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Dr. James Eustace Purdie: a Canadian Dennis Bennett

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

Born June 9th 1880, Dr. Purdie attended St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Prince Edward Island and was converted at age 19 through his mother’s oldest sister.  Following his conversion, Dr. Purdie reported: “The call of ministry began to impress on me. I had to preach the gospel or die.”  He moved to Toronto in 1902, where he studied for five years at Wycliffe College.  Dr. Purdie saw Wycliffe faculty as “champions of the Evangelical truths of the Bible and the Reformed faith of the Reformation.”  He called them “scholarly men who were out and out for God”, the highest compliment that Purdie could pay anyone.  Wycliffe became the future model for Dr. Purdie’s own Western Bible College where he trained 600 clergy over twenty-five years.  After pastoring three rural Anglican congregations in Manitoba, Dr. Purdie joined the staff of St Luke’s, a large Anglican congregation in St John New Brunswick where he led open-air meetings on Sunday night for as many as five thousand people.

 

In 1911, Dr. Purdie first heard of the renewal of the Holy Spirit through a booklet he received in the Maritimes.  In 1917, Dr. Purdie moved to St James Anglican Church, Saskatoon, which had dwindled to just twenty-five people.  When visiting renewal speakers Mr. and Mrs. Crouch visited St. James in August 1919, they prayed for Dr. Purdie in the rectory.  Dr. Purdie was powerfully filled with God’s presence, resting in the Spirit, and beginning to pray in a supernatural language.  In those early days, well before the impact of the Rev. Dennis Bennett author of Nine O’clock In The Morning, very few Anglican clergy were familiar with the charismatic gifts.  This experience was described by Dr. Purdie as ‘a fresh refilling of the Spirit of Life’.  Dr Purdie saw his release of the gift of tongues as very similar to that of Vicar A.A. Boddy of All Saints Anglican Church, Sunderland, in 1907 where the Holy Spirit powerfully impacted all of England.  Before Dr. Purdie left St. James, it had the largest Sunday School and most generous giving in the entire diocese.

 

In August 1925, Dr. Purdie was contacted by R.E. McAllister, the PAOC (Pentecostal Assemblies of God) General Secretary http://www.paoc.org , informing him that he had been unanimously elected as founding Principal of Western Bible College in Winnipeg.  Dr. Purdie took two months praying and reflecting before he accepted the offer.  Tom Johnstone, PAOC General Superintendent, said that ‘there isn’t a man in all of Canada who contributed more of a lasting nature to the PAOC than J. Eustace Purdie.  He has laid a foundation of biblical doctrines that has paid dividends.’  The Rev. Dr. Ronald Kydd of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Cobourg, Ontario, said that ‘the one who made the greatest individual theological contribution to the PAOC was undoubtedly J. Eustace Purdie.’  In 1950, Dr. Purdie was commissioned by the PAOC General Assembly to write their official Catechism, a 567-Questions & Answers Book entitled Concerning the Faith, a catechism that drew heavily from the 39 Articles and the Book of Common Prayer.  In Question 86, Dr. Purdie asked: What is the most terrible of all sins recorded in the Bible?  Dr. Purdie memorably answered: ‘The most terrible of all sins is unbelief.’

 

Dr. Purdie commented to the Saskatoon Bishop: ‘In my heart I never left the Anglican Church for one moment in all these years.’  The first Sunday of every month for over fifty years, Dr. Purdie would either preach or help celebrate Communion at St. Margaret’s Anglican Church, Winnipeg.  Canon Jim Slater, the former St. Margaret’s Rector, commented that Dr. Purdie ‘was an Anglican till he died…he was a holy man and prayed for my ministry every day.”  As an outstanding theologian, Dr. Purdie has been compared to Dr. JI Packer.  Others would see him more as an early Dennis Bennett, another famous pioneer in Anglican renewal.  Dr. Purdie is fondly remembered by many Pentecostals for his practice of always wearing his Anglican clerical collar and for using the Anglican lectionary/bible readings in his sermons.  One of his early students George Griffin described Dr. Purdie this way: “As a man, he was a gentleman indeed with a great heart concern for each individual under his care.  No unapproachable austerity, but a heart-warming friendliness…a sense of humour which enjoyed good wholesome fun.  Who has not heard his hearty laugh echo along the way when we hiked through the woods or park with him?  His presence was enough to settle a problem of discipline when other methods failed; so great was the esteem in which he was held.”

 

Dr. Purdie poignantly commented: “The failures throughout the history of the Christian Church are largely due to the fact that the Holy Spirit’s baptism has not been given its rightful place in the Church.  To reject it is to reject the greatest asset for labour, service, and ministry that is the privilege of men to enjoy.”  What a great challenge to renewal-oriented Canadian Anglicans in the early years of the 21st century!

