When to quit your good work—not just scholarly work, but any work:
As the author of the Theologia Germanica says, we may come to love knowledge—our knowing—more than the thing known: to delight not in the exercise of our talents but in the fact that they are ours, or even in the reputation they bring us. Every success in the scholar’s life increases this danger. If it becomes irresistible, he must give up his scholarly work. The time for plucking out the right eye has arrived. (C. S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, p. 50.)
I'll go out of my way to listen to Don Carson any chance I get. He is a scholar of the first rank, and a pastoral scholar who has a love for the church. He is an evangelist who does what he calls "missions" at universities where he argues for the cause of Christ and leads people out of their unbelief.
He is reformed and loves the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace. He is a family man and—so I've heard—he's also able to build just about anything with his hands.
He is also clear and articulate. He says things and you understand what he means.
So he is something like a renaissance m…
My father, Bill Piper, was an incredibly intense preacher of the gospel with a strong evangelistic bent. That's because he was an evangelist. He was not a pastor and never was a pastor. For 50+ years he served as an itinerant evangelist trying all the time to rescue people from perishing.
Because of this he always had the smell of hell singeing his garments and the aroma of heaven beckoning him on. The result was an amazing combination of blazing-eyed intensity as he preached with high levels of joy, praise, and exultation over the hope that he had in Jesus Christ.
Sometimes the best mark of holiness is not griping that sin abounds but groaning and grieving.
Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, 5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, 6 who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! (Amos 6:4-6)
And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” 5 And …
If you're wondering whether the pastors conference is for you or whether you should make the effort to come, consider a few things.
It is for any pastor or pastoral-type church leader, and we let you decide who that is. We're not going to pick your pocket and ask for your credentials.
Also, don't let finances get in the way. If you really want to come and can't afford it, we offer a whatever-you-can-afford policy.
The conference theme is "The Pastor as Father and Son," but if you don't have children or you're single and you think, "That's not for me," it might well be for you, because there is still a spiritual dimension of fathering that applies to single men. Joh…
Sometimes scholarship rivals politics for warped renderings of the opponent. Consider this from Etienne Gilson, a Roman Catholic historian of philosophy:
For the first time, with the Reformation, there appeared this conception of a grace that saved a man without changing him, of a justice that redeems corrupted nature without restoring it, of a Christ who pardons the sinner for self-inflicted wounds but does not heal them. (The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy, 421)
How desperately some want to believe that justification by faith is cut off from holiness and is powerless to produce love. Michael Horton counters, “In actual fact, there are no Protestant accounts of this k…
Today is my father’s 89th birthday. He’s been in heaven for ten months. But I can’t shake the thought that I should keep giving him gifts. Perhaps it would be an honor to him to let him speak as his birthday passes by.
Here is what I think he would like to say about two things we stand for at Bethlehem: 1) God’s command that we hallow (sanctify) God, which we talked about in the message on December 30; and 2) God’s command that we be happy in him...
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One of my Muslim friends was offended recently. Two Jehovah’s Witnesses had visited his family a few times and had spent hours telling his family about their religious group and their views.
In return, my friend’s family offered to give the women information about Islam. The two women agreed to come back and learn more. My friend and his family put a great deal of time and effort into collecting useful information for them.
However, after some time, only one woman came back. And even though she showed up, she showed little interest in discussing Islam. Not surprisingly, my friend had zero interest in her religion either.
Granted, I wouldn’t be excited about him becoming a Jehov…
It's hard to say what my favorite part of the pastors conference is.
I love the singing. I love to hear 1300 men sing at the top of their lungs about the greatest reality in the universe. So that's a big one. But I don't think that's the biggest.
Probably my favorite part is sitting with the other pastors under the preaching of the word of God around some great theme and growing in it myself.
A third thing would be that I love preparing my message. I love doing the biographies, so that I can stand up in front of these guys, with some great Christian saint behind me, and tell their story in a way that encourages me and them.
I also love getting reconnected with…
May I encourage you to build a global dimension into your daily prayers? “Grant that your name be hallowed. Grant that your kingdom would come. Grant that your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.” These are global prayers—with personal implications. Both kinds of prayer are good: specific, local, personal prayers, and general, global, sweeping prayers for the church and the nations.
Here is the way I keep the world in my prayers. I use the Online Operation World. I keep it in my bookmark bar on the browser and click it every day. If you go there, click in the left hand column “Pray Today.” Each day there is a different global focus. On February 7, they will start to lead us …