Posts Tagged ‘Don Carson’

Jared Moore has put together some resources by Don Carson on the difficult doctrine of the love of God here. Although his context is American Southern Baptists it is a topic that is pertinent for all believers. The topic of God’s love and His wrath is just so important in a ministry like ours. Real people are going to a real hell. Jared writes:

The wrath of God towards sin and sinners is what makes God’s love so amazing.  All humans deserve hell, yet God reveals His love for us by giving His Son for the world.  Furthermore, there is a special love for the elect that the lost do not have.  This love should be shared instead of hidden, encouraging sinners to come and enjoy the love God has for the elect through repentance and faith in Christ.

Please take the time to read his helpful post and to download the free resources from Don Carson.

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There is a great three minute interview here with Don on the issue of holiness and pornography.

By Andy Constable

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged that worship isn’t simply a Sunday activity while we sing songs but involves our heart attitude in all of life (see: http://niddriepastor.com/2012/04/06/dont-just-sing-about-it-start-worshipping-god-today-everyday/) The question that necessarily flows from this conclusion is – what is the point of meeting on a Sunday? If worship is an activity that happens in all of life then why do we need to meet corporately on a Sunday to worship God? Does anything particularly different happen on a Sunday compared to the rest of the week? Is there any point?

I want to argue that our corporate worship is distinct from, and supportive of, the worship of Christians in all of life. It is distinct because it is time when we gather together and hear God’s Word preached to us in a special way. And it also supports our worship because it is a time when we remind ourselves of God’s truth, receive correction and see the beauty of who God is corporately so that we can then go and worship him with all of life. I want to argue that there are 2 particular reasons why its important to meet corporately on a Sunday.

Firstly Sunday is important for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26: “What then, brothers? When you come together, everyone  has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church..” The word strengthening here is from the Greek work oikodome and means “edifying, edification, building up.” Paul instructs the Corinthians that the Lord’s people need strengthening when they meet together.

The writer to the Hebrews backs this verse up in 10:24-25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The writer to the Hebrews commands the church to meet together regularly to encourage and stir one another up. The Sunday is therefore supportive of our worship during the week. The meeting up on a Sunday is to be used to instruct people in God’s word and strengthen them towards glorifying God all the more.  In more modern, emotional centred churches the strengthening of God’s people is cast to the side. They say that the primary reason we meet is to “meet with God”. But Paul is very clear that the reason we meet together is to be built up for service. Teaching God’s Word correctly and simply must be an emphasis of our Sunday services.

However many churches would stop there. They would say that edification is the only reason we meet up. I would argue that there is a second reason to meet on a Sunday. The second reason we meet on a Sunday is to meet with God. Worship, as Carson writes: “is ascribing all honour and worth to…God because he is worthy, delightfully so.” We are therefore only truly worshipping God with our entire beings, including our hearts, when we are ‘affected’ by God’s glory because we see his worth. As Tim Keller writes worship is “obedient action motivated by the beauty of who God is in himself.” The second purpose of meeting on a Sunday then is to see the worth of God in all his fullness.

We see this in the Bible time and again. David writes this in Psalm 41:16: “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, The LORD be exalted!” The Psalmist says those who follow the Lord are to rejoice, be glad and love the salvation of the Lord and result is that we want the Lord to be exalted. If our services are simply geared towards edification and our heads then we miss out the rejoicing in and being glad in and loving the Lord, which is geared towards our affections.

This is what the reformer Calvin believed deeply. Calvin believed that the goal of gathered worship was to bring people face to face with God. Calvin’s aim was not that people would simply learn information about God, but that they would truly hear God speak and know his presence in the service. Jonathon Edwards argued along the same lines when he said that worship had not occurred unless our “hearts are affected, and our love captivated by the free grace of God” and when “the great, spiritual, mysterious, and invisible things of the gospel…have the weight and power of real things in their hearts.” Thus, the goal of gathered worship is to make God “spiritually real” to our hearts. That is where truths by the Spirit’s influence become fiery, powerful, and profoundly affecting. It is not enough to be told about grace. But you need to be amazed by it.

