New and Noteworthy in the PRC Seminary Library – 1st Quarter 2017

Having passed the first quarter of 2017, plus this week being National Library Week, it is time to inform you of some of the latest additions to the PRC Seminary library.

For the benefit of the Theological School Committee that oversees all aspects of the PRC Seminary, including the library, as well as for the benefit of the faculty and student body I have compiled the following list of significant titles obtained in the first quarter of this year (2017).

I divide the list into categories so that it is easier to keep track of the kinds of books we look for. I hope this helps you see the quality of titles we strive to add each year. Keep in mind, that as long as this list appears, it is only a sampling of what is actually added.

And I would remind our PRC members as well as friends that even though the library exists first of all for our faculty and students and area ministers, its resources are for YOU too. It is very much a denominational resource (you support it financially and spiritually!), and I hope you will feel free to make use of the excellent reading and research materials we have.

Now, on to the list! All of these are cataloged and currently available.

Biblical studies

  • IVP Reformation Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • IVP Ancient Christian Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • Preach the Word Series (Crossway)
  • Reformed Expository Commentary Series (P&R)
  • Specific Commentaries
    • Revelation / Joel R. Beeke, 1952-. ; Jon D. Payne . — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage, 2016. (The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary On The New Testament)
    • Genesis: Everything Created by God : Outlines on the book of Genesis /  Isaac De Wolff, 1901-1976.. ; J. de Vos, J. Plug, M. VanderWel, Transls.. — 1st Engl.-reprint-pb. — London, Ontario : Inter-League Publication Board, c2001.
    • Content Yet Contending : Jude / Daniel R. Hyde. — 1st-pb. — Welwyn Garden City, UK : EP BOOKS, 2017.
    • John Calvin’s Sermons on 1 Timothy : Volume 1 [Sermons 1-27, 1 Timothy 1-3] / Jean Calvin, 1509-1564. ; Ray. Van Neste. ; Brian Denker. — 1st- revsd.-updated-pb. — Middletown, DE : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016 [both volumes].
    • Unceasing Kindness : A Biblical Theology Of Ruth / Peter H. W. Lau. ; Gregory Goswell. ; Donald A. Carson. — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, Illinois : A Pollos, InterVarsity Press, 2016.

Church History

  • Ulrich Zwingli : Shepherd Warrior / William Boekestein. — 1st-pb. — Fearne, Ross-shire, GB : CF4Kids, 2016.
  • Being Protestant In Reformation Britain / Alec. Ryrie. — 1st-pb. — Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Beyond The Ninety-Five Theses : Martin Luther’s Life, Thought, And Lasting Legacy / Stephen J. Nichols. — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, NJ : P&R Pub., 2016.
  • The Life And Times Of Martin Luther : Selections From D’Aubigne’s Famed History Of The Reformation Of The Sixteenth Century / J. H. (Jean Henri) Merle d’Aubigne, 1794-1872. ; H. White. — 1st-hc. —  Chicago : Moody Press, 1950.
  • Protestantism After 500 Years / Thomas Albert Howard, editor. ; Mark A. Noll, 1946- , editor. ; Jr. Witte, John. — 1st-pb. — New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2016.

Creeds/Confessions

  • Believe and Confess : Volume One / Cornelis G. Bos, 1909-1988. — 1st-pb. — London, Ontario : Inter-League Publication Board, 2001. (2 volumes)
  • The Christian’s Only Comfort In Life And Death : An Exposition Of The Heidelberg Catechism, Volume 1: Lord’s Days 1-26 / Theodore VanderGroe, 1705-1784.. ; Bartel Elshout. ; Joel R. Beeke . — 1st Engl.-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2016. (2 volumes)

