Pastor’s Corner: Brother John Harris Offers Words of Wisdom in a Dark Hour
Everyone had high hopes for 2021. Many still do. The first week of January raised those hopes for so many Americans, as the divisions in our nation played out to the fullest. “How did we get to this point as a nation?” That is the question for Brother John Harris, a senior pastor in the Baptist service here in the United States at First Baptist Church in Orlando, among others, and abroad. In his deep British accent, Harris explained, “I think the most important thing to me, is what happened to the truth? Nobody tells the truth anymore; neither side is telling the truth.”
The Bible says, “The truth will set you free.” Reverend Harris feels that the challenge of honesty in our national discourse needs to be addressed and that the church must speak up. Among the many problems our country faces today is the politics of revenge, or “social justice,” which is frequently brought up in the discourse of our political leaders and the news media. While the Bible mandates justice, it also commands Jesus’ followers to forgive.
Brother Harris stressed the need for forgiveness in our national conversations: “The other thing that worries me so much about America is this – where has the Church’s voice since Billy Graham’s death? Why hasn’t the Christian Church talked about forgiveness?” Brother Harris knows the hardships and difficulties of life. But he also understands the great promises of God and those who love and trust his Son. Harris first began his Christian career as a young man in Wales. Born into a mining family, his career did not begin with the clergy.
Instead, he joined the Royal Air Force and later went into insurance. During this time, he also became deeply involved in his church as a part-time minister, meeting his wife after first hearing her on a film reel he sent to Germany for troops during his military service there. Before moving to the United States for work, Harris established a drug rehabilitation program in Great Britain by showing them God’s love and advising them on a fifty-room seventeenth-century estate he rented in the English countryside for one pound of a generous house. donors
Upon moving to the United States, Harris returned to the ministry and worked for an additional 25 years as an adjunct chaplain at First Orlando. In release, we’ll further explore the life and story of Reverend Harris in an upcoming biography as part of our “Pastor’s Corner” column.