"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 13, Number 10, October 2010
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
will show partiality to no one. Nor will
I flatter any man.”
“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”
Earl of Kent
Shakespeare’s King Lear
Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34
[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given upon request.]
The Inevitable Slide of Government-Run Schools toward Atheism:
A Century-Old Prediction Fulfilled Before Our Eyes
"The tendency is to hold that this system [of so-called “public education”] must be altogether secular. The atheistic doctrine is gaining currency, even among professed Christians and even among some bewildered Christian ministers, that an education provided by the common government should be entirely emptied of all religious character.
The Protestants object to the government schools being used for the purpose of inculcating the doctrines of the Catholic Church, and Romanists object to the use of the doctrines of the Protestant churches. The Jews protest against the schools being used to inculcate Christianity in any form, and the atheists and agnostics protest against any teaching that implies the existence and moral government of God.
It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from the public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give away to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give away to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be.
It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wise instrument for the propagation of Atheism which the world has ever seen.
I am sure as I am of the fact of Christ's reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social, and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”
A. A. Hodge
Popular Lectures on Theological Themes (1880)
pp. 280, 288
[A thank you to Dr. James Sewell of Springfield, Missouri for bringing this quote to my attention--editor]
A good friend of mine in Munich informs me that there are "Luther-only" churches in Germany, that is, these churches declare their belief that the German Bible version of Martin Luther (1483-1546) is their 'inspired, infallible, preserved-for-us-by-God-in-the-form-we-should-have-it' Bible. (He didn't say which edition among the scores of differing ones they look to as their final authority; no matter). Which leads me to wonder--have we in the English-speaking world been duped into believing that the KJV is the true preserved and infallible Bible? Maybe, the real preserved Bible is Luther’s German one. That would make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it? It is certainly worth considering.
Of course Luther's version preceded the KJV by more than 70 years
(NT 1522, whole Bible 1534; 2nd edition, 1545; see T. H. Darlow and H. F. Moule, Historical Catalogue of Printed Editions of the Holy Scripture, vol. II, part I, pp. 486, 492, 495 for details), had gone through dozens of editions and printings and existed in well more than a hundred thousand copies before the KJV even saw the light of day, and was a real Reformation Bible (unlike the KJV, which wasn’t published until 2 generations after the Reformation). Claims for the priority and supremacy of Luther’s version over any and all other modern versions in any and all other languages could be supported with a phalanx of arguments that are at least the equal (if not the superior) of anything claimed in support of King James Onlyism. Among those that could be brought forward:
1. Luther’s Deutsche Bibel was based directly on printed Greek and Hebrew texts throughout (we even have the Hebrew Bible used by Luther, with his notes in the margin!), and was not dependent on mere translations (in whole or in part) as were the English Bibles of Wycliffe, Coverdale and the Great Bible. This “originals”-based German Bible was available in 1534, almost three decades before there was any such English Bible in print (the Geneva Bible of 1560 was the first in English to be based directly and entirely on the Hebrew and Greek texts).
2. Luther’s translation was based in the NT on the 2nd edition (1519) of Erasmus' Greek text, and we know (or at least are assured by Dr. Waite and others) that Erasmus was practically a Baptist!! (Compare “Erasmus, His Greek Test and His Theology, part II,” AISI 13:5. Of course, Luther’s having used Erasmus’ 2nd edition means that Luther’s version did not include I John 5:7 in any edition issued by Luther. See “Ruckman on Luther and I John 5:7: Dolt Or Deceiver?” AISI 4:8). Luther’s NT version was entirely the work of Luther himself, and was produced during his 18-month sojourn at Wartburg, immediately following Luther’s famous and courageous “Here I stand!” defense at the Diet of Worms in 1521, which is THE focal point of the Reformation (see “Luther’s Finest Hour, AISI 4:9).
3. Luther’s version incorporated into the OT prophets the 1527 German version made directly from the Hebrew text by Anabaptist scholars. (See Darlow and Moule, op. cit., p. 492).
