Sunday, August 31, 2014

Text from Nigeria 30/8/14

BH warned on Saturday that next month will be a bloody month as they continue to clear their caliphate of infidels. They announced that all remnants of minority religious ethnic people in the whole Gwoza LGA, that includes all Christians and others in the Gwoza hills and beyond as well as the villages on the plain are under attack. Supporters of the caliphate are many, and with almost 500 soldiers having fled into Cameroon and others refusing to fight, the situation is dire for all but the people willing to become BH members.

Please remember the Christians in Maiduguri and around other towns in Borno who although the cities are relatively quiet, there is much fear, rumours and intimidation. Christians in Maiduguri still try to be active although constantly feel under threat. Remember the leaders of Churches like COCIN ECWA QIC, pray for wisdom on handling mission and outreach in the 12 Northern States under Shari’a Law.

Holiday in Scotland - Day 8 - From Arran to Kyle of Lochalsh.

Once again we have been blessed by good weather - except for the latter part of the afternoon when rain obscured the wonderful highland vistas.

We drove over 23 miles to catch our ferry, Lochranza to Claonaig on the Mull Of Kintyre. On a car next to us in the ferry queue I saw my first 'Better Together' sticker. I commented on this to the driver who was from Edinburgh holidaying with a friend from Fife. OTOH Oban where we did some grocery shopping was awash with a sea of Yes notices. Many were on lampposts which also had No notices too. But Oban was overwhelmingly Yes. However I am sticking to my opinion that empty vessels make the most noise. The status quo is No and those in favour of the Union do not need to shout.

One such noise is the matter of the public display of Gaelic on road signs. Here we have a country with an estimated 70,000 or so speakers of Gaelic, none of whom are unable to read English. The total population of Scotland is around 5,000,000. It is IMO folly and hazardous to put Gaelic place names above the English equivalent on road signs. This is a recent nationalist innovation. It certainly does not help the major industry of these parts, tourism. Finally on this, I note the two most important signs are only in English, 'SLOW' painted on the road before a bend and the ubiquitous 'Passing Place' so essential on narrow, single track byroads.

We lunched by the roadside on the coast north of Oban then stopped again ay Spean Bridge for me to pay my respects at the Commando Memorial. This was the training area for the elite WW2 men. I will put photos on Facebook ASAP but unfortunately have mislaid my cable to upload the pics.

The memorial is so impressive, even more so as a lone piper was playing a lament."United we conquer" is inscribed around the top of the stone plinth, while the original plaque on the stone plinth reads: "In memory of the officers and men of the commandos who died in the Second World War 1939–1945. This country was their training ground." 1700 were killed. 8 won the Victoria Cross. There is a large plaque quoting Churchill, 'Their glory will never fade.'

Our day ended with dinner where we are staying, the home of the MacDonalds, minister and GP.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day7 One day out of seven.

This has been the only day when we had the feared Scotland's wet weather. There has been 24 hours of rain and the beck by the cottage is in spate. We had two power cuts too. Never mind. We concluded our Arran week with a very good dinner out. See Facebook for the pics. The wind this morning prevented all ferry sailings from Lochranza. That is our route tomorrow so we pray for the wind to drop.

The point of contact between Christians and non-Christians

As a Christian approaches the non-Christian, he still has a starting place from which to know the person in a way that the non-Christian does not have, because he knows who the person is. One of the most brilliant men I have ever worked with sat in my room in Switzerland crying, simply because he had been a real humanist and existentialist. He had gone from his home in a South American country to Paris, because this was the center of all this great humanistic thought. But he found it was so ugly. The professors cared nothing. It was inhuman in its humanism. He was ready to commit suicide when he came to us. He said, ‘How do you love me, how do you start?’ I said I could start. ‘I know who you are,’ I told him, ‘because you are made in the image of God.’ We went on from there. Even with a non-Christian, the Christian has some way to begin: to go from the façade of the outward to the reality of the inward, because no matter what a man says he is, we know who he really is. He is made in the image of God; that’s who he is. And we know that down there somewhere – no matter how wooden he is on the outside, or how much he has died on the outside, no matter if he believes he is only a machine – we know that beyond that façade there is the person who is a verbalizer and who loves and wants to be loved. And no matter how often he says he is amoral, in reality he has moral motions. We know that because he has been made in the image of God. Hence, even with a non-Christian, the Christian has a way to start, from the outside to the inside, in a way that non-Christians simply do not have” (F A Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent.p. 82-3).


Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund writes

Last month I was in Damascus. I had the great privilege of meeting Dr Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria. He is a man of peace who pleads repeatedly for equal and harmonious relations between Muslims, Christians and followers of all religions as members of one human family. Because of this stance, he has endured great abuse and criticism from some of his fellow Muslims and was targeted for assassination by the Saudis. Knowing that he would have good security and protection, the group of Islamist hit-men were instructed that, if they could not kill the Grand Mufti himself, they should kill one of his sons instead. In due course they murdered his teenage son. After some months, two of the perpetrators were caught and imprisoned. The Grand Mufti asked to see them and they were brought to him blindfolded. He instructed their blindfolds to be removed, and the two young men, discovering themselves face to face with the head of Sunni Islam in Syria and the father of their victim, shook with fear. But, to their astonishment, the Grand Mufti gently reached out his hands to them and told them not to be afraid. He said that he did not want their mothers to weep as his own bereaved wife had wept for her son, and therefore he forgave them.

Last week I was in northern Iraq and came face to face with the stark reality of another face of Islam, that of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now calling itself simply the Islamic State). The sheer brutality of this face of Islam cannot be comprehended. It kills men, women and children, the elderly, the poor and the weak. It cuts in half little children and commits acts of ethnic cleansing that border on genocide. This behaviour is pure barbarism reminiscent of the early Assyrians and later Babylonians who once inhabited this region and were known for their immense cruelty.


ISIS has started to produce a magazine, in English and other European languages, called Dabiq. The name is actually a town not far from Aleppo in northern Syria, which is important in Islamic history because it was the site of a major battle between the Ottomans and the Mamluks in 1516. But, more significantly, Dabiq is mentioned in a hadith (tradition recording the words and actions of Muhammad) that prophesies that a great battle will be fought there in the End Times, in which the Muslims will be victorious over the Christian forces, and which will be the first step in the Muslim conquest of the whole world. In Islamic eschatology, Jesus, whom Muslims call Isa, will descend via a minaret of the Great Mosque in Damascus, and from there he will lead his armies to victory. “Victory” means destroying every cross, killing every Jew and pagan, and either converting every Christian to Islam or killing them. This apocalyptic dimension is now shaping ISIS as it sees itself fighting an End Time battle.

In the first issue of Dabiq, ISIS addressed the “return of the Khalifah”, arguing that Islam is now in its final stages as it achieves at last its goal of re-establishing the Caliphate. The Ottoman Caliphate, which collapsed in 1922-23 as the Republic of Turkey was established, is now being reborn in a new Caliphate, represented by the Islamic State.
In the second issue, Dabiq looks at Noah and the flood. An article entitled “It’s either the Islamic state or the flood” begins with the “polluted ideologies that have afflicted people the entire world over” and condemns the idea of leaving people to choose peacefully for themselves what to believe. The only solution, says Dabiq, is to eradicate the principle of free choice and to implement God’s will. Any who oppose this will be punished both on earth and in the hereafter as those who scoffed against Noah were punished by flood and hellfire.
This face of Islam, based as it is on Islamic sources including the Quran and hadith, is as authentic as the peaceful tradition of the Grand Mufti of Syria. Both have existed throughout Islamic history. The Grand Mufti of Damascus has not only been ridiculed and vilified by his co-religionists but also told that he he is not a true Muslim. When he visited the UK some ten years ago, and preached at the Regent’s Park mosque in London and at other mosques, he afterwards had to be protected from Muslim leaders who disagreed with his theology. Today, he cannot return to the UK, being unable to get a visa and opposed by Muslim leaders.

The question therefore is: what is true Islam? The reality is that there are now many “Islams” depending on one’s interpretation of the texts and of the history. All can validly claim to be theologically based on the same Islamic source texts. Thankfully the peaceful traditions continue to live on, shaping the minds and hearts of countless millions of Muslims across the world. These are the Muslims who seek only a better future for themselves and their children and grandchildren, many of whom have also a deep desire to live at peace with all humanity, as well as with their co-religionists.

But equally, there is the undeniable rise of radical Islam with an ideology that is propagated by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, funded by their vast oil resources, and now effectively reshaping Islam. This face of Islam brings extremists to the forefront and gives birth to movements like ISIS. ISIS has been publicly disowned by Muslim and Western leaders alike, including key political leaders in Britain and other Western countries, who assert that it does not represent Islam. In fact some would go so far as saying that ISIS is not Islamic in any way. But however much one may want to dismiss ISIS as a temporary phenomenon that will soon disappear, or that can be easily defeated, or that is un-Islamic and therefore can be rejected, these concepts may well prove to be nothing more than pie in the sky. Even if these extreme forms were to cease to exist, the ideological underpinning that has produced movements such as these will continue so long as nations like Saudi Arabia, as well as countless individual Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders, continue to use a literalist interpretation of Islam’s source texts. This remains true whether or not Western governments recognise the theological basis of such movements.


