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Richard & Margaret Baxter

Check out this unlikely Puritan love story about Richard & Margaret Baxter in the Light Magazine.

In 1665, Richard and Margaret Baxter survived the Black Plague in London where 15% of Londoners perished that summer.[1]  King Charles II and most wealthy people fled London.  The poor people were not allowed to leave.  Only a small number of London pastors and doctors remained to cope with the overwhelming onslaught.  Plague houses, quarantined by guards for 40 days, were marked with a red cross on the door with the words ‘Lord Have Mercy Upon Us”. Richard commented: “The sense of approaching death so awakened both preachers and hearers, that multitudes of young men and others were converted to true repentance.”

Richard and Margaret, who had only been married three years earlier, were a powerful team caring for the sick and leading many to Christ.[2]  She was criticized by her upper-class family and friends “that she busied her head so much about churches and works of charity and was not content to live privately and quietly.”[3] Richard defended her involvement in ministry, saying “Does not Paul call some women his helps in the gospel?”[4]

As a confirmed bachelor, 47-year-old Richard had surprised many by marrying Margaret who was twenty years younger than him.[5]  Their unlikely marriage was a genuine puritan romance that we can still learn from over three centuries later. Richard wrote:

When we were married, her sadness and melancholy vanished: counsel did something to it, and contentment something; and being taken up in our household affairs did somewhat. And we lived in inviolated love and mutual complacency sensible of the benefit of mutual help.[6] 

Because of his dedication to renewing the Anglican Church, he, along with 2000 other Anglican clergy, were ejected from their churches and forbidden to preach within ten miles of a local town. [7] He was often hated by the establishment and the jealous bureaucrats.[8]  As the 17th Century’ most visible pastor, Richard had been leading a spiritual revival in Kidderminster with his 800-strong congregation of weavers.[9]  Packer comments:

In 1681, when Richard wrote this ‘Breviate’ (meaning ‘short account’) of Margaret’s life, he was probably the best known, and certainly the most prolific of England’s Christian authors.  Already in the 1650s, when despite chronic ill health, he masterminded a tremendous spiritual surge in his small-town parish of Kidderminster, he had become a best-selling author and had produced enough volumes of doctrine, devotion, and debate to earn himself the nickname ‘scribbling Dick’.[10]

Baxter was a proponent of what he called ‘mere Christianity’.[11]  He represented the often-ignored human side of Puritanism, how to be a Puritan without being puritanical.[12]  Packer comments:

The Puritanism of history was not the barbarous, sourpuss mentality of time-honoured caricature, still less the heretical Manicheism (denial of the goodness and worth of created things and everyday pleasures) with which some scholars have identified it. It was rather a wholistic renewal movement within English-speaking Protestantism, which aimed to bring all life – personal, ecclesiastical, political, social, commercial; family life, business life, professional life –under the didactic authority and the purging and regenerating power of God in the gospel in the fullest extent possible.[13]

As a pastor/scholar, Baxter had the common touch, being able to connect at both a heart and head level with the humblest and the best educated.[14]  Baxter held that “he is the best scholar who hath the readiest passage from the ear to the brain, but he is the best Christian who hath the readiest passage from the brain to the heart.”[15]   Packer comments:

The Baxter writing style is loose but lucid; it is intimate, informal, repetitive, and schoolmasterly, yet always pointed and weighty, coming hot from both head and heart.  …His zeal for God’s glory, the church’s purity, and the health of souls made it constantly ardent and arresting.[16]

Margaret, as an upper-class dilletante, was an unlikely convert.[17]  Richard observed that she had in her youth been tempted to doubt the life to come and the truth of the Scripture.[18]  Margaret didn’t think much of Baxter or the people of Kidderminster, merely attending church to humour her godly mother.[19]  But God reached her and changed her life.  As a new Christian, she almost died from tuberculosis, but the humble weavers prayed and fasted for her.  God heard their prayers, giving her a miraculous recovery.[20]  Richard commented:

And while we were all rejoicing in her change, she fell into a cough and seeming consumption [a wasting disease, such as tuberculosis] in which we almost despaired of her life( )…I and my praying neighbours were so sorry that such a changed person should be presently taken away before she had time to manifest her sincerity and do God any service in the world, that in grief they resolved to fast and pray for her.  For former experience had lately much raised their belief in the success of prayer( )…But I was with them at prayer for this woman; and compassion made us all extraordinary fervent, and God heard us and speedily delivered her as it were by nothing or by an altogether undersigned means…the next morning her nose bled (which scarce ever did before or since) and the lungs seemed cleared, and her pulse suddenly amended, her cough abated, and her strength returned in a short time. [21]

Choosing to marry Richard was to choose a life of being persecuted.  Richard commented:

Another trial of her wealth and honor was when I and all such others were cast out of all possession and hope of all ecclesiastical maintenance; she was not ignorant of the scorn and the jealousies and wrath and persecutions that I was likely to be exposed to; …To choose a participation of such a life that had no encouragement from any worldly wealth or honor, yea, that was exposed to such certain suffering which had no end in prospect on this side of death, did show that she was far from covetousness.[22]

As a wealthy heiress, Margaret loved to serve the poor and invest in her husband’s ministry to the lost.  She was full of love and forgiveness for all, including her sometimes awkward husband.[23]  Richard, in mutual submission, wrote to  Margaret:

The Lord forgive my great unprofitableness and the sin that brought me under any disabilities to answer your earnest and honest desires of greater helps than I afford you, and help me yet to amend it toward you.[24]

In a neglected part of London, she founded a free school where poor children were taught and learned (catechized) about Jesus.[25]  In one rented facility, over 800 gathered to hear Richard preach. Suddenly the building began to collapse. Margaret ran outside, immediately hiring a carpenter to put an extra support in the building so that the congregants would not die.  It worked.[26]  The memory of this near disaster left Margaret with nightmares.[27]  She was both very fearful and very courageous simultaneously.[28]  Her father, Francis Charlton, Esquire, was a wealthy leading justice of the peace.  One of the traumas of her early childhood was the demolition of her home Apley Castle by Royalist troops in 1644, during the Civil War.[29]  Men were killed right in front of five year old Margaret.[30] Three times more, Margaret faced death, leaving her with PTSD symptoms for the rest of her life.[31]

Her husband, Richard, was often fined and then sent to jail for preaching the gospel.  To keep the authorities from stealing her husband’s many books, she gave them away to budding theologians,  including those in New England.[32] When Richard was thrown in prison, she cheerfully joined him there, bringing her own bedding.[33]  After building a church building for her husband, jealous neighbours had the visiting minister arrested, thinking that they had captured her husband.  After being forced ten miles out of town in 1669 for preaching the gospel, the Baxters had to live in a dilapidated farm where “the coal smoke so filled the room that we were even suffocated with the stink. And she had ever a great constriction of the lungs that could not bear smoke or closeness.”[34]

The Baxters entered marriage with their eyes open.[35]  Packer commented: “Vividly aware of each other’s faults, they loved each other just the same, ever thankful for having each other and ever eager to give to each other.”[36]  Margaret was always trying to improve her husband for his own good.[37] Packer commented that she was reserved, intense, highly strung, restless, ardent, fearful, passionate and perfectionist, sad and self-condemning.[38]

 Initially Richard saw his wife as too fussy about cleanliness. Why waste your time cleaning the house when you and your servants can read a good book?[39]   But marriage for them was more about spiritually maturing than getting their own way. Richard commented “If God calls you to a married life, expect…trouble…and make particular preparation for each temptation, cross, and duty which you must expect.  Think not that you are entering into a state of mere [pure and unmixed] delight, lest it prove but a fool’s paradise to them.”[40]

