Monday, August 4, 2008

Arthur John Gossip

You won't see a Wikipedia entry for Arthur John Gossip. I don't believe you can find any biographies on him. Why should you? He was just a poor, humble pastor and professor from Scotland. He never preached to a mega church, he never wrote a profound book, and he wasn't accomplished by any stretch of the imagination. But he wrote one of the greatest sermons ever written.

Most pastors will recognize his name, because his sermons, one in particular, are studied even over 50 years after his death.

The sermon that has now received such acclaimed over the years was called, "When Life Tumbles In, What Then?" He delivered it to his church the day after his wife suddenly collapsed and died. It is probably one of the most enduring words I've ever read about someone trying to deal with loss. It was from a pastor who had just spent years in World War I holding friends as they died, and now his beloved wife has died too.

I've been organizing books and came across his name, and it brought back a lot of memories. I looked for the sermon online, but the original one is not available in e-text--it's a shame because it's probably in public domain by now, and probably would help a lot of people going through loss.
The book made me think about Greg Laurie, the evangelists whose son died a week and a half ago in a car accident. People always look to see how a pastor responds to tragedy. The sermon was how Gossip responded.

I'll post a snippet from it below; if you want to read the whole thing there's a out of print book called "Classic Sermons on the Attributes of God" by Warren W. Wiersbe. The sermon is included in this book, and it's available used for about $7.00.

From: When Life Tumbles In, What Then?
I do not understand this life of ours. But still less can I comprehend how people in trouble and loss and bereavement can fling away peevishly from the Christian faith. In God's name, fling to what? Have we not lost enough without losing that too?

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