Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ussher and Me

I first heard of James Ussher in 2003 when Dr. Haykin gave me a copy of Crawford Gribben’s The Irish Puritans: James Ussher and the Reformation of the Church. Dr. Haykin and I have a shared interest in things Irish, so it was a welcomed gift. I remember travelling to Grand Rapids with Dr. Haykin in the winter of ’03 and we stayed at Joel Beeke’s in-laws, where I read The Irish Puritans before bed. I also took advantage of Dr. Beeke’s library and read through some of Ussher’s Works at the old PRTS library. As well, a PRTS student named Terry Klaver had also read Crawford’s book and we had some good discussions. Afterwards, Terry sent me a PDF of Ussher’s Body of Divinity in the mail (now published by SGCB). If memory serves, Dr. Haykin and I also spent some time at the Calvin Seminary library where I read up on Irish church history.

In the late spring of 2004 I had the joy of going with Dr. Haykin to Britain. While in Ireland, I got to meet Crawford and his wife Pauline. Crawford was nothing but encouraging in the hopes of recruiting another Ussher fan. I was thrilled and this sealed the deal for me in terms of developing an interest in Ussher. I think touring Trinity College, Dublin with Crawford solidified things. Later he and I met up again where he gave me a DVD containing PDF’s of Ussher’s Works. I feel like so much has been handed to me. God is faithful.

In the summer of 2004, as a bachelor-party gift, Greg McManus gave me a copy of R. Buick Knox’s biography of Ussher entitled James Ussher: Archbishop of Armagh. Greg and I had for a few years shared a strong interest in things Puritan. Greg has maintained and developed his interest in John Owen. Early on I waffled between who to study. For a while, after being kicked in the ecclesial pants by The Reformed Pastor, I thought of Baxter. Afterwards, largely due to Greg’s interest in Owen, I thought of studying Thomas Goodwin. It wasn’t until reading Crawford’s book that Ussher became a serious topic.

After dialoging with Dr. Haykin about my future, and his strong suggestion that I don’t neglect the Fathers, I came into contact with Alan Ford through email. He teaches at Nottingham and is the author of the recent definitive biography of Ussher called James Ussher: Theology, History, and Politics in Early-Modern Ireland and England. Prof. Ford suggested looking at Ussher’s debates that he had with some Jesuits in Ireland over the early church Pelagian controversy. This then set me on a journey to study Augustine and Pelagianism, which I did my master of divinity thesis on. Dr. Haykin supervised and also had me read on Ignatius of Antioch, due to Ussher’s research on the authenticity of the Ignatian corpus.

This past year I began a master of theology in Puritan history. Having written papers on the English Reformation and Puritanism, I am now officially starting Ussher studies. It is 2009 and my interests in Ussher were started in 2003. It’s been six years before I could finally do some serious study on him!! But I’m thankful to finally get here. I just polished off Crawford’s biography for the second time – I appreciate it all the more now that I’ve read it after years of study. I am currently in the middle of Knox’s biography. After this I’ll turn to Ford, though I am currently reading his book The Protestant Reformation in Ireland 1590-1641.

This summer I will go through Ussher’s Works with an eye to his writings in ecclesiastical history, particularly patristics. My thesis, due in September, will be on Ussher as a patristic historian. This will hopefully get me prepared for a doctoral thesis on Ussher and the Pelagian controversy. All of this, of course, is in the Lord’s good timing.



Filed under church history, crawford gribben, friends, james ussher, michael haykin, puritans, research, tbs

Goodwin on Weekly Communion

To cut the confusion: Mark Jones is doing his dissertation on the seventeenth century Puritan Thomas Goodwin. In light of this, Jones has a blog called Thomas Goodwin. So…at Thomas Goodwin he has a post on Thomas Goodwin on the Lord’s Supper. In it, he explains Goodwin’s view that the Supper should be administered every week, a position I adhere to. Here’s a block quote by Goodwin:

As good housekeepers have some constant provision of store, as corn, beef, and the like, beside all occasional dainties that, like fowl and fish, come in to their tables, so God hath laid up all spiritual provisions for us; and to be sure you have Christ himself for one standing dish continually served up to you … a dish that fills all, and serves all tastes … Many things in a sermon thou understandest not … but here to be sure (in the Lord’s Supper) thou mayest … Of sermons, some are for comfort, some to inform, and some to excite; but here in the sacrament is all thou canst expect.’


Filed under eucharist, mark jones, puritans, thomas goodwin

DashHouse on the Gospel Coalition

Darryl Dash has posted his recent column for Christian Week at his blog. He writes on the recent initiative by Don Carson and Tim Keller on trying to network like-minded churches through the Gospel Coalition. Have you registered for The City yet? I have, and you should.

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Filed under darryl dash, gospel coalition

Vitam Impendere Vero

My good buddy Ben Maher has a blog called Vitam Impendere Vero. If you’re in the mood for some slap-happy, sardonic fun, then this is the place to be!

