Spurgeon’s Parting Pastoral Words – Dec. 31, 1891
Now may the Lord cause the cloud of blessing to burst upon you in a great tropical shower. I am expecting this.
Spurgeon never forgot his own church. In his letters to them, we see the affection of a pastor for his people, his confidence in his elders and deacons, and his dependence on his people for their prayers. During his final trip to Mentone, Spurgeon committed to writing a weekly letter back to his people, updating... Continue Reading
Margherita Datini—The Wisdom and Faith of an Ordinary Medieval Woman
Margherita's letters afford the unique opportunity to hear the voice of an ordinary Medieval businesswoman and wife.
Margherita couldn’t have imagined that, 447 years after her death, her letters would be discovered and studied. And she couldn’t have imagined that, about 150 years after that, readers could sympathize with her challenges and draw from her wisdom. Church history books are beginning to devote more space to women. Treatments of Medieval Christian... Continue Reading
The Childless Woman & the Miracle Child
The dilemma of the barren or childless woman disappears with the genealogies.
The new creation mandate that Jesus gives to his bride is to go and make disciples of all the nations: it turns out that all along, the childless woman has been Eve, come again. Eve, the mother of all living. The barren one has become the mother of us all (Galatians 4:26,27). She is the... Continue Reading
Marie Durand — Part 2: Daughter of the French Reformation
Though she never refers to Calvin in any of her surviving letters, his Reformed teaching of the Scripture underpins her theology, and indeed her decision to endure decades of imprisonment rather than abjure her Protestant faith.
This is a brief sketch of the deep historical background to the life and letters of Marie Durand. She would be born in 1711 in Bouchet-de-Pranles into a community with a hoary past of linguistic, cultural, political, and religious autonomy. She was born into a church whose beliefs and practices were deeply rooted in the... Continue Reading
John Witherspoon, Protestant Statesman
Witherspoon set forth a uniquely Protestant understanding of the American Revolution, insisting on personal regeneration for the war’s success and the new nation’s public virtue.
As a Protestant, Witherspoon understood that the sure foundation for a Christian civilization is not an established state church imposing generic morals on a population; it is the presence of actual Christians with converted hearts and minds. Christian Political Action at America’s Founding Introduction In October of 1753, John Witherspoon wrote a discernment blog.... Continue Reading
Marguerite d’Angoulême, an Influential Reformer
Marguerite’s influence was not limited to women. Robinson, for example, believes that she had a great impact on young Calvin, since some of the themes in his writings were originally found in hers.
Her most famous work, however, is Miroir de l’âme pécheresse (The Mirror of the Sinful Soul), a 1,434-line poem first published anonymously in 1531. In this, the sinful soul offers to the readers the mirror in which they can see their own souls. Most of this work describes the soul’s astonishment and frustration at the awareness of... Continue Reading
Hero in an Unmarked Grave
Why did Calvin command that he be buried, contrary to common practice, in an unmarked grave?
We may rightly regard Calvin as a hero of the faith, but he didn’t ultimately see himself that way. Humility had taught him to walk modestly before God and others—and, in the end, the freedom to lie down in a forgotten grave. On May 27, 1564, just after eight o’clock in the evening, a... Continue Reading
The Death of Emily So￼
Death will not have the last say; the Messiah will.
We prayed for a miracle, we sought the best medical care, we listened to experts and would-be experts, and it could easily have become frantic. But underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut.33:27). God’s determining of our days did not make for fatalism – we wish His will were very different – but did provide comfort... Continue Reading
Marie Durand (1711–1776), the Famous Prisoner of Faith—Introduction
Refusing to convert she remained in a dungeon for thirty-eight years.
Many have held up Marie Durand as an inspiring heroine for their own causes. Few, however, have examined her life. Fewer again have examined her remarkable forty-eight surviving letters, forty-one of which were written from her dungeon. My life was a tissue of tribulations. —Marie Durand, 1772 In 1730, French authorities arrested nineteen-year-old Marie... Continue Reading
The Missing Piece
Shortly after she was born, our daughter was transported to a children’s hospital and diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder caused by missing her 15th chromosome, medically speaking, “missing a piece.”
God has already taught our family much. Our daughter’s rare condition does not make her enigmatic, but precious (Genesis 41:38; Proverbs 31:10). Her missing segments don’t make her incomplete, but our family would be incomplete without her. She is and ever will be, as her middle name Dorothy suggests, a gift from God. A... Continue Reading