Protest LONDON, ENGLAND 28 MAY 2016

Andreea Sutton Bradeanu discurs la minutul 5:00
E trist sa aflam ca Andreea Sutton Bradeanu a fost blocata de pagina oficiala a presedintelui Klaus Iohannis ca sa nu mai posteze despre cazul copiilor ei in comentarii…

Reclame

VIDEO – Discurs la PROTEST #BODNARIU – London, England January 8, 2016

„Astazi, daca te duci la biserica cu copilul este indoctrinare religioasa. Daca faci casatoria in biserica este numita indoctrinare religioasa. Ori, pentru noi, asta este identitatea. Cand nu mai suntem crestini, cand nu mai recunoastem autoritatea si suprematia lui Dumnezeu si randuiala lasata de El, ne-am pierdut orice identitate si valoare.

De aceea, intr-un glas, strigam si protestam. Chemam toate natiunile, chemam pe frati, pe surori, chemam prieteni, chemam orice entitate religioasa sa vina sa se alature de familia aceasta. Maine, noi putem fi victimele acestui Barnevernet….

Spend the weekend with John Bunyan – Run to Obtain

If you havent gotten familiar with John Bunyan, you have the opportunity to do so here. Please check out the links below this post and they will take you to several pages of online books to read and videos to watch.

John Bunyan 1628-1688

Run to Obtain

John Bunyan

John Bunyan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1660s, Charles II, King of England, asked John Owen (1616–83) why he went to hear the preaching of an uneducated tinker. The King was amazed that Owen, a prominent preacher, would stoop to associate with a tinker. After all, there was quite a contrast between the two.

At that time, most ministers in England graduated from Cambridge or Oxford. Owen had entered Queen’s College, Oxford at age 12, took his B.A. in 1632 and M.A. in 1635. On the other hand, the tinker possessed no formal education beyond the second grade. Owen had written voluminously; the tinker did most of his writing while in jail.

The tinker lived in a small cottage in the obscure village of Bedford, but Owen served as chaplain to Cromwell, walked in kings’ palaces, was respected by many of the nobility, and had preached to Parliament and in England’s great cathedrals. The tinker preached to a church that met in an old barn and at its peak may have numbered 300.

Looking the King in the eye, Owen answered, “May it please your Majesty, could I possess the tinker’s ability for preaching, I would willingly relinquish all my learning.”1

The tinker was John Bunyan (1628–88), the Puritan pastor and author of Pilgrim’s Progress.

Bunyan was an old man when Owen first heard him. “The soul-experiences through which he [Bunyan] had passed,” notes one biographer, “had done more to equip him for what God had so definitely called him than any academic training could do.”2

“I preached what I startlingly did feel,”3 Bunyan later noted.

The source of Bunyan’s influence over Owen and others was his passion in the pulpit that flowed from his personal experience of the Bible’s power and his frequent persecution. He was Bible-saturated. As Charles Spurgeon later noted, “Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him.”4

Owen would not have been surprised to learn that Bunyan’s most influential work, Pilgrim’s Progress, would be translated into more languages over the next 400 years than any book except the Bible.

How did the writing of an uneducated tinker become the most widely read piece of 17th-century English literature? Who was John Bunyan, and what can we learn from his life?

Early Life

Little is known about John Bunyan’s youth. He was born in 1628 in Elstow, a little village 50 miles northeast of London. The exact date of his birth is unknown. At age 16 he enlisted in Oliver Cromwell’s army and fought with the Puritans against King Charles I. He was discharged in his early twenties and married. His first wife (her name unknown) bore him four children. The oldest child, a daughter, was born blind.

He was converted in his mid-twenties after a lengthy agony-of-soul similar to Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress. At age 25 he began to preach, and by 30 he was a part-time village preacher. He worked the forge and anvil by day and preached the gospel at night.

Persecution

We often take religious toleration for granted. But tolerance of multiple denominations in one state was a novel idea in the 1650s. Intolerance had been the norm for 1,000 years. Most English Christians were Anglican paedobaptists. But under Cromwell’s new policy of tolerance, the Baptists were beginning to flourish and many Englishmen were nervous.5

Bunyan belonged to a small Baptist church of about 60 people. They were called independents because the Anglican Church — the only church sanctioned by the English government — did not control them.

Cromwell died, and in 1660, King Charles II came to power. He was determined to eradicate Cromwell’s radical religious tolerance and stamp out all denominations except the State-sanctioned church. Parliament cooperated, passing a series of laws designed to persecute the independents out of existence. Bunyan suffered dearly.

In this setting Bunyan received Christ’s call to preach. He knew it would be costly. To complicate matters, his wife died, leaving him with four children. Bunyan knew he would be jailed soon, so he asked a woman in his church named Elizabeth to marry him so his children would be cared for while he was in prison. Zealous for God and His people, she agreed to marry John and serve the church in this way. In later years Elizabeth and John fell deeply in love.

When Bunyan refused to obey Parliament’s new mandates forbidding him to preach as an independent, the English government imprisoned him. He languished in jail without a proper trial for 12 of the best years of his life: age 32 to 44.

During these years the government persecutors ravaged what was left of Bunyan’s flock, fining immense sums on people who were already poor by 17th-century standards. Often government officials would arrive at their homes with a cart and take everything they owned — furniture, clothing, and cooking utensils — leaving these poor saints utterly destitute.6

The experience of a poor widow named Mary Tilney characterized the treatment of Bunyan’s flock: “They carried away all the Goods in her House they thought worth their labour, as Tables, Cupboards, Chairs, Irons, Feather-beds, Blankets, the very Hangings of the Room, and Sheets off her bed, insomuch that the Widow was forced that night to borrow Sheets of her Neighbors to lie on. … Yet the poor Mrs. Tilney was more troubled at the crying and sighing of her poor Neighbours about her …, than for the loss of her Goods, which she took very cheerfully.”7

Such was the spirit and attitude of these poor, oppressed saints.

Jail Life

Meanwhile Bunyan languished in jail. Seventeenth-century English jails were not pleasant. Unlike today, he had no color TV and no weight room. Food was meager. He slept on a flea-infested straw mattress in a small room crowded with other prisoners. He had no heat in winter. He lived with lice, fleas, poor sanitation, and little privacy. Many fellow prisoners died of disease.

Despite these hardships, the fate of his wife, Elizabeth, and his four children was his greatest concern. There was no welfare to provide for them, so he cast his family upon the mercy of his small congregation, already impoverished by persecution. His children grew up poor and fatherless.

“The parting with my Wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place as the pulling of the Flesh from my Bones,” he later wrote. “And that … because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries and wants that my poor Family was like to meet with should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind Child, who lay nearer my heart than all I had besides; O the thoughts of the hardship I thought my Blind one might go under, would break my poor heart to pieces. … Yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you. O, I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his Wife and Children. Yet, thought I, I must do it, I must do it.”8

He was finally released from prison, and for the next 3 years he returned to preaching. Deepened by suffering, Bunyan’s preaching had a new measure of power and authority.

He was jailed a final time for 6 months. During this incarceration, he received the dream that inspired Pilgrim’s Progress. He finished the manuscript in prison.

From his middle forties to his death at age 60, he was the pastor of a small, growing Bedford congregation. He was also in growing demand to supply pulpits in neighboring villages. His reputation preceded him, and increasingly the great congregations of London called him to preach. It was at this time that John Owen heard Bunyan and began attending his lectures whenever he was in London.

Lessons From Bunyan

First, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). God lifted Bunyan high because he went so low. Looking back on his imprisonment he quietly noted: “I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly I must first pass a sentence of death upon everything which can properly be called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my Wife, my Children, my Health, my Enjoyments, and all as dead to me and myself as dead to them. And second to live upon God that is invisible. I see the best way to go through suffering is to trust in God through Christ as touching the world to come; and as touching this world to count the grave my House, and to make my Bed in darkness.”9

Second, Bunyan persevered in his calling. He was unaware of the vast harvest that would come through his writing after his death. During his prison years, he faithfully devoted hour after hour to Bible study, never knowing how or when God would use him, or if he would be released. He determined to be faithful trusting the harvest to God.

