The Laughing Theologian

It’s not often that the topic of humour is discussed in evangelical circles. I find, because I enjoy having a laugh and making others laugh, that I can be taken to be ‘anti-serious’. After reading this gem from Trueman I’m going to make sure I keep on laughing…!

Tony Reinke

truemanCarl Trueman, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Crossway, 2015), 198–199:

In general terms, of course, Protestant theologians have not been renowned for their wit, and Protestant theology has not been distinguished by its laughter. Yet Luther laughed all the time, whether poking fun at himself, at Katie, at his colleagues, or indeed at his countless and ever increasing number of enemies. Humor was a large part of what helped to make him so human and accessible. And in a world where everyone always seems to be “hurt” by something someone has said or offended by this or that, Luther’s robust mockery of pretension and pomposity is a remarkable theological contribution in and of itself.

Humor, of course, has numerous functions. It is in part a survival mechanism. Mocking danger and laughing in the face of tragedy are proven ways of coping with hard and difficult situations. Undoubtedly…

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Judson The Baptist

I’m currently reading through Adoniram Judson – A Bicentennial Appreciation of The Pioneer American Missionary by Jason G. Duesling. It’s a terrific read, giving good historical context to Judson’s decision in becoming a missionary and outline of his work and family.

He began his faith as a Congregationalist, coming from the house of a Congregationalist minister. But after working through the intricacies of being the first missionary with the denomination he became a Baptist while travelling from America to Burma. This certainly caused a bit of a stir at the time, as you could imagine.

In the 1913 issue of the Foreign Mission Journal there is mention of the presentation of the Judson Centennial fundraising movement at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. One statement recorded from the evening summarised the guidance Judson received from the Spirit and the Word.

The mighty significance of the Judson spirit is not the fact that when a missionary is left alone with his Bible he becomes a Baptist, but the significant thing is that when a Baptist is left alone with his Bible he becomes a missionary.

This is one of the great mission quotes, let alone one that inspires those who call themselves ‘Baptist’.

Adoniram Judson’s Courtship Proposal

AAJudsonAnn Hasseltine asked Adoniram Judson to write to her father and ask for permission in order to begin a courtship with her, this is what he wrote in July, 1810:

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next Spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home and died for fer and for you; for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God?

That is some proposition!

Ann’s parents ended up letting her make the decision. And in her journal she writes:

Jesus is faithful; his promises are previous. Were it not for these considerations, I should, with my present prospects., sink down in despair, especially as no female has, to my knowledge, ever left the shores of America to spend her life among the heathen; nor do I yet know that I shall have a single female companion. But God is my witness, that I have not dared to decline the offer that has been made me, though so many are ready to call it a “wild, romantic, undertaking”.

Jonathan Edwards On The Nature Of Conversion

Jonathan Edwards on conversion, in A Faithful Narrative of The Surprising Work of God:

These gracious discoveries given, whence the first special comforts are derived, are in many respects very various. More frequently, Christ is distinctly made the object of the mind, in his all-sufficiency and willingness to save sinners; but some have their thoughts more especially fixed on God, in some of his sweet and glorious attributes manifested in the gospel, and shining forth in the face of Christ. Some view the all-sufficiency of the mercy and trace of God; some, chiefly the infinite power of God, and his ability to save them, and to do all things for them; and some look most at the truth and faithfulness of God. In some, the truth and certainty of the gospel in general is the first joyful discovery they have; in others, the certain truth of some particular promises; in some, the grace and sincerity of God in his invitations, very commonly in some particular invitation in the mind, and it now appears real to them that God does indeed invite them. Some are struck with the glory and wonderfulness of the dying love of Christ; and some with the sufficiency and preciousness of his blood, as offered to make an atonement for sin; and others with the value and glory of his obedience and righteousness. In some the excellency and loveliness of Christ, chiefly engages their thoughts; in some his divinity, that he is indeed the Son of the living Cod; and in others, the excellency of the way of salvation by Christ, and the suitableness of it to their necessities.

Church Marketing in 1892

I’m slowly making my way through the reading of old church meeting minutes (as you do) and I’ve come across this entry in the Deacon’s Meeting on June 15, 1892:

“Resolved that Sunday services be advertised in (The) Age newspaper every Saturday.”

It seems that this is the first evidence of church public church marketing in this congregation. At a Deacon’s Meeting in on September 9 of the same year they extended this advertising to Mondays and Tuesdays too.

Fascinating.