Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Images of Divine Things

Cindy Mercer Photography

Jonathan Edwards accepted Samuel Mather’s definition of a “type”: “A Type is some outward or sensible thing ordained of God under the Old Testament, to represent and hold forth something of Christ in the New.” So, every “type” in the Old Testament is to be interpreted as a figurative prophecy that will be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. Types must be understood in an historical, linear way as type and antitype, prefiguration and fulfillment, shadow and reality, prophecy and “when the time had fully come” (Gal. 4:4).

So far so good. But, as is often the case with Edwards, there’s more. Edwards extends typology to the natural world: “EXTERNAL THINGS are intended to be IMAGES of things spiritual, moral and divine.” He sees an immediate, timeless system of types displayed in the natural world. “The Book of Scripture is the interpreter of the book of nature in two ways. . . by declaring to us those spiritual mysteries that are indeed signified or typified in the constitution of the natural world; and secondly, in actually making application of the signs and types in the book of nature as representations of those spiritual mysteries.”

In other words, according to Scripture the Spirit of God is found using the process of analogy and correspondence throughout the entire created universe. So, some types are temporal, some are timeless. Some are historical, some are eternal.

Whether one completely agrees with Edwards' typological system or not, the advent of spring is good time to see the world through Edwards' eyes.

155. The spring season is spoken of in Scripture as representing a season of the outpouring of the Spirit of God.

212. The immense magnificence of the visible world, its inconceivable vastness, the incomprehensible height of the heavens, etc. is but a type of the infinite magnificence, height and glory of God’s work in the spiritual world: the most incomprehensible expression of his power, wisdom, holiness and love, in what is wrought and brought to pass in that world; and in the exceeding greatness of the moral and natural good, the light, knowledge, holiness and happiness which shall be communicated to it.

28. As thunder, and thunder clouds, as they are vulgarly called, have a shadow of the majesty of God, so the blue sky, the green fields and trees, and pleasant flowers have a shadow of the mild attributes of goodness, grace and love of God, as well as the beauteous rainbow.

33. The extreme fierceness and extraordinary power of the heat of lightning is an intimation of the exceeding power and terribleness of the wrath of God.

40. The gradual vanishing of stars when the sun approaches is a type [of] the gradual vanishing of Jewish ordinances as the Gospel dispensation was introduced.

50. The rising and setting of the sun is a type of the death and resurrection of Christ.

93. Blue, that is, the color of the sky, fades not, intimating that the beauty and luster of heavenly things is unfading.

111. The morning of the day and the spring of the year are remarkable types of the commencement of the glorious times of the church.

137. When we first get up in the morning, we rake open and kindle up the fire. So Christians, when they awake out of a spiritual sleep, re-enkindle their graces.

2. A great RIVER, with its various branches, represents the course of divine providence; thus Christ, when he appeared as the Lord and superintendent of the course of things in providence, is represented in Daniel once and again as standing in the river Hiddekel [Dan. 10].

208. Our BREATH to support life is a representation of our dependence on the Spirit of God for spiritual life.

quotations are taken from Typological Writings, Vol. 11 of the Works of Jonathan Edwards, edited by Wallace E. Anderson, Mason I. Lowance, Jr., and David Watters (New Haven: Yale, 1993).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

They're Coming!

If you are still not familiar with the "helicopter parent" phenomenon, watch out. They (we? us?) are now invading college dorms and classrooms, job fairs, and corner offices. See the New Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Times articles.


Monday, February 19, 2007

"Men, Mercy, and Missions" Continued with Dr. Woodie Mason

Men of the Covenant Luncheon: March 1st
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. in Miller Hall
Speaker: Dr. Woodie Mason, Retired Physician

This week at FPC, we find ourselves in the midst of our annual Missions Conference with a plethora of activities to attend and missionaries to meet. As you take out your calendars to plan accordingly, men, make certain to save March 1st for our next Men of the Covenant Luncheon.

This spring, our theme is "Men, Mercy, and Missions," and following on the heels of our missions conference, we are sure to be blessed and challenged as we consider our role as men in the extension of biblical mercy and contribution to missions. Many of you know our upcoming speaker well and it is a privilege to welcome our very own, Dr. Woodie Mason. Woodie and his wife Diane have been a source of encouragment to our congregation over the past year and a half, following Hurricane Katrina. The Masons lost their home and their possessions to the great storm of 2005, but it is evident when you speak with them, that their gain in Christ, as a result of God's providence, has surpassed their material loss.

