Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Boreham on Inclusivity

Dr F W Boreham identified growth in inclusivity as a sign of a person realizing their full potential and he made his point through the use of colourful Australian imagery:

“God has room in his heart, and room in His service, for all kinds of folk .… The beauty of our Australian bush is that it is such a medley, such a riot, such a tangle. If it were all gums, or all wattles, or all ferns, or all orchids, the glory would have departed. It is the combination of so many contrasts that makes up the perfect whole”.[1]

Having been exposed to Baptists like J J North who were trenchant critics of Roman Catholicism[2] and mindful of denominational discussions proposing formal church union in Australia,[3] Boreham’s essays and autobiography reveal him as one who practised religious inclusivity through cultivating friends with Protestants of other denominations,[4] Roman Catholics[5] and Jews.[6]

In his retirement he confessed, “The secret pilgrimage of my soul has been towards Quakerism”.[7] He paid tribute to the role of books in jolting people out of their bigotry and in remarking on the diverse nature of his library he expressed his incalculable debt to people so different from himself.[8] In recommending a book by a Catholic writer he said, “We cannot allow our Protestant prejudices to blind us to the [book’s] beauty”.[9]

Geoff Pound

Image: The ‘Australian bush is … such a medley’.

[1] F W Boreham, A witch’s brewing (London: The Epworth Press, 1932), 212.
[2] J A Clifford, A handful of grain: The centenary history of the Baptist Union of New Zealand, vol. 2 (Wellington: The NZ Baptist Historical Society, 1982), 97.
[3] Ian Breward, A history of the Australian churches (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1993), 99-101.
[4] Crago, The story of F W Boreham, 233-234.
[5] F W Boreham, The silver shadow (London: The Epworth Press, 1918), 234.
[6] Boreham, Rubble and roseleaves, 156.
[7] F W Boreham, The passing of John Broadbanks (London: The Epworth Press, 1936), 20.
[8] F W Boreham, Bunch of everlastings (London: The Epworth Press, 1920), 33.
[9] F W Boreham, I forgot to say (London: The Epworth Press, 1939), 23.