 

At close to ninety-seven years of age, Dr. Purdie was ‘promoted to Glory’.  He was still preaching over ninety times a year at the end of his life.  Fittingly, Dr. Purdie’s funeral was conducted by both Pentecostal and Anglican clergy.  Pastor Herb Barber who took his funeral at Calvary Temple said that Dr. Purdie established the PAOC on a solid theological and biblical basis.  Pastor Ed Austin, a student of Dr. Purdie, said. “Dr. Purdie was a real prince, a great scholar, a tremendous teacher.  We all loved him.”

 

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest 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. 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 Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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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Tilley and Tupper Our Founding Fathers

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, a Father of Canadian Confederation and twice the Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, rose each morning to start his day with prayer and Scripture reading.  As the 33 founding Fathers gathered in 1864 at Charlottetown, PEI, there were many suggestions on what to call this new nation. That morning, as Tilley read from Psalm 72:8, he became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God, that when he came down to the Conference session, he presented the inspired name “Dominion of Canada”.  Our National Motto on our Coat of Arms “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (from sea to sea) was drawn once again straight from Psalm 72:8. “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.”

Tilley came to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1839 through his Anglican rector, the Reverend William Harrison. His life was so dramatically transformed that he even became an Anglican Sunday School teacher and a Church Warden (Elder).  Tilley’s son Harrison became a well-known Anglican priest.

One day, an 11-year old girl ran to Tilley for help, after her drunken father brutally stabbed her mother to death.  Because of this tragedy, Tilley went from being a quiet pharmacist to becoming the Premier of New Brunswick in his campaign for alcohol reform. When Tilley brought in actual alcohol legislation, he was burned in effigy, his house was attacked, and his family’s lives were threatened.

 Tilley the ‘dry’ Anglican was good friends with Sir Charles Tupper the ‘drinking’ Baptist Premier of Nova Scotia.  Both shared a passion for railways which they believed were the key to the Maritimes’ future.  Sir Charles Tupper eventually became the Federal Minister of Railways, bringing the CPR railway line to Vancouver, and BC into Confederation. Before the arrival of the railway, traveling to Vancouver would take all summer by riverboat and stagecoach.

The 1864 Charlottetown meeting was originally intended to bring a Maritime Union of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to defend against the threat of American invasion. But Tupper and Tilley dreamed bigger, inviting Ontario and Quebec to join them in a new Confederation. Tupper believed in the greatness of Canada, saying: “The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin’d, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men.”

Tupper read the Bible fully from cover to cover by the age of eight. His father Charles Tupper Senior, a prohibitionist, was one of the founding fathers of the fast-growing Maritime Baptist Churches. While training as a medical doctor in Edinburgh, Charles Jr discovered Scotch from which he never recovered.  Tupper served as first president of the Canadian Medical Association.

In 1867 the Halifax Morning Chronicle had described Tupper as “the most despicable politician within the bounds of British North America.”  Throughout his career Tupper was variously described as “the Boodle Knight,” the “Great Stretcher” (of the truth), “the old tramp,” the “Arch-Corruptionist,” and “the old wretch.”.

Tupper has the distinction of being the shortest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history, even beating out Joe Clark and Kim Campbell (67 days!). His marriage, despite allegations of philandering, lasted longer than any other Prime Minister: 66 years!

Tupper, the longest-surviving Father of Confederation, served in six federal cabinet portfolios. If there was something that was really difficult to get done, somebody who needed to be won over, Macdonald often said: ‘Call Tupper.’ Tupper could make things happen.

In 1883 a British Columbia contractor close to Tupper was awarded a two million dollar job, even though rivals submitted lower bids. The opposition suspected a payoff. Tupper faced a legal challenge and demands for a full inquiry. He promptly left his retirement home in Vancouver and sailed for London, far from the cry of scandal, to take a diplomatic posting.

Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Leonard Tilley remind us that God can use the most unlikely people in building a nation.

 

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

-previously published in the Light Magazine and the North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest 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. 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 Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– 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 Ave, 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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Samuel and Helene de Champlain: A Canadian Romance

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Before Samuel & Helene de Champlain came on the scene, the very word ‘Canada’ had become a joke in France, thanks to Jacques Cartier bringing back quartz and ‘fool’s gold’ from Canada.  The term ‘diamond of Canada’ became a symbol for deception and emptiness.  During Champlain’s lifetime, France largely ignored him.  To most French citizens, Canada seemed distant and unimportant.  Even well-educated Parisians denied the value of Canada, sometimes dismissing it as another Siberia.

In the 16th century, France’s population was six times that of England, it possessed as much coastline, it was more affluent, its sailors were more skilled and were the first to consistently visit the Canadian seaboard.  But in contrast to England, there was little vision in France for the priority of sending people to the New World.  To immigrate to Canada, there was even a financial disincentive of 36 livres charged to anyone leaving France.  As a result, Champlain and his Quebec people felt disregarded, deserted and discarded.  King Louis XIII even had the thoughtlessness to cancel Champlain’s modest pension of six hundred livres granted by Henry IV; forcing Champlain to successfully implore for its reinstatement.

