A Trip to Pennsbury Manor

June 27, 2007

I was down in Pennsylvania this past weekend visiting a young lady I’ve been seeing and we went together to Pennsbury Manor, the home of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Penn (1644-1718) was the son of another William Penn who was an admiral in the British Navy and supported the return of Charles II as king to England. In payment for using Penn’s ships to return Charles, Charles gave all of the land known as Pennsylvania (and also at the time what is now Delaware) to the Penn’s to be settled. As long as it was named after Penn’s father (who had died at this time) it was agreed. Penn became the governor of the new Commonwealth. Penn was a Quaker (he was friends with George Fox the founder of Quakerism) who believed in the equality of all men under God. While he had his problems like the next man, he worked hard at establishing a democracy in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which means Penn’s Woods).

It was a fascinating look into the life of this figure. Here are some pictures below.

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Statue of William Penn

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Inscription under statue of Penn.

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Pennsbury Manor. William Penn’s home.


Late Entry to Lloyd-Jones Contest…

June 20, 2007

Mark Jones, who has an excellent blog on Thomas Goodwin, had a late entry for the Lloyd-Jones contest. Since I only got two entries originally I told him he could submit his to receive a copy of the Eusebeia  issue on Lloyd-Jones. Here is his entry below:

Standing in the Westminster Chapel pulpit where the ‘Doctor’ used to preach, I wondered what it must have been like to have sat in the rows listening to Martyn Lloyd-Jones thunder down (and up) to his hearers the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of hearing him preach, except on cassette tape which, still wonderful, can never replace the real thing. Lloyd-Jones’ influence on me, then, has come through his books; and what an influence they have been!

The very first words I read of Lloyd-Jones have remained firmly entrenched in my memory ever since.  It was when I read ‘To me the work of preaching is the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called’ that I realized the magnitude of the task to which I hoped to aspire. Those words are on the front cover of his wonderful book, Preaching & Preachers. In that book, the mind of the greatest preacher of the twentieth century revealed to me what preaching really is; it is a burden from God, a message that goes forth with authority that seeks ‘make alive’ both God’s Word and the sinner who hears the Word.  It is not lecturing or pulpiteering, but an organic display
of God’s power; a power that can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit.  And certainly that must be the principal reason for Lloyd-Jones’ effectiveness as a preacher.  In a day and age where there is much lecturing going on from the pulpits of today’s churches, I can’t help but pray that God would raise up many more Lloyd-Jones’ who can bring back to life the ‘art of prophesying’.

Besides the aforementioned book, the other work I wish to mention is Lloyd-Jones’ ‘spiritual classic’, to use John Stott’s phrase, Studies in the
Sermon on the Mount.  There is no other book on my shelves that has been read and re-read as that book.  It is worn, highlighted, and underlined from the first to the last page.  The reason for this has to do with both the style and the content.  As you will no doubt know, Lloyd-Jones had a very conversational way of writing (most of his books had been transcribed from sermons he had
preached).  I felt as if he was speaking directly to me.  There was none of the pedantic nonsense that we see from so many so-called books on theology. Instead, we had a man speaking in such a way that you couldn’t help but feel gripped by the insight of his words.  Lloyd-Jones doesn’t make his points as quickly as A.W Pink, for example.  But, like a true physician, methodically brings you to see the problem and solution.

I don’t always agree with Lloyd-Jones, but that’s what makes me so indebted to him.  He’s a man whose faults, and they are certainly there, are not hidden. But even amidst these faults, the graces and talents of this man stand even taller.  Oh that the Lord would raise up another Martyn Lloyd-Jones!

Thanks Mark for the great entry! Mark will receive the same issue that Crawford and Tim received earlier. Remember, if you are interested in receiving this issue of Eusebeia dedicated to the life and thought of Lloyd-Jones then please contact me. The issue is $10 CAD.


Happy Fathers Day (a little late I know…)

June 19, 2007

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I know I’m a day late but I thought it was appropriate to celebrate my father. My father, from whom I get my name, Allen, is definitely worthy of celebration. Is he perfect? No, but he is my father and he helped to make me who I am today.

My father taught me many things. From this picture you can see that I got a love of cars from my father. My father used to have all sorts of cars and he’ll often tell you of his 73 Duster that he had with headers and all sorts of things on it. He used to bury the needle on that thing! While today he might say I know more about cars than he does, my love for them and my knowledge of them comes from him.

