D.A. Carson on The Kingdom of God

The following is an excellent clip from D.A. Carson answering a question on the Kingdom:

For those who prefer or require, a transcript follows:

…In both an over-realized and under-realized eschatology, you can have an inadequate anticipation of the glory that is still to come. If you work through all the of the Kingdom…and even some of the gospel of the Kingdom ones, a very high percentage of them have in mind a consummated Kingdom. And this is not a generation, by and large, that is really homesick for heaven. [Read more...]

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson

“Ordinary” pastors don’t usually get press. They don’t speak at conferences. They don’t write books. Their ministries are on the whole fairly average. They work hard, they faithfully serve the flock God has entrusted to them, and generally go unnoticed.

Tom Carson was, by all accounts, an ordinary pastor. Yet, he was a most extraordinary man.

Tom worked in the most difficult missions field in Canada (Quebec), striving to make in-roads for the Gospel with its Francophone population. Roman Catholicism has long been entrenched in Quebec, and is at the heart of many of the great divides between the French and English in our country (this subject is far too long to get into here, but there is an excellent primer on many of the cultural issues in Chapter 1 of the book; Canadian History books at your local library or bookstore will also be helpful in fleshing out the conflict). Protestant Christians in the 1930s through the 1950s faced a great deal of persecution, including the possibility of imprisonment for being a Protestant minister. Missionaries often gave up because they saw so little fruit and so much opposition. Yet these were the people to whom God chose Tom Carson to minister.

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, working in large part from the elder Carson’s journals, describes a man who sought to faithfully teach the Scriptures with honesty and integrity. Tom Carson was a man who loved Jesus and loved the Bible. He understood the importance of teaching sound doctrine. He was a man who understood the meaning of toil and sacrifice, working hard to fulfill his calling and be a good husband and father. It also shows a man plagued by deep insecurities about his abilities as a pastor, and who, because of those same insecurities, could not truly see the fruit of his ministry.

There are two things that stand out most vividly about the portrait of Tom Carson presented in this book. First, his humility: He never appears to have thought of himself more highly than he ought, nor did he become embittered by the success of future ministers. Even his role in the formation of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada, he downplayed, with his son Don not even learning the details of his involvement until he was in seminary. He simply served faithfully and loved people well.

The second, his prayer life: Tom Carson understood what it meant to rely on the Lord, especially the salvation of those to whom he ministered. A poignant example appears on page 80:

I [D.A. Carson] went looking for Dad after the morning service to entice him to come and play the piano while the rest of us sang or played instruments. He was not where he usually was. I found him in his study, the door not quite closed. He was on his knees in front of his big chair, tears streaming down his face, as he interceded with God for the handful of people to whom he had just preached. I remember some of their names to this day.

I don’t pray like this. I don’t think I know anyone who does. I am inspired by Tom Carson’s example, and ashamed because of my failure.  Even now, looking back on those few sentences, I’m on the verge of tears.

I want to be a man like Tom Carson.

I wonder how Tom would feel about this book having been written: Would he have felt embarrassed? Honored? I don’t know. Regardless, I’m grateful that D.A. Carson has written this memoir and for showing us that there is much to be learned from so-called ordinary pastors like Tom Carson.


Out of the archives

Sunday Shorts (05/17)

Recommended Reading: Al Mohler’s Top Ten

Evangelical Village provides us with Al Mohler’s top ten books to read in 2009. I’m looking forward to reading Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures by Dennis E. Johnson sometime before the year’s end. Matt at Evangelical Village tells me that it’s the best book on preaching written in the last few decades outside of Lloyd-Jones’ work.

Any of the rest interest you?

No, Mr. President

HT: Justin Taylor

What’s Next for the Gospel Coalition?

Christianity Today interviewed D.A. Carson about the future of the Gospel Coalition:

Our aim is not to keep the coalition as an end in itself. It’s a coalition of people for the sake of promoting the gospel. And if the gospel is so implanted in enough things that are taking it forward in all kinds of useful and happy ways, then we should morph into something else or stop as an organization.

I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. I’m not sure where it will be in 20 years. I have some confidence where it will be, God helping us, in 5 years or maybe even 10 years.

Read the rest at ChristianityToday.com

D.A. Carson on the Gospel

DA Carson provides an intriguing editorial in the latest issue of Themelios on the question of how we define the gospel. Here’s an excerpt:

In blogs, journal essays, and books, there has been quite a lot written recently about what “the gospel” is… [O]ne must distinguish between, on the one hand, the gospel as what God has done and what is the message to be announced and, on the other, what is demanded by God or effected by the gospel in assorted human responses. If the gospel is the (good) news about what God has done in Christ Jesus, there is ample place for including under “the gospel” the ways in which the kingdom has dawned and is coming, for tying this kingdom to Jesus’ death and resurrection, for demonstrating that the purpose of what God has done is to reconcile sinners to himself and finally to bring under one head a renovated and transformed new heaven and new earth, for talking about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, consequent upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and above all for focusing attention on what Paul (and others—though the language I’m using here reflects Paul) sees as the matter “of first importance”: Christ crucified. All of this is what God has done; it is what we proclaim; it is the news, the great news, the good news.

