The Pastor as Scholar, and the Scholar as Pastor

I attended this event last Thursday night:

Titled "The Pastor as Scholar, and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry with John Piper and D.A. Carson", the evening will feature hour-long lectures by Drs. Piper and Carson that offer reflection of a theological and personal nature on the work of the pastor and the scholar, respectively.

It was excellent, and a great way to end our time attending The Gospel Coalition conference.

Piper's manuscript is online. His address was mainly biographical, and had the entire audience (mostly people in their twenties) gripped. Two themes struck me from his talk: the theme of providence, and also that Piper is not "special" even though he has been extraordinarily used by God. He gave hope through his talk, and didn't leave us feeling like he is one of the gods.

I love the resolution he mentioned from Clyde Kilby:

I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day, I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are, but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of, what Lewis calls, "their divine, magical, terrifying, and ecstatic existence."

I didn't envy Carson when he followed Piper, but Carson did a good job of speaking about some of the dangers of theological scholarship when it is removed from frontline ministry.

Desiring God has the video and audio of Piper's session. Park Community Church has the audio of Carson's talk (MP3). Definitely worth taking in if you are a pastor or academic.

By the way, the audio of The Gospel Coalition messages are online as well. Justin Taylor has the links.

Update: Desiring God has now posted more of the audio and video from the Pastor-Scholar event.

Moving to Wordpress

I've been blogging for almost seven years now. Most of that (until last December) has been on Movable Type. At the time, MT was by far the best blogging platform out of there, and I was happy with it for a long time.

Two things turned me off of Movable Type. One was my own doing. I had customized the installation to the extent that upgrading was a major chore, and one that I no longer desired. Also, the server load was quite heavy. I had my account suspended once for the demands it was putting on the server.

This January, I moved to Typepad. I got a free lifetime account with the Typepad for Journalists program. Typepad is good; they handle the back-end maintenance. I encountered a few problems:

  • I had a couple of complaints that people couldn't load the home page. I found that it didn't always load the style sheet.
  • Images posted on the site are really hard to get off if you ever decide to move.
  • I missed tracking applications like Google Analytics and Mint.

So I've made the move to Wordpress. Wordpress seems fairly easy to maintain, and powerful as well. I've been impressed with things so far.

One thing is for sure: I hope it's a very long time before I have to change blogging platforms, or spend hours on the back-end!

An Emphasis on Grace


Jack Miller challenges the misconception that grace leads to being soft on sin:

I do not think that an emphasis on grace leads to a soft ministry on sin and the severe demands of the law. Actually, it seems to be that such grace teaching makes it possible for sinners like us to hear the hardest things said about our sin patterns, and that can lead into a healthy sorrow which then leads back to sanity, i.e. repentance. (p.60)

Soul Idolatry Excludes Men out of Heaven

Tim Keller spoke on idolatry this week, and he's writing a book on the topic. He mentioned this sermon by David Clarkson (1621-1686) in his talk (MP3) a few days ago:

A covetous man is an idolater. Not only the covetous, but the immoral, are idolaters. For the apostle, who here makes covetousness to be idolatry, considers voluptuous people to be idolaters also, where he speaks of some who make their belly their God (Phil. 3:19). Indeed, every reigning lust is an idol - and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater. "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." Pleasures, and riches, and honors are the carnal man's trinity. These are the three great idols of worldly men, to which they prostrate their souls! And giving that to them which is due only to God, they hereby become guilty of idolatry. That this may be more evident--that covetousness, immorality, and other lusts are idolatry--let us consider what it is and the several kinds of it.

Idolatry is to give that honor and worship to 'the creature', which is due to the Creator alone. When this worship is communicated to other things, whatever they are, we thereby make them idols, and commit idolatry. Now this worship due to God alone, is not only given by the savage heathen to their stick and stones--and by papists to angels, saints and images--but also by carnal men to their lusts.

This old sermon is pure gold. Glad to find it.