Dogmatics/Theology/Historical Theology

  • The Cambridge Companion To Reformed Theology / Paul T. Nimmo, (Paul Thomson). ; David A. S.. Fergusson. ; J. Todd Billings. — 1st-pb. — New York : Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • Biblical Covenantalism: Engagement with Judaism, Law, Atonement, the New Perspective, and Kingdom Hope : Volume One: Biblical Covenantalism in Torah: Judaism, Covenant Nomism, and Atonement / Douglas W. Kennard. ; Paul D. Wegner. — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf & Stock, 2015 (3 volume work).
  • Covenant Theology : A Reformed Baptist Perspective / Phillip D. R. Griffiths. — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf and Stock, 2016
  • “I Will Be Your God” : An Easy Introduction to the Covenant of Grace / Wes Bredenhof. — 1st-pb. — London, Ontario : Inter-League Publication Board, 2015.
  • Reformation Riches For The Contemporary Church : Liberation For Both Skeptics And Burned-Out Evangelicals / David Bruins. — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf and Stock, 2016.
  • Devoted To God : Blueprints For Sanctification / Sinclair B. Ferguson. — 1st-pb. — Edinburgh ; Carlisle, PA : Banner of Truth, 2016.
  • Searching For Adam : Genesis & The Truth About Man’s Origin / Terry Mortenson. ; William D. Barrick. ; Thomas J Nettles. ; Terry. Mortenson . — 1st-pb. — Green Forest, AR : Master Books, 2016.
  • The Works Of William Perkins : Volume 2 – Commentary on Galatians / William Perkins, 1558-1602. ; Paul M. Smalley. ; Joel R. Beeke, 1952- editor. ; Joel R. and Derek W.H. Thomas Beeke. — Reprint – hc. — Grand Rapid, Mich. : Reformation Heritage Books, 2015.
  • The Works Of William Perkins : Volume 3 – Commentary on Hebrews 11 / William Perkins, 1558-1602. ; Randall J. Pederson, 1975-. ; Joel R. Beeke, 1952- editor. ; Joel R. and Derek W.H. Thomas Beeke. — Reprint – hc. — Grand Rapid, Mich. : Reformation Heritage Books, 2017.
  • God The Son Incarnate : The Doctrine Of Christ / Stephen J. Wellum, 1964- , author. ; John S. Feinberg, 1946-. — 1st-hc. — Wheaton, Illinois : Crossway, 2016.
  • After Merit : John Calvin’s Theology of Works and Rewards / Charles Raith, II , author. ; Herman J. Selderhuis, 1961-. — 1st-hc. — Gottingen : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co., 2016.
  • Death and the Afterlife / Robert A. Morey, 1946-. ; Walter Martin. ; Roger Nicole. — 1st-pb. — Minneapolis, Minn. : Bethany House, c1984.
  • The Atonement of Christ. / Oliver B. Greene. — 1st-hc. — Greenville, S.C. : Gospel Hour, c1968.
  • Lectures in Systematic Theology : Volume I – Doctrine of God / Greg Nichols. ; Rob Ventura. — 1st-pb. — San Bernardino, CA : CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2016.
  • Who Made God? : Searching for a Theory of Everything / Edgar H. Andrews. — 3rd-pb. —  Darlington, England ; Carlisle, Pa : EP Books, c2009.
  • Luther and the Beloved Community : A Path for Christian Theology after Christendom / Paul R. Hinlicky. ; Mickey L. Mattox. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2010.
  • Doing Theology for the People of God : Studies in Honor of J.I. Packer / Donald M. Lewis. ; Alister E. McGrath, 1953-. ; J. I. Packer, (James Innell). — 1st-pb. — Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, c1996.

Practical Theology

  • Schooling The Preachers: The Development Of Protestant Theological Education In The United States, 1740-1875 / James W. Fraser, 1944-. — 1st-hc. — Lanham : University Press of America, 1988.
  • The Doctrines of Ministerial Order in The Reformed Churches of the 16th And 17th Centuries / James L. (James Lyon) Ainslie. — 1st-hc. — Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 1940 (Letis collection).
  • Endangered Gospel: How Fixing The World Is Killing The Church / John C. Nugent, 1973-. — 2016. — Eugene OR : Cascade Books, 2016.
  • Christ’s Under-Shepherds : An Exploration Of Pastoral Care Methods By Elders In The Christian Reformed Churches Of Australia Relevant to the Circumstances of Twenty-first-century Australia / Leo Douma. ; Graeme Chatfield . — 1st-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf and Stock, 2016 (Australian College Of Theology Monograph: Bible and Languages)
  • A History of Pastoral Care in America : From Salvation to Self-realization / Brooks. Holifield. — 1st-pb. — Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1983.
  • The Elder : Today’s Ministry Rooted in All of Scripture / Cornelis Van Dam, 1946-. ; Robert A. Peterson . — 1st-pb. — Phillipsburg, N.J. : P&R Pub., 2009.
  • The Deacon : Biblical Foundations for Today’s Ministry of Mercy / Cornelis Van Dam, 1946- , author.. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, MI. : Reformation Heritage, 2016.
  • Pastoral Ministry From A Covenantal Perspective : With Specific Application to the RCUS / Maynard Alan Koerner. — 1st-pb. — Lexington, KY : CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014.
  • Preaching With Balance : Achieving And Maintaining Biblical Priorities In Preaching / Donald L. Hamilton. — 1st-pb. — Fearn, Ross-shire, GB : Mentor, 2007.
  • For The Glory Of God : Recovering A Biblical Theology Of Worship / Daniel Isaac Block, 1943-. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Michigan : Baker Academic, 2014.
  • The Shepherd as Theologian / John MacArthur, 1939-. ; William D. Barrick. ; R. C. (Robert Charles) Sproul, 1939-. ; John MacArthur, 1939-. — 1st-hc. —  Eugene, Oregon : Harvest House Publishers, 2017.
  • The Quick-Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling : Personal and Emotional Issues / Timothy E. Clinton, 1960-. ; Ronald E. Hawkins. — 1st-pb. — Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2009.
  • The Family : A Christian Perspective on the Contemporary Home / Jack O. Balswick. ; Judith K. Balswick. — 2nd-pb. — Grand Rapids : Baker, c1999.