4. Luther was assisted in the completion of his Bible by great scholars of the Reformation, including Philip Melancthon (see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. VII, p. 347). How dare the KJV translators presume that their own “scholarship” was superior to these men who actually started and carried out the Reformation, often at the actual risk of their own lives. The KJV men were intellectual and spiritual no-name “midgets” by comparison.
5. Luther prepared five original or revised editions of his translation (Schaff, op. cit., p. 348) culminating in his final edition of 1545. These, along with Ulfilas’ famous Gothic version of the 4th century and the Medieval German version that preceded Luther constitutes seven editions, or steps, in the perfect preservation of God’s word, “purified seven times” as Psalm 12:6 [verse 7 in the German Bible] foretells (cf. “ ‘Purified Seven Times’ :
A Case of Defective Exegesis and Improper Application,” AISI 13:9).
6. Luther’s Bible is of course in German, the chief language in the Germanic family of languages, of which language group English is a partial member (English is a hybrid of Anglo-Saxon--a Germanic tongue--and Norman French); this means that Luther’s German version could readily be translated into a whole host of European languages--Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Frisian, etc., and could in turn be readily consulted by speakers of these languages
7. Furthermore, Luther’s German Bible was in fact the dominant influence--virtually the complete direct source--of Reformation-era versions in Low German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Icelandic and several other Germanic languages, greatly hastening the spread of the Gospel and the Reformation (see Darlow and Moule, op. cit., p. 492). The KJV, in contrast, made NO contribution to spreading the Reformation and no Bible version in Europe was translated from the KJV in the 16th or 17th centuries.
8. Luther’s version was consulted by and had strong influence on all English versions from Tyndale to and through the KJV. It is fair to say that without Luther’s version, there would have been no Tyndale NT. See “The Translators to the Readers” in the original 1611 KJV, where they, too, acknowledge their debt to Luther’s version, proving how highly those translators valued it and were dependent on it.
9. Luther’s German Bible was not copyrighted by Luther or anyone else. In sharp and ominous contrast to this, the KJV was copyrighted from the day it was first printed in 1611 and remains under copyright in most of the English-speaking world. The result of this obviously avarice-driven act is that multiplied millions of dollars--or pounds--in profits have poured into the coffers of the publishers in England (including the University Presses of Oxford and Cambridge, which also published the English Revised Version of 1881 / 1885, and the New English Bible!!!) who have exclusive right to publish and sell it there (see “The KJV Is A Copyrighted Translation,” AISI 8:3), thereby “making merchandise” of the Word of God.”
10. Luther’s original version is free from the man-made verse divisions that were invented by a Paris printer around 1550 (France! Can any good thing come out of France?).
11. With the death of Queen Anne in 1714, God (who raises up kings and removes kings) gave to Great Britain a German-speaking king of the House of Hanover, George I (born 1660 in Germany; reigned in England 1714-1727). He was the founder of the English dynasty that remains on the throne to this day in the person of Queen Elizabeth II (a genealogical chart of the House of Hanover reveals that they heavily inter-married with German royalty in the centuries since 1714; Encyclopedia Britannica 15th ed., 1992; vol. 5, p. 688). George I’s son, George II, was also born in Germany (and isn’t it much more than a mere coincidence that America’s greatest revolutionary war hero and first President was providentially named George?). What could be more obvious than to see this Divine gift of German-born, German-speaking kings as a clarion call--sadly ignored--to England to look to Germany and the German Bible of Luther as the true final authority in all things theological?
12. Luther’s German Bible was the first NT and Bible in any language of Europe printed in North America, in 1743 at Germantown, Pennsylvania; the KJV NT was first printed in the U.S. more than a third of a century later--1777, with a complete English Bible still later in 1782. (See “Historic American Bibles,” AISI 7:12). This should be proof enough all by itself that God wants the people of North American to use the Luther version, since He gave that to us first.
