"AS I SEE
Volume 4, Number 9, September 2001
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
LUTHER'S FINEST HOUR
The most monumental event in the
history of Christianity between the legalization of Christianity under
Constantine in the 4th century and the present day was the Protestant
Reformation of the 16th century. The most prominent figure at least in the
historic memory of those days was Martin Luther (1483-1546). While he did not
single-handedly start the Reformation (it actually arose simultaneously in
several diverse places), and while he at times even hindered its progress (e.g.,
his unyielding adherence to a nearly Catholic doctrine regarding the Lord's
Supper, i.e., consubstantiation, first cousin to Rome's transubstantiation, and
his hostile break with Zwingli over the matter), nevertheless, Luther's
contribution was immense, not the least being his unflinching personal courage
in the face of mortal peril.
Having "stirred the pot" by posting his "95 theses" (that is, propositions or points for public debate) in 1517, a rising tide of opposition to Luther arose, consummating in his summons in 1521 to the city of Worms to answer charges of heresy. And though Luther was promised "safe conduct" by the civil rulers and authorities to and from the hearing, it must not be forgotten that scarcely a century earlier John Huss and Jerome of Prague were summoned by the Roman Catholic Church to answer similar charges, and though also promised safe conduct, were seized, imprisoned and executed. The danger of death hung heavy about Luther as he appeared in Worms.
Let us listen in as Luther, not yet 40 years old, defends himself valiantly before his bitterest of enemies, in the presence of German nobility:
"Most serene emperor! Illustrious princes! Gracious lords! I appear before you this day in conformity with the order given me yesterday, and by God's mercies I conjure your majesty and your august highnesses to listen graciously to the defence of a cause which I am assured is just and true. If, through ignorance, I should transgress the usages and proprieties of courts, I entreat you to pardon me; for I was not brought up in the palaces of kings, but in the seclusion of a convent.
Yesterday, two questions were put to me on behalf of his imperial majesty: the first, if I was the author of the books whose titles were enumerated; the second, if I would retract or defend the doctrine I had taught in them. To the first question I then made answer [in the affirmative], and I persevere in that reply.
As for the second, I have written works on many different subjects. There are some in which I have treated of faith and good works, in a manner at once so pure, so simple, and so scriptural, that even my adversaries, far from finding anything to censure in them, allow that these works are useful, and worthy of being read by all pious men. The papal bull, however violent it may be, acknowledges this. If, therefore, I were to retract these, what should I do? . . . . Wretched man! Among all men, I alone should abandon truths that friends and enemies approve, and I should oppose what the whole world glories in confessing.
Secondly, I have written books against the papacy, in which I have attacked those who, by their false doctrine, their evil lives, or their scandalous example, afflict the Christian world, and destroy both body and soul. The complaints of all who fear God are confirmatory of this. Is it not evident that the laws and human doctrines of the popes entangle, torment and vex the consciences of believers, while the crying and perpetual extortions of Rome swallow up the riches of Christendom, and especially of this illustrious nation?
Were I to retract what I have said on this subject, what should I do but lend additional strength to this tyranny, and open the floodgates to a torrent of impiety? Overflowing with still greater fury than before, we should see these insolent men increase in number, behave more tyrannically, and domineer more and more. And not only would the yoke that now weighs upon the Christian people be rendered heavier by my retraction, but it would become, so to speak, more legitimate, for by this very retraction it would receive the confirmation of your most serene majesty and of all the states of the holy empire. Gracious God! I should thus become a vile cloak to cover and conceal every kind of malice and tyranny.
Lastly, I have written books against individuals who desired to defend the Romish tyranny and to destroy the faith. I frankly confess that I may have attacked them with more acrimony than is becoming my ecclesiastical profession. I do not consider myself a saint; but I cannot disavow these writings, for by so doing I should sanction the impiety of my adversaries, and they would seize the opportunity of oppressing the people of God with still greater cruelty.
Yet, I am a mere man, and not God; I shall therefore defend myself as Christ did--'If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil,' said he. How much more should I, who am but dust and ashes, and who may so easily go astray, desire every man to state his objections to my doctrine!