Periodicals (Old & New)

  • Comment (new)
  • Founders Journal (Calvinistic Baptist)
  • Reformed Journal (added some more missing years from a donation)

Literary Treasures from the Library of Congress Archives | Literary Hub

This week is National Library Week 2017 and special events are being held throughout the week throughout the country. One special place is the Library of Congress, where you will find all kinds of treasures (including special items relating to WW I).

Literary Hub pulled together some rarely seen treasures from the LOC and featured them in a post yesterday (April 10, 2017). That feature is related to a new book published by the LOC titled The Card Catalog: Books, Cards and Literary Treasures.

Below I post their introductory paragraph and one such sample pair. Visit the link at the end to enjoy the rest.

 

And to celebrate the week, don’t forget to visit your favorite local library. I stopped by the Georgetown one last night. Though a small community library, it is full of wonderful resources and events. Take your children or grandchildren and explore. It will make their day 🙂

In honor of National Library Week (April 9-15), we have curated a selection of rarely seen literary treasures from the Library of Congress Archives, from William Blake’s engraved prophecies to a first edition of The Fire Next Time. Each book cover is paired with its card from the Library of Congress card catalog. Some of these are hand-written, some are printed, and many are annotated by hand, reflecting the meticulous work and invaluable skills of generations of librarians.

Source: Rarely Seen Literary Treasures from the Library of Congress Archives | Literary Hub

Published in: on April 11, 2017 at 6:38 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Gospel of “Re-“, Rev. W. Langerak – April 1, 2017 Standard Bearer

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (April 1, 2017) is once again filled with interesting, instructive, and edifying articles, as you will see from the cover image below.

One thing to call attention to is the editorial by Rev. Ken Koole. In “Our Need for Seminary Students: Time to Be Praying” he points out with numbers that do not lie that the PRC is going to be in urgent need of candidates for the ministry in the near future. Especially parents and young men ought to direct themselves to that article, but all of us ought to be praying for the fulfillment of this need.

SB-April1-2017

The article to which I call special attention is the word study by Rev. W. Langerak. The striking title “Re-” tips the reader off that his subject is those words in the Bible that begin with “re-” – and as you will notice, there are many such words in God’s Word.

Pastor Langerak ties these words to the redemption Jesus Christ secured for His people on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that we will celebrate this coming Friday and Sunday, and you will readily see the connection to such words as reconciliation, regeneration, and reward.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from Re- – read and rejoice in which God has done through His Son!

The celebration of our redemption and resurrection in Jesus is a good time to remember the wonderful aspect of the gospel indicated by the prefix re- of these two words. Re- basically means “again” and denotes something repeated, returned back, or done intensely. Redemption, therefore, means “to be bought back” and resurrection “to be raised again.” And re- is one of the most common prefixes in Scripture, which shows the rich significance of “again” to the holy gospel. The gospel is the good news of re-.