13. The 18th century German Moravians were founded by Count Zinzindorf, are famous for their 100-year-long prayer meeting, were decades ahead of Baptists in sending out missionaries, and were famously instrumental in bringing about the conversions of Charles and John Wesley (the latter of whom was also deeply influenced by reading Luther’s commentary on the book of Galatians; there’s always a German connection somewhere, it seems!). Need I declare that these Moravians used Luther’s translation which likely explains their singular success and influence?
14. Fully one fourth of the present American populace is of German ancestry, and should welcome with open arms a return to the superior German version of Luther, and away from the upstart KJV usurper (I have a little German blood myself--one of my great grandmothers was an Eberle; my wife has more German blood than I do, one of her grandfathers being an Eslinger)
15. Luther’s version is still used in some Amish and Mennonite churches in America, a faithful “remnant” preserving for us the true “final authority” in spite of the many who have apostatized to the use of a mere English Bible, after God gave us this preserved German one.
16. Luther expressly requested that no changes be made in his version after his death. Is this not a de facto recognition by the translator himself that his work was complete and final? The KJV translators, tellingly, made no similar request.
17. Some contemporaries, to say nothing of those in later generations, held to the inspiration and perfection of Luther’s version. Why even the very-learned Philip Schaff wrote: “Luther’s version of the Bible is a wonderful monument of genius, learning and piety, and may be regarded in a secondary sense as inspired (op. cit., p. 354; emphasis added).
18. As long as German Christians and churches maintained the use of the pure version of Luther, they maintained their orthodoxy. But the use of revised--altered, and therefore, corrupted--German versions of Luther’s original work and the rise of rationalism and apostasy in German theology went hand in hand. I never heard of a German modernist who adhered strictly to the use of Luther’s version alone.
19. Even Ruckman accepts Luther’s version as a pure Bible. Therefore, let us too insist on drinking from this pure source, rather than further downstream (including the Johnny-come-lately KJV) where pollutants have no doubt entered and poisoned the water.
A dozen other reasons just as valid and convincing as these could be given. And therefore, Luther's version must be even more inspired, more preserved and more infallible than the KJV, and should be OUR real "final authority." Can I get a witness?
And perhaps we should begin to sing (to the tune of “Deutschland uber alles), “Martin Luthers deutsche Bibel uber alles in der Welt, . . .” And why not? And it is high time we get back to singing in the sacred German tongue--the Reformation tongue--Luther’s “Mighty Fortress”: “Ein’ feste Burg is unser Gott, ein’ gute Wehr und Waffen; . . .” And would not our hearts rise up in delight to sing the real original German words of “Silent Night”: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Alles schlaeft, einsam wacht, . . . “ Why remain benighted using the mongrel English tongue, in which the pure Germanic Anglo-Saxon stock has been diluted and polluted with Norman French? Polluted? Yes!! Need I remind the reader of the centuries-long benighted reign of Roman Catholicism over the spiritually enslaved French, especially during and after the Reformation? Can you say “St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre”? How could anything good come of something heavily tainted--corrupted--with French (and Latin--Latin!!--too!), as the English language most assuredly is. “Purge out the old leaven!”
So what if the adoption of Luther’s original version means you have to learn German before you can read the “real” preserved Word (or, Wort)? On my own part, I presciently began German studies in high school, greatly increased my knowledge by intense study in graduate school (passing in 1979 the Princeton German language exam) and have 4 different old editions of Luther’s German version, including facsimiles of the 1534 [1st] and 1545 [2nd] editions. And I have actually held in my hands and studied for an hour or so a 1522 copy of the Septemberbibel, Luther’s original NT, and what is more I have actually read a fair amount of DIe Bibel in the preserved-in-the-form-God-wants-us-to-have-it German version of Luther. How about you? Aren’t you interested in reading a real Bible?
And so what if we must wait until we have a "Luther equivalent" version in English before we can have a real "Bible" in English? If Spanish-, French-, Romanian-, Hungarian-, Dutch- and Japanese-speakers can be told (with a straight face) that they must rely on the English KJV as their "final authority," and in reality have no Bible until they get a KJV equivalent version in their own language, why shouldn't we English-speakers be prepared to be told with equal or even greater justification that we must look to the German version of Luther as our final authority, no matter what?
