The Great Scottish Pastor…

I posted this to my My Space blog.  Both blogs have the same content, but My Space is a test for looks.  You can get the full effect here.


My space is starting to look, well…like my space.  The music you hear while you are reading this is mine.  It is an instrumental that I started working on about a year ago, and hope to finish in the next few months.  

The background pic is Castle Edinburgh in Scotland.  It is very near the top of a small list of places I want to visit.  There are three reasons:

  1. I have Scottish blood, and no matter how much or how little, there is something in the soul that cry’s out “FREEDOM!!!” when a Scot hears about Scottish history.
  2. Edinburgh was the home of William Wallace, (thus the cry “FREEDOM!!!”)  If you are clueless as to the reference, go read Brave heart, and see the movie by the same name.  Mel Gibson did a masterful job bringing Wallace back to life.
  3. There was another man who made his home in Edinburgh.  He was a pastor, university professor, mentor, reformer, author, and philosopher. He was more widely read in his day than Jane Austin.  Business and political leaders sought him after.  He took arguably the most boring class at the University of Edinburgh, Moral Philosophy, and made it the most attended course during his tenure.


At age 19, he was given a small parish to pastor, by the Church of Scotland.  The remarkable this here is that no one had ever been given a church to pastor at that young age before.

In Edinburgh, he took a church and transformed the city.  He believed that the church was called to extend charity, and that the government had no business in welfare.  To that end, he established a parish model.  It was so successful, that the city of Edinburgh had to close the doors of the welfare offices.  No one would show up.  Instead, people were given the dignity of Gospel charity, and could give back as they were able.  The Church was not happy with his success.

He is credited with the modern missions movement, and was the mentor of the St Andrews Seven.  He was also the Billy Graham of his day in terms of his fame.

In 1843, after year of fruitless labor calling the Church of Scotland back to Biblical theology, he along with 470 other pastors (over one third of the ordained ministers) walked out of the General Assembly.  In doing so, they all lost their homes (church parsonages), income, retirement savings, and churches.  At age 62, this one pastor, by all accounts should have been thinking about retirement.  However, he spent the next 5 years of his life (his last 5 years) starting 700 churches, over 300 of them with parish schools, parsonages for each church, paid pastors, with retirement for all of them, and a university to train the next generation of pastors and missionaries.  On May 30, 1847, before going to sleep, he looked over a report he was to give the new denomination, the Free Church of Scotland, at it’s General Assembly, and went to bed.  He awoke in heaven the next morning.  Thousands attended the funeral.  It has been said that his funeral had a greater attendance that that of many kings.

Sadly, even with all of this accomplishment, Thomas Chalmers is somewhat of an obscure figure at best, in modern evangelicalism.  While he would want it no other way, it is to our great loss.

Below is a list of online resources on Chalmers and his work, and writings.

Brief history of his life here and here.
Listing of written works here.  His most well known sermon here.
The first in a lecture series about the life of Chalmers by Dr. George Grant is here.  It is a freemp3 file.  The rest of the series titled Parish life can be ordered here.    

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One Response

  1. Dude, you should put some of your preliminary work on worship up here. It would be a great way to get more perspective as you work through it.

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