Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Monday, April 17, 2006

So This Is Boreham: Part One

"For all of his life, he was a person apart. His Saviour was all important to him." So runs the descriptive phrase of a son about his father. The son is Frank Boreham, Jr. and his father is the man I wish for you to meet.

Frank William Boreham was a prolific author, penning more than 45 books, the composer of numerous booklets and approximately 2,000 newspaper articles. He served as pastor to three Baptist congregations in Mosgiel, New Zealand, Hobart, Tasmania and Armadale, Australia. His name is still spoken of with reverence in these locales today. As a minister, there is much to learn from him. As a writer, he leaves few equals in his wake. He was a consummate story-teller and every preacher can garner useful illustrations and acquire the knowledge on how to tell a good story simply be sitting at his feet and observing. He is a favorite of Mrs. Ruth Bell Graham, Warren Wiersbe, and Ravi Zacharias, along with countless others through the years.

F. W. Boreham was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England on March 3, 1871. He says of that day, "Salvoes of artillery and peals of bells echoed across Europe on the morning of my birth." He was speaking, of course, not about his advent, but about the culmination of the Franco-Prussian War "that self-same day." It was the days of Victorian England and a wonderful setting in which a boy could grow up. "Wroxton Lodge," as his childhood home was called, held within its walls Frank and his nine brothers and sisters. He often recalled one of his favorite childhood memories: those Sunday nights when his mother would gather her brood around the fireplace and read a chapter or two from a classical book and then tell a personal story. Their perennial favorite was of their mother when she was a young girl visiting Canterbury Cathedral. She was to tour the grand old cathedral with her cousin, but her cousin failed to materialize. His mother was turning away, "disgusted and dejected," when a kindly gentleman, "with a short, pointed beard, brown hair going gray, a very fine forehead and wonderfully lustrous eyes," approached and offered to personally guide her through the Cathedral. She received a delightful tour and was later embarrassed to find out, upon receiving her escort's card as they departed, that her tour guide had been none other than Charles Dickens! Years later, Boreham related that perhaps the greatest developments in his heart and mind took place at that fireside, "...and, of all the stories that I have ever heard or read, none ever moved me like those stories that, in the flickering firelight, mother told!"

Jeff Cranston

Image: Boreham as a boy.