Uncle David Pawson, the most original Bible Teacher in the whole wide world according to me, is now with Jesus!
In the year 1992, Uncle R. Stanley invited him to preach in the Bible Lovers Camp of BYM in Danishpet, Salem, Tamil Nadu. I was 17 then (having just preached my first sermon in Ida Scudder School Vellore, a few months earlier).
In a talents competition in the camp I recited a Jimmy Swaggart message on hell. I also won the first prize in the daily tests conducted based on uncle Pawson’s messages in the same camp. My gift was this book – ‘The Road to Hell’ by uncle Pawson with uncle Stanley himself writing the congratulations message on the book. [Later, I would found an organisation with the word Hell (Gehenna) in its very name – in 2006]! Uncle Pawson was gutsy in writing this book, as he biblically and brilliantly opposed the mild annihilation view of hell which John Stott (the world’s leading evangelical then) had, inexplicably, promoted. I had the joy of receiving the prize from the book’s author itself.
I traveled with him by car to Vellore post the meeting. He told me: ‘Duke will preach like Duke and he will not copy anyone else!’ The original Duke Jeyaraj was born that day!
Later when I did what I could to warn the Google Generation about the hell-populating Hypergrace cult, I returned to uncle Pawson resources to find solid Cult-answering Bible Teaching. I bought his book ‘Once Saved, Always Saved?’ in this connection via Amazon. I never searched for a book with more ferocity like how I searched for this book and finally got it (it was couriered from overseas)!
I have used material from his book, Truth to Tell, to prepare evangelistic messages. It was his book on the Second Coming titled, When Jesus Returns, which made me realise this: “many top Bible Teachers believe in one Second coming of Jesus, one judgement, and heaven and hell post that!” His book, Word and Spirit Together, inspired me to chase both the Presence of God and Word of God with equal fervor.
I often referred to uncle Pawson’s book, The Normal Christian Birth, when I wrote a tract (my first tract of any sort) on the importance of immersion water baptism for adult believers as a student of Allahabad Agricultural Institute (1993-1997).
When I did a Bible Study for each of the 66 Bible Books in Hyderabad – a process that took seven years as we met only once a month as a small group of people from different churches and varied walks of life – I often would return to Uncle Pawson’s book, Unlocking the Bible, for wisdom.
I used material from one of his little books when I preached on Why God Allows Natural Disasters in a flat in Gachibowli, Hyderabad (a message for modern young working professionals).
I can safely say that his awesome use of alliteration in his writings and sermons have made his bible material even more memorable. For example, in his book, The Road To Hell, all the chapters begin with R (The Residue, The Retreat, The Reality, The Risk, The Rescue, The Reverse, The Relevance). Not just that – even the sub-points are arranged with coined words. For example in the chapter where David Pawson talks about Rescue From Hell he uses these carefully crafted words: Father’s affections, Son’s atonement, Spirit’s assistance, Believer’s adherence (notice the “a” rain in the sub-point?) But you know what – uncle Pawson, never would make a big deal of this pain-staking-efforts-in-preparation presentation style of his. He would say: “Even dogs speak in alliteration. They go ‘bow, wow’ – don’t they?!” How humble!
Praising God for uncle Pawson! Though I am no patch on him, we have some similarities! We both left the field of agriculture to do full-time ministry! We both are non-pastoral evangelists/Bible Teachers! We both try to use alliteration/rhyming words in our writings/sermons!
In a span of few days Christendom has lost its greatest apologist and its Bible Teacher! The baton is passed to our generation! Will we measure up?