Christopher Chelpka

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Instead of Goodreads, now I’m posting here.

February 2019

**Sunshine, Glenn S. “Geneva Meets Rome: The Development of the French Reformed Diaconate.” The Sixteenth Century Journal, 26 (1995): 329–346.

Thesis: It was not until the late 1500s that French Reformed churches practiced a use of the diaconal office that was closer to Geneva than to Rome. And even then, certain “Roman” characteristics like the duty to catechize and engage the deacons in certian liturgical work remained. This article tells that story. Taken along with a short summary of Bucer’s view that’s also offered here, one can see evidence of variety in the Reformed office of the deacon in the 16th cent.

Kingdon, Robert M. “Social Welfare in Calvin’s Geneva,” The American Historical Review, 76 (1971): 51–69.

Fascinating! Readable, tons of interaction with primary sources, and lots of contextualization. Humble writing too. Kingdon shows how Hospice Général, which is still helping people today, was both influenced and not influenced by John Calvin. This serves as a doorway to thinking about social welfare in Geneva more broadly.

Latvus, Kari. “The Paradigm Challenged A New Analysis of the Origin of Diakonia.” Studia Theologica 62 (2008): 142-157.

A so-so summary the current scholarship which argues: the 19th century diaconia movement, and Luther and Calivin before it, misread and misapplied the ideas surrounding the diaconate found in the Bible and the early church.

Dick, John. 1846. “Lecture C” in Lectures on Theology. vol. 2. Philadelphia: Greenough.

This is an exposition of the offices listed in Ephesians 4. Argues that deacons are not for serving the table of the Lord because the context makes it clear that it is care for the tables of the poor that was intended. He does see their work extended: “the care of all temporal matters in which the church is concerned, may be considered as belonging to the deacons; but they were specially appoitned solely for the poor.” Why? Because one reason for the office was to keep the Apostles focused on the ministry of the word. Interestingly, he is unaplogetic about the fact that some churches have no deacons because in those churches there are either no poor or the needs are so few that the elders may sufficiently care for them. Available online.

Anon. 1690. A Treatise of Ruling Elders and Deacons. In which, these things which belong to the understanding of their Office and Duty, are clearly and shortly set down. Edinburgh.

It is as the title says, and footnoes the Book of Discipline of the Church of Scotland. A little commentary perhaps? Attributed in database to James Guthrie but I see nothing in the text that indicates that, only: “by a Minister of the Church of Scotland”. Talks about deacons being those who see to needs the poor and sick of church (no mention of others outside the church) “so the poor may not be put to begging, to the grief of thei spirits, and the reproach of the Gospel.” The work is to be done in conjuction with elders, with the advice of assigning an elder and a deacon to various sections of the church. The duties are to remain distinct, however; “as if they were both one, either appoitning none for the office of Deacon but leaving that charge also upon the Elders, or else giving the Deacons the same power and imployment with the Elders.”

Dolezal, James E. 2017. All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism. Reformation Heritage Books.

It is sad to know that evangelicals, calvinisitc and otherwise, are challenging Trinitarian orthodoxy. But perhaps this book and others like it will help us remember why the old truths are still important. Highly recommended. At Amazon.

Gottman, John and Nan Silver. 2015. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. Revised ed. Harmony.

My second time reading this. See notes under the marriage section on my recommending page.

Gottman, John. 2002. *The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships. Reprint. Harmony.

My second time reading this. See notes under the marriage section on my recommending page.

January 2019

Richardson, Virginia. “Constructivist Pedagogy.” Teachers College Record 105 (2003): 1623–1640. Read in connection with an article promoting “active-learning”, a very helpful summary of active-learning teaching strategies, and a warning about this pedagogical catch-all term.

Read notes on John 1:34ff from Calvin, Cyril of Alexandria and the excellent modern commentator Frederick Dale Bruner; also sermons by Chrysostom and Augustine. Augustine has several interesting things to about Nathanael and his interaction with Jesus.

Michael J. Kruger, ed., 2016. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized Wheaton: Crossway. A collection of well-written introductions to each New Testament book. Always helpful. I’m using this right now as one of my prep-resources for the NT Survey class I’m teaching.

Thomas Foxcroft. 1733. The Divine Right of Deacons. Boston: Green for Henchman and Phillips.

Isaac Watts. 1747. The Rational Foundation of a Christian Church and the Terms of Christian Communion. To Which Are Added Three Discourses, Viz. Disc. I. A Patter for a Dissenting Preacher. Disc. II. The Office of Deacons. Disc. III. Invitations to Church-Fellowship. London: Rose and Crown in the Poulty and Buck in Pater-Noster Row. Isaac Watts impresses me.

James T. Dennison, Jr., ed. 2014. Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation. 4 vols. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books. Useful again and again. This time I’ve combed through these volumes reading all I could find on the diaconate and almsgiving. Reading these confessions one after another reveals surprising insights.

Anon. 1641. Reasons Why the Hierarchy or Governement of the Chvrch by Arch-Bishops, Lord Bishops, Deanes, Arch-Deacons, Chancellor’s and their Officers, exercising Sole or Superior Authoritie in Ordination and Jursidations may and ought to be Removed. [Subscription required.] Gives three main reasons and answers various objections.

James M. Wilson. 1869. The Deacon: An Inquiry into the Nature, Duties and Exercise of the Office of the Deacon, in the Christian Church. 2nd Edition. Philadelphia: William S. Young.

Keller, Timothy J. 1997. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road, 2nd Edition. P & R Publishing.

Kibbe, Michael. 2015. From Topic to Thesis: A Guide to Theological Research. IVP Academic. Easy to read, to the point, and very helpful. This is my third time reading it; I’m pretty close to having it internalized.

Mills, C. Wright. 2000. “On Intellectual Craftsmanship.” In The Sociological Imagination, 40th anniversary, 256. Oxford University Press. This essay explains what it means to do good work as a sociologist, but it applies well to anyone engaged in “knowledge work,” as it is called today. It is brilliant and full of good advice. Older books on pastoral theology have sections that sound very similar to this essay. I came across it when learning about the zettelkasten method of note taking, which I’m going to try and employ using the Notebooks App.