Bunyan didn’t measure success by large numbers or by fine facilities. He measured it by faithfulness. To what has God called us? Are we devoting our lives to it? Are we discouraged by meager results? Take courage. Bunyan measured success by faithfulness, trusting God for results as He saw fit to produce them.

From an earthly perspective, Bunyan saw few results during his life. He is enjoying his reward now in eternity. If we persevere in our calling, we will have the same reward. Emulate John Bunyan. He was a faithful man.

History is His story.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/48052700 w=500&h=375]

The Cambridge debate between Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams

The Christian Post reports on the debate:

Brian made this picture while Rowan Williams, ...

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, defeated prominent atheist professor, Richard Dawkins, in a debate at the University of Cambridge in England on Thursday night, as a vote taken at the conclusion of the debate ruled that religion does have a place in the 21st century.

The debate motion that „religion has no place in the 21st Century” was well-defeated at the event held in front of an audience of about 800 people, mostly students, at the Cambridge Union Society’s chambers, according to the U.K.’s Independent newspaper.

Dawkins lost the debate by 324 votes to 136, as he failed to convince the house that religion has no place.

„Religion has always been a matter of community building, a matter of building relations of compassion, fellow-feeling and, dare I say it, inclusion,” Williams, who stepped down as the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion on Dec. 31, said in his address. „The notion that religious commitment can be purely a private matter is one that runs against the grain of religious history.”

Williams pointed out that respect for human life and equality was inherent in all organized religion. „The very concept of human rights has profound religious roots… The convention of human rights would not be what it is were it not for the history of philosophical religious debate.”

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/richard-dawkins-loses-debate-against-former-anglican-head-rowan-williams-at-cambridge-university-full-video-89364/#deKkXJlIw5RZXoEI.99

The Story of George Muller

via Istorieevanghelica.ro

200 years ago, street kids in England were treated like vermin. With no parents or relatives to look after them, orphans were forced to survive by begging or stealing. They had no one to look to, they lived and they died in the gutter. But help was on its way from someone the Bristol newspaper would later proclaim ‘had robbed the cruel streets of thousands of victims’. However, his start in life was not as the righteous young man his father intended him to be-

from Wikipedia:

George Müller (German – born as : Johann Georg Ferdinand Müller) (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He was well known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.

Müller was born in Kroppenstaedt (now Kroppenstedt), a village near Halberstadt in the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1810, the Müller family moved to nearby Heimersleben, where Müller’s father was appointed a collector of taxes. He had an older brother, Friedrich Johann Wilhelm (1803 – 7 Oct 1838) and, after his widowed father remarried, a half-brother, Franz (b 1822).

His early life was not marked by righteousness – on the contrary, he was a thief, a liar and a gambler. By the age of 10, Müller was stealing government money from his father. While his mother was dying, he, at 14 years of age, was playing cards with friends and drinking.

Müller’s father hoped to provide him with a religious education that would allow him to take a lucrative position as a clergyman in the state church. He studied divinity in the University of Halle, and there met a fellow student (Beta) who invited him to a Christian prayer meeting. There he was welcomed, and he began regularly reading the Bible and discussing Christianity with the others who attended the meetings. After seeing a man praying to God on his knees, he was convinced of his need for salvation. As soon as he got home he went to his bed where he knelt and prayed. He asked God to help him in his life and to bless him wherever he went and to forgive him of his sins. He immediately stopped drinking, stealing and lying, and began hoping to become a missionary. He began preaching regularly in nearby churches and continued meeting with the other churches.

Orphanages

English: Orphanages at Ashley Down.

The work of Müller and his wife with orphans began in 1836 with the preparation of their own home at 6 Wilson Street, Bristol for the accommodation of thirty girls. Soon after, three more houses in Wilson Street were furnished, growing the total of children cared for to 130. In 1845, as growth continued, Müller decided that a separate building designed to house 300 children was necessary, and in 1849, at Ashley Down, Bristol, that home opened. The architect commissioned to draw up the plans asked if he might do so gratuitously. By 26 May 1870, 1,722 children were being accommodated in five homes, although there was room for 2,050 (No 1 House – 300, No 2 House – 400, Nos 3, 4 and 5 – 450 each). By the following year, there were 280 orphans in No 1 House, 356 in No 2, 450 in Nos 3 and 4, and 309 in No 5 House.

Through all this, Müller never made requests for financial support, nor did he go into debt, even though the five homes cost over £100,000 to build. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children, further strengthening his faith in God. For example, on one well-documented occasion, they gave thanks for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table, even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage.

Every morning after breakfast there was a time of Bible reading and prayer, and every child was given a Bible upon leaving the orphanage, together with a tin trunk containing two changes of clothing. The children were dressed well and educated – Müller even employed a schools inspector to maintain high standards. In fact, many claimed that nearby factories and mines were unable to obtain enough workers because of his efforts in securing apprenticeships, professional training, and domestic service positions for the children old enough to leave the orphanage.

photo source and caption – http://www.about-bristol.co.uk

It is ironic that these massive buildings that dominate the ridge at Ashley Down were known for generations as the Muller Homes. Their founder, German immigrant George Muller, was insistent on the title ‘The New Orphan House’ as he did not want his name to be prominent, for he considered himself merely an instrument in the venture.

Evangelism

On 26 March 1875, at the age of 70 and after the death of his first wife in 1870 and his marriage to Susannah Grace Sanger in 1871, Müller and Susannah began a 17 year period of missionary travel. Müller always expected to pay for their fares and accommodation from the unsolicited gifts given for his own use. However, if someone offered to pay his hotel bill en-route, Müller recorded this amount in his accounts.

He travelled over 200,000 miles, an incredible achievement for pre-aviation times. His language abilities allowed him to preach in English, French, and German, and his sermons were translated into the host languages when he was unable to use English, French or German. In 1892, he returned to England, where he died on 10 March 1898 in New Orphan House No 3.

A life of prayer

Müller prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered. One example was when one of the orphan house’s boiler stopped working; Müller needed to have it fixed. Now this was a problem, because the boiler was bricked up and the weather was worsening with each day. So he prayed for two things; firstly that the workers he had hired would have a mind to work throughout the night, and secondly that the weather would let up. On the Tuesday before the work was due to commence, a bitter north wind still blew but in the morning, before the workmen arrived, a southerly wind began to blow and it was so mild that no fires were needed to heat the buildings. That evening, the foreman of the contracted company attended the site to see how he might speed things along, and instructed the men to report back first thing in the morning to make an early resumption of work. The team leader stated that they would prefer to work through the night. The job was done in 30 hours.

In 1862, it was discovered that one of the drains was blocked. Being some 11 feet underground, workmen were unable to find the blockage despite several attempts. Müller prayed about the situation and the workman at once found the site of the problem.

Strong gales in Bristol on Saturday 14 January 1865 caused considerable damage in the area and over twenty holes were opened in the roofs. Around 20 windows were also broken and two frames damaged by falling slates. The glazier and slater normally employed had already committed their staff to other work so nothing could be done until the Monday. Had the winds continued, with heavy rain, the damage to the orphanage would have been much greater. After much prayer, the wind stopped in the afternoon and no rain fell until Wednesday, by which time most of the damage had been repaired.

Once, whilst crossing the Atlantic on the SS Sardinian in August 1877, his ship ran into thick fog. He explained to the captain that he needed to be in Quebec by the following afternoon, but Captain Joseph E Dutton (later known as „Holy Joe”) said that he was slowing the ship down for safety and Müller’s appointment would have to be missed. Müller asked to use the chartroom to pray for the lifting of the fog. The captain followed him down, claiming it would be a waste of time. After Müller prayed, the captain started to pray, but Müller stopped him; partly because of the captain’s unbelief, but mainly because he believed the prayer had already been answered. When the two men went back to the bridge, they found the fog had lifted. The captain became a Christian shortly afterwards.

Müller’s faith in God strengthened day by day and he spent hours in daily prayer and Bible reading. – indeed, it was his practice, in later years, to read through the entire Bible four times a year.

Theology

The theology that guided George Müller’s work is not widely known, but was shaped by an experience in his mid twenties when he „came to prize the Bible alone as [his] standard of judgement”.

