Reflections on the New Spurgeon Library – D.Whitney

Do you want to guess where the new Charles H. Spurgeon Library is located? London, England? Logically that would be a good guess. But would you believe Kansas City, Missouri here in the great Midwestern U.S.? Yes, the new Spurgeon Library is located on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Seminary in that city.


And it is a beauty (cf. photo above), filled with a large portion of Spurgeon’s personal library – some 6,000 volumes.  Dr. Donald Whitney gave his personal thoughts on the dedication of this library in this post (Oct.22, 2015), and I believe this news is worth sharing with those who appreciate this great preacher’s love of the sovereignty of God and His sovereign grace to sinners in Jesus Christ. I have no doubt his library reflected that passion, and I personally would love to visit it someday.

What follows here are Whitney’s “reflections,”, at least the opening ones. For the rest, click on the link provided here.

Source: Reflections on the New Spurgeon Library

Charles Haddon Spurgeon is still widely considered “the Prince of Preachers.” He pastored in London at what became the largest evangelical church in the world for 38 years until his death in 1892. During his lifetime his was acknowledged as the best-known name in Christendom. Through his monumental, 64-volume Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit sermon collection and more than 120 other books, he remains one of the most influential Christians of all time.

A voracious reader, Spurgeon amassed an enormous, 12,000 volume library. After his death in 1892, Spurgeon’s twin boys—both of whom were preachers—made personal selections from their father’s books. Through an interesting set of circumstances, the remainder of the library was sold in 1906 to the Missouri Baptist Convention and housed in the library of William Jewell College in Liberty (suburban Kansas City), Missouri. There sat Spurgeon’s books, largely ignored, for an entire century.

In 2006, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, under then-president Phil Roberts, purchased the library for $400,000. When Jason Allen was elected in October, 2012, he made a priority of giving greater visibility to this unique resource. Sharing this vision with Allen were Bill and Connie Jenkins of Indiana who provided the significant financial resources necessary to fulfill the master plan for the library.

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 10:03 PM  Comments (1)  

The Puritan influence on the press – Marvin Olasky

MEDIA | Christian belief and the 325th anniversary of American newspapers

Source: WORLD | The Puritan influence on the press | Marvin Olasky | Sept. 26, 2015

Public-Occurences-1690I found this brief online article at World magazine (posted Sept.26, 2015) to be interesting not only because of its historical significance but also because of its spiritual significance.The Puritans understood the true nature of news reporting, and America’s first public newspaper showed that.

There are few newspapers and magazines that still understand that, but World is one of them.

Here is what Marvin Olasky wrote about this special 325th newspaper anniversary:

Several publications yesterday noted that Sept. 25 was the 325th anniversary of the publication in 1690 Boston of America’s first newspaper, Publick Occurrences: Both Forreign and Domestick. None of the reports I saw gave the theological context, though. Publications in the 17th century usually put out only news that would make the king or his officials look good, but New England Puritans encouraged the reporting of bad news because they saw everything, good and bad, as a message from God.

Find the rest of Olasky’s commentary at the World link above.

15 Religion Treasures at Yale | Tom Krattenmaker referenced this in a post today but the original post was back in February of this year. It is still worth looking up to see the treasures found at Yale University.

Below is the brief introduction to the post at the Huff Post “Religion” section; follow the link to see all fifteen of the religious treasures Krattenmaker highlights.

Yale, a place that started out as a training ground for Congregationalist ministers (whose students included none other than Jonathan Edwards) retains to this day a dazzling array of religious treasures and relics, all publicly available.

Source: 15 Religion Treasures at Yale | Tom Krattenmaker

Here are a few of my own personal highlights:

gutenberg bible

Johann Gutenberg; “Biblia latina” (Gutenberg Bible); 1454; paper and 18th-century calf.

Gutenberg Bible – Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Five-hundred years ago, the Reformation transformed Christianity and the Western world. What made it possible was the dissemination of the Bible into many people’s hands. And what made that possible was the printing press, which allowed, for the first time, mass production of Bibles. Printed in Latin and known for its high aesthetic quality, the Gutenberg Bible was the first book ever printed by movable type. The 22 complete copies that exist today are among the most valuable books in the world. By appointment, Yale classes get to take this priceless piece of history out of the case and page though it, like the first Protestants half a millennium ago.

jonathan edwards

Jonathan Edwards; Deut. 32:35(c): “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at each moment out of hell but the meer pleasure of God,” from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”; June 1941; paper; Jonathan Edwards Collection.

Original text of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” – Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Rarely has a single piece of sermonizing conjured fear of hell like Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” As the story goes, this Yale alum didn’t stir much of a reaction when he first delivered the sermon (a milder, more pastoral version than what was to come) to his own congregation in Northampton, Mass., in 1741. Edwards amped up the scary parts as he began to give the sermon at other churches. “There was a great moaning – & crying out throughout ye whole House”–that’s how one witness described the effect after hearing Edwards give the sermon. The outline from which Edwards preached it out on the circuit, like the original “Sinners” sermon, resides in the Beinecke collections. (They say cursive writing is a dying art these days. Judging from Edwards’ penmanship, not everyone was great at it in the 1700s either.)