For Christians it is now impossible to survive within the territory controlled by the so-called Islamic State. For those in bordering areas, such as northern Iraq, Baghdad, Damascus, certain other parts of Syria, and Lebanon, the future is filled with terror. Hope seems to be fast disappearing as they see an international community without the will to defeat such an extreme force.
For many the only apparent solution that enables them to retain their faith and protect their families and communities is to leave – to leave their homes and their homelands in search of survival. Countries such as the UK have shown a reluctance either to address ISIS or to protect Christians and welcome them into our land.


Before I took my leave of the Grand Mufti, he commented on his last visit to the UK, a decade ago, when he had predicted that there would come a day when many British mosques would become radicalised and where some of their members would become prey to extremist beliefs and go on to do horrible things. Sadly, that day has now come. He asked me whether I could enable him to get a visa to visit the UK again and to teach a peaceful Islam based on tolerance and a common humanity.
If courageous Muslims like him do not come to the UK and other countries, if mosques do not open their doors to him, if the minds of the young do not receive his teachings and are not enlightened by his knowledge and wisdom, then the future of this land and others is increasingly uncertain. Christians in the Middle East, and now farther afield, see a rapidly approaching terror; the same terror may face us in the West before long.
The fearsome Assassins were a ferocious Ismaili Islamic sect that came into being in the late eleventh century and instituted a reign of terror, which lasted for some 200 years. The Assassins were eventually destroyed only when Christians and Muslims joined forces to work together against a group that threatened everyone. Unless a concerted effort is made by governments in the region and internationally too, ISIS will continue to grow and threaten us a

Holiday in Scotland - Day 6 - around Brodick

Once again perfect weather despite the rain forecast. In the morning it was mainly tourist type shops the afternoon Katy and I alone went to the museum of Arran life, an excellent museum telling much of the history of Arran especially agricultural and military heritage. As usual, pics on Facebook.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 5 - Circuit of Arran

On a beautiful day with perfect visibility we set off to compass Arran, clockwise. Coffee stoop was Machrie Bay the Lochranza. All pics on Facebook

Lochranza Castle stood in defiance. During the 1490s, James IV used the castle in his campaign against the Lord of the Isles and the Clan MacDonald. In 1614 it was occupied by James VI and in the 1650s it was used by Cromwell.

By 1705, Lochranza Castle was the property of the Hamilton family, after it was purchased by the Duchess of Hamilton

Lunch was at the Arran Distiller opened by HM in 1997 so its oldest malt for sale is a 17 year old. With our lunch Geoffrey and I enjoyed a sampler tray of four different cask finishes. Tasted fine but the tasting notes are pretentious rubbish.

Later in Sannox Cemetery we saw 3 war graves including a RAF flight lieutenant who it seems was the son of the local minister. On the stone is, 'Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen.'

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 4 - Lost in the woods

A beautiful day as the wind in the east kept away any rain. ( I am writing this early next morning in bright sunshine too but the midges are in the air around me. I am hoping they do not like pipe smoke.) After lunch at Whiting Bay Katy and I set off for the Glenishdale waterfalls. It was a gentle incline up a bridle way but when we entered the woods we went astray. The pines were tall and thin but their debris obscured what was now a mere path. In fact we could see no path. We saw the falls in the distance but could not find the way to them. The way was blocked by fallen trees and steep slopes. We were lost. But seeing some walkers we shouted to them and they told us where to head for the path, only it was not the way to the falls but the way we had come up. So no falls for us and I realised that I no longer had my O.S. map which was borrowed from Ealing Library. So on our return I will have to own up and pay up. Earlier in the day I chatted with a Glaswegian couple who were firmly no voters for the coming referendum. We saw a couple of Yes posters though. The day's photos are on Facebook as usual.

August 27: Church of Scotland Adopts WCF (1647)

Westminster Confession Approved by Church of Scotland

You may ask upon reading the title of this contribution, why are we thinking about adoption of the Westminster Confession of Faith, when the whole This Day in Presbyterian History blog deals with Presbyterian history in the United States? And that is a fair question. But it is quickly answered by two considerations. First, this Reformed standard—The Westminster Confession of Faith—was, with few changes, the subordinate standard of all the Presbyterian denominations in the United States. And second, the Scots-Irish immigrants who came over to this country in its earliest days held strongly to this Reformed creedal statement.

The Westminster Confession of Faith was formulated by the Westminster Assembly of divines (i.e, pastors and theologians) in the mid-seventeenth century, meeting at Westminster Abby in London, England. To the one hundred and twenty divines, primarily from the Church of England, were added nine Scottish divines from the Church of Scotland. While the latter were seated as non-voting members of that Assembly, still their presence was felt in very effective ways during the six-year study that produced this confessional standard.

When it was adopted by the Parliament in England, it then went to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, where it was adopted without amendment on August 29, 1647. It then became the summary of the teachings of the Old and New Testaments which was "owned" by the officers of the Church—the teaching and ruling elders, as well as the diaconate—in every local congregation. Down through the centuries, some changes in the Confession were made, most notably in 1789, but these have not affected the overall doctrinal content of the Confession. The majority of those changes were made in 1789. You can ask your pastor for more information about those changes.

The historic importance of this document remains relevant to this day as a focal point of our unity as Presbyterians, and so we seek to make our friends more knowledgeable of its magnificent statements.

Words to live by: Most of the Presbyterian denominations do not require their lay members to take vows which speak of their adoption of these historical creedal standards in order to join the church. Yet a careful study of, and acceptance of this Confession of Westminster will give you a solid foundation for understanding the doctrine and life of the Word of God. We urge you to do so, perhaps asking for a class in your church on it, or just studying it yourself for your personal and family benefit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 3 - Brodick Castle

Whenever I visit National Trust properties I want to know about the family in the civil war. Scotland is more complicated but here are the lairds of Brodick Castle, the dukes of Hamilton.

'Brodick Castle did not escape the religious paroxysms that affected seventeenth century life (see the Wars of the Three Kingdoms). In 1639, Scotland was divided between the Presbyterianism of the Lords of the Congregation, and the Episcopalianism favoured by King Charles I. James Hamilton, 3rd marquess of Hamilton, the King's advisor on all things Scottish, was sent north to enforce the King's will, he had previously dissolved the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland when they had abolished the Episcopacy. Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquess of Argyll, was the de facto ruler of Scotland and leader of the presbyterian faction. Argyll seized Hamilton's castle of Brodick. Hamilton was made a Duke in 1643 and recovered his castle the following year at the outbreak of the Scottish Civil War. It was lost again to the Campbells in 1646, as the Royalists fortunes foundered. The Duke was captured after the disastrous Battle of Preston, and faced the block in March 1649. He was succeeded by his brother William, Earl of Lanark, but the second Duke died of wounds received at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The Duchy of Hamilton and Earldom of Arran passed to the first Duke's only surviving child, Anne. She had been unwittingly sent to Brodick for safety. In 1650, Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads had taken control of the castle and had extended it by building an Artillery battery to defend the Firth at this strategic position.'

Centuries later, 'The Twelfth Duke, William had no male heirs, so although his titles passed to his distant cousin Alfred Douglas-Hamilton upon his death, he entailed the castle upon his only daughter the Lady Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton. She married James Graham, 6th Duke of Montrose in 1906, and so after more than five hundred years Brodick castle passed out of the Hamilton family.'

I was relieved to find that these Grahams are not the same family as this infamous one. 'John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee (c. 21 July 1648 – 27 July 1689), known as the 7th Laird of Claverhouse until raised to the viscountcy in 1688, was a Scottish soldier and nobleman, a Tory and an Episcopalian. Claverhouse was responsible for policing south-west Scotland during and after the religious unrest and rebellion of the 1670s and 80s. After his death, Presbyterian historians dubbed him "Bluidy Clavers".'

As my maternal grandfather was a George Graham I have no wish to find an ancestral link to Clavers, nor to the Hamiltons.

One of the spectacular exhibits in the castle is the silver room with silver from the 16th century onwards. But the shine of the silver is dimmed when you learn the origin of the wealth that bought this opulence.

'The fine Beckford Collection of furniture, silver and china displayed at Brodick Castle, on the Isle of Arran, once belonged to William Beckford, owner of several sugar plantations in the West Indies. His family was one of the first to settle in Jamaica. It rose from modest beginnings to become one of the richest families in Europe.

In 1810, his daughter Susan Beckford married the 10th Duke of Hamilton. They lived mainly at Hamilton Palace in Lanarkshire but also stayed at their other home, Brodick Castle.

Susan Beckford married Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton. Her father, William, died in 1844. Susan inherited his estate and collections.

William Beckford was the last in a line of rich men. He inherited a fortune made from the Jamaican sugar plantations and built Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire to house his collections and impress visitors. The cost was so great that he fell into debt. He sold the Abbey and bought property in Bath where he continued his life as a gentleman. He never visited his plantations.

Susan’s grandfather, William ‘Sugar Cane’ Beckford (1709-70), was born in Jamaica and lived in Britain – and was reputed to be Britain’s first millionaire. He owned 22,000 acres in Jamaica.

Her great-grandfather, Peter Beckford (1672-1735), also born in Jamaica, was said to be the richest man in Europe: by 1700; he owned 24 plantations where 1,500 enslaved people worked.

Great-great-grandfather Peter Beckford the Elder (1643-1710) arrived in Jamaica shortly after it became an English colony and took jobs as a hunter and horse catcher. When he died, he owned 11 estates, 24 plantations and around 1200 slaves. His fortune was estimated at £250 million (modern value).

So,silver tarnished by the sweat and blood of slaves.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Latest from Nigeria

The town of Madagali was attacked on Saturday and virtually occupied by BH.