He records in his Narratives that „That the word of God alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual things; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, he is the teacher of his people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before that time. Indeed, of the office of each of the blessed persons, in what is commonly called the Trinity, I had no experimental apprehension. I had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world; that in him that wonderful plan of our redemption originated, and that he also appointed all the means by which it was to be brought about. Further, that the Son, to save us, had fulfilled the law, to satisfy its demands, and with it also the holiness of God; that he had borne the punishment due to our sins, and had thus satisfied the justice of God. And, further, that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in preaching, etc. It was my beginning to understand this latter point in particular which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the word of God and studying it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was, that I received real strength for my soul in doing so. I now began to try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were really of value.

William Henry Harding said, ‘The world, dull of understanding, has even yet not really grasped the mighty principle upon which he [Müller] acted, but is inclined to think of him merely as a nice old gentleman who loved children, a sort of glorified guardian of the poor, who with the passing of the years may safely be spoken of, in the language of newspaper headlines, as a „prophet of philanthropy.” To describe him thus, however, is to degrade his memory, is to miss the high spiritual aim and the wonderful spiritual lesson of his life. It is because the carnal mind is incapable of apprehending spiritual truth that the world regards the orphan Houses only with the languid interest of mere humanitarianism, and remains oblivious of their extraordinary witness to the faithfulness of God.

John Wesley Biography (Online Book)

The biography of John Wesley, a contemporary of the other 2 revivalists of his time – George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, provided by  Wesley Nazarene University :

John Wesley – Evangelist

BY THE REV. RICHARD GREEN

Author of, The Life of John Wesley, The Mission of Methodism (The Fernley Lecture for 1890), The Works of John and Charles Wesley: A Bibliography 

LONDON THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY 

 4 Bouverie Street and 65 St. Paul’s Churchyard, E.C. 1905

Table of Contents

The English Puritans: Perhaps the most remarkable body of men which the world has ever produced

We are extremely thankful for the ongoing digitization of older books, manuscripts and periodicals (magazines)  which will no doubt be of great benefit, otherwise, this fine writing would have otherwise been confined to small geographic areas and populations. This is another article from Affinity.org, an organization who has uploaded many older periodicals onto their website. This article also comes from Foundations 37 (Autumn 1996) edition, as did the Martyn Lloyd-Jones material, recounting his stance at the New Delhi Evangelical Alliance Conference 30 years earlier. Here’s a sampling of recent assessments of the Puritans:

It is now generally acknowledged that the typical Puritans were not „wild men…religious fanatics and social extremists, but sober, conscientious, and cultured persons: persons of principle…excelling in the domestic virtues, and with no obvious shortcomings save a tendency to run to words when saying anything important”. The great Puritan pastor-theologians (to go no further)- Owen, Baxter, Goodwin, Howe, Perkins, Sibbes, Brooks, Watson, Gumall, Flavel, Bunyan, Manton, and others- „were men of outstanding intellectual power, as well as spiritual insight”. „For more than two centuries, since Daniel Neal’s History ofthe Puritans, it has been usual to define the Puritan movement in terms of the power struggle that went on in church and state”; and this, of course, is part of the truth, but it leaves the issue of Puritan motives unresolved. According to JI Packer, Dr Irvonwy Morgan supplies the vital clue. He writes:

The essential thing in understanding the Puritans was that they were preachers before they were anything else…Into whatever efforts they were led in their attempts to reform the world through the Church, and however these efforts were frustrated by the leaders of the Church, what bound them together, undergirded their striving, and gave them the dynamic to persist was their consciousness that they were called to preach the Gospel.

Puritan family, England cca. 1600’s
The Puritan Movement in England by Peter Golding (via) Affinity.org.uk

The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a peculiar interest from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal interests…Perhaps the most remarkable body of men which the world has ever produced.

Lord Macaulay
Wherever the religion, the language, or the free spirit of our country has forced its way, the Puritans of old have some memorial. They have moulded the character and shaped the laws of other lands, and tinged with their devouter shades unnumbered congregations of Christian worshippers, even where no allegiance is professed, or willing homage done to their peculiarities. It is a party that has numbered in its ranks many of the best, and not a few of the greatest men that England has enrolled upon her history;

JB Marsden, History ofthe Early Puritans The Puritans, as a body, have done more to elevate the national character than any class of Englishmen that ever lived.

Bishop JC Ryle of Liverpool
Puritanism entered our bone and sinew; it gave an immense strength and discipline to our nation in the days of its grandeur.

Professor AG Dickens, The English Reformation
According to the church historian, Thomas Fuller, „Puritanism” as a recognised descriptive term first came into use about the year 1564. But who were the Puritans, and what was Puritanism? Surprisingly perhaps, these questions are more easily asked than answered.

I . A confused issue
In the words of Dr John Brown, „Puritanism was not so much an organized system as a religious temper and a moral force” . This is clearly borne out in the history of the period under review, for the term was by no means confined to those who separated from the Church of England, but included many who remained within her pale. However, as a modern writer puts it, „the definitions of ‘Puritan’ and ‘Puritanism’ have been, since their earliest use in England, a matter of crowded debate and widespread confusion”. Ferguson puts it similarly: „The problem of defining the concept ‘Puritan’ in historical terms has been frequently and inconclusively discussed”.

That being the case, some consideration needs to be given at the very outset to an understanding of the Puritan ethos, and hopefully also to a working definition of Puritanism as an historical phenomenon. In doing so, one must not be influenced by a popular misconception „the assumption that the Puritans were primarily strict and dour moralists, kill-joys and even hypocrites.” This is the most common modern sense of the word, but „to read it back into history is an error”. As one of the greatest modern authorities in this field expresses it, „Puritanism… should be defined with respect to the Puritans, and not vice versa”.

The Methodists of the 18th century, and to some extent the Fundamentalists of the 20th, have both suffered from a similar misconception. No doubt there were some associated with the Puritan movement who fell into the above-mentioned categories, and the popular image dies hard, but to stigmatize Puritanism as a Whole in that way simply will not stand up to historical investigation: and rigorous historical investigation above all is what is required here. For example, an article in the Daily Telegraph of 3 August 1991 describes the Puritans as those who „enjoyed smashing stained-glass windows”. An earlier report on the recent emphasis on physical health and fitness in the US referred to it as „the new Puritanism in the workplace,” and „the new Puritanism which is flaunted even within the White House”F „Puritan” may well have been used as a term of opprobrium during the period under investigation (as will be shown), but only by its opponents and enemies, who were hardly unbiased. Anyone seeking to grasp the nature of Puritanism, therefore, has to free his mind from popular prejudice and misunderstanding.

The fact of the matter is that, like Christianity itself, Puritanism is an historical phenomenon; and as such, „it must be investigated on the basis of historical evidence,” and „can be determined only by an examination of (its) beginnings…”.

2. The problem of definition

How then do we define Puritanism? John Adair writes: „In fact, ‘Puritan’ was one of several names applied by contemporary critics and enemies to ‘the hotter sort of Protestants'”. But although indicative oftheir zeal, this gives little information as to their distinctive outlook and beliefs, the rationale by which they were motivated. „The hotter sort of protestants are called puritans”, explains the Elizabethan pamphleteer Percival Wibum in his A checke or reproofe ofM. Howlet’s untimely schreeching,10 – but he was „innocent of the sophistication of later discussions of the problem”. In similar vein, GR Elton in his history of England under the Tudors, describes these men as „puritans” because they wanted „a religion ‘purified’ of all the works of Rome”. This too is inadequate. It provides a good definition of „protestant”, butis too simplistic as a description of „puritan”. In his introduction to a study of the Puritan doctrine of Assurance, a recent contributor to the Westminster Theological Journal raises the issue thus:

What was it that defined English Puritanism? Was it essentially a theological movement, emphasizing covenant theology, predestination, and a reformed church service? Or was the heart of the matter political, asserting the inalienable rights of conscience before God, the rule of natural law over arbitrary prerogative courts, the dependency ofthe king in parliament, the foundation of state authority in the people? Some modem research has pointed to a third possibility, that the essence of Puritanism was its piety, a stress on conversion, on existential, heartfelt religion.

