Practical counsel for growing theologically

From Joe Thorn’s interview with Ray Ortlund: What advice would you give to the average Christian who loves Jesus and the church, but needs to grow theologically? Here’s one way to jump in. Pull some friends together, everybody buy a copy of Driscoll and Breshears’ Doctrine, and work through it together. Check out the small group suggestions on pages 437-450. Read it slowly. Embrace the difficulty. Look up every word you don’t understand. Mark up your copy with questions and highlights. Get mad if you have to. But pray to God for clarity, and he’ll give it. As you read, keep checking it against the Bible, examine what your friends say too, and don’t let go until you really know what you believe. You will never be the same again. (HT: Justin Taylor)

Ministry Idolatry

My thanks to Justin Childers for this challenging piece: Driscoll’s second message at the Advance ’09 conference a few weeks ago was the best message on idolatry I’ve ever heard. I would highly encourage you to listen to the audio or watch the video from that message. It is time for the church to begin identifying and repenting of the good things we’ve used to replace God. Here are the 11 types of idolatry Driscoll ended the message with, along with a penetrating question to help us identify these subtle idolatries (keep in mind he is talking to church leaders): . 1. Attendance idolatry: Does your joy change when attendance at church goes up or down? 2. Gift idolatry: Do you feel as if God needs you because you are so skilled? 3. Truth idolatry: Do you consider yourself more godly than more simple Christians? 4. Fruit idolatry: Do you point to your success as proof that God loves you? 5. Tradition idolatry: What traditions are

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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)

The Offensive, Attractive Cross

Mark Driscoll writes, The curious paradox of the atoning death of a bloody Jesus rising above the plane of human history with a mocking crown of thorns is that he is offensive in an attractive way. It is the utter horror of the cross that cuts through the chatter, noise, and nonsense of our day to rivet our attention, shut our mouths, and compel us to listen to an impassioned dying man who is crying out for the forgiveness of our sins and to ask why he suffered. Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus. Therefore, Jesus does not need a marketing firm or a makeover as much as a prophet to preach the horror of the cross unashamedly. (Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches, 33, emphasis added) (HT: Desiring God blog)

Desiring God Conference Resources

This page at DG has all the audio, video, and notes from everything at the conference. Here’s the video: Sinclair Ferguson – “The Tongue, the Bridle, and the Blessing” Driscoll, Ferguson, Piper – Friday Panel Discussion Bob Kauflin – “Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing?” Mark Driscoll – “How Sharp the Edge: Christ, Controversy, and Cutting Words” Daniel Taylor – “The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God’s and Ours” Kauflin, Piper, Taylor, Tripp – Saturday Panel Discussion Paul Tripp – “War of Words: Getting to the Heart for God’s Sake” John Piper – “Is There Christian Eloquence? Clear Words and the Wonder of the Cross” (HT: Justin Taylor)

DG Conference: The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

If, like me, you can’t make it to the Desiring God National Conference this year, the next best thing (apart from listening to all the messages after the event!) is to feast on these video clips of this years speakers. There is plenty here to stimulate and edify. And make you wish you could be there! My thanks to Justin Taylor for posting these links. John Piper John Piper’s Topic John Piper on Why He Invited Sinclair Ferguson John Piper on Why He Invited Dan Taylor John Piper on Why He Invited Mark Driscoll John Piper on Why He Invited Paul Tripp John Piper on Why He Invited Bob Kauflin John Piper on the Importance of Conferences John Piper on Why He Chose This Topic Bob Kauflin Bob Kauflin: Should Christians Sing the Good News? Bob Kauflin on Singing and Preaching Bob Kauflin on Style of Music Bob Kauflin on Why Christians Sing Bob Kauflin: Does God Sing? Bob Kauflin

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The Studying Christian

An important and necessary challenge from from Mark Driscoll: In following Jesus’ command to love God with “all our mind,” the Christian life is supposed to include regular times of study and learning. The goal of such study is to have what Paul called “the mind of Christ” so that we can live the life of Christ by the power of the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, this month we will examine the contemplative spiritual discipline of study and the correlating active spiritual discipline of obedience. Study In John 17:17, Jesus prayed that we would study our Bible. He said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Therefore, to become more and more like Jesus we must have regular time in God’s Word. The Scriptures have much to say about the benefits of regular study. Scripture regarding study “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees

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Mark Driscoll in conversation with Wayne Grudem

From the Resurgence blog: As one of the most important theologians of our day, Dr. Wayne Grudem has impacted me tremendously since my conversion to Christianity at the age of nineteen. I believe the first book of his I read was Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Today, I own every book he has published that I am aware of. His Systematic Theology is in my opinion the finest on the market and the standard for Mars Hill Church and many of the churches we are affiliated with in the Acts 29 Network. Over a year ago while in Raleigh, N. C., I met Dr. Grudem’s son Elliot and was encouraged at the loving and respectful way he spoke of his father. Sometimes a man is great in print or on the stage, but far less impressive the closer you get to him in the everyday affairs of life. But the way Elliot spoke of his dad was incredibly reassuring and

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J. I. Packer on Young Christian Leaders

. From Mark Driscoll: In the lengthy time that Dr. J. I. Packer afforded me to speak with him while we were recently together in Orlando, I asked him which theological issues he would commend young Christian leaders to study in order to be prepared for the next fifty years. His list was quite insightful: 1. Regeneration — He said that the doctrine of regeneration has not been fully appreciated by many who do not understand that to be born again with a new heart and new nature means that we have at our deepest level a new identity and new passionate desires for God’s Word and ways. He commended to all young Christian leaders a thorough study on the doctrine of regeneration. 2. God-Centered Theology — He said that theology today is rife with man-centered thinking so that the glory of God in all things is not the essence of what is taught to be faithfully Christian. The result,

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Mars Hill Pastor Ditches ‘Emerging’ Label for Jesus

. From ChristianPost.com . “Who cares what the emerging church is doing,” he stressed. “It’s a junk drawer category for all kinds of different people. It’s highly confusing. I’m not even sure that the description is any more of benefit or use.”Rather than labeling Mars Hill as an emerging church, he calls it a Christian church and points to only two things he and the church really care about – Jesus and the Bible. “Here’s what we’re all about – Jesus,” Driscoll highlighted. “The emerging church will come and go. The traditional church will come and go. The church of Jesus Christ will continue.” So whether it’s utilizing the Internet, putting up giant screens in the church, or holding an 8:30 p.m. service on Sunday to reach the late sleepers, when it comes down to it, Mars Hill works to “make much of Jesus’ name in a place that desperately needs to know how wonderful he is.” (HT: The Expositor)