BAPTIST MADNESS – Final Four

Round 2 Part 2 is complete! Here are the winners of Match Ups #11 & #12…

With 67% of the votes, Lottie Moon wins versus W. A. Criswell.

With 56% of the votes, William Carey wins versus Adrian Rogers.

The updated bracket looks like this:

And now we have the FINAL FOUR of BAPTIST MADNESS 2016! Interestingly we have one Southern Baptist and three English Baptists in this semi-final round. We also have one lady and three gentlemen. We have two pastors matched with each other and two missionaries matched with each other. This should be interesting! In this round, I am focusing on being faithful to the end, showing how each finished his or her life in serving our Savior. [SPECIAL NOTE: Voting for these match ups is on an extended schedule (the tournament commissioner will be on vacation and unavailable for the transition to the finals) and will be open until MONDAY, 28 MARCH. Vote, and vote often (every 3 days from the date of this post, everyone will be able to cast an additional vote)!]

MATCH UP #13

spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon

CHARLES SPURGEON

{1}Near the end of his life (1890) in (I believe) his last address to his pastors’ conference he compares adversity and the ebb of truth to the ebbing tide.

“You never met an old salt, down by the sea, who was in trouble because the tide had been ebbing out for hours. No! He waits confidently for the turn of the tide, and it comes in due time. Yonder rock has been uncovered during the last half-hour, and if the sea continues to ebb out for weeks, there will be no water in the English Channel, and the French will walk over from Cherbourg. Nobody talks in that childish way, for such an ebb will never come. Nor will we speak as though the gospel would be routed, and eternal truth driven out of the land. We serve an almighty Master … If our Lord does but stamp His foot, He can win for Himself all the nations of the earth against heathenism, and Mohammedanism, and Agnosticism, and Modern-though, and every other foul error. Who is he that can harm us if we follow Jesus? How can His cause be defeated? At His will, converts will flock to His truth as numerous as the sands of the sea … Wherefore be of good courage, and go on your way singing [and preaching!]:

The winds of hell have blown
The world its hate hath shown,
Yet it is not o’erthrown.
Hallelujah for the Cross!
It shall never suffer loss!
The Lord of hosts is with us,
the God of Jacob is our refuge”

{2}In the last hour of the last day of January, 1892, the spirit of Spurgeon sped home from his loved Mentone. After forty years of unexampled ministry, he entered into rest. Two or three days before the end he said to his secretary, “My work is done,” and after that he had nothing to do but to wait the summons. There were no raptures, no heroics, nor were there any fears or hesitations. Shortly after ten o’clock Joseph Harrald was sure he saw a company of angels hovering over the Berceau; at five minutes past eleven only the body was left on the bed; before twelve Mrs. Spurgeon led the little group in praise and prayer. It was so quiet, yet it was so triumphant. All the bugles were blown as he departed, and the trumpeters sounded for him on the other side. It was a right enough instinct which made the mourners choose as his text, “I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.” When it was quoted at the funeral people asked when he said it. He never said it, he did it all the time.

Like John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Jeremy Taylor, George Whitefield and William Tyndale, Spurgeon was fifty-seven when he died, but he was not young, for he began early and he had laboured long, and departed full of days and of grace.

[{1}John Piper in his sermon, “Charles Spurgeon: Preaching through Adversity,” quoting Spurgeon from Spurgeon’s “An All Around Ministry,” pp. 395-96,” http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/charles-spurgeon-preaching-through-adversity; {2}W. Y. Fullerton in his work, Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Biography, http://www.spurgeon.org/misc/bio19.php ]

John Bunyan
John Bunyan

JOHN BUNYAN

{1}The time was drawing near when, in the midst of his usefulness, and with little warning, he was to be summoned to his eternal rest. He had been seriously attacked with that dangerous pestilence which, in former years, ravaged this country, called the sweating sickness, a malady as mysterious and fatal as the cholera has been in later times. The disease was attended by great prostration of strength; but, under the careful management of his affectionate wife, his health became sufficiently restored to enable him to undertake a work of mercy; from the fulfilment of which, as a blessed close to his incessant earthly labour, he was to ascend to his Father and his God to be crowned with immortality. A father had been seriously offended with his son, and had threatened to disinherit him. To prevent the double mischief of a father dying in anger with his child, and the evil consequence to the child of his being cut off from his patrimony, Bunyan again ventured, in his weak state, on his accustomed work, to win the blessings of the peace-maker. He made a journey on horseback to Reading, it being the only mode of travelling at that time, and he was rewarded with success. Returning home by way of London to impart the gratifying news, he was overtaken by excessive rains, and, in an exhausted state, he found a kindly refuge in the house of his Christian friend Mr Strudwick, and was there seized with a fatal fever. His much-loved wife, who had so powerfully pleaded for his liberty with the judges, and to whom he had been united thirty years, was at a great distance from him. Bedford was then two days’ journey from London. Probably at first, his friends had hopes of his speedy recovery; but when the stroke came, all his feelings, and those of his friends, appear to have been absorbed, by the anticipated blessings of immortality, to such an extent, that no record is left as to whether his wife, or any of his children, saw him cross the river of death. There is abundant testimony of his faith and patience, and that the presence of God was eminently with him.

