Pastor John Samson
Romans 13:7 tells us to give “honor to whom honor is due” (spelt “honour” – if you are from England). There are special people that God has used to greatly impact my life and to shape my thinking – some of them being preachers. This is not an exhaustive list of such men by any means, but its a start. I would like to honor:
Rev. Redvers J. Samson – Man of God, a very powerful Evangelist, convinced Calvinist, street preacher and open air preacher, a proud Welshman and my Dad. I cannot remember a week going by without my father leading someone to Christ in our living room. I remember a friend of mine visiting the house, and when I took a quick shower, came down from my room to find my Dad sharing the Gospel and answering the questions of my friend, who had recently lost his mother to cancer. Afterwards my friend just said to me, “John, you are so lucky to have a Dad who can answer questions like that.” He was right. My Dad passed on to his heavenly reward in 2005, but I am so thankful for all God taught me through him. There’s a whole lot more that could be said about him, but I will leave that for another place and time to allow room to talk of others on this page.
Harry Greenwood (above) was my friend and father in the Lord and remains a huge influence in my life and ministry today. As a new Christian, I was given a cassette tape of Harry’s teaching ministry and I heard about a walk with Jesus that was so deep and intimate, it totally consumed me. Even then, as a teenager, I spent all my allowance money on purchasing more of his tapes. This was years before I ever met him. Later, I had the amazing privilege of becoming his friend, and after Bible College, served as his Associate Minister for the nine months prior to his death, traveling with him to the United States, India, Australia and New Zealand. He taught me more than I could ever express in words. I will always remember him for his terrific sense of humor, his powerful faith building preaching ministry, and the close friendship we shared. His life and ministry can be summed up in the words on his tombstone, “Have faith in God.” His greatest legacy are the thousands of lives he has impacted around the world (he has almost legendary status in places like India), and his precious family of Pam, Gill, Ruth and David.
On Sunday, May 10, 1980, God used this man, Rev. Clifford Beasley (above) to lead me to Christ. I still remember the sermon he preached on the Second Coming of Christ, and how he brought me face to face with my dire need for the Savior. That night, God opened up my eyes to the beauty and treasure of Jesus and my early months as a Christian were spent under his pastoral ministry. Though a teenager at the time, I still remember the way Pastor Beasley weaved the Gospel into every sermon. Its been marvellous to catch up with him recently through the internet after around 30 years of losing contact with him. We have even swapped sermon notes together. Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.” The name of Cliff Beasley will always be regarded with great honor in the Samson home.
God has used Dr. R. C. Sproul (above) greatly in my life to shape and clarify my thinking about many things, especially the holiness of God, the Sovereignty of God, and the biblical Gospel of justification by faith alone. In the year 2000 in Scottsdale, Arizona, I attended a two day seminar of Dr. Sproul which ended up being a pivotal point in my life and ministry, opening up to me a whole new wonderful vista in terms of understanding the Scriptures. His ministry of preaching, teaching and writing continues to have a huge impact in my life.
Dr. James White is a first class biblical scholar and elder at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. His dedication and precision in handling the biblical text has impacted me enormously and shaped my thinking on a whole host of issues. I love his evangelistic zeal as well as his courage in taking on opponents of the Christian faith in publicly moderated and video taped debates. In recent years, he has expanded his already vast knowledge of Church history, Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament (koine) Greek to include learning Arabic, so that he might make proclamation of the Gospel to the Muslim world. I am very thankful to God for this man of God and am proud to call James my friend.
Dr. John Piper is the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org. His sermons and writing ministry have influenced me greatly. I love his tremendous insights into the Bible and his obvious heart and passion for the Savior. I have only met him once personally but there is no doubting Dr. Piper’s influence on my life.
Pastor John Giarrizzo (pictured here with his lovely wife Roberta) has been a wonderful blessing to me in recent days. He is an amazing man of God – the founder and pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert, Arizona. Though I have only known him a short time, already he is a trusted friend and brother in the Lord. I love how he handles the Scripture with such great precision and care. I am learning a great deal just by observing his powerful God saturated and honoring ministry.
Joe Godal is an elder (at Grace Covenant Church, Gilbert), a Biblical counsellor, preacher and a friend I can call anytime. He is a genuine people-person believing that when you make a fool of yourself, he does not think you’ve done a permanent job! Like Pastor John (above), I have not known him a long time, and yet I am so grateful to God for him. He and his wife Elena are people of great wisdom and the Lord has used him more than he realizes in my own personal life and ministry. He truly is a fun guy to be around and if I ever get even a small mansion in heaven, I hope it is close to Joe’s.