Friday, December 14, 2007

God of the Sea

Last night Susan Hardman Moore (someone with whom we Conventiclers work very closely) presented a portion of her new book to a group gathered at New College, Edinburgh. The new book is called Pilgrims: New World Settlers and the Call of Home. It chronicles the compelling stories of those who migrated to the New World in the 1630s...and decided not to stay. For many different reasons, a great number of early puritan settlers in New England felt the 'call of home' and journeyed back to Old England.

As I read the prologue to the book (an account of Susanna Bell's journey to America and back to England), a quote struck me. As Susanna left the shores of her native England, surrounded by only water, she was overwhelmed:

'We were eight weeks in our passage, and saw nothing but the heavens and waters. I knew that the Lord was a great God upon the shore: but when I was upon the sea, I did see then more of his glorious power than ever I had done before...' (quoted from Susanna's deathbed speech. See p. 4 of Pilgrims)

The thought of being far from shore, heading to a world unknown, is daunting. But it is interesting that as the creation became more vast, so did their view of God.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Gadget Thursday

Okay, we don't really have a regular installment called New Gadget Thursday – but it's not a terrible idea, considering the day and age we live in.

This is a smartpen, made by a company called Livescribe. It will record a lecture while you write notes, and allows you to find different parts of the audio recording based on what you were writing at the time.

I'm starting to think tomorrow's classroom may look a lot different from today's. (I just hope there will still be a need for teachers!)

HT: Technology Review

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Maybe the best New Year's resolution I've ever heard ...

Tim Brister at Provocations and Pantings suggests we all make 2008 The Year of the Puritan. (Funny – that's exactly what we had planned here at the Conventicle!):

As the 2007 year is quickly coming to a close, I wanted to offer a suggestion for this upcoming year. That suggestion would be to get acquainted with the Puritans. Allow me to offer five brief reasons why I believe this would be a worthy thing for you to do ...

So allow me to offer three ways to greet the Puritans in 2008 ...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rutherford House Update: A Ten Point Summary

I just received in the mail the recent Rutherford House (RH) newsletter. As some of our readers have asked us questions about the future of RH, I've itemized ten significant changes that have or are taking place. Most of the following information was taken from the Spring 2007 and Autumn 2007 newsletters. All quotations are from the Autumn edition.

  • In August Dr Bob Fyall resigned as Director of RH to begin serving as Senior Tutor of Ministry at Cornhill Scotland. This was preceded by the retirement of two senior statesman: Mr Duncan Martin, a founding Trustee of RH, as Treasurer in January 2007 and Prof. David Wright as Chairman in March 2007. Each man served RH with distinction.

  • In October the Trustees sold the home base of RH at 17 Claremont Park. The new owners will take possession of the property on 31 January 2008. According to David Easton, Chairman of the Trustees, the capital sum from the sell of the property will "provide a solid financial basis from which to develop the work of the House." After 31 January, RH will move into a temporary office accommodation. Contact detail will however remain the same.

  • The work of RH is far from over. Easton sates, "...after much thought and prayer, we are of the view that Rutherford House still has an important role to play, and have approved a development plan." One key component is the appointment of a new director who will "contribute to and enable others in (1) promoting biblical, expository preaching; (2) supporting ministers in their teaching, evangelism and pastoral care; (3) working with congregations to help fulfil their mission in the context of rapid change; (4) liaising with academia." The post will be advertised in the near future.

  • Concerning the two journal publications of RH, the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology--an outstanding journal focusing on Scottish and Reformed theology--will continue to be published twice a year. To my knowledge, Dr Alistair Wilson, Principal of Dumisani Theological Institute, King William's Town, South Africa, will remain as the editor.

  • The Rutherford Journal of Church and Ministry--geared towards ministers, elders, and church leaders--will be discontinued. Continuation of this resource is pending the appointment of a new director.

  • Under McGowan's leadership, the Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference (EDC)--one of the premier international theological conferences--will continue to meet every two years.

  • The series of papers from the EDC will be made available from HTC. Recently, several papers were jointly published with Baker Academic (i.e. Justification in Perspective and Engaging the Doctrine of God). Given the excellent reputation of conference speakers, the pertinence of topics considered, and the high standard of scholarship reflected in the papers, I hope this will continue. However, the production and sale of literature (e.g. Rutherford Studies series) will be discontinued.

One board member recently encouraged me not to give up hope on the RH. The goals of 'Encouraging Effective Ministry' and 'Resourcing Biblical Ministries' are unquestionably the same, he assured me, but how they are achieved will undoubtedly change. The next few years will be crucial as the trustees seek to find a new director, redefine objectives, and plan for the future. Please keep this important ministry in your prayers.


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