Panel Discussion

Desiring God 2009 National Conference

With Calvin in the Theater of God

Here's an overview of the questions and conversation. Listen to the audio for the answers.

1. Mark, we'd like to give you a chance to talk about Servetus with us.

Sam Storms: We're assuming that everyone knows about Servetus. Maybe someone could explain what happened.

2. How should the inerrancy of Scripture function in the public realm for the Christian who believes in biblical reality and doesn't want to go too far in legislating morality?

3. Marvin, I know you talked deeply about issues of compassion. How would you help us as Christians to orient to world poverty, maybe in ways you weren't able to in your address?

4. Marvin, you said the upcoming WORLD magazine was going to be called "Trade not Aid." Where is the proper place for aid in ministering to the poor?

John Piper: Marvin, can you clarify for us the difference between the prosperity gospel, which I'm assuming most of us would abominate, and saying from the Bible, "If you do this, you will prosper"?

5. Julius, there's been a lot of talk today about all the good deeds that Calvinism unleashes. You began your talk last night by talking about Calvin as pilgrim. Would you connect for us how Calvin as pilgrim relates to Calvin as world-changer?

6. We have four, at least, pastor-theologians on the panel who are in the pastorate and involved in academics/theology. What insights would you have for us on Calvin as a pastor-theologian?

Sam Storms: I struggle at times to connect with Calvin as a pastor. I don't know any of the civic officials in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma like he knew the civic officials in his city.
Doug Wilson: Remember that Geneva (the city Calvin ministered in) was a comparatively small town.

7. Mark, you talked about Calvin saying that everything is for the best. That's difficult enough to realize when someone sins against us. How do we appropriate that with regard to our own sin? Does our own sin work out for our best? If so, how do we appropriate that in the moment of temptation?

John Piper: Romans 6. Should we sin that grace may abound? By no means.

8. John, to close, on August 19, just over a month ago, a tornado hit this building (Minneapolis Convention Center) and Central Lutheran Church next door during a session of the ELCA annual convention where they were discussing their position on homosexuality. Both you and Marvin wrote about this. Would you explain to us the background of this event and how that relates to God's sovereignty?