Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman of 9 Marks talk about why churches, and Christians, fail to engage in one of the most fundamental privileges and commands we have as Christians. Dever offers helpful guidelines and models in how churches can pray and keep them organized and focused on moving from immature prayer to mature prayer. This discussion is very helpful and practical for church leaders.
From the 9 Marks website:
This Sunday, a vast majority of evangelical churches will gather for singing and preaching and reading Scripture and perhaps even a few baptisms and the Lord’s Supper. There will also be some praying.
In comparison to everything else, though, there will be just a little bit of prayer—a transition as a few musicians scurry off-stage, a quick “thank-you” to God after collecting the offerings, a prayer for God’s Spirit to work on the hearers of the sermon.
All in all, you might pray for a few minutes, almost always as a passive observer.
That’s the norm, and, on the whole, the norm is shocking, abysmal, and embarrassing. When it comes to verses like Colossians 4:2—“continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”—our present-day churches have mostly failed.
So, what should we do about it? To answer that question, consider this interview with Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman, in which they seek to diagnose and then address this problem of prayerlessness. We hope and, well, pray that it encourages us all toward more faithful obedience.
The Failure of Churches to Pray >>>
Dale Ralph Davis is well known for his masterful ability to preach the Old Testament historical texts. He has written commentaries in the Focus on the Bible series covering the historical books from Joshua and 2 Kings. In 2010 he delivered this message at the Trinity Baptist Pastor’s Conference in New Jersey.
Nuts & Bolts in Preaching Old Testament Texts >>>
To kick off the 2016 seminary season John MacArthur spoke to the students in chapel on two of Paul’s prayers that were instrumental in the shaping of MacAthur when he took the pastorate of his church almost 50 years ago. Tremedous lessons not only for pastors, but for Christians in general.
The Prayers of the Pastor >>>
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic The Brothers Karamazov is available as a free download for the month of August at ChristianAudio.
The Brothers Karamazov >>>
In May the council members of The Gospel Coalition invited Mika Edmondson to help them think through the injustices raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. The message was important enough that they have shared the audio. Al Mohler was among the listeners and wrote a response to Mika’s message, which I’ve also included a link to.
In his address Mika relates the origins of the Black Lives Matter movement, offers a correction for how we should understand it, and then compares and contrasts it to the Civil Rights Movement. He then offers some needed admonishments, rebukes, and challenges to the Christian church.
“There are enough major differences to say Black Lives Matter is not an extension or rebirth of the Civil Rights Movement. Still, I strongly recommend full engagement with the concept and critical engagement with the movement, especially since there’s no evangelical alternative to Black Lives Matter. It grieves me deeply to say there’s no evangelical movement robustly, consistently, and practically affirming the value of disparaged black people. So we must be careful how we criticize Black Lives Matter in the absence of an evangelical alternative.” – Mika Edmondson
Mika Edmondson’s address >>>
Al Mohler’s response >>>
One of my favorite preachers sits down with Nancy Guthrie and talks about what makes an excellent Bible teacher.
Dick Lucas Talks Teaching >>>
The audio from Ligonier’s 2016 National Conference is available to stream for free. The subject is the Gospel itself, and the speakers who join R. C. Sproul to speak on the glories of the Gospel included Al Moher, Michael Reeves, Ian Hamilton, Derek Thomas, Tim Keesee and many more.
R.C. described the purpose of this conference this way:
In 2 Peter 1:16, the Apostle tells us that he and the other Apostles “did not follow cleverly devised myths” when they proclaimed “the power and coming” of Christ Jesus. Rather, the Apostles were “eyewitnesses of his majesty.” These men saw something take place in space and time that altered the course of human history. The incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus are not legendary events in a fictional tale. They are firm historical realities on which the Christian faith stands or falls.
In the face of cultural hostility, followers of Christ must not compromise the bold historical witness of the Christian faith. We stand not on a mere idea or a fanciful myth, but on historical events that testify to the fact that Jesus is Lord and Savior.
We must be prepared to articulate and defend our faith so that we can give an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). To help prepare you for this task, our national conference will be centered on the theme of “The Gospel.”
Truth and clarity regarding the life and work of Jesus Christ are critical issues for the rising generation. That is why I am looking forward to revealing the Ligonier Statement on Christology at this conference. It’s intended as a clear and memorable articulation of orthodox Christology, and I hope it will serve the Church for years to come.
2016 National Conference >>>
All twelve messages from the Bethlehem 2016 Conference for Pastors, which finished today, is now available for download in audio and video. The speakers included Don Carson, John Piper, Joe Rigney, Jason Meyer, Leonce Crump II, and Tim Keesee who is behind the amazing videos Dispatches From the Front.
The audio and video from the conference is available here:
Bethlehem 2016 Conference for Pastors >>>
Dr. Richard Gaffin takes up Romans 8 in a short chapel message and applies it to prayer, encouraging us that though our prayers are faulty, we have two advocates praying on our behalf in the Son sitting at the right hand of God and in the Holy Spirit. The focus of these two advocates is not that they do anything to us in our praying, but that they come alongside of us in our weakness.
Jared Oliphant wrote an article about the impact Gaffins message had on him when he attended the chapel when Dr. Gaffin delivered this message.
Poverty of Prayer >>>
The Marrow Controversy surrounded a book written in the 1640’s by a man named Edward Fisher entitled The Marrow of Modern Divinity. The book, written as a dramatic dialogue between four men debating the gospel and it’s implications for the Christian life, the men being Neophytus, Evangelista, Nomista and Antinomista. Neophytus is a young Christian, Evagelista a minister, and Nomista who believes in law over grace and Antinomista who believes in grace over law. The theological engagement centers on the relationship of grace and law in the Gospel.
Fisher’s book was banned by the Church of Scotland in 1740, accusing the book of preaching antinomianism and Universal salvation. In response, Thomas Boston and a group of other men opposed the ban arguing that the Church had taken Fisher’s teaching out of context.
Why all the fuss? Fisher’s book is widely regarded as one of the most important doctrinal books ever written, skillfully unravelling the difficult relationship between grace and law, and bringing to light the great dangers of the two polar evils of legalism and antinomianism (lawlessness). Ferguson has given two series of lectures on the Marrow, and is about to release a book about it called The Whole Christ. I would encourage you to read the endorsements for the Marrow of Modern Divinity and The Whole Christ at WTS Books.
Ferguson’s book The Whole Christ is, in part, based upon the following two series of lectures.
The Marrow Controversy lectures >>>
Pastoral Lessons from the Marrow Controversy lectures >>>