Richard wrote 168 books, many after his ejection from the Kidderminster pulpit.[41] Even though Baxter’s books were largely forgotten after the Great Eviction of 1662, they were later rediscovered by John Wesley, William Wilberforce[42], and most recently by Dr. JI Packer.[43]  Margaret, who spoke her mind, informed her husband that he should have written less books, spending more time writing each book.[44]  She also told him that because of his prolific writing and extensive ministry, he was not spending enough time in secret prayer with her.[45]  Margaret was a passionate prayer warrior who often out-prayed her academic husband.[46] Richard commented that Margaret was very desirous that we should all have lived in a constancy of devotion and a blameless innocency.[47]  One of their marital joys was singing a psalm together each morning and evening.[48]  Packer comments that “…Richard was a public man, a preacher and a tireless writer, constantly in the home but not available to Margaret.”[49] 

Richard, who suffered from chronic pain in his later years, regretted how it sometimes affected his temper and communicativeness around Margaret.[50]  Her high-strung nature often clashed with his intensity.[51] Margaret was so afraid of getting cancer that she harmed her own health in the process.[52] Packer comments:

…they were both of fragile health, though in different ways, Margaret being a martyr to migraines and chest congestion and Richard being a veritable museum of diseases, which meant that he lived in some degree of pain most of the time.  He was forthright and hasty, and could be strident; she was gentle and circumspect, and could not bear an angry voice.[53]

  He was convinced from age 20 that he would not be long for this life.[54] Baxter’s physical ailments included “a tubercular cough; frequent nosebleeds and bleeding from his finger-ends; migraine headaches; inflamed eyes; all kinds of digestive disorders; kidney stones and gallstones.” So, he preached and wrote “as a dying man to dying men.”  Like J.I. Packer, his first drafts were often his final drafts.  Packer comments:

Sure that his time was short and that there was a vast amount of work still waiting for him to do, he wrote at top speed and published with little or no revision, so that everything is brisk, frank, rough, and pungent, the literary legacy of a good man in a hurry.[55]

Because Margaret was very sensitive to loud noise, Richard worked hard to modify his sometimes, hasty way of speaking.[56] Calmness was very important for her sense of peace.[57]  He greatly loved and admired Margaret, saying that she was “a woman of extraordinary acuteness of wit, solidity, and judgment, incredible prudence and sagacity and sincere devotedness to God, and unusual strict obedience to him…”[58] Richard was so secure in his own skin that he honoured his wife as a better pastoral counsellor than himself.[59]

In their nineteenth year of marriage, Margaret took a turn for the worse and died.  The bloodletting by doctors had only hastened her demise.[60]  Richard was heartbroken.[61]  As part of his grieving process, he wrote “under the power of melting grief” a book Breviate about his dear wife:

Richard was devastated at his loss and mourned by writing her memoirs – memoirs that have been described as ‘exquisite’, ‘incomparable’, ‘beautiful’.  …With great passion and tenderness, beloved author J.I. Packer illuminates this timeless lovestory, and from it teaches us the qualities of an enduring marriage and about the process of grief.[62]

J.I. Packer believed that Baxter’s book (renamed Grief Sanctified) can transform our marriages in the 21st century.[63]  Packer described this book as “an utterly fascinating pen-portrait, humble, factual, discerning, and affectionate throughout, of the complex, brilliant, highly strung, delicate, secretive, passionate, restless, loyal, managing woman that Margaret was.”[64]  He saw it as a lifeline to the bereaved.[65]  The denial of death in our current culture makes us vulnerable to great emotional dysfunction.[66] The Baxter’s marriage represented a commitment to covenant relationship that brings a course-correction to our self-indulgent culture.[67]  Marriage for Baxter was more about character development into Christ-likeness, than prioritizing one’s own happiness and personal fulfilment.[68]

Packer comments:

Richard and Margaret were what we would call ‘difficult’ people, individual to the point of stubbornness, temperamentally at opposite extremes, and with a twenty-year age gap between them; moreover they were both frequently ill, and were living through a nightmarishly difficult time for person of their convictions.  For Richard, who was officially regarded as the leader and pacesetter of the nonconformists, legal harassment, spying, and peronal sniping were constant, making it an invidious thing to be his wife.  Yet cheerful patience, fostered by constant mutual encouragement drawn from the Word of God, sustained them throughout, and their relationship prospered and blossomed.[69]

Richard, in grieving the loss of Margaret, focused on the goodness of God in time of tragedy.[70] Rather than being resentful and bitter he was grateful for the time that God graciously gave him with his wife.[71] They show us how to make it till death do us part.[72]  God used the fire of the Baxters’ love to transform many lives for eternity.[73] May we too, in this difficult time of COVID-19, trust that the fire of God’s love will strengthen and revive our families and marriages.

Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird

Co-authors, Blue Sky novel


[1] The Black Plague started slowly at first but by May of 1665, 43 had died, in June 6,137 people died, in July 17,036 people died, and at its peak in August, 31,159 people died.

[2] Packer, A Grief Sanctified: Passing through Grief to Peace and Joy (Vine Books, Servant Publications, Ann Arbour, Michigan, 1997), 22. Margaret and her mother Mrs Hanmer followed Pastor Richard Baxter in April 1660 to London where he was involved in the forthcoming restoration of the Church of England.  In 1661, Mrs Hanmer died of fever.  On April 29th 1662, after Richard’s ejection from the Church of England, he received a license to marry Margaret. After ‘many changes…stoppages…and long delays’, they married on Sept 10th 1662.

[3] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 115.

[4] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 116.

[5] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 100. Baxter commented that “the unsuitableness of our age, and my former known purposes against marriage, and against the conveniency of minister’s marriage, who have no sort of necessity, made our marriage the matter of much public talk and wonder.”

[6] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 43.

[7] Hugh Martin, Puritanism and Richard Baxter, 1954, SCM Press, London, p. 55: “On Sunday August 17th 1662, some 2,000 ministers took farewell of their parishes, often in the presence of overflowing and weeping congregations.   One in five of the clergy were ejected.”; Martin, p. 125, “Richard Baxter is usually credited with 168 books”

[8] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 44 . “…wherever Richard was and whatever he was doing, he was the object of continual spying and sniping; he was the tall poppy among Puritan nonconformists…”

[9] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 20. “Kidderminster was an artisan community of some eighteen hundred adults, with weaving as its cottage industry.  Half the town crowded into church every Sunday, and many hundreds had professed conversion.”

[10] J.I. Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 13.

[11] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 15 “Mere Christianity” –meaning historic mainstream Bible-based discipleship to Jesus Christ, without extras, omissions, diminutions, disproportions, or distortions –was Baxter’s own phrase for the faith he held and sought to spread. Three centuries after his time, C.S. Lewis used the same phrase as a title for the 1952 book in which he put together three sets of broadcast talks on Christian basics.  Probably Lewis got the phrase from Baxter… Lewis and Baxter belong together as men with a common purpose as well as a common faith. Now Lewis, like Baxter, also lost his wife in his sixties, and while in the grip of grief, turned to writing –the end product being his justly admired A Grief Observed.”

[12] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 19 “That means they were gloomy, censorious English Pharisees, who wore black clothes and steeple hats, condemned all cheerfulness, hated the British monarchy, and wanted the Church of England and its Book of Common Prayer abolished – right?  Wrong – off track on every point!”

[13] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 23.

[14] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 53. “Richard Baxter was a communicative man, the kind of magnetic, commanding person who makes you feel that he is taking you into his confidence every time he opens his mouth or puts pen to paper.  Augustine, CS Lewis, and Billy Graham are four more instances of this human type – all of them, incidentally, persons with whom in different ways, Baxter is comparable.”

