The following is an excerpt from Dwight Randall’s address to delegates attending the WA Christian Democratic Party State Conference on 26 August. While Dwight’s comments are particularly pertinent to supporters of the Christian Democratic Party (a party that we at Life Ministries commend to our readers as they ponder how to vote at the coming federal election), they are also an encouragement and challenge to all Christians concerned to be salt and light in our society.
My involvement with the Christian Democratic Party in Western Australia traces back many years now. I have served on the CDP State Council through several elections. I have twice stood as the Upper House candidate in the North Metro Region. I have spoken at CDP state conferences on several occasions.
On each of these occasions, I have tried to provide a solid biblical basis for Christian involvement in politics, and I have encouraged the good folk who attend the conferences to be active and to believe that we can succeed in electing candidates to parliament if we work at it.
But after several elections, both state and federal—although we have come close to electing a candidate to parliament—we have not succeeded.
Some pessimists that I have talked with argue that we cannot succeed. … But in my humble estimation, we should persevere. Modest beginning combined with perseverance often lead to remarkable outcomes.
I am reminded of John Wesley, who wrote in his diary:
- Sunday, A.M., May 5 – Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
- Sunday, P.M., May 5 – Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
- Sunday, A.M., May 12 – Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
- Sunday, A.M., May 19 – Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
- Sunday, P.M., May 19 – Preached on street. Kicked off street.
- Sunday, A.M., May 26 – Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
- Sunday, A.M., June 2 – Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
- Sunday, P.M., June 2 – Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
I am also reminded of William Wilberforce, a young man whose life and achievements we have been celebrating recently. This young man was deeply discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his ten year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley … written shortly before his death. William Wilberforce read it again:
“Unless the divine power has raised you up … I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might.”
I think of the scandals that we are facing today, not the scandal of enslaving humans for personal gain, but the scandal of killing our own unborn children for convenience; not the scandal of cruelty to animals which Wilberforce also vigorously opposed, but the scandal of lethal drugs designed to kill unborn children in utero and the scandal of creating little human clones in order to experiment upon them and destroy them for the supposed good of humanity.
When I think of these scandals, and many others besides, such as the undermining of marriage through the recognition of homosexual registers, even within sections of the church, knowing my own weaknesses and inabilities I ask myself, “Am I, or for that matter, are the other people that I am working with in CDP equal to this great challenge? Irving Wallace, in his work entitled, Book of Lists, writes about a number of seemingly ordinary people who persevered and achieved remarkable things. He writes that:
- Winston Churchill seemed so dull as a youth that his father thought he might be incapable of earning a living in England.
- G.K. Chesterton, the English writer, could not read until he was eight. One of his teachers told him, “If we could open your head we should not find any brain but only a lump of white fat.”
- Thomas Edison’s first teacher described him as “addled,” and his father almost convinced him he was a “dunce.”
- Albert Einstein’s parents feared their child was dull, and he performed so badly in all high school courses except mathematics that a teacher asked him to drop out.
These facts reverberate with me. And I am reminded of the encouraging words recorded in God’s Word: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” I am reminded of Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s encouragement: “By perseverance the snail reached the Ark.” I am reminded that we do not need to lie awake at night to succeed; we just need to stay awake during the day! Great goals often take time to achieve. …