No small testimony to the creativity and far-reaching influence of the Puritans lies in the fact that a steady stream of works exploring Puritan contributions in these three areas continues to be produced. The fact is that because the English Puritans engaged in such a diversity of effort, it is inevitable that scholarship should appear to present such a fragmented picture of them. For instance, Prof. John Fiske, „who has been ranked as one of the two greatest American historians”, says:

It is not too much to say that in the seventeenth century, the entire political future of mankind was staked upon the questions that were at issue in England. Had it not been for the Puritans, political liberty would probably have disappeared from the world. If ever there were men who laid down their lives in the cause of all mankind, it was those grim old Ironsides, whose watch-words were texts of Holy Writ, whose battle-cries were hymns of praise.

For more detailed consideration of the political aspect, (in the 17th century), William Hailer’s brilliant study Liberty and Reformation in the Puritan Revolution should be consulted. To some students of the period, if Oliver Cromwell and his secretary John Milton were Puritans, then Puritanism must have been a political movement. To others, if John Owen was a Puritan, then it must have been a theological movement. While to still others, if John Bunyan was a Puritan, then it must have been a pietistic movement. To this kind of approach, it is almost inconceivable that such disparate people should not only be identified with, but be organically related to one essential movement. But the thesis of this study is that this fissiparous tendency in Puritan scholarship needs to be countered with what it is hoped to establish as the unifying principle, the definitive core of Puritanism. In a paper delivered in 1990 entitled, The Nature of Puritanism, AA Davies expresses this desideratum somewhat humorously as follows: „Like the National Debt, inflation, and the girth of the middle-aged, the meaning of the term ‘Puritan’ has increased, is increasing and ought to be diminished!” Today, it is applied, usually with contempt, to people who are, or who are regarded as, „strict, precise, or scrupulous in religion or morals”. John Adair speaks of „the Puritan within us”, identifying five characteristics which he believes we have inherited from our Puritan forebears: the Puritan ethic of hard work (and virtually possessing redemptive value); the concept of marriage as a union of spirit, mind and body; cultural simplicity, whether of music, architecture, clothes, or preaching; the belief that scientific investigation is more important than traditional authority; and Puritan values such as involvement in public life, contractual responsibilities, political realism, and self-examination. Nor is this expansion of the term a modern phenomenon; it happened in the 17th century as well. For example, „Puritan” was used in a political sense of those who favoured the restricting of the power of the monarchy by parliament, or even those people „who opposed a Spanish foreign policy”. Archbishop Whitgift, James I, and even Prince Charles have been dubbed „Puritans”! When used religiously, the term included on the one hand „rigid Calvinists” who favoured the Synod of Dort (1618), and on the other any who sought, like Richard Baxter’s father, to read the Bible when others were Morris- dancing etc. on the Sabbath, to pray at home, to reprove drunkards and swearers, and to speak sometimes afew words regarding the life to come.

The truth is that, as Elizabethan society became more secular, affluent, and worldly, „the criteria for determining who was a Puritan became progressively weakened and widened so as to include most serious-minded Protestants who dared to question the freedom of Englishmen to say or do as they pleased on any day of the week”. „He that has not every word on oath…they say he is a puritan, a precise fool, not fit to hold a gentleman company,” wrote a certain Barnaby Rich. By 1641, Henry Parker was complaining about people who enlarged the term to include „any civil, honest, Protestant”, and then contracted it so that it was used of „none but monstrous abominable heretics and miscreants”. Such has been the inflation of the term that CH and K George have argued that the word „Puritan” is the x of a social equation: it has no meaning beyond that given it by the particular manipulator of an algebra of abuse.25 However, inflation needs to be brought under control, and we need to strip away subsequent accretions to the name in order to arrive at an accurate historical definition.

„Puritan” itself was an imprecise term of contemptuous abuse, which between 1564 and 1642 (these exact dates are given by Thomas Fuller and Richard Baxter) was applied to at least five overlapping groups of people: – first, to clergy who scrupled some Prayer Book ceremonies and phrasing; second, to advocates of the Presbyterian reform programme broached by Thomas Cartwright (Lady Margaret Professor ofDivinity at Cambridge), and the 1572 Admonition to the Parliament; third, to clergy and laity, not necessarily non-conformists, who practised a serious Calvinistic piety; fourth, to „rigid Calvinists” who applauded the Synod ofDort, and were called doctrinal Puritans by other Anglicans who did not; fifth, to MPs, JPs, and other gentry who showed public respect for religion, the laws of England, and the rights of subjects.

The description of Puritans as „rigid Calvinists” first appeared in print in M Antonius de Dominis, The Cause of his Return, out of England. The equation had already been made, however, in a private document drawn up by John Overall, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, some time between 1610 and 1619, in which Overall contrasts the tenets of „the Remonstrants or Arminians, and the counter-Remonstrants or Puritans”.

In reply to Professor and Mrs George, then, „there was a specific, though complex and many sided, reality to which all these uses of the ‘odious name’ really did pertain”. This was a clergy-led movement „which for more than a century was held together, and given a sense of identity too deep for differences of judgement on questions of polity and politics to destroy”.

The introductory references to Puritan greatness may seem an unwarranted exercise in hagiography. Pillorying the Puritans, in particular, has long been a popular pastime on both sides of the Atlantic. „Puritan” as a name was, in fact, mud from the start. Coined in the early 1560s, it was always a satirical smear word implying peevishness, censoriousness, conceit, and a measure of hypocrisy, over and above its basic implication of religiously motivated discontent with what was seen as Elizabeth’s Laodicean and compromising Church of England.

Later, the word gained the further, political connotation of being against the Stuart monarchy, and for some sort of republicanism; „its primary reference, however, was still to what was seen as an odd, furious, and ugly form of Protestant religion”Y In England, anti-Puritan feeling was let loose at the time of the Restoration, and has flowed freely·ever since. During the past half-century, however, a major reassessment of Puritanism has taken place in historical scholarship, „Fifty years ago the academic study of Puritanism went over a watershed with the discovery that there was such a thing as Puritan culture, and a rich culture at that, over and above Puritan reactions against certain facets of medieval and Renaissance culture”.32 In fact, North America has been in the van of this new assessment with four classic studies published within a period of only two years which ensured that Puritan studies could never be the same again. These were: William Hailer, The Rise ofPuritanism (1938); ASP Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty (1938); MM Knappen, Tudor Puritanism (1939), described as „magisterial” by Professor Patrick Collinson, himself author of another, more recent classic, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (1991); and Perry Miller, The New England Mind, Vol. /: The Seventeenth Century (1939).

3. Recent reassessment

As a consequence, the conventional image has been radically revamped, and a plethora of more recent researchers have confirmed the view of Puritanism which these four volumes yielded. It is now generally acknowledged that the typical Puritans were not „wild men…religious fanatics and social extremists, but sober, conscientious, and cultured persons: persons of principle…excelling in the domestic virtues, and with no obvious shortcomings save a tendency to run to words when saying anything important”. The great Puritan pastor-theologians (to go no further)- Owen, Baxter, Goodwin, Howe, Perkins, Sibbes, Brooks, Watson, Gumall, Flavel, Bunyan, Manton, and others- „were men of outstanding intellectual power, as well as spiritual insight”. „For more than two centuries, since Daniel Neal’s History ofthe Puritans, it has been usual to define the Puritan movement in terms of the power struggle that went on in church and state”; and this, of course, is part of the truth, but it leaves the issue of Puritan motives unresolved. According to JI Packer, Dr Irvonwy Morgan supplies the vital clue. He writes:

The essential thing in understanding the Puritans was that they were preachers before they were anything else…Into whatever efforts they were led in their attempts to reform the world through the Church, and however these efforts were frustrated by the leaders of the Church, what bound them together, undergirded their striving, and gave them the dynamic to persist was their consciousness that they were called to preach the Gospel.

In other words, Puritanism was at heart a spiritual movement, passionately concerned with the glory of God and the life of godliness. It was this from its inception. So it was not, as William Hailer often implies, that the Puritan clergy turned to preaching and pastoral work as a means to the end of building-up a lay constituency strong enough to secure the reformation in church order which by 1570 they found was unattainable by direct action.

