Tribute: Gordon Williams (1)

Gordon Williams was born September 6, 1942 and raised in Grand Bank on the south coast of Newfoundland. He spent several years in the Canadian Navy on the aircraft carrier Bonaventure where he learned to be a good electrician. He graduated as a geophysicist from Memorial University in St. John’s and moved to Alberta to work with an oil company finding oil on the prairies and off of the shores of Newfoundland. When invited by believers from the West Hillhurst assembly in Calgary to send their three children to Sunday school, he and his wife Doreen began attending Bible studies held by the assembly.

In his past, he had seen a plaque, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found.” Now nearly 30 years old, he heard the same message. As a logical intellectual trained to look beyond the merely visible, he was ready to think seriously about what the Bible said. At a Bible study he attended on Matthew 13, he read the words of the Lord, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Gordon, with his keen analytical mind, criticized those early listeners who had not understood what the Lord Jesus was teaching. Then it came to him, “That’s me. I’m just like them.” In December 1972, Gordon accepted the words and work of the Lord personally, and he was saved.

Two years later, he came into fellowship in the West Hillhurst assembly, and two years after that moved back to Newfoundland with his family to help in the work of the Lord. He taught high school for four years to pay expenses while he assisted in the work with new assemblies. In 1980, the Calgary assembly commended Gordon and Doreen to the work of the Lord. He was trained to work with his hands in the Navy, to work with his intellect in university, and then he was able to communicate what he knew as a teacher. All these abilities as well as his spiritual gifts were combined effectively in his gospel work and in his work among God’s people.

Gordon’s gift was appreciated in Newfoundland and Labrador until 1997, when he and Doreen moved to Grande Prairie, Alberta. There they were involved in outreach in the gospel and in the new assembly. His teaching ministry took him to assemblies in many parts of Canada, the USA, and other countries. He connected with people of all ages, helping them to understand what was written without complicating God’s word. He clearly taught both the Old and New Testaments and the value of the Word of God. He was patient in answering questions, thorough in preparation, understandable in exposition, and careful in application of the Word of God. Intelligent, unassuming, gracious and even gentle, Gordon appealed to many who would turn away from confrontation, but were attracted by a man who could use a bit of humor with grace that balanced the sharp sword of truth.

In 2016, he was told he had cancer. From then on, he was limited, as his strength was failing. As long as he could, he continued to minister to the Lord’s people. The theme of his teaching was the value of the Bible through which we come to know and appreciate our Lord Jesus Christ and also realize who we are as God’s people and why our lives here are important. In a conversation with his son-in-law shortly before he went to be with the Lord, he summed up what was important to him in two phrases: “Living for the Lord” and “Without the Bible, we have nothing.” It would be well for us all to consider that kind of wisdom.