Our Father has nurtured, raised, and stretched out His hand to rebellious (to war again) children, children who refused (give back as unwanted) to keep His covenant, hear His word, and obey His law, and rejected (to throw back) even His Christ (Dan. 9:9; Ps. 78:10, Hos. 4:6; Isa. 53:3). He came unto His own, but His own received (to take back) Him not (John 1:11). But the stone the builders reject and refuse, God makes the head of the corner (Ps. 118:22).

Through Christ, God gives us, therefore, the ministry of reconciliation (to bring together again)—that while we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God by His death and assured salvation by His life (Rom. 5:10, Ps. 118:22). Although sheep going astray, we are returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls and received back into His favor (L.D. 4; 1Pet. 2:25).

The gospel is that the Lord remembers (takes to mind again) His covenant forever, but remembers our sins no more (Ps. 105:8; Heb. 10:17). Although He be high, He has respect for the lowly (1Pet. 1:17). He regards the crying of His children (Ps. 106:44). He releases the captives from prison and feeds those who cannot recompense (to pay back) Him again (Luke 14:14). The Lord removes our sins, restores our soul, revives and renews our spirit, repairs our broken hearts, and regenerates (to be born again) us by the incorruptible seed of the Word unto a lively hope that always remains in us (1Pet. 1:3, 23; 1John 3:9).

M. Luther on Christ’s Sufferings

Luther-Christ-crucified

4. Fourthly, they meditate on the Passion of Christ aright, who so view Christ that they become terror-stricken in heart at the sight, and their conscience at once sinks in despair. This terror-stricken feeling should spring forth, so that you see the severe wrath and the unchangeable earnestness of God in regard to sin and sinners, in that he was unwilling that his only and dearly beloved Son should set sinners free unless he paid the costly ransom for them as is mentioned in Is 53:8: “For the transgression of my people was he stricken.” What happens to the sinner, when the dear child is thus stricken? An earnestness must be present that is inexpressible and unbearable, which a person so immeasurably great goes to meet, and suffers and dies for it; and if you reflect upon it real deeply, that God’s Son, the eternal wisdom of the Father, himself suffers, you will indeed be terror-stricken; and the more you reflect the deeper will be the impression.

5. Fifthly, that you deeply believe and never doubt the least, that you are the one who thus martyred Christ. For your sins most surely did it. Thus St. Peter struck and terrified the Jews as with a thunderbolt in Acts 2:36-37, when he spoke to them all in common: “Him have ye crucified,” so that three thousand were terror-stricken the same day and tremblingly cried to the apostles: “O beloved brethren what shall we do?” Therefore, when you view the nails piercing through his hands, firmly believe it is your work. Do you behold his crown of thorns, believe the thorns are your wicked thoughts, etc.

8. Eighthly, one must skilfully exercise himself in this point, for the benefit of Christ’s sufferings depends almost entirely upon man coming to a true knowledge of himself, and becoming terror-stricken and slain before himself. And where man does not come to this point, the sufferings of Christ have become of no true benefit to him. For the characteristic, natural work of Christ’s sufferings is that they make all men equal and alike, so that as Christ was horribly martyred as to body and soul in our sins, we must also like him be martyred in our consciences by our sins. This does not take place by means of many words, but by means of deep thoughts and a profound realization of our sins. Take an illustration: If an evil-doer were judged because he had slain the child of a prince or king, and you were in safety, and sang and played, as if you were entirely innocent, until one seized you in a horrible manner and convinced you that you had enabled the wicked person to do the act; behold, then you would be in the greatest straits, especially if your conscience also revolted against you. Thus much more anxious you should be, when you consider Christ’s sufferings. For the evil doers, the Jews, although they have now judged and banished God, they have still been the servants of your sins, and you are truly the one who strangled and crucified the Son of God through your sins, as has been said.

9. Ninthly, whoever perceives himself to be so hard and sterile that he is not terror-stricken by Christ’s sufferings and led to a knowledge of him, he should fear and tremble. For it cannot be otherwise; you must become like the picture and sufferings of Christ, be it realized in life or in hell; you must at the time of death, if not sooner, fall into terror, tremble, quake and experience all Christ suffered on the cross. It is truly terrible to attend to this on your deathbed; therefore you should pray God to soften your heart and permit you fruitfully to meditate upon Christ’s Passion. For it is impossible for us profoundly to meditate upon the sufferings of Christ of ourselves, unless God sink them into our hearts. Further, neither this meditation nor any other doctrine is given to you to the end that you should fall fresh upon it of yourself, to accomplish the same; but you are first to seek and long for the grace of God, that you may accomplish it through God’s grace and not through your own power. For in this way it happens that those referred to above never treat the sufferings of Christ aright; for they never call upon God to that end, but devise out of their own ability their own way, and treat those sufferings entirely in a human and an unfruitful manner.

