Tag Archives: Bruce Ware

Credo Magazine Interviews Bruce Ware on the New Perspective

This from Credo magazine:

Last fall I (Matthew Barrett) had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to talk about evangelicalism–past, present, and future. Ware is a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society and he provides much insight on the current state of evangelicalism. In this interview Ware talks about some of his evangelical heroes, doctrines that evangelicals are compromising on, how we should define the gospel (particularly in relation to social justice), John Stott, justification and the New Perspective on Paul, the Reformation and Reformed theology, and much, much more.

Make sure you watch all three videos–they are packed with insight and rich theology.

(By the by, I’m looking forward to starting a twice-monthly column for Credo in a few short weeks.)

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First Issue of Credo Magazine: John Frame, Bruce Ware, Tim Challies on Scripture

A few months back I made mention of a new magazine, Credo, which is reformed, credobaptistic, and focused on theology and history.  The first issue was published yesterday and it is a humdinger.

Click here to go to the main page of the magazine.  Credo is an online production, and you can read it either as a PDF or as a digital publication.  You’ll find stimulating resources like an interview with Bruce Ware, another with John Frame, an interview on the reformers with Timothy George, an article for the “reformed pastor” by Tim Challies, an article on B. B. Warfield by Fred Zaspel (author of this excellent resource on Warfield), an article on the King James Version by Michael Haykin, and much more.

Here’s a brief description of the issue’s contents:

Is Scripture inspired by God or is it merely the work of man? Peter writes, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21). The October issue of Credo seeks to affirm the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture as doctrines that are faithful to the testimony of Scripture itself. Contributors include: Gregg Allison, John Frame, Timothy George, Fred Zaspel, Michael A.G. Haykin, Tim Challies, Matthew Barrett, Thomas Schreiner, Tony Merida, Owen Strachan, J. V. Fesko, Robert Saucy, and many others.

By the way, I have a piece on sola Scriptura, the Reformational idea that Scripture alone is the church’s final authority (contra historic Roman Catholic Christianity).  Here’s a snatch from it:

As Luther affirmed the objective nature of Scripture’s authority, he felt the existential weight of this truth keenly, as both Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand and Erik Erikson’s Luther make clear. Scripture was the creator of the church, and Scripture was the guardian of the soul. He was captive to the Word, and could do nothing but affirm this reality. Sola Scriptura, we see, is not a doctrine that we hold lightly. It is an explosive idea, one that asserts precedence over all other systems and that destroys our natural sinful claim to self-rule. To affirm this great Reformational idea is to affirm in simple biblical terms that God is true, and every man is a liar.

Go here to start digging into this excellent magazine.  In coming days, Credo will be releasing individual pieces of content on its blog, which will make it easy to “Tweet” or “Like” the material.

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An Essential Talk by Bruce Ware on Manhood

The following was just posted at the blog of The Gospel Coalition:

Theologian Bruce Ware just gave a noteworthy talk on godly manhood at his church, Clifton Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky.  The talk was entitled “Select Principles on Being a Biblically Faithful Man and Husband”.  I heard the talk and commend the audio to you.  The following is the handout given out at the talk.  The handout alone is one of the most helpful documents I’ve seen on what godly manhood looks like.

1. Love.   1) Loving God increasingly w/ all my heart, soul, mind and strength; loving Christ and the cross; loving the gospel — these are the foundation for all else.  Drawing from God all I need to be the man and husband God has called me to be is my strength and hope.  2) Loving my wife as Christ loves the Church — this is the umbrella principle for marriage; everything else flows from this responsibility and privilege (Eph 5:25ff).

2. Leadership.   Biblical manhood involves cultivating, embracing, and exercising leadership initiative, especially spiritual leadership initiative.  This is a principle that applies to young men and adult single men just as well as to married men.  Cultivate, embrace, and exercise spiritual leadership initiative.   In marriage, my love for my wife involves and requires that I exert leadership in our relationship.  My headship of my wife means I’m responsible for her spiritual growth and well-being.  And as a father, I’m responsible in ways that my wife is not for the spiritual development of our children (Eph 6:1-4).  And again, to do this, I must be seeking God and growing personally.  Only out of the storehouse of my own soul’s growth in God can I assist my wife to grow spiritually.

