Friday, November 14, 2008


Inching away from a dispensational upbringing to a more Reformed position has its challenges. I had two communications in the past 48 hours about predestination:

1. A text message which said: Presbyterian Mutual Society has collapsed. No surprise really - it was predestined.

2. An email about William of Orange:

"...William’s formidable invasion fleet first set sail from Den Briel, near Rotterdam, on 20 October in fine weather but encountered such a severe storm that the fleet was scattered. Barrels broke loose and rolled around below decks and perhaps as many as 1,300 horses were killed, suffocated below battened down hatches or as a result of having their skulls smashed against the sides of the ships. William’s flagship was almost wrecked. The fleet was obliged to return to various Dutch ports. Although only one ship had been lost in the storm, the loss of so many horses was a serious blow. When Gilbert Burnet, William’s chaplain and the future Bishop of Salisbury, who had been on the same ship as William, gloomily observed that it seemed predestined that they should not set foot on English soil, William made no reply.

William was not so easily disheartened nor was he about to give up on his great enterprise. All the damage was made good with incredible speed and the fleet set sail again on 2 November. On 3 November the Dutch fleet sailed with all flags flying through the Straits of Dover with crowds watching from the cliffs on both sides of the Channel. From the mast of Den Briel, William’s flagship, streamed a banner with the motto of the House of Orange: ‘Je Maintiendrai’. From the masts of other ships streamed banners with mottos such as ‘Pro libertate et religione’ and ‘Pro religione protestante’.

On 5 November – the day after William’s 38th birthday and the exact anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot – William’s fleet dropped anchor at Torbay. Count Solms, one of William’s commanders, was rowed ashore by ten grenadiers, and encountered no resistance from the people of Brixham. Shortly afterwards William followed Solms ashore. Recognising him, some local women rushed into the sea to kiss his hands, saying ‘God bless you!’.

William and Schomberg observed the disembarkation of their troops. A relaxed and unusually happy William greeted Dr Burnet, when he came ashore, with the words, ‘What do you think of Predestination now, Doctor?’..."

I forgot to say that I got an email last night from an American Reformed Baptist Pastor who had just recieved a Covenanters in Ulster heritage trail, and was delighted with it - so much so that he ordered 50 more copies! In his email he described himself as a "5 pointer".

Finally, is it too much to reveal that I came very close to calling our two sons Luther and Calvin?... for Jacob and Charlie it was a very close call!


Colin Maxwell said...

Hi Mark,

Welcome to full orbed Christianity :o)

Predestination is one thing- fortune telling is another.

It's easier talking about predestination after the event.

Fair' fa ye!