Medievalism

I’m too busy these days to do much extra reading. My ministry, my studies, and preparations for the baby are taking just about everything I have to offer! But one thing I find myself doing is ordering a book I’m interested in, reading the back cover and Introduction, and then filing it away on my “to come back to after life isn’t so busy” shelf. Its amazing how much you can often get a sense of what a book is doing just from the Introduction. Today I dipped briefly into two books on medievalism, which is a world that increasingly…

Congregationalism

I’m grateful to be a part of Congregationalist church. Congregationalism is a Protestant denomination with a rich history in Great Britain and the United States. Much of Christianity in colonial New England was Congregationalist, and many leading American theologians in this time were Congregationalists, like Jonathan Edwards. When I realized that my convictions on baptism and church government made me un-ordainable in the Presbyterian Church of America, the denomination in which I grew up, the primary kinds of churches I began to explore were Baptist or non-denominational. Many Baptist churches have a culture that I don’t fit in with, although…

Whitefield on Suffering

I read Dallimore’s shorter biography of Whitefield while in Chicago the last few days.  I learned a lot from Whitefield’s courage, his work ethic, and his emphasis in his preaching on the importance of the New Birth.  It was also interesting to learn about the origins of Methodism and Whitefield’s relationship with the Wesley brothers.  Here is Whitefield reflecting in a letter on some of his most painful difficulties with other Christians, reminding us how God can use evil for good in our lives: “It is good for me that I have been supplanted, despised, censured, maligned, judged by and…

Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

I’ve been listening to Churchill’s speeches after reading Johnson’s biography.  Blood, Toil, Tears And Sweat is my favorite.  It was delivered on May 13, 1940, soon after Churchill became Prime Minister and when Hitler was threatening Britain.  I love his style – the slight lisp, the calm and yet willful tone, and the impression it gives of the gravity of the moment.

Paul Johnson’s Churchill

During some time off this week I read Paul Johnson’s Churchill (Viking, 2009).  Its a brief and enjoyable biography, covering in less than 200 pages a very full life of 90 years, from early military travels and literary fame, through the ups and downs of a stormy political career, to the inspiring leadership during World War II for which Churchill is now famous.  The epilogue provides a helpful summary of what we can learn from Churchill, and chapter 6 – my favorite part of the book – offers 10 reasons why Churchill saved Britain.  Overall, the story of Churchill’s life…

Insights from Reforming Fundamentalism: 11-12

[continued from this post] 11) reformation and fragmentation Reforming Fundamentalism helped me understand the tendency that renewal or reform movements have toward fragmentation and internal conflict.  Its much easier to unite in opposition to the status quo than it is to remain united while setting out in a new direction.  At one point Marsden writes of the Machen followers in the Presbyterian church, “as with all revolutions, they agreed on what they were against, but unresolved differences between the cobelligerents became apparent as soon as they attempted to define their own positive course” (43).  I think there may be some…

Insights from Reforming Fundamentalism: 8-10

[continued from previous post] 8) premillennialism and identity It was interesting to see how premillennialism as well as inerrancy was an identity issue in the early fundamentalist-evangelical movement.  Early FTS, for example, was thoroughly pre-millennial: it was in their statement of faith, and the faculty was sharply divided over a pre-tribulation versus a post-tribulation view of the rapture.  Marsden calls this a “leading issue” (151), with Harold Lindsell, Wilbur Smith, Gleason Archer, Carl Henry, Everett Harrison, and Charles Woodbridge lining up for pre-trib versus George Eldon Ladd, Edward John Carnell, Clarence Roddy, and Dan Fuller lining up for post-trib.  In…