(True) St. Patrick’s Day Commemoration!

Indeed, it is St.Patrick’s Day. And we shall not allow the world to grab another day off the church’s calendar (as arbitrary as it is) and rob it of its true significance.

Therefore, in the spirit of remembering God’s work through one of His servant-saints in the fifth century, we shall proceed to note this day with true commemoration of Patrick, missionary to Ireland – the chief thing for which he should be remembered (born c.389; died c.461-493).

We begin with this brief video on St.Patrick from Rose Publishing (“Christian History Made Easy”), which debunks many of the myths associated with him while relating the story of his life and work.

Patrick-Portraits-HHanko_Page_1Second, we point you to an article Prof.Herman Hanko wrote for the Standard Bearer back in 1990, titled “Patrick, Missionary to Ireland.” This article later became a chapter in his book Portraits of Faithful Saints, (cf. image to the left, which is the opening page) published by the RFPA in 1999 (pp.46-50). Here is a part of that article/chapter which introduces us to this zealous man:

The early history of the church of Christ is an exciting and moving history of her missionary enterprise. Scripture itself records for us how the gospel was brought to Judea, Samaria, and the entire Mediterranean world, so that the church was spread throughout the Roman Empire. The early annuls of the church provide us with information of how courageous missionaries moved beyond the Mediterranean world into darkest Europe to bring God’s Word to the many barbarian tribes who had moved into Europe and settled there.

Through the labors of the church the whole of Europe was Christianized, so that it was changed from darkest heathendom and paganism and became the cradle of Christianity. Although the work covered many centuries, it had its lowly beginnings in the lives of men who sacrificed all for the cause of the gospel.

This is the story of one such missionary: Patrick, missionary to Ireland.

To read the rest of this story, follow the link above with the title.

And, finally, we include here this beautiful arrangement of the prayer attributed to Patrick, as composed by John Rutter and sung by the Cambridge Singers.

 

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol.

The “Book Patrol” reports (Feb.10, 2015) on an amazing historical archive discovery in the town of Sandwich, England, just as the British Museum is preparing to display all the original copies of the Magna Carta.

Here’s the opening segment of the “BP” post, along with a picture of the four copies to be displayed at the British Museum (photo: Clare Kendall/British Library/PA).

The timing is impeccable.

On the heels of the beginning of the festivities celebrating the 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta, in which all four surviving copies of the original edition of 1215 edition will be displayed together for the first time, word comes that another early copy has been discovered!

Four-copies-Magna-Carta-009

Unearthed at the Council Archives for the town of Sandwich the copy was found when researchers happened upon it while looking for a copy of the town’s original Charter of the Forest.

Where Did Times New Roman Come From? | NY Public Library

Where Did Times New Roman Come From? | The New York Public Library.

London Times-new roman font-1932I found this recent post from the blog of the NY Public Library to be fascinating (posted Dec.9, 2014). Have you ever given thought to why and when the Times Roman font became revised? Do you know how far back the “Roman” type goes?

Perhaps not, but the answer is worth reading about if you appreciate comfort to the eyes when you read, whether it be newspaper, book – or tablet.

I don’t like to admit it, but I did not realize the “new” part goes all the way back to 1932, nor that that “Times” part of the font referred to a newspaper – and not in the U.S. either!

There’s enough interesting print history to satisfy all here. I hope you do “read all about it”. You will benefit greatly. And the bonus is some great pictures, as well as a link to NYPL’s rare book section.

This post was done by Meredith Mann, Rare Book Division of the NY Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

If you open up your word processing software and start typing, chances are you’re looking at Times New Roman. It’s so ubiquitous that we take it for granted, but just like Spider-Man orWolverine, this super-typeface has its own origin story.

You might be surprised to learn that Times New Roman began as a challenge, when esteemed type designer Stanley Morison criticized London’s newspaper The Times for being out-of-touch with modern typographical trends. SoThe Times asked him to create something better. Morison enlisted the help of draftsman Victor Lardent and began conceptualizing a new typeface with two goals in mind: efficiency—maximizing the amount of type that would fit on a line and thus on a page—and readability. Morison wanted any printing in his typeface to be economical, a necessity in the newspaper business, but he also wanted the process of reading to be easy on the eye.

