Bo Tyndale Cannon Enters The World
Just as with our last child, Liam Erasmus (and as parents tend to be), my wife and I were very intentional about naming our son born this week. We wanted his name to have meaning for us. And even for it to be a resource we can use to edify others.
So today I want to explain his name for those who may be curious.
“Bo” is a shortened form of my dad’s name. I have always said that Nebo Cannon is the greatest man I’ll ever meet. I’ve honored him on Facebook more times than I can count. I have a million stories about him, and I’ve only scratched the surface in telling them. Today I’ll just share two that will suffice for why we gave our son his name.
First, a few years ago when I was in Chicago and still unmarried, I went to see my parents for Christmas. All of my others siblings were married so I was the only one staying at their house. One night my mom began experiencing tremendous pain in her hip and back. It was so bad she couldn’t move from the couch to her bedroom, which was on the other side of the house and required going one step up. She decided to sleep in the bedroom the next room over.
My dad not only helped her into bed but slept on that couch all night, to be right next to her in case she needed him during the night. They’d been married nearly 40 years by this time, so this was an amazing gesture to me.
The next day I told them this was a tremendous example for me for when I would get married. My mom said, “Your dad has always been so good to me.” My dad said, “That’s because I couldn’t live without her.” My parents were way beyond trying to impress me. They have always been two of the meekest people I’ve ever known. They were just speaking the truth, as sincerely as they could.
Secondly, a story I just told when I preached at my town’s Fall Crusade: When I was in elementary school I suffered from blocked sinuses and started feeling badly in church one day. My dad offered to take me home. He stopped me by the bathroom in case I needed to throw up. I didn’t at that moment. But as soon as we opened the door to go outside, when the air hit me, I lost it. I vomited everywhere. It was awful. My dad sent me to the car. And from the backseat through the window I watched him clean that mess up.
Yet I can’t tell those stories without concluding by saying that my dad doesn’t want credit or glory. He has spent his entire life as a parent of five children, three of which are not biologically his (and because of him, we never used words like “half,” “step,” or “biological” in my family growing up, because to him we are all 100% related), that Jesus alone deserves our praise. He alone is God. He alone is worth giving our lives to.
That is the most important legacy I can pass along to my son. If he has a good father and sees his mother married to a good husband (which is not for me to judge), and if he becomes those things himself, Nebo Cannon’s life will have been a crucial factor. But more than anything, I just want my son to follow Jesus. That’s the greatest thing I can tell you about my dad’s influence.
Bo’s middle name is “Tyndale,” named for the man who gave his life to translate the Bible into English. It’s quite appropriate that we paired this name with my dad’s name. Because my dad is a farmer who knows the Bible back and front. And Tyndale lived at a time when only clergy could read the Bible because it was in Latin. And he boldly told one member of the clergy, “I defy the Pope and all his laws, and if God spare my life are many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”
And he delivered, living on the run for years all over Europe, evading capture trying to finish his translation.
When they finally did catch him, after he was betrayed by his friend Henry Phillips, they imprisoned him for 16 months. They gave him a chance to recant. But he refused. So they killed him.
But the damage was done. First, because his translation is foundational to all English translations we have today. He prayed that God would open the king of England’s eyes and within a generation, the KJV was produced, authorized by the next king. And it retained by some estimates 80% of Tyndale’s translation.
Think of the sheer amount of good the English-speaking world has done for the kingdom of God in the last 500 years. So much of it can be traced back to one man’s passion to make sure everyone could read the Bible. He once said, “Read God’s Word diligently and with a good heart and it shall teach you all things.” Because of his life’s work, billions more people have been able to do that.
But it’s also because his character continues to inspire so many to this very day, not just my family. John Foxe said of him, “Tyndale was a man without any spot or blemish or rancor or malice, full of mercy and compassion so that no man living was able to reprove him of any sin or crime.” And William Tyndale himself said, “Thou must love Christ above all else.”
Which is the perfect note to end on, since it echoes what my dad also taught me. Bo Tyndale, not only by his parents’ example (hopefully) but by his very name, should always know that Christ is everything. That we should passionately want everyone to know God’s truth. And that Jesus is worth dying for.
And that is why we gave him the names we did.