And just because sometimes Luther's Uebersetzung ("translation") does not conform to the original Greek or Hebrew should cause us no concern, since neither does the KJV always conform to the Masoretic Hebrew text (hundreds of departures) nor does it always adhere to the Greek textus receptus (in whichever of dozens of variant editions of the textus receptus you prefer); we should recognize that in such places, we must throw out the Hebrew and Greek and look to the German as our final authority--with possible "advanced revelations" embedded in the text (Herr Doktor Ruckman knows all about those!).
And if you can't square all this with the facts, just "take it by faith"--“allein durch den Glauben.” "Amen, brother! Glory to God. Hallelujah." Or rather, "Amen, Bruder! Gib dem Herrn die Ehre. Hallelujah!"
You may now wave your hankies.
[Do I really need to explain that the above is a satire, a mocking of the absurd arguments regularly put forth to “prove” the KJV’s superiority over all other Bible versions, or even the original text itself? I engage here in “illustrating absurdity by being absurd.” Using like bogus, groundless and irrelevant--“red herring”--arguments, one could prove the superiority and supremacy of practically any translation in any language. The Roman Catholic Church has historically used these kinds of arguments to prove the supremacy of the Vulgate. I could easily fabricate a case for the absolute supremacy of the Reina-Valera Spanish Bible, and doubt not that a like case could be made to prove, as some early church fathers claimed, the inspiration of the Septuagint. We must remember that “arguments that sound good,” may not, in fact, be good, sound arguments.
Further, I have engaged here in what, in forensics (formal debate), is called “a counter-plan,” whereby I refute the original proposition, not by direct refutation, but by proposing an even better proposition in its place. I show with a whole series of specious arguments that that original specious premise, namely: “the KJV and it alone is the Word of God perfectly preserved for the English-speaking (and de facto, all other) people, and therefore absolutely authoritative, against and over all other translations in English (and all other languages), and which therefore makes the study of the “original” (now allegedly “lost”) Greek and Hebrew texts unnecessary,” is refuted by an even better premise: namely, that Luther’s German version is all the things the KJV is alleged to be, and even more so, and is therefore superior to the KJV--editor]
Keil in Defense of the Old Testament:
Some Gleaned Quotations
“The assertion by our opponents, that the book of Daniel contains a multitude of blunders which stand opposed to well-authenticated history, is as yet unconfirmed by a single proof that will bear examination.”
Karl Friedrich Keil
Manual of Historico-Critical Introduction
to the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament
Translated by George C. M. Douglas
Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1870
Vol. II, p. 15
“The entire apocryphal literature shows no progress made in developing the Messianic idea, knows nothing of a personal Messiah, not even 1 Maccabees 14:41. Whereas the book of Daniel on the one hand represents the Messiah, 7:13, 14, as a heavenly being, endowed with divine power and glory, and at the same time a man; and thus it unfolds further the germs of the truth that He is God-man, as they lie in Isaiah 9, and other prophetic passages. On the other hand, in entire opposition to the narrow-hearted particularism of later Judaism, it apprehends the Messianic kingdom in its universality, and places it in combination with the resurrection of the dead, and thus at the same time develops it further in harmony with the earlier prophecies, Isaiah 24; 66:22-24; Ezekiel 37; of which the apocryphal books contain only some feeble traces in 2 Maccabees 7:9ff.”
Ibid., p. 37
“The genealogy, [I Chronicles] 4:18-22, is incomplete, as it gives only ten links in the chain from Pharez the son of Judah to David, that is, a period of about 850 years. But this is to be explained, not by the defectiveness of materials [available to the author], but by the intention of mentioning by name only the principal persons among David’s ancestors, as is often the case in these genealogical tables.”
Ibid., p. 42, emphasis added.
