People of note in Plymouth!

Current Events and The Bible

Trina and I loved our visit to Plymouth in the fall of 2021 last year in large part because we met many amazing people.  Remember that the Northeast is very different culturally from The Bible Belt and Chrstianity is more tolerated, usually, than accepted and smiled upon.  Christian leaders in this area are routinely ridiculed for their faith and position on many social issues. It was encouraging to see what the negative pressure produced in The Believers that we met.

James 1:2-4 NASB

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, [3] knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. [4] And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Everywhere that we prayed for people or taught The Word of God, there was true gratitude expressed.  They weren’t running from the decidedly anti-christian ethos that was present, they were reinforced by the ministry that our team brought.  I can’t help but think that these Precious Saints had taken advantage of their hostile environment and chosen joy by praising God in the midst of their circumstances.  Their universal thankfulness had clearly resulted in the formation of significant character.  It served as a poignant personal reminder that I need to do the same thing when I encounter similar challenges.

Negiel Bigpond at the Plymouth Rock Memorial Celebration

I was particularly impressed by the perspective of one of the primary speakers at our event, Negiel Bigpond.  This gentle giant comes from a long line of Christian Ministers who are Native American.  His influence spans from the Senate floor in Washington, D.C. to the Native American Reservation in Oklahoma where he leads a church.  He is an open advocate of the need to acknowledge the racial conflict that first existed in our country between Indians and settlers.  What really makes him unique in this area of dialogue is the absence of bitterness and animosity in his speech and delivery.  Perhaps the most anointed portion of a very spiritual event was his singing of a composition that he wrote in his native Euchee language.  The primary verse in this song, found on his home page, is:

“Always go forward, never look back…at your past victories or your past defeats.”

The call for repentance being strongly braced with the need to forgive past wrongs is clearly reinforced by Scripture.  Consider these verses along both lines:

Matthew 5:23-24 NASB

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Romans 12:17-21 NASB

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. [18] If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. [19] Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. [20] “But IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Hebrews 12:15 NASB

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled

My exposure to dialogue around racial injustice has seen it heavily weighted toward a call for repentance and restitution for those who have been wronged.  I have also noticed that there is very little emphasis in general on the significant gains, especially in the USA & Europe, that have been made concerning historic wrongs.  Lastly, the tone of any discussion on the subject is increasingly hostile when a difference of opinion is expressed.   It is obvious that many people involved in this discussion have a distorted perspective because of the continued presence of a poisonous root of bitterness like that described in Hebrews 12.  Forgiveness is a crucial missing ingredient on this issue and Christians, following the example of people like Brother Negiel, are called to resolutely model it.

Our experience with everyone in New England reinforced to me the need we have for one another as fellow Christians. 

Ephesians 4:15-16 NASB

[15] but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

I should not have been so surprised that we received just as much ministry as we were able to deliver! Trina and I are praying for more opportunities to encourage the Church in The New England States and see God reconcile and resurrect people in the way that only He can.

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