Reformation 500: Day 4

On day 4, we got up at 7:30 so that we could go to the children's parade. There were a lot of people at the children's parade, and a lot of them were in costume, like us. The children's parade went around the Boston Common and through the streets back to the hotel.

Some of our friends

Some Reformers

Marching (walking)


At the hotel in the main ballroom there were some speeches, and Charlie Zahm sung some songs. Since we were going to leave as soon as it was over, we went up to our room during the first break,and changed our clothes. When we got back, it had already started so we missed some of the graduation ceremonies of the Vision Forum Interns. When we were about to leave some people rang the Liberty Bell, at 2:00, the exact time that they really did. The Muses got to ring it because they won the treasure hunt. You can watch the video below.

Charlie Zahm singing "Jolly Jolly Soldier"

Charlie Zahm Sings 'For the Honor of George Washington' from Vision Forum on Vimeo.

Ringing the Liberty Bell

Ringing the Liberty Bell from Vision Forum on Vimeo.

Reformation 500: Day 3

On this day we got up and ate donuts. This day was full of sessions, until after lunch when we went on a mini-tour. We heard several different messages. Some of my favorites were by Dr. Morecraft. He gave one on the Five Solas of the Reformation. I also enjoyed the Impact of the Reformation of Art and Culture by Mr. Phillips. Here are some pictures:

Mr. Phillips

Mr. Serven

At 2:30 we had a tour on the great awakening by Dr. Morecraft. We could not find Stephen, so we left him to listen to messages. Just then we got an email about the treasure hunt. So then we called Mr. Breagy, and I told Stephen Breagy the clue. So while we listened to the tour, they worked on the treasure hunt. Dr. Morecraft's message was very interesting.

Dr. Morecraft

The clue that we had gotten told us to go to one of the reformers, and tell him a password. They did that, and he told them to go to another, and so on for about 20! When we got back, they were on about the fifth. Finally our parents left for dinner, but we kept working. We got stuck for almost an hour because one of the reformers had gone to dinner. When we got to her, we went through several more, until during one of the session breaks we got the last clue from Joshua Phillips. It was a poem which told you to go to one of the vendors and ask for something, which you would then give to the 5th trustee from Jamestown. The poem was very difficult, especially because you were not allowed to copy it. You had to remember it. Anyway, finally after all the sessions we figured it out. We were in 4th place, which we thought was pretty good, especially since we had no adults helping us. The person who won was Mr. Muse from our church! We had a lot of fun even though we did not win.

The evening sessions were a Charlie Zahm concert, and then a debate between John Calvin and Charles Darwin. During the concert, Mr Phillips played that harmonica for several songs. You can hear them below. It was very good. The debate was pretty good, but we thought Charles Darwin won even though he was wrong.

Musical Audio of Canonball & Orange Blossoms Performed at the Reformation 500 from Vision Forum on Vimeo.

Blogging the Reformers: Pierre Olivetan

by Joshua Horn

Pierre Olivétan was born in France in 1506. He was three years older than his cousin and friend, John Calvin, the famous reformer in Geneva. He knew Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He was converted to Protestantism by Calvin. He was one of the first to bring the gospel to Geneva, and was expelled from the city along with William Feral and others. It was Feral who convinced him to translate the Bible into French. His translation was published in 1535, with a preface by Calvin. It was the first translation into French from the original languages. This translation was very influential in the Reformation. Olivétan died suddenly in 1538 at 32 years of age. Some said he died by poison, but this is probably not true. Calvin was very sad when he heard of his death. D'Aubigne said of Olivétan, “Pierre Robert Olivétan ... was gifted with a solid mind, great perseverance in the discharge of his duties, unshaken fidelity to his confections, and a holy boldness when it became necessary to combat error.” 1

1 J. H. Merle D'Aubigne, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2000) volume 1, book ii, p. 388

Reformation 500: Day 2

The first message that we went to was by Dr. Paul Jehle on John Robinson. John Robinson was the Pilgrims' pastor while they were in Holland before coming to America. He effected the Pilgrims, and America, a lot. Next I went to hear Mr. Potter speak on The Influence of the Reformation on Global Exploration and Warfare. He spoke on two different battles. The first was the siege of Derry, when the Catholic Irish sieged the Reformed Christian Scotch-Irish. The other battle was the Battle of Blood River in South Africa, where 400 Christian Boers defeated thousands of Zulu Indians. This message was very interesting.