The truth is rather that, as Edward Dering’s John Knox-like sermon before Elizabeth in 1570 and the 1572Admonition (to look no further) make plain, the end to which all church order, on the Puritan view, was a means, and for which everything superstitious, misleading and Spirit-quenching must be rooted out, was the glory of God in and through the salvation

of sinners and the building up of lively congregations in which people met God.
The basis of this outlook was to be found in the Puritan view of Scripture as the „regulative principle” of doctrine and practice (and more especially of church worship and order- of which more anon). Puritanism, then, was in Packer’s words, „a movement · for church reform, pastoral renewal and evangelism, and spiritual revival”.40 In addition, and as an immediate expression of its zeal for the honour of God, it was a world-view, a total Christian philosophy and way of life. To summarise: the Puritan aim was to complete what the English Reformation had begun: to finish reshaping Anglican worship, to introduce effective church discipline into Anglican parishes, and to establish righteousness in the political, domestic, and socio-economic fields. So Prof. Basil Hall points out that we should use the term historically, as it was used by those who made it: i.e. of those „restlessly critical and occasionally .rebellious members of the Church of England”, who desired the further purification of their Church, in membership, worship, and government.

4. The essential concern

Historically, then, the essential concern of Puritanism was that the Protestant Reformation begun in the reign of Henry VIII, and furthered under Edward VI, should be completed. Clearly, that is the way Thomas Fuller understood it in 1655 when, writing of the year 1564, he said that „Puritan” was an „odious” nickname of abuse thrown at those ministers who refused to subscribe to the liturgy, ceremonies, and discipline of the established Church urged upon them by the bishops.42 This understanding of the term was confirmed by John Geree in his The Character ofan old English Puritane, or Non-Conformist (1646); by William Bradshaw in his English Puritanism (1605), and by Richard Baxter in his Autobiography.

Ifit is confined to this narrower sense, it will exclude the Separatists, who did not protest within but seceded from the national Church. However, „both Puritans and main- stream Separatists shared common ideas and ideals, and desired greater purity in the Churches and in the lives of their members”. The difference between them was initially one of „strategy, patience, and timing.” The Puritans were patently much closer to the Separatists in a theological and spiritual sense than they were to the Roman Catholics, or even to the Anglicanism of Laud or Hooker. As Professor Hall admits: „perhaps nothing can now prevent most writers from describing Browne, Penry, Robinson, Milton, Cromwell, Bunyan as Puritans, alongside of Cartwright, Travers, Perkins, and Preston who were Puritans in fact”.

Considered from this dual standpoint, Dr DM Lloyd-Jones, a modern „Puritan”, was not self-contradictory in defining Puritanism in two different ways. On the one hand, „Essential Puritanism”, he argued, „was not primarily a preference for one form of church government rather than another; but it was that outlook and teaching which put its emphasis upon a life of spiritual, personal religion, an intense realization of the presence of God, a devotion of the entire being to Him”.46 Elsewhere, in dealing with the perennial problem that people will persist in thinking of Puritanism as „just a narrow view of ethics, and of morality, and of conduct…as just a negative protest against pleasures, he adds:

But that is not Puritanism. The essence of Puritanism was a desire that the Reformation in the Church of England should be completed.

From this standpoint, Lord Macaulay gets to the nub of the issue. The Puritans, he says, were men „convinced that the reform which had been effected under King Edward (VI) had been far less searching and extensive than the interests of pure religion required”.48 From its beginnings in the early days of Elizabeth’s reign (1558-1603), the Puritan movement had this clear objective. In the words of William Hailer, one of the greatest modern authorities in this field, „The Puritans sought to push reform of government, worship, and discipline in the English Church beyond the limits fixed by the Elizabethan settlement”.49 When Elizabeth came to the throne, „the Reformation was secure but not complete. It was the Puritans’ aim to make it complete”.

It is true that in this purpose they failed, „and if this had been all, Puritanism would never have become the revolutionary force it proved to be in the life of the English people, and of people within the English tradition throughout the world”_ Certainly, Puritanism was much bigger than the desire to reconstitute the ecclesiastical organization of society. It was in fact „nothing but English Protestantism in its most dynamic form”, and before it had run its course, „it had transfused in large measure the whole of English life”. Hence the Puritan movement developed down to the outbreak of revolution in 1649 not only as a campaign for reorganizing the institutional structure of the church, but also as a concerted and sustained enterprise of preachers for setting forth in pulpit and press a conception of spiritual life and moral behaviour. In this sense, Puritanism was not incompatible with any given ecclesiastical system, episcopalian, presbyterian, or congregational, and in so being, „it changed the face of both church and nation far more radically than all their ecclesiastical and political planning could have done”.

However, the Puritans were all of one mind in this, whatever their other differences, that from the ecclesiastical standpoint, the Reformation of the Church of England had, because of political expediency, been stunted before it could be conformed to the primitive simplicity of the New Testament model. „Neither the civil nor ecclesiastical powers, they maintained, had the authority to add to, subtract from, or modify the sufficient, definitive teaching of the New Testament in its pattern of Church government and Church life”. „In sum, all Puritans were against any priest or ceremony being interposed between the Christian soul and its Maker,” says Maurice Ashley in his History ofthe Seventeenth Century.56 The whole discussion can be summed up by another modern authority on this period, MM Knappen:

The term „Puritan” is used … to designate the outlook of those English Protestants who actively favoured a reformation beyond that which the crown was willing to countenance and who yet stopped short ofAnabaptism. It therefore includes both Presbyterians and Independents, Separatists and Non-Separatists. It also includes a number of Anglicans who accepted the episcopal system, but who nevertheless desired to modelit and English Church life in general on the Continental Reformed patte

Such was the Puritan ethos as it developed under Elizabeth, James I, and Charles I, and blossomed in the Interregnum, before it withered in the dark tunnel of persecution between 1660 (Restoration) and 1689 (Toleration).

Related Articles

(3) Martyn Lloyd-Jones – The Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches at New Delhi from those that were there (Lloyd-Jones vs. John Stott)

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Read Part 1 here – a history

Read Part 2 here – 1962 Address by Lloyd-Jones

Here is a sampling of this chapter in the history of the English Churches and the debate going on between Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Stott:

Five years before, almost to the day, I had sat in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, trembling and gripping the seat, as I heard the Doctor preach for the first time, and was rescued from the emptiness of liberal theology. Now I was gripping the chair again! Oh that we had more preachers today who could make us tremble.

The chairman, John Stott, sensed that many men were being stirred to action and feared that some Anglican clergy might leave their church. Although he had already been given a ten minute slot earlier in the meeting to state his own views, he rose, at the end of the Doctor’s address not to close the meeting, but to counter what had been said. Being a young, impetuous non-conformist at the time, I secretly hoped that Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones would get to his feet again and make mincemeat of the Anglican leader, but he was wiser and more gracious than I shall ever be…

Is it too late now? New factors, besides liberalism and ecumenism, have come into the religious scene, ranging from the ridiculous to the rigid. The difficulties will be enormous but should that prevent us from attempting what is right? After all, trying to live a holy life can be difficult. Am I wrong to dream that one day there might be a closeknit Fellowship or Association of Bible Churches with English, Welsh and Scottish branches, to include all who have a serious view of the Bible and a commitment to a robust evangelicalism? Dr Lloyd-Jones ended his appeal with the prayer “May God speed the day”.

Foundations a journal of Evangelical theology for the British Evangelical Council (18th October 1966 edition)
 18th October 1966: I was there…

Stan Guest, then of the Congregational Evangelical Revival Fellowship

By 1966 I had been a member for some 12 years of the Westminster Fellowship. We met monthly under Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones and shared thoughts on many different subjects. From a letter I wrote to him on 2nd February, 1966, it is clear that, at the January meeting, he had spoken about „coming out” of the denominations. In my letter I said I was ready to do so but not yet persuaded that the time was „now”. I recalled his earlier advice that we should stay in as long as we can. I was preparing a statement for the Annual Assembly of the Congregational Union in May.

