Sunday, January 22, 2012

Xmas Only 344 Days Away

Although it seems increasingly likely that I will never be able to take advantage of its precepts, no request for an engagement of lay preaching having been received by me, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones’ book Preachers and Preaching has been for me a greater blessing than any of his publications except Spiritual Depression, and is one of the great Christian books of the Twentieth Century. By seeing what a preacher should be trying to accomplish in the pulpit, the layman learns how to hear and understand that which is being done.

I have sometimes wondered how one would give this book to a minister as a gift without giving offence. Would it not be like giving him a book entitled How to Start Giving Good Sermons, And The Sooner The Better?

Well, now there is a way. Zondervan has just published a 40th anniversary edition of Preaching & Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This classic book on containing the original text along with reflections by six well known American preachers, John Piper being the one most familiar to me. It is available at a price very reasonable for a Christian book these days, $13.79, from Westminster Books, which advises us by way of a bright red banner that it is “Now Shipping to Canada”. Sample pages from the book may be found
. You can explain to your pastor that you're sure that his copy of the book must be worn and dog-eared and that you thought he might appreciate having this anniversary edition, little though he himself might need it.

I. Packer said of Lloyd Jones that he had "never heard such preaching”; it came to him "with the force of electric shock, bringing to at least one of his listeners more of a sense of God than any other man."

(h/t Desiring God)

An aside: ignore what Lloyd-Jones has to say about Stanley Baldwin in the sample pages linked to. Lloyd-Jones was a Welshman and never lost his disdain for English politics and political figures, despite his long ministry in London. Baldwin was in fact the first English politician to master the medium of radio, giving popular fireside chats well before Franklin Roosevelt gave his more famous ones.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Abhorring a Vacuum

The U. S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops has sponsored a
promoting traditional marriage and warning of the growing threat to religious freedom created by the state’s insistence that same-sex marriage be treated as equivalent to traditional marriage for all purposes. The letter itself is sensible in downplaying the possibility that ministers will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. That is not a realistic possibility. The real threat is interference through so-called “civil rights” laws with churches’ secular activities of all kinds:
Religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex "married" relationships. Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex "spouses. "Religious employers would also face lawsuits for taking any adverse employment action—no matter how modest—against an employee for the public act of obtaining a civil "marriage" with a member of the same sex. This is not idle speculation, as these sorts of situations have already come to pass.
It’s good to see churches being able to come together across denominational lines for joint actions such as this. The UCCB press release says:
Signatories include leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, and Pentecostal communities in the United States. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was one of the four signing Catholic bishops.
Anglican? What are the Anglicans doing signing this? Everyone knows that the Episcopal Church doesn’t support anything that isn’t endorsed by the New York Times editorial board, the Socialist Party of America, or preferably both. At the moment they still officially believe in traditional marriage, but that’s with a nudge and a wink.

Looks like the Catholics didn’t bother with TEC. The “Anglican” signature on the letter is that of the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America.

This should not be taken as tantamount to “recognition”by the Roman Catholic Church or anything like that, but is a promising development nonetheless. Because there’s a vacancy in the Orthodox Christian team. There’s only 8 players in place on the diamond, only 10 defenders on the gridiron, only 4 cagers on the parquet floor; nobody is occupying the position of “Anglicanism”. There’s no official voice emanating from TEC speaking for orthodox Christianity as it has been understood, well, forever. So long as ACNA can stay united it can be sucked up by that vacuum -- which is good, because that can make it, for orthodox Christians, the true voice of Anglicanism in North America.