Today’s news is that 6 churches and the Govt Sec School have been burnt down, number of deaths is not known.

BH leader declared on Nigerian tv (which channel is not known) that Gwoza Local Govt area is their new Caliphate and added that USA is wasting their time by attacking ISIS.

Nigeria military claims they are waiting for new equipment and will then make a full scale attack.

August 25: The Five Articles of Perth (1618)

by davidtmyers

Usurpers, Pretenders, and the One True King.

It was an ancient issue in many respects. Who was the king of the church? Was it the king of the British Isles, or was it Jesus Christ? There was no doubt in the prelacy party that the first answer was the correct one. And equally in the Presbyterian church, there was no doubt that Jesus is the king of the church. What was a turning point between the Crown and the Presbyterians was the passing of the Five Articles of Perth on August 25, 1618.

It all took place at a General Assembly on this date in Perth, Scotland. Yes, it was the national assembly of Scottish Presbyterians. Yes, there were various elders from the church of Scotland. Yes, there were faithful Presbyterians who were relegated to inferior positions, without the possibility of voting, even though they were elders sent by their Presbyterian parishes. Yes, there were many people present who were hand picked and not even ruling elders in the churches. The constitution of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland would be null and void in this gathering.

It was King James I who laid the five articles before the delegates. The five articles of this document were: (1) that Communion must be received in a kneeling posture; (2) Private Communion was permitted in cases of sickness; (3) Private baptism was permitted when necessary; (4) Children should be catechized and blessed by bishops (confirmation); and (5) Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost were declared as holy days for the whole church.
Even though it was declared beforehand that those who voted in the negative against its adoption would have their names sent to the King for future action, actions such as the withholding of stipends, nonetheless forty-five ministers held to their convictions and voted in the negative. The total vote was 86 in favor to 45 against, and thus it was passed. The Articles of Perth were confirmed by the Edinburgh Parliament on August 4, 1621.

Brian Orr, on his blog, "", from which most of the above was used by permission, wrote in conclusion, "standing back a pace, it should be recognized that the Articles of Perth, and particularly the kneeling at Communion, affected the whole Church in a direct and visible way. Opposition was not total, but it was strong enough to give rise to a permanent nonconformist group within the church. It also gave rise to the holding of conventicles in Edinburgh and other places in opposition to the new rites that signaled defiance of the king; and retribution followed." (p. 3)

Words to Live By:
One of the blessings which we have in this nation of America is the separation of church and state. It is sadly true that this has been high-jacked by countless citizens to be equal to the separation of God and state. But in reality, it originally meant that no one religious denomination would be the one and only faith group recognized by the government. Our early Scot-Irish citizens did not wish to see a repeat of England and Scotland's state priority over the Church of England. Let us as Christian citizens do our work of explaining this true meaning of the phrase "separation of church and state" among our neighbors and friends.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Days 1 & 2

Saturday 23rd we drove up to Ardrossan in Ayrshire to take the ferry to Brodick, Isle of Arran. We enjoyed fine weather for or 220 mile drive and 55 minute ferry crossing. We are staying in a fairly isolated cottage at Siddery on the south coast of the island. The sea, Kilbrannan Sound is a 10 minute stroll. Across the Sound is the Mull of Kintyre. To the south one sees the Ayrshire coast and to the south west the Antrim coast of Northern Island. Photos are on Facebook. With us are my brother Geoffrey and his wife. He organised this week on Arran as a celebration of his 60th birthday. We also have his mother in law, Brenda, and her lovely dog, Mick in the two car party.

On our first evening we dined in some style at the Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot. Their seafood platter was my best ever and later the Arran Blue Cheese was deliciously pungent. We have booked a table for our last night here on Friday, this time a reserved table with sea view.

Sunday 24th before breakfast, Geoffrey and I gave Mick the dog a walk to the shore. Then our morning worship was with the Free Church Continuing in Brodick. Geoffrey knows the family of a retired minister there. They had us to lunch after the service. We knew their custom is to sit and sing unaccompanied metrical psalms and to stand for the prayers. We had experienced this psalmody before but never ever this slow. We sang slowly enough for one to have a short meditation on every line! The sermon was on DVD from one of their ministers in Glasgow. After lunch I tried to talk with our host about the split between the Free Church of Scotland and The Free Church Continuing, but he found it a painful subject on which he did not want to dwell and expressed strong longing for reconciliation.

On another controversial subject, out host and hostess told us that Arran is a hot bed of nationalism and they were happy to talk to us about the forthcoming referendum but preferred to keep quiet on the subject with the locals. The previous evening we came back from our meal to find Yes literature on the door mat and this in a cottage half a mile down a rough track from a tarred road. We await more opinions on this during our holiday.

Robert Jermain Thomas - from Wales to martyrdom in Korea 1866

In 1839 a child was born in the small Welsh market town of Rhayadar – one of the oldest villages in Wales. Robert Jermain Thomas was the son of an evangelical minister in that town, who later (1848 – 1884) became the pastor of the Hanover Congregational Chapel in the village of Llanover.

When he was 15 years of age Robert joined the Hanover Church and by the time he was 17 he preached his first sermon on Hebrew 13:8, “Jesus, the same, yesterday, today and forever”. Robert studied for five years at London University where he leaned most of the European languages as well as studying medicine for 18 months with Doctor Waterman.

At age 24 he was ordained in his father’s church. Soon after his ordination he said good-bye to his family and departed with his new bride, Carolyn Godfrey, also skilled in languages, on a four month voyage to China to serve with London Missionary Society. Arriving in Shanghai in extremely cold weather they were invited to share a home with the head of the London Missionary Society in China – a man named William Muirhead. Sadly, it did not take long before Robert and William found that they disagreed greatly over mission practices.

A much greater crisis than disagreement was to follow. Robert left to travel to Hankow to find better living conditions for Carolyn, who was now pregnant. While all seemed well when he left, his young wife suddenly died from a miscarriage.

He poured out his grief in a letter to the London Missionary society, “My heart is well-nigh broken. I must seek somewhere a complete change. All that could be done for a sufferer was done for my dear wife. I trust to give myself more completely than ever to the noble work on which I have just entered but, at present, I feed weighed down by grief.” He followed this letter by taking up a position in Chefoo as a customs officer.

While In Chefoo he was introduced by Alexander Williamson of the National Bible Society of Scotland to two Korean men wearing Catholic crosses and possessing rosaries but having no Bibles. Motivated by their lack of the Scriptures he asked the Bible Society of Scotland for help to distribute Bibles in Korea. In 1865, aboard a small Chinese junk, he arrived on the mainland of Korea, becoming the first Protestant missionary to that land. Over the two and a half months there he picked up enough of the language to share some of the basics of the gospel and to pass out Bibles even though he knew it was at the risk of decapitation, or imprisonment and fines.

Catholicism had been in Korea since the late 1700s but in 1866 some 8,000 Catholic converts and a number of priests were massacred. In spite of this slaughter by those who feared foreign influence Robert was determined to bring the gospel into Korea. In the same year of the Catholic Massacre Robert learned that an American boat named the GENERAL SHERMAN was planning to sail to Korea to try to develop a relationship for trading. He offered to become an interpreter as he saw this as a chance to again bring the gospel.

While the boat sailed along the coast they received many warnings to turn back. As the ship sailed near the bank of the Taedong River Robert flung gospel literature onto the river banks. The authorities were angered by the arrival of the boat and demanded again that the boat leave at once. However, the Americans refused to head the order. When the little boat ran aground and stuck in the mud the Koreans tried to board the boat and the Americans fired upon them. For two weeks the Americans were successful in holding the Koreans off, killing 20 people with an unknown number wounded. Finally in desperation the Koreans sent several boats loaded with burning brush which set the stranded boat on fire. Those on board had to either try to swim ashore or burn to death.

The Koreans took the opportunity to kill the fleeing sailors, Robert being among them. It is said that he leaped from the boat with a Bible in hand to offer them. Reports vary, some saying that he was decapitated with the blade of a machete and others say he had opportunity to plead for his life but was beaten to death. There were no survivors and later Thomas and the other men murdered were buried on the island of Sook Syum (now in North Korea).

All was not in vain. One of the men involved in killing the sailors became convinced that they had
“killed a good man.” He kept a Bible that had been found and using the leaves of the Bible wallpapered his house with it. Curious people came and began reading this unusual wallpaper. In time many began to put their trust in the Saviour whom Robert served so faithfully though only for a short time. Twenty four years later the first fulltime missionary to Korea, Samuel Moffett, came and met people who had known Robert J. Thomas – some of them being the children of those who had executed him.

In 1932 the members of the Thomas Memorial Association which had been established by Rev. Samuel Austin Moffet built the Thomas Memorial Church. Under the communist regime the memorial church was destroyed in 1946 and it is now the site of a university.

The memorial in North Korea may no long exist but for Korean Christians Robert J Thomas continues to be honoured. The church where Robert grew up, and where his father was Pastor, in Llandor is visited by at least 800 Korean Christians a year and the manse where he lived has been turned into a place of memorial to him.

by Barbara Cross

The darkest day in the history of the church in England - 24 August 1662 - The Great Ejection

by davidtmyers

A New Act Brings Mass Resignations

Suppose . . . just suppose now . . . that you as a minister, or your minister, had a certain time period to decide to renounce the ordination vows made at ordination, subscribe to a different set of doctrinal standards, promise to arrange the worship according to a different standard of worship, agree to be re-ordained by another ecclesiastical body, and do all this by a certain day, or be deposed by the spiritual authorities which had the approval of the government. Talk about change! And yet this was the way it was on this day in Presbyterian history, August 24, 1662 in the British Isles.