He bore his trying sufferings with all the patience and fortitude that might be expected from such a man. His resignation was most exemplary; his only expressions were ‘a desire to depart, to be dissolved, to be with Christ’ His sufferings were short, being limited to ten days. He enjoyed a holy frame of mind, desiring his friends to pray with him, and uniting fervently with them in the exercise. His last words, while struggling with death, were, ‘Weep not for me, but for yourselves. I go to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will, no doubt, through the mediation of his blessed Son, receive me, though a sinner; where I hope we ere long shall meet, to sing the new song, and remain everlastingly happy, world without end. Amen.’ He felt the ground solid under his feet in passing the black river which has no bridge, and followed his pilgrim into the celestial city in August 1688, in the sixtieth year of his age. The circumstances of his peaceful decease are well compared by Dr Cheever to the experience of Mr Standfast, when he was called to pass the river: the great calm—the firm footing—the address to by-standers—until his countenance changed, his strong man bowed under him, and his last words were, ‘Take me, for I come to thee.’ Then the joy among the angels while they welcomed the hero of such spiritual fights, and conducted his wandering soul to the New Jerusalem, which he had so beautifully described as ‘the holy city;’ and then his wonder and amazement to find how infinitely short his description came to the blissful reality.

[{1}George Offor in his Memoirs of 1862, http://www.puritansermons.com/banner/bunyan01.htm%5D

MATCH UP #14

Lottie_Moon-1
Lottie Moon

LOTTIE MOON

{1} Dec. 5, 1912

Mr. I. M. Andrews,
Roanoke, Virginia

Dear Sir:

Your letter to Dr. Willingham has been referred to me in his absence. The cable message with reference to Miss Lottie Moon came last Sunday, stating that her mind was seriously impaired, and that it would be necessary for her to come home immediately. She is accompanied by Miss Cynthia Miller, one of our missionaries who is a trained nurse. She will reach San Francisco on January 13th, 1913. Dr. Willingham will be back tomorrow or next day, and he will write you immediately about arrangements for meeting her. We are greatly distressed over the sad news. She has been a heroic worker. Dr. T. W. Ayers, one of our missionaries who is at home, and who knew her while in North China, says, She is one woman who will have her crown covered with stars. “She is one of the most unselfish saints God ever made. I am so glad to say this of her while she lives.” I write this to show you how the missionaries feel about her. We do not know the cause of her deranged mental condition. It is entirely possible I think that the ocean voyage and rest may do much to restore her health, though, of course, everything depends on the cause of the trouble.

Sincerely yours,
Smith

{2} In almost 40 years of service, she welcomed the first Southern Baptist missionary doctor, nurse, hospital, women’s college, social work institutions, and high-level theological seminary. A terrible number of missionaries fell into depression, insanity, or disputes. Many died from common diseases and dangers of the times. By her charm, wit, and wisdom, she became a tower of stability and a help to new missionaries.

In 1912, political uncertainty and famine threatened the lives of her people in Pingdu. She began to give money she had inherited to famine relief efforts. She used other money to try to pay off the debts of the mission board. She starved herself and became hopelessly sick. Younger missionaries decided to send her to America for medical care. She died on Christmas Eve, 1912, while her ship was at Kobe, Japan. Her impact, though, had only begun.

[{1}From the IMB website article, “An Unselfish Saint,” http://www.imb.org/main/lottie-moon/details.asp?StoryID=11858&LanguageID=1709#.VusajNDkpM4; {2}Catherine Allen article at Christianity Today website, http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2009/july/little-woman-with-big-legacy.html%5D

image
William Carey

WILLIAM CAREY

{1} During Carey’s long life he nearly always enjoyed good health. Thrice he despaired of his life and thrice he recovered by the grace of God. When the last revised edition of the Bengali Bible came from the press he felt his labors were near the end. He had hosts of friends because to the very last he maintained a cheerful, hopeful disposition. Once he said to a friend, “There is nothing remarkable in what I have done. It has only required patience and perseverance.” At another time he said, “When I compare things as they now are in India with what they were when I came here, I see that a great work has been accomplished, but how it has been accomplished, I know not.” To a friend who had expressed the hope that he might return to his loved work soon he said, “The passage which says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,’ gives me much comfort. For,” he added further, “I am sure I confess my sins and if God forgives them and cleanses me from ALL unrighteousness, what more can I desire?” As his infirmities increased he was carried down into his study each morning, and sat by the desk where he did all his translating. Here once Alexander Duff called on him. As he withdrew Dr. Carey said, “Mr. Duff, you have been talking about Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey; when I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey,– speak about Dr. Carey’s Savior!”

Regarding the day he died: The day opened with cheering letters from England, telling of sympathy, love and prayers in his behalf. These messages caused the last vibrations of his ever cheerful heart to be gratitude to God for His goodness. Thru weakness that day he passed into delirium and on June 9, 1834, he fell asleep; for the “shining ones” came and took the silver-haired pilgrim to the heavenly city. He was carried to his burial the next morning at five. Rain was falling; yet the Danish Governor and his wife and the Council joined the procession; the Danish flag hung at half mast; poor Hindus and Mohammedans lined the road, feeling they had lost a true friend. As the procession halted at the open grave the sun broke forth, a resurrection hymn was sung and men turned away thanking God for the life that had touched theirs. On the block of marble marking his last resting place in the Serampore Christian burial grounds are these words inscribed:

William Carey
Born August 17, 1761
Died June 9, 1834

“A wretched, poor, and helpless worm,
On Thy kind arms I fall.”
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for
the end of that man is peace.”

[{1}Galen B Royer in his work, Christian Heroism in Heathen Lands, posted at the Wholesome Words website, http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/bcarey3.html%5D

REMEMBER: Voting for these two match ups will remain open until Mar. 28. Vote and vote often!

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