Champlain was born in 1567 in the town of Brouage, then a bustling seaport on the southwestern coast of France, some 70 miles (112 km) north of Bordeaux. His father was a sea captain and as a boy he became skilled at seamanship and navigation.  Champlain later commented: “…(Navigation) is the art…which led me to explore the coast of America, especially New France, where I have always desired to see the fleur-de-lys flourish.”  Ironically Champlain never learned to swim, even after crossing the rugged Atlantic Ocean twenty-nine times, as he thought swimming was too risky.

For a while Champlain served in the army of King Henry IV, fighting alongside Martin Frobisher in a joint undertaking by the British and French against the Spanish.  In 1599 Champlain captained a ship which returned Spanish prisoners-of-war, allowing him to explore the Spanish-controlled West Indies and Mexico.  As a result of his travels, Champlain prophetically suggested the idea of making a canal across Central America to shorten the trip to the southern Pacific Ocean.  King Henry IV was so impressed by Champlain’s map-making work that he granted him a lifetime income.  Henri IV also gave Champlain the title ‘de’, which marked him as a man of noble rank.

Four hundred and seven years ago, in 1603, Samuel de Champlain traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the site of present day Montreal, the First Nations village of Hochelaga.  In Champlain’s 1604 Journal, he wrote: “So many voyages and discoveries without result, and attended with so much hardship and expense, have caused us French in late years to attempt a permanent settlement in those lands which we call New France.”  After two Acadian colonizing attempts at St. Croix and Port Annapolis in the Maritimes, Champlain turned his eyes to the future Quebec City, a name that he translated from an aboriginal word: ‘where the river narrows.’  Quebec City, the Iroquois village of Stadacona, became the earliest enduring city north of Mexico City and Florida settled by Europeans.

Life was not easy for Champlain at Quebec City.  While building a miniature Bastille-like ‘habitation’, Champlain had to stamp out an attempted murder plot against himself.  When spring finally broke up the ice in April 1609, only eight of Champlain’s 24 men who wintered at Quebec were still alive.

Champlain cared deeply about the First Nations people, building lasting friendships with many groups.  Pere Lalemant in 1640 wrote: ‘Would God that all the French, who were the first to come into these regions, had been like him!’ Champlain spoke prophetically to a gathering of the Montagnais, Algonkin, and French: “Our sons shall wed your daughters and henceforth we shall be one people”

When Samuel de Champlain married Hélène Boullé on December 30, 1610 in Paris, she was only 12 years old while he was approximately forty!  She was so young that her father insisted that she live at home for at least another two years.  At age 21, she moved to Quebec City.  The First Nations were intrigued by Helene who loved them dearly in return.  A titled lady with elegant outfits and etiquette, Helene was the center of attention at Quebec.  But for her the settlement held little joy.  Unlike Paris, Quebec had no shops, lively crowds or interesting chitchat.  As a high-spirited twenty-five-year-old, she pined for the exhilaration of Paris.  Champlain, fifty-six, favored the companionship of his hardy French and aboriginal voyageurs and the untainted grandeur of the Canadian outback.  And so, after four years, Champlain and Helene tragically parted ways.  Out of love, Champlain named the ‘Montreal Expo 67’ Island after her: Isle Saint Helene.  When Helene learned of her husband’s death in 1635, she entered a convent, choosing to become a nun rather than to marry again.

More than half of the fur-trading merchants working with Champlain were Huguenot (French Protestants) from La Rochelle; France.  The 1598 Edict of Nantes, which gave them religious freedom in Quebec and France, was first restricted in 1625 and finally revoked in 1685.  Although the Huguenot were therefore forbidden to worship in Canada by royal decree, the crews of Huguenot ships could not be restrained from holding services on board when in harbour.  The Huguenot loved to sing the psalms in French, a practice first encouraged and then outlawed by the French Royal Court.  Both Champlain and his wife Helene had been raised in Huguenot homes.  So thanks to Champlain, it was agreed that the Huguenot could hold prayer meetings on the ships, but sing psalms only at sea where no one else could hear.

After the English under British Commander David Kirke blockaded the French relief supply ships, Champlain and his men nearly starved, surviving mostly on eels purchased from the Indians and on roots & wood-bark. Champlain was forced to surrender in 1628 to David Kirke’s brothers and was sent for four years to England.  The Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye was signed in 1632 which brought Champlain back to Quebec City, much of which had been burnt to the ground by the British.  After having devoted the last 32 years of his life to Canada, Champlain died of a stroke in 1635 at age 68.

Champlain was the most versatile of Canadian pioneers, at once sailor and soldier, writer and entrepreneur, artist and voyageur, visionary and pragmatist.  He wrote four important books relating Canada’s early history.  He produced the best North American maps and its earliest harbour charts.  Repeatedly Champlain put his life in jeopardy in order to discover routes to Canada’s western wilderness. He nurtured struggling Quebec to steadfast life.  “No other European colony in America, “commented the eminent historian Samuel Eliot Morison, “is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise, and virtuous Samuel de Champlain.” I thank God for this courageous man Samuel Champlain who showed perseverance and dedication against impossible odds.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may show that same perseverance in facing our God-given daily tasks.

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

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

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest 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. 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.

– 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