Education and Evangelism
This Reformation 500 Mission to Europe was several years in planning and preparation. With 31 October 2017 marking the 500th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther nailing The 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenberg, this was a monumentally important historic milestone that needed to be used for education, evangelism and emphasizing the life-transforming doctrines that made the Reformation of the 16th century the greatest Revival of Faith and freedom in history.
Reformation to Remotest Regions
However, this Mission just kept growing. Ministry invitations to the Netherlands and Belgium, enquiries from France, possibilities in England and persistent requests for me to be the key-note speaker to the Reformation to Remotest Regions Missions Conference in California, USA, presented a major series of logistical challenges. I had already completed seven Missions so far this year, including Reformation 500 Conferences in Pennsylvania and Idaho and in Zambia! My Mission to Nigeria had been frustrated by the refusal of the authorities to allow me into the country, but even that had been completed by livestreaming.
Resources for Reformation
As the Reformation 500 Mission to Europe expanded into a month-long Mission that would first include a week on the West Coast of America, the deadline for completing our revised and expanded The Greatest Century of Reformation book had to be brought forward. Yet, by God's grace the Greatest Century of Reformation books were back from the printer and the Reformation 500 Audio MP3, Data and DVD four-disc boxset was completed in time for my departure from Cape Town, 25 September.
As I would only be back in Cape Town in the very last week of October, all of the programmes and preparation for the Reformation 500, Back to the Bible Conference at Franschhoek, 30 October and the Reformation 500 Celebration service on 31 October at the Huguenot Monument had to be finalised.
Back to the Bible Mission
After ministering for a week at Back to the Bible Mission in Mpumalanga, presenting Christian History of Africa lectures, it was an intense countdown with a bewildering array of deadlines for virtually every day of September.
Audio Visual Resources
Our Audio Visual department packed 14 films, 23 audio lectures, 13 PowerPoint presentations and a PDF of the Greatest Century of Reformation book into the boxset. Colin prepared a number of our books that we need completed for the end of the year for me to take as proof copies to evaluate on the flights overseas.
Conference in California
Our friends, the De Villiers, in California, had arranged a full programme, including meeting with Mission and ministry leaders to network and plan how we could enrich one another’s ministries in the field, opportunities for me to give presentations at AWANA Outreach programme, to a Kids Club, to a Homeschool Co-op on Reformation History, to another Homeschool Academy on The Statue and the Stone, and a full weekend of presentations at the Valley Church, dealing with The Transforming Power of the Word of God, Making Disciples of All Nations, Taught and Trained for the Task, The Family Upbringing and Faith of David Livingstone, The Great Commission and What Would David Livingstone Say to Us Today?
On Saturday a Reformation 500 to Remotest Regions Conference focused on the life changing power of the Gospel as seen in the life and ministry of Professor Martin Luther, Challenge to Not be Conformed to this World, Transformed by the Word of God, the Spread of the Gospel despite Persecution and our need for Endurance and Hope for the Future.
England for Christ
I was not quite over the nine hours’ time zone jet lag when it was time to fly back across the continent and the Atlantic Ocean to England. Juggling train stations and traffick in London was a challenge. There were many reminders of the desperate need for a new Reformation and Revival in this once strongly Protestant and Missionary-sending country.
Battlefields in France
Then by Eurostar through the tunnel (under the channel) to France. Failures in communications led to a several hour delay before my host was able to collect me at Lille. Then we were off to explore the Fromelles battle site. This was the first battle of the Australian army on the European continent and it was a disaster. From 19 to 20 July 1916, this diversionary attack resulted in catastrophic loses being incurred by the Fifth Australian Division. Although Australians made up the overwhelming majority of both the attacking force and the casualties (5,533 out of 6,000). The British GHQ Press Communicate: “Yesterday evening, we carried out some important raids on a front of two miles in which Australian troops took part...” was not favourably received by the Australians.
Evaluation reports noted that poor planning, ineffective artillery support, Australian lack of experience of Western front conditions and failure to consolidate initial gains contributed to the failure. The Fifth Australian Division remained incapable of any offensive action for some time thereafter. The battle caused the greatest numbers of Australian deaths in action in 24 hours.