[15] This integration of heart and head in knowing God is a strong emphasis by Dr J.I. Packer as he warns against “hardness of heart and cynicism of the head.” Richard Baxter, The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, 1652, 153 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/baxter/saints_rest.html;  Dr JI Packer, Morning Devotions talk, AMiA Winter Conference 2010, Greensboro, North Carolina.

[16] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 53.

[17] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, back cover “A True Love Story. Richard and Margaret Baxter came from landowning families who formed England’s aristocracy in the 1600s.  Richard was a Puritan evangelist, pastor and tireless author.  When Richard met Margaret, she was a frivolous, world-minded teenager.” 

[18] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 119.

[19] https://ca.thegospelcoalition.org/columns/bedes-wall/margaret-charlton-baxter-puritan-wife/

Initially, when Margaret heard Baxter’s preaching, she had little liking for either him or the people of the town. She had, Baxter tells us in his life of Margaret—A Breviate of the Life of Margaret…Charlton—a “great aversion to the poverty and strictness of the people” of the town. Frivolous and held by the gaieties of this world, she was far more interested in “glittering herself in costly apparel.” (accessed 4/13/2020)

[20] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 22. “…she sickened, and for months seemed to be mortally ill with lung problems that nothing would relieve.  Special intercession with fasting for her life by Baxter and his inner circle of prayer warriors resulted, however, in a sudden cure ‘as if it were nothing’ – a healing which today would be called miraculous, and was one of several such in Kidderminster in Baxter’s time.”

[21] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 64-65.

[22] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 102.

[23] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 119. Baxter commented that “she was for universal love of all true Christians, and against appropriating the Church to a party, and against censoriousness and partiality in religion.”; Packer, Grief Sanctified,124. Baxter said: “But no one was ever readier (than Margaret) to forgive a fault confessed, and which weakness and religious differences caused.” 

[24] Packer, A Grief Sanctified,187. Baxter wrote: “…For though she often said that before she married me, she expected more sourness and unsuitableness than she found; yet I am sure that she found less zeal and holiness and strictness in all words and looks and duties, and less help for her soul, than she expected.”

[25] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 110 Baxter commented that “so much was her heart set on the helping the ignorant, untaught poor about St. James’ that she set up a school there to teach some poor children to read, and the catechism, freely…”

[26] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 106, 108. Baxter commented that “the place being greatly crowded, the beam gave so great a crack as put all the people in a fear.  But a second crack set them all on running and crying out at the windows for ladders…After the first crack, she got down the stairs through the crowd, where others could not get that were stronger. The first man she met, she asked him what profession he was of? He said, a carpenter.  Saith she, “Can you suddenly put a prop under the middle of this beam?”  The man dwelt close by and had a meet prop ready.  He suddenly put it under, while all we above knew nothing of it; but the man’s knocking increased the people’s fears and cry.”

[27] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 108. Baxter commented: “But this fright increased my wife’s diseased frightfulness…  And if eight hundred persons had been buried in the ruins, as the Papists were in Blackfriars, O what a dreadful thing it would have been in the heavy loss, the many dolorous families, and the public scandal!”

[28] Packer, Grief, 126, Baxter wrote that “…she could not bear the clapping of a door or anything that had suddenness, noise or fierceness in it.  (She )…was more fearless of persecution, imprisonment, or losses and poverty thereby, than I or any that I remember to have known.”

[29] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 19.

[30]Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 97. Baxter commented: “…her mother’s house, being a garrison, it was stormed when she was in it, and part of the housing about it burnt, and men lay killed before her face.  And all of them were threatened and stripped of their clothing so that they were obliged to borrow clothes.”

[31] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 126. Baxter wrote about “…four times in danger of death, and the storming of her mother’s house by soldiers, firing part, killing, plundering, and threatening the rest…”

[32]  Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 113. : Baxter commented: “When warrants were out (from Sir Thomas Davis) to distrain of [ie confiscate and sell] my goods for fines for my preaching, she did without any repining encourage me to undergo the loss and did herself take the trouble of removing and hiding my library awhile (many score books being so lost), and after she encouraged me to give it away, bona fide, some to New England, and the most at home to avoid distraining on them.  And the danger of imprisonment and of paying a fine of 40 pounds for every sermon…”

[33] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 47. On the occasion when Baxter’s home preaching landed him in Clerkenwell jail with a six-month sentence, she “cheerfully went with me into prison; she brought her best bed thither…I think she scarce ever had a pleasanter time in her life.”:   https://mylordkatie.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/margaret-baxter-a-high-calling/ “So completely loyal was Margaret that she insisted on joining him in prison! A friendly jailor allowed her to make the prison room comfortable for Richard and herself. (accessed 4/13/2020)

[34] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 47, 104.

[35] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 186. “Richard and Margaret, the workaholic pastor and the willful rich girl, started with the Puritan idea of marriage and built their relationship on that basis with spectacular success. As we can now see, they loved each other realistically, neither idolizing nor idealizing each other.”

[36] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 186.

[37] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 44, 146. Baxter commented: “The pleasing of a wife is usually no easy task.  There is an unsuitableness in the best and wisest and most alike…Those who agree in religion, in love and interest, yet may have different apprehensions about occasional occurrences, persons, things, words. That will seem the best way to one that seems the worst to the other.  And passions are apt to succeed and serve these differences.  Very good people are hard to be pleased.  My own dear wife had high desires of my doing and speaking better than I did, but my badness made it hard for me to do better.” “My dear wife did look for more good in me than she found, especially lately in my weakness and decay. We are all like pictures that must not be looked up too near. Those that come near us find more faults and badness in us than others at a distance know.”

[38] Packer A Grief Sanctified, 97.; Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 117. “Richard celebrates Margaret’s quick intelligence, competence in business, brilliance with moral dilemmas, joy in the gospel, in God, in godliness and in being a despised nonconformist, excellence as a homemaker, gentle patience with people of all sorts, faithfulness in chiding her husband as necessary, desire for fullest spiritual intimacy with him at all times. And great love for her mother, despite battles with nightmarish fears that threatened her sanity.”

[39] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 60: “I had been bred among plain, lower-class people, and I thought that so much washing of stairs and rooms, to keep them as clean as possible their trenches and dishes, and so much ado about cleanliness and trifles, was a sinful eccentricity and expense of servants’ time, while have been spent reading a good book.  But she that had otherwise been bred had somewhat other thoughts.”

[40] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 31. “See that you be furnished with marriage strength and patience, for the duties and sufferings of a married state, before you venture on it…”

[41] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 13. “Debarred in 1662 from parochial ministry by the unacceptable terms on which the Act of Uniformity reestablished the Church of England, he made writing his main business, and by 1680, he made writing his main business…”

[42] Hugh Martin, 176, 180 Baxter inspired Wilberforce by his fearless stand against the slave trade, saying: “To go as pirates and catch up poor negroes or people of another land, that never forfeited life or liberty, and to make them slaves, and sell them, is one of the worse kinds of thievery in the world. “Richard Boyce the scientist said that Richard Baxter feared no man’s displeasure, nor hoped for any man’s preferment.”

[43] Hugh Martin, 125 “Baxter’s influence of the ‘Clapham Sect’ is just one part of the story of his speaking after death.”; 131 “(Baxter’s) ‘Reformed Pastor’ influenced Spener, the founder of German Pietism; 146 “Spurgeon (was a) close student of the Puritan preachers, including Baxter.”; JI Packer,  A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, Publisher: Crossway Books, 1994.

[44] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 123.

