Category Archives: Round Up

Notes on the 2014 Westminster Seminary Preaching Conference

R. Kent Hughes was the plenary speaker at this year’s WTS preaching conference. His two main teaching sessions were entitled “Essential Bibliology” where he treated critical beliefs about the Bible to ground our preaching, and “Essential Cardiology” where he discussed the heart attitudes that must shape our preaching.

Following are my notes – fragmented as they may be – of the two sessions. Continue reading

Gospel-Centered Links June-July 2014

Top 20 Christ-Centered Expository Preaching Checklist

I’ll begin my link post with a link to a link post!

Preaching Christ From All The Scriptures Qualified

A very important article:

But as every good virtue in this fallen world has its Achilles’ heel, so this good and excellent principle has been taken too far by some. The very text we use, most often, to defend the preaching of Christ from all the Scriptures – does not, in fact, teach that every passage is necessarily about Him or His work. The misuse and abuse of the beauty of Christocentricity has (1) caused some to over-react in response and thus miss the clear testimony to Jesus from all parts of Scripture; and (2) caused some to be robbed of the “whole counsel of God” because they trample underfoot many profitable things in their zeal to pave a way to Jesus from every text and syllable.

Biblical Theology: Engine for Gospel Proclamation

If you want to read ahead a bit you’re going to see some thoughts on biblical theology coming from me over the next few months. My definition of “biblical theology” is a bit narrower than this one – I limit my own use of the term to biblical themes (#3 on this list).

When the heart is fat with the love of Jesus

This post shows one goal of Christ-centered preaching: Continue reading

Here’s a quick note that Iain Duguid’s ebook Is Jesus in the Old Testament? is available for free download on the Westminster Bookstore website to help promote a sale on three of his commentaries.

If you scroll down you’ll also see deals on other books he wrote about finding the gospel in the Beatitudes and the lives of the patriarchs.

Gospel-Centered Links March-April 2014

Having transferred to Westminster Theological Seminary I’m dramatically more busy this semester. So here is a backlog of important, gospel-centered articles for you.

Gospel-Centered Reduction: Slighting The Spirit

Nate Claiborne makes this argument:

There isn’t anything in the adjective “gospel-centered,” that isn’t already included in the noun “Christian.”

I agree completely. However, the label is useful and I’m going to continue using it for two reasons:

  1. The problem with that is that a lot of things pass for Christianity today that have nothing to do with the gospel.
  2. It points towards Christocentric interpretation of the Scriptures. This isn’t “already included in the noun ‘Christian.'”

How Did Jesus Read the Old Testament?

Jesus read the Old Testament as the Covenant revelation of God written to Him and about Him. We have frequently rushed to this latter part and rightly rejoiced in the fact that Old Testament was written about Jesus, but have failed to see that, at the same time, it was written, first and foremost, to Jesus.

Nick Batzig helps us read the Old Testament over Jesus’ shoulder. He lists 10 ways that Jesus saw the OT pointing to him.

Nick followed this article with Part 2 where he lists another five ways Jesus read the Old Testament.

Also from Nick these past few months are The Third Use of the Law and the Finished Work of Christ and Jonathan Edwards Christology of the Song of Songs.

Jesus’ Thirst and Our Spiritual Rehydration

I’m not quite sure how best to describe this link from William Boekstein except to say that it is a mini biblical theology of thirst. It’s so rich in deep truth about the Savior that it makes me want to worship.

“God’s Like That” – What My Kids Got From Studying Hosea

This is an awesome Christ-centered experience from the eyes of a child.


 

I simply don’t have time to describe the following links to you but I highly recommend them.

