• Portrait of William Carey

    Great Things from God: Portrait of William Carey

    Oil on linen, 40 x 30 inches

    William Carey (1761- 1834), the father of the modern Protestant missions movement, is considered by many to have been the greatest missionary since the Apostle Paul.  A lectern at the high altar of Westminster Abbey honors this minister, missionary, botanist and reformer.

    Portraits often employ objects that reveal something of the life and work of the subject. This cross in the upper left signifies the gospel of Jesus Christ to which Carey dedicated his life. The cobbler’s anvil recalls his trade and his vocation as a “tentmaker,” a self-supporting witness for Christ. The many volumes recall the fact that Carey was a scholar, translating the Bible, in whole or in part, into 44 languages of the Subcontinent. Lastly the pen, the manuscript and the globe remind us he authored a book that was instrumental in changing the world for the better.

    Carey was born in Northamptonshire, England, the eldest of 5 children. He had a keen interest in science and a gift for learning languages, teaching himself Hebrew, Latin, Greek and other languages.  As a young man he worked as a cobbler for the local shoemaker.

    In 1785, he was appointed village schoolmaster, and served as the pastor of the local Baptist church. During his time as pastor, he read Jonathan Edwards’ account of missionary David Brainerd and the accounts of Captain Cook, becoming deeply concerned about those who had never had any opportunity to hear about the only way of salvation.

    In 1792, he published his epoch-making Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. In Carey’s day it was not uncommon for Christians to ignore the Great Commission, in which Christ commanded his Church to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Some considered it unnecessary due to misunderstanding the implications of Calvinism, and others thought the Apostles had already carried it out! Carey cogently proved that the Great Commission is binding on all Christians throughout the Church Age until the return of Christ.

    Carey famously said “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

    He practiced what he preached. Consider a partial list of his accomplishments:

    • Instrumental in starting the modern Protestant missions movement
    • With local scholars, translated the Bible in whole or in part into 44 languages or dialects
    • Founded the first western-style university in Asia
    • Founded the first Horticultural Society in the Indian subcontinent
    • Wrote the first Botany of the subcontinent
    • Started the first universal school system at a time when only Brahmin boys could be educated
    • Established the first western-style newspaper on the Indian subcontinent
    • Helped found the first modern Protestant mission society, the Baptist Mission Society
    • Helped abolish the slave trade in the British Empire
    • Instrumental in abolishing the practice of  sati, or widow burning
    • Instrumental in abolishing child sacrifices
    • Helped abolish ghat, or killing lepers and sick people, and thug ritual murders

    Inscribed on the humble cobbler’s tombstone are these words:

              “A wretched, poor and helpless worm. On thy kind arms I fall.”

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  • Madonna and Child

    Madonna and Child

    Oil on Linen, 40 x 30 (Available)

    The traditional Christmas theme with the addition of gifts of the Magi. The window frames a “quote” from Dali’s Christ of St. John of the Cross and holds a European goldfinch, a Renaissance symbol of the cross.

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  • I Was a Stranger

    I Was a Stranger (Syrian Refugee Child), Version 2 2018

    Oil on linen, 24 x 36 inches (Available)

    “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35c)

    In April, 2016, my wife and visited a small refugee camp in Lebanon. It was a beautiful day, and the camp was nestled in a vineyard between two spectacularly beautiful mountain ranges in the Bekaa Valley.

    We were able to meet a Syrian refugee family and see a local church in action caring for the needs of the Muslim refugee families. The father of the family we visited was bedridden and disabled and one of the church elders came bring him a prescription. While I was there, I saw a little girl timidly peek out of one of the tents. When I pointed my camera in her direction, she started to cry, not knowing quite what to make of me. I felt bad but she soon calmed down once she realized I was a friend and not a foe. When I got back to the studio, I used one of the pictures as a reference for this painting.

    The Syrian refugee situation is a great humanitarian crisis. At the same time, it presents a golden opportunity to for the Church to show the love of Christ to these desperately needy people who have come out of the region.