3. Example.  Lead by example as much as by admonition and instruction.  Set the example in:  consistent times in the Word and prayer;  in sacrificial service for your wife, children, church family members, and community needs;  in giving faithfully, generously, and regularly of your finances;  in humble admission of wrong-doing along with confession, asking forgiveness, and repentance.  Fight pride, fight defensiveness, fight carnality before others.

4. Authority.  All three points above imply and invoke the concept of male-headship.  Yes, God has given special authority to husbands and fathers.  Learn, though, the correct expression of healthy, constructive, upbuilding, God-honoring, Christ-following authority.  Resist and reject the sinful extremes of 1) harshness, bossiness, mean-spirited authoritarianism, and of 2) laziness, apathy, lethargy, negligence, and abdication of authority to the women in our lives.  Learn to blend firmness with gentleness, truth with grace, a firm hand with a warm smile.

5. Acceptance.   Each of us is unique as God has made us.  We should accept others’ differences w/o thinking ourselves to be either superior or inferior to others.  In marriage, my wife is unique, and so in many ways, she is not like me.  I need to accept who she is, prayerfully and sensitively seeking to assist her in changing what is sinful and needs to be changed, and accepting what is “just different.”

6. Listening.   One of my wife’s biggest and most real needs is my attentive and respectful listening ear.  She loves to share her experiences, thoughts, ideas, feelings, concerns, hurts, joys, etc.   I can minister to my wife more than one might think by offering her caring, responsive, and respectful listening and interaction.  Learn to listen sympathetically w/o rushing to “fix it” solutions.  Connect first heart to heart, then later heart to head.  Establish regular times of mutual sharing (yes, mutual), keep short accounts, and act on what you hear and learn.

7. Understanding.   I need to live with my wife in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7), to learn her needs, her sensitivities.  I should seek to know the desires and felt needs of my wife and, when appropriate and possible, fulfill these.  I need to discover her “language of love” and make every effort to love her in ways she feels loved.

8. Work.   A man’s main sense of identity, responsibility, and purpose is found in his work.  Wives want to take pride in their husbands, and taking pride in their work is an important part of this.  Women are not meant to bear the financial weight of a marriage or family, so husbands must work hard and responsibly.  As important as work is to a man’s identity and fulfillment, we must not allow work to overshadow our commitment to and time with our wives first, and also to our children.  Work hard, work well, work to the honor of Christ, and then put work to rest.

9. Sexuality.   My wife is my only legitimate sexual experience, and I am hers.  So, learning to love sexually with increasing skill and pleasure is vitally important to the satisfaction and intimacy of our marriage.  See human sexuality for what it is — the good gift of God to be experienced in marriage, as God has designed.

10. Home.   She cares much about our home.   The “honey-do” list is far more important to her than she is likely to let on.  In love for her, I must pay attention to her requests and treat them as important.  But more important even than this is cultivating the “culture” and “ethos” of our home.  Develop an atmosphere of appreciation, respect, kindness, service, holiness, happiness, gratefulness, contentment, forgiveness — all as expressions of our love for God and one another.

Listen to the talk here.

My only other word on the talk would be that in the case of Dr. Ware, these words are backed up by a faithful life.  It’s one thing to hear people talk about manhood directed to the glory of God; it’s another to live it.  Dr. Ware excels at husbanding, fathering, leading, and teaching.  He has much to teach you and me, and I hope that these resources bless you and contribute to the revival of robust biblical manhood in our day.


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ETS Highlights: The Moore Tour and More (Including Beignets)

As some of you know, the Evangelical Theological Society met last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I was able to go, and I had some thoughts on “highlights” of the experience (what is it with Americans and highlights, anyway?).

1. Russ Moore gave a fun and informative tour on the literary culture of New Orleans.  It was engrossing.  I haven’t seen any material from it on Moore’s blog (have I missed something, Robbie?), but if footage turns up from the tour, check it out.  I don’t know about you, but I love learning about literature from theologians.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  How about a book, Dr. Moore?

