On Tuesday, September 11, Rev. Stanley Barnes, a close friend of Dr. Ian Paisley, drove me two hours through the beautiful Northern Ireland countryside to Enniskillen to see my old friends, John and Pearl Gowan. John has a beautiful home out in the boondocks, and behind his house he has one of the most wonderful used bookstores in all the world. I spent about half a day with these three friends, fellowshipping over lunch and methodically going through the store—especially the antiquarian section, where I found about a dozen gems for our Puritan Resource Center.
We arrived back in the Belfast area in time to go out for supper with my chauffeur, Rev. Stanley Barnes and his wife Ina, as well as with Dr. Allan and Joan Cairns. Dr. Cairns is a well-known preacher and theological teacher who served the FP church in Greenville, South Carolina, for nearly thirty years—which is the church and seminary that Dr. Michael Barrett hails from. Lots of theology got talked over in that hour; it was a great time. From there, we went straight to church where I brought my fourth message of five on the theme of backsliding.
Afterward I spent some time fellowshiping with a well-known national soccer player who has been reading my books and listening to my sermons on sermonaudio.com. He is still attending a Pentecostal church, but is now in the process of embracing the Reformed faith. He wanted to thank me for leading him into the rich Reformed and Puritan doctrine. This young man was so sincere and zealous, that as he spoke about the need to live fully for Christ with head, heart, and hand, I must admit that several times chills went up and down my spine. This conversation was uplifting, humbling, and exciting, all at once.
On Wednesday morning, Paul Thompson and I visited an aged, mature believer named Reggie Hamilton. He has a strong Ulster personality and character—a straightshooter, to be sure! He nearly died recently. When the doctor told him that he was glad to see him healed, he told the doctor that he had been longing for complete healing—“to be taken to be with my Lord forever.” When the chaplain visited him, he asked the chaplain, “Are you born again?” He said, “The chaplain bolted out this room as if he were returning to Mars!”