Saturday, January 30, 2010

Books and Coffee Beans

"You've got to create a space in which reading can take place, where you have your stuff."

Here is a great little video tour of Dr. Al Mohler's personal library. When I was a student at Southern Seminary, I got to see his library, but since that time, much work has been put into arranging and cataloging it. In the video he provides a great tip for keeping your books in their best shape, which consists of keeping roasted coffee beans in the study! He also provides a great summary towards the end of the importance of the pastor's library and the conversations it provides the pastor with theologians from today and from the past.

Al Mohler - Study Video from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

[HT: James Grant]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tribute to a Godly Wife

Many people are aware of the famous Confederate officer Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. He is known for his bold stand at the first battle of Manassas, which earned him his nickname "Stonewall." He was known for bold maneuvers that allowed him to defeat much larger armies with his smaller "Stonewall Brigade." He was known for striking fear in the enemy as he often gave the command for his forces to "Give them [the northern invaders] the bayonet," and to scream like furies when they engaged in battle.

But many are unaware of the tender, human side of Jackson and the importance of his Christian faith in shaping his understanding of duty and honor. Well in a book I just picked up the other day in the Jackson museum on campus at the Virginia Military Institute, one finds that it was his wife Mary Anna Morrison Jackson that played a huge role in shaping who Jackson was. In Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife, provides this tribute to Mrs. Jackson:

Any portrait of Jackson would be woefully incomplete without giving full understanding to the depth of his love for Anna Morrison Jackson. such a portrait would be missing his heart. The Thomas-Anna relationship . . . [was] a central and vital web in the tapestry of his soul. . . . For Jackson, Anna was a living and breathing example of God's goodness and beneficence, of the absolute beauty of life on this earth, of the piece of God's plan that allowed for happiness and fulfillment in this life. Anna not only shared his faith, she epitomized his faith, she sweetened his faith. . . . Her presence in his life brought balance. Her influence and guidance did not inhibit the qualities that made "Stonewall" Jackson a warrior among warriors, but greatly enhanced the virtues that made Thomas Jackson a man among men.

One can see this in Jackson's own words in a letter he wrote to Mary Anna on April 25, 1857:
In my daily walks I think much of you. I love to stroll abroad after the labors of the day are over, and indulge feelings of gratitude to God for all the sources of natural beautywith which he has adorned the earth. Some time since, my morning walks were rendered very delightful by the singing of the birds. The morning carolling [sic] of the birds, and their sweet notes in the evening, awaken in me devotional feelings of praise and thanksgiving, thought very different in their nature. In the morning, all animated nature (man excepted) appears to join in expressions of gratitude to God; in the evening, all is hushing into silent slumber, and thus disposes the mind to meditation. And as my mind dwells on you, I love to give it a devotional turn, by thinking of you as a gift from our Heavenly Father. How delightful it is thus to associate every pleasure and enjoyment with God the Giver!
Among the many things that strikes me about the correspondence I have read thus far, is the reality that these gentle and tender words and praises are coming from a man among men. It is instructive to read how this fierce warrior was not ashamed to express himself so openly to his bride and leaves me to wonder what Mary Anna was like to be able to have such an effect on this "Stonewall."

But equally striking is how Jackson is so completely devoted to his bride. Jackson's love and devotion provides a good picture of what Paul tells us of the love between Christ and his church in Ephesians 5.25-30,
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.
May there be such tribute given to all the wives--and might all the husbands promote such love and thankfulness as well.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Conference on the Lord's Supper

The Institute for Reformed Worship of Erskine Theological Seminary in cooperation with Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA will host a conference on “The Lord’s Supper in Reformed Faith and Worship,” Feb 4-5. Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old will give three lectures dealing with Calvin and Knox on the doctrine and administration of the Lord’s Supper:
  • Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper, Thursday, February 4, 2010, 4:00 p.m.
  • Calvin's Celebration of the Lord's Supper, Thursday, February 4, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
  • John Knox and the sign of the Table, Friday, February 5, 2010, 11:30 a.m.
Dr. Terry Johnson, Senior Minister of Independent Pres will deliver a lecture on "The Theology of the Lord's Supper and Its Administration" on Friday, February 5, 2010 at 9:00 a.m., and Ron Parrish, Associate Pastor of Independent Pres will deliver a lecture on "John William and the Evangelical Use of the Lord's Supper" on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. The cost is $75. For more info click here.

This should be a great conference. Unless something miraculous happens I will not get to attend, so I certainly hope they make recordings available.