I was present at meetings of the National Assembly ofEvangelicals 1966 and was aware of the deep sadness and confusion felt by so many. This resulted in the Doctor closing the Westminster Fellowship for a time. My own personal position, however, had been greatly helped by the Doctor’s stand and this, no doubt, encouraged me to accept, in 1967, the position of Secretary to An Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches.

Evangelicals in congregationalism had a situation to face in 1966 that was different from their brethren in other denominations. The Congregational Union of England and Wales was changing its form in very significant ways. After several years of discussion it invited churches to covenant together as the Congregational Church of England and Wales. This commenced in 1966 and it was a clear move towards the further step of uniting with the Presbyterian Church of England to form the United Reformed Church. This took place in 1972. It was hailed as an important move towards ecumenical oneness. Though it is difficult to see it as such when one realises that over 200 more congregational churches stayed out of the URC than the number of Presbyterian churches that went in.

Not all the churches that remained congregational did so on evangelical grounds. Many saw that the URC was, in fact, really a Presbyterian body. They compared, for example, the Congregational Union declaration of 1833 with the URC constitution. The former stated that in no way was the Union to assume authority or become a court of appeal. The latter had as its closing statement: „The decision of the General Assembly on any matter which has come before it on reference or appeal shall be final and binding”.

Evangelicals recognised these changes of church policy, of course, but they believed they had even stronger grounds for separation. For decades the CUEW had been drifting away from the final authority of Scripture and the true declaration of the Gospel. This had already led, in 1947, to the forming of a Congregational Evangelical Revival Fellowship, drawing together individual members of churches. The call to covenant as the CCEW required an affirmation of oneness in doctrine with those who were fully liberal in their teachings. There were churches who could not do this and, in 1967, there was formed an Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches.

One question that had to be faced was whether or not simply to join the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. Some churches did, in fact, take up joint membership. It was recognised, however, that churches would be more easily encouraged to take a stand if they could see they were continuing in a congregational denomination. One important consequence of this has been that, because an EFCC was legally recognised as a continuing congregational body, it has received substantial funds from the former national and county Congregational Unions, thus preserving their benefit for evangelical purposes.

The call for wider evangelical unity was not ignored, however. The first EFCC constitution booklet stated: „In no way is it the intention to set up a permanent body as a separate continuing denomination. We see ourselves as a ‘bridging Fellowship’ until such time as the Lord may prepare the way for a wider grouping of Bible-believing Christians from all denominational backgrounds”. Its first statement of purpose reads: „To seek the welfare and express the faith and the true unity of the whole Church of Jesus-Christ”.

Basil Howlett, then at Hesters Way BC, Cheltenham

The scene is indelibly etched on my mind. The occasion was the opening night of the Second National Assembly of Evangelicals arranged by the Evangelical Alliance which followed hard on the heels of a Commission to „study radically the various attitudes of Evangelicals to the Ecumenical Movement, denominationalism and a possible future United Church”. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones had been asked by the leaders of the Evangelical Alliance to „say in public, what he had said in private” when speaking to them. The Central Hall, Westminster was full, the platform was occupied by evangelical leaders of various persuasions – two rows of them. At first, as far as physical stature went, Dr Lloyd-Jones was dwarfed by them, but as the meeting went on he seemed to become a giant!

I felt sorry for Derek Prime that night! He gave the introductory Bible Study on Philippians 2, and it was very good, but what followed was so electrifying that nobody had a hope of remembering what he said! The Rev. A Morgan Derham’s remarks, which had eulogised the Doctor with feint praise brought forth the following response when he arose to speak: „It would be churlish of me not to thank Mr Morgan Derham for the remarks he has made, but I wish he had not done so; he has robbed me of my valuable time!”

This gathering must be seen against the background of the increasing liberalism and mounting ecumenical pressures ofthose days. Two dreadful books which undermined Gospel truth had but recently been published. Honest to God by John Robinson (the Bishop of Woolwich) closely followed by Down to Earth written by Howard Williams (then President of the Baptist Union). In most of the doctrinally mixed denominations, Evangelicals were, at best, marginalised and ignored, but often mocked and discriminated against. Many young, evangelical ministers were fighting for survival, and would often find that a denominational official was working in league with disaffected members, to get them out of their churches. Numerous good, evangelical, theological students, looking for a church, were passed over. The Ecumenical Movement was marching forward to conquer, with strident voice and big steps, but with little sympathy for those who stood in the way. Evangelical churches had little hope of getting sites for church planting; Ecumenical Centres were the talk of the day.

Against that backcloth, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones stood to make his impassioned plea for Evangelicals, who were divided up among the denominations, to come together „as a fellowship or association of evangelical churches”, and to stand together for the Gospel. In actual fact, the words „separate” and „secede” were not mentioned.lt was a positive appeal for Evangelicals to stand together, not just occasionally, but always. I went to the Central Hall, that night, disillusioned with the Baptist Union, desiring closer unity with Evangelicals, but scared about the way forward. How do you leave a major denomination and its security when you have a young family? Suppose the denomination evicts your church from its premises and throws you out of the manse! Yet as. the message drew to a close I was convinced, along with others, that to be true to Scripture and conscience I had no alternative but to ask God to give me the strength to do what was right, no matter what the cost. The preacher knew there would be a cost for many and sympathised:

There are great and grievous difficulties: I am well aware of them. I know there are men, ministers and clergy in this congregation at the moment, who, if they did what I am exhorting them to do, would have a tremendous problem before them, even a financial, an economic and a family problem. I do not want to minimize this. My heart goes out to such men. There are great problems confronting us if we act on these principles. But has the day come when we, as Evangelicals, are afraid of problems? The true Christian has always had problems. The early Christians had grievous problems, ostracized from their families and the threat of death ever facing them. They were not daunted: they went on, they believed, they knew, they would rather die than not stand for the truth.

Five years before, almost to the day, I had sat in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, trembling and gripping the seat, as I heard the Doctor preach for the first time, and was rescued from the emptiness of liberal theology. Now I was gripping the chair again! Oh that we had more preachers today who could make us tremble.

The chairman, John Stott, sensed that many men were being stirred to action and feared that some Anglican clergy might leave their church. Although he had already been given a ten minute slot earlier in the meeting to state his own views, he rose, at the end of the Doctor’s address not to close the meeting, but to counter what had been said. Being a young, impetuous non-conformist at the time, I secretly hoped that Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones would get to his feet again and make mincemeat of the Anglican leader, but he was wiser and more gracious than I shall ever be…

In spite of the interjection, many of us left the Central Hall feeling that we were on the verge of something new and exciting. We honestly believed that if we left our mixed denominations it would not be a matter of going out into the wilderness, but into this new grouping of churches. We also felt, quite justifiably, that just as men were willing to make sacrifices to come out of mixed denominations, so evangelical bodies like the FIEC and the Strict Baptists, etc, would be prepared to make changes in pursuit of this greater evangelical unity. Sadly, it has not happened. Our failure to heed the appeal, in my view, is one of the greatest tragedies and disappointments of the past 30 years. I sometimes wonder whether the increased confusion and contention within evangelicalism, not to mention the comedy, is a judgement of God upon us because of our failure to take evangelical unity seriously.

Is it too late now? New factors, besides liberalism and ecumenism, have come into the religious scene, ranging from the ridiculous to the rigid. The difficulties will be enormous but should that prevent us from attempting what is right? After all, trying to live a holy life can be difficult. Am I wrong to dream that one day there might be a closeknit Fellowship or Association of Bible Churches with English, Welsh and Scottish branches, to include all who have a serious view of the Bible and a commitment to a robust evangelicalism? Dr Lloyd-Jones ended his appeal with the prayer „May God speed the day”.

I thank God for the privilege of being at the Central Hall that night and of being allowed to live through those exciting, if scaring, times. Just one small, almost trivial incident indicates how traumatic the Central Hall meeting was. Two days later, as the EA assembly continued, newspaper vendors were selling their wares outside the Central Hall. The paper they were selling was The Christian, and their sales cry was not „Late Final” or „Latest Football Results’, but „Lloyd-Jones in The Christian!”, „Lloyd-Jones in The Christian!”

