Archive for February, 2011

What I’m about to say isn’t hyperbolic:

I appreciated every single sentence uttered by Pastor Mark Garcia in this Christ the Center interview.

As someone who has been following the Federal Vision and New Perspective(s) on Paul controversies for some time now, I’ve listened to my fair share discussions.  Like that old Clint Eastwood flick, most could be labeled as either being good, bad or ugly.  And unfortunately, there’s been a lot of ugly. 

But let me tell ya, Pastor Garcia ain’t ugly.  In fact, his handling of these issues as a Reformed theologian is second to none.  The tone is irenic.  His demeanor is amiable.  His emotions are held in check.  His words are constructive and precise.  His criticisms are balanced.  And his cautions to the Reformed community are dead on.  It is a model worth emulating.  So take note, all ye Reformed thinkers.  If you are at all interested in the current justification landscape, be sure to get your hands on this excellent podcast.      

Difficulty: Advanced.  There’s a lot of roast beef here.  Topped with thick cheese.  So unless you’ve acquainted with the issues, it’s probably best to steer clear.  Here’s a quick test.  Have you ever written the letters FV or NPP in an email or blog post?  If not, then this interview might prove a bit confusing. 

Must Listen Factor: So yeah, if you’ve written FV or NPP in an email or blog post, then this is probably a must listen. 

Length: About an hour.

To Download: Left click picture.  Note the download link to the right of audio.

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Pastor John Piper said that Francis Chan’s message at the 2010 National Conference was probably one of the most listened to talks in Desiring God Conference history.

That’s remarkable.  In some ways this surprises me.  But in other ways, it doesn’t at all. 

There will no doubt be some who feel this is a bad thing, as Francis Chan doesn’t adequately measure up to their standards of Reformed purity.  The popularity, they will suppose, stems from the ever increasing downgrading of Evangelicalism.    

But I, for one, very much like him. 


He’s humble, transparent and child-like in his faith, which isn’t at all meant to be a put down.  Child-like faith is a glorious thing.  And I cannot help but thirst for more of it, when I listen to Pastor Chan. 

The message is on prayer.  It is a personal and convicting and joyous exploration of prayer in life of a Christian.  Francis Chan will certainly make some of us uncomfortable, due to his slightly touchy-feely personality-  uhg, no wait.  That’s not the right way to put it.  What is he?  Emotional and vulnerable.  That’s probably better.  So yes, Francis Chan’s message has a lot of feeling in it.  I’ve wondered in the past if some of it is put on, but I don’t think so.  I think it’s really him.  And that makes it good.  It’s fresh and honest. 

Difficulty: Easy

Must Listen Factor: High to Must Listen. 

Length: 1 hour and ten minutes.

To Download: Click picture and note the download tab in the bottom right hand corner of the video.

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I love it when I meet a new, biblically astute theologian.  By “new” I don’t mean someone who has freshly emerged from seminary, but rather a scholar who, up until this point, was unknown to me.  

And so it was when I downloaded the latest 9Marks interview about a week or so ago, that I met Dr. Bruce Winter, a NT scholar residing at Tyndale House (oops, see correction below).  Being a man thoroughly acquainted with ancient history, especially the often bizarre and exotic culture of Corinth, Mr. Winter was able to shed much light on Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians.  Much light. 

This made for an excellent interview.  A number of tasty tidbits could be highlighted, but I’ll simply entice you with the word “leader.”  What’s so enticing about that?  Well, Mr. Winter doesn’t at all like the term “Christian leader.”  He feels it is misleading, if not wrong.  And he makes a good case.    

Now when I finished the interview, I quickly set out to find anything and everything he had lectured on.  Several things popped up.  And several of them are excellent. 

Here’s what I found:

Euro Leadership Forum

  • Paul’s Pastoral Strategy in I Corinthians
  • You Were What You Wore in Roman law – Women in the Pauline Communities
  • Secularization of First century Christian Leadership – Inroads of Secular Models
  • Paul – Demolition and Reconstruction
  • Teaching for transformation – Transformed Teachers

I made the mistake of listening to them in a very short period of time.  Overlap, therefore, made them a bit repetitive.  But it wasn’t bad.  Each offers a number of valuable nuggets.  But if I were going to recommend one lecture, one really helpful message, I would definitely pick “You Were What You Wore in Roman Law.”  The issue of head coverings in 1 Corinthians is wonderfully brought to life. 

So I heartily recommend it to you.

Difficulty: The Interview is moderate difficulty.  The lectures are fairly advanced.

Must Listen Factor: If you are studying through 1 Corinthians, or teaching 1 Corinthians, these are must listens. 

Length: The interview is about an hour.  The lectures run about the same length (although one of them is about 2.5 hours). 

To Download: Left click the picture.

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