And here’s an interesting paragraph about how this font found its way into books:

In 1932, The Times specifically noted that their new typeface was not intended for books: “It is a newspaper type—and hardly a book type—for it is strictly appointed for use in short lines—i.e., in columns.” They later developed a wider version adapted to fit a book’s longer lines of text. This idea that the use of a typeface affects its form struck me as very relevant to today’s world of e-book publishing and web-based content. Indeed, Times New Roman’s chief competitors these days are Arial and Calibri, two typefaces whose lack of serifs makes them easier to read on a screen, according to many. But at 82 years old, Times New Roman is still going strong and proving that our humblest word processing friends have some pretty historic beginnings.

Top 10 Books on the Protestant Reformation | Christianity Today

Top 10 Books on the Protestant Reformation | Christianity Today.

Our commemoration of the great Reformation of the 16th century may be over for this year, but our reading about it ought not to be. “CT” posted this selection of top books on the Protestant Reformation on Reformation Day – last Friday, Oct.31, 2014 – but I include it here today because it is always relevant. Looks like a good place to start in gathering a Reformation library!

Here’s the first part of their post, along with the first book recommended. Visit the “CT” link above to find the other nine titles.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Chapel door (or mailed them) and thus sparked the Reformation. Today, Reformation Day, commemorates that event and the work of Reformers. CT asked scholars what books they recommended for better understanding the Reformation. Here’s what they suggested.

The ReformationDiarmaid McCulloch (Penguin)
“McCulloch is one of the foremost Reformation historians in our day. His works are expansive and thorough. While this book is large, it’s definitely worth the time to invest in reading it.”
~ J. V. Fesko, professor of systematic and historical, Theology Westminster Seminary California

Running Toward the Plague: Christians and Ebola

Running Toward the Plague: Christians and Ebola.

Antoine plague-3rd centuryAs the news around the world and in our own country swells with reports of the spread of the ebola virus, I found this brief commentary about how Christians have reacted to plagues throughout history to be a welcome perspective.

Not only is this 21st century plague a sign of our Lord’s coming and the judgment of death He justly brings on sinners (including ourselves apart from His grace!); it is also an opportunity for Christians to show their true colors and minister to their neighbors, believing and unbelieving. Some are showing this already, especially in West Africa.

If ebola came to our neighborhood, would we be willing to do the same? Are we not the only ones who can offer real, abiding comfort and hope – for the living as well as the dying? Something to think about today and in the days ahead.

Here’s a segment of this article; find all of it at the link above.

Between 250 and 270 A.D. a terrible plague, believed to be measles or smallpox, devastated the Roman Empire. At the height of what came to be known as the Plague of Cyprian, after the bishop St. Cyprian who chronicled what was happening, 5,000 people died every day in Rome alone.

The plague coincided with the first empire-wide persecution of Christians under the emperor Decius. Not surprisingly, Decius and other enemies of the Church blamed Christians for the plague. That claim was, however, undermined by two inconvenient facts: Christians died from the plague like everybody else and, unlike everybody else, they cared for the victims of the plague, including their pagan neighbors.

This wasn’t new—Christians had done the same thing during the Antonine Plague a century earlier. As Rodney Stark wrote in “The Rise of Christianity,” Christians stayed in the afflicted cities when pagan leaders, including physicians, fled.

For yet another story and perspective on Christians and ebola, see this Christianity Today story (dated Oct.15, 2014).

The Reformation and the Men Behind It – Steven Lawson

The Reformation and the Men Behind It by Steven Lawson | Ligonier Ministries Blog.

Reformation-GeneralStarting today and leading up to Reformation Day (Oct.31, 2014) Ligonier Ministries will be blogging about the key figures of the Reformation. These posts will contain excerpts from Dr.Steve Lawson’s book Pillars of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men (Reformation Trust, 2011).