[45] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 45, 121. Baxter commented: “She was very desirous that we should all have lived in a constancy of devotion and a blameless innocency.  And in this respect, she was the meetest helper that I could have had in the world;…for I was apt to be over-careless in my speech and too backward to my duty, and she was always endeavoring to bring me to greater wariness and strictness in both.  If I spoke rashly or sharply, it offended her; if I behaved (as I was apt) with too much neglect of ceremony or humble compliment to any, she would modestly tell me of it; if my very looks seemed not pleasant, she would have me amend them (which my weak, pained state of body undisposed me to do); if I forgot any week to catechize my servants and familiarly instruct them personally (beside my ordinary family duties [i.e. household prayers twice daily]), she was troubled at my remissiveness.”

[46] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 99. Baxter commented that “…her fervent, secret prayers; for, living in a great house of which the middle part was ruined by the [Civil] wars, she chose a closet in the further end, where she thought none heard it. But some who overheard her said they never heard so fervent prayers from any person.”

[47] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 120.

[48] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 46. “It was not the least comfort that I had in the converse of my late dear wife, that our first in the morning and last in bed at night was a psalm of praise.” 

[49] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 44.

[50] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 123. Baxter commented: “She could not well bear to hear one speak loud or hastily or eagerly or angrily, even to those who deserved it.  My temper in this she blamed as too quick and earnest.”

[51] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 44. “Moreover, neither of them had a really easy temperament.  Margaret was highly strung and a bundle of fears inside, which she made worse by bottling them up; Richard was hasty and frequently offhand, as persons who live in pain often are, and was inclined to be downcast and irritable when things did not go his way.”

[52] Packer, Grief, 47 “She was obsessive about her health, too, spending much of her adult life in fear of mental collapse, starving herself for years for fear that overeating would bring on cancer, and thereby as it seems undermining her own constitution.”

[53] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 43, 103. Baxter commented that “…she could not endure to hear one give another any sour, rough, or hasty word. Her speech was always kind and civil, whether she had anything to give or not.”

[54] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 171 “Richard, who had thought of himself from the age of twenty as living with one foot in the grave…”; Packer, 149. Baxter finished his book on Margaret with these words: “I am waiting to be next. The door is open. Death will quickly draw the veil and make us see how near we were to God and one another, and did not sufficiently know it.  Farewell vain world, and welcome true everlasting life.  Finis.”

[55] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 53.

[56] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 97. Baxter commented: “She was of an extraordinary sharp and piercing wit. She had a natural reservedness and secrecy, increased by thinking it necessary prudence not to be open…she had a natural tenderness and troubledness of mind upon the crossing of her just desires…she had a diseased, unresistable fearfulness; her quick and too sensitive nature was over-timorous.”;   Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 120. Baxter commented, “If I spoke rashly or sharply, it offended her.”;

[57] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 127. Baxter  commented: “Indeed, she was so much for calmness, deliberation, and doing nothing rashly and in haste,  and my condition and business as well as temper made me do and speak much so suddenly, that she principally differed from me and blamed me in this: Every considerable case and business she would have me take time to think much of before I did it or spoke or resolved of anything.”;   Packer, 127-128 Baxter commented: “…not withstanding her over-quick and feeling temper, was all for mildness, calmness, gentleness, pleasingness, and serenity.” 

[58] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 45, 170; Lloyd-Thomas, 249.

[59] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 118. Baxter commented: “Yes, I will say that, except in cases that required learning and skill in theological difficulties, she was better at resolving a case of conscience than most divines that ever I knew in all my life.”

[60] https://mylordkatie.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/margaret-baxter-a-high-calling/

Finally, the doctors followed the common practice of bleeding her and she lost the last of her strength. After severe illness for twelve days, she died on June 14, 1681, aged only forty-two. (accessed 4/13/2020)

[61] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 13.

[62] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, back cover.; Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 14 “…the writer’s discipline of getting things into shape  is always therapeutic at times of emotional strain.”; Packer, Grief, 56, 169 “…composing the Breviate was perhaps the most therapeutic thing Richard could have done for the managing of his grief process in his life.”

[63] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 15 “…Baxter’s Breviate, though low-key and matter-of-fact in style, is Puritan spiritual storytelling at its best: story telling that is made more poignant by Richard’s intermittent unveiling of his grief as he goes along.

[64] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 177.

[65] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 162 “…Richard and Lewis each gave the world a small book forged in the furnace of grief that is frank, poignant, profound, and a lifeline for the bereaved.” 

[66] Packer, Grief, 164 Packer commented that “In our death-denying, live-forever-down-here culture, we do not know how to cope with the emotional effect of our loved one’s death.”

[67] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 181. “Popular culture today treats structure in relationships as restrictive rather than liberating, and impoverishing than enriching.”;  Packer, 193 “For Richard and Margaret, as for the whole Bible-based Puritan movement, marriage was a covenant partnership meant to be God-centered and lifelong, a privilege, a calling, and a task.”  

[68] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 31 “…Richard brings all this down to earth, stressing that what makes for God-honoring marriage is not euphoria but character, consideration, and commitment: in other words, personal formation, reflection, and resolution.”

[69] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 30.

[70] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 181, Baxter commented, “You see here that suitableness in religious judgement and disposition preserveth faster love and concord (as it did with us) than suitableness in age, education, and wealth…Nothing causest so near and fast and comfortable a union as to be united in one God, one Christ, one Spirit, one church, one hope of heavenly glory.”; Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 189 “…the experiential emotional fruit of the bereavement event, is, as we have seen, a state of desolation and isolation, of alternating apathy and agony, of inner emptiness and exhaustion.  …Do not let your grief loosen your grip on the goodness and grace of your loving Lord.”

[71] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 167 …Richard, whose memoir praises God for Margaret, and Margaret herself for her godliness, throughout.”; Packer, 171 “…Richard’s sense of deserving none of the good gifts of earthly marriage…”

[72] Packer, A Grief Sanctified, 177. “Richard’s purpose of writing ‘true history’ led him to recount Margaret’s weaknesses, flaws, and struggles alongside her strengths, virtues, and achievements. He does not present as a plaster saint but as a born-again servant of God with a heart of gold, feet of clay, and huge natural vulnerabilities.” 

[73] Packer, A Grief Transformed, 193. “Why did I put this book together?  …First I wanted you to meet Richard Baxter.  Through his writings, he has been a close personal friend of mine for over half a century, and I wanted to share him.  An outstanding pastoral evangelist, a gifted and prolific devotional writer, and a major prophet (unheeded, unfortunately) to the Anglican Church in the second half of the seventeenth century, he is endlessly interesting; for beyond his public roles he was a great and communicative human being who lets you hear his heart beat as he writes.  …I wanted to introduce you to him as a husband working at his Puritan marriage, and as a widower grieving for the lively lady who had been his life-partner for almost twenty years.  …They were two memorable Christian people with whom I would have loved to spend time…They enrich my life; I should like them to enrich yours too.”