My father also taught me that just because I didn’t do something the way he did it didn’t mean that was wrong. This was a valuable lesson growing up! Often times fathers can be domineering and can expect much more from sons than they can give. You frequently hear, “If you would have asked I would have told you how to do it right.” Not so with my father. He guided and coached me. He showed me how to use power tools for the first time (he has a love for woodworking!) and when I didn’t get it just right, he would just help me to do it better and allow me to make those mistakes.

My father though, even though we tease today about hugging each other and such, taught me the most important thing I could use for the future especially with the hope of having children, and that is, a father can show his love. I remember the way my father loved me growing up. He would play with me, let me help him wash his truck, drive us on vacation to Florida just after he had worked a full 8 hour afternoon shift at Ford, do all sorts of things. And I always knew my father loved me. He wouldn’t just say it, he would show it. Even now, while I am sure he thinks it awkward, he tells me he is proud of me and that he loves me. I treasure my father’s love and caring guidance.

You have to enjoy spending time with your father if you are going to go to seminary with them! While my father wasn’t saved growing up the Lord changed his heart when I was going to college. He sensed a call to the ministry and after 30 years of working for Ford Motor Company he went to pursue his M.Div. to become a pastor. What a privilege it was to graduate from seminary together (he with his M.Div. and me with my Th.M. in the same year!). We would sit in Greek together helping each other (although he would say I helped him more) and would laugh and learn together. We would have deep theological talks as we would grow in our theology. I know he would make a good pastor. Not from his theology, and not because he’s perfect, but because I have seen him live and I know he will be used by God to minister to a flock of His choice.

He sees the benefit of going to school together and being in the same career that I give him the best books for gifts (he got the new PNTC commentary on 2 Peter and Jude from me for Father’s Day)!

While I don’t live at home any longer, I cherish going home and just spending time with him. We talk, we laugh, we lay sod (on Father’s day weekend no less!). I would be privileged to serve along side of him one day in a ministry.

There is so much more I could say but words cannot express them. Suffice to say, I wouldn’t want any other father. The Lord has privileged me to have the father I do.

I love you dad.


Books on Spirituality

June 13, 2007

A growing area of important study in Evangelicalism is that of spirituality. We have fallen way behind others groups in developing a thorough doctrine of spirituality. Over at Reformation Theology they have laid out the top 10 books on piety, sanctification, and spiritual growth. I agree with each one they have listed and encourage you to read each one carefully!

You can find their list here. These works will give comfort to the soul, inflame a life of holiness, and persuade a more intimate relationship with God.


Lloyd-Jones (and others) on the Role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching

June 12, 2007

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The first time I read Lloyd-Jones was back in high school when sensing the call to the ministry a wise youth pastor put Preaching and Preachers into my hands to read. It was a worth-while book to read even though perhaps at the time I did not grasp all of the implications of Lloyd-Jones presentation.

Having since then spent some time in the pastorate and a lot of time in theological education, I have come to question Lloyd-Jones view on the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching. His references to “annointing,” “unction,” and “baptism of the Spirit” in the context of preaching have raised some theological eyebrows since my first reading of Preaching and Preachers.

I am going to post an article by my former pastor, and Professor of Practical Theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. David Doran related to this issue. The article, “The Role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching” (from the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal [Fall 1998]) critiques a number of preachers who have seen a special role of the Holy Spirit in preaching including Spurgeon, R. A. Torrey, and Dr. Lloyd-Jones. I think it is an article that faithfully shows the positions of each of them and then compares it to the biblical data.

What I would like is for those who may have read more of Lloyd-Jones than myself to read the article and let me know what they think about Dr. Doran’s argumentation about the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching specifically with reference to Lloyd-Jones thinking.

The article is found here. Please interact critically with the article. Perhaps we can start a good discussion over this much debated issue!


Lloyd-Jones Contest

June 11, 2007

Greetings,

It was unfortunate but I only had two entries for the Lloyd-Jones contest! It perhaps is indicative of the fact that I don’t have a lot of readers to my blog! But, since I usually get about 40 hits a day I would have figured that more people had been influenced by Lloyd-Jones. The first entry I received from Crawford Gribben who was formerly Lecturer in Renaissance Literature and Culture at the University of Manchester but who is now heading to Trinity College, Dublin. His entry is found below:

Martyn Lloyd-Jones died on my sixth birthday. I never heard him preach, though friends in our Brethren assembly had travelled long distances to benefit from his ministry of the Word of God, and Presbyterian friends in our town had known him intimately over several decades. I was in my late teens before I discovered that he had ever existed. But what a difference that discovery made! In a crucial period of my life, I turned again and again to Lloyd-Jones for encouragement, guidance and pastoral help. He helped me by pointing me back to the Bible.

