(Note - Though the tape of discussion on the street was interrupted by traffic noise, it was transcribable in portions. However, the discussions were somewhat superficial to begin with, becoming quite interesting as time passed with the preachers -- first Mr. Wells alone with Dave and myself - then Mr. Wells left to talk to some 2x2s who wanted to leave [it was COLD outside] -- and Joe Lewis came up to Dave and I -- then Mr. Wells came back and both preachers stood almost silently looking very nervous, as Dave and I conversed -- the portions of transcript below are portions which may be of value to research regarding the 2x2 beliefs and willingness to share them openly and the methods the preachers used to attempt to shut down the discussion – all the while many of the 2x2s remained as observers, breaking into laughter a couple of times when Mr. Wells obviously tried to shut down the discussion -- you will pick up those points in the discussion as you read, no doubt. But for this portion of this presentation, no audio has been supplied as it would be difficult to hear over the traffic noise.)
February 9, 1996 - scheduled topic, "Where denominations came from"
Apparently, the persons (Masons) who had been opening the Lynden Masonic Hall for the preachers did not do so on this evening. Mr. Wells informed me that although they rented the hall, the Masons would not give them a key to the building. This embarrassing situation had the lecture attendees standing outside on the street – ‘left out in the cold’ so to speak. Below is a transcript of parts of the conversation which transpired while waiting for commencement or cancellation of the scheduled lecture.
Until this occasion, Gray had purposely maintained a ‘level playing field’ with the preachers by limiting information of personal identity – Gray was present only to gain information on the advertised “Bible Lectures”. The preachers would not clearly identify their church, and the preachers were therefore left with an equally foggy identity for Gray. But suddenly, the locked hall made further such anonymity impossible to maintain. Lengthy personal discussion could not be avoided any longer. Excerpts of the discussion such as are possibly useful for research purposes are included below. Some small-talk is included, as it may show how the preachers ‘responded’ to a lifetime student of the Bible, junior student of the discipline of ‘Christian Apologetics’ and a beginner level of college studies on the history of Christianity. Initially the preachers did not respond to the discussion at all, which prompted written communications from Gray. To his credit, Mr. Lewis made a studied attempt to answer Gray’s questions (eventually). But as time moved on, Mr. Wells made absolutely no attempts to answer the pertinent questions put before him.
People involved in the discussion:
Of The Two-by-Two persuasion:
¥ Dave – lay-member.
¥ Terry Wells - Senior minister.
¥ Joe Lewis - Junior minister.
¥ Numerous silent but observing members
Wells: I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but I think we're going to cancel, and just come back next week.
Gray: Okay. You're not going to skip a subject are you?
Wells: No - no. But what we thought we'd do though, because of the other people that - the other needs that we had, we'd put tonight's subject at the back end, so that we could follow the schedule. I know you've been conscientious but –
(Noticing the "Canada" logo sewn on my Army tunic, Dave began discussion of hunting)
Dave: Ya, I like the animals. They got the big elk up there.
Gray: Well, I - I hunt with a camera. About the only thing I ever went hunting, to shoot anything, I chased a blue grouse all day, and I never got him. (crowd laughter)
Dave: Do you go hiking up north up there?
Gray: I hike all over the place. I've only got one time through here, and I'm wearing it out. If I have the opportunity, there wouldn't be a square inch of this planet that I wouldn't see.
Dave: Ya, I know what you mean. Where did you hear about these Meetings?
Gray: Saw it in the paper. I study all kinds of things. The Christian religion intrigues me incredibly.
(Mr. Wells' attention was briefly drawn away to others who were leaving at this point.)
Dave: Well, I haven't always gone to Meetings - thirteen years. I have gone to things like churches, but I didn't hear anything - I liked what I was hearing, you know. And I got serious about it, you know, like God is real.
Gray: Well, I'm serious about it - I'm deadly serious about it. I go into places - I've been to one place in Edmonton one time, and I don't know what I hit. The ladies had - looked like they had never ever groomed their hair. And there was the smell of garlic throughout the entire place. I mean I was sitting there going (choking motion). And ah, but what I do is I take the teachings and stuff like that, and I go back and study - compare it with scripture. Ah, what I mean is, this began when I was in grade-school - they had just begun to teach evolution as a science, and I argued with the teacher - I got kicked out of class all the time. And I never did bite for that stuff, because I have trekked too many trails to think that this all came from nowhere.
Dave: Ya, I don't believe - my wife’s folks are into evolution, and he says, "Well, it still happens." But I haven't seen any –
Gray: There is micro-evolution, but there is no such thing as from species to species.
Dave: (laughter) It will all prove out eventually (laughter)
Gray: You know, if you go into the interior of B.C., you will see evidence of the flood - graphically. I have photographs of canyons that are nothing but huge, enormous, ocean-sized river bends. Up in - North of Prince George, you can see the water level terraces still. And there's fossil beds up in there - I've been through the fossil beds, and picked up trilobites and all those kinds of little goodies and fossils. But you can see the - the receding water levels in the hills. The scientists who think they've got a handle on truth with evolution would argue differently, but I mean, I've seen enough of puddles of water as they dry out, to know that those ridges are not formed by any glacial action. They're just formed by water.
Dave: I think some of those people just got a good job and they got to keep it going.
Gray: I don't think they think too well.