For this reason, most serene emperor, and you, most illustrious princes, and all men of every degree, I conjure you, by the mercy of God, to prove from the writings of the prophets and apostles that I have erred. As soon as I am convinced of this, I will retract every error, and be the first to lay hold of my books and throw them into the fire.
What I have just said plainly shows, I hope, that I have carefully weighed and considered the dangers to which I expose myself; but, far from being dismayed, I rejoice to see that the Gospel is now, as in former times, a cause of trouble and dissension. This is the character--this is the destiny of the Word of God. 'I came not to send peace on earth but a sword,' said Jesus. God is wonderful and terrible in his counsels; beware lest, by presuming to quench dissensions, you should persecute the holy Word of God, and draw down upon yourselves a frightful deluge of insurmountable dangers, of present disasters, and eternal desolation"
Luther spoke these words in German, and then, on request, repeated them in Latin. When he ceased speaking, the Chancellor of Treves, the orator of the council, said indignantly, "You have not answered the question put to you. You were not summoned hither to call in question the decisions of councils. You are required to give a clear and precise answer. Will you, or will you not, retract?"
Luther immediately responded--
"Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning,--unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted--and unless they render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. HERE I STAND, I CAN DO NO OTHER; MAY GOD HELP ME! AMEN!"
Here Luther insisted absolutely on the great theological principle of Sola Scriptura, that is, the Bible as the one and only guide to true doctrine and practice. We regret that he was not so consistent in later practice as he was here in principle. Luther, like most of the Reformers, retained a great deal of unbiblical theological baggage based on councils, popes and tradition (much of it from Augustine), among them union of church and state, infant baptism, amillennialism and persecution of dissent. Had Luther vigorously adhered to what he professed at Worms, we would admire him yet more. We would be well served today if we had more men of principle and courage such as he was at Worms.
Unlike Huss and Jerome of Prague, Luther's safe conduct was respected, and he left the council, unrepentant as he was, and was soon spirited away by friendly "kidnappers" to Wartburg castle where in the next year and a half he translated Erasmus' Greek New Testament into German, his single greatest spiritual legacy.
[The above account and quotations were taken from The History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, vols. I-V, by Merle D'Aubigne. Grand Rapids: Baker reprint, 1976, of 1846 London edition, pp. 243-245. A worthwhile account of Luther's life may be found in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. VII, pp. 94ff]
MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD: THE FIERY TRIAL OF A FAMILY'S FAITH by John & Brenda Vaughn. Fleming H. Revell, 1994. 227 pp., paperback. $14.95.
In our day, we have been long misled into believing that we, as believers, will be "carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease," that severe testings and trials are to be alien to our journey from earth to glory. Such gross misrepresentation of Biblical teaching has born the tragic fruit of faulty expectations and disillusionment with God. As a result, books are written--and demand to be written--bearing such titles as "Where is God When It Hurts?" "Disappointment with God," and "When God Doesn't Make Sense," which seek to correct the all but universally held false view of the believer and trials.
The trials (and literally "fiery trials" they were) of one Christian family are chronicled in MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD. John Vaughn in 1978 was a student at Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, preparing for a life in the pastorate. Indeed, though still a student, he had become pastor of a small congregation in near-by Taylors, South Carolina. Financial considerations required that John work part-time for UPS, and also do some lawn care to support his wife and growing family.
In May of 1978, John sold off his lawn care equipment, having only a can of gas left to dispose of. Because of mischievous boys in the neighborhood, John put the can of gas in the utility room of the house, just for overnight, lest the boys get into it. Ordinary precautions were taken to keep two-year-old Becky, the Vaughn's youngest child, out of the utility room and away from the gas. Toward evening that Saturday, John was away from the house with preparations for the next day's church services. Somehow Becky had gotten into the utility room, got the gas can open, and was found by her panicked mother Brenda sitting in an expanding puddle of gasoline. Just then, from causes undetermined, the gasoline ignited in a flash. Brenda grabbed Becky, now entirely engulfed in flames, and rushed outside, rolling her on the ground to extinguish the fire. Becky was severely burned over 95% of her body, and Brenda was burned on 65%. John came home a short time after to find the house surrounded by emergency equipment.
