On Books with D. A. Carson

Mark Dever gives us a wonderful and mind-numbing interview with Don Carson on how he writes his books, followed by a discussion about the books Carson has written and plans to write.  I honestly don’t know what to say about this interview, except, if you are a pastor or serious student of God’s Word, this is a must. Of note, Carson carefully tap dances around Dever’s question about why he doesn’t like most systematic theology books, and which ones he does like.  If you are familiar with Carson’s book on New Testament Commentaries, you will know that Carson is very candid and blunt about which ones he likes and doesn’t and for what reasons.  Dever questions him about this because a great deal of the commentators listed are friends or colleagues of Carson.

I share Dever’s admiration for two particular books that Carson has written: Call to Spiritual Reformation and Exegetical Fallacies, the later of which every preacher should read.  In my opinion, it’s the Strunk & White Elements of Style for Biblical interpretation.

If you listen to this, keep a pencil and paper handy.

On Books with D. A. Carson >>>

Phil Ryken’s Ordination message for Nicholas Batzig

If you have been enjoying the Christ the Center programs, you will be familiar with Nic Batzig.  Nic was recently ordained, and none other than Phil Ryken gave the ordination message from 1 Corinthians 16.

Ryken draws a number of parallels between his knowledge of Nic and the similarities of what Paul faced in Corinth.  He also drew heavily from John Calvin’s ministry.  Nic will be planting a church in Georgia, and Ryken deals heavily with the nature of the warfare he will face as a church planter.

Ryken’s Ordination message >>>

The Eschatology of Adoption

David Garner of Westminster Theological Seminary joins the Christ the Center team to discuss the much neglected subject of adoption.  Garner begins his discussion by relating how his interest in the theology of adoption was sparked and led him to an in depth study that resulted in a dissertation, and will culminate into the publication of a book sometime next year.

There are only 5 instances of the use of the Greek term for adoption, but it is nonetheless incredibly important. Garner opens up the glory of this amazing doctrine.

The Eschatology of Adoption >>>

The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism

The Erosion of...The subject of Biblical Inerrancy was a hard won battle of Evangelicals in the 20th century.  But we are now loosing it again, not because the issues have not been accurately addressed, but because we have little regard for church history.  In other words, we have to fight for inerrancy again because of our ignorance.

G. K. Beale and Carl Trueman discuss this very important subject in light of the postmodern challenges to inerrancy. This discussion is based on Beale’s recently released book ‘The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism.

This podcast has seen more than the usual amount of downloads.

The Erosion of Inerrancy >>>

The Gospel and Sanctification

Richard Gaffin, Professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, joined the panel at Christ the Center to discuss the relationship of the gospel with sanctification, and how sanctification relates to justification.  This was a very interesting and helpful discussion.

Gaffin challenged the prevalent idea that once justified, our sanctification is simply to perform the law out of gratitude to God.  Gaffin clearly outlines how our sanctification is dependant upon Christ, and not merely a response of gratitude, but an actual working of the Spirit of God in our lives to perform good works as we are God’s workmanship, and not the other way around.

The Gospel and Sanctification page >>>

Pornography, Public Culture and the New Administration

In Friday the 13th’s edition of the Albert Mohler Program, Al looks at the subject of pornography in light of the presidential nomination of David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General.  Ogden is a “First Amendment extremist” lawyer who represents the interests of pornography in society.

Pornography is one of the most insidious dimensions of American culture today.  It is a plague that is ruining lives, marriages, and public morals.  It endangers women, children, and the most vulnerable among us.  Putting one who can only be described as an extremist for pornography in such a high position in the Department of Justice — Deputy Attorney General of the United States — sends a clear signal at home and around the world.  If David Ogden is confirmed, the U.S. Senate becomes a party to this disaster.

Mohler asks what kind of signal the nomination of Ogden makes, and should we even care as Christians about this nomination.  Mohler deals more extensively with the subject of pornography in his book Desire and Deceit.

Pornography, Public Culture & the New Administration >>>

Paul Washer’s Shocking Sermon

Here’s the sermon that often doesn’t get Paul Washer invited back.  And no, it’s not because he’s boring.  Washer preaches with clarity and passion.  The reason Washer has caused such an uproar in some places is because he makes a frontal attack on some of Evangelicalism’s most sacred cows:  Assurance of Salvation, and sincerity in “making a decision” for Christ.

Washer pulls no punches.  Nor does he just attack for the sake of attack.  He attacks these forms of Evangelical religion like a surgeon attacking a cancer. He dissects and explains.

