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Richard M. Hannula

Forfatter af Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History

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Richard M. Hannula is the principal of Covenant High School in Tacoma, Washington. He is also the author of Radiant: Fifty Remarkable Women in Church History, Our Northwest Heritage, and Trial Triumph. He and his wife Kathy raised four daughters and a son and have a growing number of grandchildren.

Omfatter også følgende navne: Richard Hannula, Richard M. Hannula (Author)

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I did not know much about Samuel Rutherford before reading this 'bite-sized' biography by Richard Hannula. I associated his name with the song "The Sands of Time are Sinking" and thought that he was the author. The content of the song made me desire to know more about Mr. Rutherford. It turns out that the song was written by Anne Ross Cousin, but it was inspired by Mr. Rutherford's writings and sayings, so my curiosity stayed.

Samuel Rutherford was a Scottish pastor who lived in the 1600s who underwent persecution along with other Christians under the reigns of Charles the I and II. He was married twice(his first wife died) and had nine children altogether, only one survived him. One of the things I admired about God's working in him was his deep love for his congregation, even when banished from them he was concerned with their welfare, and kept up a correspondence with them to keep encouraging them in their lives as Christians.

Though very focused upon the life that we will have with Christ "beyond the veil", Mr. Rutherford seemed to morph the worldly kingdoms/governments of this life set up by man(Christian or not)with the Eternal Kingdom that Christ will set up Himself. And the author seemed to agree to some extent as he mentions at one point that Rutherford, "unwisely linked the cause of the covenanter army with the cause of Christ". Rutherford and his colleagues seemed intent upon having all of the Scottish people governed not just physically, but spiritually as well, even to the point of coercion, "Rutherford urged Parliament to impose the true Christian faith in a unified national church…". He appears to have defended 'Christian armies', fighting for their rights when a King uses His power wrongly. Ironically, in his defense of Covenanter resistance to King Charles he compared the King to Nero, the same wicked Caesar who was probably in power when the Apostle Paul wrote, "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God."(Rom 13:1 NASB) Paul did not call for the Christians to raise up an army in defense of the faith, nor did any of the Apostles when there was persecution from the government or from religious leaders. Also, another problem I had, and this is going to sound really odd, Mr. Rutherford seemed so focused upon Christ that God the Son almost seems to eclipse God the Father in his eyes. But that might just be because of the quotes that were selected for this book.

All in all this was a nice look at the life of Rutherford, and, as with all biographies of Christians, it makes one amazed and comforted by the amazing grace of God in using such flawed instruments as mankind. The book is quite small, and truly is 'bite-sized' enabling you to quickly learn about Rutherford and to get a taste for whether or not you'd like to read his works, or a larger biography like the ones listed at the end of this book.

I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from the book by Rutherford, "Look beyond time…they have but children's wit who are delighted with shadows and diluted with feathers flying in the air."

Many thanks to the folks at Cross Focused Reviews for sending me a free review copy of this book to review(My review did not have to be favorable.)
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SnickerdoodleSarah | 2 andre anmeldelser | Apr 13, 2016 |
Samuel Rutherford is perhaps the best known Scottish Puritan. But his life and history seem not to be as widely remembered as other Puritan ministers. Rutherford’s legacy lays chiefly in collections of his profound and moving personal letters.

Richard Hannula brings renewed attention to Samuel Rutherford in his contribution to the “Bitesize Biographies” series from Evangelical Press (2014).

Rutherford had humble beginnings and even a possibly scandalous start to his ministry. He ended up resigning his post at the University of Edinburgh after some possible impropriety with his fiance. This may have been just an ill rumor, and Hannula doesn’t take pains to sort out the facts too closely, but moves on in his simple and straightforward account of Rutherford’s life.

The next chapter of Rutherford’s life finds him as a humble pastor in Anworth. And there he labored in preaching and declaring the loveliness of Christ. His life was caught up in the perils of Scotland’s church, and his Reformed stance eventually landed him in exile 200 miles to the north. And it was this exile that may have birthed his precious letters. He wrote to his flock at Anworth and encouraged them to remain true to the Reformed faith.

Eventually when the Reformed party was in ascendancy, Rutherford was appointed as a professor against his will, in the University of St. Andrews, where he would serve for the remainder of his life. Rutherford’s scholarship was important and his devotion for Christ was unquestioned. He was needed to help shape the future pastors for Scotland. And so he did.

Rutherford was influential as a member of the Scottish delegation to the Westminster Assembly in London, which gave to the church the most enduring English confession, the Westminster Confession of Faith. He played a part in its shape, defending a Presbyterian form of church government. He also helped work on the catechisms.

This story includes the founding of the National Covenant in Scotland and the various wars against Charles I, and the eventual betrayal brought by Charles II when Scottish Covenanters unwisely accepted his promises in exchange for help. The intricacies of Scottish history still baffle me, but the phrase “for Crown and Covenant” has new meaning for me. Ultimately, the Crown was restored and went on to persecute the Reformed branch of the Church of Scotland mercilessly and again Samuel is found writing letters of encouragement to ministers who will soon lose their lives. Rutherford himself would have faced a martyr’s death but for his own sickness that eventually took his life. After his death, Rutherford’s letters were collected and published, and they continue to be widely readable and an enduring devotional classic.

This little book is not a true biography and includes no end notes or footnotes at all. It does recommend works for further study. It is a sympathetic biography too. And further, it is packed with quotes from Rutherford’s much prized correspondence and so it is part biography, part devotional classic in itself.

