Audio Buffet

Anytime two figures like John Piper and R.C. Sproul sit down to discuss and reflect on their ministries, one must perk up and pay attention.  During this hour-and-a-half Q and A session a wide array of issues are broached.  I thought the entire interchange was delightful, but I especially enjoyed the segment where glory and holiness were examined and related to one another.  Ministry Reflections with John Piper and R. C. Sproul

Just today I began a ten hour seminar on spiritual warfare by Dr. Gerry Breshears.  The first two hours are a little slow going, but the third session (“Biblical Worldview”) is very interesting.  His exposition of the “gods” in the OT is not only perceptive, but more than a little interesting.  I’m now presently looking forward to hearing the rest.  Spiritual Warfare   

Highland Theological College has an impressive catalog of past guest lecturers (Sinclair Ferguson, Paul Helm, Ted Donnelly, and Doug Kelly, to just name a few).  It is worth your time to at least peruse the list.  For myself, I have especially enjoyed the following three lectures:  Gordon Wenham’s FF Bruce Lecture (2008) on the Psalms, Richard Gaffin’s 2004 John Murray lecture on the doctrine of Union with Christ, and Howard Marshall’s 2004 F.F. Bruce lecture on the atonement (while perhaps a bit been there done that for some is nevertheless clear and solid).  I would also heartily recommend Sinclair Ferguson’s 2006 John Murray lecture on Christus Victor (which I have already done elsewhere).  Highland Theological College Lectures

Happy listening!


  1. timbloedow November 15, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Thanks for these, Austin. I’m going to check them out. I’m generally not that enamoured with Piper though. Just this week I tuned in to the beginning of a webcast his Desiring God offered about worship and I suppose it was OK from a non-regulative principle perspective, or non-RP take on the regulative principle perspective, but I dunno? Then there was the Sabbath School lesson my wife was preparing. Our church is using PIper’s SS curriculum on the names of God and this week the passage was Isaiah 14:12-15, which many people see as talking about Satan’s fall. My wife cross-ref’d with Matthew Henry who apparently says nonsense, and sees it as referencing the historical context. Wanting further clarification, I encouraged my wife to call one of our post-mill pastors who concurred with Matthew Henry. My wife’s a professional teacher, but still found it an extra challenge to prep. this past week with inability to use all his prepared material because of his handling of that passage.

    • Austin Brown November 15, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Greetings! Well, what can I say? I really like Piper, though of course, he’s a sinner like the rest of us.

      Regarding the Isaiah 14 passage: It’s funny, but I actually just finished writing the first draft a biblical theological work exploring the fall of Satan, his awful idea, and its implications on the unfolding human drama. I’m hoping to publish the work. Here’s my two cents. People like Calvin argue strenuously that Isaiah is referencing a human individual. And you know, he’s right. The historical context and flow of the text essentially demand this. Nevertheless, I agree with Jonathan Edwards that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 do in fact say something about Satan. How so? There is a typological connection, if you will. Since unbelievers are children of Satan (John 8), they emulate their father, the devil. The species of their sin is, in effect, very similar. So in the same way that the king of Babylon wanted to be like the Most High, so too, but in a different context, Satan wanted to be like the Most High. So yes, the text is referring to a human. Think of the Davidic throne, in this respect. It was a human, physical throne, but it pictured greater realities. I believe the same is true with these pagan kings. The answer isn’t either/or, therefore, but both/and.

      Happy listening!

      • Tim Bloedow November 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

        Hi Ausitn, I listened to Sproul’s and Piper’s chat and enjoyed parts of it. On the Isaiah passage, I need to go back and study hermeneutics again, but I understand that there are different schools or general emphases that reflect a presumption both…and or either…or interpretation. Some sources that appear to object to a both…and approach, at least here, are:

        Adam Clarke:

        “And although the context speaks explicitly concerning Nebuchadnezzar, yet this has been, I know not why, applied to the chief of the fallen angels, who is most incongruously denominated Lucifer, (the bringer of light!) an epithet as common to him as those of Satan and Devil. That the Holy Spirit by his prophets should call this arch-enemy of God and man the light-bringer, would be strange indeed. But the truth is, the text speaks nothing at all concerning Satan nor his fall, nor the occasion of that fall, which many divines have with great confidence deduced from this text. O how necessary it is to understand the literal meaning of Scripture, that preposterous comments may be prevented.”

        Geneva Bible (1599):

        “You who thought yourself most glorious and as it were placed in the heaven for the morning star that goes before the sun, is called Lucifer, to whom Nebuchadnezzar is compared.”

        Matthew Poole:

        “…it cannot be literally meant of him [Satan], but of the king of Babylon , as is undeniably evident from the whole context, which certainly speaks of one and the same person, and describes him as plainly as words can do it.”

        Keil & Delitzsch:

        “Lucifer, as a name given to the devil, was derived from this passage, which the fathers (and lately Stier) interpreted, without any warrant whatever, as relating to the apostasy and punishment of the angelic leaders.”

      • timbloedow November 16, 2011 at 12:20 am #

        Austin, interestingly you had Sproul and Piper at one point talking about errors in the church and which kind of people they will associate with and minister with, and I think it was Sproul speaking especially stressfully about the attack on justification in our day. I understand that those concerned about this issue see Doug Wilson as one of the leading offenders in threatening the doctrine of justification. I’m over on Piper’s website now and I see that his Jan/Feb pastor’s conf. includes Doug Wilson as one of his guest speakers. I happen to be a big fan of Doug Wilson notwithstanding his role in the current controversies over justification, so I certainly don’t object to Piper inviting him, but I find it interesting that Piper kept quiet (I think he did; I was multi-tasking at the time, but I don’t recall Piper saying anything in response that acknowledged this upcoming conf. or his respect for Doug Wilson) about that in the face of Sproul’s comments in the video you provide a link to.

        • Austin Brown November 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

          Back in 2009, Douglas Wilson spoke at one of Piper’s conferences. Piper received quite a bit of flack. I don’t have the link handy, but Piper spent some time explaining why he invited Wilson. Controversy notwithstanding, Piper believes that Wilson preaches the Gospel. Therefore, I suspect, he wouldn’t feel the need to squirm at Sproul’s comments on justification.

  2. Tim Bloedow November 15, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Which is not to be unduly critical. My wife still highly recommends the Piper’s SS curriculum. But I suppose also with my experience, I’d like to see some our laymen as enthusiastic about our own people, including those from our history as they are in other, esp. Reformed Baptist circles. Perhaps, even though we have the best ecclesiology and covenantal understanding, we are not articulating it, or living it out, as well as we could, hence are blurring the distinctions between us and other traditions that make the distinctions seem less consequential. What will that mean for a next generation? Even now a specific incidence comes to mind where more harshness was expressed by someone against an eschatological exegesis that is consistent with our RP heritage but which is less familiar to many today than the kind of harshness that would be expressed over some errors by our Ref Baptist brothers because of how much we appreciate their stands on holiness. Does this kind of experience reflect a spiritual sensitivity or a conformity to the ethos around us that only seems spiritual. Reflecting a lot about these things lately.

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