It was called officially The Act of Uniformity, 1662. Its longer title was "An Act for the Uniformity of Public Prayers and Administration of Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies and for the Establishing the Form of making, ordaining, and consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons in the Church of England." It was broken up into five actions; (1) to have a complete and unqualified assent to the newly published book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. (In passing, most preachers and people had not even seen this newly published book.) (2) to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine articles of the Church of England; (3) to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant; (4) To renounce any attempt to alter the government of the church or state; (5) to receive ordination at the hands of a bishop in the Church of England.

Combined with other acts of this Church, it excluded anyone who was not in compliance with the above from holding civil or military office. Students at Cambridge or Oxford would not receive any degrees from such study, if they refused this act.

And all this was to take place before August 24, which date was the celebration of St. Bartholomew Day. Students of church history remember, as they did then, that this was the day of the massacre in France when Huguenots were slaughtered by the Roman Catholics. So, this was a day remembered "Black" St. Bartholomew"s Day.

It is estimated that some 2000 ministers were ejected from their pulpits and parishes, including their manses, with Anglican priests put in their place. The majority were Presbyterian (1,816), Independents (194), and Baptists (19). A similar procedure was enacted in Scotland, with 400 ministers ejected from the pulpits and parishes. In future posts, we shall treat some of these ministers who were ejected on that day.

Words to Live By:
Two years ago, in 2012, there was a ministry event of reconciliation by the Church of England at the 350th anniversary of the Great Ejection. We might be glad that such a meeting took place, but the real issue was, as Ian Murray put it, the issue on the nature of true Christianity. Let's face it. True adherence to the gospel will require sacrifice. That is why all of us as believing Presbyterians need to be more in prayer and watchfulness for our respective Presbyterian denominations and local churches. What has been faithful and true in the past may not be the case for the present and future witness of your church, if church officers and members grow careless about the faith once delivered unto the saints. As Paul put it, "the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:2)

Sunday Sermon
Two volumes, Sermons of The Great Ejection (Banner of Truth, 1962) and Farewell Sermons (Soli Deo Gloria, 1992), provide some of the gathered sermons preached by these pastors when torn from their congregations by the Act of Uniformity. The following words are a portion of the sermon brought by the Rev. John Whitlock on that fateful day. (time and space do not permit the full text)


Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.—Rev. 3:3.

Beloved, when I entered on this verse in the course of my Friday Lecture, I little thought that I had so short a time to preach among you. I hoped I should have enjoyed some further opportunities for some few weeks, at least as long as the Act of Uniformity allows. But it has pleased God by His wise and holy providence to order it otherwise. I being suspended from preaching here from this day forward, for nonconformity. How far rightly or legally on man's part, I shall not dispute, but leave to the righteous God to determine. I desire that both you and I may not eye man, but God, in this dispensation. I did not think to have preached my Farewell Sermon to you from these words, but having begun this text, and finding the matter of it so seasonable and suitable to this sad occasion, I shall by God's assistance proceed in the handling of it.

Since it is probable that I shall preach no more to you, I judge it very seasonable to leave the exhortation in the text with you, to call upon you to remember what and how you have received and heard, and to hold fast those wholesome truths you have heard, and those precious ordinances (at least the remembrance, impressions, and gracious effects of them) that you have enjoyed and been privileged with. Also, to repent of those sins, which have provoked, and may further provoke God to come on us as a thief, to take away many of His ministers from among us. . .

. . . The silence of ministers calls aloud on us all to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. It bids us to repent of our sins, the causes of God's judgments. It calls on you to prize and improve ministers and ordinances, better, if God shall continue, restore or further afford them to you. Yes, ministers' silence should cause people to speak the more and louder to God in prayer for the continuance and restoring of ministers and ordinances to them. When you do not hear so much and so often from God in preaching, let God hear the more and oftener from you in prayer. Ply the throne of grace. Give God no rest till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. And as our silence should make you speak the more to God, so also the more and oftener one unto another in holy conference, to provoke to love and to good works. And I beseech you, brethren, pray for us. Whatever God may do with us, or whithersoever we may be driven, we shall carry you in our hearts; and when and while we remember ourselves to God, we shall never forget you, but present you and your souls' concerns daily unto God at the throne of grace in our prayers. And we earnestly beg this of you, as you would remember what we have spoken to you in the name of the Lord, so you would remember us to God, and let us have a room and share in your hearts and prayers. When you get into a corner to pour out your hearts before God, carry us to God upon your hearts. Do not forget us, but lift up a prayer to God for us, your (we hope we may say) faithful, though weak, unworthy ministers, who have laboured among you in the Word and doctrine.

I shall say no more, but conclude with these two Scriptures: 'And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified,' Acts 20.32. The other Scripture is that request of Paul to, and prayer for, the Hebrews in Chapter 13.18-21: 'Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'


More than 76 Christians have been killed over the past five months in Taraba State, in north-east Nigeria, according to a report by Morning Star News.
Islamist mercenaries and ethnic Fulani herdsmen have launched attacks on eight towns and villages in the state. A local Christian leader described the violence as “genocide”.
In July, the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN) produced a communiqué on the dire situation in Taraba state, in which it accused the state government of remaining silent and of not protecting the Christian population. The communiqué stated that the official silence on the crisis in the area amounts to a deliberate extermination of Christians.

from Barnabas Fund 21 Aug 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Update from Nigeria.

The attack on Gwoza was vicious when thousands stormed the town and most of the Christians managed to get out in various ways and only about 10 to 20 were killed as far as reports we are getting. The Moslems thought they would be alright but we hear about 1000 were killed and it was the women who were burying them because of the stench in the town. The Boko Haram was annoyed that the Muslims had given their sons to be vigilantes so this was retaliation. No houses were burnt as the Boko Haram have now taken over the town and set up their flags and put in a new Emir. The old Emir and another leader miraculously escaped and climbed the hills and ran for miles along the rocks and then came down at Madagali and were able to get to Abuja about 700 miles away. So many others had to do the same but stayed in Adamawa State.

Those who fled are now in Adamawa State and further afield but 23rd Aug we now hear they are attacking one of the towns (Madagali) and so the poor people are on the run again. B/H has said they will go to the other towns in Adamawa and then back to Maiduguri. They have captured the Mobile Police training school at Limankara and killed a lot of trainees and many are missing.Soldiers have tried to take back the land but many have been killed and what can a few hundred do when B/H are in their thousands.

While all this was going on, Yobe State was being attacked again. A Bridge was blown up so folks from Buni Yudi are cut off from Damaturu.

15th August, 100 men were kidnapped from Doron Baga a place NE 0f Maiduguri but were captured by Chadian soldiers on Lake Chad and returned to Nigeria. These were Muslim men being taken to another country for forced training.

19th In Lagos a lame suicide bomber was caught at the airport.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

NIGERIA – 'Herdsmen' kill 18 Christians in village raids

August 21, 2014

A total of 18 Christians have been killed in recent gun attacks on communities in Plateau and Kaduna states.
Twelve people died when suspected Fulani herdsmen raided Yelwa village in southern Plateau state on August 11. More than 150 heavily armed gunmen launched the attack, killing villagers and burning houses. Local Christians said the attack was religiously motivated.
On the same morning, in the Christian village of Zarazong, in the Jos East local government area of Plateau, gunmen shot dead two people and burned down local houses. Meanwhile, three days previously, on August 8, gunmen launched a five-hour attack on Gimi Dogara village, Kaduna state, killing four Christians and setting fire to 15 houses.

The Rev Soja Bewarang, chairman of the Plateau chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, confirmed that all those who died in Plateau were members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN).
Christian leaders in Kaduna say the latest attack on Gimi Dogara brings the death toll for Christians murdered in the south of the state this year to more than 600. They describe the attacks as 'well coordinated and systematic'.

• Please pray for Christians in Plateau and Kaduna: pray they will know that God is Lord over all Nigeria. Pray for an end to the bloodshed and terror. Pray that national and state Governments, and the military, will take firm and decisive action to end the violence and protect Christians.

PO Box 54, Orpington, BR5 9RT, UK

Latest news from Borno

There have been ongoing terrible things going on in the Gwoza area confirmed by a call and texts from sources in Nigeria.

Boko Haram attacked the police Mobile Camp at Limankara last week but although the Mobiles were totally outgunned, tear gas was thrown and then the Mobiles fired killing around 300. On Saturday though the contingent of Mobiles were changed and last night the BH attacked again, even using a helicopter overhead, taking the new police totally by surprise - casualties are unknown.

Gwoza town has been totally taken over by the hundreds of BH, and who also have set up camps at Damboa and Buni Yardi. The whole area is almost cut off with bridges being blown up, and is controlled by the BH. There are still hundreds of people trapped in the Hills who can’t escape. Even very elderly and sick people are being forced out of Gwoza, going on carts or wheel barrows, trying to get south to Mubi and onwards. There have been some miraculous escapes, including a brother who was thought to have been killed. There is fear that the BH will advance into Adamawa and even States like Plateau in the Middle Belt. They are using even crippled people and young women to be suicide bombers as happened in Lagos yesterday.

