Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"Confessions of a Theology Geek" by Shane C. Montgomery

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

  In my house you will find a mess.  This I must confess, is nobodies fault but mine.  My wife is a very neat and orderly  person, she hates when anything is out of place and she will not and cannot relax until every thing is in its proper place.  Even my two children are neat, at 15 and 7 years old respectively, you would not think this to be the case, but they are.  I know they take this from their mother, they know to put something back in its place when they are finished with it, and for the most part she has trained me to do the same over the past 24 years of marriage.  God has truly blessed me with a loving wife who puts up with me and two great sons that at times appear to be more mature than I am. 

Upon visiting our small house you might see that it is clean, organized and free of unnecessary clutter.  For the most part anyway, but you will also find an unusual amount of books lying about the house, be it in the study where most of our bookshelves take up residence, also in the living room, both end tables, as well as the coffee table are completely buried with books.  My wife and I's bedroom is no better, while my wife's night table is clean and neat, mine is stacked high with books, often at night I will awake and find the only way to find my way back to dreamland again is to read a few pages, or chapters first.

  Even the bathroom is not safe from my slobbery, now and then I will be getting a towel off the shelf only to find a book on theology laying under the folded towels.  The kitchen fairs only slightly better, this is one area she will not tolerate any books, the kitchen table, I have learned if foolish enough to leave a book lying upon, will result in the disappearance of the book for quite some time, only after several attempts and much begging will I learn the true  whereabouts of the book and only after I have learned my lesson for leaving books on the table.  Just the thought of forgetting one of my favorite books on her table sends shivers down my spine!   But I understand where she is coming from with the whole kitchen thing, after all, a woman's kitchen is her place, not saying I am chauvinistic,  but my wife and many others I know, will defend their kitchen to the death!  A man is playing with his life when he messes with the sanctity of a woman's kitchen.   

  My books are everywhere!   I find them in the oddest places, books I have long forgotten turn up and I quickly try to get it back on one of the shelves, or at least in the vicinity of the shelves.  We have no room on any shelves and no room for any additional shelving.  New books simply get stacked two and sometimes three rows deep on the same shelf or more often than not, just stacked on top of the book shelf itself.  This after giving away two hundred plus works of fiction that I no longer have need of or even desire to ever read again.  Since I have fallen in love with Reformed Theology and the great writings of the Puritans, I want to read nothing but these.  I have fallen so hard for Puritan books, I cannot seem to read them fast enough.  To think that sixty or seventy years ago, you could not find hardly any books by the Puritans but today we have several publishers re-publishing these great works.  Thanks to God for bringing the Puritans back and at a time of such great need!     Besides the Puritans we have John Calvin, Martin Luther, Horatius Bonar, A.W. Pink, J.C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, J.C. Philpot, John Bunyan, B.B. Warfield, A.A. and Charles Hodge, J.Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton, J.I Packer and on and on and on!  

  Calvinist are so blessed today, as never before to have so many edifying works so close at hand, thanks to the Internet we can easily find and purchase whatever we are looking for and if we do not what to wait for the mail, we can always read the book online.  Though I loath reading on a computer screen, I often do and I appreciate what the net has to offer.  I would prefer to read everything in a hardbound book and skip the flickering screen if I could.  This being the case, I buy a lot of books, and I buy them quicker than I can read them, and I am still buying books.   I have this terrible system of order in my head that never seems to work quite the way I designed it to, I really should trash it and go with a better system.   My feeble mind is trying it's best to keep sequence of the next 15 or so books to be read.  This system is truly awful I tell you!  For one thing, it is too easily manipulated and overridden.  The safeguards are week and fail too easily, letting  any new book get to the head of the line ahead of other books that have patiently waited all these many weeks and sometimes months, and I dare say, some even a year or more.  Sorry Spurgeon, someday I will get around to reading your "Treasury of David", be patient.  

  For all the books that lie yet unread in my study and throughout the house, I am ashamed,  maybe I am becoming a bit greedy, my wish list on monergism books has grown longer and longer, trying to relieve some guilt  I will remove a book or two from the wish list, but then I simply add a few more to replace the ones I deleted.  I might have a problem with will power and self restraint.  I admit to being at times greedy and self centered when it comes to books.  I know, there are worse things a fellow can do then desire edifying books but it still is a problem.   I will not purchase a book if I cannot afford it or if the money I have on me would be better spent on a bill or on someone in need and I will always put the needs of my family and friends before my addiction to Reformed books.  But this is no excuse.  I should have the will power to stop buying these books and first read what I have.  I should be able to take up one of the books off my nightstand and sit down and read it and put it up and grab another, until all have been read.  