Taken from Martin Luther’s sermon “Christ’s Holy Sufferings,” as found on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, where you find the following bibliographic material:

The following sermon is taken from volume II of The Sermons of Martin Luther, published by Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI). It was originally published in 1906 in English by Lutherans In All Lands (Minneapolis, MN), in a series titled The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther, vol. 11. The original title of this sermon appears below (preached by Luther approx. 1519-1521). This e-text was scanned and edited by Shane Rosenthal; it is in the public domain and it may be copied and distributed without restriction. Original pagination from the Baker edition has been kept intact for purposes of reference.

Spring-Break News from Seminary

It was a quieter than normal week around the Seminary as we enjoyed Spring break 2017. But that does not mean there was not work and activity going on.

Sunrise-April5-2017-2

Professors were present for meetings, study, and other office work. Some students came each day for study and special synod 2017 preparation (some of the seniors!). Staff was there to continue the daily office tasks (including work on the April Seminary Journal and the special evangelism/missions issue of the Standard Bearer coming up May 1!).

And I was able to get some library/archives/registrar work done too. Extra library and archives work, in fact, because I didn’t have all the normal interruptions that come with a regular school day.

GRLibrary-1

Kevin Rau (my able library assistant) and I even had time to take part of a rainy Tuesday for a “booking outing,” as we went to the historic downtown Grand Rapids Public Museum (cf. picture above) to browse their used sale book shelves (bought ten good books for the library for $10!) and take in their beautiful periodical room (see picture below).

After that we traveled to the Eerdmans Publishing building, where they also have a bookstore, including special 60-70-% off shelves. Those were our focus, as we scoured those volumes and picked up about 20 new (slightly blemished) ones for the library. And those I was able to catalog this week and prep for Kevin’s work in the library next Tuesday.

On Wednesday Bob Drnek came in for his usual archives help and we sorted through about 20 boxes of items that had been shipped to us from a family in Loveland, CO PRC. That is always a delight, and we were able to find some new treasures for the PRC archives (including more cassette tapes!) as well as some good used books for the students (which they always seem able to sniff out rather quickly!). We thank those who donate such items to the Seminary and the PRC archives. Don’t forget, we are always looking for items relating to our history!

Stump-grinding-April

In addition to inside work at the Seminary, this is the time of year when attention gets directed to the outside as well. We have been cleaning up the dead and storm-damaged trees and brush in the woods surrounding Seminary. Advantage Tree service cut down some trees last week and came back to grind stumps this week (cf. above picture).

New-Bark-April

And yesterday – finally a glorious day of sunshine! – our yard maintenance man, Brad Gritters and his helper, applied some fresh bark to the landscape. That always improves the look of our beautiful new landscape.

Thanks to all those who help maintain our seminary and make the building and grounds look so beautiful!

Yet nothing can top what the Lord of creation and providence does when He gives a gorgeous sunrise as He did one morning this week. I took the picture below and Google Photos gave it a slightly enhanced look. But it truly appeared as if the sky was on fire.

Sunrise-April5-2017

That’s the news from “seminary hill” for this week!

Published in: on April 8, 2017 at 10:32 AM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Archives – Adams CS Class of 1961

Recently a PRC member wanted some old pictures of Adams Christian School here in Grand Rapids (now located in Wyoming, MI), so I found the box of archived items on this school and she had some items scanned for her use.

AdamsCS-Spotlight-1961_0001

But left in the folder was a 1961 yearbook – the “Spotlight”, as it was called then. I browsed through it and found some interesting pages that I thought could be shared today here.

AdamsCS-Spotlight-1961_0004

For one thing, the dedication was a nice tribute to the work of Mr. Fred Hanko, as you will see from the above page.

AdamsCS-Spotlight-1961_0002

The mention of his coaching in various sports made me locate the sports team pages and sure enough, Mr. Hanko coached both the boys basketball and football teams.

Yes, FOOTBALL team! And to quite a successful season too – undefeated – and not by slim margins either (note those scores!)! I can’t imagine this was tackle football, so perhaps flag. Someone from Adams can confirm. But it brought back memories of the tumbling class Mr. Hanko taught us during gym class when I was at Hope school. That was a lot of fun!

