As the commending assembly for our Brother Gordon Williams, we have the honor of writing a tribute to the man and his work for God.
Gordon was contacted as part of an outreach of Sunday school work. Two sisters from the assembly found an open door from Doreen, but scepticism from Gordon. He said he wasn’t interested in being saved or joining any church, but through persistence from his wife, he came to a cottage meeting. His first question was, “Where was the reverend?” He waited for the hard sell, but met only friendliness (his words). He started to attend regularly and, more importantly, to read the Bible so as to disprove the message and authority of Scripture. He stated later, with humor, “if a person starts reading the Bible, it serves them right if they get saved.” His question to himself was “How do I know the Bible is right? I owe it to myself to find out” (Heb 11:1). When the brethren would meet with him, two would go together, not because he was difficult, but because of the difficulty of the questions he asked. Many said that they couldn’t believe he wasn’t saved based on his questions and comprehension.
He was puzzled with the unbelief of the Jews, despite all of the evidence presented by the Lord Jesus. It hit him that he was no different, so he trusted the evidence and put his faith in Christ as his Savior. Gordon immediately showed the reality of salvation, not only with a thirst for the Word, but with a love for the lost, which developed into a love for the assembly and the saints.
He worked as a geophysicist at a major oil company in Calgary, but due to a concern for unsaved family in Newfoundland, he left Calgary to take a teaching job near them. He became active in gospel outreach work and also assembly activities. On his first trip back to Calgary, he visited his former employer, who promptly showed him a corner office with an offer of a promotion. He talked about the temptation but felt the Lord wanted him in Newfoundland. A couple of years later, he was commended wholeheartedly to the work of the Lord in full-time service by the West Hillhurst Assembly.
His field of service expanded over the years into a ministry which covered many areas. His gift was equally appreciated in both gospel and ministry. In ministry, he could handle difficult topics in a way which made them understandable to the ordinary listener.
A highlight was when Gordon returned for our conference. We appreciated him on many levels, but the Bible reading meeting was an absolute pleasure. He was able to handle questions such as, “Is it better to be in the right place with the wrong attitude or wrong place with the right attitude?” as well as “what happened to the dinosaurs?” His godly character shone even more than his words. Many of us remember his humility even though he was the most intelligent one in the room. His warm approach and kindly demeanor will long be remembered. He was a man who touched our lives for God. Being so well read enabled him to engage with the unsaved in conversations as diverse as biographies of world leaders or microbiology and then to seamlessly steer the topic to spiritual things.
He visited us in September and as he came through the door for the Breaking of Bread, he stated this would be his last time. We now know a little of what the saints felt like in Acts 20:38. He exhorted us to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Please remember his wife Doreen and family, especially some who are not saved.