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All articles in category Historical

July 2014
Articles > Historical

Henry Havelock – ‘every inch a soldier and every inch a Christian’ (4)

Havelock’s hopes for army promotion were frequently dashed. But he was convinced that constantly badgering the powers-that-be for promotion was unbecoming. It was not only in his professional career that he had to wrestle. He struggled with personal disaster also. His son, Ettrick, died in infancy in 1834. In 1836 the home in which his wife and family were staying was burned down. Hannah was horribly burned trying to save the children. The baby died soon after the fire, because a panicked nurse did not have the sense to flee with her; and one of the boys was badly injured too. At that time, in...

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July 2014
Articles > Historical

Dobbie of Malta (1)

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was addressing the House of Commons on the war situation in the Mediterranean. His speech turned to the Governor of Malta: ‘That remarkable man, General Dobbie — a Cromwellian figure at a key point, fighting with his Bible in one hand and his sword in the other’. October this year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of this humble servant of Christ, who in his generation became an inspiration to so many in the English-speaking world.   Grandparents William Dobbie was born into a family in which the evangelical gospel had taken root, in the 1840s, in India. Both...

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July 2014
Articles > Historical

A friendly exhortation

Two hundred and fifty years ago (11 July 1764), John Wesley wrote to a Christian in fellowship, but not membership (‘society’ or ‘class’), with the Methodists. His letter remains relevant to all Christians today not in church membership.   Dear Sir, There was one thing when I was with you that gave me pain: you are not in the society. But why not? Are there not sufficient arguments for it to move any reasonable man? Do you not hereby make an open confession of Christ, of what you really believe to be his work, and of those whom you judge to be, in a proper...

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June 2014
Articles > Historical

John Calvin and his relevance for today (2)

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the death of John Calvin (1509–1564). In this continued article, we look at the relevance of Calvin’s teaching for our situation today. In our times we, sadly, see the church proffering a rather confused vision of Jesus. Some say that he is a great example for us to follow, but are embarrassed by the New Testament claim that he was the Son of God. Others have problems with Jesus’ exclusive claim to be the only Saviour of sinners. Even amongst evangelicals there is not always clarity concerning Jesus as the Son of God in the flesh. Calvin can...

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June 2014
Articles > Historical

The Great War and 1904

The Great War of 1914-1918 emptied villages, towns and cities of their young men as they went to France to fight against the aggression of the German Kaiser. But what effect, if any, did this have on the nonconformist revivals that began a decade earlier? The great revival of 1904 to 1905 in Wales, under the testimony and preaching of such men as Evan Roberts, resulted in more than 150,000 people professing conversion and being added to churches and chapels. It is reported that, at the time, crime dropped to a record low; the number of illegitimate children fell to nearly zero, and pubs were...

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June 2014
Articles > Historical

Henry Havelock – ‘every inch a soldier and every inch a Christian’ (3)

Over the last two months, we have sketched Havelock’s military career. But what was it that marked him out as a model for public Christianity? The first noteworthy feature of Havelock’s life was his commitment to the highest standards in his chosen profession. Always an assiduous scholar, from his earliest days in the 95th Foot (Rifle Brigade), Havelock was an ardent student of military history. Excellence and spirituality He was committed to excellence in all that he did, storing in his tenacious memory details of battles and fostering a developing sense of strategy and tactics (John Clark Marshman, Memoirs of Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, K.C.B....

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May 2014
Articles > Historical

John Calvin and his relevance for today (1)

This year marks the 450th anniversary of the death of John Calvin (1509–1564). In three articles we will look at the relevance of Calvin’s teaching for our situation today. Admittedly there is always a danger in trying to make a figure in history ‘relevant’ to the present day. Calvin was born over half a millennium ago. His concerns as a man of the sixteenth century are not necessarily those of today’s church. We don’t know what he would have to say on the challenge of evangelism in a ‘post-Christian’, multicultural society. He was blissfully unaware of the threats and opportunities presented by the internet. Would...

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May 2014
Articles > Historical

César Malan (1787-1864)

Henri Abraham César Malan, who died 150 years ago, was born in a bourgeois family in Geneva, in 1787, a couple of years before the earth-shaking French Revolution. His family was of French Huguenot stock from Mérindol in Provence. They had taken refuge in Geneva during the long years of religious persecution in France.   Malan’s childhood fell during a dark time for continental Europe. After the bloodshed of the Revolution, the Napoleonic wars created misery, famine and great loss of life throughout Europe.   Protestants had been decimated in France and the few who remained no longer held to Reformation teaching, but had been...

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