Eugenia Price Honours Christ in Her Fiction

This is the day that … Eugenia Price was converted, in 1949.

Born June 22, 1916 in Charlestown, Vancouver, Canada, young “Genie” grew up with agnostic views, and followed her father’s profession by studying dentistry in Chicago. Three years later she quit the course and began writing scripts for radio shows. Price credited her mother for nurturing her passions for writing, music, and history.

Without getting a degree Eugenia was offered work with the NBC network, writing daytime serials. She went from there to work with Proctor and Gamble writing the serial Joyce Jordan, M.D. In 1945 she started Eugenia Price Productions, producing daytime serials. She also hosted or cohosted radio programs in Chicago.

In 1949, she was 33 years of age – and still far from the Kingdom. But Ellen Riley, a childhood friend and now a Christian, crossed her path again.

“Some people come to God gently. Not Eugenia Price. She kicked and fought every inch of the way. But finally, on 2 October, 1949, in a New York City hotel room, Eugenia Price was born the second time …” (More Than Conquerors, by J. Woodbridge, page 132).

No longer would she write “murder stories for children,” and for a while it was tough going. Then the Lord opened doors and Genie found herself hosting an hour and a half radio program.

By October, 1950, she was scripting “Unshackled” – stories of transformed lives – that was destined to become “world famous” (ibid, page 132).

Her pen turned to writing best sellers – Woman to Woman, (Zondervan), her own autobiography, The Burden is Light, and Christian fiction like Beloved Invader.

By 1961 she had written 11 non-fiction books and ventured into historical fiction after a visit to St Simons Island in Georgia. She already knew of a minister, Anson Dodge who built Christ Church in honour of his bride who died of cholera on their honeymoon in India.

Price and fellow writer Joyce Blackburn spent 3 years researching the history of the people and community, leading to her St Simons historical fiction series.

Thirty-five books bear Eugenia Price’s name, and at the time of her death more than 40 million copies had been sold.

“I am a believer in Jesus Christ,” she said. “Since I would be bored to write a book which did not include Him, I attempt sincerely to show His Divine intervention and involvement with all human life.”

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History, which I previously considered to be a little stuffy and of little practical value. I find in the process of updating Don’s Christian Diary that I am being constantly refreshed, illuminated or challenged by the lives of those who have gone before.

The Spirit Came

History accounts many instances when God’s Holy Spirit fell on people and changed their world forever. From the Day of Pentecost and Cornelius’ house in New Testament times to the Cane Ridge Revival, the home of Jonathan Edwards, the life of Wesley, the ministry of Sister Etter, the Welsh Revival, Azusa Street, George Mueller’s orphanage, and a multitude of other times and places, the Holy Spirit has fallen with amazing impact.

Since the days of the Pentecostal outpourings, over this past century, through the Charismatic Renewal Movement of the 1960’s and 70’s and the more recent visitations, people in churches, homes and meeting rooms have experienced times of awesome visitation by the Living God.

The poem I have just penned is my limited attempt to encapsulate those experiences and touch a chord with those who resonate with this wonderful grace. If this is not your experience then I encourage you to press in for the chance to be part of such a time and place as the manifested presence of God.

The Spirit Came

They stumbled and they fell, undone like drunken men!
Laughing to their knees to weep gratitude again.
Lost in adoration and found before His throne
These worshippers of Most High God found heaven as their own.

Enthralled by deepest senses of things too grand to share
They swooned and laughed and chortled, hands stretched to the air.
Singing inspiration in word and tongue and cry,
Heaven’s sweetness drugged them as happy hours slipped by.

The tempest passed, and crumpled lives hung on the ebbing breeze.
No mortal joy compared with that which brought them to their knees.
Stillness held command where silent tears did spill
And foreign words from trembling lips tumbled headlong still.

Exhausted and enthralled each held their heaving chest;
They had met with Daddy God and tasted of His best.
Transfixed in transformation they dared not stir this place
For each felt wonder undescribed now showing on their face.

And in the coming days, they’ll thrill to still recall
The sweeping of the Spirit and how it hit them all.
They’ll shed a tear of gratitude and feel a bond with men
Who joined them at God’s footstool
there, and long to go again.

Thank You, Lord for the privilege of being there.

Jenny Geddes Throws a Stool

This is the day that … Jenny Geddes flung her stool at the Dean’s head in St Giles’ Kirk (church), Edinburgh! It was in 1637.

William Laud was both Archbishop of Canterbury and adviser of King Charles I of England, and he it was who was responsible for seeking to impose the Church of England Prayer Book and episcopacy (the government of the church by bishops) upon the Scottish believers.

Besides which, Laud had permitted such Romish practices as the setting up of images, crucifixes and bowing to the altar in the church. Eventually he was charged with treason and executed in 1645. But in the meantime the damage was done.