Moore brought out the darkness of New Orleans in his hourlong stroll through the French Quarter.  At one point, he talked about how New Orleans loves a good rogue; at another, he discussed the way area residents interact with the devil.  To paraphrase, in some places in the world, people act like the devil doesn’t exist–they keep him at arm’s length; in New Orleans, they throw their arm around his shoulder.  It’s a dark and needy place.

2. Because of this reality, it was encouraging to talk with James Welch, a pastor in New Orleans and an SBTS alum.  James is a great guy with a heart for the gospel and a comprehensive grasp on all things Nola.  We talked Lil Wayne, Bourbon Street, and miraculous conversion.  Thoroughly encouraging.  If you can, pray for Sojourn Lakeview and their ministry to the city.

3. The city itself is working hard to continue the post-Katrina recovery, but from what I could see, it’s hard going.  There weren’t many people around. 

4. I had the privilege of meeting Dave Doran, who I interacted with on this blog some months ago.  He is president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and the pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church, and he’s a very kind and gracious man.  As we know, Detroit, like New Orleans, is hard-hit these days.  Let’s pray for the church and seminary Dave leads, asking God’s rich blessing on their promotion and defense of the gospel.

5. As readers of this blog know, I had the special pleasure of blogging Bruce Ware’s ETS presidential address.  I’ll remember that for a long time to come.

Other than that stuff, I was able to give an academic paper, see old friends (Ben Dockery did a nice job with the SBTS alumni event), eat good food (muffulettas, po’ boys from Mother’s, and more), and generally soak up the ETS atmosphere.  I’m thankful for ETS and how it encourages and showcases evangelical scholarship.  Over 2000 folks turned out, over 500 papers were read (including several from my TEDS buddies), and much glory was given to God.

Last but certainly not least, a not insignificant amount of beignets from the amazing Cafe du Monde were eaten (yes, order them!).


Filed under evangelical theological society

ETS Live-Blog: Bruce Ware’s 2009 Presidential Address

I am live-blogging the 2009 Evangelical Theological Society Presidential Address by Dr. Bruce Ware, professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY).  Dr. Ware’s message, entitled “The Man Christ Jesus,” looks to be customarily rich and insightful.

It is an honor to attend this address in New Orleans and to share this exciting moment with Dr. Ware, my mother-in-law, Jodi Ware, and the ETS community. Unfortunately, my wife, Bethany Strachan, oldest daughter of Dr. Ware, and her sister, Rachel Ware, are not able to attend.  But they are with us in thought and prayer.

What follows is a recap of the talk, featuring lengthy sections of Dr. Ware’s address, with a bit of commentary spliced in.  This is not the full text; you’ll need to look at a future episode of JETS for that.  This live-blog will, however, give you a sense of the message and allow you to soak up some of the richness of this talk.

With thanks to Jacob Shatzer, this is my best attempt at a faithful live-blog.  It represents less than 50% of the message, so keep that in mind. All errors are mine, and all insights are Dr. Ware’s.


It is 8:05pm here in  New Orleans.  The room is packed to the gills with evangelical theologians and those who wish to eat chicken and beans with evangelical theologians.  The banquet has concluded, and Dr. Ware has just recognized a number of key ETS players: J. Michael Thigpen (Executive Director), Craig Blaising (past President), and James Borland (longtime Secretary).  We are about to begin the address.  Eugene Merrill of Dallas Theological Seminary is introducing Dr. Ware, and doing so with graciousness and depth.

The Man Christ-Jesus

Dr. Ware began the address by posing the question that drove the formation of his paper:

The theological question that has given rise to the reflections of this paper is as follows:  What dimensions of the life, ministry, mission, and work of Jesus Christ can only be accounted for fully and understood rightly when seen through the lens of his humanity?  Put differently, while Christ was (and is) fully God and fully man, how do we best account for the way in which he lived his life and fulfilled his calling — by seeing him carrying this out as God?  or as man?  or as the God-man?  I would argue that the most responsible answer biblically and theologically is the last, “as the God-man,” but that the emphasis must be placed on the humanity of Christ as the primary reality he expressed in his day-by-day life, ministry, and work.

