Dan Graves, MSL
When two such notable evangelistic workers as Billy Graham and Ravi Zecharias commend the writings of a man, he must have had things to say that were truly worthwhile. That man was F. W. Boreham, a Baptist pastor who once held the record as Australia’s most prolific author. Many of Boreham’s essays take small things as their starting point to display the goodness of God.
Boreham was born in England in 1871, on the day that the Franco-Prussian war ended. His Christian family reared him in the knowledge of God and he was blessed to sit under many of the notable evangelistic preachers of his day, among whom were Charles Haddon Spurgeon, A. T. Pierson, and Dwight L. Moody. He learned the art of speaking well.
As a young minister-in-training, Boreham was sent to fill a pulpit in the village of Theydon Bois. There he met Stella. Finding that she was without an escort to the village one day, he asked permission to accompany her. Her hat blew off several times in the heavy wind and he suggested he tie it on her with his handkerchief. She agreed. “We saved the hat, but we lost our hearts,” he wrote in his autobiography. Stella became his wife after he wrote to her from a pastorate he had accepted in New Zealand.
After many years in Mosgiel, New Zealand, Boreham transferred to a church in Tasmania. He began to publish his sermons as essays: The Luggage of Life, Mountains in the Mist, and about ninety other titles. These books brought him an international reputation. On this day, March 28, 1911, while pastoring in Tasmania, he began preaching a series of sermons that won more souls to Christ than any of his other themes.
The idea was completely spontaneous. He was beginning another Sunday evening series to run on alternate weeks. He saw that he needed something to draw the people in the intervals. He had read a biography of Luther that week and was impressed that the Reformation sprang from a single text taken from the Bible book of Romans.
As the final hymn came to a close on the morning of March 21, 1911, Boreham rose and surprised himself by saying that the next week he would commence a second series titled Texts that Made History. ” ‘Next Sunday evening,’ I added with the air of a man who had laid his plans weeks beforehand, ‘I shall deal with Martin Luther’s Text!'”
Boreham was as good as his word, searching out the scripture texts that had inspired the lives of great men such as Luther, Cromwell, Hannington and over 120 others (not to mention fictional characters such as Robinson Crusoe). This wonderful series was printed under various titles but Kregel has now gathered them into several volumes under the title Life Verses.
Boreham, who had lost his right foot under a train, often fell and broke bones. To read his cheery books, you’d never realize how much pain he endured. In addition to his religious work, he wrote regularly for two secular papers, The Hobart Mercury and The Melbourne Age.
Boreham, F. W. A Pathway of Roses; an autobiography. 1940.
—————- Mountains in the Mist; Luggage of Life; The Golden Milestone; Cliffs of Opal; The Whisper of God; Dreams at Sunset; Life Verses; A Late Lark Singing; etc.
Manley, K. R. “Boreham, Frank William,” in Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals; editor, Timothy Larsen. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
Pound, Geoff. “F. W. Boreham: The Public Theologian.” http://www.bwa-baptist-heritage.org/sl-borhm.htm
Townsend, James. “F. W. Boreham; Essayist Extraordinaire.”