How to Wait for Jesus: Don Carson

In two messages, Don takes us through 5 of our Lord’s parables that teach us how we must wait until he returns:  The parable of laborers in the vineyard, the parable of two sons, the parable of the tenants, the parable of the ten virgins, and the parable of the talents.

The lessons of these waiting parables are as follows: Wait for the Lord Jesus as those who do not wish to be surprised at the masters return, as stewards who must give an account of their service, as those who knows the masters coming may be long delayed, as slaves commissioned to improve the masters assets, as people whose lives are transformed by the gospel and they unconsciously serve their brothers and sisters in Christ in selfless ways.

Carson draws some very weighty exhortations that might open some eyes.

How to Wait for Jesus pt. 1 mp3 >>>

How to Wait for Jesus pt. 2 mp3 >>>

Two Adams, Two Covenants, Two Righteousnesses

Guy Prentise Waters gave two interesting messages on some very important doctrinal points that play heavily in justification.  Waters compares and contrasts Adam and Christ, the Old Covenant and the New, and the implications they have in terms of righteousness.

While I love Guy Prentise Waters, these two messages required more than the usual amount of attention.  They are lectures, and as such, are a bit on the dry and monotone side of things.  The information is great.  But the format of the delivery will require work for the listener.  Not commuter friendly audio.  Be warned.

Waters on Two Adams, Two Covenants, Two Righteousnesses >>>

Carson: A Crucial Call to Faithfulness on Gender Issues

Don Carson is one of the most searched for speakers on this blog, and with good reason.  Don’s messages not only provide great theology, he teaches you how to think and work through the difficulties of a passage or issue.  And he has certainly changed my mind on a few issues.  He also very wisely chooses not to provide specific applications on certain things because they must be worked out by individuals or leadership.

This is true of these two messages.  Don breathes fresh clarifying air into the issue of women in positions of authority over men.  He clearly demonstrates a Biblical hermeneutic that is so easy to follow that you will learn good interpretive practices while learning about the gender issues.

Carson admonishes preachers to stop apologizing for God’s Word in the face of an offended culture.  God’s Word is for our good and we need to stand by that over and above the issue at stake.

These messages were given at the Desiring God’s 2009 Different by Design mini conference at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.

Session 1: The Flow of Thought in 1 Timothy 2 >>>

Session 2: Is the Culture Shaping Us or are We Shaping the Culture? >>>

Different by Design 2009 >>>

Don Carson on Psalms

Don Carson gave 4 exceptional messages on the Psalms at the UCCF Staff Conference.  Don’s main goal in choosing these 4 Psalms was to demonstrate how the Psalms contribute major themes that help us put the storyline of the Bible together.   Psalm 1 examines the contrast between good and evil.  Psalm 2 examines the Davidic-Christologic typology. Psalm 40 is about God our deliverer, and in this message Carson is particularly helpful in demonstrating how the difficulty of translation needs to be considered in our hermeneutic.

Psalm 110 examines the Melchizedek priesthood which puts together the place of the law of the Levitical priesthood in relation to the new priesthood of Jesus Christ.  This message in particular is stellar, and is one of the best messages I’ve listened to this year.  If you’ve been fuzzy about the relationship of the Old Testament Law to the New Testament, this one is for you.

Psalm 1 mp3 >>>

Psalm 2 mp3 >>>

Psalm 40 mp3 >>>

Psalm 110 mp3 >>>

Why Johnny Can’t Preach

Drawing his basic concept from the old book ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read’, Dr. T David Gordon discusses his recent publication ‘Why Johnny Can’t Preach’ with the CTC panel at the Reformed Forum. whyjohnnycantpreach

Gordon’s book is basically a look at the deterioration of preaching in the media, multi-tasking age. Gordon draws much from Marshall Mcluhan and Neil Postman, who both suggest the decline of intellectual/literary thinking to the mass media of television and motion pictures.

The answer to why Johnny can’t preach is twofold: First, Johnny’s thinking has been shaped by the media. Gordon provides a vivid example of the problem. A preacher reads a very powerful passage of Scripture overflowing with potential. However, the sermon that follows ends up turning into something far from the passage, talking about parenting or marriage. How is this kind of thing possible? Gordon suggests this is possible because we are not used to seeing Scripture as being consequential, and so we read Scritpure we miss those things that are consequential. And that allows the preacher to be inconsequential.

The second reason Johnny can’t preach is because Johnny’s listeners don’t know how to listen to good preaching. It’s foreign to them. Gordon provides another vivid picture of this. A preacher received a comment from a church member that he had improved in his preaching. The preacher realized that it was not he who had improved, but his congregation who had improved in listening to preaching.

One friendly criticism I have is that sometimes these discussions about media go a little too far in vilifying the medium of the media, without giving adequate weight to the content. Marshall Mcluhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message”, and while on some level that is true, it’s not helpful to take that in isolation of other important factors. All forms of media are a tool. The tool is not the root problem. It’s abuse is the problem. I would whole-heartedly agree with Gordon that movie clips have no place in preaching, but I do that not on the ground of the medium, but on the overpowering emotional & sensual nature of the movie clip content itself. If we oversimplify it as a medium problem we haven’t sufficiently dealt with the reasons why.

And this leads us to vilify the use of Powerpoint just because of it’s ‘graphical’ nature. Yet no one ever criticized the use of overheads or blackboards (which R. C. Sproul uses) as an evil use of those mediums. Some preachers use Powerpoint very effectively. Others have no business using it. Powerpoint is a benign tool. The preacher who utilizes it is what counts.