Derek Prime, then at Lansdowne EFC, Norwood

My memory of the evening of Tuesday, October 18th, 1966, at the Central Hall, Westminster, is not as clear as I would wish it to be. I do not think that any person taking part imagined that it would prove to be so significant. Had we appreciated the consequences that were to follow, I for one would probably have taken greater note of the feelings and convictions I then possessed.

I have clear recollections, however, of our time in the vestry beforehand. I imagine that I had been asked to take part because I was in the middle of my year as president of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. The atmosphere was warm and friendly. After prayer together, John Stott, the chairman, suggested that we make our way to the platform, and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones asked John Stott, where he wanted him to sit. „Sit at my side”, John Stott requested, to which the Doctor quickly responded, with a twinkle in his eye, „Which side? You have two sides, John!”

I had been asked to read the Scriptures early on in the meeting, together with some brief comment. Since the stated theme was Christian unity, I read the first half ofPhilippians 2, and commented on the passage in the light of the subject.

The address Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave is well documented, and what he said probably surprised few of us, but what took everyone by surprise, I believe, was the action of the chairman, John Stott, when, after the Doctor’s address, he proceeded to repudiate what he had said. I sensed that this was unpremeditated and certainly not on the programme for the meeting. John Stott was clearly alarmed at the action some might be prompted to take. The lesson I clearly remember from that meeting, which has remained with me, is that a chairman should not be a principal contributor to a meeting, especially if the subject is one where strong feelings are held. The sympathy of many went out to the Doctor who had no opportunity of reply, and especially the sympathy of those who already identified with the Doctor’s position or who were feeling the particular pressures of a false ecumenism in their church situations. I wonder if things would have been different- and the outcome better – if the meeting had been chaired by someone whose task had only been to chair, and not to represent a position or point of view?

It was a sad occasion because of my personal debt to and affection for both men. As a teenager, my school was adjacent to Westminster Chapel, and I was early introduced to the Friday Evening Discussion Meeting. Then as a young pastor, before moving to Edinburgh, I attended for twelve years the Westminster Fellowship. As a student, I was Mission Secretary for the first mission John Stott took for the Christian Union at Cambridge, a mission which was outstandingly fruitful as he preached the series of sermons from which came Basic Christianity. No two men, with their contrasting styles of effective expository preaching, more greatly influenced me with regard to my own understanding of preaching. I owe a great debt to God for their example.

There were many repercussions from the meeting, which others have written about. The Evangelical Alliance lost from its council godly men such as Theodore Bendor-Samuel and John Caiger, and the British Evangelical Council was seen as a preferred alternative for expressing evangelical Church unity. My personal regret was that I lost fellowship with many whose friendship I had appreciated and gained from since student days in the then IVF, particularly with evangelical Anglicans. Evangelical Anglicans and evangelical non- conformists expressed their identity and common concerns in many ways in the early years of my ministry, but that more or less ceased, and both went very much their own ways. It has perhaps only been in recent years, principally through the Proclamation Trust’s activity, that the divide has been bridged and fellowship re-established.

Leith Samuel, then at Above Bar Church, Southampton

Rev. Morgan Derham was the General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance (EA) when it undertook the task of enquiring whether or not there was a widespread demand for a united evangelical Church in Britain. An Assembly open to all Evangelicals registered with or recognised by the EA was arranged to meet in the Church House, Westminster, with two evening rallies in the Central Hall. John Stott chaired the first evening rally at which the speaker was Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who had discussed with the Council everything he was going to say. A rumour has circulated since that the message he gave took the Council of EA completely by surprise. Not so! They knew, and if they wished to, could have requested him not to say what he came out with. Revelation 18:4 was the Scripture on which the Doctor based his appeal. „Everything is in the melting-pot” is freely admitted all round. „For too long we have been content to go along as the evangelical wings of doctrinally- mixed denominations. Is this not the time to come together?” He did not advocate a new denomination, but „a loose federation of evangelical churches”. When he finished, John Stott got up and, contrary to the generally understood role of a chairman, flatly contradicted

the Doctor’s thesis by saying: „The Doctor has Scripture and Church History against him”, with no reference to any Scripture or incident in Church History. My host for the night, Tim Buckley of the London Bible College, said on the way home to Tooting: „Rugby and Cambridge. I can’t understand it!”, a reference to the chairman’s behaviour.

I rang the Doctor at his home that night, and expressed my grief at the way he had been treated. I did not sleep much that night, because I had to introduce a proposition next morning in the Church House that a fund should be started to help ministers who felt their conscience, enlightened by Scripture, was telling them they ought to leave their doctrinally-mixed denominations. I mentioned in my introduction that the existence of the Church of England was an illustration from Church History of a withdrawal from an apostate Church.

Imagine my consternation when we received at the door of the Central Hall that night a copy of The Christian, containing David Winter’s report of the meeting the previous evening with a heading across the front page saying: „The Doctor had called people out of their churches to form a new denomination”. Rev. HF Stevenson was unwell on the previous night and had asked David Winter to double up for him, so the Life ofFaith came out with a similarly startling heading the next day. In company with the Rev. Roland Lamb and a few others I submitted a letter to both papers asking the editors to correct the misleading impression of the previous week’s issue. The small letter was duly printed by both journals on page 3, totally lacking the impact of the previous week’s streaming headlines.

From personal conversations with the Doctor I gathered that he (and I!, let me hasten to add) were hoping that a banner would be raised at the Central Hall that we could all (true Evangelicals) in Britain come together under. I was informed by Dr Douglas Johnson, a close friend of the Doctor’s, that John Stott apologised privately to the Doctor, but never made public that he was sorry for treating the leading Evangelical in the country in the way he had done.

The next year the Anglicans met at Keele and declared they were committing themselves to a future in the Anglican community. I wrote to John Stott asking him not to overlook his non-conformist brethren. He assured me this would not happen! But ten years later at Nottingham they proceeded further in an Anglican direction. „This was not my scene said the leading Anglican Evangelical to me straight after Nottingham!

On the non-conformist side, the BEC gathering in Westminster Chapel, October 3rd 1967, was a significant moment, 450 years after Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Church ofWittenberg, though the impetus of that great gathering was never maintained, alas!

Derek Swann, then at Ash(ord Congregational Church

I began my ministry at Ashford in January 1963. My predecessor, but one, the Rev. Gilbert Kirby had left to become General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance in 1957. Consequently, the Church had strong links with the EA. It was natural, therefore, that I should be present at the October 1966 meeting at the Westminster Central Hall as a Church delegate, and at the various public meetings of the EA prior to that.

All that Dr Lloyd-Jones said that night in October is now well documented. To some, his message came like a thunderbolt, but to those of us who regularly attended the monthly meetings of the Westminster Fellowship of Ministers over which the Doctor presided, it was not. For many months the question of the Doctrine of the Church, unity and schism had been thoroughly discussed, so we were familiar with the Doctor’s position.

As Congregationalists we were forced in the early 60s, in way others were not, to consider, and face up to, the subject of Church unity. The Congregational Union of England & Wales was actively working for the formation of the Congregational Church in England and Wales (this came into being in 1966), which was a spring-board for union with the Presbyterian Church of England, which would result in the formation of the United Reformed Church in 1972. The majority of Evangelical Congregationalists were clear about what action they should take, but the discussions under Dr Lloyd-Jones were both strengthening and encouraging. At Ashford, as in many of our churches, the main issue was the Doctrine of Scripture. How could we possibly work with ministers and churches who held the view that „the Bible is not wholly free from error, confusion and contradiction, it must be read with fully critical attention if the Church is to discern the truth which is binding, and not to be in bondage to what is not binding”.1

A colleague had lunch with one of the leading men in the CUEW at the time, and warned that if loose views of Scripture continued to be embraced then Evangelicals could have no part in the proposed EC in England and Wales. His reply was: „We’re ready to lose you, for the sake of wider unity”. Not surprisingly the bulk of Evangelical Congregational Churches did not enter the new body. I must point out, as a matter of fact, that we did not come out of a body, rather we refused to join one.

