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Finish the Mission: For the Joy of All Peoples – 2011 DG National Conference

I just finished listening to this year’s Desiring God National Conference, and I must say that it was excellent!

While each speaker spoke with passion and shed light upon the church’s present mission, I was particularly moved by Michael Ramsden’s message Courage, Christ, and Finishing the Mission.  It was vibrant, engaging, and a-typical.  Mr. Ramsden has been the European Director of RZIM Zacharias Trust since its foundation in 1997.  He is also Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and Lecturer in Christian Apologetics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.  But more importantly, he is an experienced evangelist and a servant of Jesus Christ.  His challenge should be heard.

Regarding the other sessions, I would encourage you to listen to the interview with Greg Livingston and David Sitton.  Anytime you can hear from a veteran missionary, you need to do so.  Doubly so with two missionaries!


Christus Victor – Sinclair Ferguson

I’ve been working on a book for about a year and a half now.  It’s a biblical theology on the fall of Satan.  I reflect on his awful idea and its implications on the unfolding human drama.  Naturally, I’ve been scouring the internet for audio lectures covering the subject.  To my surprise, little attention has been given to the issue, so far as serious treatments are concerned.  Basically, if someone wants to dig deeper, they’re going to have to look to older, printed works.  And even these are sparse.

Having said that, I recently stumbled upon a lecture by Sinclair Ferguson entitled Christus Victor.  It is a gem of a lecture.  I know of no better treatment of the subject, so far as audio is concerned.  He jams an incredible amount of careful reflection into the space of one hour’s time.

Contemporary Roman Catholic Theology – Dr. Robert Strimple

Mary is the mother of Jesus.
Jesus is God.
Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.
God commands us to honor our mother and our father.
Therefore, Mary as the mother of God deserves to be especially honored (insert veneration).

Sometimes our reasoning can slip out of joint; bend in directions not entirely proper.  In the case of Roman Catholicism, I’ve found that they’re extremely good at formulating some real head scratchers; lines of argument that make you feel uneasy, even if you can’t put your finger on the exact point where the logic runs askew.

Here I’m reminded of something Melville once wrote.  In his classic work, Moby Dick, which I might add, is the single greatest work of English literature (sorry, Jane Austen fans), and with which, I might also add, R.C. Sproul agrees (see here), and which, ahem, inspired the last chapter of my book, Melville provides an interesting little twist in “Christian” logic.  In the following quote, Ishmael is debating whether or not he should bow down to the idol of his new friend, Queequeg.  Ishmael reasons as follows:

The Ultimate Reason Why There Is Suffering

It is a raw, emotionally tearing book, and even though it has been years since I last read it, certain sections have stayed with me.  I am referring to Elie Wiesel’s book, Night.  As a survivor of the Holocaust (I am told that Wiesel is in the photo above), Mr. Wiesel speaks to the absolute evil that destroyed his faith in God.  In one of the more chilling moments, he said,

The Five Points Of Calvinism, A Debate – Dr. Fernandez vs. Mr. Comis

Debates are a fickle thing.  In order for them to be helpful, which, unfortunately, many are not, there needs to be a few crucial ingredients.  (1) Both speakers need to really understand the position they are defending. (2) Both speakers need to be clear and competent presenters. (3) Both speakers need to really understand the opposing viewpoint. And (4) both speakers should avoid overindulging in rhetoric.  In other words, articulate truth and avoid ad hominem, as well as sensational argumentation.

Unfortunately, the debate between Dr. Fernandez and Mr. Comis wasn’t very good.  In fact, it was pretty bad.  Point (4) was about the only thing that shined, and even that wavered at times.

Honestly, the only reason I listened to this debate was because I saw it on James White’s blog… well, and it was either listen to this or cycle through my songs, yet again.  I do love the Beautiful Mind soundtrack, but when it’s hot, and it has been hot, a depressing score tends to push me over the edge.  Sweat and minor keys don’t mix well.  At least not for me.  So in an attempt to avoid suicidal thoughts, I thought I would give this debate a listen, which […]

Christ the Center – Dr. James Dolezal

If there’s one thing I appreciate about the podcast Christ the Center it would be their willingness to keep the cookies on the top shelf.  In other words, they aren’t afraid to toss around heavy theological concepts and technical words.  In fact, they act like it’s the most natural thing in the world, which is fun, if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Now granted, this excludes a fairly large portion of their potential listening audience, but hey, I love it, so who cares, right?  No seriously, podcasts like the White Horse Inn are great and serve a good purpose, but for those looking to chomp on a little more meat, Christ the Center provides the dish.

Two Weeks of Listening. Some Snapshot Thoughts

Apologetics 315 Interview with David Wood

Excellent interview exploring the subject of Islam.  Instead of looking at the historical evidence, which is rarely what Muslims care to explore, David Wood very helpfully shows how one can and should use the Koran itself as a foil to the Muslim’s most common objections against Christianity.  Good stuff.

Epistemology – Andrew Fellows

In one of the most helpful and concise sketches of the history of epistemology I’ve run across, Andrew Fellows of L’Abri ministries shows how nearly everything after Plato and Aristotle, in the history of philosophy, is but footnotes.  Well worth the 90 minutes.

Business for the Glory of God (Clarus Conference) – Wayne Grudem

How might you answer these questions?

Is God pleased with our owning things?
Is God pleased when we take materials from the earth and produce things?
Is God pleased when men employ others for work?
Is God pleased with commercial transaction?
Is God pleased with men making a profit?
Is God pleased with the idea of money?
Is God pleased with inequality of possessions?
Is God pleased with competition?
Is God pleased with borrowing and lending?

Gospel Coalition Workshops: A Tasty Assortment

The workshops at this year’s Gospel Coalition National Conference have been good.  And a few have been outstanding.  Of the some 35 or so sessions, I’ve listened to about a third.  So maybe there’s a few more gems just waiting to be unearthed.  I’m hoping, anyway.  Regardless, here are a few stand outs.  None of them are “Must Listens,” but neither are they low to moderate.

Training the Next Generation of Pastors and Other Christian Leaders – Panel Discussion: R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Mark Driscoll, David Helm, Don Carson and Ligon Duncan

A fascinating round table discussion involving a few of evangelicalism’s bigger movers and shakers.  If you listen to nothing else, check out Dr. Mohler’s understanding of the relationship between the seminary and the church.  Start at 11:19.