National Library Week – Join in the Celebration!


This week is the annual observance of National Library Week (April 12-18), sponsored by the American Library Association, but marked by many library associations, including the Association of Christian Librarians of which I am a part.

You will find this brief description of the event on the ALA website:

National Library Week (April 12 – 18, 2015) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. From free access to books and online resources for families to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. The theme for 2015 National Library Week is “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

So what can you do during this National Library Week? I can think of a number of things:

  • Make a special effort to visit your local public library this week and appreciate the resources it makes available to you.
  • Take your children or grandchildren to a public library and expose them to the value of its place in the community and in their education.
  • Visit a “new” library in your area and discover its special resources. Have you ever been to the large and rich Grand Rapids Public Library downtown? Or how about the State of Michigan Library in Lansing? Why not make this the week you take one of these in?
  • On a smaller scale, but no less important, help support your local Christian school library. Make sure your children make use of it. Thank the librarians who serve in them. Offer your help, including donating good books.
  • Build your own library at home, making good books available for yourself, for your friends, and for your children and grandchildren.
  • Give thanks to God for our PRC Seminary library and the role it plays in the preparation of men for the ministry of the Word. And continue to support it – especially with your prayers! Thank you!


April 3, 1956 – The Great Hudsonville/Standale Tornado

April 3, 1956 – Hudsonville/Standale Tornado | Blogs.

Today marks the 59th anniversary of the deadly F5 tornado that struck West Michigan – especially Hudsonville and Standale – killing 17 people and leaving widespread damage.

Local Wood-TV Meteriologist Bill Steffen referenced this historic event on his weather blog today (linked above), providing a brief summary of it and posting some links of interest. I include his opening sentences and then give you two videos available on this tornado.

Today, April 3rd, 2014, is the anniversary of the strongest tornado ever to hit the state of Michigan. The strongest wind on the surface of Earth in 1956 was on Van Buren Street in Hudsonville, Michigan on April 3, 1956. There were 17 fatalities (13 in Hudsonville) and 340 were injured.

I recall being told about this terrible storm as a youngster (I was born two years after it). The lake across from which we lived for a time (Fennessy) was virtually filled with dirt and debris (still great for bass fishing though!); and the home my parents live in now, which was being framed at the time, was twisted on its foundation.

I also remember hearing about the sermon Rev.Gerrit Vos preached in Hudsonville PRC after the event, which became a meditation on Psalm 46, later published in the Standard Bearer (April 15, 1956). If you have wondered about the context of this unique meditation, now you know.

Here is the opening text of that message – powerful exposition of God’s Word and well worth your reading in its entirely (just follow the above link).

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Ps. 46:8, 10, 11

Our village received a very special visit by the Lord Christ.

It was a visit of the majesty on high.

What we really received is a little foretaste of the end of the world.

Some of us went to heaven in the process of that visit. Others are in the hospital because of that visit. Some of us had a brush with death. All of us were deeply impressed by that visit.

God came to us, and He roared: I have never yet heard a voice such as we heard around supper time, Tuesday evening, April 3, 1956. It sounded as though a thousand express trains were traversing the sky.

His footsteps were seen; He walked from the southwest to the northeast, skirting our village: everyone was aware of His august presence.

And we were afraid: many cowered in the basement of their homes, while God ravaged their properties (?). He flung houses and barns far and wide. Such debris was mixed with black muck and the dust of the earth. He snuffed out the lives of some of us, broke the bones and the flesh of others: they were left moaning in His wake.

Oh yes, no one can dispute it: God walked among us; His Christ paid us a special visit; He left desolation, death, pain and misery.

But also awe, the awe of the childlike fear of Jehovah.

One man said: My Jehovah was beautiful in His raging! And that man lost half of his worldly goods, and his life was in jeopardy.

Yes, I have seen Him too.

His pathway through Hudsonville was about 3 or 4 city blocks from my dwelling.


PCUSA Makes Marriage a ‘Unique Commitment’ –

PCUSA Makes Marriage a ‘Unique Commitment’ | Gleanings |

marriagepic-1Christianity Today’s latest “Gleanings” feature (March 18, 2015) carried this note of further apostasy from the teaching of God’s Word about marriage on the part of the mainline Presbyterian church in this country.

Below is the first part of that story; for the full news item, visit the “CT” link above. The report includes a map showing how the various states have voted to this point (Michigan has not yet decided.)

May the Lord call out of this apostate denomination those who are truly His and who desire to be faithful to His Word and the true Presbyterian heritage (Rev.18:4).

The Presbyterian Church (USA) will now define marriage as a “unique commitment between two people,” rather than a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman as an act of Christian discipleship.