Today’s post introduces us to the Reformation and its leading figures. Below is the first part of this excerpt. Find the rest at the Ligonier link above.

The Protestant Reformation stands as the most far-reaching, world-changing display of God’s grace since the birth and early expansion of the church. It was not a single act, nor was it led by one man. This history-altering movement played out on different stages over many decades. Its cumulative impact, however, was enormous. Philip Schaff, a noted church historian, writes: “The Reformation of the sixteenth century is, next to the introduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history. It marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times. Starting from religion, it gave, directly or indirectly, a mighty impulse to every forward movement, and made Protestantism the chief propelling force in the history of modern civilization” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. VII: Modern Christianity—The German Reformation [1910; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980], 1). The Reformation was, at its heart, a recovery of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and this restoration had an unparalleled influence on churches, nations, and the flow of Western civilization.

Also, if you are looking for some good titles for reading and to add to your personal or family library, I can recommend the people at “Grace & Truth Books”. The link will take you to their Reformation section, where they have a number of good books at special prices, including books for young readers.

RFPA Annual Meeting TONIGHT – The Importance of Reading Church History

Reformed Free Publishing Association — THIS WEEK! – RFPA Annual Meeting: The Importance of Reading Church His.

Just a reminder that the RFPA’s annual meeting is TONIGHT in Grandville PRC. Those in the Grand Rapids area – and beyond – are encouraged to attend, whether you are an association member or not. You may always join tonight!

RFPA 2014 Meeting

Certainly part of the interest in the meeting is the inspirational speech. Following up on last year’s great speech on the importance of reading, Rev.C.Spronk (Peace PRC, Lansing, IL) will give a talk on “The Importance of Reading Church History”.

Below is part of the notice of the meeting found on the RFPA website. Visit the link above for more information. But know too, that the meeting will be live-streamed from Grandville PRC via their website.

In the Nicene Creed the church confesses that there is only “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” This means that the Christian faith and life of the true church of Jesus Christ as she is manifested today in various denominations and congregations is rooted in the church of the past. Times may have changed but the church today shares with the church of the past the same Lord, the same faith, the same battle, the same hope, and the same purpose—to bring glory to name of our great God. The church must be conscious of her past history in order to be sure that she is continuing on the right path. In other words the study of church history is important.

The study of church history is all the more important because of the constant attack of enemies who seek to knock her off of the “old paths.” Satan desires that the members of the church be ignorant of their history. Lack of interest in church history plays into the evil one’s hands. Church history can then be distorted and used to spread false doctrine and support wicked behavior, as is often attempted today. The study of church history is an important part of the battle of faith she must wage to remain faithful to God.

Hope to see you there!

Letters from the (WWI) Front « Seeking Michigan

Letters from the Front « Seeking Michigan.

On this “Archives Thursday” we plan to feature two items related to World War I, the 100th anniversary of which occurs this month of August. The second one relates indirectly to our own PRC history (Rev.Herman Hoeksema and the U.S. “flag controversy” when he was minister in a Holland, MI CRC), but this first one relates to the Michigan archives.

BandemerSoldiers1-300x168The “Seeking Michigan” blog of the state of Michigan archives website is presently featuring some letters of a Michigan soldier of WWI. Since this significant anniversary is worth noting, we point you first of all to it today.

Below is the introduction to these letters; to read excerpts from the letters, visit the link above.

August 2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War I. A few years after the war began, a young man from Saginaw enlisted in the Army. William (“Ted”) Bandemer served from 1917 until 1919 and was stationed in France starting in 1918. His letters home to his family can be read in the Archives of Michigan (William Bandemer Papers, MS 99-67). They document the day-to-day lives of soldiers as well as the challenges of being stationed far from home before communication was as fast and easy as it is today.

J.Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the Reformation – Stephen Nichols

The Morning Star of the Reformation by Stephen Nichols | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-July 2014The July issue of Tabletalk focuses on the history of the church during the 14th century, as we noted a week ago. When we introduced this issue, we also pointed you to the opening article on this theme, in which Dr.N.Needham gives a wide view of this period.

