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Saturday, September 24, 2005

William Edward Payne, 1920-1985

I attended the funeral of W. E. Payne a couple of days ago. He had been a member of my local church for several years, since his retirement as a minister in our denomination.

One of his sons was one of the officiating ministers. The son said a couple of profound things.

1) If Christianity works at all, it works in times like this.

2) When he was in high school, his father got voted out of a church, which surprised the father. The father found out about it, and came to tell the son. The son had his career mapped out, including continuing to attend the local high school, and for that and other reasons, immediately felt resentment. The father asked the son to forgive the people who had voted against him. The son had difficulty. Then the father asked him to do it for his, the father's sake. The son was able to, and the family left the church, and the town, as friends of these people. This, said the son, was the only time any word about a church problem was heard from his parents during their life as a pastoral family. Undoubtedly there were other problems, but the children were shielded from them.

What a Christian example!

* * * *

I had this speaker as a student, and recall something, also profound, he said while in a class of mine. It was that the Bible is without error, but that his interpretation of it wasn't. (Nor, of course, is mine!)

* * * *

Our senior pastor was another officiating minister. He said, and I saw no evidence to contradict him, as a fellow member, that while Rev. Payne was a member of our church, he never commented on how things should be done, and always did what he could to help the church, teaching a class, praying, or whatever else he could.

What a Christian example!

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