Few people have influenced my thinking about the Christian life and ministry more than John Piper and Don Carson. So it was with great interest that I attended an event on April 23, 2009 at Park Community Church in Chicago entitled “The Pastor as Scholar, the Scholar as Pastor.” As a seminary professor called to equip men for gospel ministry, the two messages they delivered proved extremely helpful in thinking through how to be faithful to Christ in my calling. The video of each message is available for free:
John Piper, “The Pastor as Scholar”
D.A. Carson, “The Scholar as Pastor”
These same messages were also published in book form as The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry.
Although none of us will likely have the same kind of ministry of either John Piper or Don Carson. But all of us can learn from their example of laboring to see the gospel advance while having a foot in both the church and the academy.
This is a helpful discussion between R.C. Sproul and D.A. Carson on Biblical Interpretation:
RC Sproul interviews DA Carson on biblical exegesis from Ligonier on Vimeo.
This year saw the publication of D.A. Carson, God Who Is There, The: Finding Your Place in God’s Story. It is an overview of the biblical storyline in 14 chapters, and even has an optional leaders guide for use in a small group or Sunday school setting. The book itself is based on a series of 14 “lectures” that Carson gave at Bethlehem Baptist. Now the Gospel Coalition website has made both the audio and video available for free. This series is designed for anyone who wants a better knowledge of how the Bible hangs together, whether its someone who knows little or nothing about the Bible to someone who has been nurtured in the church for years. I highly recommend it as a resource.
In the most recent issue of Themelios, D.A. Carson has written a stimulating article on appealing to heart motives in our preaching. Although his focus is on heart motives in unbelievers, he helpfully stresses that these same motivations are present in believers as well. Here is an outline to whet your appetite:
A Survey of Possible Heart Motivations
- The Burden of Guilt
- The Need for “Future Grace”
- The Attractiveness of Truth
- A General, Despairing Sense of Need
- Responding to Grace and Love
- A Rather Vague Desire to be on the Right Side of What is Right, of What is from God, of What is Biblical, of What is Clean, or What Endures
He then offers Four Theological and Pastoral Reflections on This Survey
- We do not have the right to choose only one of these motivations in people and to appeal to it restrictively.
- On the other hand, we may have the right to emphasize one motivation more than others.
- Nevertheless, the comprehensiveness of our appeal to diverse motivations will reflect the comprehensiveness of our grasp of the gospel.
- To put this another way, all of the biblically sanctioned motivations for pursuing God, for pursuing Christ, say complementary things about God himself, such that failure to cover the sweep of motivations ultimately results in diminishing God.
As usual, Carson helps us to think through the high calling of preaching the riches of the gospel to the poverty of sinfulness. I highly encourage you to read this short but valuable article.
This past Sunday D.A. Carson preached at Fox Valley Bible Church in South Elgin, Illinois. His text was the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Carson does a nice job of preaching this text in a Christ-centered way. You can listen to it online here or download the MP3 file here.