Paul Jehle

Bill Potter

At this point we had to send in the clues that we had gotten from the Reformers for the treasure hunt. We only got three of the five, but we sent it in any way. We thought the clues referred to the George Washington statue in the Boston Public Gardens. This was true, but we did not find any clues there. When we got back, we listened to the end of Mr. Swanson's message on Lessons for Homeschoolers from the Reformation.

Dan Ford

The next lecture we went to was by Dan Ford on John Calvin's legacy of liberty. He showed many original documents from that time. Next we heard Dr. Morecraft speak on Calvin's Doctrine of Worship.

Dr. Joe Morecraft

Stonewall Jackson: The Qualities of a Great General

by Stephen Horn base on Stonewall Jackson by Robert Lewis Dabney.

Stonewall Jackson was a Christian and he was also a great general for the confederates in the second war for American independence. He led many campaigns one of which saved Richmond. He understood his enemies, and he made defensive and offensive acts accordingly. Three of the qualities that he possessed which made him a good general were perseverance, hard fighting, and no fear of the enemy. He persevered and fought hard, and he did not fear the enemy. Because of these things he was the opposite of Generals like McClellan , who even when he had a copy of the Confederates plans did not act on them soon enough. He was not like others, like Rosecrans who would not attack because they thought the enemy more numerous(even though in that case they were not.) He was not like Bragg either, who once he had invaded to the enemies rear retreated with his spoils and let the enemy have it back.

One quality Jackson had that made him a good general, was that he persevered and did what he thought needed to be done. When necessary, he would make his troops march at double quick half the night to get to an important position. “[The troops] hurried forward, often at double quick, waded the Shenandoah River, which was waist deep to the men, ascended the Blue Ridge at Ashby’s Gap, and, two hours after midnight, paused for a few hours rest at the little village of Paris, upon the eastern slope of the mountain.”1 But his troops were patriots and would heartily obey his orders, and he also returned the respect. After a long march, “an officer came to Jackson, reminded him that there were no sentries posted around his bivouac, while the men were all wrapped in sleep, and asked if some should be aroused, and a guard set. ‘No,’ replied Jackson, ‘let the poor fellows sleep; I will guard the camp myself.’”2 Forced marches were his policy, and thus his own brigade was called foot calvary for how fast they marched. He used this in his Valley Campaign, and also when he was part of Lee’s army. When he needed to get to somewhere before the enemy, his troops would march quickly, and get there before the enemy. His policy was to move quickly, strike hard, and secure the fruits of victory before he could be crushed.

After he made a forced march, Jackson would strike the enemy hard. At the battle of Port Republic, the enemy held an important bridge. The Federals had one field piece to sweep the bridge, and another replying to the confederate artillery. Jackson, “without pausing to wheel them into line, as [his troops] came with in an effective distance, he commanded them, with a tone and mien of inexpressible authority, to deliver one round upon the enemy’s artillerists, and then rush through the bridge upon them with the bayonet. They fired one stinging volley, which swept every cannoneer from the threatening gun, and then dashed with a yell through the narrow avenue.”3”[T]he bridge was gained, and the enemies gun was captured.”4 But, this gallant charge did take men from the ranks. Jackson knew that this was going to happen, but he also knew that if he did not take the losses he could not hold his position. It was necessary because the enemy was between him and his baggage, and he needed to drive the enemy out.

Another quality Jackson had was that he did not fear if the enemy had greatly superior numbers. If he thought that he could not win a battle he would not fight it. But, if the enemy outnumbered him, he would try to outsmart the enemy by flanking him, and other military maneuvers. If the enemy was panicking, he would use a frontal assault to make them flee. He understood military tactics since he had studied them extensively at West Point. At Chancellorsville, he executed one of the most brilliant maneuvers of the war, which was marching around to the enemy's flank while he left a skeleton force to keep the enemy in his entrenchments. This same maneuver was tried in the Battle of the Seven Day’s, but from lack of coordination it did not nearly have the effect that it did at Chancellorsville. Stonewall Jackson said, “Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

From this we see that some of his most influential characteristics which he had upon his campaigning were perseverance, hard fighting, and no fear of the enemy. He fought hard because he did not fear what the enemy could do to him. He persevered even when the enemy was much stronger than him. This shows that his lack of fear was the important quality which he had, because all of his other qualities sprouted from this quality. He had that quality because he was a Christian, and he feared God more that his enemies.

