Thursday, April 26, 2007

My MBTI Score

I wanted to record my Myers Briggs an test again in the future
I ended up INFP
Slight I- Clear N- Slight F- Slight P

"Idealistic- loyal to values and to people who are important to me- want an external life to be congruent with my values- curious- quick to see possibilities- catalysts for new ideas- seeks to understand people and help tghem fulfill their potential- adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened"

Introverted-focuses on inner world
Intuitive-focus on future and possibilities
Feeling-values person centered decisions
Perceiving- flexible and spontaneous- prefer to keep options open.

Princeton and Witherspoon- Grandeur and Glory

Dr. John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794) became the 6th President of Princeton and was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of New Jersey. He was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration- causing King George III to call it “The Presbyterian Parson’s War”. Horace Walpole is quoted as saying “ Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson”.

Recruited for two years, the reluctant Witherspoon stepped ashore on Aug 7, 1768.-He was a heavyset man of 46, with wife and 5 children and 300 books.

Princeton’s condition was poor. It was potentially bankrupt and struggling with all of the tragedies it had endured in the first years. Under Witherspoon finances, faculty, and student body increased.

He introduced lecture as a teaching method and he purchased a mechanical model of solar system. He also introduced the philosophy of Common Sense Rationalism from Scotland.

“It is always safer to trace true facts upward, than to reason downward from metaphysical principle” Witherspoon

Witherspoon’s vision was to produce consecrated Christian students with an integrated and thoroughly Biblical world view. “Our faith is the grand concern to us all- whatever our calling or profession”

He also held onto the philosophy that learning without piety is ruinous to us and pernicious to others.
In the late 1700's, the Princeton campus was ripe with revolution.

Witherspoon had a helpful sense of humor. He suffered from insomnia, and his tendency to drowse, particularly after dinner, led him, during one of the two terms he served in the New Jersey legislature, to move that the daily sessions be concluded before dinner. When his motion lost, he informed his colleagues that ``there are two kinds of speaking that are very interesting . . . perfect sense and perfect nonsense. When there is speaking in either of these ways I shall engage to be all attention. But when there is speaking, as there often is, halfway between sense and nonsense, you must bear with me if I fall asleep.'

Princeton produced 114 clergy during his administration of 26 years.
Other grads founded ten colleges- 13 became college presidents- 1 president of US (James Madison)- 1 VP- 9 cabinet officers- 21 US senators- 3 supreme court justices- 12 state governors- 39 judges

Example of student Asbel Green- faith was shaken by Deism- under teaching of Witherspoon- “ These advocates (of false ideas and heresy) show us what are the dictates and legitimate conclusions of human reason, but when we become satisfied that we find God Himself impressing His signet on His own word, there is an end to all doubt and distrust”

He later said that he owed “whatever of influence or success” to Witherspoon- He also said in his valedictory address- … on roads to fame or wealth. If you wish to do good, and prefer approving conscience, I have no hesitation in saying that you ought to preach the gospel”

Witherspoon's later years were filled with difficulty. The college had suffered extensive damage to its building and instructional equipment, and its finances were in disarray due to damage from the battle of Princeton in Rev. war. Two years before his death he became totally blind- though he continued to preach. His wife died in 1789, and a second marriage in 1791 to a young widow of twenty-four occasioned more than a little comment. Through these later years his son-in-law, Samuel Stanhope Smith, increasingly carried the responsibility for conduct of the College's affairs.

Thank God for great men like John Witherspoon!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lessons from Princeton- Perseverence

The Fertile Soil and Frightful Tragedies

Plowing of fallow ground – America at the end of the 18th century had lost some of its spiritual passion. Some have called this a "Spiritual Dullness" that was characterized as boredom with Gospel. God's grace poured out on this apathy in a controversial movement that we now call the 1st Great Awakening.
During this time, Princeton was in its infancy.
During the fall of 1739 the college was a log house containing 7 or 8 worthy ministerial candidates. George Whitefield visited them and wrote that they were "almost ready".

“The devil will certainly rage against them; but the work is of God and will not come to nought” George Whitefield

Good Providence and Problems at Yale-
The revival had a lot of fallout. David Brainerd was expelled at Yale for “intemperate, indiscreet zeal”. This mis-step was sovereignly used by God to ready men for change.
It caused Jonathan Edwards and others to begin the plan that became Princeton.

New Jersey College received its charter from the Governor on Oct 22- 1746. The intial board of trustees consisted of 4 ministers and 3 laymen of the Presbyterian Church- all but one was a Yale grad.

NJC (Princeton) was modeled after the English dissenting academies:
Emphasizing religion, math, English
Encouraging scientific research- "confident in its ability to reveal truth".