    The title is drawn from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25:31-40:

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…

    Then the righteous will answer him, saying … when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

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  • Esther John Portrait

    Esther John was born into a well-to-do Muslim family in South India in 1929. Named Qamar Zia, she grew up in Madras. Her father transferred her to a Christian school when she was seventeen, and there she saw the love of Christ in her teacher and came to understand the Good News through the scripture lessons. As a girl, she became a secret believer in Jesus Christ. She would read her Bible at night under the covers, using a flashlight. She eventually left all for  the sake of Christ, sharing the good news in the villages among the women and children. She would become the victim of a so-called honor killing.

    She was chosen to be one of the Ten Martyrs of the Modern World representing the many Christian martyrs of South Asia. In 1998, the Archbishop of Canterbury unveiled her memorial statue, along with those of nine others, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey.

    The gold letters surrounding the cross on her Bible signify the principal accomplishments of Christ through the cross:

    GR: Glory Revealed  The infinite moral perfection of God’s character is unveiled here: his holiness, love, justice, grace, mercy, wisdom, goodness, integrity, etc. are on full display in the cross of Christ.

    HV: Honor Vindicated  As God’s honor is inviolable, the just penalty must be paid for every offense against him to permit a principled forgiveness that upholds his honor. Jesus Christ, the Son of God alone could pay the price for the sins of the world. Because man sinned, a representative man had to pay. But because of the immensity of sin no mere man could possibly pay. For this reason, the Word who was with God and who was God became flesh to become the Lamb of God who alone could take away our sin.

    EC: Evil Conquered When Christ died on the cross, Satan was defeated, demoralized and doomed. The accuser of God’s people was forever silenced.

    SS: Sinners Saved  By paying the just penalty for the sins of the world, the Savior accomplished our redemption for us.

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  • Salvator Mundi

    Salvator Mundi, 2020

    Oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches

    Salvator Mundi, Latin for Savior of the World, is a favorite theme in the Western tradition. The Lord Jesus Christ is depicted with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding an orb which represents the earth. The message is clear: Jesus Christ is the sovereign Savior of the world. The living God has entered his creation not to condemn the world as its judge but to save it as its redeemer.

    Leonardo Da Vinci painted the most well-known version about 1500 for the King of France. Eventually the painting was damaged and a crude restoration made appear to be a poor quality copy of the original. It eventually changed hands several times and sold at auction in London for a mere £45 (about $100), priced as if it were a copy.

    Eventually, a number of art historians became convinced that the painting was in fact the lost original, and after it had been restored, the King of Saudi Arabia purchased the painting through an intermediary for a record $450 million in 2017.

    This new version is a fresh treatment of the traditional theme. Following the precedent of surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the floating torso to represent the risen Christ, this new version represents the Savior in the same manner.
    The figure merges with the spiral galaxy representing God as light (I John 1:5). The spiral image is repeated in the clouds over the earth below, as the cross bridges the great gap between heaven and earth.

    The letters on the edge of the frameless painting signify the principal accomplishments of Christ through the cross:

    GR: Glory Revealed The infinite moral perfection of God’s character is unveiled here: his holiness, love, justice, grace, mercy, wisdom, goodness, integrity, etc. are on full display in the cross of Christ.
    HV: Honor Vindicated Because God’s honor is inviolable, the just penalty must be paid for every offense against him to permit the principled forgiveness that upholds his honor. Jesus Christ, the Son of God alone could pay the price for the sins of the world. Because man sinned, a representative man had to pay. But because of the immensity of sin no mere man could possibly pay. For this reason, the Word who was with God and who was God became flesh to become the Lamb of God who alone could take away our sin.
    EC: Evil Conquered When Christ died on the cross, Satan was defeated, demoralized and doomed. The accuser was forever silenced.
    SS: Sinners Saved By paying the just penalty for the sins of the world, the Savior accomplished our redemption for us saving us from our sins.

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