By Gregg Bing
With the beginning of a new year come many changes at Grace Bible Church and with the Timely Messenger. Pastor Charles Wages, who has been our pastor and the editor of this Bible study paper for the past 37 years, has asked to be relieved of the day to day responsibilities of these two ministries. As he says, he is not retiring from the work of the Lord, only from the responsibility of continuing to lead these works of the Lord. He will continue to teach and preach the Word and will contribute articles for the Timely Messenger as he feels led of the Lord. We look forward to his continued ministry of God’s Word through both speaking and the printed page.
There is no way that I can replace Pastor Wages, in either of these roles, but beginning this month, I will assume the role of pastor at Grace Bible Church and editor of the Timely Messenger. Many of you may wonder who I am and how I came to be given these positions, so I would like to share a little of my background, as well as my primary goal for the future of our church and of this paper.
My name is Gregg Bing. I was raised in what was originally known as College Avenue Church; what is now called Grace Bible Church. Brother Ike T. Sidebottom was the founder of this church and my first pastor. Though I was too young to remember much of his ministry, I do know that he was a faithful minister of the Word who emphasized the importance of “rightly dividing the word of truth.” He served as pastor of College Avenue Church for 35 years and as editor of the Timely Messenger, which he began publishing in August of 1940. I thank the Lord for the spiritual heritage he left and for the many lives his ministry touched with the Word of God, including my own.
In 1966, Brother Charles Wages became pastor in place of Brother Ike, who had to step down due to failing health. Brother Wages has been my pastor for most of my life. I am so thankful for him and his gracious leadership over these many years. I have learned so much from him, both from his teaching and from the example of the life he has led. It has been my privilege to serve with him as Associate Pastor since 1989. He has been a source of continual encouragement and support to me in the ministry. I look forward to continued fellowship with him in the gospel of Jesus Christ for many years to come.
My assumption of the role of editor of the Timely Messenger is something new, especially for me, but, as I begin this new work, I want to emphasize the importance of something old. This paper has proclaimed the gospel of the grace of God and has stood for the truth of God’s Word, “rightly divided,” for 63 years. This is something that must not change. While the paper’s format, frequency of publication, contributing authors, and even the editor have changed over the years, the truth of God’s Word does not change, and neither should the message of this Bible study paper.
By God’s grace, we will continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ: “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3-4). We will continue to emphasize the grace of God that brings salvation: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10). We will continue to stress the importance of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15) and of recognizing the unique ministry and message committed to the Apostle Paul for this present dispensation of grace (Eph. 3:1-9). We will continue to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and, in all things, seek to give the preeminence to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18).
I am thankful to all those who have faithfully labored to get this paper out over these many years. They are too many to try to mention them by name, but the Lord knows them and will reward their work for Him. I am also thankful to you, our readers, for your letters of encouragement, your prayers, and your support of this ministry.
I do covet your prayers as I begin this new role as editor, that God would grant me the wisdom and guidance, through His Word and His Spirit, to continue this ministry for His glory.