John S. Robertson
It was Cecil Rhodes who said, “Reading makes a full man and writing makes an accurate man.” To this another assertion has been added, “Thinking makes a cautious man.” These form a very meaningful triad.
John S. Robertson developed such particular qualities to a marked extent. He was full of matter, spiritual matter that results from fellowship with God and the diligent study of His Word. There was an accuracy about his thinking and writing which indicated that he not only knew how to communicate well, but that his research on any subject had been done thoroughly. Yes, John was also a cautious man. He was not easily influenced. His convictions were generally based upon his own examination of Scripture. Once he arrived at a sound conclusion, it became his with deep conviction.
The readers of Ministry in Focus, and its predecessor, Food for the Flock, have enjoyed for many years the articles written by brother Robertson. The variety of the subjects with which he favored us indicated the scope of his interests and the extent of his ability. His volume, In His Name, which traces the history of the origin of some of the so-called “open assemblies” in Toronto, Canada, has also been deeply appreciated.
It is befitting that his career in writing should end with a series of dialogues between “Grandpa” and his grandson “John” entitled “What Is God Like?” Not only have children been blessed by the simple yet forceful arguments and explanations, but Sunday School teachers and workers among the young have found in these papers a wealth of informative expositions which have proved useful in their important work.
John S. Robertson was born at Bo’ness, Scotland, October 19, 1906. When he was quite young his father’s family immigrated to Canada and settled in Stratford, Ontario. It was there that John attended public school, high school and normal school, making preparation for the teaching profession. He furthered his education at Queen’s University and also at the University of Toronto. John held degrees both in the arts and in pedagogy.
At the age of 16, John accepted Christ as his Saviour during an evangelistic campaign conducted by Mr. Sam McEweon. From the time of his conversion until his “Home Call” early this year, his interest and zeal in the Lord’s service were unremitting.
In 1923 our beloved brother left Stratford for Toronto. In Toronto he taught at Harbord Street Collegiate for many years, and throughout all those years he fellowshipped in Central Gospel Hall. On July 7, 1934, John married Miss Hillary Cleland, also of Central. As the years passed, and he acquired spiritual experience, his activities were expanded. He became Sun-School Superintendent and eventually became one of the elders in that local assembly. His loyalty remained true even after he moved to Vancouver.
During World War 2 John served as an officer in the Canadian Army. Major John S. Robertson retired from the armed forces in 1945 to give himself more than ever before to the ways of God and of peace.
Frequently a picture arises in one’s mind of the first meeting of Food for the Flock, Inc. That gathering was originally sponsored by brother O.G.C. Sprunt and was called to explore the possibility of starting a magazine of a wholly expository intent and content. It was decided to publish such a monthly; consequently, Food for the Flock ‘came into existence.
John S. Robertson was the first Secretary of the Board. He helped guide the organization through the growing pains of its early days. He was so reliable; his work was always done meticulously and promptly. In his departure to be with Christ he has joined a number of the strong and steady men who were with us in the early days. How we miss them! They now rest from their labors and their works do follow them.
We are thankful to the Lord that He has raised up others who have assumed the responsibilities. These follow the faith and the example of those who have gone before.
Near the end of 1968 John and Hillary moved to Vancouver. They took up residence close to their son, Dr. Gordon Robertson. All were in happy fellowship at the Granville Gospel Chapel. Though far away, John nevertheless maintained his relationship with us, contributing to our ministry. Weakness in body did not halt his activities for the Lord. In spite of a grave heart condition, he kept busy. He bore a wonderful Christian testimony before everyone during his last stay in the hospital. He spoke constantly of the Lord and at times quoted lengthy passages of the Bible he knew so well and had used so often.
On April 12, 1975, our beloved brother and fellow laborer passed into the presence of his Lord, and on Tuesday, April 15, 1975, his body was laid to rest in Ocean View Burial Park to await a glorious and triumphant resurrection.
A note from a friend in Vancouver reads: “For the few years he was in Granville Chapel, we enjoyed his fellowship very much. It was always good to hear him engage in worship at the Lord’s Supper. He will be greatly missed by the many friends he had made since coming here.”
Mrs. A. Luella Sprunt
Mrs. Ormer Sprunt, the beloved wife of O.G.C. Sprunt who is the original sponsor and a co-founder of Food for the Flock, Inc., was called to higher service May 31st. She passed home to be with the Lord early that morning in her 87th year.
Mrs. Sprunt had known the Lord for over 75 years and had throughout her life been associated with the assemblies of God’s people, among whom she was highly and affectionately regarded.
Her son, Ernest B. Sprunt of St. Catharines, Ontario, an honored servant of the Lord, predeceased her on August 22, 1973. She is survived by her husband, a daughter Enid (Mrs. Harry Hafner) of Philadelphia, Penna., a son Edmund of Winnipeg, Man., and nine grandchildren, six of whom served as pall bearers. Mrs. Sprunt is also survived by two brothers, Ernest F. and Dr. Edmund T. Guest.
Brother Sprunt deeply mourns the loss of his devoted wife; they had been married 67 years.
Their many friend’s will best remember Mrs. Sprunt as associated with her husband in their service unto the Lord in the handling of Christian literature through the Christian Book Room, 853 Bloor Street, W., Toronto, Canada.
Brethren James Gunn and Ross Phillips spoke words of comfort, counsel and hope at the large funeral.
There was a sense of real triumph as the congregation sang three of Mrs. Sprunt’s favorite hymns.
Pray for our beloved brother in his sorrow, as well as for the other members of the family.
— James Gunn