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Civil War Soldiers' Spiritual Victories

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Triumph stirs deep thoughts and emotions

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by Jerry Wofford

When I first saw the book, Triumph Amidst Bloodshed: Civil War Soldiers’ Spiritual Victories, by Craig L. Claybrook and John Reed it caught my attention because of my interest in history and especially in the Civil War era. Once I began to delve into the first hand life and death stories told in its pages, I quickly realized that the message the Christian Commission ministers brought to wounded and dying soldiers was the same biblical truth that has so profoundly shaped my own life. The simple gospel that brought salvation and peace to these soldiers is the same word of grace and faith that I reached out to when at the age of fourteen I opened by heart to accept Christ’s sacrifice and receive Him as Savior.

The surrender and faith that was central to the stories of the Christian Commission ministers as told in Triumph Amidst Bloodshed have also been the core of the trust that brought the restoration of my own spiritual life. These minister’s words of caring and comfort came from a deep understanding of Scripture. I have found these biblical truths to be crucial for my life as well. During my first year of college, I heard someone say, “If you want to intellectually honest, you must set aside all the things you learned growing up and reason things out for yourself.” I certainly did not want to base my beliefs on bias and caprice, so I took this statement very seriously. I decided to major in philosophy and minor in psychology and religion. But, the more I read apologetics, comparative religion and philosophy books, the more confused I became and the more I was gripped by turmoil and despondency. Finding no help from philosophy in answering life’s fundamental questions, I chose to enter graduate school in psychology. During my studies for a Ph.D., I had neither time nor desire to pursue spiritual issues. I focused full attention on my academic studies. After obtaining a Ph.D. in industrial psychology, I began work for the Mead Corporation in their management development department.

Pastor Comments on Triumph Amidst Bloodshed

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“Being a busy pastor, I am constantly looking for inspirational illustrations of biblical truth. Triumph Amidst Bloodshed is such a source. I have had a keen interest in U.S. history since I was a child–particularly the conflict of our American Civil War. There are several reasons for this but, as an adult Christian, perhaps the greatest reason is the parallel that I see between this conflict and the struggles of our Christian life.”

“Just as the Christian is challenged to fight the good fight, this book presents wonderful illustrations of men in the worst of circumstances who have let their light shine by fighting the good fight of faith. Swept up in the sea of carnage of hostile war, this book provides wonderful examples of God working through His soldiers (the U.S. Christian Commission). Despite the dark days of maiming and death, it contains rare untold accounts of sacrifice and Christian courage. There are unusual attitudes of thanksgiving on the hearts of the dying and willing obedient faith on the part of those who served. It is the account of Christian Soldiers winning the lost and doing everything they could for the cause of Christ.

“Pastor, teacher, Christian, all will find challenges to dedicate ourselves to a higher purpose no matter the cost. By all means, read these accounts and you will be blessed as was I.”

Pastor Jim McClain

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Norwalk, Ohio