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you. 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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George Whitefield: Waking Up to the Fire of Christ

By Rev. Dr. Ed & Janice Hird

–previously published in the April 2019 Light Magazine

When is the last time that you heard of a pastor being hoisted, like George Whitefield, through a window into your crowded church building, because there was no other way in?[i]  The Rev. George Whitefield took part in a Great Awakening that is still impacting many congregations today.[ii]  Charles Spurgeon called Whitefield “all life, fire, wing, force.”[iii]

After being ordained at age 21, Whitefield was accused of driving fifteen people mad in his first sermon.  People spontaneously began to moan and weep as they fell under the conviction of sin.[iv]  His Gloucester Bishop Benson ironically said that he wished that the madness might not be forgotten before next Sunday.[v]  The so-called madness was actually people waking up to the life-changing love of Christ.  In his 34 years of ordained ministry, Whitefield preached more than 18,000 sermons to around ten million people.[vi]  Dr. Thomas S Kidd holds that “perhaps he was the greatest evangelical preacher the world has ever known.”[vii] Because of his speaking gift, Whitefield’s nickname was the Seraph (type of angel).[viii]  He was once described by UK Prime Minister Lloyd George as the greatest popular orator ever produced by England.[ix]  David Hume, a famous agnostic commented that “Mr Whitfield is the most ingenious preacher I ever heard. It is worth going twenty miles to hear him.”[x] The famous English actor David Garrick held that Whitefield could “make men weep and tremble by his varied utterances of the word ‘Mesopotamia’.”[xi] (the ancient land that Abraham came from)

While in Oxford, he became close friends with John and Charles Wesley who helped him in the spiritual disciplines. Constant fasting, visiting prisons and hospitals, and conflict with students led him to the edge of a physical breakdown.[xii]  The Methodism of Oxford reached but a handful of people (8 or 9 at once) and knew no assurance of salvation. It died away with the departure of the Wesleys in 1735.[xiii]  After reading the book The Life of God in the Soul of Man, Whitefield became convinced that good works would not earn him heaven: “God showed me that I must be born again….”[xiv] Whitefield described his new birth by saying: “The Day Star arose in my heart.”[xv]  Experiencing the new birth gave him a fresh love of the beauty of spring: “At other times, I would be so overpowered with a sense of God’s Infinite Majesty that I would be compelled to throw myself on the ground and offer my soul as a blank in his hands, to write on it what he pleased.”[xvi] The new birth became the heart of an unprecedented evangelical revival.

Whitefield accepted the Wesley’s invitation to join them as missionaries in Savannah, Georgia.[xvii] He waited however for months to sail to Georgia with his patron General Oglethorpe.  During this delay in England, tens of thousands came to hear him preach about the new birth. Many couldn’t make it into the overcrowded churches where Whitefield preached around nine times a week: “…those who did come were so deeply affected that they were like persons…mourning for a first-born child.”[xviii]

George Whitefield preachingAfter passionately preaching outside to 10,000 miners in Kingswood near Bristol, he wrote: “The fire is kindled in the country; and, I know, all the devils in hell shall not be able to quench it.”[xix]  Whitefield became the Billy Graham of the 17th century, preaching that all people need to be born again.[xx]  He was very countercultural, doing the unthinkable thing of preaching in fields, without notes, to tens of thousands. In 17th century England, sermons were only supposed to be given inside church buildings. In 17th England, because of the fear of revolution, the worst thing you could be accused of was enthusiasm. Whitefield sought to reach the heart as well as the head, saying that many people “were unaffected by an unfelt, unknown Christ.”[xxi]  Not everyone was happy about this revival.  The chancellor of the Bristol diocese, accusing him of false doctrine, prohibited Whitefield from preaching in public or private meetings, threatening him with excommunication if he continued his unlicensed preaching in Bristol.[xxii]  In Exeter, rioters violently entered Whitfield’s Methodist meeting-house in Exeter. They swore at the minister and the men present, kicking and beating them. Then the stripped the women naked, dragged them through a sewer, and attempted to rape one of them up in the gallery. Whitefield took the perpetrators to court, winning his case, and then forgiving them. This resulted in a significant drop in persecution.[xxiii]

On December 30th, 1737, he boarded the ship Whitaker for Georgia, praying: “God give me a deep humility, a well-guided zeal, a burning love, and a single eye, and let men or the devils do their worst.”[xxiv] On his way to Savannah, Whitefield had such a strong voice that when the two other ships travelling with them drew close, he was simultaneously able to preach to all the people on the three ships.[xxv] At a time when travel was precarious, Whitefield had seven visits to America, fifteen to Scotland, and two to Ireland.[xxvi]  Whitefield was the best-known person to have travelled extensively in the thirteen American colonies.[xxvii]  By 1740, he had become the most famous man in both America and Britain, at least the most famous aside from King George II.[xxviii]  Reminiscent of the Beatles, he was the first ‘British sensation.’[xxix]

Whitefield was radically generous even to a fault.  Sir James Stephen, author of Essays in Ecclesiastical Biography (1893) commented that “If ever philanthropy burned in the human heart with pure and intense flame, embracing the whole family of man in the spirit of universal charity, it was in the heart of George Whitefield.”[xxx]

After a fever had killed off many of the Savanah parents, Whitefield dedicated his life to caring for the orphans.[xxxi]  Wherever revival meetings took place, Whitefield received offerings, including from Benjamin Franklin, to help with the most famous orphanage in North America, Bethesda in Savannah, Georgia.  After Benjamin Franklin scientifically established that Whitefield was able to preach to 30,000 without a microphone, he became his publisher, and a close friend and ally.[xxxii] Between 1740 and 1742, Franklin printed forty-three books and pamphlets dealing with Whitefield and the evangelical movement.[xxxiii]  He even built Whitefield a building for preaching that became the University of Pennsylvania.  That is why there are statues of both Franklin and Whitefield as co-founders of the University of Pennsylvania.[xxxiv]  Benjamin Franklin commented: “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world was growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families in every street.”[xxxv]

The Bishop’s Commissary (superintendent), Alexander Garden, in Charleston was offended by Whitefield’s article challenging slave owners over mistreatment of slaves, and by Whitefield’s preaching both in other parish areas and among other denominations. Garden declared that the slave owners were going to sue Whitefield for libel. During his sermon, Garden attacked Whitefield, and refused him communion.[xxxvi]  Then he dragged Whitefield into an ecclesiastical court, trying to defrock him.[xxxvii]  Jonathan Edwards of Northhampton, a co-leader in the Great Awakening, wrote: “Whitefield was reproached in the most scurrilous and scandalous manner…I question whether history affords any instance paralleled with this, as so much pains taken in writing to blacken a man’s character, and render him odious.”[xxxviii] Professor Edward Wigglesworth of Harvard, reminiscent of modern-day cessationists,u criticized Whitefield in 1754 for pretending to be an evangelist, saying that evangelists had gone out of existence, when the Bible was completed.[xxxix]

Everyone had an opinion about Whitefield.  There was even a theatre production The Minor by Samuel Foote, mocking him as Dr. Squintum, because of his cross-eyes caused by childhood measles.[xl]  Kidd commented that “Whitefield has the dubious distinction of becoming one of the first people in world history whose personal life became a topic of rampant conjecture in the mass media.”[xli] In reaching out to First Nations people, he debunked the myth that European = Christian, saying: “thousands of white people believe only in their heads, and are therefore no more Christians than those who have never heard of Jesus Christ at all.”[xlii]  Whitefield did not let criticism stop him, saying “The more I am opposed, the more joy I feel.”[xliii]

On a Sunday morning in Philadelphia, Whitefield preached to perhaps 15,000 people.  Then, he attended an Anglican Communion service where Commissary Cummings publicly denounced him and his followers. Whitefield followed this right after with preaching a farewell sermon to an outdoor assembly of 20,000.[xliv]  The relentless pace was brutal to Whitefield’s health. At another time in Boston, “Whitfield was running himself ragged and becoming extremely ill, violently vomiting between sermons. He was feverish, dehydrated, and sweating profusely.”[xlv] Dan Nelson holds that “his overwhelming pace led him to an early grave.”[xlvi] Whitefield had wanted to preach in Canada, but was prevented by his health issues.[xlvii]

George WhitefieldDuring his four years away from England, the Gentleman’s Magazine and other English newspapers listed George Whitefield as having died.[xlviii]  He changed so many lives that even the English upper classes began to give Whitefield a hearing.  Lord Bolingbroke, after hearing Whitefield at Lady Huntington’s place, wrote: “Mr Whitefield is the most extraordinary man of our times. He has the most commanding eloquence I ever heard in any person…”[xlix] One Anglican minister claimed that Whitefield had set England on fire with the devil’s flames. Whitefield countered. “It is not a fire of the Devil’s kindling, but a holy fire that has proceeded from the Holy and blessed Spirit. Oh, that such a fire may not only be kindled, but blow up into a flame all England, and all the world over!”[l]

Dying at 55, Whitefield had been used to set many people on fire with love for Christ.  He memorably prayed: “O that I could do more for Him! O that I was a flame of pure and holy fire, and had a thousand lives to spend in the dear Redeemer’s Service.”[li] Whitefield was passionate about awakening to the new birth.  We in Canada also need to wake up to the fire of Christ. We too need to recapture the priority of the new birth. Have you, like Whitefield, awoken yet to the new birth?

