Monthly Archives: March 2008

Obama Does Not Believe Faith in Christ Necessary for Heaven

Read more about this here.

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R.C. Sproul Interviews Ben Stein about Intelligent Design

Click here to view. Approx. 27 minutes in length.

Categories: apologetics, evolution, Intelligent Design | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A One-Size Fits All God Doesn't Help When It's Time To Die

(HT: Heidelblog)

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Five Questions For Tim Keller About Expository Preaching Answered

keller.jpgEven with his busy schedule, Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York took time to answer briefly five question we had for him concerning the role of expository preaching. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few months, Dr. Keller has written a book “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” published by Penguin Books.  Thank you, Dr. Keller, for your time!

MRP: What role do you see expository preaching playing in the life and ministry of the local church?

TK: Very, very important. One of the essentials of vital church ministry, though not the only one.

MRP: Who has been your greatest influence as an expository preacher?

TK: John Stott, Dick Lucas, D.M.Lloyd-Jones, about equally.

MRP: Do you believe that expository preaching can be inductive as well as deductive?

TK: Of course. In some ways, those are not that different. In each case you are slowly rolling out the solution from the text to a problem that you pose early on. In inductive preaching you are posing a question ‘e.g. how should we handle suffering?’ which you then answer from the text. In deductive preaching you say–‘this is what we believe about suffering, but is there anyway to justify it?’ and then you go on to answer that question from the text.

MRP: What role does the local church play in training preachers? Should they farm this training out exclusively to the seminaries?

TK: Probably not. I don’t have strong feelings about that. Working preachers have things to teach. Preacher-professors, who specialize in the subject, have things to teach as well.

MRP: What would be some of the basic areas you would cover in training lay preachers who have had no theological training whatsoever?

I’d follow the curriculum of the ‘Corn Hill Course’ in London that does this very thing. They simply provide English Bible training, surveying every part of the Bible and drilling down into specific books and requiring expository messages as homework for every course.

Categories: Expositional Preaching, interviews | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tim Keller Interview (Monergism.com)

A really good interview of Tim Keller by Monergism.com.

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Five Questions For Dennis E. Johnson About Expository Preaching Answered

Dennis E. Johnson, author of Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures, was gracious enough to take time to answer five particular questions I had about expository preaching. I am thankful for the depth with which he answered these questions. I pray that his answers will help you in your understanding of expository preaching.

MRP: What role do you see expository preaching playing in the life and ministry of the local church?

DEJ: I began to “catch the vision” for Christ-centered preaching through my M.Div. studies at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (1970-73), and then became increasingly more convinced of it through my pastoral ministries in New Jersey (1973-76) and Los Angeles, CA (1976-81), although I did not have a clear idea about how to preach Christ appropriately from each distinct passage of Scripture and often did not give myself enough time for meditation, for turning over the passage in my mind and comparing it with other texts and themes throughout the Bible until I could see the intrinsic lines of connection that tie the whole Bible to Jesus through the theme of God’s covenants with his people. When I began to teach at Westminster Seminary California in 1982, and especially as I began to teach other pastors in our D.Min. program in preaching in the early years, I began to work through more consistently a way to see what Jesus showed his apostles in terms of the interconnections of the Scriptures in Himself.

MRP: Who has been your greatest influence as an expository preacher?

Edmund P. Clowney has been the greatest influence, without a doubt. I have also learned from the way Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC preaches Christ, and from my own pastor, Ted Hamilton, of New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido. I also have learned from Dr. Iain Duguid, now teaching at Grove City College in PA, both in his preaching (he taught with me here at WSC and pastored a PCA congregation in my presbytery), and in his writings.

MRP: Do you believe that expository preaching can be inductive as well as deductive?

DEJ: I believe that expository preaching must first of all be inductive–that is, observing carefully what the text actually says, its inner flow of thought and logic when read in the context of the book in which it appears and in the context of the spiritual need and situation of its first readers. Then, I believe it is also appropriate to engage in a more “deductive” analysis, comparing what I believe I have heard this text say with the broader themes and framework of truth revealed in Scripture, including the way in which that system of truth has been summarized in the great creeds and confessions of the church.

MRP: What role does the local church play in training preachers? Should they farm this training out exclusively to the seminaries?

