Thursday, 19 November 2009

Across the ocean

In recent days I have tasted a little bit of American church life. My first weekend was spent in Detroit where I gave three addresses connected to Calvin (his views on the Lord's Supper, the doctrine of adoption, and the call of Abraham). The congregation belongs to the Free Church of Scotland and it values its connection to the spiritual heritage of the Reformation as it flowed to them through the stream of Scottish Presbyterianism. Needless to say, my wife and I felt very much at home in this congregation.

My next weekend was spent in Columbus, Mississippi, where my wife and I stayed at the home of David and Sheena Strain. David, who is now minister of Main Street Presbyterian Church there, was a fellow student with me and we stayed next door to them during our time at the Free Church of Scotland College. We had the privilege and pleasure of listening to David preaching twice on the Lord's Day, first from Romans 2 in the morning and then from Ruth 3 in the evening. His congregation welcomed us warmly and we were grateful to spend the Sabbath with them. I would urge you to listen to or read David's sermons here.

We are now in New Orleans where I am attending the annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting. I have met many friends whom I only see at this gathering and it is encouraging to discover how the Lord is enabling them to serve him in various theological institutions and missions. Yet this gathering is very diverse as can be seen from the various speakers and the wide range of topics published by Christian publishers. What struck me today as I listened to various speakers and noted some titles on display is how far evangelicalism is from the heritage of the Reformation. Of course, many would claim that evangelicalism has always had a very loose connection to Calvinism.

The distance is clearly seen in much contemporary Christian literature: such as in attitudes to the Bible (questions are raised in books regarding its inerrancy), in understanding of the worship of God (where it is assumed that he will accept all that is offered as long as it is wholehearted), in declaring his Word (preaching needs communication techniques, which is not very far from communication tricks) and so on.

Nevertheless I am enjoying my time in America.

1 comment:

Murray A Graham said...

Glad you are both having a nice time away. Just thought i would advise you to buy a brolly before you come back!! :)