Ware continued by making a major claim–that the New Testament emphasizes Christ’s humanity more than His deity:

The instinct in much evangelical theology, both popular and scholarly, is to stress the deity of Christ, but the New Testament instead puts greater stress, I believe, on his humanity.  He came as the second Adam, the seed of Abraham, the son of David, and he lived his life as one of us.  Now again, he was fully and unequivocally God, and some of the works of Jesus, in my view, displayed this deity — e.g., his forgiving of sin (Mark 2), the transfiguration of Christ (Matt 19, Mark 9, Luke 9), his raising of Lazarus from the dead as the one claiming, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11), and most importantly the efficacy of his atonement whose payment for our sin, only as God, was of infinite value — these and others show forth the truth that he lived among us also as one who was fully God.  But while he was fully God, and while this is crucial to understanding rightly his full identity, life, and the fulfillment of his atoning work, the predominant reality he experienced day by day, and the predominant means by which he fulfilled his calling, was that of his genuine and full humanity.  Paul captures the significance of the humanity of Christ with his assertion, “There is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

Update: Al Mohler, faithful Tweeter (is that a word?), caught wind of this live-blogging.

Ware then suggested two major points that he would cover in the paper:

First, we will consider what it means that Jesus came as the long-awaited Spirit-anointed Messiah.  Second, we will explore the reality of Jesus’ impeccability and consider the means by which he resisted temptation.  In both of these features, while the deity of Christ certainly is evident, his humanity is prominent such that apart from his full and integral humanity, we cannot account for these central and pivotal identifying features of his person and work.

What, Ware asked, is the significance of the anointing of the Holy Spirit on Christ’s ministry?

The answer is:  Everything of supernatural power and enablement that he, in his humanity, would lack.  The only way to make sense, then, of the fact that Jesus came in the power of the Spirit is to understand that he lived his life fundamentally as a man, and as such, he relied on the Spirit to provide the power, grace, knowledge, wisdom, direction, and enablement he needed, moment by moment and day by day, to fulfill the mission the Father sent him to accomplish.

Point One: Jesus as the Spirit-Anointed Messiah (Textual Support)

First, the ETS President looked at Isaiah 11:1-3 to support his claim.  He suggested that this passage teaches that

The Spirit rested on him and granted him wisdom, understanding, knowledge, discernment, strength, and resolve to fear God his Father.  In other words, these qualities did not extend directly or fundamentally from his own divine nature, though divine he surely was!  Rather, much as the “fruit of the Spirit” of Galatians 5:22-23 are the evidences outwardly of the Spirit at work in a believer inwardly, so too here, these qualities are attributed to and accounted for by the Spirit who rested upon Jesus, empowering him to have the wisdom, understanding, and resolve to obey that he exhibited.

Next, Ware looked at Luke 2:40 and 2:52.  From these texts, Ware argued that Christ had to learn just as we learn, and that the Spirit superintended this learning:

“All who heard him,” Luke comments, “were amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:47).  Now, the common evangelical intuition for accounting for this event in Jesus’ boyhood is this:  of course Jesus astonished these teachers of the law in Jerusalem; after all, he was God!  And while he was God, this answer misses the very hints Luke himself has given in the verses that bracket this account.  Jesus astonished these Jewish teachers, not because he was God, although he was; rather, he astonished them because as a 12 year old human boy, he had devoted himself to the mastery of the law of the Lord, and the grace of God by the Spirit had given him extraordinary insight, so that at merely 12 years old, he could astonish these greatest of all teachers in Jerusalem by the questions he asked and the answers he gave.  He truly was, then, the Psalm 1 prototype.

