Archives for February 2020


After the conference in Alexandria, Egypt, we went home with Frank and Sherry. He is a professor at AST. We took a detour on the way home to see the pre-school that Sherry directs. It is in a Presbyterian church in a poor area of Alexandria. She is the only foreigner who comes in the neighborhood. The cube seen hanging over the street is the Kaaba; it represents the most holy place that Muslims on their pilgrimage walk around and pray towards.

Conference in Alexandria, Egypt

On Thursday, I finished teaching the last four hours of the Reformed Experiential Preaching class in Cairo, Egypt. We loaded into a van with four others and were driven north four hours to a conference center on the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, Egypt. Sherif spoke the first evening on the Spirit’s role in assurance. Over the next two days, I spoke four times on assurance—its importance, the grounds, growing, and renewing assurance. I also did a workshop on family worship, and Mary did one for the women on casting our anxieties on Christ. There were also quite a few missionaries from various parts of the Middle East there.

Most of the 200 people in attendance were young people or young adults. Quite a few are students at Alexandria School of Theology (AST), which offers intensive classes on weekends so the students can continue their day jobs. These young men have been strongly influenced by our two PRTS students, Sherif and Mark, and also several other leaders, to bring the Gospel to parts of the Middle East, feeling called to suffer for Christ. The young men in the picture below were asking questions about a variety of subjects, such as “Why would the Lord harden Pharaoh’s heart?”

We came away from this conference with the conviction that God is beginning to do great things in Egypt. Pray that this aroused interest in the Reformed faith may continue to grow and that reformation and revival may be poured out on this nation.

Dinner on the Nile River

This evening (we are 7 hours ahead of EST in the U.S.) we had a delightful dinner in a beautiful restaurant on the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt with some of the leaders connected with the Alexandria School of Theology. In addition to hearing about each others’ families, conversion, and work, we discussed a great variety of subjects, including the doctrine of assurance of faith, the role of affections in Reformed experiential theology, the theology of Thomas Cranmer and Jonathan Edwards. The brother sitting next to me has devoted his life’s work to the theology of Cranmer. Oxford University Press is releasing volume 1 of his edited edition of Cranmer’s Works this year (which includes his 250-page intro on Cranmer), and then, hopefully, volumes 2-5 in the next seven years, D.V. The Lord willing, tomorrow I finish teaching my Reformed Experiential Preaching class here, and then we move on to the last leg of our trip for a conference and for preaching in Alexandria, Egypt. We are really looking forward to our homecoming next week to see our new grandchild, Abraham Frank!

ThM Course on Reformed Experiential Preaching in Cairo, Egypt

Since Monday I have been enjoying teaching all day each day an intense 3-credit ThM course on Reformed Experiential Preaching at the Cairo, Egypt branch of the Alexandria School of Theology to 15 students—mostly Egyptian ministers and teachers. The course is about 24 hours of lecturing; I hope to complete the last hours of teaching tomorrow. In this picture, the students are holding up my book on Reformed experiential preaching, which serves as the main text for the course.

The course is one of many that our professors hope to teach at this school which is now being established as an ATS-approved extension campus of PRTS for the Middle East for the ThM program. We have also been approved for three other extension campus sites for the ThM program which our professors are teaching at as well—one in Brazil to represent Latin America, one in London to cover Europe, and one in Taiwan to serve students from South Korea, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Please pray that God’s blessing may rest upon these extension sites in general and this class in particular to His glory and the extension and maturation of His kingdom.

Meet Our New Grandson, Abraham Frank

During this time that we are in Africa, we were blessed with a new grandson! Little Abraham Frank (7 lb. 15 oz.) was born to our daughter and her husband, Isaac and Lydia. Mother and child are well. We are beyond excited to meet this little man. God is beyond good! Please pray with us for a second and even more miraculous birth.