  Did I fail to mention I cannot read one book at a time?   Many of you are like me in this respect, I know guys just like me who will often read four or five books at a time.  I will finish one book and then finish another one a few hours later.  Sometimes it is hard to keep track of what is going on in each book, but believe it or not, most times it is easy.  I have used this style of reading for the past five years or so and have it down pretty well now.   This only bolsters my excuse to buy more books and put them in the stack and so even more confuse and overwhelm my mental reading schedule.   The main theory I use to justify this spending  and clutter is that when I pass on my sons will inherit a rather sizable library of edifying books.  

  Are these reasons valid enough?  I don't know, I do know that I could easily go two years without buying another book and still have enough to read everyday.   I know my wife would appreciate it if I would do this, the house would look better and I would not feel quite so bad when friends come over to visit and have no where to sit their drink down because books take up every inch of table top.   I just wonder though, are you like me?  Are you a "Theology Geek?" Is this really something so bad?  When you are in a book store, are you bored by all the mindless pulp that fill the racks, and always searching for anything on the Puritans or Reformed Doctrine?  Should I feel guilt about buying a book?  Even if it is one I might not read for some time.   I don't know, maybe I shouldn't even care, but I do know that I love to read, always have and always will.  My kids love to read.  I desire for them to keep this love for the written word long after I am gone and for them to instill this love into their children someday.   I know also that I have learned much from this mass of books, they have truly aided in my growth as a Christian.  Of course the Bible must always take center stage in our reading and will always take precedence over any other book.  But there is nothing wrong with learning from learned men of God who lived before us.  We fight the same battles as they did in life, we can learn from their efforts and their mistakes.  So I see nothing wrong in reading books other than the Bible, though I know several believers who insist we should not read any book other than Scripture.  I try to argue that God raised these men up, blessed them and gifted them with a great knowledge on the subject of Christians living and holiness and so there is great benefit in reading their writings, but it often, err....always falls on deaf ears.   I wish they would reconsider, funny thing, these people are always the very ones who have the hardest time interpreting the Bible to begin with and would benefit so much by reading other men of God, but they hold tight to their misguided beliefs.  I wish they would change their minds on this matter.  

  If I have to hear one more goof ball fundamentalist tell me that they follow Christ and not John Calvin, I will explode!  This is the very reason why we need to pick up a book now and then!   I am confident our little house will survive.  My wife will eventually get use to the stacks of books.  My children will continue to be excited about reading and looking at books.  I will continue to read as much as I can for as long as the Lord will allow.  I will never put as much as a small dent in the works that have been published over the last several hundred years of Reformed writings, but I will have fun trying!

Be Holy! 
Shane C. Montgomery



{ Raine } at: December 8, 2010 at 5:10 PM said...

lol, this makes me feel better. I'm also a bibliophile, with probably 6 months worth of books I haven't read tucked here and there. We live in a small home, and I have bookcases in the living rooms, dining room, and nursery, and still need more space, so right now there are several stacked on and under the nightstand and on both sides of my favorite chair in the living room.

btw, this reading is one of the main reasons I am Reformed, being that I spent a long time surrounded by and blending in with "fundamentalist goofballs". ;) At least you have a good excuse though - I'd hope most people would expect their pastor to read and study theology. I'm just a housewife so my husband doesn't get why I get so excited to receive a package with the writings of Anne Dutton or John Owen in the mail.

{ Bold Witness For Christ } at: December 9, 2010 at 5:36 PM said...

Hi Raine, you are a woman after my own heart! I agree with you and now that you mentioned it, I also owe much to the likes of the Puritans and Calvin, Spurgeon and others. I know God used these servants to pull me away from the Arminian thought process that I was entrenched in. I recall clearly how it all went down, I stumbled upon a few Spurgeon books that pointed me to read Calvin and I was hooked and changed forever. All of a sudden God's grace was everywhere. It looks as if we had similar paths to the Reformed faith.

You mentioned I should read much as a pastor and you know that thought never dawned on me, of course I have set study times, believe it or not I was not looking at it from that position but from the position of a husband and father. So, I do feel better now! :) Thanks for reading and don't be a stranger, I am always excited about meeting new Reformed friends! Thanks and be Holy!

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