You may also note some familiar names and faces on that basketball team – including a certain PRC minister of some stature (back row in the center). It seems that this team had it struggles on the court, but still counted it a successful season. Mr. Hanko taught them sportsmanship well.

AdamsCS-Spotlight-1961_0003

Now this last posted page is interesting too. I believe you will notice some familiar people on those intramural teams as well as on the “safety squad.” Can you guess what the latter group’s role was? And that teacher in the upper left-hand corner, I believe that is my former 4th grade teacher at Hope – Miss W. Koole, now in glory (along with at least one other in this picture).

What a blessing our Christian schools and teachers are!

Biblioteca Ets Haim – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Atlas Obscura

This fascinating little Jewish sect library in Amsterdam and its history was featured yesterday in the daily “Atlas Obscura” email. I think you will find it’s story unique and interesting.

Below is the brief summary and opening paragraph. Find the rest of the story at the link below. And be sure to take in the pictures!

In the late 1500s and early 1600s, as Sephardic Jews were establishing a community in Amsterdam, they founded a school for themselves that would become the oldest continuously operating Jewish library in the world.

Having been forced to live as Christians in their home countries, Spain and Portugal, Sephardic Jews arrived in Amsterdam with the promise of religious freedom. The school/library, Ets Haim (Hebrew for “Tree of Life”), was founded in 1616 to help the newcomers start living publicly as Jews again. Many had continued to practice their true religion in secret while living outwardly as Christians. Amassing the library allowed them to debate among themselves, after so long, what being Jewish meant.

Source: Biblioteca Ets Haim – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Atlas Obscura

Published in: on April 6, 2017 at 6:36 AM  Leave a Comment  

Now Batting: 14 New Baseball Books – The New York Times

Yes, it is the opening week of the Major League baseball season (in the U.S.)! And the now universally lovable winners – World Series champion Chicago Cubs – are set to defend their title (last night’s 2-1 game was a model victory – great pitching, superb defense, and timely hitting!)!

And it is Spring break week. So, we are going to have a mid-week breather from our usual fare and serve you the great American pastime – in books!

Just in time for the start of the season, The New York Times served up a menu of fourteen new baseball books, one of which is about the surprising turn-around of the Cubbies, featured at the beginning of this article by Daniel Gold. Whether that title becomes my summer baseball read or not (and there are several others out there on the Cubs’ amazing 2016 season, as you might guess, including some wonderful photo books),  there are good-looking baseball books here for all the die-hard fans.

Check out the books by browsing the article by Gold, the opening paragraph of which I quote below (click on the link with the image above for the full article and all the books).

Happy Spring! Whatever your hometown team is, have a great season! And yes, of course, Go Cubbies!

It happens every spring. It’s time to play ball, so publishers fill out a new lineup card of biographies, team histories and other baseball scholarship. This season must begin by acknowledging the surreality that after 108 years, the Chicago Cubs are again World Series champions. “The Plan” (Triumph, $24.95), by David Kaplan, is a chronicle of the project to turn “one of the worst organizations in baseball” into “a dynasty in the making.” Kaplan starts with the 2009 purchase of the franchise by Tom Ricketts, and the subsequent wooing of Theo Epstein, the general manager behind two titles for the formerly cursed Boston Red Sox. Chicago’s farm system is stocked and Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays manager, is signed ahead of the 2015 season. Add youngsters like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, and free agents like Jon Lester, and a long-losing club is finally No. 1. There’s too much front-office esoterica — one appendix lists clauses from rooftop-seating contracts for buildings around Wrigley Field — but Cubs fans won’t mind.

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 6:37 AM  Leave a Comment  

April Tabletalk: The Church in the Seventeenth Century

With the start of a new month, we take time to introduce you to the April 2017 issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries’ monthly devotional magazine.

The April issue continues Tabletalk’s series on church history, focusing this time on the seventeenth century. Editor Burk Parsons introduces us to this theme with his editorial “Every Thought Captive.” In part, these are his comments on this significant period of church history:

We rightly celebrate the lives and ministries of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Reformers whom the Lord used to help bring the church back to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Yet the Reformation did not end with the passing of the sixteenth century. The gospel seed planted by the fifteenth-century forerunners of the Reformation was watered and tended by the Reformers in the sixteenth century. However, it is in the seventeenth century that we begin to see the full flowering of Reformed doctrine, piety, and practice. During the seventeenth century, so much of what it means to be Protestant and Reformed was codified in the creeds and confessions that we affirm and confess today.

