“Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place that call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours...” —I Corinthians 1:2
Saint Patrick (Allegedly) Died on this Day,
March 17, A.D. 461
efore the light of the Protestant Reformation dawned in the 16th century, many in the Christian Church believed that only a certain few Christians in history should be designated as “saints”, though the Bible explicitly teaches that every true believer possesses that title. That being said, in the pre-Reformation times, certain important historical men and women in the church were commonly only known by the “Sainthood” designations given them by the Church, such as St. Patrick, St. Augustine of Hippo, or St. Chrysostom. The best known in America, by far, is Patrick, primary patron saint of Ireland. But the reality is that few actually know his story, other than myths that accrued to his name after his death.
Patrick of Ireland (AD 385-461)
Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)
The Letters of Patrick
The phrases “cannot be fixed with certainty” and “there is no reliable documentation for” and other such expressions lie on almost every page concerning “super-saints” of pre-medieval times. The man who called himself Patricius, however, left two known documents for future generations to ponder: Confessio (Declaration) and Epistola (Letters to the soldiers of Caroticus). From these two sources — generally recognized by historians as authentic — we can glean a few useful details of Patrick’s life.
A Briton Slave to Irish Pirates
Christians brought the Gospel to Britain, probably in the apostolic or immediate post-apostolic era, during Roman occupation. Patrick lived in the fifth century, i.e. 450 years after Jesus Christ’s ascension. It seems he was born into a Briton Christian family but was not a believer himself till sometime after his capture by Irish pirates and being taken to Ireland as a slave. His grandfather was a priest and his father a deacon. He spent his time as a slave herding sheep and used his time wisely in contemplation and prayer. He claims that he became a true believer sometime in those six years. Patrick recorded that he heard a voice telling him to return home, so he ran away, got passage on a vessel, and returned home, age about twenty-one.
Bringing the Gospel Back Home to Ireland
Patrick received some type of theological training, perhaps on the continent, and returned to Ireland as a missionary. The stories of his peripatetic ministry have grown with the telling. Shrines to his work are found in many places in Ireland. He apparently founded a number of churches, one of the most important being in Armagh where two cathedrals there today bear testimony to his effectiveness — one Roman Catholic, and one Protestant.* It is probable that he was not the first Christian in Ireland but the extreme success of his promoters, ancient and modern, claim that he was. He faced down the Druidic cults that dominated Celtic society, and, so widespread was his ministry, that some claim all Ireland became Christian, or very nearly so.
By Landmark Events | March 13, 2017 | Permalink
We wanted to bring you a bit of insight on our court case with the National Park Service. You may recall, at our initial pleading in the New Orleans branch of Federal Court, we proposed a settlement to the US Attorney that was rejected. The reason given for the rejection was that we had committed additional infractions besides “illegal guiding” that day at Chalmette Battlefield. We were told that we were not cited for those, so we were actually getting off easy with just the “illegal guiding” charge. Remember also, that we were not ticketed or even warned of any violations while we were at Chalmette, but learned of this two months later when a citation arrived via certified mail.
Major General Andrew Jackson’s Americans
General Edward Pakenham’s British Forces
One of the additional offenses we are accused of is staging an “unauthorized reenactment” on National Park Grounds. This sounds as if we brought in soldiers with rifles, maybe some cannons or horse cavalry and had a big noisy battle. While we do enjoy a genuine reenactment and incorporate them on some of our tours, like the Battle of New Market on our Shenandoah Valley Tour May 17-20, we only attend them, not host them.
Below is a video of our “unauthorized reenactment” — 57 seconds long, 8 toy rifles, 2 flags, 6 children, 1 dad and 2 grandfathers. If this is a crime, we are all in trouble.
We also received a warning stating that the Park Service had gone to our web site and seen a picture of Mr. Potter on the Chalmette grounds with a black powder rifle, which is illegal. What they could not see, and did not ask, is the touch hole is soldered over, rendering it impossible to fire the rifle. It was a prop, like the one in the waistband of the local tour guide pictured below greeting one of our D-Day veterans we were honoring.
D-Day Veteran Herb Griffin Meets 1812 Veteran Jean LaFitte
So, our case appears to be headed for trial May 16 in the Federal Court of New Orleans because of our perceived disregard for the law. And in spite of this, the benevolent National Park Service purports to show us mercy. Keep in mind we have visited nearly 50 unique sites governed by the National Park Service in the past five years — many of them annually — and had only once been required to get a permit and that, understandably, was when we took 7 motor coaches and 350 people onto the Battlefield at the 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg.