Controversy and Conflict
In 2016, when a new cemetery for recently discovered bodies was established at Pheasant Wood, controversy ensued at the Australians decided to exclude British attendees from the ceremony. The Australian Department of Veteran Affairs said the decision had been made by the Australian government to prioritise Australians “not to diminish the role of other nations, but simply a recognition of the Australian focus of the event we are organising.”
At the Fromelles battle site monument, a quote from Sergeant Simon Fraser is inscribed: “…for the next three days we did great work getting in the wounded from the front and I must say the Germans treated us very fairly… we must have brought in over 250 men by our company alone.”
Waterloo, Ypres and Passchendaele
My host, Lionel Roosemont of Frontline Tours, has, for over a decade, been giving personalised tours of battle sites throughout Belgium and sometimes France. Back in 2009, he took me to the Battle of Waterloo site, where relatives of mine had fought. In 2010, we had covered just about every aspect of the various battle fields of Ypres and Passchendaele. I counted the names of 65 Hammonds, just in six of the British and Commonwealth war cemeteries near Yper. According to the British War Graves Commission, 480 Hammonds were killed in action in the First World War.
Remembering Great Battles and Grandfathers
Lionel’s Frontline Tours have been so much in demand during the 100 year anniversaries of various battles throughout Belgium that he has been unable to accept many of the requests from relatives wanting to have personalised tours of the battle sites where their grandfather, or great grandfather, fought.
The next day we were off to explore the Dunkirk battle site and museum. If the filmmakers of the recent Dunkirk film had just spent two hours walking through the museum, they could have avoided many of the embarrassing inaccuracies and falsehoods propagated in this recent dramatic production. If you have not read my film review, Dunkirk: Separating Fact from Fiction, it can be read on our www.FrontlineMissionSA.org website.
Lionel points out that Ypres is one of the bloodiest battle fields in the world. Almost as many soldiers died in an area not bigger than 70m square, than in the whole US war between the States spread over half of North America. In four pitched battles surrounding Ypres, more than a half a million soldiers perished in WWI. The battle fields around Ypres saw the launch of modern trench warfare, the first use of poison gas, flame throwers, tanks and the battle of the mines, where Welsh miners sought to tunnel deep underneath German trenches and concrete pill boxes to set off some of the largest explosions to that date.
The Fight for Life
When Lionel is not giving guided tours through these battle fields, he is involved in another war: The fight for life. Belgium has some of the worst abortion and euthanasia laws in the world. For over 20 years, Lionel and his wife, Renate, have been in the forefront of the Pro-life campaign to expose and oppose threats to life and liberty. Since their daughter, Tikvoh was born, severely deformed, great pressure has been brought to bear on them by the authorities to hand her over for euthanasia. Every year, thousands of patients are euthanized, often without even the request of the patient, or relatives.
Euthanasia in Belgium
For many decades Belgium has legalised abortion. In 2002, euthanasia was also legalised in Belgium. Yet, even the so-called “safeguards” stating that a patient must have “constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain” and “must give written consent before” being put to death, the requirement for a third doctors’ opinion before euthanizing someone and a one-month waiting period for patients with depression, it has become the law of the land to even ignore those so-called safeguards. Researchers have found that in the majority of cases in Belgium, euthanasia takes place without even a written patient’s directive.
A Culture of Death
Marc Cosyns, a physician who teaches Ethics at Ghent University, reported in a Belgium Medical Journal that he has put to death a woman suffering from dementia, with only her verbal consent. He has not been charged. As the Roosemont’s observe: “Since the law was voted a dark blanket has descended upon Belgium and it is suffocating its people. The whole atmosphere is completely changed.” In this culture of death it is not unusual for passers-by to ask the Roosemont’s why they have not euthanized their daughter!
Pointing Belgium Back to the Bible
In Belgium, an Overview of Reformation History Seminar was held in the hall of a Roman Catholic parish, St. Peters. A series of meetings on Reformation: Then and Now, was held in a Gothic Town Hall. Numerous Muslim background believers from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Syria and Turkey attended. They asked many questions, staying long after the presentations to discuss the Faith.