To go back to the October 1966 meeting. When the Doctor finished his reasoned and passionate address, the behaviour of the Chairman, the Rev. John Stott, came as a shock. That otherwise calm and reasonable Anglican seemed to be visibly shaken by what had been said, and perhaps, fearful lest there should be a flood ofAnglican ministers prematurely leaving the Anglican Church, spoke briefly, but strongly that both Scripture and History were against the position the Doctor had outlined. The atmosphere was electric and one had the sense that from that night onwards a division in evangelicalism was highlighted that would dominate the scene for years to come.

Kirk Cameron talks about the Monumental Movie – Forefathers Monument

Click on photo to watch movie trailer

Kirk Cameron grew up as an atheist for the first 20 years of his life. Today, at the age of 40 he is introducing a new documentary that aims to teach our children the heritage of this country by „taking a lesson from history and planting seeds today, as parents, as Americans and we teach our children and we tell the stories and we remember our history and we can then trust God that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now we will see the fruit of our labors and then there’s hope that God will restore our country. It is an investment into a pure, proper society for the future instead of  bedlam”.

Kirk: I learned so much from our founding fathers. But, the more I look around and I open my eyes, I feel deeply concerned for where America is heading if it stays on it’s current course.. I am not a politician but I am a father who cares about the future of my kids and I think there’s something very sick in the soul of America, in general: Financially, we’re hearing about collapse all over the place. Morally, families ae falling apart. Spiritually, it’s scary what I see happening.

Kirk recounts how a Policeman friend and a Navy Seal were arrested in Hollywood for talking to people on the streets with an open Bible.Kirk: Are you kidding me? I mean I would imagine this in China or some other country, but in America? I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with this country and I don’t have some delusions of grandeur  that I can fix the nation, but I want to be part of the solution.

I wonder if we have just forgotten the principles that made us a great nation in the first place? Could we go back and talk to our founding fathers and just listen to them? Is there a way to go back and learn from them the essentials that built this nation? And, could it be that our founders were wiser men responsible enough to know we would get off track, because they’ve seen where they came from and that it is in the hearts of men to be selfish and oppressive, and to grab power and to abuse others. So, could it be that they would know that we would get off track and leave us clues to get back to the treasure that would save us?

As I began to learn about our country’s history I thought: This isn’t the history I learned about the Pilgrims. I thought that Christianity belonged in the church and in my home, but not in the public square. It’s not meant to be principles for nation building. As Kirk went on a journey learning the history of the founding fathers, he decided to do a documentary movie and dig deeper. Kirk traveled to England and saw the prisons that the Separatists were thrown in for their religious beliefs and through his research came to understand that the treasure they brought over to the United States was not in chests made of wood, but in chests of men and women. It was the ideas in their hearts and in their minds. It was the truth of God and His word, their love for Jesus Christ and the belief that if they took God’s word and used it as a blueprint, they could built a nation where men and women and children would be free, free to love God and free to reach the world for Christ. All of these principles were encapsulated and immortalized in one monument that is sitting on top of a hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts; hidden in a residential area behind a forest of trees. Most people have never seen it, let alone heard of it. It is called Monument to the forefathers. It lays out the forefathers strategy for our nation. It is so clearly biblical in its presentation. The monument is 81 feet tall and her name is faith. Her finger is pointing towards heaven

Kirk Cameron talks about the Monumental Movie at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast. Learn more about the movie at: http://www.monumentalmovie.com/ .
Website: http://www.thestoryofliberty.net
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Story-of-Liberty-hosted-by-John-Bona/14059… Blog: http://thestoryoflibertyblog.com/

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Christian Biography

William Wilberforce (1759-1833)

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a tribute to William Wilberforce, written by John Piper in 2007, on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave:

It was 4 A.M. February 24, 1807. Wilberforce was the chief human instrument in God’s hands for overturning what he called “this horrid trade.” In honor of this anniversary it is fitting to take a few glimpses at the man. Two glimpses encourage us to be ready to give our encouragements to good causes. John Newton, author of the hymn „Amazing Grace,” and John Wesley gave crucial words to Wilberforce. Here’s a snapshot.

To resolve the anguish Wilberforce felt over what to do with his life as a Christian, he resolved to risk seeing John Newton on December 7, 1785—a risk because Newton was an evangelical and not admired or esteemed by Wilberforce’s colleagues in Parliament. He wrote to Newton on December 2:

I wish to have some serious conversation with you. . . . I have had ten thousand doubts within myself, whether or not I should discover myself to you; but every argument against it has its foundation in pride. I am sure you will hold yourself bound to let no one living know of this application, or of my visit, till I release you from the obligation. . . . PS Remember that I must be secret, and that the gallery of the House is now so universally attended, that the face of a member of parliament is pretty well known. (Robert Isaac Wilberforce and Samuel Wilberforce, The Life of William Wilberforce, abridged edition [London,
1843], p. 47.)

It was a historically significant visit. Not only did Newton give encouragement to Wilberforce’s faith, but he also urged him not to cut himself off from public life. Wilberforce wrote about the visit:

After walking about the Square once or twice before I could persuade myself, I called upon old Newton—was much affected in conversing with him—something very pleasing and unaffected in him. He told me he always had hopes and confidence that God would sometime bring me to Him. . . . When I came away I found my mind in a calm, tranquil state, more humbled, and looking more devoutly up to God (ibid., p. 48).

Wilberforce was relieved that the sixty-year-old Newton urged him not to cut himself off from public life. Newton wrote to Wilberforce two years later: “It is hoped and believed that the Lord has raised you up for the good of His church and for the good of the nation” (ibid). One marvels at the magnitude of some small occasions. Think what hung in the balance in that moment of counsel, in view of what Wilberforce would accomplish for the cause of abolition.

Another encouragement came from John Wesley in the last letter he ever wrote before he died. When Wesley was eighty-seven years old (in 1790) he wrote to Wilberforce and said, “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of man and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you” (ibid.).Two years later Wilberforce wrote in a letter, “I daily become more sensible that my work must be affected by constant and regular exertions rather than by sudden and violent ones” (ibid., p. 116). In other words, with fifteen years to go in the first phase of the battle, he knew that only a marathon mentality, rather than a sprint mentality, would prevail in this cause. Thank God for Wesley’s counsel to Wilberforce. from www.desiringGod.org You can read further about Wilberforce here and here. You can also read John Piper’s online book Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce here.

Click on to enlarge to Full Screen. Then press Esc (Escape key) on your keyboard to resume page.

Martyn Lloyd Jones – Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:12

      For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

From www.mlj.org.uk or www.mlj-usa.com where you can listen to some Martyn Lloyd-Jones sermons and resources such as

Diary of John Wesley – Chapter 2 (Return to England; George Bohler)

Read Introduction and Chapter 1 here- Wesley travels to Georgia,U.S.A. on mission to Evangelize the American Indians and Pastor a church.

View this document on Scribd

„Remember that women are ordinarily affectionate, passionate creatures, and as they love much themselves, so they expect much love from you.” A puritan said what?

The more I read the Puritans, the more I learn how much respect I should have for those before us and what they knew. I decided I wanted to read more about the Puritans. The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1559, as an activist movement within the Church of England. Puritans by definition felt that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, and that the Church of England was tolerant of practices which they associated with the Catholic Church. They formed into and identified with various religious groups advocating greater „purity” of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety.

I came across this writing from Richard Baxter, written as an exhortation for men and women  on the treatise of marriage. What is truly impressive, is the understanding that Baxter has of women, and the sensitive treatment he accords them in the marriage relationship. For example here are a couple of points that are very well made:

  • in point#9 he says – Don’t magnify her imperfections until they drive you crazy. (Consider also your own infirmities, and how much your wives must bear with you.)
  • in point#11 he says – A good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife.
  • point #3 he says – Fighting chills love, fighting makes your spouse undesirable to you in your mind.
  • in point #7 he says – Your dissension will expose you to the malice of Satan, and give him advantage for many, many temptations.
  • Do not forget that you are both diseased persons, full of infirmities; and therefore expect the fruit of those infirmities in each other; and do not act surprised about it, as if you had never known of it before. Decide to be patient with one another; remembering that you took one another as sinful, frail, imperfect persons, and not as angels, or as blameless and perfect.

and my absolute favorite one:

  • Agree together beforehand, that when one of you is sinfully angry and upset the other shall silently and gently bear it until you have come to your sanity.

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