Sir Robert Anderson

This is the day that … Sir Robert Anderson was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1841.

It was at the age of 19 that he saw a change in one of his sisters … she had been converted at a revival meeting nearby.  “I cherished the thought,” he wrote, “that the next Sunday services in the kirk might bring me blessing.” It was at the evening service that Dr John Hall made the gospel plain.  “His sermon thrilled me,” wrote Robert Anderson later.  “Yet I deemed his doctrine unscriptural, so I waylaid him as he left the vestry and on our homeward walk tackled him about his ‘heresies’…”

There on the pavement that night the minister challenged him “to accept Christ or reject Him.”  To which Robert replied:  “In God’s name I will accept Christ.”   He could say, “I turned homeward with the peace of God filling my heart” (Sir Robert Anderson, by his son, page 19).

He threw in his lot with the Brethren, becoming a well-known author.  Some of his books deal with prophecy, some cross swords with the growing influence of modernistic (liberal) theology, and some, like The Lord from Heaven, are richly devotional.  His volume, The Coming Prince, (published in 1882), is a study of the Antichrist, and helped to popularise the dispensational interpretation of Scripture.

Having studied law and criminology, in 1888 he was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Metropolitan Police, and Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard.  It was the same year that ‘Jack the Ripper’ began his orgy of death.

A curious problem presented itself when I read Stephen Knights’ assertion that Sir Robert Anderson “was well advanced on the Masonic ladder” (Jack the Ripper, pages 178-179;  Sun Newspaper, 3 August, 1976).  And the implication was made that Anderson “covered up” Jack the Ripper’s obvious Masonic connections!

But in a recent volume, Inside the Brotherhood, by Martin Short, there is documented evidence (he gives the references) that Sir Robert was not a Freemason!  (page 41).

The biography of Sir Robert Anderson written by his son makes it abundantly clear that he was a Christ-exalting child of God who would have had no time for the Christ-excluding Masonic Lodge.

He died on 15 November, 1918.

William Walters – God’s Printer

This is the day that … William Walters died, in 1907, on the Isle of Wight, where he was holidaying.

Born in Wolverhampton, England, about 1848, to godly parents, William grew up apprenticed to the printing trade.

Eventually he had his own little printing business – and he also issued some Christian publications.  These were almost entirely for the edification of Christians associated with gatherings in sympathy with the teaching of William Kelly … one of the pioneers among the Plymouth Brethren movement.

By the time he was 40 God began to “enlarge the vision” of William Walters.

“It became impressively evident that the full compendium of truth was not possessed by any one section of the church of God.  There were others who, loving the same Lord, were devout students of Holy Scripture …” (Publishing Salvation, pages 9, 10).

Thus it was he decided to print Scripture portions to be freely distributed.

God blessed the venture, so that on 6 February, 1888, he created the Scripture Gift Mission (S.G.M.), although that particular name was not settled upon for another four years.

For 18 years the saintly Bishop Handley Moule of the Church of England was president of S.G.M.  And the work of this great movement continues to this very day.

Keen to get the scriptures into the hands or ordinary folk Walters was an innovator. When William first put illustrations in his Bible materials in the 1890s, it was considered to be a radical idea.

William Walters played the oboe and wrote choruses.  Here is one (which may be sung to the tune Over the Sunset Mountains):
          Hope of my heart, Lord Jesus,
          my soul still thirsts for Thee,
          While waiting for Thy coming,
          my guide and strength still be;
          And though dark clouds may gather
          to hide me from Thy love,
          By Thine own power still draw me,
          and lift my soul above.

William Walters was buried in Norwood Cemetery … just near C.H. Spurgeon.  One had preached the gospel from the pulpit … the other from his printing press.