The needs of the destitute displaced people are just enormous.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20: Lady Ann Lindsay - The Holy Example of a Godly Mother

by davidtmyers

The times of the seventeenth century in Scotland for Scottish Christians were enough to try one's soul. Throw in a persecuting king and government against Presbyterians, and you have a trying time. Throw in ejected pastors from their pulpits and parishes, and you have a trying time. Such was the period of our post today.

Our character today is Anne Lindsay. This Christian wife and mother was one of those few mighty and noble individuals whom God had chosen as His own. She had a position of wealth and influence, and so was known as Lady Anne Lindsay, the Duchess of Rothes. Born into this position, she would use it for God and His glory.

Her father and mother were godly in all aspects. Her father was a man of great position in Scotland's government, namely, that of lord high treasurer. But he was also a man of sound religious principle and a steadfast supporter of the Reformation. Told to renounce the Covenants of Scotland, he refused by saying that he was taught not to do evil that good may come. He resigned his position over the matter and lived out his years at his home.

Anne Lindsay's mother was eminent for her virtue and piety. Seeing what happened to her husband for righteousness sake, she responded that they would trust God that He would provide for them in dark days.

Into this family, Anne was born. She enjoyed the benefit of a Presbyterian education and conviction in her earlier years. She would continue to adhere to it in every circumstance, in adversity as well as in prosperity. Especially was this commitment difficult, given that her husband was an unbeliever, and a government official in the kingdom of King Charles II. She found herself in circles which hated the Covenanter cause. But she continued to both support those Presbyterians who were ejected for their faith as well as worship herself out in the fields of those ejected ministers when and where they preached the Gospel.

Both daughters of this union, as well as a son, followed the faith of their mother. They continued on the godly line of their mother.

Lady Anne Lindsay would enter into the joy of the Lord, dying on August 20, 1700.

Words to Live By:
The original author who wrote the book "Ladies of the Covenant," closes out her story by applying it to godly mothers everywhere, in these Words: "From their offspring in infancy constantly under the care (of mothers), and afterward in childhood and youth more frequently in their society than in that of the other parent, mothers have a more powerful influence than fathers in forming their character, and how often, as must be known to all who are but slightly acquainted with Christian biography, have those who have been distinguished in their day for piety and extensive usefulness in the church and in the world, had to trace their piety and their usefulness to the instructions, counsels, and admonitions they had received in their first and more tender years, from their God-fearing mothers." Our response? Solomon answers in Proverbs 31:28 - 30 "Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying 'Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.' Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19: Scottish Commissioners to the Assembly

by davidtmyers
It was on this day, August 19, in 1643 that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland nominated and elected five ministers and three ruling elders to serve as non-voting members of Westminster Assembly.

The Westminster Assembly had convened its historic meeting in July 1, 1643, for the initial purpose of revising the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. During the course of the first three months, two events stood out. First, the Solemn League and Covenant were adopted by the Assembly. Second, and this is the topic of this day's post, the Scottish commissioners arrived to, "put the sickle into the great harvest" then coming into fruition.

Earlier, the Assembly of the Church of Scotland had responded to the call of the English church by nominating a number of commissioners to go to England, join the Westminster Assembly as non-voting members, and unify believers in both kingdoms in the common faith of the two churches. Those nominated included six ministers by the names of Robert Baillie, Robert Blair, Robert Douglas, George Gillespie, Alexander Henderson, and Samuel Rutherford. Blair and Douglas never attended the meetings, for reasons unknown to us. The ruling elders commissioned by the Church of Scotland were Archibald Campbell, John Campbell, John Elphinstone, Charles Erskine, Archibald Johnston, John Kennedy, John Maitland, Robert Meldrum, and George Winram. Of these elders, Kennedy and Meldrum never attended any sessions, again, for reasons unknown to us. Of the remaining elders, Archibald Campbell, and George Winram attended only one year of the sessions. The rest of them were actively involved and attended the sessions of the Assembly anywhere from three years to six years.

The purpose in so naming these men to this work was simple and direct. It was "to repair unto the Assembly of Divines and others of the Church of England now sitting at Westminster to propound, consult, treat, and conclude with them in all such things as may be conductive for the setting of the so much desired union of this whole island in one Form of Government, one Confession of Faith, and one Directory of the Worship of God."

When the first three Scottish elders arrived on September 15, 1643, in the persons of Alexander Henderson, George Gillespie, and John Lord Maitland, they were welcomed with great kindness and courtesy. In fact, they were officially welcomed with three sermons by the English divines! When did we who are elders ever show up at a Presbytery or General Assembly meeting, and find ourselves welcomed by the delivery of three addresses, presented for the occasion of our arrival? But as some of our previous posts have shown, and as future posts will prove, the presence of these Scots did accomplish that putting of the spiritual sickle into the great spiritual harvest of souls in both kingdoms.

Words to Live By:
As we read of the Scottish delegates, we cannot help but praise God for the gifts of Alexander Henderson, Samuel Rutherford, and George Gillespie. These men were spiritual giants in the faith and faithful pastors to the people of God. We have treated of them and will again in these posts. But then again, when we read the name of another—that of John Lord Maitland, the first Duke of Lauderdale, our spirits are saddened, for we know the end of his story as well. This elder who sat through years of Assembly speeches and conversations, nonetheless ended up a terrible persecutor of the Presbyterians in Scotland in later years. He showed his true colors at the last. There may very well be a Judas Iscariot in many a visible church. How we need to pray for one another. How we need to encourage one another. How we need to teach one another. As John put it, "beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)

Monday, August 18, 2014


"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!
Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog,
there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries,
improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce,
and insecurity of property, exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion
paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde
force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant
and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless
warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms
of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern
Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome ..."

Sir Winston Churchill; (The River War, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 London).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

“Six Johns”

by davidtmyers

Dangerous Times Demand Vigorous Faith

The Protestant Reformation had been a long time in coming to Scotland. But finally, that reformation which had begun in Germany and Switzerland under Martin Luther and John Calvin hit the shores of Scotland under the spiritual leadership of John Knox. His presence was not without its suffering. which we have seen thus far in these pages to Knox and other Protestants before him. But in 1560, members of the Protestant faith took control of the Scottish Parliament. Then, Knox and others wanted a Protestant nation from the top down. And this Reformation parliament agreed, instructing Knox and six other ministers to prepare a creed summarizing of the faith and life of the Scottish church.

This group of ministers led by John Knox had met before to hammer out a book of discipline for the Kirk. Their names were: John Winram, John Spottiswoode, John Willock, John Douglas, and John Roe. Along with John Knox, they were famously known as "the six John's." They returned back to the Parliament with the doctrinal statement after just four days, on August 17, 1560. Obviously, they were at home with the Scriptural truths and texts within this document.

It consisted of twenty-five chapters, supports with Scriptural texts, strengthened by words such as "cleave, serve, worship, and trust." They had to be some knowledge of church history by its readers in the distant past, as it condemned the heresies of Arius, Marcion, Eutyches, and Nestorius by name. Obviously, Roman Catholicism was thoroughly denied in the confession. It was read twice, first to the Lords of the Articles, and second to the whole Parliament, with members of the "Six John's" standing up to answer any and all protestations. Very few were enunciated. The votes of every member of the Parliament were then recorded. While there were a few negatives, the majority in the affirmative was clear and strong. Scotland has a Reformation Creedal standard.

Two acts, as John Knox wrote in his History of the Reformation, were passed in additions to the Scots Confession. The one was against "the Mass and the abuse of the Sacrament, and the other against the Supremacy of the Pope." (pg. 233) All laws at variance to the Reformed faith were set aside.

The entire Scot Confession of 1560 can be read online here.

This Reformation Confession would provide the spiritual foundation of the Scottish Reformation until the Westminster Confession and Catechisms would replace it in 1648.

Words to Live By:
This author in his forty years of ministry within Presbyterian churches has often heard visitors, upon hearing of our Confessional Standards, reply that they hold to "no creed but Christ." Now that succinct statement sounds good, but in truth even the apostate would affirm it.The only difference would be that his "Christ" is very much different from the Christ of the Bible. And that is the reason why a Confessional standard is needed by the true church today. To be sure, it is never held above the Bible. It is always a subordinate standard. We receive and adopt it as elders of the church. We look upon it as a summary of the teachings of the Old and New Testaments. Reader, if you haven't cracked open its pages for a long time, spend some time this week in reading again its chapters. You will be thankful again of this historic standard of our Presbyterian and Reformed churches.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

1. 12 Years a Slave [DVD] [2013]

I found this disappointing. Long, slow and at times difficult to follow what was going on. One's understanding was not helped by the very poor diction at many points. The subject itself does not make for pleasant watching so it cannot be an entertainment. I expected a portrayal of cruel white racists. What surprised me was how destructive the hypocritical slave owners were as to their property. Why kill a man before you could sell him? Why beat your best slave ? One sees that evil is not merely bad but ultimately irrational.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More bad news from Nigeria

On the 11th the report was that on Saturday 9th a warning was sent to all women and children to leave Gwoza town or face attack. Militants were reported as arriving with hijabs and food supplies for younger women and girls. It was not clear what happened. (There is no mobile telephone network so news only gets out when someone travels or goes into Cameroon.)

13th reports said BH insurgents have occupied the town and raised their flags on the Emir's Palace and the LGA Secretariat. They have installed one of their number as Emir of Gwoza.

On the 14th it was reported that Jalin village around Lamingo (very near Jos) was attacked and 2 killed. Plateau State had been quite for several months.