Ally Betrayed – A Trail of Treachery
The Christians from Iran complained about how Jimmy Carter’s State Department had betrayed their advanced country of Iran under the Shah, into the hands of the Ayatollahs and their fundamentalist’s fanatics. I was able to sympathise with them as my family had also experienced the betrayal of our home country, Rhodesia, by Jimmy Carter’s State Department, also in 1979, into the hands of Marxist tyrant, Robert Mugabe. Here we were, more than 37 years later, but our countries are still suffering from Carter’s legacy of treachery. The Christians from Afghanistan and Syria and Assyrian Christians from Iraq were also able to discuss the chaos caused by the chaotic Arab Spring sponsored by Obama’s State Department. The human tsunami of refugees from the destabilised Middle-East, flooding Europe, are just part of the many repercussions from the disastrous US foreign policy.
Belgium for Christ
In Belgium, I was able to give presentations on Martin Luther and the Reformation, A Geo-Strategic Overview of the Greatest Century of Reformation, How Martin Luther’s Faith Changed the World, Conviction and Courage and Reformation or Revolution. These were all translated into Flemish and will soon be available as DVDS on our Vimeo page on www.FrontlineMissionSA.org.
Enroute to Holland, my host was able to divert to Antwerp, where we enjoyed exploring the Cathedral and Printing Museum. It was also encouraging to see a Christian Youth Ministry conducting an open-air outreach in the Town square of Antwerp. St. Andrews, a Catholic Church in Antwerp had a copy of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses prominently displayed on the church door!
Netherlands for Christ
In the Netherlands, my hosts at the Gospel for Europe Bible School had organised a day seminar: “Here Am I, Where Are the Heroes of the Faith? A Call to the Churches of the 21st century.” The programme called for me to give presentations on: Identifying Battlefields for Reformation, Steps to Reformation Today and What Dangers Should Watchmen Be Warning Against? About 100 people took part in this day seminar.
The next day, I was driven to KwaSizabantu Netherlands International Christian School, De Ceder. There I was scheduled to present all day lectures on Missions and History, including: God's Perfect Law of Liberty, Remember the Persecuted, Courageous Christian Martyrs, Proof That the Bible is the Word of God, But Aren’t’ All Religions the Same?, The Islamisation of Europe and How to Stop It and Understanding the Crusades. In the evening, people travelled from far and near to attend a presentation on What We Need to Do to Work for Reformation Today.
Also while in the Netherlands, I was interviewed by a Journalist interested in my research on Islam. I also enjoyed a 3-hour meeting with Martin Bosma, a senior member of the House of Representatives for the Party for Freedom, since 2006. Martin focuses on higher education, mass media and culture. He is the author of the book, A Minority in Your Own Country. He is working on his doctorate on how the Dutch media deceived the people of the Netherlands into campaigning against their brethren, the Afrikaaners in South Africa, into the hands of the Marxist ANC. I found him to be the most intelligent, best-informed, politician that I have yet met in Europe, particularly on the history of South Africa. He informed me that my book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam is well known and often referred to in the House of Representatives.
Reformation and Revival
The next day, I was driven to North Holland for the Reformation and Revival Conference (Herdenken of Herleven?). Over 960 people participated on this conference. I was invited to give presentations on The Great Commission and Reformation and Revival. Each day there were intense times of prayer, three times a day and many hours of counselling. Plainly the Lord had many appointments with young people. I encountered some very devout, dedicated believers, serious for a deeper walk with God and hungry for Spiritual Revival. The Netherlands still has many enthusiastic believers. Some were talking about the Bible-belt of the Netherlands. It was a tremendous and hectic, packed week in the Netherlands. There was an enthusiastic response to The Greatest Century of Reformation. By the time I reached Wittenberg, I was all out and needed Christopher’s re-supply of these books and AV Boxsets.
Down the Autobahn
By God's grace, a Dutch brother who had heard me during my ministry in the Netherlands during 2013, contacted me to ask if I was going through to the Reformation 500 Church Council in Wittenberg and would I like a lift! This was a major answer to prayer and we enjoyed a tremendous time of fellowship as we hurtled down the autobahns of Germany at spectacular speeds. There are no speed limits on German autobahns!
