Saturday, 31 October 2015

Reformation Day Riddles

        Seeing as it is Reformation Day today, I thought I would do something a little different than my usual postings.  So today I am going to share a bit of Reformation history using riddles.  There are four riddles outlining the history of a historical character from the Reformation - but with no names.  It is your job to figure them out - which character goes with each question.  Leave a comment below if you know.  Are you ready?

1.  I was born on November 11, 1491 in France.  Like Luther, I became a monk as a young man, but left the monastic life as I discovered the doctrines of grace.  I studied theology at Heidelburg University, and then lived and ministered in the German city of Strasbourg(which is now in France).  My first name was the same as Luther's.  I traveled to England in the later part of my life at the invitation of Thomas Cranmer, and I died in Cambridge on February 28, 1551.  Who am I?

2.  I was part of the lesser known Italian Reformation.  I was born on October 25, 1510 in a small city north of Rome.  My husband was Catholic, so I had reformers come to my home in disguise.  One of them was John Calvin who disguised himself under the name of Charles d'Esperville.  The reformed poet and versifier of the Psalms, Clement Marot, also came to my court and was my secretary for a while.  I was also put in prison by my son, who was Catholic, for refusing to deny Protestant doctrines.  I died on June 15, 1575.  Who am I?

3.  My mother was Queen of a small province in France.  I was born on November 16, 1528.  As a child I grew up in the beautiful Basque countryside until I moved to a large and grim fortress where I lived until I was married.  My husband Antoine and I loved each other, but as time went on, he proved less than passionate about the Reformed faith.  My son Henri eventually became king of France, though sadly he did not stridently advance the Huguenot cause.  I organized the Protestant armies with the Gaspard de Coligny until I died on June 9, 1572.  Who am I?

4.  I was born sometime in 1511, and grew up in Switzerland.  I am sometimes known as 'The Forgotten Reformer'.  My father sent me to University of Paris to study, and my life was changed forever by hearing the Gospel there.  I lived in Geneva for some years, and helped the city with the continuation of the Reformation.  I also taught at a school in Lausanne where I trained many preachers for the Reformation.  With all humility, I was also John Calvin's closest friend.  I died in France, May 4, 1571.  Who am I?

That's all for this year - maybe I should do one every year to help us remember Reformation history.  Thanks for reading.  And don't forget to leave your answers to the riddles in the comments below!

Happy Reformation Day!
 ~ William A Moore

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Result of the Canadian Federal Elections

        Yesterday was Election Day. The Canadian Federal Elections where we choose our government for the next four years. And as I was listening to a classical music radio station which was giving updates on the polls late last night, the announcement came in that Canadians have now elected a Liberal majority government. (For Americans, this would be similar to having lived with Reagan for three terms, and then voting in [name retracted - rather, in hindsight, either of the two candidates remaining - Ed.] with a majority vote.) This does not bode well for Christians and for what remains of the moral capital we have left.

        Abortion, euthanasia, legal drugs – all of these are supported in some way or another by our new government. While former Prime Minister Steven Harper and his Conservatives were not perfect, at least they did not drive our country exceedingly fast on the road toward an utter disregard for ethical freedoms, moral failure, and economic decline. This is what I anticipate will happen with our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals. However, that is not what I fear.

        After the last political update on the radio, a piece of music started playing. That piece was the Halleluiah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. The words, taken straight from Scripture, say this: “Halleluiah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! And he shall reign forever and ever.*” I do not fear a new government. I fear the One who reigns over Canada, and all its petty political squabbles. I do not fear a government which can enact almost anything it wants. I fear the One who controls all things in light of His sovereign plan.

        What happens in the next four years is not out of God’s jurisdiction. However, he may be warning us, as nation, of what will happen when we do not abide by His laws. It says in Deuteronomy 28 that “if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you...until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.” Christians and non-Christians alike must suffer God’s judgement for sin. Christians, though, have the hope of future glory, when Christ will come again and make all things new. But for those who do not know the Gospel there will only be death.