As result of the fire, Brenda was hospitalized in the burn unit of The Medical University of South Carolina down in Charleston for seven months, while Becky spent almost a year in the hospital, mostly at the Shriner's hospital in Cincinnati (the cost of her treatment there exceeded one million dollars and for which the Vaughn's were billed not a penny), and in Greenville. At times in the months of treatment, and in Becky's case, repeatedly, death seemed imminent for both burn victims.
For John, that year was utter turmoil--his wife was in one hospital a couple hundred miles away in one direction, while his daughter was more than twice that distance away in Cincinnati. The house was uninhabitable because of the fire, most personal possessions were ruined, there were two older children in the home to be cared for, a church to pastor, and incredible financial pressures. Yet, God saw the Vaughns through it all with the help of numerous friends, relatives, fellow-believers, and some complete strangers. So traumatic was the experience, that it was 15 years after the fire before this account of the fire, its antecedents and aftermath was completed.
God's purpose in our lives is not to make us comfortable, rich, healthy, famous or any of those other things; it is to conform us spiritually to the image and character of Christ (Romans 8:29). In short, it is to make us fit instruments in His hands to accomplish His purposes on earth. And it is through trials--custom-tailored to our own individual circumstances and needs--that God accomplishes this molding and shaping, this transformation process, which cannot be accomplished by any other means.
Blind as we generally are to God's designs in our lives, we grouse and complain, lament and bicker when the trials--even the smallest of them--come, stupidly denouncing the very things which God has sent into our lives for our ultimate good. I have noticed that in our church prayer meetings, we commonly are presented with a long list of people to pray for. We are told to pray that God would alter the various adverse circumstances, matters of health or money usually. And it is proper to pray for such, but far more, we should pray that God would use the circumstances, the trials sent from His hand, to achieve His purpose of changing not the circumstances but the people involved.
I can recall reading no book which has so deeply touched my heart as this one. It is currently in its fifth printing. By all means, secure a copy.
WHY US? WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOD'S PEOPLE by Warren Wiersbe. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984. 15th printing 1996. 159 pp., paperback.
Warren Wiersbe, who needs no introduction from us, put the wisdom gained from decades in the pastorate into this little book, a response to the similarly-titled 1981 book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Rabbi Harold Kushner. Frankly, Kushner's book was unsatisfying on many counts, not least among them that he resorts to a god of limited (!) omniscience and limited (!) omnipotence to "explain" why "good people" suffer. Any such explanation which robs the Almighty of His absolute power (Jeremiah 32:17) or His infinite knowledge (Psalm 147:5) is dead in the water from the get-go. And just who are these "good people"? The Bible clearly declares that there are none good, not even one, among the fallen sons of Adam.
Wiersbe takes a thoroughly Biblical approach to the subject of the trials and the tragedies in the lives of believers in Jesus Christ. He points out that some of them truly are judgmental because of the sins of Christians (a serious omission in James Dobson's When God Doesn't Make Sense, reviewed in AISI 2:11), though many of them defy explanation on that basis. Trials and testings are God's method of training and maturing us, and are His servants for our good, unpleasant though their presence may be.
Along with the exposition of the Bible theme of the believer and suffering, there is also a helpful section of commonly asked questions (even challenges) on the subject of suffering with Wiersbe's replies. One answer in particular--denying that unlimited bodily healing in this life is a part of the atonement--needs to be widely read.
Wiersbe's explanations and analysis merit careful consideration. I wish I had found this little book when it first came out; I certainly would have benefited from its counsel just then.
FRESH POWER by Jim Cymbala, with Dean Merrill. Zondervan, 2001. 204 pp., hardback. $18.99
Jim Cymbala has been the pastor of the Brooklyn (New York) Tabernacle for almost 30 years. A once moribund congregation of a couple dozen has grown into thousands, with a legacy of transforming conversions of the "chief of sinners" and the dregs of society. In two previous books, FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE and FRESH FAITH, Cymbala chronicled how God worked in transforming the once-dying congregation into a mighty force for the conversion of sinners. Here he continues the account, as usual interspersed with testimonies of some whose lives have been redeemed from the depths of sin and metamorphosized into saints of God, fit for the Master's use. There is even an account of the conversion in prison of David Berkowitz, the notorious "son of Sam" serial killer of the late 1970s.
