Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Abstract of Systematic Theology

This past year Founders Press made available one of the best Baptist systematic theology texts ever written, the Abstract of Systematic Theology by James P. Boyce. Boyce was the founding president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He first published his Systematic Theology text in 1887, and it has been one of the best examples of Reformed Baptist theology ever since.

This work has been very helpful and influential in my own theological development, and I want to share it with the blogs readers. In fact, you can also download an earlier public domain version of this work for e-Sword at my personal website,, under the category "e-Sword-Theology."

Here is a partial description of the book from the publishers website:

A concise systematic theology by the principle founder of the first Southern Baptist seminary. Appendices include: "A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine," Abstract of Principles and a Scripture Index.

The doctrinal stream in which Boyce's views are found can rightly be called Calvinistic or Reformed. He, like most early Southern Baptist leaders, was clearly convinced of the doctrines of sovereign grace. John Broadus, Boyce's friend and colleague, made this observation about what he called "that exalted system of Pauline truth" expounded in Boyce's Abstract:

The people who sneer at what is called Calvinism, might as well sneer at Mont Blanc. We are not bound in the least to defend all of Calvin's opinions or actions, but I do not see how any one who really understands the Greek of the Apostle Paul or the Latin of Calvin or Turretin can fail to see that these latter did but interpret and formulate substantially what the former teaches.
May the Lord use this book from the pen of one of the greatest Southern Baptists ever to live to promote reformation and revival throughout churches everywhere.

--from the Publisher's Introduction
I also hope and pray that the Lord will use this book in the lives of this blog's readers as He has used it in the lives of myself and so many others, that they be be firmly established in the faith.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dr. Belcher on the Minister's Study Life

As any of this blog's consistent readers may have gathered, Dr. Richard Belcher is a man close to my heart. You may recall in particular my previous blog entry entitled, Unsung Hero of the "Calvinist Comeback".

Dr. Belcher was one of my professors at Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University), and the most significant mentor in my preparation for pastoral ministry. By God's sovereign grace and providential guidance, his teaching and example have helped to shape my ministry like no other single person.

This is why I wanted to share an audio message with the blog's readers from the 2005 conference of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.). It is a message delivered by Dr. Belcher, and it is entitled "The Minister's Study Life." The focus of the message is on having a "balanced study life." It will give you a taste of what I have learned from one of my favorite teachers, and it will help you to either be a better elder or to better know what to look for in an elder.

As the Apostle Peter taught the elders of his day, "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock...." (1 Peter 5:2-3). In my experience, their have been few better examples than my old friend and teacher, Richard Belcher. Listen to the message and see what I mean. If you don't come away with a renewed zeal for God's Word and a deeper passion for studying it and sharing it with God's people, you may want to check your pulse!