Rev Dr. Ed and Janice Hird

Co-authors of For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship

[i] Kidd, p. 249.

[ii] Dan Nelson, A Burning and Shining Light: The Testimony and Witness of George Whitefield (LifeSong Publishers, Somis, CA, 2017), p. 255 “The origin of evangelical Christianity is traced back to the influence of the awakening movements.”; p. 256 “Many of today’s Christians, especially those who think of themselves as ‘born again’, are his theological heirs.” (Cashin, Preface I)

[iii]Nelson, p. 174

[iv]Nelson, p. 41.

[v] George Whitefield, The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield (Edinburgh and London: Dilly, 1771), pp. 18,19.

[vi] Nelson, p. 42.

[vii] Kidd, p. 263.

[viii] Arnold A Dallimore, George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant for the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Crossway Books, Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1990), p. 15.; Nelson, p. 46.

[ix] Kidd, p. 259.

[x] Dallimore, p. 160.

[xi] Thomas S Kidd, George Whitfield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014), p. 15.

[xii] Nelson, p. 31.

[xiii] Dallimore, p. 29.

[xiv] Dallimore, George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant for the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century, P. 16.

[xv] Kidd, p. 21.

[xvi] Dallimore, p. 27.

[xvii] Dallimore, p.26  Because Charles Wesley only lasted seven months at Savannah, Georgia, his brother John invited George Whitefield to leave Oxford and join him in Georgia.

[xviii] Whitefield, Life & Times, p. 114; Dallimore, p. 29.

[xix] Kidd, p. 46.

[xx] Nelson, p. 262 “Both Billy Sunday and Billy Graham followed in Whitefield’s footsteps when they made use of tents, athletic stadiums, and other large venues for their meetings.”

[xxi] Nelson, p. 48.

[xxii] Kidd, p. 68.; Nelson, p. 65.

[xxiii] Dallimore, p. 136.

[xxiv] Dallimore, p. 30.

[xxv] Dallimore, p. 36.

[xxvi] Dallimore, p. 66.

[xxvii] Kidd, p. 255.

[xxviii] Kidd, p. 1-2.

[xxix] Kidd, p. 260.est

[xxx] Dallimore, p. 8.

[xxxi] Nelson, 49, 80.  The orphanage was Charles Wesley’s idea.

[xxxii] Dallimore, p. 77.

[xxxiii] Kidd, p. 85.

[xxxiv] Rick Kennedy, “Did George Whitefield Serve Two Masters?”, February 22nd 2019, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/february-web-only/george-whitefield-peter-choi-evangelist-god-empire.html

“On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, there sits a statue of one of the school’s co-founders: George Whitefield, the 18th-century British evangelist and hero of the Great Awakening. Underneath it, one finds a quote from Benjamin Franklin, the school’s other co-founder (and Whitefield’s longtime friend): “I knew him intimately upwards of thirty years. His integrity, disinterestedness and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good work I have never seen equaled and shall never see equaled.” (accessed March 9th 2019)

[xxxv] Dallimore, p. 76.

[xxxvi] Kidd, p. 118, Regarding Commissary Garden, Whitefield commented :”Had an infernal spirit been sent to draw my picture, I think it scarcely possible that he could have painted me in more horrid colours.” (Whitfield, Journal, Georgia to Falmouth, 4-7).

[xxxvii] Dallimore, p. 83.

[xxxviii] Kidd, p. 185.

[xxxix] Kidd, p. 223.

[xl]Nelson, p. 18, 204, “At four years of age, he had a bout with the measles, leaving him with one eye dark blue and causing a squint.”

[xli] Kidd, p.18.

[xlii] Kidd, p. 116.

[xliii] Kidd, p. 117.

[xliv] Kidd, p. 115.

[xlv] Kidd, p. 125.

[xlvi]Nelson, p. 14.

[xlvii] Nelson, p. 210.

[xlviii] Dallimore, P. 152.

[xlix] Dallimore, p.159,  Lord Bolingbroke, after hearing Whitefield at Lady Huntington’s place, wrote: “…his abilities are very considerable —his zeal unquenchable and his piety and excellence genuine…”

[l] Kidd, p. 66, 68.

[li] Dallimore, p. 149.

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Have A Nice Eternity…

“We shall not always be as we are now. We are now at school, learning to sing the song of redeeming love, and, before long, we shall be translated to sing it before the throne of God!”

~JOHN NEWTON

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Waking up Woke…

My hero Rev George #Whitefield, an Anglican priest and revival leader in the first Great #Awakening:

”O that my words would pierce to the very soul! O that Jesus #Christ was formed in you! O that you would turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, that he might have mercy upon you! I would speak till midnight..till I could speak no more, so it might be a means to bring you to #Jesus.”

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Convention video report 2018..mp4 – Google Drive

Healing for the Nations Convention video report . 30,000 were touched. 2018..mp4 – Google Drive
— Read on drive.google.com/file/d/1KQUN09U8P6WxQd_meCoLCIQeJZAV8945/view

 


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Say No to the Status Quo

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Our family worked for the Woodwards Department Store for many years.  My mother met my father through a Woodwards dance put on for the Air Force servicemen. My sister worked for Woodwards. For one month, I worked for Woodwards at age 17 in Women’s Shoes.  I had no idea how complicated it was to find all those hundreds of shoes hidden on massive shelves in the back of the store.

For many years, Woodwards in Oakridge was our favorite walking destination.  My mother and grandmother loved Woodwards’ famous $1.49 Day sales to which massive crowds would always flock. Woodwards to me was an unshakable permanent institution that had always been there, and would always be there. It was as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup.  Woodwards had been there for one hundred years since Charles Woodwards founded it in 1892.  Then suddenly one day it was gone.  It had been swallowed by its conforming to the status quo.

In Seth Godin’s bestselling book Tribes, he comments that the organizations that need innovation the most are the ones that do the most to stop it from happening.  It is very easy to get stuck, to embrace the status quo, and hunker down. Godin says that this will result in our implosion.  Organizations with a future must be willing to be risk-takers, to embrace creativity and innovation.

Godin says that it is not fear of failure that cripples leaders. It is the fear of criticism.  No one likes to be publicly criticized.  21st-century leaders need to be willing to get out of the boat and pay the price of going first.  In my thirty years as an Anglican clergy, I have sometimes wondered whether I acted too early. At other times, I have been concerned that I was not moving fast enough.   Leaders have to be very sensitive to the still small voice.  Timing is everything in leadership.  We don’t want to rush ahead of God, nor do we want to lag behind.

