Reflections of T4G 2008

Al Mohler’s radio program recently had Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever and C. J. Mahaney together to reflect on the April Together for the Gospel Conference.

The men reflect on the surprising elements about the conference, and then discuss the concerns they have over coming battles that the church must face — that primarily being to elevate again a high view of Scripture.  Lig observes that he believes every generation must re-engage this battle for the authority and integrity of Scripture so that they own it.  Even though Scripture was under attack in the 20th century, the new generation will have to go back and reapply the lessons learned there because things are being ‘fudged’, as Ligon put it.  Mohler also observes how the PCA and the SBTS both fought major defining battles over these issues.

They also consider how they are able to stand together for the gospel in spite of their differences.  The gospel unifies them, the implications of the gospel are what they differ on in part.

If you went to T4G you will definately want to hear this program.

Reflections of T4G page >>>

Election & Reprobation: Grudem Systematic Theology

 Wayne Grudem’s continuing systematic theology series is now looking at the progress of salvation.  These messages look at election, or as some call it, predestination, and reprobation.  Excellent material for discussion, and a clear and helpful look at the often misunderstood doctrine of election.

Election & Reprobation part 1 mp3 >>>

Election & Reprobation part 2 mp3 >>>

Hand-out Church History, John Gerstner

I don’t say much about mp3’s that have a price tag, primarily because I can’t afford it.  However, Ligonier has just announced sweeping price reductions, and in light of that, I am recommending a series on church history by John Gerstner that is very good. 

John Gerstner had an incredible mind filled with an amazing amount of information.  R. C. Sproul has commented on Gerstners vast knowledge of history and doctrine.  Even more amazing, is that Gerstner is spellbinding in his ability to teach.  There is no labor in listening to him teach or lecture.  He is a pure joy, and that is a good match for a church history course.

I first listened to this series 5 years ago when I was looking for a good church history overview, and I still remember many things Gerstner said.  This course is well worth the money.

Hand-Out Church History with John Gerstner >>>

Together for the Gospel ’08

I just returned flying home from T4G in Kentucky, and the entire conference is already online.  The panel sessions are not up yet, but I would guess those require some editing. Here is a brief overview.

Ligon Duncan gave an excellent overview of how systematic theology is used throughout Scripture, primarily responding to those who would dismiss the necessity of systematizing Scripture in favor of using Scripture only as a storyline.

Thabiti Anyabwile look at the issue of racism, and helpfully uncoupled the concept of race from ethnicity.  However, this was a very difficult and often slippery subject to deal with, and to get the full benefit you need to listen to the panel discussion that followed for certain clarifications.

MacArthur gave a clear and powerful look at the doctrine of total depravity, or ‘complete inability’ as he prefers to call it.  He not only lays out clear doctrine from Scripture, he shows how misunderstanding this doctrine dramatically impacts the clarity of the gospel message.

Mohler examined the relentless attack on substitutionary atonement and wrestled through the arguments with us, allowing us not only to see through the issues raised, but allowing us to glimpse into his incredible mind.

R. C. Sproul’s message on the Curse Motif is, as Al Mohler described it, one of Sproul’s most powerful messages that he’s ever heard.  This message was stellar.  Don’t miss this one.

John Piper was also in top form with an incredibly challenging message about how we are to endure suffering for the sake of Christ.  This will change the way you approach ministry.

C. J. Mahaney brought us back down to earth and the harsh realities of daily life and ministry and cleared the road for success in getting back to work. This was vintage C. J.

Listen to all the panel discussions.  The panels are one of the strong points of this conference, and often the panels are more engaging and challenging than the messages they preach.

Together for the Gospel audio page >>>

Patristics for Busy Pastors: An interview with Ligon Duncan

Patristics? For pastors?  I have to admit I know very little about the early church fathers.  However, I do hunger to understand more about the period of the early church.  What has hindered me has been unfamiliarity of the period, coupled with the inaccessibility of the reading material.  I must also admit that I harbored a very unfortunate sense that the early church was simplistic, moralistic, and because it deteriorated rapidly into two predominant forms of heresy (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) it was therefore unecessary.

In this interview conducted by Tony Reinke, Ligon Duncan demonstrates that the early church fathers is the most relevant study of church history for our contemporary culture.  Evangelicals have, by in large, left the church fathers to the Roman Catholics.  But Duncan explains that not only did the 16th century reformers know the church fathers very well, the culture the early church fathers engaged is most like our own in the 21st century, being very pagan, pluralistic, and gnostic.

In discussing the great merits of knowing the church fathers, Ligon Duncan provides a few book recommendations:

The Spreading Flame, by F. F. Bruce, Ligon considers the best historical overview of this period.

Church History in Plain Language, by Bruce Shelley, provides a few chapters on the early church that provide a quick summary of the history and players.

Everett Ferguson’s, Backgrounds in Early Christianity, is an excellent resource book that provides bite-sized, yet very effective summaries of certain heresies and philosophical schools that influenced the culture.

Peter Brown’s biography, Augustine of Hippo, is a phenomenal work by one of the greatest Augustine scholars in the world.

J. N. D. Kelly’s, Jerome, is another biography of notable stature of an early church giant.

As far as primary writings, Ligon recommends reading these books:

Athanasias’ Incarnation is a classic, and you should try to find the version that contains C. S. Lewis’ classic introduction.

The Apostolic Fathers, edited by J. B. Lightfoot (later updated by Holmes) should also be on your list of reading.

Geoffrey W. Bromiley’s Historical Theology: An Introduction is a helpful tool for gaining background information on how certain theologies developed. 

Iraneus’ work Against Heresies is also a classic worth having.

Finally, Ligon talks about how Tom Oden had been swept up into deep liberalism, and who didn’t return to orthodox Christianity until he began to read the church fathers and discovered that the liberal view of them was wrong.  Oden wrote about what he learned in his book, After Modernity, What? which J. I. Packer writes the introduction to.

This is a fabulously informative and challenging interview that will excite your interest in the church fathers.

Patristics for Busy Pastors at Sovereign Grace Ministry page >>>

Together for the Gospel travel audio

For those of you going to the T4G conference this coming week, I have two recommendations for audio to travel by.

If you missed T4G ’06, you can purchase and download the mp3’s from Sovereign Grace here:

T4G ’06 at Sovereign Grace

Ministering hand in hand, in ‘interleaving fashion’ (as Don Carson put’s it) is the Gospel Coalition conference which met last year, and will meet on every odd year in April, as T4G meets every even year.  The Gospel Coalition messages were great, with sessions by Don Carson, Tim Keller, and Crawford Loritts. You can download them for free here:

The Gospel Coalition

I will be attending T4G this year with the pastor of my church, Andrew Brereton, and looking forward to it.  I won’t be early enough to attend the band of bloggers meeting, but I will be at the Canadian T4G group that Tim Challies is responsible for.  I hope to meet some of you in Louisville.

News flash! Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Oneplace.

The Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recording Trust has recently joined the ministry of Oneplace to provide recordings of the Doctor’s sermons. This is great news and will be a site I frequent. The ministry is titled ‘Living Grace.’

There is only one show in the queue at the moment. I will be anxious to see how frequently the MLJ Trust releases audio to this site. They have been posting a new sermon once a week on the MLJ Trust site, and this may just be a migration that will get his weekly sermons a wider audience.

Thanks to Mark Berggren for bringing this to my attention.

Living Grace at Oneplace >>>