December 14, 2016 Steps to Life Newsletter


Dear STL Supporter

At 4.00 pm on April 4, 1929, the world changed abruptly and completely for the people who worked and lived in the small north-eastern township of Derby, Tasmania. Derby existed because it was the home of tin deposits. The Krushka brothers discovered a rich lode of tin in the late 1880s, and set up The Brothers Mine, later renamed the Breseis mine. This meant wealth for those prepared to take the risks and do the hard work. Mining the tin brought hundreds of workers and their families to work the tin mine. The most efficient way in which to access the tin was to mine it hydraulically - that is, to extract the ore and wash the overburden away by high-pressure water spays. So, the Briseis Dam was built on the Cascade River above Derby to supply the demand for water.

Life was prosperous for the miners. All went well until the catchment feeding into the Cascade River experienced unprecedented torrential rain on April 2 and 3. - 450 millimetres in two days. Then on April 4, 125 millimetres fell in 1.5 hours. Then the dam wall broke.

Derby and the mine were in the valley below the dam. A wall of water thirty five metres high charged down the valley uprooting trees and moving boulders weighing many tons, like they were marbles. Into the town and the mine the water smashed, demolishing homes and buildings and flooding the mine in a matter of seconds. Fourteen lives were lost. Many had narrow escapes and lost everything. One family was sitting around the dining table when water hit their house. It picked up the house and the family, surfing them down the narrow valley to their destruction. The uncontrolled force of the floodwater caused the river to reverse its course and flow uphill for an incredible ten kilometers until it abated and then flowed back down the hill. The water with its debris took out every bridge and building in its path for the next 94 kilometres down stream.

Assistant mine manager, Mr. W. A. Beamtish, saw the water coming and tried to warn those in its path. He had a choice - run for higher ground up the side of the valley or warn his workmen in the mine. Selflessly and heroically he rushed into the mine to warn the miners working inside it. He lost his life along with the workers who had no chance of getting out before the water hit.

There were many acts of bravery that day. Mr. Kerrison and his wife saw the water coming, ran up the side of the valley, turned to see what was happening and saw the stables, eight draught horses and their handlers drowned in the foaming wave. A Tasmanian newspaper quoted him as saying, I never want to see such an awful

sight again. I saw the water rush across the flats to where the men were working on the lower face [of the tine mine]. It was impossible to warn the men. It all happened so quickly. Another man had just come back home after purchasing a new hat. As he left home again he saw the raging flood coming and rushed back inside to retrieve his new hat. His action was fatal.

The Bible, talking about another event that will catch the world by surprise, says - But of that day and hour knoweth no man,...But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24: 36 to 39). Jesus was talking about His second coming. Will it catch us by surprise? Will we be able to say we have acted on the warnings the Bible gives us? Will we be saying we have done all we can to let folks around us know of the God given warning indicators? How will we feel at the second coming if we have taken the stance that I didn't want to frighten any body into the church.

One of the many clearly predicted indicators that we truly live in the end-time (and these indicators are screaming at us in the media every day) is the reunification of the so-called Christian religious world. This movement even embraces the non-Christian religions. On October 31, 2017 a momentous event is scheduled to happen. It's been planned for many years now and in eleven months it will take place. Only eleven months away!

Dwight G Duncan, writing in the Roman Catholic online publication - The Boston Pilot, October 28, 2016 says - This Halloween (October 31, 2016 - Editor's note) will begin the quincentenary (500th anniversary year) since Luther promulgated his famous 95 Theses on Oct. 31, 1517, and inaugurated the critical crack in Christendom between Catholic and Protestant...The pope is traveling to Sweden to commemorate the event, which had and has monumental implications for European and American and indeed world history. (The event will take place in the city of Lund, Sweden - Editors note)

In quoting a book by Eire, entitled, Reformations, Duncan picks up the assertion of Eire who states - one of the consequences of the wars of religion that characterized the 16th and 17th centuries was an appreciation for the values of religious toleration and even religious freedom. Indeed, this represented a return to the


predominant view of the Church Fathers in their abhorrence of violence ostensibly placed in the service of religion. (Now we might wish to argue with this, but read on - you might find more to dispute - Editor's comment)... What used to be called the Counter-Reformation was not just a reaction to the Protestants. It represented a positive reform in its own right: the many saints like St. Teresa of Avila, St. Philip Neri, St. Francis Xavier and the missionary effort in Asia, Africa and the Americas; the Council of Trent's attacking various abuses like holding of various church offices at one time by absentee clerics (And what about the sale of indulgences ? - Editors comment); the new religious orders like the Jesuits; the flourishing of Baroque art, architecture and music. This affirmation of mysticism along with the cult of the saints, the mediation of ordained priests, the symbolic value of images and the centrality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass all represented the Catholic answer to the challenges posed by Protestant insistence on Scripture alone (rather than along with tradition), faith alone (rather than faith accompanied by works), and grace alone (not human freedom). At the same time, of course, one should recognize that Protestant insistence on the Bible and on preaching the Word of God led to a comparative high biblical literacy and quality of preaching in the Protestant world, including Puritan Massachusetts. (bolding supplied for emphasis)

At the risk of gross oversimplification, my impression is that the Protestants were generally right in what they affirmed, but generally wrong in what they denied... (Not our position - Editor's comment)

One of the many virtues of Eire's book on 'Reformations', says Duncan, is that it focuses as much on the changes that took place on the Catholic side as those that took place on the Protestant...

So what is Protestantism giving up on October 31, 2017? And what is Catholicism gaining? There will be ecumenical celebration of the Eucharist taking place around the world. Protestantism will compromise on scripture alone, faith alone and grace alone as the key ingredients for salvation! Catholicism will gain a compliance with it's traditions! What then follows ecumenical church unity? Amongst other things, it's the inevitable enforcement of Sunday worship, according to the prophetic time line found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. This is the sign of Catholicism's claimed authority to change times and laws. Are we ready for the flood? The celebration of Catholic - Protestant reunification started already in Lund, Sweden, during late October 2016. It will culminate throughout the proclaimed Year of Jubilee in 2017 and Germany, Luther's home, will be one of the centres of the celebrations.

As we each individually reflect back on 2016 and what has taken place for us spiritually and the world at large, over the coming holiday period, let's also look around to the shaping world events and look forward as the glorious appearing of Jesus at His second coming approaches with certainty!

Christian & the season's greetings from Cherryl & the STL Team

Brian Way

Programs Coordinator


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