Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book #3 complete (awaits interested publisher) . . . Western Seminary graduation . . . What are honors? What is earthly applause?

James Brainerd Taylor book #3 is complete. It awaits an interested publisher for hopeful publication in 2011 or 2012 (i.e., post-Israel trip). The desired title is God's Co-Worker: 21st-Century Evangelism with Uncommon Christian James Brainerd Taylor. The book will be a slight re-working of my recently completed Doctor of Ministry dissertation for Western Seminary entitled God's Co-Worker: 19th-Century "Uncommon Christian" James Brainerd Taylor as a Model for 21st-Century Evangelism.

In addition to a biographical sketch, bibliography and 6 appendices, this third study on the Princeton University and Yale Seminary-trained Taylor (1801-1829) examines his evangelistic motives and methods, what he believed were the qualifications for evangelists and his 5-fold "uncommon Christian" discipleship emphases to new converts, all with the aim towards 21st-century application. A very practical book that awaits an interested publisher.

For now, and for $15, I'm informed that the 231-page dissertation is downloadable as a digital e-doc through the Theological Research Exchange Network (TREN), order #002-0843. It is also available through the Portland, Oregon-based TREN on CD-ROM ($20), unbound paper ($34.65) and microfiche ($5). In addition, there is a possibility the dissertation is available via InterLibrary Loan (click here to view the WorldCat information).

The 82nd annual commencement ceremony for Western Seminary took place April 25, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. A special thanks to family and friends who attended the ceremony and the celebration banquet the night previous. Click here to view photos of the ceremony taken by my brother.

A highlight of the ceremony was the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree bestowed upon Herbert I. Elliot. A native of Portland, Dr. Elliot served for many decades as a medical missionary in Peru and elsewhere. He is the older brother of Jim Elliot (1927-1956), the deceased first husband of missionary, author and conference speaker Elisabeth Elliot (b. 1926) and the martyred missionary to the Waodani people (Auca Indians) of Ecuador.

In graduating from Western with high honors, I am reminded of these words by the Second Great Awakening evangelist James Brainerd Taylor. The words were penned on April 8, 1824 in the journal of the then 23-year-old Princeton University sophomore student.

"The time soon arrived for the dismissal of my class, at which time the standing of each student was made known. Having found my standing to be No. 1 [among his fellow students for Princeton's winter 1824 semester], I returned to my room, and once more looked to the Lord for his distinguishing love, with the strong feeling that earthly distinction cannot satisfy my heart's desire. Here, while I remembered the goodness of God during the past winter, in blessing me in soul and body, growth in grace, and success in my studies, the Sun of righteousness [Mal. 4:2] seemed to break through the cloud . . . . Recollecting the standing which had been given me by the faculty, I said to myself, 'What are honors? What is earthly applause?' Ah, these are not my God. I saw their emptiness, and not only desired, but longed for His presence in whom my soul takes delight. The Lord bowed down the heavens, and while I wrote 'vanity' upon all things beside His love, he let drop sweetness into my soul, and I was blessed with a blessing that 'maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow' [Proverbs 10:22]. 'Bless the Lord, O my soul' [Psalm 104:1]."

*From John Holt Rice and Benjamin Holt Rice, Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor, Second Edition (New York: American Tract Society, 1833), 206. Click here to read the original text via Google Book Search.

NOTE: Click here (page 3) to read the October 15, 2008 profile in Western Seminary's Doctor of Ministry newsletter entitled, "Francis Kyle: A Pastor-Evangelist, Author & Anticipated 2009 Graduate." And here to read "Alumni: Francis Kyle (D.Min., '09) Profile" on Western Seminary's alumni blog (July 1, 2009 blog post).