Dave: Maybe not. But I come to the point where there's a lot of human logic that runs me around, and I just have to have, like that verse says, childlike faith. You know, childlike faith that if my father said the moon was green, to just say, "Ya, it looks green, my dad said it was." And I guess that's the kind of faith I got to have because (--)
Gray: Myself, I don't think faith is that simple. I think that faith is founded on facts, not just on accepting somebody's ideas. If it's not solidly founded, then it is not - in my opinion, it is not faith. Faith is something that's got some solid rock underneath it. So, somebody telling me that the moon is green would get a weird look - for a simple analogy. I mean, for me, walking through the bush, and observing nature - I have all the facts I need to believe in God. As the Bible tells us, we have the evidence of God's creation - it speaks - it preaches. We've got all the evidence we need.
Dave: Has Joe or Terry come over to your house yet or anything?
Gray: No. I'm not - ah, I study things out very closely before I get involved.
Dave: The first thing I remember about the Meetings was that they would just come up and say - - - (trailed off as Joe Lewis came up to us.) This guy's telling me he's toured Canada from one corner to the other, ha, ha, ha.
Lewis: Oh, really. Which coast?
Gray: North to south, east to west - I've been all over the place.
Lewis: Did I ever tell you I'm Canadian?
Gray: Yes, you did. They took you out of our country at six, right?
Lewis: Well ----
Gray: There are a lot of Canadians that have moved south.
Lewis:Well, we go back up there. Ah, ----
Gray: What is the ah, - do you have an identity for your church?
Lewis: We ah, - We just take the name of Christ. That's - as Christians - and that's all. We're not affiliated with any other churches in the - any other churches at all.
Gray: So, if somebody asked you for - like ah, I know you don't - already from your preaching, I know you don't agree with denominations. If somebody asked you for a name, what would you say?
Lewis: That we're Christians, and just content to take the name of Christ.
Gray: That's unusual. (Mr. Wells returned)
Dave: Christ didn't have a name, did he - Christ -?
Gray: Well, the Bible does say that He took the name of the Father, so, He came in His Father's name. Um, I hardly think that it is appropriate though for a church to call itself God. You know what I mean? , , , , Ah, Yahweh or Y H W H or whatever the pronunciation of that - if there is such a thing - it wouldn't be appropriate for a church to take that name. But you will find in scripture, if you go back to study Greek language, that in fact Jesus took the name of the Father, Yahweh. And so, ah, He was a very unique figure in human history in the fact that He did claim to be God - there's over seven hundred verses that relate that Jesus is God. . . . One of them directly assigns the name Yahweh to Him. And logic tells me that with the things He said, and the things He did - especially the things He said, you only got three possibilities in the Person of Christ. He either was a liar, a lunatic, or He was who He claimed to be. . . . And you know, I would probably argue with you guys for - you've been around for a while. Obviously, you're not new to what you're preaching, but ah, that's what I find in scripture.
Dave: I didn't understand what you said - I'm not being rude or anything, but I didn't understand what you meant - Yahweh –
Lewis: In Hebrew ah, ----
Gray: In the King James isn't there a verse that gives the name - spells it out Y H W H? (directly asked of the two preachers) I study so many different versions that ah, -
Wells: It's not in the New Testament. It is in the - It's in the Old. It's spelled J H - Jaw.
Gray: Well, there is some debate as to "J" and "Y" in Hebrew. But that's what I'm alluding to is that Jesus claimed that name Himself.
Dave: I have no argument. I just, kind of like June Ross says, you know, I just want to be - if we all knew everything - you know (the so far silent crowd of observers broke into laughter)
Gray: If we all knew everything, then we would be able to take that name, wouldn't we?
Dave: I'm just living on the right side, you know, and ah, -
Gray: In my opinion, you study things out, and you go with the best shot you have. I mean, I wonder through the bush, and I look at everything around me and I say, "Hey, this stuff didn't just come from nowhere - Somebody made it." And that's what I'm talking about - faith founded on facts.
Wells: There's a light on in your - something in your pocket.
Gray: Pardon me?
Wells: There's a red light in your pocket.
Gray: Ah, that's my beeper. No, um, I figure if you can look at what God created, and know that He's there, then He has to have placed - if He wants you to know Him - He has to have placed something in place for you to discover Him. Ah, the Old Testament tells very clearly that for man to lay eyes on God would be death. Instant death. And therefore, God could not be a merciful God and appear to you, because He would kill you. With that in mind, there has to be something –
Dave: He couldn't be merciful God?
Gray: I said, He couldn't be a merciful God and show Himself if that was going to kill you. Um, so, as you look at ah, human history, and begin to look for something that would identify God, there is one book that stands out unique in all human history, that could not - you study it - and that's the Bible - as you study the Bible and try to relate the ideas that are in scripture to human minds, it's impossible. Did you know that the 119th Psalm - each one of the stanzas begins with one of the Hebrew letters of the alphabet in consecutive order? And yet it all makes sense. Any poetry that you have ever seen done by man, is not that perfect. There's all kinds of little things like that in scripture, and so, - As I look around at nature and say I have good solid founding to say that there is a Creator, I look at the Bible and say there's not another book on earth that I've ever seen that's like it - it couldn't possibly have come from the mind of man - there I have my rock to stand on as far as the scripture being from outside of men’s minds, from the Creator. Once you reach that stage, then you study that book, and you stand on what it says, and there you've got faith. Because if the Creator communicated lies, then we are all in a lot of trouble. If He didn't communicate lies, then everything in there is true.
Wells: Well, I'm sure it's all true. I don't understand it all, but ----
Gray: I don't think that the things that we need to understand would be made that difficult. I think that the main things are quite plain. And, you know, there's no way that you're going to project yourself two thousand years, or four thousand years or six thousand years back into a culture and understand everything. I try to project myself back into Paul's shoes, and I can't understand Paul. . . . Anyway, we're all freezing up out here. I've enjoyed talking with you, and I'll see you next week.
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