This volume focuses on the supreme importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us in the spiritual warfare we are called to engage in. Indeed, no genuine work of God and for God can be done without this power and without Him. Yet, tragically, so little of the power of God is manifested in the ministry of the average evangelical congregation today. We rarely see a clear manifestation of the power of God at work in the conversion of sinners and the building up of the saints. And of course the cause of this lack is in us, not the Holy Spirit.
We do not have this power because we do not do what is necessary to obtain this power, and that chiefly is in the matter of prayer. What we call prayer meeting at church is more often than not a Bible study with a fig-leaf of prayer tacked on at the end, rather than an extended, serious-minded time of corporate prayer to God. We should not be surprised at the result.
One sure contributing factor to the achievements of the Brooklyn Tabernacle is the fact that they have a non-stop continuous prayer meeting going on 24/7/365--just like the Moravians did two and a half centuries ago. The spiritual legacy of the Moravians--doing more by far for the cause of world evangelism for their size than any other group in all recorded history--is certainly in great measure due to their devotion to prayer. Pentecost (Acts 2) came in part as a consequence of ten days of corporate prayer by the assembled believers (Acts 1:14). What has happened in Brooklyn is in response to the same kind of believing prayer.
Though I've read all three of Cymbala's books, it is not yet clear in my mind exactly where he stands in regard to the charismatic movement as a whole, though in this book he roundly denounces as unbiblical most of the more extreme manifestations of the charismatic movement. Note the following--
"We have some horrendous abuses going on in the name of the Spirit of God. Many in the so-called charismatic movement have done bizarre things that are not only outside the New Testament teaching but actually contradict it. When people bark like dogs, laugh like hyenas, roar like lions, and chirp like birds, 'in the Spirit,' someone needs to lift a voice and say, 'where is this found in the Bible? And how does it edify a congregation?' " (p. 27; this page also gives an absurd account of two "preachers" carrying on a comedy routine "in tongues")
"By the way, isn't it amazing that no strong voices are raised in charismatic circles and the religious media against charlatans who use the name of Christ to swindle people out of their money. Have you ever read the appeal letters or watched the TV fund-raising that border on (or cross over) the line of out-right lying and blasphemy? I received a classic letter from a well-known evangelist who said God had 'shown' him that 'a new anointing' was now available for his people, and it could be mine for sending in $33.33 to receive the evangelist's prayers and a particular religious trinket. But beyond that, if I could come up with $99.99, I could then receive 'a triple anointing'! (There must have been a special monthly sale or something).
This was not from an obscure person but a teacher-preacher who appears regularly on Christian television. I was shocked at the audacity, the deception, and the greed of it all. People such as this would have been stoned in Old Testament times. But today the waters are so polluted that it hardly even raises eyebrows." (pp. 61-62)
"There is such a thing as Pentecostal or charismatic culture, which although often noisy is not the same as the power of Pentecost and is in fact totally predictable." (p. 111)
"Yes, I know that some unscrupulous preachers today claim that 'the Lord told me' when no such thing occurred. Others will say, 'I just got a "word" that ten people in this audience are supposed to give a thousand dollars each in the offering.' This can be just a scam to raise money, and if the Lord really told them that, why didn't he reveal the people's names as well so we could get on with the meeting? Such behavior is an abomination. Jeremiah 23 [vv. 31-32, 38-39] holds harsh words for these charlatans.