Ware moved next to Acts 10:38, where Peter speaks of the Spirit’s anointing of Jesus:

Peter was granted revelation from the Father that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:16); and Peter was present with Thomas and the other disciples when Jesus appeared in the room, and Thomas responded, saying to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:26-29).  Peter knows Jesus is God — which is what makes this statement in Acts 10:38 all the more remarkable.  As Peter contemplates Jesus’ day-to-day life, the good deeds he did and the truth he taught, the exorcisms and miracles he performed, and when Peter considers how Jesus did these things, he says that, “God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power,” and thatHe went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38)….Jesus was the Christ, a man born in the line of David, anointed and empowered by the Spirit to live out his life and carry out his mission.

Point Two: Jesus Christ, the Impeccable, Temptable, and Sinless

Ware moved to his second point.  He noted that he might have coined a new word–”temptable”.  I’m not sure, but I like the word.  If it catches on in the broader culture, well, now you know its origin.

The second line of support for the central importance of understanding Jesus’ life and ministry being lived fundamentally as a man is this:  he was really, genuinely tempted.   Immediately we understand that Jesus’ humanity must be involved in his temptations in a way in which his deity could not be, for James tells us, “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13).  But Jesus was tempted.  In fact, Hebrews tells us that he was “tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15).  But there is more:  Jesus was also fully God, and as such it has seemed to most theologians (myself included) that he was impeccable, i.e., he could not sin.

The paper next considered a number of proposals by prominent theologians that offer suggestions for how to understand the interaction between the human and divine natures of Christ.  Ware looked at the thought of Louis Kerkhof, W. G. T. Shedd, Herman Bavinck, Thomas Morris, and Gerald O’Collins.  I am not going to quote this section extensively.  Let me give a snapshot from the conclusion of this section, where the theologian considered what it would mean for Christ to actually commit a sin:

But, hypothetically, what would have been involved in the event that Christ had sinned?  Since God cannot sin, the deity of Christ could not have been involved in the act of sin that Christ, in this hypothetical scenario, would have committed.  But how not, since the divine and human natures are joined in the one Person of Jesus Christ in the incarnation?  Erickson suggests, “At the very brink of the decision to sin, where that decision had not yet taken place, but the Father knew it was about to be made, the Second Person of the Trinity would have left the human nature of Jesus, dissolving the incarnation.”  So, apparently Erickson considers as hypothetically possible one of the horns of the dilemma that Bavinck had wanted to avoid.

An Alternate Proposal

In this section, Dr. Ware suggested his own proposal for resolving the matter of impeccability as related to the divine and human natures.

Essentially this proposal runs as follows:  Jesus was genuinely impeccable owing to the fact that in the incarnation it was none other than the immutable and eternally holy Second Person of the Trinity who joined to himself a full human nature.  Nonetheless this impeccability of his Person did not render his temptations inauthentic or his struggles disingenuous.  How so?  Jesus resisted these temptations and in every way obeyed his Father, not by recourse to his divine nature but through the resources provided to him in his full humanity.

The ETS President then moved on to offer three major ideas.  Remember, as with the talk in its entirety, these are just summaries–there is much more to these arguments than appears here. Here’s the first:

First, we begin by affirming what is in some ways both the clearest and most important truth in the whole of this discussion, viz., that Christ in fact did not sin.  Scripture here is abundantly clear.  2 Cor 5:21, “God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him”…

Here’s the second:

Second, the impeccability of Christ is a reasonable inference from Scripture’s teaching about who the incarnate Christ is, and an inference so clear and compelling that it is unreasonable to imagine Jesus not considering this inference thereby knowing the truth of his own impeccability.  I agree here with Shedd who argued that if Christ could sin, in this hypothetical act of sin “the guilt would not be confined to the human nature” but the divine nature also would be stained.  Since this cannot occur to the immutably holy divine nature, once the union of human and divine natures has occurred, the human nature is rendered impeccable by virtue of its union to the impeccable divine nature.  Or one might think of the issue in these terms:  Since the holy One born of Mary was fully God as well as fully man, this would imply, it would seem, some limitations in expression both for his divine and human natures.

