the Zinnbergmann evangelist, who was at all times joyful regardless of the poverty

SaveSavedRemoved 0
Deal Score0
Deal Score0

J John

August 02, 2020 | 9:28 a.m.

Cornish preacher Billy Bray

One of my heroes is the Cornish evangelist Billy Bray. I read his biography shortly after I became a Christian and was very impressed and inspired.

Billy was born in Cornwall in 1794. Billy was born in poverty and hardly trained. He became a tin miner. Although he grew up in the Christian faith, he soon began to live a life of drunkenness and violence. He married a woman who had been an enthusiastic Methodist, but let her faith deteriorate. Nevertheless, his wife's memory of a happy past life challenged Billy and in 1823 he became desperately aware that he "had to start all over again". He persecuted God; Pray for days and read the Bible and Wesley's hymns before finally finding peace through Christ. Not long after, his wife returned to her belief.

Billy's conversion was radical and profound, and he never let go of a feeling of miraculous liberation. Over the next four decades, Billy's life was marked by an extraordinary and exuberant joy, which he repeatedly expressed in spontaneous jumping, dancing and screaming, be it at work in the mine or in preaching. He lived simply and served his needy community by giving money away without worrying about how it should be replaced. He also raised orphans and built chapels.

Billy continued to work in the mine, enjoying his work, and making many of his workmates believe. However, he increasingly preached both in chapels and outdoors and became a household name throughout Cornwall. He was passionate and funny, and his sermons attracted the crowd. Many people just came to see him, only to return home converted.

Billy, the man, can summarize two quotes. The first is a sentence he often used to pray: "I need to talk to Father about it." The second is a defense of his exuberance: "Well, I dance sometimes. Why shouldn't I dance as well as David? David, you say, was a king; Well bless the Lord! I am a king's son! I have a right to dance as well as David. & # 39;

Taken together, the feeling of being both a child of God the Father and an heir to the King of Kings explains a lot about him.

Billy Bray died in 1868 and the last word on his lips was "Glory!"

I find four things that appeal to me about Billy Bray:

1. I am challenged by Billy's joy.

Life was hard in the mining communities of Cornwall in the early 19th century, and Billy was always a poor man living in dire poverty. But every mention of him speaks of his extraordinary joy, happiness and cheerfulness. He was actually happy about his redemption. We who live an easier and richer life could benefit from his steadfast joy.

2. I am challenged by Billy's witnesses.

For many Christians, sharing faith is something that needs to be encouraged. There was none of this at Billy Bray: he was a man who just couldn't help but tell other people about Jesus. The gospel gushed out of him naturally. May it be so with us!

3. I'm challenged by Billy's simplicity.

Literacy and learning are good and I am all for theological colleges. However, when I think of Billy Bray, I wonder if we haven't paid too high a price for the pursuit of science. Billy preached the simple gospel: Because Jesus died for us, we should trust him. It served him well in his time; I see no reason why it shouldn't serve us so well in ours.

4. I am challenged by Billy's authenticity.

I think it was the secret of much of its fertility. Authenticity attracts and promotes trust.

Billy Bray was a personality of a certain time and place: a product of a culture that dates back as long as the tin mines that created it. There is a small, uncomfortable fact that contradicts this view: the features that challenge Billy can be seen all over the pages of the New Testament, not least in the book of Acts. The thought grips me that maybe Billy Bray wasn't that weird after all. Maybe, and it's a disturbing thought, it's not Billy's curiosity, it's us.

Canon J John is director of the Philo Trust. Find him on Twitter @CanonJJohn

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply