Archive for February, 2008

The Hymns of Keith Getty

February 27th, 2008 Posted in Hymnody

One of my criticisms of contemporary worship music has been its failure to generally focus on the cross. This lack of crucicentrism is sad, given the priority that the cross of the Lord Jesus has in the Scriptures.

How encouraging then to be given this evening Modern Hymns Live: The Hymns of Keith Getty (2006). Wow! Here is fresh music for corporate worship that retains the riches of the Evangelical hymnody of the past—especially crucicentrism. This is rich. O for more hymnwriters like Keith Getty! Check out his website:

Thanks to a dear brother Chip Stam ( ) for the gift of this CD.

David F. Wright

February 19th, 2008 Posted in Church Fathers, Reformation

Dr. Ligon Duncan has a notice about the death of one of the great Reformed Patristic Scholars of our day, Dr. David F. Wright, Professor of Patristic & Reformed Christianity at the School of Divinity, the University of Edinburgh. I read Dr Wright’s article on Mat 28 just this past week, a superb piece as was the case with all the work he did. I have deeply admired him and his work. Praise to the Lord who gave him to the church. Thank you Ligon for this note.

HT: Justin Taylor.

Reading Week, February 1974–A Week Never to Be Forgotten

February 19th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

I was sitting with my daughter Victoria in a Second Cup café today partly because she has her reading week this week and some free time. As I was musing on reading weeks and their importance in the life of the student—and the teacher—I recalled a very important reading week thirty-four years ago. I find it hard to believe that so much time has passed, but it has.

It was the Sunday following the University of Toronto’s reading week of 1974. I was at the worship service of Stanley Avenue Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario. The preacher was a Welshman by the name of Davies—was it Elwyn Davies?—and he preached one of those Spirit-anointed sermons one never forgets, and which we need far more of these days, and then gave an “altar call.” Within a minute the front of the church was packed with thirty or so people, among them myself. I came forward to give my life to Christ.

Then later that week, in the privacy of my apartment, I gave myself unreservedly to the Triune God and knew what it was to be a Christian. When was the moment of regeneration and when the hour of conversion? I am not sure, but O how I wish I had lived up to the commitment I made then. But if I have failed the Lord, He has never ever failed me.

But, whatever my failings and sins, there has been no turning back. And that because of God’s grace. I would not have seen that then. But I sure do now: only divine grace can enable perseverance. Eternal praises to His Name!

Pray for Dr. Mohler

February 16th, 2008 Posted in Prayer

You who bow the knee and pray to the Living Christ, Lord of heaven and earth, our great High Priest, please remember our dear brother Dr Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who needs surgery to remove a pre-cancerous tumor in his colon. Dr Mohler has been a tremendous encouragement to God’s people as he has been at the forefront of a remarkable work of grace in our day. May we who have richly benefited from his ministry be an encouragement to him as we pray for restoration of health and strength.

George Adam Smith: Generous Orthodoxy in the 19th Century!

February 16th, 2008 Posted in 19th Century

I have long enjoyed reading the blog Free St. George’s. Here is a recent post that is so illuminating about Sir George Adam Smith (1856-1942), whom I would call a liberal, but who regarded himself as an evangelical and who delighted in the ministry of D.L. Moody. How can such things be? Read Book Review: ‘Fixing the Indemnity’and take note of these words in the review:

“Today we see history repeating itself. We fear that evangelicals who read little, particularly in the realm of history, are ill-equipped to handle the present crisis. Now those who read this blog are not in that category, so we recommend they buy the book, read it, and tell their friends what it contains.”

This is not an idle warning. All around us we see signs of Evangelicalism collapsing–and yet we despair not, for we serve a Sovereign God who can make out of stones voices of praise. And we that happening too–in the most unlikely of places God is raising up living stones for his praise and glory.

Reading Euripides

February 12th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

My son has been reading Euripides’ Antigone (442 bc) for an English class and he asked me to read the play so as to be able to help him think through some of the material. I must confess that I had never read Euripides before. It is a very powerful play, dealing with the central theme of the clash of personal conviction/conscience and state law.