Washer rails against how Evangelicals are so quick to proclaim people ‘believers’.  One of the most damnable practices in the church is when a person doubts their salvation, they are usually taken back to that day when they “made a decision” for Christ and “asked Jesus into their hearts”, neither of which are statements found in Scripture (apart from a poor hermeneutic).  We are often guilty of giving people a false assurance that is based more on the ‘sincerity’ of their decision than on the presence of a transformed life.  Washer claims this tactic sends countless people to hell.  At the very point that a person may be coming to Christ with a legitimate doubt about salvation, we kill off that work with a sloppy proclaimation of false salvation.

Washer broadsides contemporary evangelistic practices, including child evangelism and Sunday School programs. He says he would not put his children in 80% of the Sunday school programs, because the gospel presentations we give to children are so seriously distorted they border on heresy.

This message needs to be preached to every church in America.  The congregations response would serve as a good litmus test of spiritual health.

Paul Washer’s Shocking Sermon >>>

Conrad Mbewe: The Gospel of John

Conrad MbeweYou cannot help but love Conrad Mbewe, who pastors a church in Zambia.  Not only does he have a strong South African accent, and a comforting preaching style, he is a good expositor of Scripture and strongly stands for God’s Word.

Heart Cry Missionary Society has a portion of Conrad’s messages series on John and Romans.  I haven’t got to listen to his Romans series yet, but I am enjoying John.  Unfortunately, all that is available is John 12:20 through John 17:18.

One memorable point was in his sermon titled “The Danger of Spiritual Self-Confidence”  where he reflected on Peter asserting to Jesus that he would follow him even to death.  Conrad suggests that to question Peter’s sincerity and to call him a hypocrite in light of his denial of Jesus that very night is to draw a superficial conclusion.  We make this same mistake in the church today.  When we hear about another believer falling into serious sin our response to that reveals our theology.  A response of condemnation and pride will believe “How could they do that? I would never fall into that.”  We must realize that we carry with us a nature that is capable of any sin.  And any sin that you just now though would be exempt, add that back to your list.  You are capable of any sin.  If you don’t believe that then you are decieving yourself.  He who stands now, take heed lest you fall.

Conrad continues this line of thought regarding our natures.  He uses the example of women who watch the soaps, or men who look at pornography.  To do so is to watch scandal and deception.  “Don’t you realize you are FEEDING a nature?”  We carry with us a nature prone to sin.  When we feed it such things it will eventually lead to exercise those sins.  Be careful what you feed to your sin nature.

This is a fabulous series that will feed your soul.

Conrad Mbewe: The Gospel of John >>>

By the way, Conrad has a very interesting blog of his work in Africa called A Letter from Kabwata.

Commending Christ: 2009 Desiring God Pastors Conference

Evangelism was the subject of this years pastor’s conference at Desiring God, and what a great conference this was. 

Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist carried the weight of most of this conference, preaching 3 very helpful messages examining each from the context of the need, the pastor and the church.  Dever carefully helps us to think through both the doctrine of evangelism, as well as offering very practical ways of doing evangelism. 

One notable example of Dever’s personal evangelism is that he intentionally builds relationships with non-Christians, such as his barber, his mechanic, etc., for the expressed purpose of long term evangelism.  

Dever’s church intentionally does not have an official evangelism program.  Dever see’s the role of the church as being to support the congregation in their evangelism.  Dever encourages all forms of evangelism strategies that members of his congregation pursue.  Results are not tabulated, nor records kept.  The goal is to encourage and mobilize his people.

You will be challenged by Dever because his evangelism is deliberate, and his passion for it is contagious.

Matt Chandler brings a message titled “A Shepherd and his Unregenerate Sheep.”   This was a fascinating account of Matt’s ministry and his attempt to run from a pastorate of established evangelicals.  Matt’s heart was to reach out to those that the church has overlooked.  But through this process Matt says that God gave him a heart for the average church goer, because he saw them as being the faithful who have been led astray.  Don’t miss this message.

Michael Oh is a Korean pastor in Japan, which he says is probably the most difficult missions field in the world. Oh is unique, in that as a Korean, his family lived through a holocost on the scale of the Nazi holocost at the hands of the Japanese.  Oh spends some time developing the benefit of fasting in the work of missions.

And last but not least, John Piper takes us through a biographical sketch of the life and ministry of George Whitfield.  Whitfield was a very emotional and flamboyant preacher, sometimes criticised as an actor.  Piper deals with this assertion carefully, and demonstrates that Whitfield utilized his emotionals and dramatics faithfully to the message that he communicated.  As with all of Piper’s other annual biographical sketches, this is a highlight of the DG Pastor’s conference, and must not be missed.

Commending Christ Conference >>>