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Filed under blogging, friends

Calvin vs. Darwin – Boxing Match

This is a big year for both Calvin and Darwin studies and Boston, home of Micky Ward, has taken up the match. Check this out: Boxing Match of the Millennium.

{HT: WiseReader}

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Filed under charles darwin, john calvin, wise reader

Angels & Demons, Christianity & Science

Kirk Wellum offers some wise advice on the relationship between Christianity and science, brought on after having watched Dan Brown’s recent movie, Angels & Demons. Here’s the last paragraph from  his post:

{W}e must acknowledge that there are many mysteries we will never completely understand until God gives us more revelation in the world to come. This does not mean that we give up looking for answers rather is means that we proceed carefully and tentatively in areas where the Bible is not explicitly clear. With regard to some of the biggest scientific questions it is important to remember that “it is by faith that we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). This faith is not opposed, and should not be opposed, to scientific inquiry. But the fact that faith is required to understand these things means that we must never forget that we are mere creatures trying to comprehend the works of an infinite God who is incomprehensible unless he takes us by the hand and leads us each step of the way along the path of discovery. How thankful we should be that although human beings so easily make a mess of things, our ultimate hope is not in them, but in God.

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Filed under kirk wellum, movies, reviews, science

Sermon: Jonah 4

We had a good time spending Victoria Day in Windsor this past weekend. One of the joys, among many, was spending time with the people at Grace Baptist Church in Essex. I preached on Jonah 4 at their evening service. I am amazed that they allow me to preach so often, they are a forebearing bunch!

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Filed under audio, grace baptist, me, richard valade, sermons, windsor

Toronto Pastors Conference

Featuring Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker of 9Marks Ministries
June 1,2,3
Cost: $115
Includes conference registration, books, several meals, and more.
Register online at

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Filed under 9 marks, conferences, mark dever, toronto, toronto pastors fellowship

Crawford’s New Blog

Crawford Gribben, who teaches at Trinity College, Dublin, has a new blog that gives updates on his many projects. This is good to see. Update your blogroll!

NB: I reviewed Crawford’s book Rapture Fiction here a couple of years ago (though it says Challies did! It was me, I swear!).

{HT: Mark Jones}


Filed under crawford gribben, friends, Resources

Bonnie Prince Billy

In honour of breaking my blogging fast, I am posting the video to Bonnie Prince Billy’s “Cursed Sleep.” It makes sense to post this song, because I didn’t go to sleep until 4am this morning: getting my paper done! I hand it in today.


Filed under me, music, video

Gittin’ All Responsible and Stuff

I’m going on a blogging hiatus for the next week. I have a big paper due soon and I need to prioritise. As I said in a meeting  yesterday, I’m constantly trying to be disciplined and blogging is one area where I’m not. So you won’t see me on here for a bit!

Happy blogging!


Filed under blogging, me

Review: The Baptism of Disciples Alone (Malone)

Here is a review that I wrote of the first edition of Fred Malone’s book The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal Argument for Credobaptism Versus Paedobaptism (Founders Press).

On a related note, I recently listened to an awesome debate between Thom Schreiner of Southern Seminary and David Van Drunen of Westminster West on the subject of baptism. Schreiner was very good – and though I’m a biased Baptist – I believe he won the debate.

Schreiner on Credobaptism
VanDrunen on Paedobaptism
Interactive Forum


Filed under audio, baptism, baptists, books, debate

Westminster’s Online Resources

Westminster Seminary in Pennsylvania has finally posted all of their resources online, for free! I just signed up and was pleased to see that they have the full video of the Wilson/Hitchens debate (as an aside, for you Canadians, Christopher Hitchens will be on The Hour this week).

So sign up and watch/listen ’til your heart’s content! Click here for access {HT: Between Two Worlds}.

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Filed under audio, christopher hitchens, debate, doug wilson, Resources, video, westminster theological seminary

Conference: Luther and the Cross – June 18, 2009

This June Alister McGrath will be speaking at Tyndale on Martin Luther’s theology of the cross. Michael Haykin and Dennis Ngien are also to speak on the same topic. Here is the info (NOTE: It’s free!!):

“The Cross, Suffering and Spiritual Bewilderment”

Date: Thursday, June 18, 2009
Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Van Norman Centre, Tyndale University College & Seminary – 25 Ballyconnor Court, Toronto, ON
Host: Centre for Mentorship and Theological Reflection
Cost: Free, only pay for parking ($3)

Dr. Alister McGrath – “The Cross, Suffering and Spiritual Bewilderment: Martin Luther on the Life of Faith”
Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin – “The Spirit of the Crucified Christ – 2 Timothy 1”
Dr. Dennis Ngien – “Jacob’s Ladder – Encounter God – Genesis 28”

For more info contact:

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Filed under alister mcgrath, conferences, dennis ngien, martin luther, michael haykin, toronto

You Are Here

From the Catalyst West Coast Conference:

You Are Here from ItLooksGood on Vimeo.

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Filed under biblical theology, video