All of a sudden we're five out of eight sessions down here in Louisville. It's late afternoon and the skies are blue. Inside we've just come out of R.C. Sproul on The Curse which was a fresh reminder of the glories of the cross (accompanied by free copies of Pierced for our Transgressions [US-edition] and Preaching the Cross [T4G06] - both of which I already own and will wing their way to someone else when I get back...)
The two major highlights over the past 24 hours have probably been Thabiti Anyabwile on Race being an unbiblical concept. I don't have the energy to outline the message here but suffice to say it woke me up to how much of the world's thinking we've imbibed about the essence of man and how much that undermines the gospel and perverts our relationships with others. I think there are some big implications here beyond the issue of race for how we do community and for student ministry. The essential problem is that we gravitate to those who are 'LIKE ME' forgetting that in Adam every human being is 'LIKE ME', and all the more so the church in Christ - for we Christians have a deeper lineage than our genes.
Already downloadable here: T4G08 mp3 downloads
The other highlight was John MacArthur on sin. Seriously convicting on people being unwilling and unable to come to God. This, we were reminded is the most Christian doctrine. No one else holds to this. Every other way believes in the goodness of man. MacArthur drew out the implications of loss of doctrine of sin. Central to this we heard that it is just old liberalism and modernism to deny the depths of sin, and in it we assume that if we can just change our methods the sinner will respond. He will not. Sinners need to hate sin and repent rather than put confidence in themselves. The take away quote: Soft preaching makes hard people, hard truth produces soft people. Also: "Wesley was a messed up Calvinist".
Dever took us through threats to the gospel. Big error today is our assumption that God wants the greatest good for the greatest number of people, which is utilitarianism not Christianity. God is not about "most sinners saved" but "most glory for himself". The focus is the display of God's glory. We were reminded that it is not so much open theism (or other things) that are the greatest threat to the gospel but rather pragmatism that jettisons theology for results.
Lunch with Eric Turbedsky and meeting Mark Lauterbach was great fun. Tonight comes Al Mohler on Substitution and then the Brits are meeting. Tomorrow we begin at 8am with John Piper and then CJ Mahaney. I may not blog again before I get back to the UK (unless I can at our Hotel in DC tomorrow evening). Let me say this then, midway - America is cool, the gospel is AWESOME.