The original mission of the college was to raise up ministers AND men that will be useful in other learned professions. The graduates would become "ornaments of the State and Church".


The school had 8-10 students in 1st year. The 1st President died 41/2 months later. Aaron Burr took over and was frequently visited by Jonathan Edwards and Whitefield. Burr died at 41- the job of teaching, administration, and fund raising put him in his grave.

The next day the trustees picked Jonathan Edwards- Jan 1758- He died in March 1758 of a small pox vaccination. They loved him much and encouraged the vaccination to preserve him.

The school then chose Samuel Davies in May 1759, but he died in 1761 on pneumonia at age 37.

The college became dismayed and “spread a gloom all over the country”.

The hard times were about to turn, however, as John Witherspoon reluctantly agreed to take over the struggling school.

Lessons from Princeton Seminary

There was a time in out nation when Princeton Seminary was the strongest voice of Biblical balance and gospel power. I have recently finished volume 1 of the History of Princeton by Covenant Theological Seminary Professor, David Calhoun. It is a masterful and enjoyable work!

What happened?

How does an institution slide into a sea of liberalism and decay?

My next few blogs will consist of notes from this amazing body of work!

Princeton University is a coeducational private university located in Princeton, New Jersey. By most standards, it is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S.(1746) and is one of the eight Ivy League universities. Established by the "New Light" Presbyterians, Princeton was originally intended to train Presbyterian ministers- Wikipedia

Various Quotes and Reactions:
“From 1812 – 1929, Princeton Theological Seminary presented a coherent, continual effort to teach and practice what the Princetonians believed was historic Reformed Christianity. In this they were, in my opinion, successful.” David Calhoun, Covenant Seminary

“They taught theology as they found it in the Bible” and it honored the faith and findings of Augustine, Calvin, and the Westminster Standards. They not only taught it- they lived it. They may have made mistakes, but they stood squarely in the great stream of historic Christianity and orthodox Calvinism.

Quote on Princeton’s Teachers:
These men were not all alike, but they spoke the same thing and there were no visible divisions among them. Their unity was a product of their closeness and their common spiritual faith.

Monday, April 16, 2007

How You See Me Matters to You

As I read the many glorious rich verses in the Bible, I am overwhelmed by all the gifts of the New Covenant. He gives me a new heart, proper fear of God, true understanding of my nature and the meaning of the cross. God bought that for me. It was designed for me, and many others who He has called.

I am swept up in a glorious design of God decreeing – “I will be their God and they will be my people” which is the theme of the New Covenant.

I partake in a glorious sacrament that is the blood of the New Covenant- the sacrifice of Christ.

I boldly proclaim these things in true humility. How? It is all about the glory of Him. In my pride, I can be humiliated in that I truly view myself in my arrogance, my sin, my wretchedness- but point to the Sovereign Lord and His glorious Son Jesus Christ, the Savior.

This message is foolishness for so many. There is nothing I can do for you to see it in any other way. Some in the world look on me in mockery. I am silly. “What a fool this man is”. They mock my Father with twisted humor in a thunderous applause of an entourage of sneering onlookers.

Some look on me in anger. How dare I be so intolerant and disgusting? How dare I say I believe in the violent and oppressive and dogmatic message of Christianity.

Some look in pity, some in disbelief. And some don’t think of me at all.

I can’t change how you look on me….. but God can. God can open the eyes of your heart that you see Him in all His truth and all His glory.

And once you see Him in His truth, you will see me accurately. You will learn to love Him and you will begin to love me.

The final point is that it doesn’t offend me that you see me in such a poor light. All that matters to me is how God sees me. And His Bible tells me that He sees me as His adopted son. He loves me. He purchased me as one who has infinite value.

In Christ, I have an impeccable record in God’s eyes.

I want so badly for God to see you that way too. May God give you repentance and faith in Him today. Read the Bible and plead for the True God to save you – even now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Problem in the Church and The Pain of a Nation

Is there a problem in Christ’s Church today? No doubt there is discord in the visible church. There are many vacant Pastorates and congregations rife with split potential.

How completely different from the Scriptural mandates to love, serve, forgive, and bear with one another.

But on another level are we missing the Biblical message? What is the church? Or better yet, “WHO” is the church? The basic message of the New Testament is that God dwells no longer in buildings, but in His people.

II Peter 2 says, “1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Notice all the messages we miss:
Put away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and ALL slander. To put it away admits that it is present. Churches today have many of these evils. Notice that these basically are a part of man to man problems.

I imagine that some of these congregations have good attendance, and good giving, and good worship and good preaching – but they tear each other apart.