What a scathing rebuke from God to all those who hide their greed and lust for power behind 'Thus saith the Lord.' Interestingly, this kind of abomination is almost always linked to dollar bills. Peter, in contrast, said 'Silver and gold I do not have' (Acts 3:6), but he certainly had something powerful from God. Today in certain circles, we have the opposite--spiritually empty but flashy preachers living like millionaires while they fleece the people with gimmicks that even the ungodly see through." (pp. 144, 145)
"Another teacher of this persuasion had said that poor Paul didn't really understand 'positive confession' and the 'word of faith' or he wouldn't have gone through all his problems. Imagine! This 'poor Paul' wrote a great part of the New Testament. If he wasn't divinely inspired when he wrote of the inevitable trouble and suffering for the believer, where else was he mistaken? Given this kind of false teaching, we might soon have no New Testament at all." (p. 175)
"So many folks love to pick and choose their verses, hanging on to their favorites while sweeping under the rug the parts that don't agree with their carnal desires. The prosperity teachers are very clever; they have made an industry out of telling people what they want to hear. But God says there is a curse on anyone who adds to or takes away any part of his sacred Word." (p. 175)
[He gives a brutally revealing example of the utter folly of the "word of faith" nonsense on p. 176]
Beyond these, he says some most excellent things, among them the following:
"Let every pastor take note: Our attempt at ministry will be an absolute exercise in futility if we are not expecting and experiencing divine help through the power of the Holy Spirit." (p. 48)
"[W]e can't live off what God did in our lives last week, last month, or last year. We need continual filling of the Spirit to meet the strong, ungodly tendencies of the age." (p. 90)
"How we live is more important than how long we live. What is the sense of living a long life just to hang around and take up space? I would rather live a few meaningful, fruitful years for Christ than hang on to age eighty-nine and accomplish little."
"I don't want a title; I don't want to be famous or meet some earthly dignitary; I don't want to be rich. I just want God to clothe me with his Spirit so I can affect people for Christ." (p. 121)
"Researchers have now proven that most of the much-heralded 'church growth' is little more than people moving from First Presbyterian to First Nazarene to First Baptist to First Assembly of God. That is not what causes the angels to rejoice. They rejoice when a sinner repents." (p. 123)
"But just as there are people who watch from the bleachers and never know the challenge of competing on the court, we have millions of churchgoers who sit in pews every week without ever entering the game. They sacrifice nothing, strain toward no goals, never agonize in prayer for one soul, but pass judgment on how well the contest of faith is being played. Often they act as if 'they know.' It looks easy from where they're sitting, but then again, they have never really attempted much for God." (p. 141) [Indeed, Christianity is NOT a "spectator sport"!]
"God is trying to do something more than just give us a smooth life. He is trying to make us like Jesus. He cares more about producing Christlikeness than he does about the American dream." (p. 185)
"God does not always take us out of difficulty; many times he takes us through it." (p. 187)
One flaw of note in the book is an interpretation of John 21:3 (p. 47), which, though sanctioned by Wuest (namely that Peter here expresses an intent to abandon the ministry for his former way of life) is certainly false.
On the whole, a most superb book on a topic of utmost significance.
THE BATTLE OF NEW MARKET by William C. Davis. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975. 249 pp., paperback.
The battle of New Market, May 15, 1864 is the most famous minor battle of the American Civil War. While not decisive in the grand scheme of things, it is notable because it involved a larger and better equipped Union force, ill-led by General Franz Sigel (who had already repeatedly demonstrated his incompetence in command in the western theater of war) being soundly defeated and driven from the field by a smaller, more poorly-equipped Confederate force, led by General John C. Breckinridge. Among notable details of the battle are the participation in the battle of Colonel George S. Patton (leading the Virginia 22nd), grandfather of the famous World War II general, and also the participation of just under 250 cadets from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.
John C. Breckinridge had been elected Vice-President of the U.S. in 1856 at the age of 35 (the youngest ever), and had been the Southern Democrat candidate for President in the four-way race of 1860. Though an opponent of slavery, he became a Confederate general, and led with distinction in a number of battles in the West. He was summoned to lead the southern forces seeking to retain control in the Spring of 1864 of the Shenandoah Valley, the "bread basket" of the Army of Northern Virginia, being the source of much of its grain and meat, and also the "back door" to Richmond.