Four Pleasant Surprises

Today I had four pleasant surprises here in Cairo, Egypt. The first two were in the form of two of my books, “The Contagious Christian” and “Living in a Godly Marriage” (with James La Belle) that were presented to me in Arabic! Here I am with the brother who translated both of them. Surprises of my books in foreign languages always move and humble me. Pray with me that the growing Reformed movement in Egypt and throughout the Middle East and other countries that speak Arabic may profit greatly from these books.

The third pleasant surprise was the arrival of Rick Denham from Brazil who was involved in planning for the conference that I will be speaking at in Alexandria, Egypt this coming weekend. Rick is involved with helping many U.S.-based ministries (such as 9Marks, Desiring God, Ligonier, and MacArthur’s ministry) expand their work in foreign countries. It was great to have lunch with him and catch up on the Lord’s goodness and work.

My last pleasant surprise was receiving the first typeset copy of volume 2 of “Reformed Systematic Theology” on the doctrines of man and Christ (1300 pages by Paul Smalley and me). It is always great to get through the initial stage of editing and to receive the first typeset copy of a book for final proofreading. To me, reaching this stage is nearly as exciting as receiving the book itself. Please pray that we will be able to ferret out any typos in this last phase of proofreading, and that God will continue to use this set of books in a mighty way around the world (Volume 2 is scheduled for an early November release date.) Also today, by the way, I gave final approval for the printing of the Portuguese version of volume 1 of “Reformed Systematic Theology” in Brazil.

Warm greetings from Egypt. Your prayers are coveted.

Ain Shams Presbyterian Evangelical Church

On Sunday evening, we were driven one hour to another part of Cairo, to Mark and Rosie Abdo’s apartment, where Rosie cooked us a delicious meal. Along the way, men were stationed on tops of buildings along the busy road. Sherif thought a dignitary, maybe the President, was expected to pass by. I preached in Mark’s home church, Ain Shams Presbyterian Evangelical Church, on Jesus maturing the faith of believers, with Sherif interpreting into Arabic. A man came up to us afterward saying, “I am going through a deep trial, but now I feel God’s strength and encouragement.” The other picture is of Sherif and I chatting with a friendly man who wanted to make sure I was being well taken care of!

Preaching in Cairo, Egypt

Yesterday, on Lord’s Day morning, I preached in a Reformed Anglican church in Cairo, Egypt (see picture). Presbyter Steve (on my right), together with another minister, led the liturgy. The liturgy was considerably longer than we are familiar with but was both biblical and Reformed in its theology. From their perspective, I am sure my sermon was longer than what they were familiar with—even though it was a bit shorter than my norm. As a result, the service was a full two hours. Afterward, we engaged in fellowship with the multicultural flock hailing from as far away as the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States.

The Great Sphinx and Egyptian Museum

From the pyramids in a suburb of Cairo, Egypt, we went to see the adjacent Great Sphinx, a limestone statue of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a man, thought to represent King Khufu. It is 240 feet long and 66 feet high. The idea is that the combination of a lion’s body and a man’s head is to show that the king is both strong and wise.

From the Great Sphinx we then traveled this afternoon to the famous Egyptian Museum which is packed with 120,000 items thousands of years old. Sherif and Mark were our guides all day. They are standing with their wives in front of the huge statue of the Pharaoh who is thought to be the one who hardened his heart to Moses’s commands: “Let my people go.”

Most impressive was the display of King Tutankhamun, the young king who ruled Egypt 1334-1325 B.C. and took the throne at age eight or nine. As with other kings, he was buried in a pyramid with thousands of treasures and trinkets, which they intended for him to use in the afterlife. The difference is that the tomb raiders that ransacked other pyramids never found this one. It was discovered in 1922 and has given archeologists and historians a greatly expanded view into Egyptian history.

Camel Ride

All around the pyramids men are selling souvenirs and rides. Mary took a picture of a camel passing by, and the man turned back and said, “Come here. Stand by my camel. Take a picture.” Before we knew it, we were on the camel, and the camel was standing up. Mary hung on the post, and I hung onto Mary! We felt like we would be catapulted off the front! After Mary got off, the man pushed my sun hat back and started wrapping his turban around my head, and told the camel to stand again.