Friday, April 24, 2009

Reflections from the Gospel Coalition

Earlier this morning I returned from the Gospel Coalition Conference. It was truly an amazing three days. So here I will simply list in bullet form a series of thoughts, reflections, highlights, etc. from the conference.

  • While the conference is amazing on its own terms, it is so much better when you can enjoy it with others. I had the privilege of taking 12 students from Grace College and Seminary, and it was a blast. It was so fun to introduce many of them to some of the great speakers/teachers for the first time.
  • I love getting to see friends both old and new. These conferences provide opportunities to catch up with individuals that I don't get to see very often and hear what God is doing in their lives. These conversations often lead to meeting new friends, and this conference was no different. In my estimation, this one of the primary benefits of conferences like these.
  • The content of the teaching was fabulous. I especially appreciated the messages by Keller, Piper and Lig Duncan. But for me the absolute highlight was the post-conference event "The Pastor as Scholar, the Scholar as Pastor" with Carson and Piper. Carson's message on "The Scholar as Pastor" was the most helpful set of reflections of what it means to be a scholar who serves the church. Perhaps it will serve as grist for later post.
  • On a different note, a friend passed along tickets to the Cubs game yesterday for me and five other guys. The seats were absolutely AMAZING. We were 11 rows from the field, behind the plate off to the 3rd base side. When the batter was in the box he was closer to us that he was to first base. Talk about a completely different experience! The only downside was that the Cubs lost.

If you were unable to attend the conference, you should go to the Gospel Coalition website and download the messages. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gospel Coalition Conference

Tomorrow the Gospel Coalition Conference begins, and I have the privilege of taking a group of 12 students from Grace along with me. But for those who cannot attend and still want to be a part of the festivities, you have two options:

Live webcast

Audio & Video Downloads available within one day

Feel free to say hello. It is always nice to see friends old and new.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mark Dever Interviews D.A. Carson on Books

This past weekend I listened to an interview with D.A. Carson conducted by Mark Dever. Dever asks Carson about many of the books he has written, as well as what he has in the works. Also enjoyable was the fact that because of his close friendship with Carson, Dever is able to "needle" him a bit, with the result that you get a sense of who Carson is as a person. Highly recommended. Here is the link:

On Books with D.A. Carson

Monday, April 13, 2009

History of Redemption Sermon 2

In this sermon JE introduces the three main divisions of his overview of the Work of Redemption (WoR). The first is from the Fall to Christ's incarnation, during which God was preparing for Christ's arrival. The second is from Christ's incarnation to his resurrection, during which Christ purchases redemption. The third is from Christ's resurrection to the end of the world, during which God brings about the effects of Christ's redemption.

In the interest of greater clarity JE then further divides the first period (fall to incarnation) into six periods: (1) Fall to the flood; (2) Flood to the call of Abraham; (3) Abraham to Moses; (4) Moses to David; (5) David to the Babylonian captivity; (6) Babylonian captivity to the incarnation.

The remainder of this sermon lays out the first four observations from the period from the Fall to the Flood. JE begins by noting that the mediatorial work of Christ began the moment man fell into sin. This claim stems from JE's assertion that "there is no mercy towards man but what is obtained through Christ's intercession" (130). From that point forward God would deal with man only through the agency of the mediator Jesus Christ.

Second, God gives the first announcement of the gospel in the so-called protoevangelium of Gen 3:15. JE admits that this is "an obscure revelation of the gospel" like the "first glimmerings of the light of the sun in the east" (133). In this promise God makes clear his intention to subdue all his enemies under the feet of his Son. The revelation of this promise was the first act of Christ in his prophetic office.

Third, God instituted the custom of sacrificing as a type of Christ's sacrifice that was to come. Although Scripture does not indicate this, JE claims that this custom had to be God-given, since only worship offered in faith can please him. Since faith has no foundation without divine appointment, God must have revealed this custom to Adam and Eve. God did this by offering the very first sacrifice to provide skins to cover Adam and Eve. These skins are a type of the righteousness of Christ that clothes believers. The entire sacrificial system that pervades the rest of the OT is the chief type of Christ, as it establishes the need for a propitiatory sacrifice for God's people.

Fourth, God very soon after the Fall begins saving souls through Christ's redemption. Adam and Eve were likely the first recipients, as they embraced the promise of the seed that would crush the serpent.

I admire the way JE explains the entire work of redemption as an outworking of the protoevangelium. In doing so JE manages to hold together two crucial aspects of the atonement that are too often separated: (1) Christ's defeat of Satan and his forces of wickedness and (2) Christ's substitutionary death for our sins. Both of these aspects flow out of the promise of Gen 3:15. And how beautiful is the imagery of the animal skins that covered Adam and Eve as a type of the righteousness of Christ that clothes believers!

Monday, April 06, 2009

John Owen on Beholding the Glory of Christ

"The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, and more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness, than the whole creation and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.

"This, therefore, deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our future blessedness shall consist in being where he is, and beholding his glory, what better preparation can there be for it than in a constant previous contemplation of that glory in the revelation that is made in the Gospel, unto this very end, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory?"

-From the "Preface to the Reader" in John Owen, "Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ, in His Person, Office and Grace" in Works 1:275.