Woodie is originally from Pascagoula, MS but spent 29 years living and working in Jackson following medical school and residency before retiring and returning to the Gulf Coast. During their years in Jackson, the Masons were members here at FPC. When they returned to the coast, they became active members at First Presbyterian Church, Gulfport where Woodie served as a Ruling Elder, adult Sunday school teacher, Clerk of Session, and chairman of the pulpit search committee. Hurricane Katrina redirected their lives and steps, and as a result, we are now blessed to have them living in Jackson and they are once again active members of FPC.

The cost of lunch is $5 and reservations are not required. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Hall in the Discipleship office at or 601-973-9118.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Torah and Tree

Cindy Mercer Photography

Ready? It's that time again: sound bites and spin. Another presidential election season is upon us. Blah, blah, and more blah. Much of this is as meaningless as chaff--weightless, empty. It behooves us to remember that the book of Psalms, the prayer book of the Bible, begins with pre-prayer. God, through the Psalmist, tells us to sit down, be quiet, and listen. Stop walking, standing, and sitting with sinners. Before we start teaching and training, debating and defending, we are to stop and listen. Listen to the law. Meditate on the Torah. Be rooted in the law of Lord; bear the fruit that evidences eternal life. As Spurgeon said, “The Lord’s trees are all evergreens.”


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Psalm 1 (ESV)

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law
of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the
Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.


Screwtape Visits Walden

Cindy Mercer Photography

"Walden Media, the family-friendly and just-a-bit religious company behind The Chronicles of Narnia, has announced plans to make another, non-Narnia film based on the works of CS Lewis. But this time, it’s the turn of The Screwtape Letters." See the rest of the article at Variety.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Crustacean Compassion"

Folks, you've got to see this. In yet another example of misplaced ethical priorities, we now have Texans arguing with Mainers who are arguing with Texans and New Hampshireites over the boundaries of "crustacean compassion," "animal welfare protocols," and "lobster electric chairs."

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor. 1:20)

"In June, the Austin, Texas-based natural foods grocery chain said it would stop selling live lobsters and crabs — in the name of crustacean compassion. But it’s making an exception in Maine, a state synonymous with lobster."

Read the rest of the article at the Boston Globe.


Lewis Letters (2)

Cindy Mercer Photography

I continue to read through The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, ed. Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007). The three HarperCollins volumes contain over 3500 pages of letters.

Lewis's literary output was astounding. During the period that the Volume III letters were written he conducted daily tutorials with students, gave lectures, and finished writing English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama, for which he read the complete works of around 200 authors, including, according to Walter Hooper, the entire works of Thomas More, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and William Tyndale. He also produced Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, Reflections on the Psalms, A Grief Observed, Studies in Words, The Four Loves, and An Experiment in Criticism.
He wrote the seven Narnian Chronicles for fun in his "spare time."


“I will indeed pray for you; I did so already, but will do so more. You have made a great sacrifice for conscience’ sake. Such things, we may be sure enrich one: but God knows it doesn’t feel like it at the time. It did not, even for Our Lord Himself, in Gethsemane. I always try to remember what [George] MacDonald said, ‘The Son of God died not that we might not suffer but that our sufferings might become like His.’” 15 November 1956, p. 806.

Tho’ horrified by your sufferings, I am overjoyed at the blessed change in your attitude about death. This is a bigger stride forward than perhaps you yourself know. For you were rather badly wrong on the subject. . . . As far as weakness allows I hope, now that you know you are forgiven, you will spend most of your remaining strength in forgiving. Lay all the old resentments down at the wounded feet of Christ. I have had dozens of blood transfusions in the last two years and know only too well the horrid—and long—moments during which they are poking about to find the vein. And then you think they’ve really got in at last and it turns out that they haven’t. (Is there an allegory here? The approaches of Grace often hurt because the spiritual vein in us hides itself from the celestial surgeon?). But oh, I do pity you for waking up and finding yourself still on the wrong side of the door! How awful it must have been for Lazarus who had actually died, got it all over, and then was brought back—to go through it all, I suppose, a few years later. I think he, not St. Stephen, ought really to be celebrated as the first martyr.” 25 June 1963, pp. 1431-1432.

“Keep clear of Psychical Researchers.” 31 December 1953, p. 399.

Struggling with Doctrine

“The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief.’ Would something of this sort be any good?: Almighty God, who art the father of lights and who hast promised by the thy dear Son that all who do thy will shall know thy doctrine: give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in the understanding of thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” 18 March 1952, p. 172.

