Sunday, August 20, 2006

Road trip to Cary, NC

This past weekend Mark taught in Cary, NC at a conference for Shepherd's Theological Seminary and preached on Sunday at Colonial Baptist Church. A few interns had the opportunity to go with him. But first, we took a 4 hour detour to Newport News, VA, to visit Jack Hamilton's house:

Jack Hamilton is a retired Baptist preacher, who owns and sells a huge collection of Christian books. His books aren't cheap, but you'll find rare books that you won't find anywhere else. We found an early 1800's copy of Pilgrim's Progress, still in good condition. His price? $150... time to carefully put it back on the shelf.

The books above with tags are particularly older books. These are shots of just a few of his rooms. The basement in particular is just lined with books. It is a veritable book lover's paradise.

Next stop was Durham, NC, at Duke University, which has probably one of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) campuses I've seen. The chapel alone is sets it apart from anything else i've seen on a college campus in America.

Duke Divinity School's chapel. I liked the open and airy feel of it and I bet the Puritans would've too.

We found one door open and though we weren't able to take a picture of the court itself because it was being waxed, we were able able to take some other pictures.

We got to run a table at the conference. It was great to meet and talk with pastors, seminary students, elders, deacons, and faithful church members about what God was doing in their ministries and teaching them.

There were many great things discussed at the conference relating to church polity, church membership, church discipline, etc... Can you imagine taking a whole Saturday off to talk about these things? Doesn't sound too exciting... yet, it was a real blessing to see and hear how much the pastors and leaders and seminary students were encouraged and excited to learn not only about what these practices are, but how biblical and do-able they are and how they reflect the glory of God. MP3s from the talks should be made available shortly on the Shepherd's Seminary website. A snippet from my notes from Mark's talk on elders and congregationalism:
Elders should be marked by a careful use of authority, understanding the church belongs not to them, but to Christ. We are undershepherds. Authority given to humans is to reflect God's ultimate, good authority over us. Yet, throughout all of history is the theme of authority given for good, and the temptation to abuse it. To abuse God-given authority is particularly evil because it terribly undermines the gospel and God's authority. Authority was a gift given to be a blessing, but when it is turned into an evil, self-serving thing, it is particularly heinous and Satanic. This abuse has led to our distrust of authority, but it was meant to be a gift to us, to reflect God's good authority over us. Authority and love are supposed to be tied together.


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