Logophile – Aplomb

Which substance is behind the word aplomb?
You may hear tell of someone who displays much aplomb. You may, as I always did, associate that with someone who spoke with a plum in their mouth. The notion of determined correctness could come to my mind. A person with aplomb was always imagined by me as being severe and unpleasant.
Certainly the word does speak of someone who is unflappable. It speaks of poise and self-control. It doesn’t require a sense of severity, but of being balance and well managed.
The word derives from the idea of a plumb-line. That’s a string with a weight on the end, which is suspended from a height so that gravity keeps it straight. Builders, bricklayers and other people involved in construction might use a plumb-line to ensure their vertical structures are truly ‘vertical’.
Now, my question was, Which substance is behind the word aplomb?
The answer is, lead. It comes from the Latin word for that soft, heavy metal, ‘plumbum’. If you studied chemistry in school you will know that the chemical symbol for lead is Pb. That’s because Pb is an abbreviation of ‘plumbum’.
So aplomb is a concept that developed from the use of lead weights on a string.
Which substance should come to mind? No, not String!!! But lead.
And, for you Biblophiles (or is it Bibliophiles? – I mean “Bible lovers”), the prophet Amos saw a vision of a plumbline and heard God say the people would be judged against God’s standard. The Apostle Peter then spoke about judgment beginning at the house of God – among God’s people. So, he asks, what hope do the heathen have? (See 1Peter 4:17).

Sudan Interior Mission

This is the day that … the Sudan Interior Mission (S.I.M.) was born, in 1898.

“On 24 May, 1898,” Rowland Bingham later wrote, “Helen E. Blair entered with me into life partnership … we were married three days before the mission was born …” (Flame of Fire, by J. Hunter, page 66).

In the previous decades an awakening of missionary interest had been stimulated by the preaching of D.L. Moody and the Student Volunteer Movement (of which John Mott became the leader for over 30 years).

Literally thousands of young people caught the vision of evangelising the world – in their generation.  Among them was a young Englishman named Rowland Victor Bingham, who migrated to Canada … and then trained at A.B. Simpson’s Bible College.

With two other graduates, and without the backing of any Church or missionary society, Bingham sailed for Africa – the “white man’s grave”, as it was then known, and not without cause. 

Bingham, suffering from attacks of malaria, was the only one to survive.  He returned to Canada in February, 1895 … but that year of death, sickness and disappointment had not been wasted.

Other dedicated young men volunteered to go.  The S.I.M. was formed, and by 1900 Bingham was off again – with two other young men – to take the gospel to the Sudan.  Again the dreaded malaria struck – the mission was aborted.

But in 1901 another attempt was made … and success began to crown their efforts.

Less than a century later the S.I.M. has over 700 missionaries working under its banner.  “Over 6,700 congregations have come into being through S.I.M. ministry, all self-sustaining and self-governing” (Sixty Great Founders, by G. Hanks).

In 1954 S.I.M. set up Africa’s first missionary radio station and daily the gospel is beamed out across the airwaves from Radio ELWA.  And because its work now extends far beyond the Sudan, S.I.M. today stands for “Society of International Mission”.

Logophile – Xenophobia

Where is xenophobia normally directed?
Xenophobia, built on two Greek roots that trace back over 2,000 years, is yet a very young word dating back just 100 years or so. We all know that phobia is fear. All manner of things are deemed to be the objects of phobia (fear) today. I guess if you have logo-phobia you won’t be reading these logo-phile posts.
The key to the meaning of xenophobia is the ‘xeno’ prefix. This Greek root means foreigner or stranger. So xenophobia identifies an unreasonable fear of foreigners, strangers or people who are different.
Xenophobia is likely to be higher in communities where cultural homogeneity is strong. In multi-cultural societies, filled with diverse people, you would expect unreasonable fear of strangers to be reduced.
Another contributor to xenophobia is the loss of the notion of ‘one blood’. Biblical creation teaches that all people came from the same original family stock. We are all ‘one blood’. We are all related, even if as distant relatives. So we can be confident that people share much in common and don’t need to be feared and distrusted unreasonably.