[Note: Keil, whose treatment of Chronicles in this work is long, extensive and meticulously detailed, declares that the genealogical records in Chronicles are often (not, “occasionally”) by design selective, rather than exhaustive. What is true in Chronicles is also demonstrably true in other parts of the OT, including in Genesis. This fact makes impossible the task of determining the precise dates of creation and the flood, after the manner of Ussher’s chronology, by merely stacking the names and ages of the individuals in the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11. We warned against this methodology in “Issues in Biblical Chronology,” AISI 8:2; “Ussher’s Chronology: Its Defective Nature,” AISI 9:11: and “Ussher Once Again,” AISI 9:12. Adopting Ussher’s date of creation, 4004 B. C., is not a case of accepting (as opposed to rejecting) what the Bible affirms regarding dates and chronology, but of imposing an interpretation on the Biblical evidence which the facts in the case do not allow--editor]
“”[W]hen critical light is thrown upon all the passages in Chronicles which have been pronounced suspicious [by the radical critics], we arrive at this result, that historical truth cannot be shown to have been distorted intentionally, or falsified, in one single instance.”
Ibid., p. 101
Regarding Medieval Hebrew manuscripts of the OT:
“The manuscripts, as a whole, have been written by Jewish copyists alone, some of them also by proselytes; but none of them by Christians.”
Ibid., p. 214
[Note: so much for the wholly fictitious claim by some in the radical KJVO camp that God preserved the true Biblical text--both in Hebrew and Greek--through the copying activity of “faithful believers and faithful churches.” Not a shred of supporting evidence has been or can be produced in support of this assertion regarding Masoretic Hebrew manuscripts, though that doesn’t stop them from making the claim!--editor]
On the merit and value of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation of the Hebrew OT:
“Furnished for the task with a good knowledge of Hebrew, he translated from exact Hebrew manuscripts, making use of the Jewish exegetical tradition, and of the earlier translations; and proceeding upon right principles, he avoided equally an excessive literality, such as tends to become unintelligible, and arbitrary deviations from the original. And in consequence, although he sometimes was very hasty at his work, and sometimes sacrificed preferable translations to the authority of older writers, owing to a dread of innovations, he still excels all [other] ancient versions in exactness and fidelity.”
Ibid., p. 281
[Note: this is yet one more in a long series of commendations of the merits of Jerome’s OT Latin version, which was virtually the only OT Bible available in Europe--directly or in translation--for almost a thousand years, from A.D. 500-1500. See “The Latin Vulgate Bible Translation in Historical Perspective: Part I,” AISI 5:4; “The Latin Vulgate Bible Translation in Historical Perspective: Part II,” AISI 5:5; and, “Another Quote in Praise of the Latin Vulgate of Jerome,” AISI 5:7 for a large number of such commendatory statements from respected authorities in Christian history--editor]
Re: “variant readings” in Hebrew manuscripts and ancient OT translations:
“On an unprejudiced investigation, however, it becomes manifest that intentional disfigurations or falsifications of the text of the Bible cannot be proved; but that the various divergences of the critical witnesses consist only in errors. The copyists have committed these errors by seeing or hearing wrongly, by faithlessness of memory, and by other misunderstandings; yet not arbitrarily or intentionally. And by none of them have the essential contents of Scripture been endangered.”
Ibid., p. 295; emphasis added
“The writings of the Old Testament are not a mere collection of Hebrew national literature. On the contrary, since their authors were partly prophets, and partly men enlightened by the Spirit of God which ruled in the theocracy, they were at all times held to be documents for the facts of divine revelation, and to be witnesses to that life which was wrought and fostered by the divine revelation in Israel; and they were distinguished from all other literature, as holy writings with regulative authority for the faith and life of the covenant-people. Nor was this persuasion first formed at a later time, contemporaneously with the collection of the Old Testament, or subsequently to it.”
Ibid., p. 332
“A new period for the exposition of the Old Testament begins with the appearance of Hengstenberg’s Christology of the Old Testament, 1829-35; a work which gives evidence, not less of profound philological and historical erudition, than of believing insight into the truths of Divine revelation.”
