Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama, Calvin, Fesko, and Lucas

A hodgepodge of things for today:

First, as I'm sure no one could have missed, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America yesterday. God commands that his people pray for the earthly leaders who have been set over them and promises that these prayers are pleasing to him (1 Tim. 2:1-4). When it comes to President Obama we might begin to wonder how we ought to pray for a leader who we may disagree with a number of important issues (particularly abortion). Ligon Duncan, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, answers that question. Further, Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers a prayer for President Obama on his inauguration that I think all Christians ought to be able to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, Westminster Seminary California has concluded their conference on the legacy of John Calvin. You can purchase the mp3 files of the conference from the WSCAL bookstore.

Third, some seminary news for you. John Fesko, who is currently the pastor of Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church outside of Atlanta and adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta, has accepted a position as academic Dean and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary California. Rev. Fesko is the author of Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine and Last Things First: Unlocking Genesis with the Christ of Eschatology. The former is a fantastic book on the doctrine of justification and I highly recommend it to everyone and particularly anyone who has questions about newer false views of justification as are articulated in the New Perspective of Paul and Federal Vision theologies. The latter book is an introduction to the theological issues that are raised in Genesis 1-3 (what Fesko argues should be classified as protology). This is a very good book that will definitely get you thinking. Further, just published this week was a book that Fesko co-edited with Bryan Estelle and David Van Drunen titled The Law Is Not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant. This is in a box waiting for me on my doorstep now so hopefully I'll be able to offer some thoughts on it soon.

Finally, I wanted to point you to some resources that have been made available by Sean Michael Lucas, Assistant Professor of Church History at Covenant Theological Seminary. Dr. Lucas wrote a book titled On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, and Stories. This book is the best introduction to Presbyterianism that I have read. I do not know if it is quoted in the book for Presbyterian Theology that I prepared for Sunday School but I can assure you that much of the reason that we focus on Presbyterian Theology as opposed to "Calvinism" or "Reformed Theology" more broadly is due to this book. I highly recommend it (Shady Grove PCA provides it to those who take the Inquirers' Class along with a copy of the Westminster Confession of Faith and a binder on practices at Shady Grove). At the Covenant Theological Seminary website you can now access powerpoint files to go along with this book. These might be helpful in reading along with the book. Dr. Lucas is also the author of a biography of Robert Lewis Dabney that is very good.

Hopefully another post later today.

1 comment:

Tom said...

One of the sad, sad things that I've experienced in recent years is the easy use of the word "hate" in reference to our political leaders. While this seems to have achieved a sort of 'off the chart' peak with our former President Bush, it was certainly also there from many concerning former President Clinton.

I am glad to see this reemphasis on the REQUIREMENT that Christians pray for their leaders. All of us should remember that our communal welfare rests with the successful efforts of the executive and legislative leaders placed over us. We may certainly pray that their actions be concordant with the word of God. And we may certainly regret those actions (such as Obama's this date regarding funding for organizations supportive of abortion). But this should simply cause us to redouble our prayers that God will guide him, and others in leadership positions, to a realization of the sin they are promoting.

Hatred of sin may be a fine position for the Christian. Hatred of one's fellow man is unacceptable.