Saturday, August 27, 2011

What is this, Missouri?!?!

Tuesday we had a 5.8 earthquake.  Tonight Hurricane Irene arrives.  What is this, Missouri?! This evening, while reading George Grant and Greg Wilbur's EXCELLENT Christian Almanac [one of our favorites] I discovered that it was, in fact, on this day in 1667 that the very first recorded American hurricane hit Jamestown, VA -- and that before live webcams, doppler radar, and poured foundation walls*.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just a Number

Recently, the sport of golf, traditionally thought of as an old man's game, has been taken over by youngbloods.  This weekend, the PGA championship was won by 1986-born, Keegan Bradley.  Just a few months ago, the best score ever recorded [by a healthy margin of 4 strokes!] at the US Open was shot by a 22 yr old.  That was a truly remarkable accomplishment for someone in any year of life.  But age is a funny thing, as we in the Church well know.  Something I've been grappling with for some time, as a 'young' man pursuing the ministry, is the [pun intended] age-old question: when is a man too young to be a pastor?  Here is a short list that might help provide some historic [and Reformed] perspective on that question:

Athenasius was 27 when he stood against the Arians at the first council of Nicaea; Ursinus and Olevianus were commissioned to produce the Heidelberg catechism at 28 and 26 resp; George Gillespie was called to the Westminster Assembly at 31; also called were John Bond [32], Peter Sterry [31], John Wallis [non-voting scribe at 28], Henry Wilkinson [34], Francis Woodcock [30], Archibald Johnston [33], and John Maitland -sent by the Scottish Covenenters to the Assembly at 28 [of course any of them may have been ordained at a younger age prior to this as well]; Joseph Caryl and William Greenhill, signers of the Savoy Declaration, were both not yet 30 when they began ministry; Jeremiah Burroughs was 31 when first appointed rector; John Whitgift, author of the Calvinistic Lambeth Articles, entered the chaplaincy at around 30; Heinrich Bullinger, primary author of the Second Helvetic Confession, began ministry at 24-25; John Calvin was ordained at 27 and within a year had published the first edition of his Institutes; Guido de Bres, author of the Belgic Confession, began his ministry at 30; Martin Bucer entered the chaplaincy at 30; Samuel Rutherford began his ministry ~ 27; Thomas Boston – licensed at 21, pastor at 23;  Francis Turretin – pastor at 25; John Owen – ordained ~ 28; John Gill served as a pastoral intern at 21 and graduated to the full pastorate a year later; John Bunyan began preaching at 27; Franciscus Gomarus, who led the stand against Arminianism at the Synod of Dort, began pastoring at 24; Stephen Charnock - minister at 22; Peter Viret, known as "The Smile of the Reformation", said to have helped Calvin and two others author the Gallic [or French] Confession of Faith 1559, was called to preach at 20 by William Farel, who was himself ~ 30 when he joined the Cercle de Meaux, to help bring reform to the French church; Jonathan Edwards - called to the pastorate at 20; Benjamin Keach [Spurgeon's predecessor and one of the original seven Baptists to call for the General Assembly that lead to the London Baptist Confession of 1689] was called as pastor when 20;  Melanchton was only 24 when he joined the Reformational fray by authoring his first two works in defense of Luther; John Willock [one of the 6 Johns responsible for authoring the Scots Confession] was about 27 when made chaplain to the Duke of Suffolk; John Row [another of the 6 Johns] was 25 when ordained as a minister; Thomas Cramner, primary author of the Book of Common Prayer, was appointed preacher at Jesus College before he turned 30; John Knox wasn't yet 30 when he famously guarded the pulpit of reformer, George Wishart, [himself within a year of the same age] with a giant two-handed sword; Richard Baxter – ordained at 23; Thomas Watson – pastor at 26; J.C. Ryle – ordained at 25; Abraham Booth was called to be a pastor while in his early 20's; Cotton Mather – full pastorate at 22; David Brainard – licensed and called at 25; George Whitefield – parish priest at 25; Asahel Nettleton – ordained at 28; Charles Wesley – ordained at 28; Henry Martyn began missions work in India at 25; AA Hodge did the same at 24; Charles G Finney began studying for the ministry at 29 [just checking to see if you’re still reading]; Andrew Fuller was a pastor at 21/22; J.L. Dagg, the first American Baptist theologian began pastoring at 31; William Carey – called at 24; Abraham Kuyper accepted a call at 27; Matthew Henry – called at 25; BB Warfield – called to the pastorate at 26 [though he refused]; Archibald Alexander - licensed at 19, ordained at 23; Charles Hodge – licensed at 23;  Andrew Bonar - minister at 28; his brother Horatio was ordained at 29; RL Dabney - missionary at 26, pastor at 27; Spurgeon – ordained at 19; McCheyne – died at 29; Martin Lloyd Jones – called at 28; RJ Rushdoony - ordained at 28;  JI Packer – ordained at 27; Francis Schaeffer – ordained at 27; In recent years, Ian Murray, entered the ministry at 24-25; R.C. Sproul – ordained as an elder at 26; and John MacArthur began the pastorate at Grace Community at 30.  How many of your heroes are on this list?