In the second main feature article, Dr. Stephen J.Nichols provides a more focused presentation of a significant figure from this period of church history, namely, John Wycliffe, under the above-linked title.

His article is a great survey of Wycliffe’s person and work, and shows why he is called the “morning star of the Reformation”. If you have forgotten who this man was and why his work is so important to the church of Jesus Christ, this is a great way to refresh yourself in getting better acquainted with Wycliffe.

I give you the beginning of Nichols’ piece here. Find all of it at this link (or the one above).

He had been dead and buried for a few decades, but the church wanted to make a point. His remains were exhumed and burned, a fitting end for the “heretic” John Wycliffe. Wycliffe once explained what the letters in the title CARDINAL really mean: “Captain of the Apostates of the Realm of the Devil, Impudent and Nefarious Ally of Lucifer.” And with that, Wycliffe was only getting started.

Wycliffe rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, which states that the elements of the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper become the actual body and blood of Christ. He was against priestly absolution, he spoke out against indulgences, and he denied the doctrine of purgatory. He rejected papal authority. Instead, he asserted that Christ is the head of the church. And he had a profound belief in the inerrancy and absolute authority of Scripture. He fully believed that the church of his day had lost its way. Scripture alone provided the only way back. Now we see why the medieval Roman Church wanted to make a statement against Wycliffe.

John Wycliffe has often been called “the Morning Star of the Reformation.” Jan Hus, another pre-Reformation reformer, felt obliged to express his supreme debt to Wycliffe. And though he lived long after Wycliffe’s death, Martin Luther, too, felt an obligation to recognize the pioneering reforms of John Wycliffe. Luther stood on the shoulders of Hus, who stood on the shoulders of Wycliffe. Hus, Luther, and the other Reformers were indebted to him. So are we. Wycliffe was indeed “the Morning Star of the Reformation.”

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College, chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and a Ligonier teaching fellow. He is author of several books and teaches on the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

July “Tabletalk”: Wycliffe and the Dawn of the Reformation

Forerunner of the Reformation by Burk Parsons | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-July 2014With the start of a new month it is time to introduce the July 2014 issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries’ monthly devotional magazine. This month’s issue returns to and continues the church history theme, with the focus on the 14th century and the “Dawn of the Reformation” (Note: “TT” has been gradually covering the major centuries of church history for several years now.).

Editor Burk Parsons introduces this theme with the above-linked article. We pull a few lines from it and encourage you to read the rest. And while you are at it, you should read the excellent overview of major events/trends in the church of the 14th century by Dr.Nicholas R. Needham. His article is titled “The Fourteenth Century” and is found at the link provided here.

Here then, are a few of Parsons’ introductory notes to the July “TT”:

John Wycliffe was the morning star of the Reformation. He was a protestant and a reformer more than a century before Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation in 1517. Through Wycliffe, God planted the seeds of the Reformation, He watered the seeds through John Hus, and He brought the flower of the Reformation to bloom through Martin Luther. The seed of the flower of the German Augustinian monk Luther’s 95 theses was planted by the English scholar and churchman John Wycliffe.

…Wycliffe was committed to the authority and inspiration of Holy Scripture, declaring, “Holy Scripture is the highest authority for every believer, the standard of faith and the foundation for reform in religious, political and social life … in itself it is perfectly sufficient for salvation, without the addition of customs or traditions.” As such, Wycliffe oversaw the translation of the Bible from Latin into the English vernacular. This was a radical undertaking, and it was against the express mandate of the papacy. His understanding of Scripture naturally led to his understanding of justification by faith alone, as he declared, “Trust wholly in Christ. Rely altogether on his sufferings. Beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by his righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation.”

In the fourteenth century, at the dawn of the Reformation, Wycliffe shone as a burning and shining light of gospel truth, and his doctrine mirrored his life as one who lived by God’s grace and before God’s face, coram Deo, and for God’s glory. Soli Deo gloria.

Also, as noted before, the daily devotions in this month’s issue continue in the book of Romans, with the starting point in that significant chapter of Romans 9.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 537 other followers