        Now, more than ever before, we need to seek the Lord in prayer, asking Him to bring about change in our hearts, first of all, and then in those who need His grace, forgiveness, and love. We cannot change the moral compass of a nation by voting in a ‘better’ government. A government cannot make a Christian nation. We can, on the other hand, seek to preach the Gospel. It alone changes people’s hearts and makes them want to serve the One who rules over all. So, in light of this Canadian Federal election, my takeaway is this: Seek the Lord, preach the Gospel, and live in light of the Truth.

Written and Posted by William A. Moore
*Revelation 19:6

Monday, 19 October 2015

A Pastor Historian: Arnold Dallimore

        Having just attended a conference by The Gospel Coalition over the weekend, one of the talks which stood out to me the most was the story of the biographer of George Whitfield. As a man who lived through hard times yet stood fast to the Gospel, and as one who loved the history of the church, this is his story.

        On September 6th, 1911, a man who would grow up during one of the most tumultuous times in Canadian history, who during his lifetime would see many changes occur in the church, and most importantly, write one of the definitive biographies on the great Revivalist preacher George Whitfield, was born in the city of London, Ontario, Canada. His name was Arnold Dallimore.

        He grew up during the troubled era of the Depression in the 1930’s, and no doubt saw troubled times come to the Baptist church as well with the arrival of the modernist vs. fundamentalist debate which caused division among many churches. However, at the age of twenty, Dallimore began to study at the Toronto Baptist Seminary which had been founded by T. T. Shields, an evangelical Baptist, in the wake of the splits caused by the fundamentalist/modernist controversy a little while earlier. After graduation in 1935, Dallimore successively pastored six churches over the course of eleven years. At one of these churches he also met and married his wife, May. However, at the last church he fell into a time of depression and left the church. But after a three years break from the ministry, in 1950 he helped plant a new church in a small town nearby to London named Cottam. Here he ministered for over twenty years. It was here also where he began his writing.

        Even from the early days at Cottam Baptist Church, Dallimore began collecting information on George Whitfield, and very soon had produced a 300 page manuscript. Not satisfied with it, he destroyed it and began another. This one was not satisfactory to him either and, in his words, he realized that “like most previous biographers of Whitfield, I had failed to grasp much of the true significance of his accomplishments and much of the greatness of his person”. So, in 1959, he traveled to England to do some more research on Whitfield. Whilst there, he met and talked with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who, as he expressed to Dallimore, had long been desirous of seeing something published on Whitfield. Having gathered much more material on Whitfield, including letters to and from friends, he returned home to begin again work on what he now planned to be a two volume biography.

        After working for over twenty years on the manuscript, with much encouragement from his publishers and Lloyd-Jones, the first volume was finally released in 1970. A period of some eight years followed before the next volume was published, during which time, Dallimore realized that he could not pastor and write at the same time. Therefore, in 1973, he left Cottam Baptist Church to spend his time in writing. Volume Two was published in 1980 and both volumes were received to great acclaim. J. I. Packer said that “for Dallimore’s treatment of Whitfield…there can be nothing but praise. Please hurry up with Volume 2.” Even persons who were not of the church commended the book. Roger Martin, Associate Dean of History at Harvard wrote mentioning “how much I enjoyed reading it… …it is helpful to have a fairly concise examination of [George Whitfield’s] life.”

        Arnold Dallimore died in 1998, leaving behind him a legacy of the importance of studying history, and, perhaps most importantly, one of the best biographies written on George Whitfield. While both men were not perfect, insofar as they sought to exemplify Christian character and godly living we should follow their example and remember their contributions to the church.

        I am indebted to Mr. Ian Hugh Clary for allowing me to use his essay on Arnold Dallimore as reference material when I wrote this post. To read a much more in-depth look at Arnold Dallimore and thoughts upon his work, I would encourage you to click here.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

Saturday, 10 October 2015

God of Our Fathers: A Martial Hymn

Dear Reader,

        You may not know that quite a while ago on this blog, I posted the lines of a poem by the English author Rudyard Kipling, entitled 'God of Our Fathers'.  I have since composed music to sing the poem to, in the manner of a hymn, and share it with you now.  Below is the recording and the lyrics.

Words by Rudyard Kipling, 1897
Music by William A Moore, 2014

God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
A humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or other men without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
Valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Sung and Posted by William A Moore