Today, 15th, about 100 men, young and old, have been abducted from Doron Baga village near Lake Chad in Borno. These may have been drugged and forced as recruits for the BH (this kind of thing has happened a number of times, even busses being stopped and people drugged and abducted). This report is also on BBC Africa service.

And then there's the Ebola crisis in Lagos and West African countries.
Lord, help us keep our focus on You and not give up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I.M. Robin Williams

Robin Williams, great actor , tragic death As is often the case one reads of late in life profession of faith. I cannot judge the man or the motivations behind these reports. But this I do know, Scripture records one last minute conversion so none need despair. Scripture records only one last minute conversion so none should presume. (Anyone know a source for that 'quote'?)

August 13: The Mile Act (1663)

by davidtmyers

Starting with this post today, we begin to look at the Great Ejection of Presbyterian ministers, among others, from Anglican pulpits and schools in the British Isles. This ejection brought great hardship, including death, to those people who had committed themselves to the Reformed faith, and Presbyterianism in particular. Today’s post is the attempt to render powerless those pesky Presbyterian pastors who continued in one way or another to have a godly influence upon their parishes and their people. It took place on August 13, 1663 in Britain, Ireland, and Ulster. This author will focus today on just the kingdom of Scotland.

Known as the Act of Glasgow from which it emanated, it was summarized also as “The Mile Act.” It commanded all Presbyterian ministers to “remove themselves and their families, within twenty days, out of the parishes where they were incumbents, and not to reside within twenty miles of the same, nor within six miles of Edinburgh or any cathedral church, nor within three miles of any royal burgh within the kingdom.” (W. M. Hetherington, “History of the Church of Scotland,” p. 223.)Now for those of our readers who live and move within the confines of these United States, this might be possible, given our wide open spaces. But in the kingdom of Scotland, with its narrow land masses and close population centers, such an act was prohibitive beyond description. As Hetherington points out on the same page, “four hundred spots such as this act describes could not have been found within the kingdom, though all of its lowly wilds had been selected with geographical exactness.” (p. 223) What made the particular act very grievous was that its origin was found in one who used to be a Presbyterian and for that matter, was elected to the Westminster Assembly of Divines. This was the Duke of Lauderdale. He knew Presbyterian doctrine and government from the inside, and now in his authority as an Anglican archbishop, he sought to make his former friends miserable by authoritarian acts to prove to his new-found friends his complete dedication in their efforts to suppress the Presbyterian church.What he and the rest of the Anglican hierarchy failed to realize however was the depth of love to the Reformed Faith among the common folks of the kirk. When their beloved pastors were kept by law away from the parishes, the people simply went to their former pastors as they set up worship anywhere in the kingdom to hear the spiritual message of their hearts and lips. This might mean a worship service in the hills and valleys of Scotland, with a huge rock for a pulpit and stones on the pastures for communion observance. But these circumstances did not matter for the people of God. Soon their very attendance meant fines and even death for their attendance.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Positive and thankful thoughts for 5 days.

A good friend has been posting three positive (thankful) thoughts for 5 days. I will give it a try and invite friends to join this positive exercise.

1. Married 45 years and one day to she who is 'more precious than rubies'
2. Hearing the Word expounded and applied by two talented young men today, morning and evening at IPC.
3. Freedom under law here in UK, when so many Christians are persecuted by lawless evildoers.

Day 2
1. Great visit from a Nigerian pastor and his wife who are in London as missionaries to do an international church plant.
2. Encouraged by spending the evening in pastoral visitation.
3. News that our best friends now have their 16th grandchild.

Day 3

1. Good visit to a family working full time in a very holistic way evangelising Muslims.

2. A great Thai curry for lunch.

3. Blessed with enough so no need for anxiety in material concerns.

day 4

1. A church member I visited in hospital is seeing some improvement.

2. Encouraging church prayer meeting.

3. New Mac Mini arrived. Belated birthday present for Katy.

Day 5

1. A great lunch with Rachel's in laws. Can't beat a French restaurant for cheese.

2. Debbie sat up her mum's new Mac mini.

3. Being retired, no work timetable and able to read more.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Books read in August 2014

1. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

What a debut thriller! It is long but kept me turning the pages. I am not qualified to comment on how true to reality this story might be, how credible, but of the facts I do know, there is only one minor error. There are no Christian missionaries in Afghanistan and expatriate NGO workers have to undertake not to prosiletise Afghans. That is a minor quibble in a great book right up in the Forsyth and Seymour premier league.

2. Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning. by Charles Moore

I have never read a political biography that is such a page turner as this. I cannot praise it too highly. I have read her autobiography and several biographies but this is in a class of its own. Moore has done a great deal of researcrh and has had access to previously unavailable source. It is interesting to see the preconditions for writing this authorised biography. The lady was not to see any of the text and it was not to be published while she was alive. Lady T comes across as a formidable person. She advanced in a political career when prejudice against women was formidable. She was the Iron Lady who cried. I lost count of the number of times she shed tears. Often portrayed as ruthlessly uncaring, here we see a leader who cared about people, especially the military who risked their lives. One remarkable fact that emerges several times is how little things have huge consequences. It seems she was only nominated to stand as candidate for Finchley as the constituency chairman switched a couple of votes in the ballot. A Irish republican MP wanted to keep Callaghan's government in power but was pressurised by his own people not to vote and so came the general election triumph of the Conservatives. But the really thrilling chapters are the last two on the Falklands conflict. The verdict is that no-one else would have had the determination to see it through against the odds and yes there was a good military reason to sink the Belgrano. Lady T is a Marmite character. You love her or hate her. Moore is no hagiographer but it is obvious that we both share in admiration for a great woman. I anticipate with pleasure the second volume.


I am tempted to let you know Blanchard's answer but that would be a spoiler. I will give you a clue. It is where He was at Golgotha. This booklet is far more than an answer to the title's question. It is a strong refutation of the atheist's argument that there cannot be a loving omnipotent God when such evil things abound in the world. Blanchard goes on the offensive to show that the atheist's idea that this dilemma disproves the existence of God is a flawed argument. Blanchard is forceful yet restrained for there is nothing by way of a criticism of Islam and jihad in the booklet. He is a gracious contender for his faith

4. Rough Justice by Jack Higgins

Not the best of thrillers but a fair enough read Not as sophisticated as some modern thrillers. A team of killers working for the prime minister but outside any establish secret service. They administer rough justice beyond the law. Thrilling but not one thinks realistic.

5. Thatcher's Reign: A Bad Case of the Blues by Melanie McFadyean and Margaret Renn

Thatcher is a Marmite character. You love her or hate her. The authors hate her. One wrote for the Socialist Worker. The reviewer loved her as his autographed copy of her autobiography attests. So there we are. Cards on the table, all bias exposed. I believe this book has one merit. It is a good source for Thatcher quotations. Published in 1984 it can only comment on half of the Thatcher premiership. Quotes are interspersed with the authors' comments. The authors' aim is to expose hypocrisy and inconsistency. It is a very one sided view of Thatcher.

6.Assassin's Creed: Black Flag by Oliver Bowden

It was the first and last time I read an Assassin's Creed book. I thought it was historical fiction but it turns out to be as much fantasy as historical. I am not a fantasy fan. This is a bloodthirsty tale of piracy. One lost count of the gruesome deaths.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

ISIS: ‘We will raise flag of Allah in the White House’ (I think they mean over -GW)

August 8, 2014 By Mark Ellis

As ISIS continues their takeover of northern Iraq and portions of Syria and the U.S. launches a tempered military response for strategic and humanitarian purposes, a spokesman for the radical group made a bold declaration – about an ultimate conquest of the White House.

In the last week, Vice News embedded a journalist with ISIS and traveled with their press officer, Abu Mosa, during their assault on the Syrian Army’s 17th division near Raqqa. A powerful and graphic video released from this excursion shows ISIS surrounding Syrian forces on four sides, defeating them, then mounting the heads of their fallen foes on the top of metal fence spikes.

Abu Mosa made a provocative statement following that victory: “I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established. And we will not stop. Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”

A Vice News journalist was also able to go inside a mosque and capture ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s bold pronouncement to the faithful, mostly on their knees bowing before him like a messianic figure.

“Indeed Allah, powerful and exalted in might and in combat with the enemies of Allah, he granted his followers success, and empowered them to fulfill their purpose. And if you desire what Allah has promised, then set out in jihad for his cause,” al-Baghdadi said.

Vice News appears to be the only news organization granted behind-the-scenes access to ISIS, which now wants to be known as The Islamic State (IS).

The radical group is determined to institute an Islamic State across the Middle East and throughout the world.

Born a Sunni, al-Baghdadi, is said to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. He earned a doctorate at Islamic University in Baghdad in Islamic studies and history, and was an Islamic preacher at the time of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

After the invasion, he was drawn into al-Qaeda in Iraq. Later he became the “emir” of Rawa, a town near the Syrian border, where he presided over a sharia court, and gained a reputation for brutality, publicly executing anyone suspected of assisting U.S. forces.

Al-Baghdadi preached at several mosques and also led several smaller militant groups before being promoted to a seat on a council of the mujahedeen.

In 2005, he was captured by U.S. forces and spent the next four years as a prisoner at the Bucca Camp in southern Iraq, according to The Washington Post. Some believe the four years he was held at Camp Bucca inflamed his radicalization.

The US military began releasing 1,000 prisoners per month before it closed the facility in September, 2009. Some faced the Iraqi justice system, but the majority of those released – including al-Baghdadi – faced no further charges.

