My brother-in-law, Len Sutch, died two weeks ago. Len was brought up in London by a father who imposed on him a fundamentalist biblical approach to the Christian faith. However, as he grew to manhood, and under the influence of the reknowned Methodist preacher at Westminster Central Hall, William Sangster, Len widened his understanding of the meaning of ‘faith’. He went on to become a Methodist minister, deeply appreciated by the churches which he served during his lifetime.
After he retired, Len wrote a journal reflecting on his ministry. In it he described his spiritual journey away from biblical fundamentalism with these words: ‘I’ve been liberated! I am free from imprisoning dogma.’ He came to believe that the bible contained truths of immense importance for him personally and ideas that could change the world. However, he wrote, ‘I do not believe in the bible – I believe in Jesus Christ – he is the … one in whom I put my faith and trust’.
For Len, it was faith in a living ‘Person’ and not in any written ‘word’, however helpful, that came to drive and enrich his long and inspiring ministry.