by Dr. Christopher Cagan
I'd like to compare our pastor, Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., with one of his heroes, Sir Winston Churchill. I have given Dr. Hymers a year's membership in the Winston Churchill Society, and was glad to do it because they are similar in many ways.
William Manchester's great biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion,presents Churchill's life in terms of a long river going through bends and rapids from its source to the sea. Churchill always knew he was being prepared for an important destiny. God saved his life in the Boer War in South Africa, and in the trenches in World War I - and God brought him through a wilderness time of rejection in the 1930's - and finally led him to become Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1940, and save Western Civilization from Hitler's tyranny.
Dr. Hymers' life is like Churchill's in many ways. God called Dr. Hymers to the ministry and brought him to salvation in Christ as a young man. God used Dr. Hymers to build up our work to 1,150 people - and that's here in Los Angeles. This is the hardest place in the country to build a church - harder than even New York City or Chicago. We are the only Baptist church in the civic center of Los Angeles, and the fact that we are here, the fact that we survive and are growing, is due to the leadership of our pastor, Dr. Hymers.
It cost us a lot to become Fundamental Baptists and come into the Baptist Bible Fellowship - it cost us 1,000 people. There are very few pastors or churches anywhere that could make it through that kind of trial - and the only one who could make it in Los Angeles is Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr. He has done something in this religious graveyard of Los Angeles that I don't think any other man could do today. He's brought our church through, and he's leading us to victory through evangelism! This is a wonderful church!
I believe Dr. Hymers' life is like a long river, with its greatest time up ahead. Let's look at just the last two years of his life. Today we celebrate Dr. Hymers' 60th birthday. If his sixty years were counted as one month, the last two years would form only one day. If his sixty years were counted as a day, the last two years would take up only 48 minutes - less than an hour.
In just two years, since April 1999, Dr. Hymers has written and published six major books: Preaching to a Dying Nation, Today's Apostasy, The Great Falling Away, The Anxious Inquirer, Battle for the Bible in the 21st Century, and his upcoming book, The Church that will be Left Behind.Two years ago, none of these books existed. Look at them now. Some two years!
Just last Thursday and Friday our pastor hosted the state Baptist Bible Fellowship meeting in our church, attended by forty-seven preachers from all over California, coming here to the "desert" of downtown Los Angeles, to our church - more preachers than have been in attendance at such a meeting for several years.
And in the last several months we have opened Dr. Hymers' Web site, www.rlhymersjr.com, with various articles, and two new word-for-word sermons each Sunday. Preachers need good sermons, and many hundreds of preachers all over the world have been reading his sermons on our Web site. I'm going to read you a list of the countries where most of these Web site visits have been coming from:
The United States
The United Kingdom
Trinidad and Tobago
And all this has happened in just the last year or so. What lies ahead? I'm looking forward to seeing it. I don't know anyone else who could accomplish so much in such a short time except our pastor, Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr. And how we appreciate him! God bless him! Because of his leadership, our church can say, to paraphrase Churchill, "This is our finest hour."