Marc Mailloux's Blog


Summer 2016
August 16, 2016, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Anduze church farewell

Some of the faithful of the Anduze congregation

Chers amis,

Aline and I have just returned from our traditional summer ministry month in the Languedoc region of France in a town near where her ailing parents live. I preached a series of sermons on marriage borrowing from my favorite sources of inspiration, especially pastors T.Keller and R.Rayburn Jr. This controversial subject is all-the-more relevant in France where they have even invented a kind of “marriage lite” called a “PAC” (Pacte civile de solidarité) which applies to both hetero and homosexual unions. All of France is reeling following the horrendous diabolical Bastille Day attack in Nice. Some think it might be just the beginning. For an enlightening analysis of the situation, see the video “France’s recipe for endless terror” at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6ePVxRL DM0.

Evangelicals represent less than 1% of the French population. The mainline “ERF” (Eglise Réformée de France) is largely “liberal” (“apostate” is perhaps more accurate). Its aging members have inherited residual protestant virtues if not saving grace, and have risen to the top of French society. Referred to as the HSP or “Haute société protestante,” they tend to be more industrious and ethical than most, though occasionally victims of their own success (cf. Dt.8:17). As Cotton Mather wrote: “Virtue hath begotten prosperity and the daughter hath devoured the mother…” On a more optimistic note, D. Broussard of
“Impact France” affirms that the evangelical population of France has doubled in the past ten years… We’ve noticed that a disproportionate number of the new evangelicals we meet are from Protestant backgrounds–a telltale sign of the Lord’s faithfulness to His covenant people. In July, our smaller “Eglise Réformée Evangélique” which disappointed many evangelicals twenty years ago by voting to ordain women pastors, broke with the “EPU” (Eglise Protestante Unie which includes the ERF) over the latter’s decision to bless a homosexual ‘marriage’ in the Anduze temple. It was a hopeful sign…

A high point of our time in France was Tuesday evening July 11 at a concert organized by the combined choirs of the tiny Reformed Evangelical congregations around the same town of Anduze (pop.3000) whose protestant temple is the largest in France and whose summer population swells to around 30,000 including many foreign-especially Dutch-campers. The musical offerings were both profound and joyful with rich theological content as real Christian music should be. The “conseil presbytéral” (session) asked me to prepare a brief evangelistic message for the occasion. The inspiring music made it easy. With the idea that there might be some unregenerate among the nearly 200 in attendance, I borrowed from Pascal’s Pensées reminding all that it behooves us to seek God as one’s eternal destiny is at stake, and finished with the always reliable E.E. diagnostic questions about one’s assurance of salvation. We offered French copies of D.J. Kennedy’s apologetic “Pourquoi je crois” which were quickly snatched-up. After the concert, Aline and I were delighted to see two men in attendance with whom we’d studied at the seminary in Aix-en-Provence in the 1970’s and had not seen in decades. Gérard F.(59), whose wife and mother of their three boys died suddenly nine years ago, is the former editor of the denominational magazine.Gérard has Parkinson’s disease, and recently suffered an incapacitating stroke. He now lives in a retirement home in Anduze.

Charles N. was a pastor in nearby town of Vauvert when he lost his wife to cancer some 15 years ago leaving him with four adolescent children. He’s now a chaplain serving the hospitals in the Alès region. Both Gérard and Charles are solidly anchored in the Faith
unlike some of our former seminary colleagues who’ve capitulated to the influence of theological liberalism, as Charles lamented. I suggested to him that when confronting theological liberals who would undercut the authority of Scripture while pretending to speak about God, simply ask them to tell you just one true thing about God and/or Jesus
and how they know it? That usually leaves them speechless…

We were pleased to spend much quality time–usually meals–with Aline’s extended family members and especially our son Calix who lives near Nimes (an hour from where we were staying). Save for her younger brother Pascal (a pastor in the tiny but evangelical French Methodist church), her mother, and a niece, none are walking in the Faith. Aline’s mom and dad, unable to climb stairs have now moved out of their old ‘mas’ (southern French farm-house) where we stayed for one last time. Our time with Calix included a trip to the annual Avignon theatre festival where we saw a rendition of our son’s favorite, Rostand’s sublime “Cyrano de Bergerac,” and Molière’s “Le Malade Imaginaire”–both pure theatrical delights. In addition to the preaching, there were many occasions to share the faith–usually around the table at the drawn-out meals for which the French are famous and which announce the eternal wedding banquet of the Lamb for whom we work to see that all His invitations are delivered. There will have to be some French there too. Who else would you want to do the cooking?

Blessings, Marc and Aline

“Selfie” at Anduze with Charles and Gerard                        Calix +Aline in Avignon

 

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