Here’s the third:

Third, and most important for the position I am here arguing, the impeccability of Christ by virtue of his impeccable divine nature united to his human nature, has nothing directly to do with how he resisted temptation and how it was that he did not sin.  Yes, Christ was impeccable, but his impeccability is quite literally irrelevant to explaining his sinlessness.  The common evangelical intuition seems to be this:  if the reason Christ could not sin is that he is God, then the reason Christ did not sin must likewise be that he is God.  My proposal denies this symmetry and insists that the questions of why Christ could not sin and why he did not sin require, instead, remarkably different answers.

Ware, a true teacher, then expanded upon this third point with an illustration:

To understand better the distinction here invoked between why something could not occur and why it did not occur, consider this example:

Imagine a swimmer who wanted to attempt breaking the world’s record for the longest continuous swim (which, I’ve read, is something over 70 miles).   As this swimmer trains, besides his daily swims of 5 to 10 miles, he includes weekly swims of greater distance.  On some of the longer swims of 30 and 40 miles, he notices that his muscles can begin to tighten and cramp a bit, and he becomes worried that in attempting to break the world record, his muscles may cramp severely and he could then drown.  So, he consults with friends, and they decide to arrange for a boat to follow along behind the swimmer 20 or 30 feet back, close enough to pick him up should any serious problem arise, but far enough away so as not to interfere in any way with the attempted historic swim itself.  On the appointed day, conditions being just right, the swimmer dives in and begins his attempt at breaking the world record.  As he swims, all the while the boat follows along comfortably behind ready to pick up the swimmer, if needed.  But no help is needed; with determination and resolve, the swimmer relentlessly swims, and swims, and swims, and in due time, he succeeds in breaking the world record.

Two questions require pondering from this illustration:

Now, consider two questions:  1) why is it that in this record-breaking event the swimmer could not have drowned?  Answer:  the boat was there all the while, ready to rescue him if needed.  But 2) why is it the swimmer did not drown?  Answer:  he kept swimming!  Notice that the answer to the second question has nothing at all to do with the boat, i.e., it has nothing to do with the answer to the first question.  In fact, if you gave the answer of “the boat” to question 2, the swimmer would be both astonished and dismayed.  It simply is not true that the swimmer did not drown because the boat was there.  The boat, quite literally, had absolutely nothing to do with why the swimmer did not drown.  Furthermore, although the swimmer knew full well that he could not drown due to the boat following along behind him, that knowledge had nothing to do with why he did not drown, since he also knew that if he ever relied on the boat his mission of breaking the world record would be forfeited.  So although he knew that he could not drown due to the boat, he also knew that he could only accomplish his goal by swimming as if there were no boat there at all.

The theologian then connected the main point of this illustration to Jesus:

Jesus lived his life in reliance on the Spirit so that his resistance to temptation and his obedience to the will of the Father took place through, and not apart from, the empowerment provided him as the second Adam, the seed of Abraham, the son of David.  Recall again Peter’s claim that God anointed Jesus “with the Holy Spirit and with power,” and that he went about doing good (the moral life and obedience of Christ) as well as healing all who are oppressed by the devil (the miracles he performed), “for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).  Although he was God, and although he was impeccable as the God-man, nevertheless he did not resist temptation and obey the Father by his divine nature but by the power of the Spirit who indwelt him….He knew that to rely on “the boat,” i.e. on his own divine nature, would be to forfeit the mission on which he was sent.  Hence, he had to fight temptation as a man, in dependence on his Father and by the power of the Spirit, and so he did, amazingly, completely without ever once yielding to any temptation.

Conclusion: Relevance to Related Areas

Ware closed by first addressing what Hebrews 5:8-9 mean.

These verses read, “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered.  And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation.” Hebrews 5:8-9 means this:  through the things that Christ suffered, through the trials, temptations, and afflictions of life, he learned to obey increasingly difficult demands of his Father until at last, he was prepared—made mature, if you will, strengthened in faith and character—to go to the cross….His resistance of temptation and obedience to the Father was not automatic since these were not brought about from his impeccable divine nature.  Rather, he learned to obey as a man, and as a man he fought temptation and sought to obey in increasingly demanding situations of life.  But he always did obey, and through this regular obedience he was made ready, strengthened, for the biggest challenge of all, death on the cross, in order that he would be the source of our eternal salvation.

