Podcast Recommendation: Christopher Watkin on Jacques Derrida

Usually Austin does the podcast reviews around here. Also, philosophy is far from my strong suit. So I am not recommending the following to usurp Austin’s place or try to show you how smart I am. I just want to recommend a podcast outside my typical reading or listening disciplines that I recently enjoyed.

Reformed Forum conducted a three-part interview with Christopher Watkin on the influential French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who is one of the fathers of postmodernistic thought and is perhaps most known for formulating what became known as deconstruction. Dr. Watkin, a Reformed believer, was fascinating to listen to because of the depth of knowledge he has of Derrida and the way he was able to explain Derrida’s thought to those unfamiliar with his writings (all done with politeness and a beautiful accent, I might add!). But what really drew me was how Watkin critiqued Derrida in a gracious way that showed his brilliance yet also revealed his shortcomings under the light of Scripture. He was able to describe Derrida’s points of contact with truth and reality yet describe how they veered away from the revelation of the Triune God.  For me, it not only taught me lessons in philosophy but how to engage unbelief in a winsome […]

Curiosity: A Leadership Essential

Recently, I talked with a lean manufacturing consultant. He works to find and remove inefficiencies across all of the systems and operations of a Fortune 500 company. What key quality that makes someone in his role successful I wondered. “Curiosity” he stated without hesitation. For leadership in an organization to locate and remove waste in its operations, it must want to know, be diligent to uncover, and be committed enough to remove it.

It should come as no surprise that Scripture also identifies this key characteristic for wise leaders. Proverbs 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” God calls his people, across all professions, to rule over and subdue the earth. God has revealed to us what is needed for salvation, but in creation, he has left much for us to discover.

Kings or leaders in manufacturing, government, academia, science, homes, and beyond will only fulfill their callings if their minds are curious to the glory of God. We must learn to uncover things that have not yet been seen. The consultant also said that one of the hardest things for leaders to identify in manufacturing is atrophy. A […]

Good Plans For Applying Jeremiah 29:11

What is your greatest desire in life?  And  what is right now your most difficult situation in life? And how do to the two relate?

If you know Christ, you know what the answer to the first question ought to be.  Your greatest desire ought to be to glorify God, to live so as to reflect the glory of His saving grace in the risen Christ.  That’s your heartbeat, but maybe as you read this, that desire feels faint, more like a murmur.  Enter, then, your greatest difficulty.    

On Being an Ironman

From the Marvel Comics superhero figure played in movies by Robert Downey Jr. to the triathlon sporting event that involves swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon all in one day, the term Ironman conjures up imagery of men doing amazing feats of power and might. Yet there is another type of Ironman that encourages men to draw on the strength of Christ in quiet yet profound ways.

This past weekend I had the privilege of joining forty or so other men for an Ironman Retreat in the beautiful setting of Turkey Run State Park in central Indiana. Three congregations in the nearby area oversee their own Ironman Ministry for the men of their congregations. Based on Proverbs 27:17, which says, “As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another,” this ministry is designed for men to edify one another by getting together in three simple ways.

At the heart of this ministry is encouraging men in the church to pair up for weekly meetings for mutual accountability. They are given ideas of what they might do in their time together, but they have the freedom to choose how they will use their time.
Regular large group meetings are held every two or three […]

Bungling My Way Through Romans

As a young seminarian I was told: “You would be crazy to try and preach through the book of Romans without twenty years of pastoral experience.” I trust there is probably wisdom in that. I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that many of those men I regard as great preachers have not preached through Romans without such requisite experience. So, I admit, it may have been a bit of youthful indiscretion combined with hastiness that drove me to the pulpit to preach Romans as the first series of my first pastorate. But, as my two and a half year endeavor comes to an end in the next couple of weeks, I wouldn’t change it if I could.

Romans is an intimidating letter. In it Paul plunges us to the depths of human depravity and then ascends to gospel heights where it’s hard to breath. I have sensed that every step of the way. Indeed, and I don’t mean this as a false show of humility, I’ve been acutely aware that my ignorance far outweighs my understanding, my weaknesses are far more than my strengths, and whatever zeal I have is often no match for my dullness. But even in my bungling […]

Browse Worthy: Christology

Recently, Ligonier Ministries unveiled a new confessional-style statement on the person of Jesus Christ. Entitled The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christ, Ligonier expressed their purpose for this statement as follows:

Today these statements are often neglected and misunderstood, resulting in widespread confusion regarding the person and work of Christ. For the glory of Christ and the edification of His people, the Ligonier Statement on Christology seeks to encapsulate the historic, orthodox, biblical Christology of the Christian church in a form that is simple to confess, useful to help teach the church’s enduring faith, and able to serve as a common confession around which believers from different churches can rally for mission together. This statement is not a replacement for the church’s historic creeds and confessions but a supplement that articulates their collective teaching on who Christ is and what He has done. May Christ use it for His kingdom.

The desire to make the truths of ancient creeds more known to the modern church is a worthy one. Much of what is contained in this statement restates those precious truths. However, sadly, an apparent lack of precision at points has created some questions about the statement. As it is important for […]

Why We Sing

Of all the things we do in worship, singing is the most mysterious to me. That’s probably not a great statement about my theology, but it’s accurate. I understand the why of our singing less than the other elements of worship. Why do we sing? Why not just recite Scripture out loud? Or why do we sing together? Why not just let one person sing (this tempts me sometimes…)? 

Evangelistic Preaching

In conversations I have had recently with both seasoned ministers and young men preparing for pastoral ministry, the subject of what constitutes evangelistic preaching has been discussed. As we wonder why we do not see more conversions in Reformed churches, generally speaking, certainly one simple reason is that we do not preach for them. Are there not times where a preacher should preach not only an edifying gospel-centered sermon, delivered faithfully in his weekly Lord’s Day preaching, but an evangelizing one, whether in the church for special seasons and services or outside the church along the highways and the hedges (Luke 14:23)? If so, what would such a sermon look and sound like?

Below are thirteen characteristics, briefly explained, which help distinguish an evangelistic sermon from what we might call an edification sermon. These qualities should not be understood as mutually exclusive, but rather as weighted tendencies or features.

An evangelistic sermon is aimed primarily at unbelievers; an edification sermon is aimed primarily at Christians. An obvious quality perhaps, yet this question is worth asking. When is the last time you preached or heard such a sermon? We may rightly scoff at the excesses of the widespread Arminian, revivalistic preaching of our day. Certainly I […]

Jesus’ Tears – No. 1

There is something deeply moving about tears. We see someone weeping and it can have quite an effect on us. The stronger the person who weeps the more powerful the effect is upon us. We are more affected by seeing a man weeping than a child. When the man is a strong emotionally stable man, with tears running down his face, it speaks volumes to us.

On three occasions we are told of Christ weeping. This is not just at a great man weeping, that would be touching enough, but this is the Son of God weeping.

Tears are a window on the soul; they allow us to see what really matters to a person. And it is no different with Jesus.

In John 11:35 we come to the first instance of Jesus’ tears. His close friend Lazarus has just died and Jesus has gone to see Lazarus’ sisters.

‘When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
“Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”’
(John 11:33-36)

The question we need answered is: “Why is Jesus […]