Landmark Events and the Park Service share a common goal to educate people about the past, though with very different views of how and why it happened. We have a wonderful relationship with the vast majority of the sites we visit, but there is a growing shift in NPS philosophy that has us very concerned, and this Chalmette episode is a good example. In simplest terms, we perceive the Park Service moving to be the sole source of information on taxpayer-owned sites, and that is not a good scenario. That’s why we are taking this stand and asking for your help.
Studying History Where it Happened with Landmark Events!
Again, we are grateful for your prayers and encouragement for our ministry. We are more determined than ever to continue our work of bringing hope to God’s people with precise, scholarly teaching and by testifying to His everlasting mercy, on public lands and elsewhere. We will keep you posted on our progress and ask that you continue to appeal to Heaven for wisdom and provision.
President, Landmark Events
PS — Our 2017 D-Day and Great Battles tour in New Orleans is now open for registration!
By Landmark Events | March 09, 2017 | Permalink
John Chrysostom Becomes Bishop of Constantinople, 397
oday, he looks down on a congregation of tourists from a frieze in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey (formerly Constantinople). Dressed in white livery and holding a copy of the Scripture under his arm, the archbishop John Chrysostom is probably preparing to speak, for his name literally means “golden mouthed” in Greek. His life began in the middle of the Fourth Century A.D. and ended in 407 but his influence, wisdom, popularity and reputation is second only to Augustine of Hippo, among the church fathers of the post-apostolic era; he was “the prince of preachers” of his time.
1,000-year-old mosaic of John Chrysostom in the Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia, constructed 532-537 AD
Raised in the ‘Nurture and Admonition of the Lord’
Chrysostom was born in Antioch, the second city of the Eastern Empire, Byzantium. When his father Secundus died, a Roman soldier in Syria, his twenty-year-old mother raised him in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord,” although all the heresies of the era were abundant in the city. He received the finest classical education available, especially in rhetoric, though most of it from pagan Greeks. The man who made the difference in his life, however, was the pastor and teacher Meletius, who preached the Word of God and taught him how to study the Scripture. About the year 370 (age c.23), John made profession of faith in Christ and was baptized. He was attracted to the ascetic life and became an anchorite, living in the caves of Antioch, praying and studying Scripture. His health ruined, he returned to the city to recover and picked up where he had left off as a lector (a reader in the church, preparatory to the diaconate).
Panoramic view of modern-day Istanbul with Hagia Sophia visible on the right
A Bold and Fearless Preacher
In 386 Chrysostom was ordained by the church and began a ministry of preaching that lasted for twelve years, in which time, his gift for preaching powerful and practical expository sermons benefited thousands and his written commentaries gained church-wide renown and are highly appreciated today. John Chrysostom finally became the Bishop of Constantinople, the most powerful position in the Eastern Church, where he preached plainly against corruption in the church and state. He raised money for the poor, founded hospitals, and rebuked the ungodly. His famous statement that “the road to hell is paved with the bones of the priests and monks, and the skulls of the bishops are the lampposts that light the way,” won him no friends among the clergy. His holding the civil authorities accountable to Christ, got him exiled by Empress Eudoxia. Chrysostom wrote about family life and children and, in a day when life was cheap and mercy a sign of weakness, he proclaimed that “to destroy the fetus is something worse than murder, the one who does this does not take away life that has already been born, but prevents it from being born.“ How is our age any better? We need the pulpits of our land to echo such belief.
Saint John Chrysostom and Empress Aelia Eudoxia, by Jean-Paul Laurens
A Heavenly Home
John Chrysostom was not as doctrinally pure as we would like. He believed that the Virgin Mary was instrumental in some way to a person’s salvation and he promoted the supposed escape from the world and the flesh practiced by monks and other ascetics. Nonetheless, he rightly proclaimed “I am a Christian. He who answers thus proclaims everything at once: his country, his profession, his family; the believer belongs to no city on earth, but to the heavenly Jerusalem.” He died in exile but the many lives he touched expanded Christ’s kingdom and showed the practical implications of biblical truth.
For More History Highlights, View the Archives ››
1 John Chrysostom (Wikipedia.org);
2 Hagia Sophia Chrysostom (Wikipedia.org);
3 Constantinople (Modern-Day Istanbul) (Wikipedia.org);
4 John Chrysostom and Empress Eudoxia (Wikipedia.org)
By Landmark Events | March 06, 2017 | Permalink
What a great adventure with like-minded families! We learned so much about Florida’s history and appreciated the free time between sessions to explore the area. Mr. Potter is terrific at bringing history to life through a distinctly Christian filter.” —Tim A.
lorida has not always been a welcoming tourist attraction. The history of the state is fraught with war, massacres, pirate raids, invasions, and deportation—providential hardships that eventually faded to the past in favor of beaches, football, retirement villas, Walt Disney, and space rockets, not to mention citrus groves and golf courses. We learned about the hard times.