Godin says that “the largest enemy of change and leadership isn’t a ‘no’. It’s a ‘not yet’. ‘Not yet’ is the safest, easiest way to forestall change. ‘Not yet’ gives the status quo a chance to regroup and put off the inevitable for just a little while longer. Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late….There’s a small price for being too early, but a huge penalty for being too late.”  There have been times in my life when the boat almost left and I was not on it.  There was a time in North Vancouver when I had to make a tough decision that I personally hoped would just go away. I was stuck in the ‘not yets’.  One of my friends sensed this and challenged me to not be a ‘maybe Ed’.  When the time came eight and a half years ago, God gave me the courage to push through my ‘not yets’ and my ‘maybes’.  The rest is history.

Seth Godin teaches that every tribe needs leaders. Managers make widgets and create bureaucracies and factories.  Leaders have followers and make change.  The secret of leadership according to Godin is simple: “Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there.”  One of my most palpable fears as a teenager is that I would end up stuck in a job that I would hate and have no way out of. In my forty-three years as a clergyperson, I have often felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the task, but I have never regretted devoting my life to serving others as an Anglican priest.

I have seen many changes and challenges over the past several decades.  Seth Godin says that ‘The safer you are with your plans for the future, the riskier it actually is.”  Leadership is a choice: a choice to risk all to be faithful to the vision of a better future. The very nature of leadership, says Godin, is that you’re not doing what’s been done before.

We live in a culture that worships size, buildings and money.  Many of the Woodwards of yesterday have become the dinosaurs of today.  No organization is immune, no matter what its numbers, facilities or financial resources.  If we refuse to innovate, we choose to die.  Remarkable visions and genuine insights, says Godin, are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance.  The forces for mediocrity will align to stop you.  Never give up.

Criticizing hope, says Godin, is easy. Fearful bureaucrats can always say that they’ve done it before and it didn’t work.  But cynicism is a dead-end strategy.  Without hope, there is no future to work for.  Godin observes that without passion and commitment, nothing happens. So often no one in an organization really cares; no one deeply believes in the bigger vision.  No one is willing to sacrifice so that breakthroughs can happen.  Real leaders are willing to pay the price. Real leaders are willing to risk all for the greater good.  Real leaders care.  I challenge each of us reading this article to come up to the plate and choose to be a real leader. Say no to the status quo.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


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Sleepless in Seattle

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Who can forget the classic 1993 comedy ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ where Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) and Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) find healing and romance through the delightful impetuosity of Jonah Baldwin (Ross Malinger ), Sam’s media-savy son?  Seattle is a beautiful coastal city to visit that has much in common with Vancouver BC.

Fifty years later…

A few years ago, my family and a Christian Ashram team  had the privilege of ministering at John and Holly Roddam’s Seattle congregation, the original epicentre of Anglican renewal which began fifty years ago in 1960 and continues to impact the world.  I believe that the renewal birthed in Seattle is God’s wake-up call to a sleepy, self-absorbed Church.  As Paul put it in Romans 13:11, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep…”

You may remember St. Eutychus, the patron saint of teenagers, who was literally bored to death during the Apostle Paul’s all-night sermon (Acts 20:9).  You may also remember how Jesus’ closest disciples couldn’t stay awake on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:32) and the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus even had to say to them: “Why are you sleeping?  Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22:46).

 

I believe that God is blowing the Shofar of renewal across the Anglican Church saying “Wake up, wake up, before it is too late”. Why has so much confusion crept into much of the Anglican Church regarding sexual immorality, new-age syncretism, and mother/father god/dess worship?  Clearly we, as clergy and laity, have been asleep at the switch, instead of being watchmen for our nation.  “Let us not be like others who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

What is the calling of faithful Anglicans in these perilous times?  It is the same calling that many christians parents have on Sunday mornings while attempting to get their teenagers ready for church: “Wake up O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!” (Ephesians 5:14)  Wake up, O Canada; Wake up O Anglicans; rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you!

 

It is little wonder that previous times of renewal (which means new-again) and revival (which means life-again) have been called ‘awakenings’.  We think especially of the 18th century First Great Awakening with the Anglican priest George Whitfield and Congregational pastor Jonathan Edwards, and the 19th Century Second Great Awakening with Presbyterian clergyman Charles Finney and Yale President Timothy Dwight.

How deeply we Canadians need to wake up to righteousness (1 Corinthians 15:34).  How deeply we Anglicans need to recover the discipline of morning prayer, exemplified in the heritage of our Book of Common Prayer.  Then we can cry out like the Psalmist: “Awake my soul!  Awake, harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn.” (Psalm 57:8)  Perhaps we can hear Proverbs 6:9-11 as a prophetic calling: “How long will you lie there, you sluggard?  When will you get up from your sleep?…”God is saying to us: “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourselves with strength.  Put on your garments of splendor…Shake off your dust, rise up…Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O Captive Daughter of Zion.”

Being in Seattle for the Christian Ashram weekend was a wake-up call to me.  Like many churches in renewal, the Roddam’s congregation had both a traditional and then a contemporary service on Sunday mornings.  Their congregation proves that the traditional Prayer Book service doesn’t inhibit freedom in the Spirit.  It was wonderful to see the gift of prophecy graciously exercised in both services.  There is such an anointing on their people  who have been soaking in the Spirit for fifty years.  Being around such godly people helped me shake off my dust and free myself from the chains on my neck.

What a joy to know that a Canadian Anglican couple, the Rev. John and Holly Roddam, were serving the people of Seattle.  Canada, through the ministry of the Rev. Dennis & Rita Bennett, has received so much through the Bennett’s extensive travels across Canada.  Many Canadians Anglicans can date their awakening to the reading of the Bennett’s bestsellers like ‘Nine O’clock in the Morning and ‘The Holy Spirit and You’.

 

I believe that God sent Canadians servant-leaders to Seattle as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to Seattle for all that they have given to so many in Canada and around the world.  I thank God that the Rev John and Holly Roddam were powerfully used in helping many to be ‘sleepless in Seattle’.  While the Roddams have since move back to the Maritimes, they have left a significant imprint in the hearts and minds of many in Seattle.  I pray that for the sake of the Anglican Church and our lost world, we sleepy believers will awaken and ‘not rest until righteousness shines out like the dawn and salvation like a blazing torch’ (Isaiah 62:1).  Do it again Lord, wake us up for your glory and honour!

Note: The majority of the people at the Roddam’s congregation have now left the old St Luke’s building, re-aligned with the Global South Anglicans and formed a new congregation Emmanuel Anglican Church . You are encouraged to check out this vibrant congregation led by Rev Dan Rice.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

Past Chair, Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada

-previously published in the Anglicans for Renewal Canada magazine

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


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Canon Dennis Bennett: Anglican Pioneer in Renewal

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

the life and work of the Rev Canon Dennis Bennett: a tribute to his contributions to 50 years of renewal in Canada 

My wife and I were privileged to hear Rita Bennett this July at the fiftieth anniversary of the Charismatic Renewal, which began in 1960 at St Luke’s Seattle.  Rita and her late husband Canon Dennis Bennett were an amazing tag team sharing about the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Many felt shock and disbelief in November lst, 1991 when told of Dennis Bennett’s death from a heart attack.  He was known world-wide as a pioneer and seed-planter in what Archbishop Michael Peers called in 1978 “…a revival of a witness to a neglected aspect of Christian truth – the power of the Spirit.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica 1973 Yearbook records that “when in 1960, Father Dennis Bennett announced to his congregation, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at Van Nuys, California that he had experienced a new outpouring of God’s Spirit, the recent movement can be said to have begun.”