Hell-Fire Preaching

“I had no idea your parsons preached Hell-fire; indeed I thought the ordinary presentation of Christianity with you was quite as milk-and-watery as with us, if not more so. We could do with a bit more Hell fire over here.” 22 March 1952, p. 172.

The Holy Spirit

“Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, the sensations are not the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. . . . It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.” 15 May 1952, p. 191.

“Westerners preached Christ with our lips, with our actions we brought the slavery of Mammon. We are more guilty than the infidels: for to those that know the will of God and do it not, the greater the punishment. Now the only refuge lies of contrition and prayer. Long have we erred. In reading the history of Europe, its destructive succession of wars, of avarice, of fratricidal persecutions of Christians by Christians, of luxury, of gluttony, of pride, who could detect any but the rarest traces of the Holy Spirit?” 7 January 1953, p. 278.

Pilgrim’s Regress, Lewis’s First “Christian” Book

“I don’t wonder that you get fogged in Pilgrim’s Regress. It was my first religious book and I didn’t then know how to make things easy. I was not even trying to very much, because those days I never dreamed I would become a ‘popular’ author and hoped for no readers outside a small ‘highbrow’ circle.” 19 January 1953, pp. 282-283.

American Politics

“I have always thought of how the greatest of all dangers to your country is the fear that politics were not in the hands of your best types and that this, in the long run, might prove ruinous.” 26 January 1953, p. 286.

Joseph Stalin

“The Russian . . . grabs things here and grabs thing there when he finds them unguarded. I think there’s a real chance that by rearmament and resistance at minor points we just might prevent it coming to a real show-down. But heaven knows I am as ill qualified as anyone in the world to have an opinion. At any rate both your country and mine have twice in our lifetime tried the recipe of appeasing an aggressor and it didn’t work on either occasion: so that it seems sense to try the other this time.” 3 April 1952, pp. 178-179.

Lewis was from Northern Ireland

“I have many calls upon my time, and my own Ireland generally lures me to it when I can take a holiday.” 29 April 1952, p. 185.


“What Aslan meant when he said he had died is, in one sense, plain enough. Read the earlier book in the series called The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and you will find the full story how he was killed by the White Witch and come to life again. When you have read that, I think you will probably see that there is deeper meaning behind it. The whole Narnian story is about Christ.” 5 March 1961, p. 1244.

Ordination Exams

“In both [England and America] an essential part of the ordination exam ought to be a passage from some recognized theological work set for translation into vulgar English—just like doing Latin prose. Failure on this exam should mean failure on the whole exam. It is absolutely disgraceful that we expect missionaries to the Bantus to learn Bantu but never ask whether our missionaries to the Americans or English can speak American or English. Any fool can write learned language. The vernacular is the real test. If you can’t turn your faith into it, then either you don’t understand it or you don’t believe it.” Published in The Christian Century, 31 December 1958, pp. 1006-1007.

Monday, February 05, 2007

"A Calvinist Faces Death"

Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr. has just been confirmed to speak at our January 25, 2008 Mid-South Men's Rally. This will be the first Men's Rally in our new sanctuary. Dr. Mohler is internationally known as an outstanding evangelical leader. He serves as the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary--the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Don't miss Time magazine's recent interview with Mohler entitled, "A Calvinist Faces Death."

"After roughly 200 years of decline, Calvinism, the faith of the Puritans, has made a modest comeback among younger Evangelical Christians. One of the movement's potent mentors is Albert Mohler, the influential, telegenic head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who made waves last June when he critiqued the religious claims of presidential contender Barack Obama in an essay called 'Secularism With A Smile.'"

"Mohler, a Calvinist, went into the hospital in December for a fairly routine stomach operation and suddenly developed pulmonary embolisms, a frequently fatal form of clotting, in both lungs. After emergency surgery and four days in the Intensive Care unit, he made a complete recovery. David Van Biema asked him whether his crisis could illuminate his brand of faith."

Read the rest of the article and interview at Time.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Hunter Brewer and the Madison Heights Church Plant

You may or may not be aware of this, but a PCA congregation, called Madison Heights, is being planted in the Madison/Gluckstadt area under the direction of our friend, Hunter Brewer (and former CMDA intern Josh Kines is working with him). This Sunday, February 4, 116 men, women, and children are scheduled to join the fellowship there as members! Such exciting news. We rejoice with Hunter Brewer, and give thanks to the Lord for this exciting day. Do keep this church plant (its pastors, leaders and congregation) in your prayers as they move in the direction of becoming a particularized church, and as they look for land to purchase in that area.