Ibid., p. 420
[Note: Wilbur M. Smith wrote an interesting and informative essay, “A Welcome Reprint of Hengstenberg’s Monumental Work on Messianic Prophecy” in his book, A Treasury of Books for Bible Study (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960), pp. 201-7--editor]
Note--All of the above quotes were taken from vol. 2 of respected 19th century German Lutheran OT scholar Karl Friedrich Keil’s, Manual of Historico-Critical Introduction to the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament, translated by George C. M. Douglas (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1870), 435 pp., which I read in conjunction with a course on OT Survey that I recently taught in Ukraine. I’ve owned this set for nearly 30 years, and had previously read scattered parts of both volumes, but decided to read the whole of the second volume as part of my present preparations (time did not allow for the reading of both volumes). Though old and rather dated at times (archaeological, linguistic and text critical studies have advanced rapidly since Keil first penned this set), it nevertheless was instructive and valuable in many ways. Volume II covers “special introduction” to Daniel, Chronicles (with a very thorough treatment of the relationship of Chronicles to Samuel and Kings), Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther (books at the tail-end of the OT canon, according to the Talmud’s listing), followed by treatments of the OT canon, the transmission and preservation of the Hebrew language among the Jews, the original form and the centuries’ long copying of the Hebrew text and the extant manuscripts (ignorant of course of both the Cairo Genizah finds and the Dead Sea Scrolls), the ancient versions in Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Latin and Arabic, a brief treatment of textual criticism, the history of the printed text, further discussion of questions and controversies regarding the OT canon, and hermeneutical practices and issues. (Volume one covers the Hebrew language, as well as special introduction to all the other OT books not treated in volume 2). These volumes could well serve as an introduction to OT literature (especially in Germany) of the 18th and 19th centuries. Throughout, Keil’s original remarks are supplemented with comments taken from Bleek’s contemporary OT introduction (not infrequently decidedly rationalistic), as well as annotations by the translator George C. M. Douglas (always conservative). Keil throughout defends the historic Christian view of the inspiration, integrity and authority of the OT, and being the thorough scholar as well as the careful expositor that he was (he wrote all of the Keil-Delitzsch OT commentary, except for the poetic books Job through Song of Solomon, and Isaiah; he also wrote detailed expositions of the Gospels--never translated into English--and other NT books), his works still have considerable merit in spite of the passage of nearly a century and a half (the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge gives a good brief summary of his life and work--my, how diligent and productive he was!). While this would not be my first choice for an OT Introduction (that palm would go to Gleason Archer’s work A Survey of OT Introduction though it now stands in need of a thorough revision and up-dating), it is still a valuable asset for OT study. In both AISI 5:5 and 11:11, I have articles characterizing the various conservative OT introductions presently available.
A Path Not Lined with Roses, by Peter, Pavel and Luba Rumachik. Danville, Indiana: Baptist international Evangelistic Missions, 1999, 2003. 207 pp., paperback. $10.00
Of us who are Christians in the (for now, though perhaps not for long) free and democratic West, it can truly be said, “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood, “ (Hebrews 12:4). Such has not been the case, and is currently not the case, with believers in many other parts of the world, where persecutions, imprisonments, tortures and deaths are all too common, at times even “business as usual.”
Such was particularly true in communist Eastern Europe through most of the 20th century. Among those persecuted and imprisoned for no other offense than the “offense of the cross,” that is, believing in the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ whom He sent as the savior of sinners, was Russian Baptist Pastor Peter Rumachik. Imprisoned, often in almost unimaginable conditions of hunger, cold, filth and isolation, Pastor Rumachik suffered multiple imprisonments for Christ’s sake under every Soviet leader from Stalin to Gorbachev, in all totaling more than 18 years. And he did not suffer alone. His wife and growing family were regularly deprived of his presence, and were severely restricted in their contacts with him through letters, and personal visits--sometimes limited to once per year or even less. The family home was subjected to repeated and unannounced searches by the secret police. With great courage, Mrs. Rumachik wrote letters and organized others to petition the government for better treatment and the release of Peter and others among the literally thousands of prisoners for conscience’ sake. While Pastor Rumachik survived the ordeal, thousands of others did not.
