3 Doctrines That Sustain Us in Suffering

  Ligon Duncan: Undergird Your Hope While we may not understand what God is doing, we can always trust who he is. We must never interpret God’s character by our circumstances. We must instead interpret our circumstances by God’s character. In Psalm 89, we can find three doctrines that undergird the psalmist’s hope in God and that sustain him in the midst of his suffering. 1. The Doctrine of Election First, we find the psalmist taking comfort from the doctrine of election. The doctrine of election is not an esoteric theological point for seminarians to fight about. Election in Scripture is meant to generate both hope for the people of God and worshiping hearts in the people of God. Notice how the psalmist celebrates God on account of his electing grace: I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. . . . You have said, “I have made a covenant

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Christology in the 21st Century: A Discussion

Justin Taylor posts: Below is a panel hosted by Ligonier at the 2013 PCA General Assembly, with Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Ligon Duncan, Richard Pratt, and R.C. Sproul, moderated by Steve Nichols. They talk through the following: What is the biggest theological battle today and for the next generation? (00:00:00) What advice would you give to the next generation of pastors, especially church planters, as they try to address contextualization, Christology, and similar issues? (00:08:30) What might we learn from history about the parallel rising of Christianity and Islam? (00:11:35) What role does Christology play as we see the needs of the global church? (00:16:00) How do we guard against the various distortions when it comes to the person of Jesus? (00:22:40) Discussion on the work of Christ pertaining to justification and imputation. (00:30:45) The panel shares thoughts on substitutionary atonement, and how it is going to be an issue in the next generation. (00:41:52) Is the church in danger

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Total Depravity And The Believer’s Sanctification

Ligon Duncan: Total depravity is a reality, both taught in Holy Scripture and experienced in life, with important implications not only for pagans but also for Christians. Very often we think of this Biblical doctrine in connection with those who are unregenerate, or with regard to Christians before their conversion, but we reflect less frequently on the depravity which still infects those who have been saved by grace and reborn of the Spirit. This is a serious omission, for misunderstanding or underestimating the continuing corruption in the believer leaves the Christian unprepared for the warfare of sanctification and leads to a variety of spiritual problems. There are many errors propagated in evangelical circles on this subject, the two main tendencies of which are: perfectionism and antinomianism. The former asserts that the Christian life is (or ought to be) characterized by complete victory over sin. Hence, Christian life as intended by God is “higher life” or the “victorious life.” Perfectionistic teachers

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How Important Is Complementarianism?

John Piper, Ligon Duncan, Russell Moore, and Greg Gilbert at a panel of the 2012 Together for the Gospel (April 2012):   Tim Keller, Don Carson, and John Piper at the Gospel Coalition council members’ meeting (May 2012):   If you are new to this subject, here are some resources I would recommend starting with: 1. John Piper and Wayne Grudem “50 Crucial Questions About Manhood and Womanhood.” This is a free PDF that gives concise answers to 50 questions. This is the place to start. 2. If you want to hear the audio or read the notes of a weekend seminar, looking at passages and objections and application in more depth, take a look at this free seminar by John Piper. 3. For introductions written by women, consider Carrie Sandom, Different by Design: God’s Blueprint for Men and Women and Claire Smith, God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says About Men and Women. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Ligon Duncan on How the Pastorals Help Us Avoid Two Huge Errors

Justin Taylor writes: I want to take to heart this exhortation from Ligon Duncan’s TGC message: If you take one thing home from this conference let it be a determination and commitment to read, re-read, live in, and live and minister out of the Pastorals (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus). I was especially helped by his section on how Paul’s material in these letters helps us to avoid two errors from opposite sides of the spectrum:One of the reasons that it is hugely important that we let the Pastorals influence our mode of ministry and the shape of our church life is that two huge errors have bedeviled the Western church for closing in on two hundred years now. The first error says that the message must be changed if we are going to reach our culture. The second error says that our methods are the key to reaching the culture and our methods are not essentially related to

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Gospel Coalition Online

I want to take a minute to bring to your attention that The Gospel Coalition met this week and has made available the MP3’s from its conference. The speakers include John Piper, Tim Keller, D. A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Lig Duncan, and many others.  Here’s the link to the audio from the 2009 Gospel Coalition messages. For those who are interested, Tim Challies has a succinct description of The Gospel Coalition. (HT: Denny Burk)

A Gospel Culture in the Local Church

Justin Taylor posts: Ligon Duncan calls for local congregations of Christians to be characterized by a Gospel culture, a Gospel-sharing culture, a culture of evangelism. By that he means: that your whole congregation would be able to articulate the Gospel, personally, in a compelling and understandable way; that your whole congregation would understand the importance and necessity of their lives, their prayers and their participation in Gospel witness; that your whole congregation would deeply care about conversions (and I would lay stress here, that we are talking about real conversions, not numbers; disciples, not decisions; changed lives, not merely prayed prayers); that your whole congregation would earnestly and regularly pray for conversions, talks about their own conversions and the conversions of others, and put a priority on people coming to know God; and that your whole congregation would be excited about the Gospel itself, and not simply about a method of sharing the Gospel, or a training program. At his

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Christ-centered Means Cross-centered

This post, and the next (above), concern a couple of books I’m currently reading. They were among the freebies given out at T4G last week. They are excellent reads and in different ways prophetic. This first one addresses the central doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. My thanks to Justin Childers for this: In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement by JI Packer and Mark Dever is a great compilation of articles. This is a book to become familiar with and to return to again and again. Article 1 is called “The Heart of the Gospel” and is a discussion of the Biblical concept of propitiation (wrath-quenching sacrifice). Article 2 is called, “What did The Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution.” This is a difficult article to navigate but extremely helpful in thinking through the essence of the atonement. Article 3 is called, “Nothing but the Blood” and deals with some of the more modern

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T4G – Here I Come!

Next week I’ll be heading out to Louisville, Kentucky, for the T4G conference. This has been made possible by some good friends. To whom I’m very grateful! Many of my favourite preacher/teachers will be speaking. It’s a mouth watering prospect indeed, but more importantly I’m expecting it to be a life changing encounter. You can check out the titles of the sessions here. Here’s some highlights from the last conference in 2006. I’m also booked in for the Band of Bloggers luncheon. Should be fun!