Rome was not built in a day, and neither was the confessional, Reformed, Protestant church. The faithful men and women of the seventeenth century continued the work of the sixteenth-century Reformers by bringing every doctrine, every practice, and every thought captive to the Word of God. May they serve as a model to us as we stand on their shoulders, holding firmly to the divinely revealed truths they faithfully proclaimed for the sake of Christ’s church, kingdom, and glory.

Dr. Nick Needham has the opening article, which is an overview of the entire period and an important one to read to get the “big picture” of what God was doing in His church during this age.

We link the complete article below but give you a section of it here – that on the confessionalism of this century. Here is what Needham has to say about this aspect of the history of the 17th century:

CONFESSIONALISM

For the English-speaking world, the seventeenth century bequeathed another legacy: the documents of the Westminster Assembly, which met intermittently from 1643 to 1653. Among its products are the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. These were the finest fruits of British Reformed theology at that time, and they have molded the thinking and piety of Reformed English speakers ever since.

Nor has their influence been confined to Presbyterians. When English Congregationalists adopted their own confession of faith (the Savoy Declaration) in 1658, it was a slightly modified version of the Westminster Confession. Again, when English Reformed Baptists in 1689 set forth their confession it was likewise Westminster slightly modified. The Baptists even went so far as to attach a preface stating they had deliberately embraced Westminster as an act of Reformed ecumenism. To this day, these confessions live on.

What he does not mention but which others do in this issue is the work of the Synod of Dordt against the Arminians and the adopting of the Canons of Dordt, another significant confession of this period.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the daily devotions continue with the Reformation doctrines theme, this month on the doctrine of salvation by grace alone – sola gratia!

Source: Overview of the Seventeenth Century by Nicholas Needham

Reset: Reality Check and Review – D. Murray

Reset-DMurray-2017A few weeks ago I first pointed to a new book from local author David Murray (Puritan Reformed Seminary) published by Crossway – Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture (2017).

I have been making my way through it, reading with profit and pain because Murray puts his finger on the problems we men get ourselves into before we “crash and burn” from overworking, stress, exhaustion, etc. In the first two chapters Murray calls us to pull the “car” of our lives into the “repair bay” for a careful checkup and diagnosis. Those chapters are titled “Repair Bay 1; Reality Check” and “Repair Bay 2: Review.”

That first chapter was especially revealing because Murray has you face several sets of soul-piercing questions about your life. Answering those questions is certainly a “reality check.” In the next chapter (“review”) he has us go deeper into the reasons why we so bury ourselves in our work, etc. Some of these reasons are theological, as the following quotes will show.

The first theological reason Murray has us face is the truth that we are God’s creatures, that is, finite, limited, dependent human beings. Here is what he says:

At the root of many of the issues we identified in chapter 1 is a wrong view of God. And it’s not just a slightly wrong view; it’s  a fundamental and foundational error, because it concerns the fundamental and foundational truth that God is our Creator. That’s the very first truth revealed to us in Scripture. And it’s first for a reason: if we go wrong there, we run the risk of going wrong everywhere else. Forgetting we are Christians has serious consequences, but so does forgetting we are human.

But then the author anticipates our objections, such that we say, “Of course I know that God is my Creator! Don’t insult my intelligence and my spiritual knowledge!” But as Murray points out, we are “creationists living like evolutionists.” Here’s how he explains that:

Lots of people call God Creator but live like evolutionists. It’s as if life is about the survival of the fittest rather than about living like a dependent creature – trusting our Creator rather than ourselves – and according to our Maker’s instructions.

To which he adds a great illustration and application:

How would you feel if you built a remote-control model car for your children, only to come home a few days later to hear that they had broken it trying to use it as a plane? You’d say, ‘I gave you a car, and I gave you car instructions; why did you ignore them and treat the car like a plane?’ Similarly, God has given us instructions about how to live as his creatures, as the finite body-and-soul beings he has made us to be. But some of us are trying to live as if we are infinite. It’s hardly surprising that we are breaking down [p39].

Good points to ponder as we start our work week.