Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Warren Wiersbe's Rap on F W Boreham

In his Foreword to ‘A Frank Boreham Treasury’ ( sermons from Texts that Made History), compiled by Peter F.Gunther, Warren Wiersbe gives this glowing tribute to F W Boreham:

Surprise in the Pulpit
On Sunday evening, May 21, 1911, the pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle in Hobart, Tasmania, announced a series of sermons that was as much a surprise to him as to the congregation. He had already announced a biweekly series on "The Specters of the Mind" and wanted to encourage the people to attend on the alternate Sundays as well. He found himself announcing a series on "Texts That Made History," with "Martin Luther's Text" as the very first message. (The previous week he had read a new biography of Luther, so the great Reformer was on his mind.) Before the series ended, he preached one hundred and twenty-five sermons. It turned out to be his most popular sermon series.

Famous and Original
The preacher was Dr. Frank W. Boreham, and the series was published in five volumes from 1920 to 1928: A Bunch of Everlastings, A Handful of Stars, A Casket of Cameos, A Faggot of Torches, and A Temple of Topaz . It is perhaps one of the most famous series of sermons in the history of preaching and certainly one of the most original.

F W Boreham: This is Your Life
Frank W. Boreham was born on March 3, 1871, in Tunbridge Wells, England. He became an avid reader at an early age and was encouraged by his father to read the best biographies, a practice Boreham continued all his life. His schooling finished, he worked at various business offices in London, was converted and united with a local Baptist church, began to preach, and then felt a definite call to the ministry.

He was probably the last student that Charles Haddon Spurgeon personally interviewed for entrance into his Pastors' College. After graduation Boreham accepted a call to a church in New Zealand. He began his ministry at the Mosgiel Baptist Church, Dunedin, in March 1895, and quickly won the hearts of the people. He also began to write essays for newspapers as an extension of his ministry and soon became a popular "local writer." Many of these delightful essays were eventually included in the more than forty books that Boreham was to publish during his lifetime, books that I heartily recommend to you. I agree with Dr. John Henry Jowett, who said, "I would advise you to read all the books of F. W. Boreham!"

Borrowing Boreham
Boreham pastored Baptist churches in Hobart, Tasmania, and Melbourne, Australia; and then left the pastoral ministry to devote himself to itinerant preaching and writing. He traveled widely and preached to large and appreciative congregations. He was once introduced as "the man whose name is on all our lips, whose books are on all our shelves, and whose illustrations are in all our sermons." One pastor confessed that he would be ashamed to meet Boreham personally, having "borrowed" so much of his material for his own sermons.

Unhurried yet Purposeful
One of his closest friends wrote of Boreham, "Nobody saw him in a hurry, and nobody saw him idle." He was punctually at his desk each morning at 8:30 and at lunch each afternoon at 1:00. For one hour after lunch he went to bed and slept soundly; then he set out for his afternoon of visitation. He set aside each Thursday afternoon and evening for "an outing" with his wife, and in the midst of pastoral duties he managed to read at least one book a week and publish at least a book a year. His forty-sixth book, The Tide Comes In, was published in 1958. On May 18, 1959, F. W. Boreham was called Home. He was buried at the Kew Cemetery in Melbourne.

Sermon Taster
Some of Boreham's books have been reprinted from time to time, but many of them have become collectors' items. I rejoice that my good friend Peter Gunther has compiled this selection of F. W. Boreham's writings so that a new generation of readers may get acquainted with this remarkable man. Boreham's critics (and every successful preacher has them) called his sermons "homiletical confectionery" because he didn't follow the usual analytical treatment of a text. But Boreham was successful because he avoided theological jargon and rigid homiletical outlines. He got straight to the heart of a passage of Scripture and then imaginatively applied the truth to the hearts of his listeners.

Addicted to Boreham
If you are already addicted to Boreham, this volume will surely warm your heart. If you are not yet acquainted with this remarkable preacher—and Boreham always considered himself a preacher first and a writer second—then you are in for great treat. I'm sure that this collection will whet your appetite appreciative inure, and that you will join the growing host of appreciative readers who are constantly searching out new Boreham titles to add to their library. Happy reading -- and happy hunting!
Associate Teacher
"Back to the Bible Broadcast" Lincoln, Nebraska

Source: Peter F Gunther, A Frank Boreham Treasury Chicago: Moody Press, 1984, vii-ix.

Image: The Boreham home in Munro Street, Armadale.