St. Augustine, Florida, founded 1565
St. Augustine is the oldest European-founded city in North America. The governor of Puerto Rico was the first to claim the area for Spain—a stalwart explorer named Ponce de León, who called the area La Florida in 1513. We examined the story of the fabled fountain of youth which has given its name to a lovely historical park along the bay. Historian Bill Potter mused about mankind’s quest to find alternatives to mortality and salvation apart from the Bible, whether Ponce sought such a course or not. We witnessed a re-enactor explain and fire a matchlock gun and a Spanish artillery crew set off a cannon like the ones that defended the city in less peaceful times. We visited a re-creation of the first Christian chapel erected in Florida by Franciscan missionaries in the 16th Century. As an entertaining touch, pea-fowl preened along walls next to signs that forbade sitting on them, and they strutted between two heavy guns that once blasted the British from aboard the fabled USS Constitution (now in Boston Harbor).
Addressing the Florida tour group on the ground of the First Landing
The reconstructed Fort Caroline near Jacksonville provided a picturesque setting for our next stop. Originally constructed by French Huguenots, the site, or one close by, became the first attempted permanent colony along the eastern coast of Florida. Several hundred settlers of Protestant conviction were sent there by the Admiral of France, Gaspard de Coligny in 1564 to establish a base of operation for trade with and evangelization of, the native tribes, and to harvest whatever wealth and resources were available. Led by René de Loudonnière, the infant colony suffered lack of food and proper discipline, almost collapsing on its own. A relief expedition came to aid the failing colonists and secure the place from possible Spanish depredations. The Catholic King of Spain also sent an expedition, under a hard and uncompromising soldier, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, to deal with what he considered enemy intruders on Spanish-claimed land. The ruthless Menendez wiped out the French colony and established St. Augustine as the new base of Spanish operations in that part of Florida. We fought a brief re-enactment, with the French running away, though Mr. Potter actually escaped to the woods to teach another day. Providence is often a great mystery.
On the ramparts of the reconstructed Huguenot Fort Caroline near Jacksonville
Our final destination of the day found our expedition among the distaff pirates of the Pirate Museum of St. Augustine. A mixture of humor, entertainment, and solid information, we viewed and learned about the singular pirate artifacts of the museum. They include such interesting items as one of the two known authentic pirate flags in existence, the Bible of Captain Kidd, and the talking head of Blackbeard. We learned about the differences between privateering and piracy, often a very blurred line, and details of the lives of some of the more prominent pirates of history. Most died violently, having spent their lives violating the law of God in all of its aspects, and being tracked down by the British, French, and Spanish navies. The final room displayed the prominent role pirate stories have played in Hollywood movies—a charming bunch of rogues defined more by the stereotypes created by Long John Silver and Walt Disney, than by careful historical and biblical analysis. We were reminded not to call evil good or good evil.
The nation’s premier Pirate Museum in St. Augustine
Our evening gathering, where we killed the fatted pizza, and schmoozed with our new friends, ended with a talk by Mr. Potter on the role of Andrew Jackson and the Seminoles of Florida, both subjects of controversy, intrigue, violence, and mystery.
Saturday morning we adjourned at the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States. After witnessing the burning by pirates and English soldiers of nine previous wooden forts, trying to protect the city, the Queen of Spain authorized the building of the state of the art bastion, which has become the symbol of the City of St. Augustine. It withstood two sieges by British Americans and housed many prisoners over the centuries. Famous chiefs, signers of the Declaration of Independence and common criminals have stared at the four walls of the dungeon. It changed national possession six times in its history, almost always by treaty. Four centuries of people have come and gone in St. Augustine but the Castillo still proudly stands there, flying the colors of Burgundy, the royal house of Spain.
Hello from atop the walls of the magnificent Castillo de San Marcos!
We concluded our tour at the excellent reenactment of the Battle of Olustee. Though it rained at the beginning of the day, the weather totally cleared in time for the battle and we were treated to a spectacular demonstration of artillery bombardment, infantry tactics, and cavalry who couldn’t shoot straight. A premier reenactment and the first of the season, it is never disappointing and they outdid themselves once again. The sutlers were actively relieving tourists of Yankee greenbacks, the churches were selling good hot food, and the Re-enactors Missions were handing out Gospel tracts and earplugs. Bill gave a brief summary of the battle at the monument commemorating the men who fought there.
