I’ve just spent three days at Simpson University reconnecting with my heritage and renewing my appreciation for the roots sunk deep in my life by the “cloud of witnesses” in the good old Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA).

I am not blinded by sentimentality to its shortcomings, in part because as I’ve grow older, my own failings and flailings have come into crisper focus, causing those of others to recede into the background.

The CMA was founded by A.B. Simpson (Photo Above), a remarkable and often quirky man, who got at least one major thing right; He was “christocentric,” or in plainer terms “Christ centered.” Simpson’s theology was conveyed from one generation to the next most effectively through his lyrics which he got right, which he then set to often virtually “unsing-able” melodies (which is where the quirky part of his person came into play!)

In songs like “Jesus Only” or “Yesterday Today Forever,” line upon line Simpson placed the spotlight where it should be, on Jesus. This message sinks deep if you let it. Once in college I went to Grandma Cora with some nettlesome questions and she sent me, not to the epistles, but to the gospels. She wanted to make sure I kept focused on the ONE worthy of my loyalty, love and emulation in life revealed in his life, teaching, death, resurrection and promise to return.

And when I visited my grandfather just before he died, in his last words passed on to me, he recited from memory a Simpson hymn, “MY Trust,” a christocentric unsingable Christo-centric hymn that does not mention Christ.

“Lord You have given me a trust,
A high and holy dispensation,
To tell the world, and tell I must
The story of your great salvation.
You might have sent from heaven above
Angelic hosts to tell the story
But in your condescending love
On man you have conferred the glory

We all are debtors to our race;
God holds us bound to one another
The gifts and blessings of His grace
Were given us to give our brother
We owe to every child of sin
One chance, at least, for hope of heaven;
Oh, by the love that brought us in,
Let help and hope to them be given.

Let me be faithful to my trust,
Telling the world the story;
Press on my heart the woe;
Put in my feet the go;
Let me be faithful to my trust
And use me for your glory.”

So now I reflect on the imprint of Simpson the college and man on my life, passed on by those who went before me and still embraced by a next generation failing, flailing and hanging on to Jesus for dear life–just as it should be.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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