3:16 1Jo 2:2. I was glad to have your explanation of “all” and “world” rarely being used in the absolute sense.

Also, #Joh 6:37 —”Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out” —I told them to look up the first part of that verse and they would get a shock! I had! “All that the Father hath given unto me shall come unto me—etc.” Of course Christ wouldn’t cast out any who came because any who came would be those whom the Father had given! They were simply stunned! But seemed to react more as if it made sense and were opening up new worlds of thought.

Afterwards, while we were waiting for tea, this one particular woman came to me. I did feel so sorry for her; she was flushed and almost tearful and I said, “Edythe, is it any clearer?” She hesitated and said, “Yes, in some respects. But there are other things that I just feel I can’t reconcile with my ideas of God and the Bible”. I said, “Don’t try, Edythe, Dr. Cole told me not to attempt to reconcile all points of this teaching with other passages of Scripture because I would only confuse myself, and I believe he is right”. By the way, that was a wonderful help to me, personally, what you told me about just getting a confused mind. I just let go all the arguments, after reading your letter, and told the Lord that I guessed I had struggled long enough trying to crowd the ocean of His theology into the teacup of my mind and I wasn’t going to fuss anymore about the points I didn’t understand. He understood them and that was good enough for me. And it is since then that I have had such peace.

I tried to tell something of this to Edythe; she said, “Marjorie, I have nearly gone out of my mind this week”. And her voice broke. She said, “I can’t think of anything else and I go over and over it until I am nearly crazy”. I just ached with pity for her because I had been through the same thing until I got your letter back.

It flashed across my mind that perhaps your letter would help her too. So I asked her if she would like a copy of my questions to you and your reply. She was terribly grateful. I had them with me so was able to let her have them right away. Would you pray with me that she will get peace and learn, by the help of the Holy Spirit to love this doctrine as we do?

One other member, a new-comer to my class although she has been in our church several years, said to me with the sweetest smile afterwards, “I am like you; I know now I have been elected and it is simply thrilling. I wish you could have seen my husband, though. He wanted to come so badly tonight—he asked me if I thought you would mind if he slipped into a back seat”! It seems her husband took her pamphlet and read it; was so thrilled and worked up over it, he read it again and said that never in all his life had he heard anything like it—why don’t we hear about it? And do you know, Dr. Cole, person after person has said that to me; “Why don’t our ministers preach it??”

One girl, also from the southern states (Texas—but not the one I mentioned in my first letter; she wasn’t out last night) has been very keen on this, but admitted to me on different occasions that it simply upset a lot of her ideas and understandings! However, last night, as I closed she said, in front of all the others, almost with a blissful sigh, “Well, it certainly takes the fear out of dying, doesn’t it”? And you know, that is what I have felt so strongly. I just stared at her for a minute when she said it—it was the echo of my own heart. Sometimes I feel I can’t wait to get to heaven and learn more about Election and all the rest of the Bible.

A third woman, mother of a 6 year old boy, said to me, “Marjorie, I don’t know. It is wonderful. I feel that since this study and the thought I have given to Election that everything has cleared up in my mind. And so many passages of Scripture fit in and make sense now when they didn’t before”.

Yet another girl has talked to me different times and said that at first she felt (when I taught my first lesson in Sept.) that she was opposed to it. But the more she read your pamphlet and thought about it, the more she thought the doctrine really was taught in the Bible and therefore she should be willing to believe it and leave the parts she didn’t understand until she got to heaven! Last night, after we were finished, she whispered to me across the table, “Well, I’m happy too, tonight Marjorie. But I’m afraid some aren’t. But it’s more a case of won’t with them.

However, I am praying that the Holy Spirit will do His work in the hearts of those that are confused or resisting. I feel their very interest is encouraging and, as you so truly put it, none of us likes this doctrine; it takes the Holy Spirit to teach a person to love it.

Now, I promised you I wouldn’t write such a long letter and I have. I do hope you aren’t bored. But I am so full of it all and so indebted to you that I felt I had to overflow to you. Have you, by any chance, had any of your other teachings put up in pamphlet form? I was looking over some old Witnesses the other day and saw several of yours in serial form, on Sin, Salvation, etc. I should love to have them complete. I sent away for 40 copies of your ELECTION pamphlet and distributed them to my class in Sept., so they have had them to study and mull over ever since! I can never thank you enough for your article. Certainly God must have led you to have it printed.

It would be so wonderful to sit under that kind of preaching today. Why don’t ministers preach doctrinal sermons anymore—instead of this milky, predigested, topical preaching that so many give? No wonder Christians today aren’t strong and virile and know what they stand for—they have never got off the milk of the Word onto the strong meat. I heard one Baptist minister say that we are “snackbar” Christians today when we should be dining-room Christians. And I think he had something.

Now, I must go. Again, my heartfelt thanks for all you have done for me. I pray God’s richest blessings upon you and yours and your ministry for Him which will be fruitful, I am sure, beyond your deepest imaginings and hopes.

Yours in Him,

(Mrs.) Marjorie Bond

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part II-Questions and Answers on Election

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