What struck me at the time of reading it and afterwards is that there are a number of things here that help illuminate New Testament teaching. Humanity’s ability to master the animal world, noted by James in James 3:1-5, is paralleled by lines 381-395. The fact that the guards around Polyneices’ corpse will suffer if they allow anyone to creep up and bury the body illuminates what is happening in Acts 12:19 regarding the guards killed by Herod.

And the overall themes of honour and shame (in this case, the disgrace of being bested by a woman), hybris, andthe importance of not violating one’s conscience, these are great perennial themes dealt with by holy Scripture and need to inform any student of God’s Word.

Teachability: Part of True Mentoring

February 12th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

What happens in the mentoring process, be it pastoral or academic? It is not the case that the person being mentored is totally passive and the mentor has all of the answers. Rather, a true mentoring experience is one in which there is a subtle interplay between teaching and learning on both sides. In the true mentoring experience the mentor also experiences what is to be a learner. And being a learner, summed up by that exquisite word “teachability,” lies at the heart of what it means to be a true leader.

When Wrong Is Honoured As Right

February 12th, 2008 Posted in Current Affairs

Darrin Brooker, a very close friend, alerted me to the fact that it has been suggested that Dr. Henry Morgentaler be awarded the Order of Canada. I was personally deeply distressed by this, for this man has made it his life’s goal to promote abortion throughout this fair nation—which is nothing less than the slaughter of countless innocents—and we are considering honouring this man with one of our nation’s highest honours!

I love our country and have been greatly exercised by the way what is wrong has been promoted as a good and what is good has been treated as a merely cultural artefact and outmoded. Goodness never goes out of style; and what is wicked does not change its hue because of a different cultural scene.

There is a poll that The Globe and Mail is conducting regarding this—please take the time to register your opinion:

What If the English Reformation Had Never Happened?

February 10th, 2008 Posted in Reformation

In a recent review of Bill Griffeth’s By Faith Alone: One Family’s Journey Through 400 Years of American Protestantism (Harmony, 2007), Chris Scott notes Griffeth’s assertion that his family roots, which are among the New England Puritans and their journey from England to America, would “never have happened if Henry VIII’s request for a divorce had been granted’ [“Religion: Faiths of the Forefathers”, Bookpage (January 2008), 30]. In other words, if Henry VIII had been able to coax Pope Clement VII (Pope, 1523-1534), the grandson of Lorenzo the Magnificent, into giving him a divorce then the English Reformation would not have taken place.

This is an intriguing thought—one of those that delight those who enjoy the pastime of reading of alternative histories. It is like the question: What if JFK had never been assassinated? Or this one: What if Hitler had invaded England in 1940? This Reformation alternate history then is this: Was the English Reformation so dependent on state support that if Henry had not gone into schism over his desire for a new wife, then the Reformation would have been stillborn?

Any close study of the period I think would reveal that men like William Tyndale would have pursued their programme for Reform—could the Reformation have succeeded, though, without state support? And if Henry had stayed within the orbit of Rome, would his children have done the same? It might be the case, that what might have been produced would have been the Reformed Church the Puritans longed for—in which case there would have been no need for the Puritans to venture overseas.

But this is not what happened. Clement stalled for time, not wanting to alienate either Henry or the nephew of Catherine of Aragon—Henry’s wife—who was Charles V, before whom Luther stood at Worms and who genuinely scared the Pope. And in the providence of God there was a Reformation in England—and how thankful we are to God for such. Whatever England may be now, her sons and daughters were once at the cutting edge of the advance of the Kingdom of God in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. And their American evangelical cousins performed a similar service in the twentieth century and are still, by God’s grace, at the heart of the expansion of that Kingdom. Long may it be so!

A Stunning Case of Historical Ignorance!

February 6th, 2008 Posted in 20th Century

According to a Fox News passed on to me by a friend, “1 in 4 Britons Think Winston Churchill Never Existed”! I know—it sounds ludicrous! One of the most powerful memories of my childhood in England was Churchill’s funeral—I can almost see the headlines now announcing his death. What are we coming to? If this is an accurate assessment of the state of historical ignorance, it is no wonder tripe like the Da Vinci Code seems plausible to so many. This is one of the key reasons for studying and teaching history: there is so much bad history out there. And the idea that Churchill never existed is bad history at its worst!