Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Witherspoon Institute

The Witherspoon Institute is a research centre in Princeton, New Jersey. It seeks to promote the moral foundations of a free and democratic society. The many topics covered by the Witherspoon umbrella include economics, ethics, family, bioethics, business and much more. Many scholars are involved with the Institute, most of whom are involved with Princeton University in some way. I would highlight in particular Robert P. George, a senior fellow, who is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.
George and others contribute to the Institute’s mouthpiece, Public Discourse. All of their articles are available online. If you want rational, scholarly observations on current issues in our society, then this should be the first place you turn.
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1200!

Sweet! I just logged my 1200th book on my Library Thing account! What book was it you might ask? Good question. It was Albert Frederick Pollard’s Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation 1489-1556.

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Crux Books Sale

From Tuesday Nov. 4 – Saturday Nov. 8.
Books marked down 50-90%.
On Tuesday for one day only – 20% off all used books.
On Wednesday for one day only – 10% off ever book in the store.
On Thursday for one day only – 10% off all icons.
Crux is at 5 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto. Phone: 416.599.2749. Email: cb@cruxbooks.com. Website: www.cruxbooks.com.

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Lecture – Why Study Church History?

On Sunday afternoon I had the great delight in giving a lecture to the people of Grace Baptist Church of Essex on the need to study church history. I felt somewhat feeble doing this considering that this church was helped along in its early days by none other than Arnold Dallimore. I comment early on that I was conscious of Dr. Dallimore’s shadow looming over me as I spoke and that it was my desire to honour his own beliefs on the necessity of church history.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself (in spite of the sleep enhancing heat and the food in our stomach’s!), and hope that it was at least of some benefit to the people there. Grace has a fantastic library that is full of good church history, so I hope that it will be taken advantage of!
Structure:
Introduction
Reasons why people don’t like church history: boring; fear.
Five Reasons to Study It
Identity; Christianity an Historical Religion; Warns against past errors; Gives understanding of doctrinal development; Inspiration.
Example: Patristics
The story of Perpetua and Felicitas.

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The Streets – Love You More

This is a really cool video for a really cool song.

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Irish History Online

Either late this year, or early next year, I will step into the waters of early-modern Irish history. My primary focus will be James Ussher and his interpretation of patristic history. A friend of mine, Tom Powers, suggested a number of good books to look at – namely those by Ciaran Brady, Steven Ellis and Nicholas Canny – and what looks to be an indispensable website. The Irish History Online website is a database that records the bibliographic information for any book or article on this subject. This coupled with the Ussher Project website will put me in good stead.

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Discerning Reader Profile

Cool, my profile and picture is up at the Discerning Reader website. You can’t tell from the pic, but it was taken in the Princeton cemetery and I’m kneeling in front of B.B. Warfield’s grave.
I guess this means I should be getting more reviews in!
A number of my reviews aren’t listed under my profile though:
Gribben’s Rapture Fiction
Gasque’s Art and the Christian Mind
Haykin’s God Who Draws Near
Yuille’s Inner Sanctum
Hitchen’s Missionary Position

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Spiritual Disciplines

Yesterday was the second meeting of the Toronto Pastors Fellowship, that group of pastors from the Toronto area and beyond who gather together for fellowship and learning. Dr. Michael Haykin spoke, giving an excellent talk on the need for Spiritual Disciplines. He highlighted three particular areas – preaching, baptism, eucharist, prayer – and illustrated them from church history. As always, it was fantastic and very encouraging.
It was also incredibly encouraging to meet with other pastors, many of whom inquired about our church planting and offered support. That, I must say, was humbling.
So, if you’re a pastor and are interested in getting together for mutual encouragement and intellectual stimulation go and register for the next meeting! Next month’s speaker is Stephen Kring and he will be discussing giving guidance.

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Filed under audio, baptists, michael haykin, toronto, toronto pastors fellowship

TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism

TC is a journal dedicated to the textual criticism of Jewish and Christian manuscripts. It looks really good. Apparently they were on a bit of a break, but they are now running articles.
(HT: ETC)

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Yuille Reviews The Shack

Dr. Stephen Yuille, a friend of mine, has recently reviewed the horrendous book The Shack. This, alongside Challie’s review and Mohler’s radio response make for balanced opinion. With that said, The Shack is a trinitarian heresy.
[HT: Historia Ecclesiastica]
Update: Doug Wilson reviews The Shack here.

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Dash Interviews Keller

My friend Darryl Dash interviewed Tim Keller on issues facing the church in our culture. Very, very good.

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Save the Kildare House!