DEJ: I believe that the local church is a great training ground for preachers-in-the-making, and that the best arrangement is a close cooperation between churches and seminaries. In seminaries, pastoral candidates can get exposure to the gifts of a variety of teachers and mentors who can each bring his own strengths into his relationship with the budding pastor. In the church, the focused studies pursued in seminary can be put to the test “where the rubber meets the road,” in bringing the gospel of grace into the lives of really hurting people in real life venues.

MRP: What would be some of the basic areas you would cover in training lay preachers who have had no theological training whatsoever?

In training lay preachers I would focus on making sure they have a solid grounding in systematic theology that is based in Scripture and proven by the church over the centuries. This will help keep them on an even keel when winds of doctrine, promising “new” insights, blow across the church. Then I would focus on a basic hermeneutic or method of interpreting Scripture, in light of the way language works, and in light of the context of the Bible in the history of redemption. Finally, I would emphasize, for any and all leaders (whether those who can attend seminary or those who cannot), the importance of godly character as Paul places that “center stage” in his lists of qualifications of elders in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1. These attributes of humility, holiness, integrity, etc., must be grounded in a firm grasp of the gospel of God’s grace, given in Christ and received by faith alone.

Categories: education, Expositional Preaching, preaching, Scriptures | Tags: | 3 Comments

Would We Rather Have Comfort of Soul, or Know God?

In reading “Outgrowing the Ingrown Church” by C. John Miller, I came across a quote that just struck me. In the book, Miller notes that many churches have neglected God’s clear will of “going and making disciples” as outlined by Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). But many of our churches have grown inward for fear of extinction. It was at this point, I came across this quote on pp. 19-20:

“We have surrendered our hearts to the familiar forms of our religious life and found comfort of soul, not in knowing God, but in knowing that our worship practices are firmly settled and nothing unpredictable will happen Sunday morning. Thus, we have lost contact with the risen Lord as the source of our spiritual life, and what is worse we are often so enfeebled that we hardly know that we are out of touch with the King.”

Would we rather have comfort of soul, or know God? One thing about going through the Gospel of Luke is that Jesus is not comfortable nor safe. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12:

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

But how sad it would be for us to be out of touch with the risen Lord, and not know it — but think we are because we are maintaining worship practices that may be taking precedence over the leadership of the Holy Spirit of Christ?!?

Joe Thorn commented on another aspect of Miller’s book dealing with seven characteristics of an ingrown churches. May we read and head as we evaluate exactly what God would have us to be as a New Testament church.

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The Gospel in Six Minutes (John Piper)

Categories: evangelism, Gospel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

A Vacuum Tube From Your Study To The Pulpit And Back?

I am finding a crucial balance between studying the text (which is primary, of course) and studying your people — and not just the people in your congregation but also in your community. This morning, we had the privilege of doing what we call our Athens Neighborhood Blitz. We aimed to put an ESV New Testament, John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Christ Had to Die, a church flyer, and a VBS flyer in every home within a mile of our church. With a few exceptions, we succeeded — and in the process got the rush of being obedient to the Great Commission.

Preachers must understand basic hermeneutics, for sure. We must certainly “rightly divid[e] the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). But if you read the Apostle Paul’s letters, his heart beat for his people. He would address a specific issue at the beginning of his epistles, then would give some greetings at the end peppered with particular comments and instructions. Paul made it a priority to know his people as well. I suppose that is why I find myself content at a smaller church of 160-170. I have the opportunity to get to know the people here at Boone’s Creek. With that comes heartaches as well simply because you are more aware of individual issues.

There is a relative safety and comfort for the preacher who only studies His books and commentaries. But no where in the New Testament do we see the ministers cloistered away from the people. No, like Jesus, the apostles went to where the people were — and so must we.

One minister noted that he wished there were a vacuum tube going from his study to the pulpit and back. The implication is there — he wanted this so he wouldn’t have to be disturbed by people.

So the question is: can one be a great preacher but a terrible pastor? Are these two mutually exclusive? What think ye? (I think you already know what I think on the matter.)

Categories: ministry, pastor, preaching, study | Leave a comment

Tim Keller at UC-Berkeley: Reason for God in an Age of Skepticism?

A number of college students are now facing arguments from the “New Atheism” trying (unsuccessfully so)to undermine the rationality and validity of a Supreme Being of any guide, and a God as described in the Bible. Tim Keller in this and through his book “The Reason for God” is an introduction to engaging those struggling with God’s work in the world. This took place at the Veritas Forum at the University of California at Berkeley.

Categories: atheism, culture | Tags: | Leave a comment