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Meaning of 'is' Day

Well all, my wacky calendar tells me that today is “The meaning of ‘is’ day”. This is a ‘commemoration’ of the phrase our former President used 13 years ago while attempting to finagle his way out of a truthful answer to questions about his illicit relationship inside the oval office with a young, now infamous, intern. Personally, I have to admit that such a recollection makes me glad for our current President who, for all his many faults and shortcomings, appears at least to be a man of marital fidelity [something much more rare than might be supposed from our land’s highest office – see “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the scenes with the agents” for insights that will make your skin crawl].

In the last year, we have seen several similar examples surface, namely the Weiner debacle, Schwarzenegger’s scandal, and the most notably, the philandering of John Edwards, behind the back of his famous, dying wife. The Edward’s episode was notable because his staffer’s revealed that through the years, they actually worked to keep him and his mistress apart. They would intentionally screen her calls and interfere with their attempts to rendezvous. So here is a man, aspiring to one day attain the highest political office in the world, who needed his staffers to protect him from his own lusts. Truthfully now, how could such a man be trusted with the reins of our nation? It brings to mind the Scriptural principle that a man incapable of ruling himself, is not fit to rule anything else. This directly contradicts conventional wisdom that a guy’s personal life is his own business, as long as he performs in office. But the borders dividing the compartments of a man’s life are more than a little porous, and a lack of integrity at home will always lead to similar breaches in the other areas of his life. A jar of spoiled mayo is no more edible in the cafeteria at work than it is when I first find it in my kitchen at home.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Thank you all for your birthday well wishes.  In case any of you are thinking of gifts - I would be honored if you would consider a 'birthday' donation of $31 to help the International Medical Corps with their relief work in East Africa where - because of famine and the actions of wicked men - a large part of the population is starving, with the children being hit especially hard.  The donation process is easy at this link [please be aware that there is a $4 service fee added at the end, so the total will be $35].  Thanks again for all the cards and notes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Discovery Channel Worldview

This week the Discovery Channel is launching a new show called "Curiosity".  It is purported to be a five year deal to explore the most tantalizing and provocative questions of science and technology.  The first episode, hosted by Stephen Hawking, is entitled, "Did God create the Universe?"  With all these things in the air, I found myself unable to ward off the parody demons.  To the tune of 'Jesus Loves Me'. 

Darwin loves me this I know

Stephen Hawking tells me so
Say goodbye to right and wrong
all the weak to feed the strong


Self adapters will survive
and the fittest stay alive
Progress Darwin’s all about
Till our bright, hot sun burns out

Chorus: …

Nature red in tooth and claw
Is life’s only certain law
Thankfully for Stephen’s sake
We still often that law break.

Chorus: ...
Once again, I can't resist quoting the close of Steven Turner's Creed:
If chance be the Father of all flesh,

disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book List [what i've been reading latetly ...]

Summer reading/listening ...

Debt Ceiling Commentary too good not to pass along ...

"In times past, spending cuts have been what they have called spending increases that increase more slowly. A man gaining five pounds a months manages to get it back to three pounds a month, and then proudly tells all his friends about this fantastic weight loss program. ...

President Obama says that he favors a "balanced approach," which he thinks is a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. But when the guy talking about his weight loss program is bedridden because the only way out of his room is if the fire department does it for him, and he also tells you that his "balanced" solution for ending this crisis is for him to consider a diet next month, and for you to bring him another plate of sausages now, the word that comes to mind is not "balanced."

And as for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution? ... once the debate started, we would have the special treat of watching all the big spenders of Congress standing in front of microphones, cameras rolling, and all of them sweating like Mike Tyson at a spelling bee. After that, the Lord could take me home anytime. I will have lived a full life."

- Doug Wilson