Probably one of the most authentic pubs I’ve ever been to is the Kildare House on 1880 Wyandotte Street in Windsor, ON. Sadly, it may be shut down. A website is set up asking us to “Save the Kildare.” Check it out, and if you can, send your support.

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Commentary Rating Website

I only just found out about this awesome website. Best Commentaries rates commentaries. This is a great place to start building your commentary collection. It’s like having Carson’s NT commentary rating book and Longman’s OT rating book online, for free!

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Jim West – A Sober Assessment of Reformational Drinking

Jim West is the famed author of the book Drinking with Calvin and Luther. I haven’t read it yet, but he has a good article at the Enjoying Beer website that I thought I would share. Church history attests to recreational alcoholic consumption by Christians. In fact, as West points out, it was a dualist/Manichaean tendency to reject alcohol as “satanic.” West provides a number of quotes from from both Luther and Calvin that make the point that drinking is not a moral issue, so long as the alcohol is not abused (i.e. drunkenness). I was surprised to see the Calvin wrote that drinking alcohol makes the Christian “feel a livelier gratitude to God.”
I have been thinking about this issue recently and hope to blog more about it as time allows. This is an important question in many ways. Should Christians abstain even if the Bible permits drinking? How do we view Christ who turned water into wine that was obviously meant for recreation? What about the psalms that speak of God giving wine to make the heart glad?
Any thoughts, or links to resources would be helpful. I am writing as one already convinced that it is good for Christians to drink, but I am more than willing to rethink the issue (as I am any issue). So, comment away!

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Bryn MacPhail on Grief

Bryn MacPhail is a pastor-friend of mine. He oversees the flock at St. Giles-Kingsway Presbyterian Church in Etobicoke. He is solidly Reformed, a good preacher and a great guy. Recently on his blog Bryn offered some thoughts on death, grief and the ministry. I am amazed at how many funerals he has performed since 2002, especially since this past March.
Here’s a quote:

And while my theology pushes me to move on and to talk about Resurrection, I
also feel the call to pause in the face of death and grieve. I’m reminded that
Jesus, knowing full well that He would soon raise Lazarus from the dead, still
paused at the tomb to weep.


I found this post particularly helpful since the death of Emily Stauffer. I have been thinking frequently about her and the subject of death. Thanks Bryn for a thoughtful post!

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Toronto, etc.

Darryl Dash’s post re: Toronto has got me thinking a little…
Last night New City Baptist had our fifth meeting at our place (166 Carlton). It was my first opportunity to teach – I dealt with Mark 4 from Devers 9 Marks of a Healthy Church on having a biblical understanding of conversion. To be honest, I didn’t feel great about how it went on my end. I felt somewhat nervous and I don’t know if I dealt with the topic well enough. But in spite of it, I heard today that it really challenged one of our people – which was very encouraging. Also, we had a larger group out – we barely had room to sit in my apartment. It was great to hear that many people singing “How Great the Father’s Love.” My neighbours must think we’re nuts. One important observation that I had about last night was that I really noticed a cohesion amongst the people. Although we’re a fairly young group, we have diverse backgrounds. But last night I could see people connecting and acting like friends. That is a HUGE answer to prayer.
In regard to the greater Toronto scene. We are one of those church plants that Darryl mentioned. His feeling is that something is happening in Toronto and that we (that is NCB) is a sign of that. That is incredibly scary, incredibly humbling, and incredibly exciting. I really do hope and pray that the Spirit of Christ will descend on this city in a powerful way and that I/we can have a part in it. For God to move through weak vessels like me/us is amazing to think about.
Darryl also mentioned the informal gatherings that have sprung up. I was happy to be a part of one such gathering with a number of pastors and leaders at a Toronto pub on the Danforth called Sarah’s. Over some good food and beer we discussed John Frame’s article “Machen’s Warrior Children.” I was thrilled to meet new people – some whom I am very different from theologically. It was also particularly thrilling to see how Christians of different theological stripes can come together, recognise and discuss our differences, in a respectful way.
A more formal gathering was the Toronto Pastors Fellowship hosted by Grace Fellowship Church and the Sovereign Grace Fellowship a few weeks ago. This was another coming together of pastors who love this city and are labouring to see God honoured in it. I was personally encouraged and challenged by the event and met some really great people.
These and I am sure others, are signs that maybe something is happening in Toronto. May it please God to be so.

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Wilson on Halloween

I’ve mentioned on my blog in the past that I would not keep my kids from trick-or-treating on Halloween. Doug Wilson has given a helpful post on how Christians should view this night of ghoulish delight. I differ a little with him in that I don’t think I would have a problem with my kid dressing up as a witch or anything like that.

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