When al-Baghdadi was released by the U.S., he said, “I’ll see you in New York,” according to ABC News. That cryptic response and their new threat about the White House, shows the group’s fascination with the U.S. – and their ultimate designs to attack it.

“The true heir to Osama bin Laden may be ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” wrote The Washington Post’s David Ignatius. He is “more violent, more virulent, more anti-American,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told The Post.

More news of Boko Haram's evil around Gwoza, Borno State

Things are awful in Gwoza. Hundreds of B/H stormed Gwoza and started to kill and burn property as related in a previous post. Now we are beginning to get more reports of what is happening. Very sadly our relative A*** was killed with 2 of his sons. He was a professing christian but with 3 wives and many children. What will happen to the families we do not know. We are upset but cannot go to Gwoza. We are concerned about other members of the family but we have no news of them. One of the Pastors that was trained by a church in Sheffield is the Pastor of Gwoza Church but we have no news of them. Another Rev tained by the same church is trying to leave a village nearby. We talked to him today but how he will get out of the area we do not know.

Some of our christians have either been killed or kidnapped. The B/H flag was put up outside the Chiefs Palace. Gwoza has been coquered by B/H. The soldiers try but it is beyond there ability to do much as they are outnumbered. We are grateful that the Mobile Police at Limankara , when attacked were able to defend themselves in their camp and killed over 300 B/H. Those who were left went back in there numbers to Gwoza burning villages on the way and carried on killing in Gwoza and we heard they are killing women and children.

As there is no phone network it is hard to find out exactly what is happening. Thanks for your prayers. It is hard for us to believe what is happening but we praise God for contact with some who have escaped.

'Vicar of Baghdad' Canon Andrew White Refuses to Leave Iraq, Despite the Vicious Christian Persecution by Islamic State

Friday, August 8, 2014
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS) -- Canon Andrew White, known around the world as the "Vicar of Baghdad," is refusing to leave Iraq, despite the ever-worse persecution and killings by the terror-group formerly known as ISIS, and now known as Islamic State (IS).

Canon Andrew White --
he won't leave his flock
UK-born Canon White, who bravely continues his ministry despite suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, is the leader of St George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq, which is the country's last Anglican Church.

Situated on Haifa Street in Baghdad's Red Zone - St George's Church has been damaged by five bombs in the past three years.
He estimates that his flock used to number around 6,000 people, but in the last decade over 1,200 have been killed, according to CNN's Arwa Damon.
"One of things that really hurt was when one of the Christians came and said, 'For the first time in 1,600 years, we had no church in Nineveh,'" he told Damon.
He has now issued a plea for prayer and support and described the disastrous situation in Iraq.
"Every day, we think that the crisis here cannot get worse and every day it does," he said in a media interview. "Yesterday, over 1,500 people were killed.
"Iraq seems like old news, yet things just get worse an d worse here. It is as if hell has broken out he re and nobody cares; that is apart from you, our supporters, who never leave us and keep supporting us in every way and to you I simply say thank you."
Canon White said many Christians have left or are planning to leave.

"Even here in Baghdad, people are terrified of what is happening around us," he said. "The IS has established their hidden cells within Baghdad, and people are seriously under threat even though they are not in the areas controlled by the IS. The number of kidnappings here has soared and people simply do not know what is going to happen next."
The atrocities allegedly committed by IS continue to stun the world
In a BBC interview, Andrew White says that people are being "slaughtered." Speaking to the BBC on Thursday night from northern Iraq, he said that the international community needed to take seriously the needs of the Christian community in the country "so they are not left on the side."
Asked if he could envisage a day when he would advise his own congregation to leave Iraq, Canon White replied: "I have always said to our people 'I'm not going to leave you, don't you leave me.' Now I can't say that any longer. If I tell them not to leave I'm saying: 'You've got t o be prepared to die for your faith.'"

The UN Security Council has held an emergency meeting on Iraq, after the largest Christian town was seized by Islamic State militants. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians and Yazidis have fled their homes following a warning by the militants to renounce their faiths or face death.
Canon White shared with the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) staff the terrible story of a child he baptized being "cut in half" by IS.
He said that the five-year-old son of a founding member of Baghdad's Anglican church was cut in half during an attack by the Islamic State on the Christian town of Qaraqosh.
In an interview today (Friday, August 8, 2014), an emotional Canon Andrew White told ACNS that he christened the boy several years ago, and that the child's parents had named the lad Andrew after him.

Canon White speaks at the church in which
he baptized the boy
"I'm almost in tears because I've just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half," he said. "I baptized his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me - he was called Andrew."
The fact that Andrew's brother was named George after St George's Anglican Church in Iraq's capital demonstrates the strong ties the family had to the church there. The boy's father had been a founder member of the church back in 1998 when the Canon had first come to Baghdad. Canon White added, "This man, before he retired north to join his family was the caretaker of the Anglican church."
Though the move north should have proved safer for the Iraqi Christian family, the Islamic State made sure that it became a place of terror. "This town of Qaraqosh is a Christian village so they knew everybody there was part of their target group," said Canon White. "They [the Islamic State] attacked the whole of the town. They bombed it, they shot at people."
The Islamic State group captured Qaraqosh ove rnight Wednesday/Thursday after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
The boy's family, along with many other townspeople, have now fled to Erbil. However, news reports suggest this may be the Islamic State's next destination.
Anglicans at the forefront of relief
The violent takeover of parts of Iraq by the Islamic State is threatening to bring about what the UN has said would be a "humanitarian catastrophe" in the beleaguered nation.

Canon White said that Anglicans there have been working hard to provide a lot of support for the Christians who have fled Mosul and Nineveh to the north, as well as the many other minority groups targeted by the Islamic State.
"Anglicans are literally at the forefront of bringing help in this situation and there's no-one else," he said adding that the church is supplying much-needed food, water, accommodation and other relief items thanks to financial contributions from supporters ov erseas. The church's activities are led by a Mus lim, Dr. Sarah Ahmed.
"We need two things: prayer and money. With those two we can do something. Without those we can do nothing."
Those wanting to donate can do so at As regards prayer, Canon White said, "I have three 'P's that I always mention which is for Protection, Provision and Perseverance. We need protection, we need to provide for those people and we need to keep going."

Another IS atrocity in Iraq
"It's clear from social media posts on Facebook and Twitter that members of the Anglican Communion right across the world are praying for this situation," said the story. "Many have also indicated their support for persecuted Christians in Iraq by changing their social media avatars to the Arabic symbol for 'N' denoting Nazarene which IS has been using to identify Christian homes."
Baghdad is part of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, which is included in the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, a member church of the Anglican Communion.
Though the move north should have proved safer for the Iraqi Christian family, the Islamic State has made sure that it became a place of terror.
"This town of Qaraqosh is a Christian village so they knew everybody there was part of their target group," said White. "They [the Islamic State] attacked the whole of the town. They bombed it, they shot at people."
The Islamic State group captured Qaraqosh overnig ht Aug. 6/7 after the withdrawal of Kurdish force s.
Called a "brutal, extremist group" and which claims to have fighters from across the world, IS announced the creation of a "caliphate" - an Islamic state - across its claimed territory in Iraq and Syria a month ago.
Leaders speak out
In recent days, Anglican leaders from countries including Egypt, Wales, Brazil and South Africa have all expressed their dismay at the situation unfolding in Iraq.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued this statement Aug. 8 on the situation in Iraq, shortly before he travelled from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea. In it he said, "The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.
"What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people's right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are su pported and that those who have been displaced ar e able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom's doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history."
He added, "With the world's attention on the plight of those in Iraq, we must not forget that this is part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith. Only this week I received an email from a friend in Northern Nigeria about an appalling attack on a village, where Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Such horrific stories have become depressingly familiar in countries around the world, including Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
"We must continue to cry to God for peace and justice and security throughout the world. Those suffering such appalling treatment in Iraq are especially in my prayers at this time."
Other Christian leaders have also spoken up about the situation in Iraq including Roman Ca tholics, who, in England and Wales, have designat ed Aug. 9, as a Day of Prayer for Christians in Iraq.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
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Friday, August 08, 2014

Four FEBC Volunteers Martyred in Ukraine

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

EASTERN UKRAINE (ANS) -- Four young FEBC (Far East Broadcasting Company) volunteers who were recently captured by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine were brutally beaten to death simply for being Christians, according to a report from the organization last week.
"These men volunteered for FEBC with zeal, passionately helping to spread the Gospel throughout Ukraine," the organization reported. We are deeply saddened and shocked."
According to a report from National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), just weeks prior to this horrific tragedy, FEBC's Eastern Ukrainian broadcast tower in Slavyansk - that for months has been in the middle of the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian central government - was shot down and completely destroyed.
While FEBC is still broadcasting in Western Ukraine and reaching millions there, they are now looking for a new location to resume broadcasting to Eastern Ukraine.
"We are doing everything we can to give hope to people in a seemingly hopeless situation, but more than ever, we are desperate for your prayers and for God to move in the lives of the people of Ukraine," the ministry shared last week.
"Please pray for those who continue to serve and risk their lives ever y day to see the Gospel go forth. Pray for peace in Russia and Ukraine."
FEBC has been actively broadcasting in Ukraine for the past two decades through local stations. In 2012, their first FM station was opened in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, drawing many to the Lord. According to FEBC, Ukraine is at a critical crossroad: politically, economically, and spiritually.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Thursday, August 07, 2014

News from friends in Nigeria - far worse than media reports

30th July a bridge in Yobe State was blown up and 29th July a bomb blast in Potiskum (Yobe State) killed 13 and at least 35 injured. 40 teenage suicidal bombers entered Maiduguri but PTL they were caught.