When I think about my experience of the ministry of Lloyd-Jones, it’s hard to pick one title or one sermon that has made a particular impact. I can vividly remember reading his biography while on holiday in Ireland; reading his series of books on Romans as I rode on the bus to and from university; listening to his sermon on worship in 1 Cor 14:26 while driving back from church; and reading his book on Preachers and Preaching while learning what the source, duties and goal of Christian ministry might be. It’s hard to distinguish these experiences. But I think that’s the point. The texts and tapes made sense when they were combined together. The theology fed into the preaching, the preaching into the worship, and the life informed and was informed by it all. That’s what made sense of his ‘logic on fire.’

The other is not necessarily an entry per se but someone was recommended for the prize because of their work on Lloyd-Jones. Tim Ashcraft has written extensively on Lloyd-Jones on the blog TheoSource. His entries can be found in the following series, “Lloyd-Jones on Ministerial Reading”:

Read Scripture for Personal Nourishment

Storing up for Winter

Reading to Counter your Mood

Reading to Balance your Thinking

Summing Up

In hearing though of his awarding of a free issue, Tim provided me the following:

I had just gotten married when Dr. Lloyd-Jones went to be with the Lord. I had never heard of him and wouldn’t for several more years. I “stumbled” across his works in an unusual way – through reading homiletics. Long story, but the newer books I was reading kept referring to a book titled Preaching and Preachers, so I bought a copy and was blown away by this man’s handling of his subject. I obtained more of his books and the biography by Iain Murray, which I’ve read three times. I felt almost like I had known ML-J personally. His works have helped me through some doctrinal struggles, mainly God’s sovereignty in salvation and Keswick teaching. I’ve been glad to commend Lloyd-Jones to many friends, especially those in the ministry.

Both Crawford and Tim then will receive a free copy of the newest issue of Eusebeia: The Bulletin of the Andrew Fuller Centre for Reformed Evangelicalism dedicated to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I encourage you to read widely in the great corpus of works by Lloyd-Jones. He is continuing to influence many people even today! “He sleeps yet still speaks!”


Who Gets to Say…

June 8, 2007

Who gets to say they got to drove J. I. Packer home? What an incredible privilege I had to be able to drive home from a lecture, an evangelical giant, J. I. Packer. I was attending the annual Centre for Mentorship and Theological Reflection’s award ceremony last night at Tyndale University College in Toronto. One of our TBS students was receiving a Junior Scholar award (Justin Galotti!) as having promise for further theological education and J. I. Packer was also lecturing. My boss, Dr. Michael Haykin, was presenting the award to Packer so of course I would go.

Packer lectured on “Evangelicalism and the Future (Prospects and Problems).” It was a timely lecture in the world of Evangelicalism as we re-evaluate where we have been and where we are going. Packer identified Evangelicalism as a movement and as a people and discussed the growth of the Evangelical movement in the 20th century and the place of primacy in the religious world in the 21st century.

Packer noted a number of problems that we face as Evangelicals. Some are economic like poverty, climate change and the like. Some are cultural like the problem of postmodernism, rampant immorality, and others. He also mentioned political problems like the middle-east and the rise of Islam.

He offered two major goals we should have as Evangelicals today. Christ should fill all of our horizon. He is the supreme minister, the penal substitute, and the great Lord and God we should serve. When we are focused on the glory of Christ and reflect upon him, then we will make great changes in the world today. Secondly, a renewed focus on personal holiness is necessary in Evangelicalism today. We are all too often succumbing to an immoral world around us. We need to strive to live lives of holiness seeking to be honouring to the Lord we serve.

Overall, it was a tremendous evening. I hope to be as active as Dr. Packer at 81! I did not agree with everything Packer said (he is a firm advocate of the ecumenical movement and was disparaging of Fundamentalism) but I was definitely challenged by this man of God. Then I had the privilege of driving him to where he was staying for the night. We talked long about the Puritans, doctoral work, and just normal things like getting lost in Toronto (it’s easy to do!). Anyway, this was a key moment in my life when I got to interact on a personal level with this hero of mine.

If you are unfamiliar with Packer let me suggest 3 books to get you started by him.

First, the classic, Knowing God is a must. It is probably the book he is best known for. I remember receiving this book as a gift in college and devouring it!

Second, Keep in Step with the Spirit is also a must as we navigate the muddied waters of much of the abuse of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, as all good believers in the sovereignty of God should read, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God where Packer shows that believing in the sovereignty of God does not mean we must not evangelize. This was an eye opener for me in college.