We have spent a few busy days visiting friends and fulfilling engagements in and around Philadelphia. With the volcanic ash cloud bringing all trans-atlantic air travel to a halt, we had hoped that our trip might have been lengthened a bit. But the aviation authorities decided to get things back to normal before we could extend our stay, and we got home on schedule.
It was a privilege to preach at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on Sunday morning and to spend some time with my friend, Dr Phil Ryken, who is soon to become the President of Wheaton College, one of the premier Christian colleges in the US. Phil is a good scholar, a fine preacher, and a man of great integrity. He is well-qualified to take on the leadership responsibilities at Wheaton College. We wish him well as he and his family move to Wheaton to take up his new post on July 1st.
It was great to see the church so well-filled for the 9am service and full to capacity for the 11am service. The music was as excellent as ever, under the direction of the superbly-gifted Dr Paul Jones. For any Presbyterian visiting Philadelphia on a Sunday, attendance at Tenth is a must.
On Monday I was the guest of my former colleagues at Westminster Theological Seminary, and it was wonderful to be with them again. Westminster Seminary continues to attract students from all around the world and offers a superb theological education.
Its main task is to prepare pastors for ministry in reformed and presbyterian churches, and my former colleague and good friend in the Practical Theology department, Dr Tim Witmer, has recently published an outstanding book on pastoral care, entitled The Shepherd Leader. I know that many ministers will benefit from the biblical and practical counsel which this volume contains. Already it is proving a popular book among north American pastors.
Another excellent volume coming from the Westminster faculty is Dr Vern Poythress’s Redeeming Science. Dr Poythress has doctoral degrees in both mathematics and theology, and he applies his creative mind to key questions in the area of science and theology. I may have more to say on this book once I have finished reading it.
Dr Poythress is also one of the key members of the team of scholars responsible for the English Standard Version of the Bible, and we had a good conversation together about the way in which that translation is being received by Christians worldwide. Vern is the author of the article “A Survey of the History of Salvation” which is in the preface of the ESV Study Bible and which gives a wonderful summary of one of the great unifying threads of the Bible.
All in all, it was a stimulating week-end, not least because of the travel chaos. But I came home with a few new books in my bag, which will keep me going for the next couple of weeks.