The last two weeks have been pretty hectic. I’m hoping to grab some time to write a piece on PT Forsyth, the continuing saga of the URC website and begin a series on how Madagascar has influenced my ministry. For now, here’s a quick post to give an idea of what I’ve been up to in the last couple of weeks.
The country is moving quickly towards civil war. The army has involved itself and has given deadlines to the disputing factions. Tanks have moved into the capital overnight. It’s not looking good. More here.
The elders’ meetings of Hall Gate and Intake are looking at their roles. That means I’ve been hitting the books to see the development of eldership in the Reformed churches. That meant reading John Calvin and the Draft Ordinances for the church at Geneva: “The Elders’ office is to have oversight of the life of everyone, to admonish amicably those whom they see to be erring or to be living a disordered life and where it is required to enjoin fraternal corrections themselves and along with others.”
I preached at a Churches Together meeting on the Kingdom of God. This Sunday I’m preaching on Mark 13. That’s meant a solid period of study on issues of the end times. I don’t have to worry about members of my churches drawing up Tribulation countdown calenders or scouring the newspapers for signs of the end. What I do have to do is to ensure they’ve not lost hope that Christ will return and make all things new.
Finally picked up a copy of Recovering the Reformed Confession by R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California. It wasn’t written for the likes of me, its primary audience is for those in the Reformed denominations in the States that still hold to the classic confessions such as the Westminster Standards. His concern is that they’re not being true to what it means to be Reformed.
The United Reformed Church in the UK is a pretty good example of what happens to a church when its confessions are thrown away. I’m really worried about the ahistorical nature of my denomination that has sacrificed the wisdom of our forebears on the altar of subjective experience (eg. Don’t call God Father because I had a bad experience as a child. Re-baptism is ok because I want that big ceremony. Things have moved on – we’re more enlightened than those Reformers. etc, etc, etc,)
Also reading The Peacemaking Pastor, continuing slowly through Calvin’s Institutes and the first three Rebus novels by Ian Rankin.