Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 18, 2010

The Plain Talker

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Manford George Gutzke is the most plain talker I have perhaps ever known.  This unique man could teach Scripture in plain talk that everyone understood.  He is one of the two men that have most influenced my ministry.

Dr. Gutzke was a great biblical scholar.  However, as a young Canadian, he had no interest in the things of God.  He wandered into agnostic skepticism.  But, his intellect remained opened to truth.  On one occasion, a farmer witnessed to him about Christ and it fascinated Dr. Gutzke.  That conversation started him on a pilgrimage to study the Bible.  From the witness of the farmer and the power of Scripture,  Manford George Gutzke became a Christian.

He shared something of his pilgrimage one day.  He told of hauling a heavy load of logs in a wagon.  As he approached a bridge, he stopped the team of mules and began to question whether the bridge would support the weight of the mules and the loaded wagon.  As he contemplated, he came to the conclusion that he would never know until he trusted the bridge to hold the weight, and with that he drove across the bridge.  The realization came to him that this was an illustration of the faith he needed to have in Christ.  He might not be able to know how Christ could save him, but what he must do was to excercise faith and trust himself to Christ as he had the wagon to the bridge.  His testimony has always been front and center in my mind when I think of the word faith.

Dr. Gutzke planned to be a lawyer, but he soon realized that God was calling him to ministry.  This began a ministry that would touch untold thousands of lives.  He became a minister in the Presbyterian church and a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary.

His ministry expanded to the development of another ministry, The Bible for You.  A daily radio program and the regular publication of pamphlets flooded many homes.  He sought to give Bible truths in a simple, plain, everyday manner.  His writings became a valuable part of my personal library.

I had the privilege to study under this spiritual giant at Columbia.  His impact upon me through his teachings and relationship contributed to my spiritual molding.  With a sense of awe, I saw this wonderful man communicate spiritual truths.  If there was one theme for his life, I believe it would be Plain Truth About the Bible.  In fact, that title became the hallmark of his ministry.

I left Columbia deeply indebted to Dr. Gutzke and committed to continue to be taught through his writings.  I could have never dreamed that some six years later I would have the joy of sitting under his teaching once again.  When I studied at Candler School of Theology, Dr. Gutzke was invited to be a guest professor in seeking to offset the publicity from the “God is Dead” movement.  (See Blogs, April 10, 2002, Is God Dead?, and April 12, Where Was God?)

What a joy to reconnect with him.  The fellowship with him enhanced my life.  I have been blessed with this man who could so well teach the Bible in plain truth.  Oh, may I be able to do likewise!

” . . . we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.  On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”  (2 Corinthians 4:2)



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