New Market was a small cross-roads town in the Shenandoah Valley, some 60+ miles up the valley (south) from the Potomac River. There on a Sunday, the rapidly advancing and converging Confederate forces under Breckinridge engaged the slug-like Union force which through General Sigal's ineptness had been repeatedly diminished in size and strung out over many miles of road in the Shenandoah Valley. The battle was joined in the late morning, and by the middle of the afternoon, the Union forces were in wholesale retreat, being spared annihilation only by the inability of Breckinridge's cavalry to seize and burn a crucial bridge over the Shenandoah River.
The participation of the VMI corps of cadets in the battle has become legendary. Because of the fewness of forces available to him, Breckinridge had called out the corps (composed of students ranging from as old as 24 to as young as 15, the average age being just under 18). This was by no means the first time they had been summoned to serve the Confederacy in one capacity or another. Breckinridge intended to hold the cadets in reserve and not commit them to the battle unless it meant the difference between victory and defeat. And it did come to that. In the early afternoon of the battle, a dangerous gap in the Confederate line of battle developed and was such that Union forces could have exploited it, divided the Confederate army, and destroyed it. Into this gap, Breckinridge ordered the VMI cadets, and true to their discipline and training, they fulfilled all their duty. In the face of withering fire from cannon and musket, and though they saw fellow cadets fall on the right and left, they hastened forward, took their position, held it, and advanced as the Confederate force resumed the offensive.
The testimony of eye-witnesses both North and South was that no unit ever acquitted itself more completely in any battle in the Civil War than had the VMI cadets. Ten were killed and another 45 were wounded, a casualty rate of more that 24%, third highest of all the Confederate units engaged that day. In memory of these honored dead, it is the custom at VMI every May 15 to have a special roll call in which the names of the ten who fell at New Market are called. As each name is called, a current cadet specially chosen for this duty steps forward two paces, salutes and reports, "Died on the field of honor, sir."
Davis' little book is first rate. I understand that it is required reading for every cadet at VMI. Thoroughly-researched, well-written, adequately provided with maps, photographs and documentation. It may be read with profit.
THE YOUNG LIONS: CONFEDERATE CADETS AT WAR by James Lee Conrad. Mechanicsburg, Penn.: Stackpole Books, 1997. 198 pp., hardback. $24.95.
In one aspect the South differed completely from the North at the start of the American Civil War (or as some still refer to it, "The War of Northern Aggression"). The only military academy in the North was the federally owned and operated United States Military Academy at West Point, the officer training academy of the U. S. Army, from which had graduated most of the prominent generals, North and South, of the Civil War.
By way of contrast, there were four military academies in the South that operated before and during the War, all being owned and operated by individual states, namely, the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia; the South Carolina Military Academy (now known as The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina) in Charleston, South Carolina; the Georgia Military Institute in Marietta, Georgia; and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Of these, only VMI and the Citadel continue as military colleges today; GMI disappeared at war's end, and the University of Alabama ceased to operate as a military academy.
With the coming of war (and Citadel cadets, by firing artillery on the Union ship The Star of the West as it sought to resupply Fort Sumter on January 9, 1861, can be said to have in fact fired the first shots of the war), many of the cadets at each of these schools left school to join the ranks of the various Confederate units in their respective states, many of them serving as drill masters over the often much older Confederate volunteers. Such military training and the discipline of learning to march in unison were essential to transforming a conglomeration of individuals into fighting units, though the age of the drill instructors often made for an awkward situation.
The War, though depriving these four schools of many of their students, nevertheless also led to huge increases in the number of applicants for admission to the schools. Enrollments soared during the War. And as far as possible in spite of the attendant circumstances of war--shortages of food, books, uniforms, plus battles in and around the vicinity of each school--the schools managed to continue their work of education, discipline and training as before.
In every case, the cadets at these four southern schools were called upon to assist the Confederacy, often as guards of military supplies or of Union prisoners, but in some cases as soldiers in the line of battle; this is especially true of the cadets at VMI, but also of those in South Carolina. And it must be remembered that most of these serving and fighting cadets were less than 18 years old.
The author, himself a graduate of VMI, has provided an adequate account of the pre-war histories of each school, and the war events in which the cadets at each school were involved.