This oral account of those years of persecution and suffering is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to those who serve Him, and in turn their faithfulness to God under the most trying of circumstances, after the pattern of Polycarp, John Hus, William Tyndale, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and others, “who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection,” (Hebrews 11:35).
Because our faith has not cost us so high a price--indeed, scarcely any cost at all--, we are apt to forget the very high price it has cost others, and which they in turn were gladly willing to pay. Get this volume, and be reminded
My Pilgrimage: An Autobiography, by F. W. Boreham. Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1950. Reprint. 253 pp., hardback.
Having been quite favorably impressed with a volume of essays by F. W. Boreham which we recently read (see our review of Boreham’s Arrows of Desire in AISI 13:6), we decided to locate and read his autobiography.
Boreham (1871-1959), a native of England, attended school through age 14, worked for wages fro several years, and went to London to secure a position at 17. He was converted there, eventually becoming a Baptist (after some unpleasant associations with Plymouth Brethren) by submission to believer’s immersion, and attending Spurgeon’s Pastors’ College in preparation for the ministry. During his days in London, Boreham heard and was influenced by Spurgeon, Moody, F. B. Meyer, but especially A. T. Pierson. Burdened for missions, Boreham applied to J. Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, but was not accepted due to a pronounced and painful limp he had because of a severe, and nearly fatal, leg injury in his teens. Ultimately, Boreham went out to pastor a small congregation--in New Zealand! Unmarried at his departure at age 24, he left behind a 17-year-old fiancée who would, as soon as she turned 18, sail unaccompanied to New Zealand, to be married to him.
Boreham spend a decade more or less in each of three pastorates, first in New Zealand, then in Tasmania, and finally in Australia proper. During his first pastorate, he became a religious columnist in a local newspaper, the beginning of a half century writing career, during which his multiplied essays (3,000 plus) and books (often compiled from the essays) were written. Boreham’s writings became famous during his lifetime; once he was introduced by another preacher to an audience of preachers as ‘the man whose name is on all of our lips, whose books are on all our shelves, and whose illustrations are in all our sermons”!
We learned, as an aside, that A. Cunningham Burley, whose book Spurgeon and His Friendships we reviewed in AISI 13:7, was married to C. H. Spurgeon’s granddaughter, the daughter of son Charles.
Boreham’s chatty, familiar and engaging style made the book a delight to read. I have yet one more of his volumes on my shelves, which I plan to read shortly, after which I must begin the hunt for more of his works.
Some quotes from My Pilgrimage:
“As soon as I began to preach, I began to keep a journal in which the impressions left upon my mind by each service were recorded.” (p. 90)
“Discovering that the memory does not readily retain passages that occur in borrowed books, I made up my mind to possess myself of each volume before reading it. With this end in view, I pledged myself to buy a book a week and to read a book a week, and I faithfully kept my vow for more than twenty years.” (p. 143) [Amen and amen!]
“I have lost no opportunity of advising students and young ministers to write as much as possible. Lacking the incentives that were offered me, the work may be laborious and even tedious. I recognize frankly that it is one thing to write with the knowledge that the sentences that flow from your pen will soon appear in the bravery of print and quite another thing to write for the sheer sake of writing. But I know what it is to write until late into the night with no thought of publication. And I unhesitatingly aver that it is well worth while.” (p. 152)
“I once heard Dr. A. T. Pierson advise the students [at the Pastors’ College] never to leave one church for another unless they felt both a propelling and an attracting force at work. ‘Do not go,’ he said, ‘unless you distinctly feel a hand pushing you out of your old sphere and distinctly see a finger beckoning you to the new one!’ “(p. 176)