“Like newborn infants” seems to refer back to our Lord admonishing us to become like children if we want to enter the kingdom. It speaks of our need for humility and dependence. It encourages us to almost be na├»ve in our ability to accept our brothers and sisters.

“Long for the pure spiritual milk” seems to speak of our need to thirst for Christ and His truth. We do not know it all. We need to hang on the preaching and be eager to do it.

“Living Stones”- I wonder if Peter flashes back to the Savior telling him that “on this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”? Christ is the builder, we are the stones- living stones. Sturdy and reliable.

We are poor building material today. We are soft and seem to crumble in adversity. Pain produces profundity. Trials temper steely character. We cry at the least discomfort.

Have you read lately some of the comments of our church fathers? Can you hear the strength of their character?

Martin Luther to Phillip Melancthon during a daily crisis: “You are worrying yourself sick because you cannot know how or where it will all end. But were you able to understand it all, then I would have nothing to do with this cause!”

John Calvin: “But when I remember that I am not my own, I offer up my heart, presented as a sacrifice to the Lord” (1541).

Have you become weary of the Church?

I challenge you to start today to become one living stone and let God build the church on you.

When Jesus promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail, do you understand that it is hell that is on the defense there? Gates were defensive. When the church puts away malice, becomes childlike, longs for spiritual truth and grows- it knocks the devils down flat.

Oh Lord Jesus Christ, build me into a battering ram TODAY! AMEN!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter- A Holy and Happy Delight

On Good Friday- I played golf to the glory of God and had a great time! It snowed!

On Saturday- I tilled a garden to the glory of God. I froze!
On Sunday- I will worship the living creator and my Savior on the most holy day!

Whether I play, pray, or plant - I can glorify my God.

Holiness implies being set apart for God.

I live a happy and holy life because of my Savior! It is a celebration!

The Old Testament was filled with water and unleavened bread- a great trainer to God's high standards.
Jesus turned the water into wine!
The New Testament is a celebratory feast!

Because of Jesus- we dance. Death is conquered- THERE IS NO FEAR!


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quarter - filled Cups of Coffee

Quarter - filled Cups of Coffee

”I have measured my life in coffee spoons” -Prufrock
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What advantage does a man have in all his work which he does under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 1: 2,3

Quarter - filled cups of coffee,
Shadowed stains below the band.
Cooled liquid, thick and soiled,
Etched foam, marked by hand.

Appearance of apparent progress,
Concrete marks of constant time.
Accompanied by piles of paper,
Crumpled calendars, plans sublime.

Of what reward do hours meed?
Riches and honor untold?
What state does watched time translate?
Unused potential to save and hold?

Three - quarter empty cups of coffee,
Symbols unfinished and undone.
Epochs spent on early ambition,
Numerous laps short, the race not won.

Lurking depths of unrequited desire,
Taciturn anger behind the smile,
Endless action churning piles of perception,
Steps no closer to the next mile.

Will the minutes always last?
What price is one to pay?
When activity is ambiguous and prostituted
and success is a shade of gray.

The trap has sprung inescapable.
The suction stronger than my will.
No one there to loose or care,
Fractions of effort to close the sill.

Those dreams seem marathons away.
No tunnel light, no ray, no rule.
Only a vast wasteland of utopian ideas and funny ambition.
I laugh at myself - the fool.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Pain of the Profound

“David must have been plagued by a very fearful devil. He could not have had such profound insights if he had not experienced great assaults.” Martin Luther

We have many in my midst today struggling with the sovereignty of God through the mis-steps of man. A lot of my dear friends are saddened by a perceived sea of error, sin, cover-up, and bungling.

How do we respond to these times of disappointment without it seeming so weak and trite to quip “God’s will, man”?

We know the scripture of Romans 8:28 and Joseph saying “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” But that doesn’t help me right now.

So let me do some more examples from Church history. Can God be glorified through the splinters of theological and doctrinal disputes?

Is He glorified on a missed field goal or a botched fly ball?

Is the gospel going forth as stories unfold of slander or suicide?

When we say God is in control and victorious- you need to understand that there is nothing trivial about that answer.

We don’t get hurt so much today. We live with pain, but I want to suggest that it is less than the saints of old. Just over a hundred years ago, it was not uncommon to lose children. Old gravesites show us a world of lost infants, and toddlers, and sweet school children.

People did not have access to Tylenol or Advil. And there were not “Docs in a Box” on every corner.

Families did not have acu-weather red icons of tornados rushing to their city and almost no way of calling for help in an emergency.

I guarantee you that I am making someone mad right now when I propose that we don’t hurt as much anymore.

