Introducing John Owen

John Owen is an unusual, larger-than-life figure of Puritan church history, and arguably one of the few towering theologians Britain has ever produced.  And who better to provide a helpful introduction to this incredible man, than Michael Reeves.

Owen was a mild mannered, wealthy academician by day, and a political conspirator by night, while producing some of the most magisterial theological works of the Puritan generation.  He had eleven children, all of whom he would bury.

As we’ve come to expect, Reeves is a wonderful teacher who knows his subject well and is able to capture your attention and paint a picture of life in past ages.  I thoroughly enjoyed this 3 part series on John Owen.

Reeves suggests the two best books to read to get introduced to Owen are Communion with the Triune God and Volume 1 of his Works by Banner of Truth, The Glory of Christ.

Introducing John Owen >>>

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Rezolution Conference 2010 Piper & Mbewe

Johannesburg, South Africa, John Piper and Conrad Mbewe reflect on the conviction of Jonathan Edwards in keeping his famous resolutions.

Piper opened the conference with a message on “For His Name’s Sake” which considers the sweep of redemptive history which demonstrates God’s zeal and love for himself.

Piper’s second sermon was vintage Piper, and was fitting, as Piper talked about one of the most significant things Edwards said that had a tremendous impact on Piper’s life.  “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him.”  If you’ve never heard Piper on this subject, then this is one you will want to hear.

Conrad’s messages surrounded Romans 12:1.  In his  first message he asked 2 questions:  1. What keeps Edwards resolutions from being mere legalism? 2. What motivated him to define and keep these resolutions?  The answer is that the fountain of grace brought in a fresh supply to him.

In Conrad’s second message he asks 1 question:  What should have Edwards resolved to do in the light of the mercy God showed toward him? Bringing it home to us, he asks if we as Christians are merely giving God a contribution from our lives, or have we completely sacrificed our lives for him. Conrad considers that most of us, if we are honest, are Christian contributors rather than living sacrifices.  A phenomenal message.

The Saturday night Q&A was wonderful.  I love Q&A’s because it’s entirely unscripted and allows me to see how these men think through issues in a candid manner. The questions discussed what their typical day is like, how we should think about some pastors being less gifted than others and the discouragement that might bring.  On the issue of dating, Piper believes dating as a matter of having a boyfriend or girlfriend without any intention of marriage is wrong because it is courting danger. But dating (whether you label it courting or not) should be restricted to seeking a marriage partner. On the issue of tithing, Piper said the “tithe” system of 10% that is so prevalent in America is robbing God. If 10% satisfies our sense of giving, we are misled. Giving is to be above and beyond tithing, and to simply set the bar so low that tithing 10% is sufficient for most Christians is Pharisaical.

Piper closed the conference on Sunday morning with another vintage Piper message: “You exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.”  He focused his message on 2 Corinthians 8:1-7.

Conrad writes about the conference, and provides photos from it, on his blog A Letter from Kabwata.

Rezolution Conference 2010 >>>

The Powerful Life of the Praying Pastor

The 2011 Desiring God Pastor’s conference is now online for download.  Speaking on subjects related to prayer and  the pastor’s prayer life were Joel Beeke, Paul Miller, Francis Chan (that’s right) and Jerry Rankin. John Piper’s biography subject was Robert Murray McCheyne.

Francis Chan gives us some explanation of his recent departure from his church in Simi Valley, mainly motivated by the fact that he became a Christian celebrity so fast and wanted to guard himself from that mania.

By far, if you were to listen to only a few messages, I would recommend that you listen to both of Joel Beeke’s messages — one is on prayer, and the second is on family worship.  Beeke is a man who lives above and beyond the common sensibilities of our age in an admirable way. And I commend that you carefully, and thoughtfully, apply the truths of both messages. I have listened to a number of Beeke’s messages on family worship over the years, and they have motivated me to revolutionize my leading in family worship. And this message is one of his best, primarily because most of his other messages on family worship have poor audio quality.

The panel discussion was particularly helpful.  The discussion raised a lot of great points and allowed helpful interaction with the material.

2011 Pastor’s Conference >>>

Pipers biographical message on McCheyne >>>