For September, Logos is giving away The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts. Watts is the well known hymn writer of “Joy to the World” and “When I Survey the Wonderous Cross” to mention two. Although Watts influence on hymnody cannot be overstated, he is one of the reasons why metrical Psalm singing declined in Protestant Christianity. You can get it here.
Andrew Peterson tells the story behind his upcoming album, Light for the Lost Boy.
The Reformed Journal was one of the significant publications in the Reformed world before the current “reformed” movement came to take shape. Published over four decades, from 1951-1990, the journal was connected to Calvin College, Eerdmans, and the Dutch Reformed world at the time. During the summer I was able to take a look at the recent publication, The Best of The Reformed Journal, published by Eerdmans and edited by James D. Bratt and Ronald A. Wells. The book is divided into three parts that correspond to particular years of publication: 1951-1962, 1963-1977, and 1978-1990. The articles are divided into several categories such as Church and Theology, Evangelicalism, Religion and Society, etc., and include such authors as Henry Zylstra, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Virginia Stem Owens, Mark A. Noll, Cornelius Plantinga, Richard Mouw, and others.
This is a fascinating book because it provides insight into American Christianity from a particular tradition (the Dutch Reformed church), and it helps you see how this immigrant community evaluated and interacted with American Christianity, especially evangelicalism. With recent discussions about faith and culture taking place within evangelicalism, this book let’s you read how one wing of the Reformed church was theologically evaluating their world. For example, take the article by Sidney Rooy, “The Graham Crusades–Shall We Participate,” published in June 1958. Rooy evaluates the result of a Graham Crusade on the Eastern coast near New York. He has both positive and negative evaluations of the crusade, and it is interesting to read what concerns and interests they had. You can take a look at the whole table of contents here.
Well, at least back to teaching at Westminster Academy in Memphis, TN. This is the first week of school. I got a lot of work finished on our new house, but we still have to finish things up inside: doors, trim, paint…that’s where we are. Most of my summer was consumed with the house. It will be nice once we are done, but it is exhausting right now.
With the beginning of school I plan to write more on the blog. We have some good reading lined up for the upper school students: Lewis’ Mere Christianity, Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and several others. Hopefully I will be able to post some thoughts on the readings and discussion.
Just a little update on my family and current work. Last week I finished up my second year of teaching part-time at Westminster Academy in Memphis, TN. I had to finish grading the finals and wrapping up various other items. I will be back at Westminster for the upcoming school year. It has been a good experience.
I’ve also been busy with the work of building a house. We have been planning this for a few years, and will be finishing this process up within the next two months. The convergence of pastoring, end of school year work, and building a house has been too much lately!
The Council of Nicaea opened on this day, May 20, 325. What happened at that first ecumenical council? What was at stake theologically? The narrative of events and players is available elsewhere, but here is an account of the doctrinal dynamics.
Read the whole thing.
This past Thursday (5/17/2012) was the celebration of the Ascension of Jesus Christ by the Western church, although many churches will celebrate it this Sunday. As I have looked at resources for the Ascension, I realized that there have been few books in English on this topic. There are a few current books that are essential:
Gerrit Scott Dawson, Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation
There are a few older works that should be consulted if available:
- William Milligan, The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of our Lord (1891)
- H. B. Swete, The Ascended Christ: A Study in the Earliest Christian Teaching (1922)
- Arthur J. Tait, An Introduction to the History of Doctrine The Heavenly Session of Our Lord: a Study in the History of Doctrine (1912)
- J. G. Davies, He Ascended into Heaven (1958)
And then two newels works that are out of print (written for a broader audience):
- Brian K. Donne, Christ Ascended: The Significance of the Ascension in the New Testament (1983)
- Peter Toon, The Ascension of Our Lord (1984)
- Derek Thomas, Take Up to Heaven (1996)
- Derek Prime, The Ascension: The Shout of a King (1999)
There is often a section on the ascension in books on the resurrection, such as Thomas F. Torrance, Space, Time and Resurrection (1976), Murray J. Harris, Raised Immortal (1983), and N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope (2008).
Logos is giving away The Godhead of God by A. W. Pink. Pink explains the book this way: ”The Godhood of God! What is meant by the expression? This: the omnipotency of God, the absolute sovereignty of God. When we speak of the Godhood of God we affirm that God is God. We affirm that God is something more than an empty title: that God is something more than a mere figure-head: that God is something more than a far-distant Spectator, looking helplessly on at the suffering which sin has wrought. When we speak of the Godhood of God we affirm that He is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’ “You can get it here.
In my 11th grade theology class at Westminster Academy, we are reading David Hegeman’s helpful book Plowing in Hope: Towards a Biblical Theology of Culture. Here is an interesting quote regarding the broad cultural work reflected in the Old Testament:
The tabernacle and temple were both emblematic–on a small scale–of the grand diversity which was to make the global culturative endeavor given to man in the Garden of Eden. And they point forward to the wondrous culturative potentialities which will be released after the consummation, when a glorified, sinless humanity fulfills with perfection the culturative development of the New Earth.
Today is called Holy Saturday. There is a significant connection between this day and the Sabbath Day in the original creation. Just as God rested from his labors on the original Sabbath, the Son of God rested in the tomb on that Holy Sabbath. But the result of Christ’s Sabbath rest is a New Creation, the beginning of the Eighth Day.
Below is Hans Holbein’s painting, “Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb.” The Russian author Dostoevsky saw this painting and was haunted by it. In his novel The Idiot, Prince Myshkin says: “Why some people may lose their faith by looking a that picture!”
There is something haunting about this painting. Look at the picture. There is a sense of death permeating it: head tilted back, mouth open, lifeless…Jesus was dead. But He didn’t stay there.