31st July Gavva (a village next to Ngoshe Glavda) was threatened and food and cattle were taken. The people, who had started to return to the plains fled to the hills again. The soldiers come from time to time but the people still live in fear.

Hawal LGA has come under attack and churches burnt. (South Borno State.)

30th July Female suicide bomber killed 2 and injured 8 at Kano Polytech.

Hundreds from the Jukan tribe in Taraba State had to flee to Wase LGA as the Fulani attacked the area.

2nd August a District head, a Moslem,and others killed in Soro ,Bauchi State.

3rd August People taking bombs into a Church in Jos were caught.
Azare,Bauchi State. A lot of ammunition was found and a man caught who was involved in intended attacks.

4th On the news we heard that B/H are going to attack all the Barracks. Also they say the will attack the Ibo towns (East Nigeria.)

Within the last week 12 Policemen were killed on patrol in Borno State.

5th Since 4pm Gwoza has been under attack

7th Latest news of Gwoza. The B/H have killed over 100 people and no one is able to bury them. The Hospital(Initially the SUM hospital), Chiefs Palace, Secretariat(the local Gov building) and Police Station were all burnt, but we don’t know how badly. No one is allowed into Gwoza and there is no network.The soldiers are trying to retake Gwoza but B/H are emptying people’s houses and going into the Sambisa Forest. We know of one of our Pastors has been killed.

NIGERIA – Militant attack on Kaduna church leaves one dead, several injured

One man died and several other people were seriously injured when Fulani militants attacked a church in a mainly Christian area of north-central Nigeria on Sunday.

The gunmen raided the church in Ungwar Poppo village in Kachia, in the south of Kaduna state, at 8am. A young man who was guarding the church was killed and several in the congregation were injured, some seriously.

Villages in the predominantly Christian southern part of Kaduna have experienced frequent attack by Fulani gunmen in recent years.

On 14 March, a total of 147 people were killed and 285 homes and three churches were destroyed when militants armed with guns, chemical explosives and machetes attacked three villages in the Kaura area (Prayer Alert, March 18). The increasingly sophisticated weapons and tactics used by these herdsmen has led some to believe they are being equipped by Islamist terrorists Boko Haram.

(Source: CSW)

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Account by Reverend H. Stirling Gahan on the Execution of Edith Cavell 1915

On Monday evening, October 11th, I was admitted by special passport from the German authorities to the prison of St. Gilles, where Miss Edith Cavell had been confined for ten weeks.

The final sentence had been given early that afternoon.

To my astonishment and relief I found my friend perfectly calm and resigned. But this could not lessen the tenderness and intensity of feeling on either part during that last interview of almost an hour.

Her first words to me were upon a matter concerning herself personally, but the solemn asseveration which accompanied them was made expressedly in the light of God and eternity.

She then added that she wished all her friends to know that she willingly gave her life for her country, and said: "I have no fear nor shrinking; I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me."

She further said: "I thank God for this ten weeks' quiet before the end." "Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty." "This time of rest has been a great mercy." "They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards any one."

We partook of the Holy Communion together, and she received the Gospel message of consolation with all her heart. At the close of the little service I began to repeat the words, "Abide with me," and she joined softly in the end.

We sat quietly talking until it was time for me to go. She gave me parting messages for relations and friends. She spoke of her soul's needs at the moment and she received the assurance of God's Word as only the Christian can do.

Then I said "Good-by," and she smiled and said, "We shall meet again."

The German military chaplain was with her at the end and afterwards gave her Christian burial.

He told me: "She was brave and bright to the last. She professed her Christian faith and that she was glad to die for her country." "She died like a heroine."

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. III, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

August 5: Mary Slessor

by davidtmyers
In the United States, we are accustomed to seeing various historical figures from the early days of our country on our paper currency. From 1997 to 2009, the people of Scotland were used to seeing the picture of a Presbyterian missionary by the name of Mary Slessor on their ten pound bank-note. On one side of the bill, Mary Slessor was seen holding a child and literally surrounded by other children from that nation of Nigeria. On the other side of the legal tender, there was a map of her mission station in what is now eastern Nigeria. It is still legal tender in Scotland, even though her picture on the ten pound note has been replaced by someone else.

Mary Slessor was born into a family of seven children in 1848. Her father, who was an alcoholic, passed away, which left her mother struggling to support the large family. To help out, Mary, at age eleven, worked in the local mill. She is described by Dr. David Calhoun, professor emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary, as "a tough, street smart girl, with striking blue eyes, red hair, and a flaming temper." At age fifteen, with just a few short hours of sixty hours a week as a "mill-lassie," she also taught a Sunday School class in her local Presbyterian church, supported a youth group composed of tough local kids, and became "an angel of mercy in miserable homes" in Dundee, Scotland.

As a result of the influence of her mother, who made available to the family the stories of missionary exploits from the Missionary Record magazine of the United Presbyterian Church, Mary received a call from the Lord to be a missionary in Calabar, Nigeria. Sailing on August 5, 1876 on the SS Ethiopia, she reached her target area.

After centuries of slavery in the area, human life was cheapened, tribes were divided, and the culture, such as it was, perverted. Especially was this so whenever African couples would bring twins into the world. One of the two children was looked upon as a child of the devil, but because no one would identify which one was demoniac, both were killed, or left to die in the jungle. Enter Mary Slessor into this whole scene. She literally rescued hundreds of these castaway children. One could not enter her missionary home without finding a dozen or so children in it.

Further, this missionary lady obviously believed the text of 1 Corinthians 9:22 where Paul writes, "I have become all things to all . . . so that I may be all means save some." And so this Scot lady became African in all things, in eating their food, in dressing in their clothes, and learning their language. She wanted to become an African to win Africans to Christ!

It wasn't long before the British government recognized her ability to minister to Africans. She was appointed a vice-consul - the first ever woman to be so appointed in the whole of the British Empire -- by the new consul-general of her territory. David Calhoun states that she "could prevent battles, out-shout chiefs, and stop riots merely by walking into the middle of them."
August 5, 1876 Scottish Presbyterian missionary Mary Slessor leaves for Africa, boarding a ship in 1876 Weakened by fever throughout her life and service in the country, she finally succumbed on January 13, 1915.

Around 1979 I was able to visit Mary's grave in Calabar I was told this was but one of three burial grounds for expatriates in Calabar. There was a good reason for this area to be known as The White Man's Grave. Sadly Mary's grave was overgrown and used as a latrine.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Jody Hice: 'Most People Think Islam Is A Religion, It's Not'

A Baptist minister is standing for the US congress. The odds are very high that he will be elected .

. . . "Most people think Islam is a religion, it’s not. It’s a totalitarian way of life with a religious component," he said. "But it’s much larger. It’s a geo-political system that has governmental, financial, military, legal and religious components. And it’s a totalitarian system that encompasses every aspect of life and it should not be protected [under U.S. law]." Hice didn't stop there. "This is not a tolerant, peaceful religion even though some Muslims are peaceful. Radical Muslims believe that Sharia is required by God and must be imposed worldwide," he said. "It’s a movement to take over the world by force. A global caliphate is the objective. That’s why Islam would not qualify for First Amendment protection since it’s a geopolitical system ... This is a huge thing to realize and I hope you do. This will impact our lives if we don’t get a handle on it." He also doubted the compatibility of Islam and the Constitution. "These things are in no way compatible with the U.S. Constitution ... Islam and the Constitution are oceans apart," Hice said. "It’s about controlling your behavior, when and where you can worship and legal issues. The number one threat is to our worldview and whether we chunk it for secularism or Islam."

100 years ago today - a world changing event.

This evening we hope to go to a local commemoration of the start of hostilities on this day in 1914.
We know of three of my wife's family who served. One now lies in a graveyard on the Somme, another in Belgium. I had a great uncle who tried to volunteer when under age. He was refused enlistment but the day he was old enough to enlist, he did. Later he was wounded on the Somme. So like nearly all families, we did our bit and suffered the loss of young lives.

But I write this piece today not merely to remember the fallen but to remember the one event which decisively changed the world in the 20th century. Before 1914 it was a different older world. After 1918 we entered a newer, modern age.

This lead me to think of what may be regarded as the most pivotal events in different centuries. The present century has so far only one contender, 9/11. For the 19th century, being English I am going for Trafalgar, 1805. With the French fleet sunk the defeat of Napoleon would surely come. His naval power was smashed and Britannia was to rule the waves for the next century and a half.

For the 18th century I will plump for the French Revolution not 1776 and the founding of the USA. Why the French one? Because it was a real revolution in thought as well as rule. It was the political fruit from the seed of Enlightenment philosophy. The philosophy changed the Western world, the political fallout changed most of Europe. 17th century I am still pondering. Perhaps 1620 and the Pilgrim Fathers? 16th has to be Martin Luther hammering his 95 theses to the cathedral door.
Pre-reformation I am not so hot. I invite my readers to contribute.

Of course I an aware that I write as an English Protestant Christian. If you see the world from a different perspective please let me know your choice of world changing events. I also recognise that this day is not so significant for my American friends. But they do have a habit of joining in the game somewhere before or after half time and then making the outcome sure for us this side of the pond.