 

Reading from my pastoral counseling course:

Why was such an awesome miracle necessary? Because sin not only reduces us to fools, but also inflicts us with a profound blindness. This spiritual blindness affects us in many ways, by ultimately it obscures our God as He has revealed Himself. Yes, God as a Spirit is physically hidden, but sin blinds us from Him in a much more profoundly spiritual sense. Like the people in the days of Christ, we don’t see God even when He is right in front of our eyes. The troubling thing about Sara’s story of her divorce is not just that it is a sad story of rejection and abandonment. It’s that her recounting of the story is utterly godless. In her heart-wrenching narrative there is no recognition of God’s presence, plan, or active love. Sara suffers not only from the consequences of a nasty divorce, but from a fundamental inability to see God. This aggravates and distorts the impact of the divorce on her heart and behavior. The hope and help that Sara really needs begins with seeing God.
Listen when people tell you their stories. Usually their stories will be devoid of any functional recognition of God’s presence, power, goodness, and grace. When they don’t see God, they become dazzled and captured by other glories—the fading glories of relationships, position, possessions, appearance, and achievement. They get worried or depressed or terrified by the wrong things. When they do not see the glory of God, they treat their problems with more problems! Failures in human wisdom, character, and strength will be treated with another dose of human wisdom, character and strength, rather than a cry to the God of real rescue.

Paul David Tripp, “A Community of Counselors: The Fruit of Good Preaching,” ed. David A. Powlison, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 2, Winter 2003 21 (2003): 48.

What’s our biggest problem? A lack of God.

In the next weeks I’m going to devote a bit of time to cleaning out the closet here at Armchair Theology. I have nearly 50 half-written, half-thought-out, half-crazy posts that I’ve worked on over the years.

Most I’ll throw out. Some I’ll post. Some of the articles I post won’t directly relate to our normal discussions of gospel-centered preaching and Bible study. So feel free to ignore them.

Gospel-Centered Links February 2014

This month there are two monumentally important links. One helps us see the reason for gospel-centered hermeneutics and the other helps us avoid an enormous corruption of gospel-centered hermeneutics. If you are concerned about the gospel-centered movement you must read them.

You must read these two links:

What We’re Saying When We Don’t Mention the Gospel

Cameron Cole explains the reason we must read the entire Bible in light of the gospel:

When we do not preach the Gospel, this is what we say: Everything is fine. We say that our problem with sin is not that severe; we can fix our problems with a little effort. We say that death is not a real thing; we can kick that can down the road. We say that the world is generally fine; it’s not in need of radical rescue. We say that our need for God’s redeeming love and power is not that great.

If there’s no gospel there’s no rescue. If there’s no rescue we must rationalize our way out of life’s troubles. When we do that our souls perish. This is the reason we need to read the entire Bible through a gospel lens.

This link is a purpose statement for the gospel-centered movement. If you want a how-to book, look at Christ-Centered Bible Study.

The Jesus Lens, or the Jesus Tea-Strainer?

If you’re going to read the Bible through a “Jesus lens” make sure it’s the right Jesus. Andrew Wilson shows us how one group is misinterpreting Jesus and when they apply that fake Jesus to the rest of Scripture they are missing the point.

I don’t think Steve Chalke, Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Rob Bell and co are reading the Bible through a Jesus lens, as much as they are reading Jesus through a selective, progressive postmodern lens, and then reading the rest of the Bible through that. The end result, ironically, is that while the Jesus we find in the Gospels fits well with the rest of the scriptures – as you might expect, given that he inspired them – neither the Jesus of the Gospels, nor the Bible, fit particularly well with the pastiche of Jesus that the Red Letter guys want to promote. When all is said and done, the biblical Jesus cannot be squeezed thorough the fine mesh of the progressive Jesus tea-strainer.

Bear in mind that there are lots of ways to misinterpret Jesus. The example here is a postmodern misinterpretation of Jesus. There are conservative misinterpretations of Jesus. There are liberal misinterpretations of Jesus. There are all kinds of misinterpretations of Jesus.

If you’re going to read the Bible in light of Jesus make sure it’s the right Jesus.

The remaining links are good but optional. Continue reading