Thursday, February 25, 2021

Heroes of the Faith: Charles Finney & D.L. Moody

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9

Charles Finney: Basic Facts

 - Charles Finney (1792-1875) was an evangelist in the Second Great Awakening. He preached at revivals across the US and Britain, and claimed 500,000 conversions.

- Originally trained as a lawyer, his preaching followed the pattern of a law argument: carefully reasoned, and calling for a decision one way or the other at the end.

- He emphasized human responsibility to respond to God’s call, and, like many Christian leaders of his day, he believed that the growth of the church and the reformation of society would usher in the return of Christ (postmillennialism). But his greatest impact was not in his theology, but his practices of revival preaching. He preached often about hell, instituted the practice of ‘altar calls’ and ‘anxious seats,’ did away with pew rents, and encouraged lay witnessing and the greater involvement of women in public worship.

- Finney’s most famous book was his Lectures on Revivals of Religion, which is said to have inspired the great Welsh revivals of the 1840s.

- Finney’s theology contributed to the influential Holiness and Keswick movements, which emphasized the possibility of complete obedience to God.

- Finney ended his career at Oberlin College, which led the way in women’s rights and the abolition of slavery.

Quotes from Finney

“Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die—or if need be, to win and die!”

“A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.”

“When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is for the firemen to awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city.”

D. L. Moody: Basic Facts

- D. L. Moody (1837-1899) was an evangelist who spoke at revival meetings across the US and Europe. Though originally an impoverished shoe salesman with only an elementary-school-level education, he became an internationally-known speaker who presented the Gospel to 100 million people.

- His early work involved social outreach with the YMCA and a Sunday School program in Chicago, but when the great Chicago fire of 1871 burned down his ministry-buildings, he decided to become a traveling evangelist.

- Moody differed from Finney on several counts: he gave little emphasis to doctrinal theology (preferring to focus on the big picture), almost never preached about hell (preferring to focus on the love of God), and rarely used altar calls or pressed for immediate decisions (believing that it was the Spirit’s task, not his, to prompt a decision of faith).

- Moody, unlike Finney, was inspired by premillennialism—a new and more pessimistic view of the end-times that put greater stress on saving souls.

- Moody pioneered some new revival-meeting techniques: co-operation among local churches, and the featuring of a gospel soloist. (Moody’s own musical partner was Ira Sankey, whose hymns remain popular today.)

- Moody’s legacy includes several colleges, seminaries, and publishing houses. He was influential in launching the Student Volunteer mission movement of the early 20th century.

Quotes from Moody:

 “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

“Faith makes all things makes all things easy.”

“It is the greatest pleasure of living to win souls to Christ.”

“God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”

“The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.”

“There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”

“The monument I want after I am dead is a monument with two legs going around the world—a saved sinner telling about the salvation of Jesus Christ.” 


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Evangeliad (19:49-52)

Section 19:49-52 (corresponding to John 6:55-58)
"For my blood is true drink, my flesh is true food,
And it is all offered freely for you!
Yes, those who eat and who drink will abide,
Alive in my life, for now and all time.
And I in them will remain, they in me,
And life everlasting they will receive;
For the living Father has sent me to you,
And in the same Father my life abides too.
So then if you eat me, you will have life,
For this is the bread that heaven provides;
Not as your fathers ate manna and died,
But eat of this bread, and have endless life!" 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Photo of the Week







Be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

- 1 Peter 4:7b-8

Monday, February 22, 2021

Quote of the Week

"The purpose of our creation is that we may know the majesty of our Creator. Our business is to know God, and to love him above all else... The principle work of our attention is to seek God, to affectionately desire God, and to settle down nowhere else other than in God."

- John Calvin, from his Instruction in Faith

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday Synaxis


Great Ruler of all nature's frame, we own Thy pow'r divine:
We hear Thy breath in every storm, for all the winds are Thine.
Thy mercy tempers every blast to them that seek Thy face;
And mingles with the tempest's roar the whispers of Thy grace.
Those gentle whispers let me hear, till all the tumult cease;
And gales of paradise shall lull my weary soul to peace.

- Philip Doddridge

Friday, February 19, 2021

Big Questions and the Bible: An Invitation

This past year, because of Covid restrictions, the midweek Bible study I do at church has migrated to online videos that we post to our church's Facebook and Youtube pages (to find them, simply search for Second Baptist Church of Calais on each site). Having completed a study of Hebrews, I'm now starting up an open-ended question-and-answer study series. I'll be tackling a range of topics, all having to do with "big questions" that come up about the Bible, theology, or Christian living, and we'll look for answers together in the pages of Scripture. But I want this series to be participatory, as much as is possible, so I'm opening it up for anybody to submit a question to be covered in the video study. If you have a question you'd like to see me answer, simply send it my way via the "Pastor Matt" email address listed at the bottom of our church's contacts page ( 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Heroes of the Faith: The Judsons & the Burma Mission

“As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships, and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments, and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters; known yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”  – 2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Adoniram & Ann Judson: Basic Facts

- Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) was part of the first group of foreign missionaries sent out from North America, and founded the first long-term Protestant mission to Burma (Myanmar). Burma at the time was a powerful and xenophobic Buddhist empire, seen as the most dangerous mission territory in the Far East. (For a complete assessment of his missionary work, click here to read my paper on the subject, posted in four sections on this blog.)

- Judson and his wife Ann suffered through the constant threat of persecution, multiple waves of tropical diseases, the deaths of their two children, and a long imprisonment in a Burmese jail, all for the sake of making a few converts from among the ever-suspicious Burmese.

- Over the course of his four-decade ministry in Burma, Judson translated the entire Bible and created a Burmese-English dictionary.

- Although starting out as a Congregationalist, Judson became a Baptist and soon was a regarded as a Baptist hero and a celebrity in the US.

Themes of Judson's Life and Ministry:

Faith and Doubt – Judson, a pastor’s son, had a period in college where he gave up his faith and became a Deist (belief in a Creator, but nothing else). He was brought back to faith through a chance meeting with a deist friend who was on his deathbed. Throughout his life, he would go through dark periods of questioning and depression, but he never lost his faith again.

Trust in God’s Providence – Judson and his friends had to help build the infrastructure of support for sending foreign missionaries from America. Even though the system often failed, Judson never lacked for food or resources during his mission in Burma.

Perseverance – For the Judsons, giving up and going home was never an option, though many other missionaries in their situation did that very thing. They felt that they were called by God to this work, and that the salvation of even just one Burmese was worth it all.

Ambition and Humility – Judson knew his mission would give him a place in history; at the beginning, it may have been one of his driving motives. By the end of his career, when he realized that he was a celebrity in the US, he knew only too well how unworthy he was.

Suffering – In the Christian life, suffering is the cost of true discipleship—but God is still with us.


“The future is as bright as the promises of God.”

“I can assure you that months and months of heart-rending anguish are before you, whether you will or not. Yet take the bitter cup with both hands, and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret, that there is sweetness at the bottom.”

“The motto for every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or school-master, ought to be: ‘Devoted for Life’.”

Adoniram’s letter to Mr. Hasseltine, asking permission to marry his daughter Ann: “I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world? Whether you can consent to see her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of perishing immortal souls?”

George & Sarah Boardman:

- The Boardmans, from Maine and New Hampshire, joined Judson’s Burma mission in 1827. They began to evangelize the Karen people, an isolated native tribe living in the hill country, and they met with vast success. The Karen, because of their folk traditions, were well prepared to receive the Gospel. George passed away early in the mission, but Sarah continued on for years, eventually becoming Adoniram Judson’s second wife.