The goal of Sundays is edification and meeting with God. Our heads and hearts are to be instructed and affected by the beauty and truth of God. This is what we want to see in Niddrie! A church that meets on a Sunday to support our worship during the week and that instructs our minds and affects the heart. We want to be set on fire by the fame of God’s name and his renown. Please pray for us as leaders that we would prayerfully apply the gospel and allow the Spirit to do his work in the life of the church!

Very often I am asked what my ‘position’ is on social justice and the gospel. Usually, I will feign a quizzical look before asking said person, ‘what do you mean by that?’ Generally, what they mean is how do I balance ‘loving people and providing for their needs over and against preaching the gospel to people?’

Therein lies the problem (for me anyway). I have absolutely no problem whatsoever in balancing the gospel with social justice/action and here is my big secret. Wait for it…..drum roll please. I DON’T SEPARATE THEM. I know. Aren’t I clever (no, not at all)? Here’s what I mean.

1. I simply preach the gospel. In fact, I resent the fact that I have to choose between preaching Christ and ‘loving’ people through my deeds. That is not a legitimate separation and stacks the cards heavily against the cross as THE supreme act of love in the history of the world.

2. I simply preach the gospel knowing that the God that I proclaim is the God of Micah 6:8 (look it up for yourself). So that means if I see a person in need I am not having a theological argument in my head over whether I ought to slam them with the gospel or give them a hand up. I do both, regardless of how they respond.

3. I simply preach the gospel as Christ’s ambassador because that’s what I am commanded to do first and foremost. People are going to hell and it doesn’t matter whether they go there hungry or not. What matters is that I hold out the beauty of Jesus and the great hope found in the cross. Oh, and if they’d like a bacon roll, I am happy to oblige with that too!

4. I simply preach the gospel because Jesus is the only name under heaven and earth by which men, women and children can be saved.

5. I simply preach the gospel by serving my fellow human beings in whatever way I can. I go the extra mile in loving them, easing their discomfort, trying to help them solve their issues, feed them and clothe them, earnestly pleading with them to ‘repent or perish’ because that is their greatest need.

6. I simply preach the gospel by living with people right where they are in the midst of their suffering, seeking to live a Godly and consistent life in their midst. I don’t go to conferences that talk about how to reach them, how to evangelise them and how to love them. I don’t write books on what it means to engage in a biblical, gospel led ministry to them. I just try to be salt and light right where I am.

I simply preach the gospel because I have no other answers to the many needs of my fellow man/woman. I do it out of a sense of overwhelming gratitude for where God has taken me in my life. He rescued me from the slime, He cleaned me up and He placed me right back in the mixer as a prime example of the power of the gospel and of the glory of God as found in Jesus Christ. Along the way people fed me, clothed me and put a roof over my head. They loved me and counselled me and rebuked me and even listened to me! But if they had never challenged me with the sinfulness of my sin, my hopeless condition under the judgement of a righteous, loving, just and holy God; if they hadn’t pleaded with me to repent of my sins and put my faith and trust solely in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary, then I don’t know where I would be. Well, actually, I do know exactly where I would be. Either still in prison, thinking back on the kindness of some ‘Christian types’ who gave me something to eat once but never quite plucked up the courage to share Christ with me in a way that was understandable and to the point. Or worse, and more probable, dead along with many of my friends. Dead and facing eternity in a place I can barely think about….

Social justice/action doesn’t have to lead us away from the gospel anymore than the gospel leading us away from social action/justice. We serve a God of ‘Zedek’ & ‘Mishpat’ (righteousness & justice – a little Hebrew to impress my etymological peeps out there!). All that being said, here is a little discussion from some men with much bigger brains than mine.

If you’re a young minister, frustrated by the older generation of pastor’s and their attitude toward you and your ministry, read this and repent. If you are an older minister who despairs of the younger generation, their new fangled ways of doing things and their almost arrogant disregard for church tradition, read this and repent.

Every single person needs to take the time to read these wise words from Don Carson here. More than that, heed them and repent.

Three great preacher/theologians debate this.

Corrected by the Text

Posted: July 24, 2011 by mezmcconnell in Preaching, Video
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