Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Life from Antigua

This past weekend was the annual New Life Bible Conference sponsored by New Life Fellowship Church. I know we are given to hyperbole when it comes to these things, but I must say that this year was the most encouraging. The preached word was effectual and my heart was warmed with every message. The subject was of the utmost importance - What Difference Does the Gospel Make - and the brothers handled it with clarity, passion, and reverence. It would have been enough just to sit for those three days and hear the word of God expounded and applied. But those of us who were able to stay over for the Lord's Day Worship on Sunday at New Life were even more blessed to hear the fiery and faithful preaching Dr. Hensworth Jonas from Central Baptist Church in Antigua.

If you are not familiar with Dr. Jonas and the good work they are doing at Central Baptist Church, I want to strongly encourage you to become familiar with him. He is truly a renaissance man and has an unashamed heart for all things gospel. His church and ministry are reaching many throughout Antigua and Barbuda. You can hear his sermons, watch some of their television broadcast and latest video, and read all about the work of East Caribbean Baptist Mission.

Dr. Jonas is a refreshing reminder that God's glorious work of reformation is not unique to the United States. But Christians of African descent are preaching and experiencing these truths all over the world. Thank God for men like Hensworth Jonas.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Traces of the Trade

There is a new documentary set to run on PBS this week titled "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North." In it, a woman reveals that her New England family's wealth and prestige was in the trafficking of human beings (you can view the trailer here).

According to the official synopsis:

In the feature documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain a powerful new perspective on the black/white divide... From 1769 to 1820, DeWolf fathers, sons and grandsons trafficked in human beings. They sailed their ships from Bristol, Rhode Island to West Africa with rum to trade for African men, women and children. Captives were taken to plantations that the DeWolfs owned in Cuba or were sold at auction in such ports as Havana and Charleston. Sugar and molasses were then brought from Cuba to the family-owned rum distilleries in Bristol. Over the generations, the family owned 47 ships that transported thousands of Africans across the Middle Passage into slavery. They amassed an enormous fortune. By the end of his life, James DeWolf had been a U.S. Senator and was reportedly the second richest man in the United States. (Read more).

This looks to be interesting. Check your local PBS listing for air times.

WTSBooks' New Category

Westminster Books has a new category. It is books dealing with the African-American Church. Check it out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Blessed to Give...

Apparently someone believes in it being Christmas all year long. Our brother Lance is giving away copies of some good books. To find out how you can get them, go here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Life Opened Last Night!

The 2008 New Life Bible Conference finally began last evening and man, are we glad. Every year we highly anticipate the coming of June and the start of the conference and every year we are not disappointed. This year was no exception. We began our probe through the Epistle to the Galatians by examining "What Difference Does the Gospel Make." Louis Love opened with an introductory message giving an overview and the background to Galatians and delivering introductory remarks about the chosen theme. I had the pleasure and privilege of examining chapter 1 and encouraging the people with the Gospel-centered beginnings of Paul's letter. Tonight we will hear Galatians 2 with Stephen Love, and Galatians 3 with Thabiti Anyabwile.

If you have never been to a New Life Bible Conference, all I can say is that you must come and see. I don't just say that because I am a yearly participant. Rather I confidently say it based upon the testimonies of others who have come. Consider the testimony of Steven Renkema.

Steve came to the conference for the first time last year. He came as a representative of Reformation Heritage Books, who was gracious in providing a book table for the conference. Steve came to the conference as the primary book vendor. He left as a friend and a gratefully encouraged and challenged attendee. This year he is back and has expressed the same anticipation that I did in the beginning of this post. At the Reformation Heritage Book Blog, Steve wrote:

But of all the conferences that I attended last year my favorite, by far, was the “Godly Life” conference hosted by New Life Fellowship Church just north of Chicago.

You must read the entire post by Steve. You can do so here.

We are thankful for Steve coming to the conference again. We are thankful for the wonderful
resources Reformation Heritage Books sends. Most of all we are thankful for the friendship and mutual encouragement we have been blessed to develop. We invite you to come and be encouraged as well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Experiencing the Truth" is Available

Experiencing the Truth: Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church is available from Crossway Books. Take a look at some of the content and place your order here.
For those of you who are attending the New Life Bible Conference, this week there will be some copies available.

In case you're interested, here are some of the initial comments from some friends.

