Upcoming Gospel Coalition and Band of Bloggers

16 04 2009

Next week from Tuesday to Thursday, a group from my school will be heading down to Chicago for The Gospel Coalition conference.  This conference is going to have some great speakers like John Piper, DA Carson, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and Ligon Duncan.  Along with the main speakers, there will be a number of workshops available.  I’m excited to go and be refreshed and encouraged by these and other attending brothers.

A joint venture of this conference is the Band of Bloggers which is a fellowship of bloggers that meets for a lunch seminar on blogging for Christ.  We’ll here from a panel of top Christian bloggers as they share and relate their methods and philosophies of blogging with a Christian perspective. Speaking of blogging, assuming there is internet in the convention center, I’ll be live blogging this event.

At both conferences, we’ll be receiving a number of books.  I’ve listed them below, and there will be a number of drawings for other books.

  • Finally Alive by John Piper
  • Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different by Tullian Tchividjian
  • Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them by Ed Stetzer, Richie Stanley, and Jason Hayes
  • The Soul of Life: The Piety of John Calvin edited by Joel Beeke
  • Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions by Greg Koukl
  • The Advent of Evangelicalism: Exploring Historical Continuities by Michael Haykin & Kenneth Stewart
  • Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption in Christian Families and Churches by Russell Moore
  • The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J.H. Wright
  • ApParent Privilege by Steve Wright and Chris Graves
  • Perspectives on Christian Worship: Five Views edited by J. Matthew Pinson
  • Journal of Ministry and Theology
  • ESV Study Bible
  • The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington
  • Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell D. Moore and C.J. Mahaney,
  • Jesus: Dead or Alive by John Blanchard and Faith Cook
  • Christianity Explored-How to Run the Course
  • Getting the Gospel Right by Cornelis P. Venema,
  • One Minute After You Die by Erwin W. Lutzer,
  • Marks of a Disciple by Lorne C. Sanny
  • Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
  • A Proverbs Driven Life: Timeless Wisdom for Your Words, Work, Wealth, and Relationships by Anthony Selvaggio
  • The Gospel Story

John Piper’s Endorsement of Mark Driscoll

3 10 2008

There’s a huge debate going on between Michael Newham, Ingrid Schlueter, and Steve Camp over the fact that John Piper would let Mark Driscoll come to the DG National Conference and therefore was endorsing Mark Driscoll.  Honestly, I take the stance that it was completely fine for Driscoll to speak at the conference.

We all have problems and Mark Driscoll is no exception, but to say that he cannot preach is ridiculous because then none of us could preach.  I separate over doctrinal issues, not issues of spiritual maturity or orthopraxy.

Chapter 1 in Porn-Again Christian

2 10 2008

Chapter 1: “A Tall Glass of Toilet Water” is out in the new online e-book by Mark Driscoll, Porn-Again Christian. Men, this is something you should read.

Cross-Cultural Challenge for Mark Driscoll

2 10 2008

Recently, Mark Driscoll went to Australia for two weeks to speak.  As with his recent sermon at the DG National Conference, he didn’t sugar coat the issues at hand.  He addressed 18 problems that he saw among Christians in Australia.  When he left, there were mixed feelings about what he had to say.

In response, the Dean of St. Andrew’s Cathedral wrote his thoughts on the matter:

His [Mark Driscoll] address to us in the Cathedral was more that of a prophetic preacher than an expositor of the Bible. He spoke as a Christian friend about the problems he sees we have. As such, it is important that we weigh what he says (1 Corinthians 14:29).

There were three mistakes that the Dean said could be made concerning such a message and messenger: “The first mistake is that of reactionary defensiveness….The second mistake is to become a sycophantic follower….The third error is to do nothing.”

The Dean said that….

Mark Driscoll’s challenge to us is timely and helpful. But his criticisms may be more helpful than his solutions. The gulf in church life between a denominational church in Sydney and an independent church in Seattle is quite enormous. Our theological perspective on church and ministry is also quite different.

What I’ve learned in my missions classes and dealing with international students is that Christians around the world should share the same principles, but because of the culture, the principles are applied in very different ways many times.

Despite the cultural difference and in closing, the Dean said, “But it will be an irrelevance to his message – for his challenge to us was to get moving, to take initiative, not to wait around to be told what to do next.”

Read the whole article.