You are a fool- I know pain” You say, and I know you are right. But even a diagnosis of cancer is done in the light of prognosis and MRI’s and understanding. It is not the mystery of the day of darkness – and that helps.

AND it hurts. We win more than we lose. We get our way. We have food and clothes. We have enough peace for leisure and recreation. We have holidays and celebrations. We have so much good that we lose our need for God.
As I study history, especially church history, I am amazed at God’s good sovereignty. He allows the pain and screw-ups for reasons. Some of the times, the mystery remains- but in most cases time reveals the whys.

We want the “why” NOW!

For example, Why did the Ottoman Turks advance and threaten Europe during the 16th century? How could God allow such to advance?

Some would say that it is judgment of sin. And they would be right.
Others say rain falling on just and unjust. And they would be right.
The muslims would say 'Allah's will". And they would be wrong.

I say it was also to the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel and the growth of the church.

How? One way is that Charles V was prevented from wiping out the Lutherans because of his distraction of the Turks and his desire to keep a unified populace in a time of tension.

God allowed secular and sacred events to provide the right climate for growth and sustaining of The Reformation!

Please, don’t run from God during times of trial or trouble. Don’t distance Him in distress. Instead press in to Him. Have the confidence that He can and will work things out!

Romans 4:20 "No distrust made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification."

Does this answer all questions about our part? Do we stay “frozen chosen”? My answer is absolutely not. Step out in courage and go- but please, don’t wring your hands in defeat and keep a loser’s look and lean.

“You are worrying yourself sick because you cannot know how or where it will all
end. But were you able to understand it all, then I would have nothing to do with this
cause!” Martin Luther to Melancthon

“Human life without knowledge of history is nothing other than a perpetual childhood, nay, a permanent obscurity and darkness.” Philip Melanchthon


Monday, April 02, 2007

When To Let the Sun Go Down on Anger

You get angry. You have heard or seen something that just stews you.

You write the e-mail.

You hit the keys hard and the anger is white hot.

I have a great piece of advice: Do not press "send".

Is there a Biblical basis for this? Absolutely.

Proverbs 17:27 "Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding."

Eccl 5:2 "Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few."

James 1:19 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger."

Why do I write this?

I have sent e-mails before that I regret. But this occassion is a recent e-mail I received.

A very smart person sent me an angry e-mail. He was upset about something that was published by me. I see where his misunderstanding came about- but he missed the context, very badly.

I replied with an honest apology- and I am only guessing that he re-read my article and his e-mail. .... I bet he wished he had sat on that for at least 24 hours.

May we all learn this lesson- let that thing cool. E-mail is way too fast!

Courage Under Fire

Matthew 9: “10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” “What a coward every man is! and how surely he will find it out if he will just let other people alone and sit down and examine himself. The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner." - Mark Twain, Mark Twain in Eruption I pride myself on being a keen observer of human nature. It has never been hard for me to accept the idea of the radical deprivation of humankind. I see these things deep within me and lash out when I see it displayed in others. The one that frustrates me the most at this time is a general and wide spread infection of cowardice. Not only has our culture become a cess pool of cowards, we have also begun to turn on anyone who even thinks of standing out as bold. The current cowardice starts out as anonymity. I am so tired of listening to talk radio and hearing names like ‘Bob from Boston” or “Bamaboy”. Why should I consider any unsigned e-mail? In the passage above, we have the classic illustration of our common practice of complaint without confrontation. The Pharisees do not go to the Master; they go to the disciples. Sadly, we do the same thing. We air our complaints in safety. We test them as trial balloons and observe what winds will buy them. Sometimes it is an effort to see how risky our stance is and what cost the comments will be. Even worse, we pass much of the information along third hand. Gossip is so pervasive that we have turned it from sin into an art form. Jesus doesn’t play this way. He overhears and confronts. He is a man to man- eyeball-to-eyeball kind of guy. He is strong, and loving. He answers without slander. I wonder what would happen if we committed to this type of practice today? Think of how many pastorates would be built up instead of torn down? How many churches would begin to flow with grace and not criticism? What kind of harmony could be discovered? How much less ammunition would the power of darkness have? I challenge every man reading this today to pray for courage. Find your child or spouse and have that awkward conversation. Look up the offended brother and accept the consequences. Refuse to participate in negative criticism without approaching the source. Ask your fellow critic to pray more and opine less. Try to see the path your opponent walks in and consider his ways. Take the initiative to have a spiritual conversation with a neighbor. Walk up and hug your dad. People want to know where the great men are today? My answer is… they are tucked away in comfort blankets of cowardice. It is time to step out in the light- your nation and church needs you!