Last June, the PC(USA) general assembly voted to change the language in its Book of Order, the denomination’s governing constitution. Following the vote, a majority of the PC(USA)’s 171 presbyteries also had to approve the measure for it to go into effect. On Tuesday, this number (86) was reached.

The conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee (PLC) criticized the denomination’s shift.

“In terms of the PCUSA’s witness to the world, this vote demonstrates a complete accommodation to the prevailing winds of our culture,” said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, PLC president, in a statement. “Any prophetic voice that the denomination may have once had to speak truth and call people to repentance is now lost.”

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post.

YP reading-1Here is another striking report (posted Feb.22, 2015) on the reading preferences of those who have grown up with digital content (young people known as “digital natives”). Once again, reading printed material is the choice for such college-age young people who read for “pleasure and learning.”

Warms my heart – and I do a fair amount of digital reading during the course of a day too. But when I can grab that printed book or magazine or newspaper in hand and feel the pages between my fingers and read the content on real paper – ah, I am a happy man. And I haven’t even mentioned the smells! :)

What’s your preference for reading – digital or print? What would you say is the percentage breakdown for your reading on any given day?

Here’s the first part of the news item as it was carried by the Washington Post; find the rest at the link above.

Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.

Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.

“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt | Christianity Today

How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt | Christianity Today.

This “CT” story of how Egypt’s Christians are responding to the intense persecution they are suffering at the hands of Muslim terrorists (ISIS) is as heart-warming as the recent slaughter of 21 Libyan Christians is heart-chilling.

As you read the report of this response, may we be led to pray for the body of Christ in that part of the world, and for many others suffering for the name of Christ throughout the Middle East and, indeed, throughout the world.

Here is the first part of the story; read the rest at the “CT” link above.

Undaunted by the slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya, the director of the Bible Society of Egypt saw a golden gospel opportunity.

“We must have a Scripture tract ready to distribute to the nation as soon as possible,” Ramez Atallah told his staff the evening an ISIS-linked group released its gruesome propaganda video. Less than 36 hours later, Two Rows by the Sea was sent to the printer.

One week later, 1.65 million copies have been distributed in the Bible Society’s largest campaign ever. It eclipses even the 1 million tracts distributed after the 2012 death of Shenouda, the Coptic “Pope of the Bible.” [A full English translation is posted at bottom.]

Arabic tract (outside)Image: Bible Society of Egypt

Arabic tract (outside)

The tract contains biblical quotations about the promise of blessing amid suffering, alongside a poignant poem in colloquial Arabic:

Who fears the other?
The row in orange, watching paradise open?
Or the row in black, with minds evil and broken?

“The design is meant so that it can be given to any Egyptian without causing offense,” said Atallah. “To comfort the mourning and challenge people to commit to Christ.”

The Scheide Library at Princeton University: A $300 Million Rare Book Bequest

Princeton University Receives $300 Million Rare Book Bequest.

Scheide_Library,_Princeton_University,_Princeton_NJThis item has been in the news this week, and it is significant both from a library standpoint and from an archive standpoint.

Lisa Peet, writing for Library Journal, summarizes the story and the holdings of this wonderful collection of rare books and manuscripts (for the full story, visit the link above).

To read about it on Princeton’s website, visit this page (along with some amazing pictures). I think you will find it interesting as well.

I might also add that the Scheide Libraryfound within the Firestone Library at Princeton, is itself quite amazing; be sure to check out the images of that as well.

Princeton University’s Firestone Library recently received the largest gift in the university’s history, the university reported on February 16: some 2,500 rare books and music manuscripts, with an expected appraised value of nearly $300 million. William Hurd (Bill) Scheide, a Princeton alumnus and third-generation collector of rare books, bequeathed the collection to the university upon his death, at age 100, in November 2014.

And here is a description of some of the materials in the Scheide collection:

The collection focuses strongly on the history of printing in Europe and the Americas. Other themes include the exploration and development of America, the history of the Bible—including the first six copies ever printed, starting with a 1455 Gutenberg Bible that Bill’s father, a member of Princeton’s class of 1896, purchased in 1924—and the history of science. It is not primarily concerned with literature, although it does contain two copies of Shakespeare’s first folio (as well as the second, third, and fourth); Needham considers it to be more about “the history of thought.” In addition, Bill Scheide, a musicologist, added a small but important collection of music manuscripts and notebooks by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, and others, including many autographed pieces.

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol.

The “Book Patrol” reports (Feb.10, 2015) on an amazing historical archive discovery in the town of Sandwich, England, just as the British Museum is preparing to display all the original copies of the Magna Carta.

Here’s the opening segment of the “BP” post, along with a picture of the four copies to be displayed at the British Museum (photo: Clare Kendall/British Library/PA).

The timing is impeccable.

On the heels of the beginning of the festivities celebrating the 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta, in which all four surviving copies of the original edition of 1215 edition will be displayed together for the first time, word comes that another early copy has been discovered!


Unearthed at the Council Archives for the town of Sandwich the copy was found when researchers happened upon it while looking for a copy of the town’s original Charter of the Forest.


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