1 Robert Lewis Dabney, Stonewall Jackson, (Virginia: Sprinkle Publications) p. 212
2 Ibid p. 212
3 Ibid p. 412-413
4 Ibid p. 413

Buy The Book

Reformation 500: Day 1

This was the first day of the Reformation 500 conference. We had two mini-tours scheduled before the opening ceremonies, so that later we would not miss any talks. The first thing we went to was a meeting for the treasure hunt. We were late, because we did not have time to check email the night before. We got a coded message to translate. Here are some pictures of the meeting on Mr. Phillips' blog.

After the meeting we left for our first mini tour. It was of the Granary and King's Chapel burying grounds with Dr. Joe Morecraft and Richard Holland. Dr. Morecraft is a preacher from Georgia and he knows a lot about the Reformation. He was on the Scotland Faith and Freedom Tour with us last summer. Richard Holland lives in Boston, and he does Christian history tours in Boston. First we went to the Granary burying ground. It is called the patriot's grave yard. John Handcock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, James Otis and other famous people are buried here. Mr. Holland spoke on the people buried here, and Dr. Morecraft spoke on the War for Independence.

Park Street Church, where one of the evil Unitarian abolitionist
preached before the Second War for American Independence

Dr. Morecraft and Mr. Holland, in front of Benjamin Franklin's parents' grave

Next we visited the King's Chapel burying ground. It is known as the preacher's graveyard. John Winthrop was buried here, along with the first person to get off the Mayflower and the gravestone that was the inspiration for The Scarlet Letter by Nataniel Hawtorne, which was written against the Puritans.

Our next tour was the Old South Meeting House with Dan Ford. Mr. Ford has a lot of very old books and documents which were important, and he shows them on his tours. The Old South Meeting House was a church in the time of the War for Independence. It was where they met before the Boston Tea party. Mr. Ford talked about the beginnings of the War for Independence here. We next went to the Old State House, where the Boston Massacre took place. Here Mr. Ford talked about the Boston Massacre and the doctrine of interposition. The last stop on the tour was the Benjamin Franklin statue. Mr. Ford talked about his life, especially how he was a diplomat before the War for Independance.

Old South Meeting House

Mr. Ford

Benjamin Franklin

After the tour ended, we went with some of the Breagys to a bookstore that Mr. Holland recommended, Brattle Street Books. Daddy bought lots of books, which our friends the Damings brought back to NC for us since we flew. We went back to the hotel, and we went to "Meet the Reformers." Vision Forum had about 40 people who were re-enactors of the Reformers. If you got 30 of them to sign your program, you got a ten dollar gift certificate. We also had to ask them a certain question so that they would give us clues for the treasure hunt. After this there were the opening ceremonies. Mr. Phillips spoke, and each of the speakers gave a brief summary of their messages. Charlie Zahm also sang some songs.

The Book Store

Reformation 500: Whitfield's Grave

Yesterday, we traveled up to Boston to go to the Reformation 500, but it did not start until the next day, so we went with the Browns, the Breagys, and the Damings to the church where George Whitfield is buried. The church is Old South Presbyterian Church in Newburyport, Massachusetts. George Whitfield is one of the pastors who preached at the beginning of the Great Awakening. The church is still in use, and the pastor showed us around. He told us some stories about Whitfield, and showed us some interesting things that are around the church. One of the interesting things about the church was it's ceiling. It had a flat ceiling, but it was painted specially so that it would look curved. Whitfield was buried with the first two pastors under the pulpit. On our way back to Boston we stopped at a pulpit rock that Whitfield preached to a crowd of 3,000 people in a field, which is now a forest. Mrs. Brown said she has seen a lot of pulpit rocks, and this was by far the best.

A plaque to George Whitfield

The pastor of the church

A plaque with the list of the pastors on it

The organ

The inside of the church

The roof of the church from a level of the bell tower

Mommy climbing up the bell tower stairs

A cast of Whitfield's skull

Mr. Brown talking about Whitfield

Pulpit Rock