Experiencing the Truth gives great acclamation to black (African-American) church worship, black preaching, and the black Christian experience, rightly showing the strength of Reformed theology for each of these traditions. It also provides a rapier diagnosis of a churchgoing people whose tryst with liberation theology has birthed a practice of Christianity that is too badly deformed to produce a kingdom of God-like presence in the African-American community. The authors offer a careful narrative of orthodox Christianity with a faithful and proper emphasis on the Reformed confessions, creeds, and solas so that African-American believers can find themselves tied to a pre-Middle Passage Christianity without sacrificing their own identities to the heroic personalities of the Reformation. I am excited about a book that would dare to suggest the “irrepressible urban beats” of Fred Hammons’s Bread of Life and van Dyke’s Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee sung to an arrangement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony could be used together to enhance our corporate worship experience! Carter, Jones, and Leach have wed the African-American Christian experience with the Reformation so graciously that that those proud to be the ethnic and religious descendants of Dubois, Douglas, and King can relish equally in their spiritual heritage from Calvin, Luther, and Edwards. The analysis, synthesis, and directives of this collaborative treatise may represent one of the most important works since the now classical observations of Frazier, Lincoln, and Mamiya, for in this work the authors call us to be a church where our need for God can be fulfilled rather than a religious organization that meets people’s self-serving desires. I hope Experiencing the Truth will be an impetus to move the African-American church from the self-deprecating darkness of theological liberalism into the divinely nourishing the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." —Rev. Eric C. Redmond, author of Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Men’s Questions about the Church.

“In the midst of so many socially driven critiques of the African-American church, finally we have a book that is theologically robust, historically engaging, and at the same time remarkably easy to read. The authors show no fear as they tackle the tough issues (i.e. preaching, singing, worship, to name a few) facing the African-American in particular and the evangelical church in general. Carter, Leach, and Jones demonstrate their in-depth knowledge of the African-American church and their doctrinal prowess by offering not only sobering critiques but substantial biblical solutions rooted in the historic doctrines of the church. It is not very often a book of this nature is published. I say get it, read it, and discuss it. Any serious conversation about the church of Jesus Christ will include many references to
Experiencing Truth: Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church.” —Louis C. Love Jr, Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church, Vernon Hills, Illinois

“A long line of people offer advice about the church—her ills, her hopes, her needs, and her prospects. But most diagnoses and prescriptions rely on the pundit’s own store of knowledge. In
Experiencing the Truth, Carter, Leach, and Jones provide a biblical diagnosis and a biblical prescription for what ails the African-American church and much of the larger church world as well. From theology to preaching to worship and Christian spirituality, these veterans of the church and pulpit apply the scalpel of truth to every major area of church life. They helpful remove the diseased tissue and bandage the strong muscle of the church. Anyone who cares about seeing the cause of Christ advanced in the local church will delight in this volume and be helped in that cause.” —Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman

Friday, June 06, 2008

Glory Road: Ken Jones

Ken Jones is the pastor of Greater Union Baptist Church. He also co-host of The White Horse Inn.

He gave the following answers:

1. What was the first book you read that introduced you to Reformed Theology? Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin

2. List the five most influential books in your Reformed theological journey. The Institutes of Christian Religion
, John Calvin; Death of the Death in the Death of Christ, John Owen; Knowing God, J.I. Packer; On the Existence and Attributes of God, Stephen Charnock; Chosen By God, R.C. Sproul

3. List three preachers and/or teachers who were most influential in you journey.
Michael Horton
Rod Rosenbladt
Kim Riddlebarger
James Montgomery Boice
R.C. Sproul

4. If you could give one book to someone interested in Reformed theology, what book would you give? The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, John Owen

5. What doctrine distinquishes Reformed Theology? The Sovereignty of God

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Fiction is Dead

In 1951 no one thought the New York Giants could ever catch, much less beat the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Giants won an unbelievable 37 of their last 44 games. They had to do this in order to force a three game playoff with the mighty Dodgers for the National League pennant. They split the first two games, with the Dodgers winning game two by the score of 10 - 0. The third came saw more of the Dodger domination. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers held a 4 - 1 lead. Then the history of baseball changed for ever, as Bobby Thompson hit what some have called the greatest and most improbable homerun in Major League history. In the bottom of the ninth with one out and two men on base, Bobby Thompson hit what is known as "the shot heard 'round the world." A three run homerun and as legendary announcer Russ Hodges said, "THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!!!"

Afterward, the sportswriter Red Smith wrote in description of the event, "Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again."

Last night, as I watched Barack Obama win the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States, I could hear Russ Hodges say, "Obama wins the Nomination! Obama wins the Nomination!" I also could not help but think that for the first time in my life we can say the art of fiction is dead. An African-American has a serious chance at winning the White House. What we thought was impossible and fantastic has become reality. This morning as I read Thabiti's blog (a must read today), I was also reminded that we have come a long ways in this country. And though you may not agree with the politics of Obama, you should at least smile that our country is learning to live out its creed.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Experience the Truth Interview

By Faith Magazine has an interview with me on our book Experiencing the Truth: Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church, which is due out next month. You can read the interview here.