Archives For D.A. Carson

If you are a parent of younger children then you make decisions every day about what they are exposed to. The concern is, of course, over influence. We know that certain things (movies, music, video games, friends, etc) are impactful. These outlets can shape they way they see and experience the world. Therefore we are intentionally selective about what they see.

Pastors do a similar thing in their preaching. They look at the context and culture of their church and decide what is best in terms of exposure. They set the preaching schedule, cadence, and style off of it. As a result one of the first things that gets shifted is the depth of the sermon. The pastor (with good motives, I’d assume) keeps the content at a relatively surface level for his people to keep up and tune in.

I believe that while this is helpful in parenting and counterproductive in preaching.

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ezra nehemiah emmaus bible church

Preachers love to preach. We love to dive down deep, mining God’s Word for glorious, eternal treasures and then to swim back up to the service, sharing them with our church each week. But sometimes we get a little preacher’s cramp in so far as what to preach next. After preaching through Ezra and Nehemiah, I am thoroughly convinced that pastors, in particular church planting pastors, should prayerfully consider preaching through these books.

Here are some reasons…

New Beginnings: Ezra starts out with the people of God in Babylon. Within a verse or two God is strirring the heart of a pagan King (Cyrus) to send his people back to Israel to rebuild the temple and reestablish the covenant community. It is time for a new day. In particulur for a church plant this helps to show how God works in people and communities to build something new.

Idolatry: The books are repleat with examples of what idolatry is. Everywhere from the neglegence of the weak in Nehemiah 8 to the ignorance of the Sabbath in order to make wine in Nehemiah 13, God shows how the elevation of good things to ultimate things is actually a replacement of what is ultimate, namely the worship and adoration of the Lord God. This primes the pump for a crucial discussion on idolatry.

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Biblically faithful Christianity does not present itself as a nice religious structure that makes happier parents and well-ordered children and good taxpaying citizens. It may produce better parents and taxpaying citizens, but the issues at stake in biblical Christianity have to do with eternity: heaven and hell, matters of the utmost significance, your relationship to your Maker, what God has provided in Christ, what the cross is about, the resurrection.

At the end of the day, what hell measures is how much Christ paid for those who escape hell. The measure of his torment (in ways I do not pretend to begin to understand) as the God-man is the measure of torment that we deserve and he bore. And if you see that and believe it, you will find it difficult to contemplate the cross for very long without tears.

–D.A. Carson The God who is There (Amazon -  Westminster)

During our most recent ReNew Conference I was able to commandeer Dr. D.A. Carson in between sessions. A selfish little request made possible by our conference director. A request I make every time he’s with us. I am never disappointed in these moments and he is always graciously and sincerely obliging. So much was running through my hard drive afterwards I though I’d better write some of it down. Here are some takeaways.

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When I think about contemporary evangelical leaders and their impact on the church I can scarcely think of two more prominent figures than D.A. Carson and John Piper. Both have a multi-generational, expanding swath of reach. They seem to be getting better and stronger with age.

For me personally, I can sometimes hear these men over my shoulder banging the drum of the beauty and supremacy of Jesus and his gospel. I love that about them.

This is why it is always interesting to hear them talk. In this occassion they are talking about the roles of pastor and scholar. In particular the way the pastor should be a scholar and the scholar a pastor. The book here puts in print an evening with Carson and Piper following the 2009 Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago. I was in attendence that night and listened carefully as Drs Piper and Carson talked about their respective paths in ministry. It was encouraging, refreshing and interesting.

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I love this video from Dr DA Carson. It is so helpful and clear. I praise God for men like this who help boneheads like me to be more clear.

Biblically faithful Christianity does not present itself as a nice religious structure that makes happier parents and well-ordered children and good taxpaying citizens. It may produce better parents and taxpaying citizens, but the issues at stake in biblical Christianity have to do with eternity: heaven and hell, matters of the utmost significance, your relationship to your Maker, what God has provided in Christ, what the cross is about, the resurrection.

At the end of the day, what hell measures is how much Christ paid for those who escape hell. The measure of his torment (in ways I do not pretend to begin to understand) as the God-man is the measure of torment that we deserve and he bore. And if you see that and believe it, you will find it difficult to contemplate the cross for very long without tears.

–D.A. Carson The God who is There (Amazon -  Westminster)