“Villain!” Jenny Geddes had cried. “Dost thou say the mass in my lug (ear)?” – and hurled her stool (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia, page 856).

Her action nearly started a riot with the Dean and the Bishop quickly withdrawing to the street. Many others followed her action by generating a volley of sticks and stones.

It is only fair to say that some historians have dismissed the incident as apocryphal (Dictionary of Christian Church, page 403).

But certainly the Scottish church took a strong stand against the inroads of Archbishop Laud’s innovations. And years of persecution bore upon them. But that’s another story …

St Giles Cathedral displays a three-legged stool sculpture in memory of Jenny Geddes impact on Scottish history.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

Isaac Watts the Compulsive Poet

This is the day that … Isaac Watts was born in Southampton, England, in 1674.

Little Isaac Watts showed a passion for poetry from his earliest years. It irritated his father … So much so that, when Isaac saw the mouse run up the bell rope during prayer time he really upset his father when he exclaimed:
“There was a mouse for want of stairs
Ran up the rope to say his prayers.”

The remainder of the story may just be apocryphal … Dad came with his cane ready to give your Isaac a hiding and demanding that his son speak like a normal child, instead of always “spouting poetry”. So Isaac said:
“Father, father, mercy take,
And I will no more verses make.”
(Let the People Sing, by G. Clarke, page 16).

Fortunately Isaac’s poetic genius did not desert him, nor was his enthusiasm quenched by father’s threats. He was 20 years of age and returning home from the morning service in Girdler’s Hall when he commented to his father concerning the poor quality of the hymns. “Well, give us something better, young man,” was his father’s reply (Gospel in Hymns, by A. Bailey, page 48).

Isaac did. The result …
Behold the glories of the Lamb
Amidst the Father’s throne;
Prepare new honours for His Name
And songs before unknown!

The non-conformist congregation sang it the following week.

Thus began the revolution in hymn-singing … new hymns – hymns that were not paraphrases from the Book of Psalms, but expressing the praise and worship of those who rejoice in Christ Jesus as Saviour and risen Lord.

Of course, there were the critics who roundly denounced the singing of man-made hymns. Churches even split over the issue.

But Isaac kept on writing … No wonder he is known as the “Father of English Hymnody”, for from his pen came such great hymns as :

When I survey the wondrous cross

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun …

Joy to the world, the Lord is come …

O God, our help in ages past …

Come ye that love the Lord …

I’m not ashamed to own my Lord …

and a host of others.

During his lifetime he also pastored Mark Lane Congregational Church and wrote numerous volumes on a great variety of themes. But it is for his hymns that he is best remembered.

Isaac Watts died on 26 November, 1748.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

The Magna Carta Changes England

This is the day that …the Magna Carta was signed, “an ever memorable day to Englishmen and to all nations descended from Englishmen!” It was AD 1215!

Few Christians realize the spiritual significance of this landmark document.

Pope Innocent III had placed England under an interdict. (That could be compared to excommunication, not just for an individual, but a whole nation!) And it meant no more masses, no more Christian burials, no more confession, no more priestly absolution of sin … and more. For a people who had believed these unscriptural practices to be ‘gospel’, it was a matter of the gravest importance.

King John had rejected the papal Archbishop and appointed one of his own choosing!

The interdict had its desired effect. King John gave in – accepted the Pope’s choice of Archbishop of Canterbury, and surrendered the British Empire to Rome – and promised to pay annual tribute into the Roman coffers (English Church History, by C. Lane, page 207).

But by an amazing twist of circumstances, Stephen Langton (the Pope’s choice for Archbishop) then sided with the English barons – against the papal demands! It was he who had the Magna Carta drawn up – a charter that stated among other things, “The Church of England shall be free, and hold her rights entire, and her liberties inviolate!” In other words, there would be no interference or domination from the Pope.

Thus it was, at Runnymede, Archbishop Stephen Langton and the barons compelled King John to sign the document against his will! (New Guide to Knowledge of Church History, by M. Bloxam, page 156).

Because the actual document bears no date, some historians have suggested 19 June was the day it was signed.

In the Making of the Magna Carta (page 9), it records how “by 15 June it … had been completed and could be laid before the King for his formal acceptance… The date, 15 June, may well be that on which the sealing took place” (pages 7, 9).

The Pope fumed … condemning and annulling it in a Bull (24 August, 1215). “We do utterly reprobate and condemn this agreement … whereby the Apostolic See is brought into contempt.”

Despite the Pope’s indignation the Magna Carta prevails as a landmark of political and spiritual advancement. It was a stepping-stone toward the Reformation days when the ties with Rome would be finally broken.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.