Book Review: Death by Love

30 09 2008

Mark Driscoll has just released his latest book, Death by Love.  The ever faithful, Tim Challies, has written a great review of this book.  I personally haven’t heard much of it until this weekend at the Desiring God conference, but what I saw looked very promising.

You can read the review here, and visit the book’s website here.

Porn-Again Christian

30 09 2008

Mark Driscoll has started publishing an a free book online about sexuality and the battle for Christian purity. Over the next couple of months, Mark will continue to publish one chapter after another.  This book will be especially helpful for any man who is a “man”.

What’s interesting is how this book has just come out at the same time as Mark’s new series, Peasant Princess, a sermon series through Song of Solomon.  I highly recommend people reading the book and listening to the sermon series.  This will be extremely helpful and important in the fight for purity and having a Biblical worldview.

You can read more about the purpose of this book at The Resurgence, and you can read the Porn-Again Christian e-book.

Session 8 – John Piper

28 09 2008


“Is There Christian Eloquence” was the topic of John Piper’s Message.  He had some trouble texts in 1 Cor. 1:17 and 2:17.  These two passages put eloquent words in a bad light.  So, the question is, is the use of verbal impact nullifying the work of Christ.  To further complicate the question, most scholars in history have said that the Bible itself in many places are stunningly eloquent and many passages contain words that were specifically used for high impact.  Many church fathers have attested to the fact that the Scripture is eloquent.  Great preachers of the past were eloquent in their preaching.

Before getting into how we will grapple with this, Piper makes a disclaimer.  A younger generation views classic eloquence as a problem they don’t have, but it doesn’t matter what style of speaking you use, if you’re good at it, people can only be attracted to the style and that non-eloquent style has nullified the cross.  James Denny said, “No man can give the impression that  he is clever and Christ is mighty to save.”

Books and culture are frequently posing the problem of eloquence.  They draw people to the author and away from Christ.

There were a group in Paul’s day called Sophosists.  Everything they focused on was the question “how”.  It drew away from truth and the reality of life.  This is the context of Paul’s life along with the division of the Corinthians who loved different preachers because of their speech.

The cross is so destructive to human pride that those who’s aim is eloquent rhetoric , it undermines their value of the cross.  My corruption and God’s free sovereign grace leaves me deserving nothing, but when I Sophosits hears that, it must seem stupid to him.  To a Sophosist, it’s all about who has the better speech, it doesn’t matter anything else.  Verse 20 talks about the debater who’s folly is the wisdom of the world.

What we find here is a double-pronged criteria to discern between good and bad eloquence.  Are you with the Sophosists to boost your ego and use only poweful words?  Are you putting your words in the shadow and not doing Jesus justice.

The Bible does have eloquence, but it’s because it’s not for the exaltation for Christ and not of man.  Pro. 15:33 indicates that our words should be thoughtful and be taken into consideration depending on the context.  Pro. 25:11 shows that we are invited to use poetic and beautiful speech.  Col. 3:17, whatever we do in word is to be done in the name of Christ Jesus; we are urged to think whether a word is honoring.

If we are invited to speak eloquence, if the Bible is full of eloquence, and if we are guided in the use of eloquence, then what help should we hope to depend on using eloquence because the Holy Spirit doesn’t need our words in order to save sinners.

What can we expect?

Artistic, surprising, or provocative language may keep people awake, focused, and amused for reasons they cannot explain.
Eloquent language may bring a person into a closer relation between the speaker and the listener.
Eloquent language may have an awakening affect on a person’s mind and heart short of regeneration but this awakening may lead to salvation if the person were to look at the Word.
Certain kinds of eloquence (cadence, meter, rhyme) may not only interest and awaken the heart but increase the impact of that by making things memorable.
The beauty of eloquence can join with the beauty of truth and increase the power of your words.

If a person delights in the beauty of your language but hasn’t yet seen the beauty of the Lord.  You have an opening to show that person that the eloquence they enjoy is like that in the Bible.  We are invited to be a reflection of God’s image through our words.

Concluding Thoughts

I saw a different side of Piper today.  He has a deep knowledge of literature and he’s kind of OCD about improper grammar.  He made a very convincing argument for the importance of literature and the balance of eloquence in our preaching.  This makes the top 3 of the topics I listened to, the other two include Mark Driscoll and Bob Kauflin.

2008 Desiring God National Conference