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All articles in category Historical

November 2017
Articles > Historical

The life and legacy of Amy Carmichael

People-trafficking is not new. But, born 150 years ago this December, one single, often sick, missionary woman from Northern Ireland dared to challenge it in India. Hinduism encouraged the temple slavery of children. It was prostitution perpetrated in the name of that ancient religion, where little girls and boys were sold to ‘marry’ the Brahmin temple priests. When Amy Carmichael discovered what was happening she was so horrified by the practice that she began a work to rescue children from the temples. Her mission station in Dohnavur in South India grew to accommodate hundreds of children.   Children’s mission Amy Carmichael, the oldest of seven...

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November 2017
Articles > Historical

John Calvin

Articles Reviews News

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

Why the mediaeval church needed reforming (1)

In the early years of the New Testament church, the pattern for doctrine and worship was laid down in a clear, unambiguous way. It was laid down in the Old Testament and made clear in the New. But gradually this pattern of clear teaching in the Bible was challenged and altered by an erring church, until not only doctrine and worship, but even what was perceived as God’s Word itself, was changed. The Bible’s authority lies in it being God’s inspired Word, to be read, love and obeyed. But, by the Middle Ages, the church had decided the Bible was not sufficiently clear and that...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

Pierre Viret (1511-1571) — another forgotten Reformer (1)

Some years ago, my wife and I were able to take a vacation in Switzerland. This was the first time either of us had been there, and a highlight was visiting the scene of some of the great heroes of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation. Most people have heard of Martin Luther and John Calvin. There were, of course, many others involved in the Protestant Reformation. I would like to introduce you to one of them — Pierre (Peter) Viret. Switzerland was not an organised country in those days, but a conglomeration of city states. There were three different languages used in the different areas:...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

The Scottish Reformation — a work of God’s grace

The Reformation in Scotland in the sixteenth century was essentially a rediscovery of grace and a notable work of the Holy Spirit in the nation. Invaluable in providing a clear understanding of the ideals of the Reformers in doctrine, church order and practice are documents associated with the Scottish Reformation, especially The Scots Confession of 1560 and the First Book of Discipline (1560). Also of significance are the Book of Common Order (‘John Knox’s liturgy’) (1564), and the influential Geneva Bible (1560). All these are clear indicators, in their own right, of a movement of grace in Reformation times. What evidences are there that the...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

William Tyndale: the man who gave England her Bible

William Tyndale came from Gloucestershire, from the Vale of Berkeley, probably from Slimbridge, and the best estimates suggest that he was born in 1494. Educated at Oxford, at Magdalen Hall, he returned to his native county to become tutor to the two sons of Sir John Walsh, at Little Sodbury Manor, in 1522. His duties were not particularly onerous, as he had ample opportunity to preach in the neighbouring villages and it was partly this activity that helped to form a clear conviction in his mind that his efforts were largely counter-productive, as long as the common people did not have the Scriptures available in...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

The Reformation in Europe

It is difficult today to grasp the psychic trauma caused by the Reformation in sixteenth century Europe. As well as a religious renewal, it had profound historical, social and cultural effects. The Reformation’s benefits are largely ignored by our contemporaries, who are mesmerised by ‘latest is best’ ideology and technical progress, invariably traced back to humanism and the Enlightenment two centuries later. While Roman Catholic interpretation of the Reformation often considers it to be a mistake and the first step on the slippery slope to the French Revolution (without Calvin there would have been no Voltaire!), recent secularisation theories tend to see it as the...

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October 2017
Articles > Historical

The Reformation in England

Inevitably, the debate about indulgences raised by Martin Luther’s protest rapidly became one about the personal understanding of Scripture, over against the church’s claim to be Scripture’s final and authoritative interpreter. The debate became furious and could not be contained within Germany, but widened, helped by the widespread use of Latin in scholarly circles across western Europe. In many respects, England, the southern half of an off-shore island with a language not generally known among its neighbours, did not appear to be promising soil for Luther’s new teaching. England was not a powerful force in Continental politics. Its young king, Henry VIII, was a loyal...

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