The Rev Kevin Martin, formerly with Episcopal Renewal Ministries/Acts 29, said that Dennis Bennett “…was directly responsible for the charismatic movement in the Roman (Catholic) Church that now reaches into the millions.’  As of 2010, there are an estimated 110 million Roman Catholics involved in charismatic renewal, which perhaps accounts for the wide acceptance of the Alpha Course among many Roman Catholics.

Canon Bennett wrote six best-selling books, two of which sold over half a million copies each (Nine O’Clock in the Morning and The Holy Spirit and You).  During his 33 years in the Renewal, Dennis had the privilege of leading over 25,000 people into the Release or Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In 1979, the Rev Al Reimers, an Anglican priest, published the results of a comprehensive survey of charismatic renewal in Canada.  In his book, God’s Country, he wrote: “As far as I can determine, charismatic renewal came to Canada first through visits by Dennis Bennett in the early 1960’s…”

Dennis planted many seeds of renewal over the years across Canada: many have borne fruit and are still bearing fruit; others are just starting to sprout.

Shortly after moving to Seattle, Dennis began a lasting and most meaningful relationship with the Anglicans on Vancouver Island.  He first spoke at St John’s Quadra Anglican Church (Victoria) in 1962.  In 1974 Dennis and Rita led a very popular seminar on the Holy Spirit at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria.  From then on, Dennis and Rita were invited back many times by the ARC/Anglican Renewal Centre to lead seminars all over Vancouver Island.

The Rev Charles Alexander, the founding National Coordinator of Anglican Renewal Ministries (Canada) and author of Power to Serve, remembers Dennis well.  Charles recalls going down to Dennis’ parish in Seattle, (St Luke’s) and receiving much wisdom and encouragement from him.

Charles sees Dennis as “a very self-giving man” who certainly had a foundational role in the growth of renewal in Canada.  Charles, who has spent many years sharing the message of renewal across Canada, commented that Canadian Anglicans in renewal “owe Dennis a lot.’

Nine O’Clock in the Morning, by itself, has had life-changing effects on many Canadian Anglicans.  For example, the Venerable Jack Major from the Fraser Valley, BC, was given this book by a stranger at a funeral.  He reluctantly began to read the book, and before he could finish it, he experienced a life-changing Release of God’s Spirit in his life.  Later Jack brought Dennis and Rita to lead seminars in 1984 and 1986 at St Matthew’s Abbotsford; over 350 people registered for the latter.

I was Jack’s Assistant Priest at the time, so I can witness to its powerful effect on St Matthew’s in terms of spiritual and rapid numerical growth.  Archdeacon Jack “found Dennis to be a person of great intellectual ability but also able to convey the faith in such a beautifully simple way that one can’t miss it.’

Archdeacon Jack Major said that he had never met a more humble person and both he and Charles Alexander commented that Dennis would always remember who you were.  The Rev Fr Ron Barnes, former Chair of an Anglican Evangelism Unit, described Dennis as a “conservative, rational, sensible person who saw the gifts of the Spirit, not as something emotional but as genuine, rational, and normal.” Though Dennis Bennett’s teaching about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a challenging message, it was always spoken in love.  As Archdeacon Patrick Tomter (from Dennis’ Diocese of Olympia) put it, Dennis “was always and forever a man of grace and, truth…He responded to criticism with warmth and humour .  The Diocese has always been particularly blessed by his presence.”

I first met Dennis through his books, and began a 7-year pilgrimage which culminated in 1979, when the Rev David Watson and my wife Janice helped me open up to new life in the Spirit.  But it wasn’t until I met Dennis in 1984 that he showed me by teaching and example how easy it is to lead another person to receive the Release or Baptism in the Spirit.  Until then, I had believed that ‘tongues’ were just for the few, and were difficult to receive.  Dennis showed me that Life in the Spirit is a free gift, and all that one had to do was ask.

Next to Nine O’Clock in the Morning, I found How to Pray for the Release of the Spirit  his most helpful book.  I recommend this book to any Anglican priest or lay person struggling with the challenge of renewing the renewal.

Lord, we thank you for the life and witness of Canon Dennis Bennett, and pray for your strength and encouragement upon his widow Rita Bennett and their family.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

Past Chair, Anglican Renewal Ministries of  Canada

-previously published in the Anglicans for Renewal Canada Magazine

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca



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Bill Good, Hockey, and the New Birth

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

 

Bill Good is undeniably one of the most, if not the most, popular Radio Talk Show hosts in BC.  I was privileged to be interviewed by Bill Good on CKNW*, and to find out what makes Bill tick.  What I have discovered is that one of the reasons Bill Good has a weekly listening audience of 256,000 people is that he listens deeply and very respectfully.

While waiting to be interviewed by Bill on the issue of Marriage and the Federal Government, I heard him passionately and extensively expound on the tragic demise of NHL Hockey.

When my turn came, I said the following to Bill: “I believe that Canada has two main core institutions.  One of those is hockey and the other one is marriage.  Hockey is in serious trouble.  Why dismantle our second core institution?”

Bill Good responded by saying: “ Now I am a serious hockey fan, but aren’t you minimizing the importance or the significance of this issue when you relate marriage to hockey?”

To which I responded:  “Not if you talk to my sons.  Quite frankly they are passionate. There is a passion about hockey that is greater than most people’s passion for marriage.  I am committed to marriage. Quite frankly our nation has lost the meaning and theology of marriage.  And the look-alike substitutions are crippling it.”

We chatted all over the map after that.  But I was eventually given an opportunity to talk about how Jesus affirmed the historic Jewish view of marriage.  Jesus, quoting from Genesis Chapter 2, said: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife and the two will become one flesh”  Jesus then added his own insight by saying in Matthew 19:6: “What God has joined together, let no one put asunder.”

I then said to Bill Good: “I used to think that marriage was just a piece of paper. I was very secular. I skied on Sunday (mornings) on Mount Seymour.”

Bill Good’s openness and inquisitiveness was so remarkable that I am including a portion of the actual transcript in this article:

Bill Good: So you found religion?

Ed: Yes, I met Jesus on a personal basis, and when I met him, I started to read the Bible.  I had never read the bible before because I was a good Anglican.

Bill Good: How did you meet him? Were you skiing?

Ed:  I met him through High School.  I had friends who were happier than I was. They had joy, and I said to them: “Why are you smiling?”  They said: “Come watch a movie, and I realized that a relationship with Jesus Christ could fill me up.  So I took that chance and it made all the difference.

Bill Good:  Does that mean that you are born again?

Ed Hird:  Well, I was asked that question by (the TV Host) Laurier Lapierre: “Was I born again?” And I said: “What does that mean?” It means that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It’s the new birth.  It means that you’ve gone from death to life.  It means that you have said ‘yes’ to Jesus.  Yes, I’m born again.  It’s called the new birth. It’s a negative(…)People think it’s an American term.

Bill Good: No, I don’t. I don’t think that it’s a negative term.  And I’ve known other people who claim to be born again.  So I’m curious about what that process is, what it means.  I’m not negative about it.  I’m curious.

Ed: Well, all it means is you’re turning, as we say in baptism: turning from sin, from self-centeredness and turning to Christ, and making him your Lord.  You’re basically opening your heart.  He’s knocking at the door and you’re opening your heart.

Looking back on the interview, I am most grateful for the openness of Bill Good to allow me to share with his listening audience what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He could have cut me off at any moment, and switched the subject.  My prayer for those reading this article is that all of us may show that same quality of deep listening and respect to one another particularly as we struggle with vital issues like hockey, marriage, and the new birth.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News/Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

P. S. Click this Amazon link to view for free the first two chapters of our new novel Blue Sky.

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca