Distinguished pastor and theologian James Earl Massey speaks at All-Seminary Chapel
With gospel music in full swing, Fuller’s All-Seminary
Chapel had the pleasure of welcoming the distinguished pastor and theologian
James Earl Massey, who spoke on the immeasurable help of God throughout each of
Massey started off by mentioning his “strong ties and
relationship across the years with my dear friend, Fuller President Richard
Mouw.” Having attended President Mouw’s inauguration in 1993, it seemed
providential that Massey was invited to speak in light of the Martin Luther King, Jr.
holiday, but also the same year Mouw is retiring as president.
Depicting various ways God has helped peoples and nations
throughout history, he first referenced the monument erected by Samuel,
symbolizing the deliverance God gave the Hebrews from the Philistines. The monument was aptly named “Ebenezer,”
meaning “stone of help.”
“It doesn’t take much to give God thanks,” said Massey. “As you enter the second semester of your
school year, I have been impressed to use this text to help you give God thanks
for how you have come this far.”
He said that in giving God thanks, we are able to renew the
hope we need for the days yet to come, and the future we cannot see.
“Now the Hebrews needed God so often, that wherever you pick
up your Bible, and open it, you’ll find a problem for which they needed help!”
he chided. “Only the names differ and
Massey alluded to Psalms 37: “The salvation of the righteous is
of the Lord. He is their refuge in the
time of trouble. The Lord helps them and
delivers them.” He also mentioned Psalms
46:1, 118, and 121 in regard to God’s help for his children.
“Where does your help come from?” he asked. “Your own little mind?”
Mentioning his great grandmother, Lizzie Underwood, Massey said her
help undoubtedly came from God to whom she prayed in the midst of slavery.
“She was freed by the edict of a president who knew he was
being helped,” he said.
He said Abraham Lincoln’s determination to sign the Emancipation
Proclamation 150 years ago on January 1, 1863 “took a blend of political
conscience, civic courage, and a personal persistent faith for him to do what
he did.” Lincoln’s staff was divided on
this issue, because they felt it would be the end of his presidency.
“What made this man do what he did?” asked Massey. “What was it that gave him the courage and
will to persist, in spite of his cabinet saying otherwise?”
It was the hand of God, he said, that knew it was time to
change the status of a people who had been crying and praying, as did the
Hebrews years earlier, to be delivered from their bondage. He then asked Fuller students to reflect on who
helped them on their journey to Fuller.
“Fifty years ago, there stood at the Lincoln Memorial a man,
a dear friend of mine with whom I worked, who gave that challenging speech that’s
still being heard around the world,” Massey said.
He said this friend, Martin Luther King, Jr., stood at the
memorial knowing he was being helped.
“Interestingly enough,” he said, “both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King,
Jr. lost their lives by an assassin’s bullet.
But they did what they did because they were helped, and I thank God for
After his conversion to Christianity at 14, Massey said he has
known the Lord’s help “daily, systematically and constantly,” even despite
health issues at a young age.
And then he gave parting words of encouragement to Fuller
students, faculty, and staff: “There is
nothing that happens in the world that must take us down, because we have help
from above,” he said. “If you’re living
for the Lord, you’re not on your own.
You can make it. Give him your