Wartburg and Wittenberg
On the way to Wittenberg we passed by Wartburg Castle where Professor Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. This was during his time in protective custody, as the emperor’s edict had declared him an outlaw. In Wittenberg, we met up with Dr. Jay Grimstead, the convener of the Reformation 500 Church Council Consultation. My son, Christopher, had also arrived just a few minutes before us. Christopher had travelled up from South Africa to be the videographer filming the historic places and events. Dr. Grimstead had asked me to give the Welcoming message to participants of the Consultation, giving the historic background to why we were here at this historic time and place and what our primary objectives are.
Reformation 500 Church Council
Participants included representatives from as far afield as Burma, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, England, the Netherlands, South Africa and the USA. We were in Wittenberg for times of intense discussion, analysing and revising extensively researched, well-polished statements to identify and respond to the many challenges and threats confronting the church today. There were also strategy meetings and strategic planning for future Reformation initiatives.
Worship and Witness in Wittenberg
Our week in Wittenberg, Germany, at the epicentre of the Reformation movement, launched by Professor Martin Luther 500 years ago, included conducting worship services in the Schlosskirche, singing A Mighty Fortress is Our God in the Stadtkirche, in the Market Place, in front of the City Hall and open-air preaching and literature distribution. On the last day we were joined by many members of the Eurochor who held a concert in Wittenberg. Thereafter, Christopher and I travelled up to Berlin where the Eurochor presented a concert, departing shortly after that for our Mission to Romania. Our time in Wittenberg deserves a separate report. All in all, in four weeks, I gave 56 presentations, including at 8 conferences and 9 church services.
Working for Reformation - Praying for Revival
Upon returning from the Reformation 500 Mission overseas, I hit the ground running in Cape Town with a packed schedule of radio programmes on Reformation 500 on Radio Cape Pulpit, CCFM’s Going Global and an hour radio phone-in programme on CCFM on Saturday at midday. At the Reformation Society Thursday meeting, I reported back on Europe. On Reformation Sunday, at the Livingstone Fellowship service we dealt with Practical Steps for Personal Reformation.
Back to the Bible Conference
On Monday, 30 October, we hosted the Reformation 500 Back to the Bible Conference at the historic Dutch Reformed Church in scenic Franschhoek. Participants travelled from far and wide, including Rev. Joel Saint of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society in the USA. Tourists from Europe and Asia spontaneously joined different presentations. Francis conducted a parallel Children’s Programme in the church hall, including screening the new animated Torchlighters film on Martin Luther. Our Reformation 500 Conference concluded with the screening of the classic 1953 Martin Luther film. The Reformation 500 Franschhoek Declaration was discussed, adapted and endorsed by the participants of the Back to the Bible Conference.
On Reformation 500 Day, 31 October, a large crowd, including some foreign tourists, gathered at the Huguenot Museum for a guided tour. This has become a regular feature of our Reformation Days over the last 10 years, with increasingly larger support from home educators. This was followed with the Reformation 500 Celebration service at the Huguenot Monument at 12 noon. Rozanne Visagie led the congregation in singing Amazing Grace and I presented The Five Solas of the Reformation. The service concluded with enthusiastic singing of A Mighty Fortress is Our God, the battle hymn of the Reformation. After a picnic lunch at the Monument, awards were handed out to winners of the Reformation 500 Art and Essay Competition. Lectures of the conference and the sermon on Reformation 500 Day, have been uploaded onto our Sermon.Audio and Soundcloud pages of www.FrontlineMissionSA.org. You will be able to see some of the photographs and Art contributions on our Reformation500 Facebook page. The Reformation 500 Franschhoek Declaration can be read on www.christianaction.org.za.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths, where the good way is and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’…” Jeremiah 6:16
Thank you for all your prayers, encouragement and support.
May God continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for Reformation and Revival
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
The Five Solas of the Reformation
The Reformation 500 Franschhoek Declaration
Reformation to Remotest Regions (Prayer and Praise Update – September)
Where God Guides – He Provides (Prayer and Praise Update – August)
Let The Earth Hear His Voice (Prayer and Praise Update – July)
Through Fire and Storm (Prayer and Praise Update - June)
Mission to America (Prayer and Praise Update - May)
The Greatest Missionary is the Bible
Noah’s Ark, the Flood and Creation Workshop
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