By contrast, the first two greatest commands—to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves—do not constitute the gospel, or any part of it. We may well argue that when the gospel is faithfully declared and rightly received, it will result in human beings more closely aligned to these two commands. But they are not the gospel. Similarly, the gospel is not receiving Christ or believing in him, or being converted, or joining a church; it is not the practice of discipleship. Once again, the gospel faithfully declared and rightly received will result in people receiving Christ, believing in Christ, being converted, and joining a local church; but such steps are not the gospel.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Tim Challies, Justin Taylor

Sunday Shorts (04/19)

Should you Talk About the Gospel in Every Sermon?

Piper at Desiring God:

The Gospel Coalition—Entrusted with the Gospel: Living the Vision of 2 Timothy

The Gospel Coalition’s 2009 Conference runs from this week, April 21-23, in Chicago. Speakers include D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Gospel Coalition, here’s a brief introduction:

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.812512&w=425&h=350&fv=titlevar%3DIntroduction+to+The+Gospel+Coalition%26videosource%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Ftgc-video%2Ftgc_about_us-high.flv%26poster%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegospelcoalition.org%2Fmedia%2Fa%2Fposters%2Ftgc-intro.jpg]

And Now for Something Completely Different…

So, Compassion decided it would be a good idea to team up with Rob Bell for a Nooma video called “Corner.” It’s okay as far as Nooma goes, but it’s nothing ground-breaking.

That, and I find Bell’s glasses distracting.

(I should note that while I work in Compassion’s Canadian office, my views should not be taken as always reflective of the organization.)

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane…

I’m off to ad:tech San Francisco until Friday, much to my excitement. I’ve never been to the left coast before, so I’m a wee bit excited. Ad:tech has a great line-up of speakers and break out sessions, and I’m looking forward to learning a lot while I’m there.

more about “The Gospel Coalition“, posted with vodpod

Book Review: Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor

memoirs-carsonRecommended: An honest portrayal of an anything but ordinary pastor.

“Ordinary” pastors don’t usually get press. They don’t speak at conferences. They don’t write books. Their ministries are on the whole fairly average. They work hard, they faithfully serve the flock God has entrusted to them, and generally go unnoticed.

Tom Carson was, by all accounts, an ordinary pastor. Yet, he was a most extraordinary man.

Tom worked in the most difficult missions field in Canada (Quebec), striving to make in-roads for the Gospel with its Francophone population. Roman Catholicism has long been entrenched in Quebec, and is at the heart of many of the great divides between the French and English in our country (this subject is far too long to get into here, but there is an excellent primer on many of the cultural issues in Chapter 1 of the book; Canadian History books at your local library or bookstore will also be helpful in fleshing out the conflict). Protestant Christians in the 1930s through the 1950s faced a great deal of persecution, including the possibility of inprisonment for being a Protestant minister. Missionaries often gave up because they saw so little fruit and so much opposition. Yet these were the people to whom God chose Tom Carson to minister.

The book, working in large part from the elder Carson’s journals, describes a man who sought to faithfully teach the Scriptures with honesty and integrity. Tom Carson was a man who loved Jesus and loved the Bible. He understood the importance of teaching sound doctrine. He was a man who understood the meaning of toil and sacrifice, working hard to fulfill his calling and be a good husband and father. It also shows a man plagued by deep insecurities about his abilities as a pastor, and who, because of those same insecurities, could not truly see the fruit of his ministry.

There are two things that stand out most vividly about the portrait of Tom Carson presented in this book. First, his humility: He never appears to have thought of himself more highly than he ought, nor did he become embittered by the success of future ministers. Even his role in the formation of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada, he downplayed, with his son Don not even learning the details of his involvement until he was in seminary. He simply served faithfully and loved people well.

The second, his prayer life: Tom Carson understood what it meant to rely on the Lord, especially the salvation of those to whom he ministered. A poignant example appears on page 80:

I [D.A. Carson] went looking for Dad after the morning service to entice him to come and play the piano while the rest of us sang or played instruments. He was not where he usually was. I found him in his study, the door not quite closed. He was on his knees in front of his big chair, tears streaming down his face, as he interceded with God for the handful of people to whom he had just preached. I remember some of their names to this day.

I don’t pray like this. I don’t think I know anyone who does. I am inspired by Tom Carson’s example, and ashamed because of my failure.  Even now, looking back on those few sentences, I’m on the verge of tears.

I want to be a man like Tom Carson.

I wonder how Tom would feel about this book having been written: Would he have felt embarassed? Honoured? I don’t know.  Regardless, I’m grateful that D.A. Carson has written this memoir and for showing us that there is much to be learned from so-called ordinary pastors like Tom Carson.

Purchase your copy at Amazon, Monergism, or Chapters/Indigo.