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Reformed Literature
A Presbyterian Internet Journal

An Irregular Candidate (Jackie Ross of the Blytheswood)

Irene Howat

Christian Focus Publications

The comment on the back of the book reads: 'When most of us saw the harrowing pictures of the Romanian orphans after the fall of the Berlin Wall our typical response was a rhetorical "Something must be done!" Jackie Ross, a minister in the West Highlands of Scotland, could be forgiven for responding in a similar way. After all he already had a busy life with a congregation and a large family. However, Jackie was not a man who was going to let such problems deter him. With a deep trust in God's power to use the unlikeliest of people, he set to work to do what he could to help those struggling to survive in Eastern Europe. Nearly 15 years on the charity he started is working extensively throughout Eastern Europe and has helped tens of thousands. From his early days Jackie's faith was the motivating force in his life, the foundation of all that he achieved. This inspiring story is a lesson to all of us who set our sight's low, refusing to trust in God and his ability to use us as tools in the master's hands.'

The book has many interesting accounts of life growing up in a Free Presbyterian home with his brothers and sisters. It also contains interesting anecdotes of student life in Glasgow, FP ministers and then reflections on the split within the FP Church and his death. I will give one example,'When my time came to do National Service I joined the RAF too. I was sent to London, to HQ Coastal Command, where I served as a teleprinter operator. There I discovered that though I thought I had grown up and could stand on my own two feet, I was every bit as homesick in London as I had been as a schoolboy in Balmacara. Perhaps, I'd feel the better of going to a SASRA meeting, I decided. But I didn't. I came out feeling very censorious about the whole thing, and in the darkness outside my billet I shared my thinking with a corporal who has been there too. 'John' he said, 'Are you trusting in Jesus yourself?' It was like a bath of cold water to discover that he didn't join me in my criticism. Now I look on that as the providence of God for the corporal disappeared into the night and left me alone to work things out with the Lord. Remembering the warmth of being with Christian People, I went along to the Free Presbyterian Church in London one Sunday some time afterwards. 'Are you saved?' Mr MacQueen, the minister, asked as we shook hands at the door. 'I'm seeking,' I told him. He looked me in the eye 'Seeking won't save you, only finding will'.This is an interesting and well written short biography and is well worth purchasing.