Anthony W. Brooks
I am joyful and frightened to write to you now. It is as if the anxiety I am putting into these words is filling the room. But there has been no greater influence in my life than you my father and mentor. Since I was a child you gave me Christ, filled me with a godly fear, and did not spare the rod on my soul. I could not have wished for a greater man than you to teach me.
I go back now and again and read the words you wrote in the front pages of my Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, the one I bought on your recommendation, which said “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book…” and how true those words are. I remember falling into sin, that great sin that cost me so much, but I now see that it cost Christ more. But I also remember the graciousness you showed me. You were the reason I stayed in the Church after that great fall, Christ used you to grant me perseverance. Because of that sin God blesses me with a child that I want more than anyone else to know you and learn from you as I have.
I left the church without consulting you. This was another sin I have not been gracious enough to confess to you. It was wrong how I left. Not wrong that I decided to do so quietly, because that was good, but I didn’t tell you. I should have had the conversation with you about the direction I was heading. I was wrong for leaving you out and shutting that door. For this I repent to you and to our God that you would forgive me. Don’t let 13 years of teaching be wasted for my youthful arrogance. I thought that my family needed more than what your church had to offer. I have seen you change so many lives and I have seen God bless your efforts. You above all other men in my life have had God use you and your teaching for his kingdom. This is true, that God would use you for another young man who has yet to learn how to live.
After I left I had to learn to deal with my great sin without your guidance. I am quite open about it now and have felt God’s forgiveness. I use it to teach others how not to be like me. I named my son Augustine after the great saint of Hippo, for he too had a son out of wedlock, but God used him all the same to keep the gospel pure in the church of his day.
I know there was some confusion on why I left. I joined a very conservative little body of believers in north Longview who are in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. We are a small and new congregation. Devoted to expositional preaching, orthodox hymns, we sing the Psalms as if they were hymns like any other, we have at least 15 minutes of straight Bible reading, 15 minutes of prayer, and 45 minutes of teaching. We confess our sins as a body together, and we confess our faith together through the creeds of the church. The reasons I left were purely theological. At your church I would shake my head slightly if I heard anything I disagreed with and by the end I was shaking my head a lot. Maybe I should have come to you about these concerns but after you became the shepherd of that flock and especially after my great sin you always seemed occupied elsewhere as if I was of no more concern.
And this is another thing I should have brought to you. I should have told you that I felt neglected. I was a turmoil inside. I needed guidance but I wasn’t getting it. This was my fault, I knew you were busy with the dealings of the church. I was there when you were elected and I saw the church break in two first hand, I knew your heart wasn’t just with me but with all of its members. But this doesn’t change how I feel. I wasn’t angry, as if anger is even an emotion I feel anymore… I don’t have a temper now, more of a slight annoyance. But I was not aided by leaving the church, I was in the same place either way.
I wrote on this blog the story of my leaving of Judson, you can read them here, So I will not bore you with my perspective on that, but my sin I want to confess there is that I feel as if I were holding you responsible for their misgivings toward me. My anger then, I feel, would be expressed differently if such a situation were to happen now.
I want to leave this open letter on a hopeful note. If this letter is to ever find you, and I pray it will, that you would reach out to me. Let’s have breakfast or lunch. Let us talk things through. I don’t wish to leave issues unresolved and such a friendship and mentor ship that we had denied as if it never happened. We don’t have to go into troubling theological issues, but rejoice in our similarities. You can see my son again and bless him and he you.
Thank you for the years you poured into me. I hope this finds you well.
Anthony W. Brooks
Soli Deo Gloria!