Meeting in South Wales (Friday, 12th December, 2003)
Three years and two weeks
previous to the above date, Pastor Ronald Hanko of the Covenant
Protestant Reformed Church at Ballymena preached what was (unbeknown to
himself or any of us at the time) his last sermon in Porthcawl, South
Wales, after four and a half years of faithful labours. Moreover,
the South Wales fellowship lost the inspirational drive and guiding light of
Mr. John Beaton, an elder brother who had done much to stir up
interest in the Reformed faith in that area. Smitten with a serious
illness, Mr. Beaton went to be with the Lord on 1st January,
After three years it was Mrs. Beaton who arranged a meeting in which Professor Herman
Hanko, father of Pastor Hanko, was to be the speaker, and
the chosen topic was THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD AND THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
It was with some trepidation that we organised the meeting, wondering if any
of the scattered and disappointed fellowship of three years previous would
be interested again, but a welcome surprise awaited us, when, on the
occasion, upwards of forty people were in attendance, filling the
small room we had booked at The Rest, a convalescent home in
Porthcawl. And we had thought that we might only get maybe a
dozen, twenty at the most. Present were several young men
and a young Korean lady we had not met before, plus several more of
the older generations that had not previously attended.
Prof. Hanko spoke on the appointed topic for about 50 minutes or more, taking
his starting point from Revelation 5:1- 6:11. He was listened to with
acute attention as he expounded first on the Sovereignty of God, showing it
to be a Scriptural concept which does not negate human accountability.
Prof. Hanko showed how God fully controlled the whole of human history, and
even the natural history of the Universe. God, right from the beginning, had
everything planned—nothing escaped His minute attention—and all was
directed to His Glory in Jesus Christ in the salvation of His Church, the
bride, for whom Christ laid down His life.
Hence, the present calamitous and discouraging course of events
showing in world history is nothing less that the absolute outworking of
God's purposes for the sake of his elect (Rom. 8:28), and the prevalent
wholesale moral and spiritual decay witnessed worldwide is a sign that God
is ripening the reprobate unto judgement. God's people are to take
heart from this, rather than be discouraged, and prepare for the
day of His coming.
A question and answer time followed, with some interesting discussions
developing. At the close of the meeting the enthusiasm of the audience
spilled over into further running discussions as they partook of coffee and
biscuits, and many expressed their desire for further meetings.
"NOT THREE YEARS HENCE AGAIN, said one brother, but NEXT
People from all over south Wales attended. One farmer came up from
Pembrokeshire, a distance of about 80 miles straight after milking his
cows. Another elderly gentleman came from south Somerset even, and more came
from east south Wales. The radius of "catchment" extended
for well over a hundred miles. What was impressive was how they
showed their appreciation, and expressed positive and ardent desires
for more of the kind of ministry they experienced from Pastor and Prof. Hanko.
H. L. WILLIAMS