Mustering the troops and commemorating the Battle of Olustee
This tour marked the beginning of the fourth year of Landmark Events and we appreciate all who took the time to attend and hear of the Providence of God in Florida. We trust that the teaching has given you a fuller measure of the Grace of God and his control of our past as he forged the nation in which we live. Whether you joined us in spirit or in person, we look forward to seeing you on a future Landmark Events Tour where we walk the ground where the mighty hand of God directed the affairs of men.
More Images from the Tour!
1 St. Augustine, Florida (Wikipedia.org)
By Landmark Events | February 28, 2017 | Permalink
The Martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton, 1528
“He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake, will find it.” —Matthew 10:38,39
he Reformation in Scotland did not begin with John Knox. We know that Lollards were preaching the Gospel and sharing the Scriptures centuries before. Nonetheless, there are few extant records that indicate true biblical faith in the centuries immediately before the Protestant Reformation. When the manuscripts of Martin Luther’s sermons, debates, and trials went to press, the Word spread to parts of Europe, especially among Renaissance scholars, typically monks and university professors. In Scotland a young professor at the University of St. Andrews, Patrick Hamilton, came into contact with Lutheran teaching while studying in France.
Patrick Hamilton (c. 1504-1528)
Archbishop Beaton (c. 1494–1546)
Superstition and corruption characterized the Catholic Church of medieval Scotland. Veneration of relics and images, corrupt priests, and a wealthy and venal hierarchy made the church rife for reform. With the Protestant allegiance to and study of the Holy Scriptures came doctrinal challenges to the religion of the papacy. The scholars of the Universities of Scotland maintained ties with continental humanist scholars like Erasmus of Rotterdam and Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples, and read the Bible in new and more accurate translations, especially vernacular English.
View of St. Andrews from the Cathedral
Patrick Hamilton, related to Scottish royalty through both parents, studied in Paris where he read Erasmus and Luther and fell under the sway of Reformation thinking and doctrine. In 1523 he joined the faculty of arts and sciences at St. Andrews and, by all accounts, became a popular lecturer. A number of students who studied under Hamilton later became leaders of the Reformation in Scotland. He “attacked moral abuses and abusive ecclesiastical practices.” His continued attacks on the moral turpitude of the clergy and the superstitious sacerdotalism of the church resulted in accusations of having embraced Lutheran heresy. Hamilton came to the attention of Archbishop Beaton at the Cathedral who determined to arrest Hamilton for heresy. Upon the advice of friends, Patrick escaped to the continent where he travelled immediately to Wittenberg to hear Luther in person.
Tour group at the site of Hamilton’s Martyrdom
Ground marker where Hamilton was burned at the stake
Hamilton returned to St. Andrews and the prelates allowed him great latitude to preach, probably setting him up for charges that would really stick against a man with royal blood and the backing of the powerful Hamilton family. He preached salvation by faith alone, exerting great influence among the students, monks, priests, and professors of St. Andrews. Although warned by his friends, Patrick refused to flee and was summarily arrested and hauled before a council of monks, priests, and other clerics under the thumb of Beaton. Patrick stood solidly on the Solas of the Reformation and refused to back down on seven major charges that were central tenets of Protestant theology. He also denied the existence of Purgatory but affirmed the pope as an antichrist. He denounced relics as having any merit, in a town with a cathedral that boasted relics of great merit for pilgrims to pay to see, under the altar.
Before his murder, Hamilton was imprisoned at St. Andrews Castle
When offered his life for a recantation Patrick Hamilton replied:
“As to my confession, I will not deny it for the fear of your fire, for my confession and belief is in Christ Jesus. Therefore I will not deny it. I will rather be content that my body burn in this fire for the confession of my faith in Christ, than my soul should burn in the fire of hell for denying the same.”
On the 29th of February, the twenty-four-year-old college professor was burned at the stake at the portico to the University while his students stood in shock, and the Franciscan friar teased him to call on the Virgin Mary to help him out. Upon his death, many others took up the cause of the martyr and spread the Gospel across Scotland. The blood of the martyr is the seed of the church.
Note: The best book to read on Hamilton is Luther’s Scottish Connection, by James Edward McGoldrick
For More History Highlights, View the Archives ››
Join us in July for Landmark Events’ one-of-a-kind tour of the ancient land of the Scots where we will visit the very site of Patrick Hamilton’s martyrdom in St. Andrews. Follow in the footsteps of such giants as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, be inspired by the unwavering faith of the Scottish Covenanters and stroll along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, visiting the home of John Knox and the cathedral where he preached. Attend the Lowlands Leg, the Highlands Leg, or go for the “Whole Haggis” and attend both!
Learn More and Register
1 Patrick Hamilton (Wikipedia.org);
2 Archbishop Beaton (Wikipedia.org);
3 St. Andrews Castle (Wikipedia.org)
By Landmark Events | February 26, 2017 | Permalink