A few snippets from Rutherford’s letters may encourage my readers to pick up this book and learn more:

"I find it a sweet and rich thing to exchange my sorrows with Christ’s joys, my afflictions for that sweet peace I have with Him."

"Believe Christ’s love more than your own feelings."

"Your heart is not the compass that Christ sails by."

"O if you saw the beauty of Jesus, and smelled the fragrance of His love, you would run through fire and water to be at Him."

"It is not I, but Christ; not I, but grace; not I, but God’s glory; not I, but God’s love constraining me; not I, but the Lord’s Word; not I, but Christ’s commanding power in me!"

"You must in all things aim at God’s honour; you must eat, drink, sleep, buy, sell, sit, stand, speak, pray, read, and hear the Word, with a heart-purpose that God may be honoured."

"Woe unto us for these sad divisions that make us lose the fair scent of the Rose of Sharon!"

"When the head is filled with topics, and none of the flamings of Christ’s love in the heart, how dry are all disputes? Far too often, fervour of dispute in the head weakens love in the heart."

"Glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land." [Rutherford’s last words]

(Quotations from pp. 64-65, 106, 115-116, 132)

The work makes for a quick read, but many of the quotations merit contemplation and extended meditation. In fact, this book makes me want to get a copy of Rutherford’s letters to read the quotes in their fuller context. I recommend this book for those looking to learn from the spiritual journey of a man whose writings continue to bless the Church as a whole. It is an admirable introduction to Rutherford’s life and a testament ultimately to God’s grace.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
… (mere)
bobhayton | 2 andre anmeldelser | Mar 3, 2015 |
Richard Hannula's book on Samuel Rutherford is part of EP Books' series called Bitesize Biographies. What I appreciate about this series is how the authors try to give the reader a true taste of the featured man or woman's personality. In a short amount of space, we get to know the hero/ine of faith without the excessive gilding or glossing over often found in historical accounts. Hannula has accomplished this kind of snapshot for Samuel Rutherford.

The 138-page biography has an introduction which conveys a short background history of Rutherford's involvement in the civil war era and how he became so well known. Chapter one tells us about his childhood and school years up to the time he earned his Master's Degree in Humanities. At the same time, more of the history of Scotland's struggle beginning with King James VI (in Scotland; in England he was King James I) is explained. One important fact to note is that Scotland's Reformation period developed earlier and independently from England's churches. Scotland was able to establish early on that no king or queen would rule in the church since Jesus Christ is King of His own body of believers. In England, changes in the church's time of reformation was forced to filter through the monarchy and its bishops.

In the second chapter, the author reveals Rutherford's heart of service in his country parish in Anwoth. He loved his people and they loved him in return. While living in this hill country, he still kept track of the Kirk's march toward reform and political happenings by corresponding with his friends and colleagues. He found time to write a couple of books--his contribution in the conflicts. By Chapter Three he had been banished to the city of Aberdeen, 200 miles to the north, because of some of these writings. He never held back from speaking his mind clearly. While he was not placed in confinement in the city, he was not allowed to leave or preach without permission from its appointed bishop. We learn Rutherford's character when under disapproval and unable to teach and preach, he began to rain down blessings on his friends, fellow preachers and teachers, and educational colleagues through copious amounts of letters of encouragement.

The rest of the nine chapters nearly read like an adventure novel. The Scottish people suffered while Charles I and Charles II foisted on them their will for church practices. The Scots pushed back to block their efforts, back and forth. During one of these attempts to thwart the King, Rutherford managed to sneak out of Aberdeen and return to his pastorate in Anwoth. He wasn't there for long before the Reformed leaders assigned him to teach at St. Andrew's University, where he'd have the opportunity to teach the next generation of pastors. He continued to write letters and books along with his teaching responsibilities. Altogether, he wrote two dozen books, but he was known for his letters. At the end of his life, a friend gathered up as many as he could find--over 400 of them--written over a period of about 35 years of ministry during some of Scotland's most tumultuous years.

After reading this book, I found it quite obvious why the US constitution, the Bill of Rights and other documents were written the way they were. I have an even greater appreciation of the system of checks and balances in this country--the executive, legislative and the judicial branches of government. Just by knowing about the conflict occurring in the short span of years this book refers to, Rutherford's life becomes a dramatic object lesson testifying to the wisdom of our forefathers. My prayer is that many young people will read this book and grow to appreciate the events leading up to the United States' fight for independence from England's Charles III.

My second impression from reading this book is amazement at how many heroes of the faith God raised up during the sixty-year time frame of Rutherford's life. It seems to me the greater the persecution against the Reformers, the greater number of leaders stepped forward to point people back to God's Word. Have you ever wondered how you would handle persecution whether physically, professionally or socially? Reading between the lines in this book, we may guess-- judging by whatever motivates us. The story of John Gordon's defection and later confession to Samuel Rutherford on his death bed was a powerful example how many of us could falter from a stand we previously believed we were firmly grounded upon, especially when presented with the one incentive that could turn us.

The third thing I appreciate about this book is how well the author wove the political strife with Samuel Rutherford's personal story through the use of quotes from his many books, letters, diaries, documents and sermons. These excerpts reveal to the reader a clear picture of his feelings, impressions, attitudes, personality, devotion to Christ, and misgivings. He faltered and suffered from doubts. He never claimed to be perfect. He experienced mood shifts from elation to discouragement to depression. He didn't deny his faults, he learned from them. He used his honest feelings to develop greater empathy for others. This humble attitude endeared him to many people, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, well known or obscure.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and EP Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Beverlylynnt | 2 andre anmeldelser | Nov 24, 2014 |


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