Despite my minor criticism, this discussion is a very important one, and if you are a preacher you will gain some good insight from this lively discussion.

Why Johnny Can’t Preach >>>

N.T. Wright’s Doctrine of Justification

The boys at Christ the Center give us a 2 part discussion with Guy Prentiss Waters about N.T. Wrights new book ‘Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision‘. Wright’s book is a response to John Piper’s book The Future of Justification, which itself was written in response to Wright’s teachings on Justification which provide the most theological weight to what’s become known as the New Perspective on Paul.

While this isn’t a discussion for everyone, it is very helpful in providing a big picture of this theological engagement. Waters and the CTC team are not supportive of Wright’s conclusions, and they point out some major flaw’s in Wright’s arguments in his new book as he tries to engage with John Piper’s masterful critique.

Part 1 >>

Part 2 >>

2009 Shepherd’s Conference

For the first year the audio downloads of the Shepherds Conference are free of charge right out of the gate.  You just have to sign up for an account if you don’t have one.

There are some great highlights for this years conference.

John MacArthur opened the conference with a careful and we reasoned address on 6 day creation.  MacArthur contends that creation is a miracle and is therefore out of the bounds of science to analyze in any satisfying way, and therefore, we need to be careful that we keep science in it’s place.  After all, scientific method is not perfect or infallible.  Lazarus was raised from the dead, and Jesus multiplied the fish and loaves to feed 5000.  Would science be of any service if it were able to analyze the fish or sample the blood of Lazarus?  MacArthur offers a great many arguments that cannot be overlooked by Christians’ who engage in “Creation Science”.

The headliner to the Shepherds Conference this year belongs to Al Mohler, for his one address which powerfully exhorts preachers to authoritative preaching.  To preach without an element of authority means 1. you don’t know your text, and 2. you don’t fully understand that Scripture is the very Word of God to man.  If we believe that the power of God is in the Word’s of Scripture we will preach it as such.  Our preaching will reflect this conviction.  Phil Johnson writes a post on the conference, particularly highlighting Al Mohler’s address.

In General Session 3, John MacArthur talks about the history of his ministry and how he developed his convictions about how the church should operate.  This was a very helpful address that will encourage pastors to remain faithful to Scripture while shelving the business and contextualization strategies that plague the church today.

General Session 5 is a Q&A with MacArthur on the subject of expository preaching.  These are not questions from the audience, these are questions written by the elders and pastors at Grace Community Church.  The result is a very informative and helpful session about the place of preaching, why expository preaching is so important, and what methods MacArthur uses.  There is so much information here you will want to have pen and paper to take notes.

Phil Johnson steps up to the plate and completely dismantles the new trend toward vulgarity in the pulpit, and in my estimation, leaves those who engage in such a pulpit practice without any of their usual arguments for doing so.  Phil looks to Paul’s letter to Titus for his exhortation.  Titus was a pastor in Crete, which was a grunge culture of new converts, very similar to the target audience of most evangelical post-modern preachers who bring vulgarity into the pulpit.  Paul did not suggest in any way that Titus contextualize his preaching in that culture.  Phil’s arguments and biblical reasoning takes the wind out of their sails and calls them to repentence.

Rick Holland considers what it means to have a fearless ministry, to the likes of John Knox and the Apostle Paul.  Rick looks at 2 Corinthians 11 and gives some strong and weighty exhortation to fearlessness.

Steve Lawson looks at Galatians 1 and considers what it means to defend the Gospel.

MacArthur closes the conference by addressing the common question, “Why does God allow suffering and evil in the world?”  He does this by looking at different categories of evil.

Shepherds Conference audio >>>

Digital Etiquette for MP3 Creators

This is a friendly call for creators of MP3’s to follow some very simple guidelines that  will make end users lives easier, and be a testimony to the messages we preach & teach.   If you value the material you post publicly on the Internet, please demonstrate it’s value by following these 3 very simple guidelines.

1. Edit the ID3 tags thoughtfully.  ID3 tags are the meta information that allows users to locate material based on the artist/speaker, album, name, date, etc.  A large percentage of MP3’s have no ID3 tags whatsoever.  They are simply identified by the file name, which is so over encrypted and unintelligible to be of any use.  Fill in the speakers name in the ‘artist’ category. Use ‘album’ to identify the preaching series or workshop.  Fill in the ‘name’ or ‘title’ section with a clear title .

2. Be consistent with your naming convention. I have seen quite a number of series or conferences that vary the spelling of a name, and each variation appears within it’s tag differently.  I can’t tell you how many Don Carson names I have to scour to find my Don Carson audio  (D. A. Carson, DA Carson, D A Carson, Don Carson, Dr. Don Carson, Dr Don Carson, Dr. D. A. Carson, Dr DA Carson…you get the idea).  This happens within series or conferences. Personally I think the ‘Dr.’ bit adds an unnecessary level of complexity.  When you add a ‘Dr.’ or ‘Dr’ or ‘Dr. __’ the problem becomes exponential.  Watch that you don’t mistakenly put a space before or after the name as this will also create a new instance of the tag.

3.  Compress your files.  We don’t need to waste bandwidth or hard drive space.  I still see 1 hour speech files as large as 90 mb.  That’s more than 3 times what is necessary.  You should be able to get 60 minutes below 25 mb with little loss of quality.  Switch off stereo and you reduce it by half.  The speaker is talking into one mic, which makes stereo needless.   There are plenty of good compression tools on the net.  Audacity is a very good free package.

We live in a digital world, and we produce digital content.  Let’s take care that what digital content we create has as much care applied to it’s digital format as the care we use in the exegesis of the message contained within.

Thank you.