Monday, September 13, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: From the Retiring Moderator

The Pastor’s Perspective
“From the Retiring Moderator”
First Published: June 20, 2005

I’m writing this from Greenville, South Carolina, where we’ve enjoyed two nice days with my family (all of whom were in town on this past Sunday for my youngest brother’s firstborn son’s baptism – Melton Ledford Duncan, Jr.). We’ll be on the way to Anne’s folks in Columbia later today.

I’m still rejoicing about the successful VBS we’ve just enjoyed, and thankful for the good hard work of all our dedicated VBS workers, especially our Director, Beverly Harmon, our Assistant Director, Anne Pringle, Cynthia Carter, Skit Director, Jane Yerger, Music Coordinator, and our Children’s ministry directors Barbara Porter and Weezie Polk. Thank you dear friends, for all you’ve done for our children.

General Assembly week in Chattanooga was glorious — filled with good preaching, helpful seminars and many happy reunions. On Monday and Tuesday, I had the pleasure of participating in a pre-Assembly conference sponsored by RTS called “The Westminster Confession for Today.” The lectures delivered were outstanding. Sinclair Ferguson’s address on the moral law was a tour de force. Chad Van Dixhoorn’s paper on the Westminster Assembly’s debate over the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (which is again a hot topic today) was stellar. Al Mohler’s plenary address on preaching was seraphic. Buy a set of these CD’s and give them to a seminarian. They’ll love it.

After enjoying a luncheon with the conference speakers on Tuesday, I gave the first of three seminars at GA. The first seminar I did was on public worship: From Worship Wars to Biblical Consensus: Doxological Commitments and Commonalities for the PCA. The room was packed and the people seemed interested and receptive. Later that afternoon, I did a video interview for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and then hosted a dinner sponsored by CBMW for PCA leaders.

On Tuesday night, my whole family was with me for the worship service. Anne’s mom and dad, Marge and Bill Harley, came over from Columbia, SC. Her brother Bill Harley and his wife Becky, came over from Clemson, SC. My brother John was up from Orlando. And my mother, Shirley, and brother, sister-in-law and newborn nephew, Mel, Lynda and Ford Duncan, were all over from Greenville, SC. I preached the retiring moderatorial sermon, along the theme of this year’s GA – “The Year of the Ruling Elder.”

On Wednesday morning, I did two more seminars, the first was on The Marks of a Healthy Church. Again, to my surprise(!), the attendance was strong. Immediately following it, in the same room, I gave my third and last seminar, on Justification by Faith and the New Perspective(s) on Paul. I chose this subject because the hottest theological debate in the Reformed community today relates, surprisingly, to the doctrine of justification by faith.

Wednesday at lunch, I enjoyed hosting a luncheon for all the living and present former moderators of the PCA GA. It was provided by our elders at First Pres., and was a delightful time of fellowship for this faithful servants. Sinclair Ferguson’s sermon on Wednesday night was stratospheric, and John Piper’s message on Thursday night was glorious and powerful. I’m so thankful for those two brothers. Jim Moore has already shared with you a little about the business of GA, but I’ll comment more later.

Can’t wait to see you all again this Sunday morning and evening!

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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