Charlie Wingard

Charlie Wingard

Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson and Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City, Mississippi

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Pastoral Ministry at 90

“Retirement” is not in my Uncle John’s vocabulary. At age 90, he is the visiting pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Ripley, TN and is in Chapter 5 of his Romans series. You can listen to him twice a week on the local radio station. I am thankful for his testimony and example.

Ordained in 1951, Uncle John joined the PCA in 1974.

What a joy to catch up with him last weekend at the wedding of Megan Joy Wingard and Timothy Stern!

 

When Truth and Holiness Are Lost

“Sometimes truth is lost first in a church, and then holiness, and sometimes the decay or hatred of holiness is the cause of the loss of truth; but where either is rejected, the other will not abide.”

– John Owen, The Works of John Owen (ed. William H. Goold; vol. 7; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 199.

The Preacher’s Prayer Life

“For a minister to preach the word without constant prayer for its success is a likely means to cherish and strengthen secret atheism in his own heart, and very unlikely to work holiness in the lives of others.”

– John Owen, The Works of John Owen (ed. William H. Goold; vol. 7; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 190.

Gospel Truth, Gospel Holiness

“Gospel truth is the only root whereon gospel holiness will grow.”

– John Owen, The Works of John Owen (ed. William H. Goold; vol. 7; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 188.

Taylor Branch’s America in the King Years

 

My father established a nightly routine for me that continues to shape my life today. After supper from 1963 to 1969, we sat side-by-side on the couch and watched the evening news, either the Huntley-Brinkley Report or Walter Cronkite.

During those years, I was exposed to people and events that would remain life-long interests: the space program (I loved watching the Mercury and Gemini launches), the war in Vietnam (with its tragic tallies of killed, wounded, and missing), political races (the first I remember is the 1966 Callaway/Maddox Georgia gubernatorial contest), and the civil rights movement.

I was sitting next to my father when I learned of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April 1968.  The Atlanta church we attended hosted mourners for his funeral, and later that year, dedicated a plaque in his memory.

My serious reading in civil rights history began in the late 1980s after viewing the powerful documentary Eyes on the Prize. At RTS Jackson I teach a course that includes a session on American Christianity and race. My students are required to watch one of the series’ episodes.

Many years ago I purchased what became the first volume in Taylor Branch’s magisterial civil rights history of the King years. I began, but never finished reading it. So, when I moved to Mississippi in 2014 and found myself within driving distance to so many of the movement’s historic sites, I determined to read all three volumes.

This summer I completed my goal, reading one book during each of the last three summers. At 2,300 pages (excluding indexes), it took time; I am a very slow reader. But Branch’s style and command of his materials meant that my interest never wavered.

Seminary students ministering in the Deep South should think deeply about our region’s race history. Therefore, I am grateful that Taylor Branch has given us an invaluable resource for navigating and understanding the critical years of 1954-1968.

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Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-1968. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

Summer Reading for Parents

Lynne and I were so impressed with this interview that we ordered an audio copy of The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis – and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance to listen to during our summer travels. Sen. Sasse discusses the tools, work ethic, and mental toughness young people will need to succeed in today’s dynamic work environment.

The seven-minute clip is a part of an extended interview on BookTV.

If I prepared a 2017 summer reading list for parents, this book would be at the top.

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D-Day – June 6, 1944

Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the commencement of the Allied invasion of continental Europe. Within a year, Hitler was dead and the Nazi reign of terror over.

President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 speech at Normandy marked the 40th anniversary of the invasion. Reagan used the opportunity not only to honor the allied soldiers who fought their way ashore, but also to strengthen NATO’s resolve in the face of  threatened Soviet nuclear missile deployments to Eastern Europe. I introduced this speech to my high school rhetoric and debate students as one of the great presidential speeches of the 20th century.

My father, George Thomas Wingard, Jr., fought in Europe later in the war. He was at the Battle of the Bulge, which began on December 16, 1944, his 21st birthday.  My cousin, George King, son of Clinton and Magnolia Wingard King, was killed during the D-Day invasion. Their courage and the courage of all America’s military forces should be remembered.