He then looked at how 1 Peter 2:21-22 relates to our lives:

Christ left us an example that “we should follow in his steps, who committed no sin . . . .”  If Christ resisted temptation and obeyed the Father out of his divine nature, how could he be an example for us?  If Christ lived out his life and carried out his mission in the power of his divinity, how could we be commanded rightly to follow in his steps?  But if Christ lived the prototype of new covenant life, by prayer and the word and the power of the Spirit, and then if he shared those same resources with us, his followers, then we can rightly be called to live like him.  Indeed the expectation is so fully right and real that Peter has the audacity to say, as we’ve seen, “follow in his steps, who committed no sin.”


The message, in my initial judgment, was typical Dr. Ware: full of fresh thinking, full of Scripture, and thoroughly doxological.  With you, I look forward to the publication of this address, and to the stimulation it will engender among evangelicals, those who worship the God-Man, Christ Jesus.


Filed under Bruce Ware, Jesus Christ

John Piper Tunes in and So Can You: The Henry Center Website Report

Piper-Carson 066

An update from the Henry Center on its website.  We’ve been pushing the site in recent days, and it’s great to give a very brief public report:

What do folks like John Piper, Justin Taylor, Millard Erickson, and Thabiti Anyabwile have in common?

Answer: They all check the HCTU website and listen to its content.

Plenty of other folks have been, too. Let us give you some exciting stats that show how successful the year has been for the Center:

  • Over 100 people tuned in via webcast for the Ravi Zacharias lecture
  • Top five pages on the HCTU site in the last year: 1) Media, 2) Blog, 3) Trinity Debates, 4) Piper-Carson, 5) Scripture & Ministry
  • In the last year, between 15,000 and 20,000 unique visitors have browsed the site (!)
  • Traffic on the site in general is up nearly 200% from previous years
  • Over 1000 people watched the Ware-Grudem debate from one year ago, including people from Australia, Germany, China, and numerous other countries

There’s a snapshot for you.  We at the Center want you to know that we are committed to providing excellent content, offered for free, that will benefit the Lord’s church as it seeks knowledge of God, understanding of the Almighty, in pursuit of His maximal glory.

So please–keep checking the site, and encourage others to do the same.  We’re thankful that folks like John Piper, Justin Taylor, Millard Erickson, Thabiti Anyabwile, and you are doing just that.


Plenty more to come in coming days: a Rich Mouw lecture, a debate on evangelism of the Jewish community, and a conference in July 2010 in Tokyo, among many other things.

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The Link 10.9.09: Ravi Zacharias Media, No Cookies for Harvard, and Missional Christology

harvardcookies1. Let me say a public thank-you to those of you who are responding (overwhelmingly!) to the call for BibleMesh beta-testers.  You have until this coming Monday, October 12 at 12pm to send me your email.

2. The Ravi Zacharias media is up and is free.  You can watch his lecture, his chapel address, and an interview with him, all courtesy of your friends at the Henry Center.

3. No cookies for Harvard faculty meetings.  How will they go on?  Come to think of it, TEDS could use some more free fresh-baked cookies…

4. This is a great memorial to Irving Kristol, recently deceased prominent conservative thinker.  I don’t know about you, but I learn a ton about character and true achievement from profiles and tributes like this.

5. A video interview with theologian Bruce Ware on “missional Christology.”

6. Have you heard about “cougars?”  No?  Now you have. From the Washington Post.

–On that note, have a great weekend, all.

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The Link 9.25.09: Glenn Beck, The Way We Die, and Driscoll’s Free Stuff

GlennBeckThis is an eclectic day.  As usual.  For the report on Ravi Zacharias, see number 7.

1. Time Magazine recently ran a piece on conservative commentator Glenn Beck.  Interesting read.

2. A piece to read from the NYT on the debate over health-care, end-of-life issues, and “death panels.” There’s a bunch to sort out here, but we need to note at least one thing: while it’s important to focus on reforming end-of-life care, Christians have a huge interest in preserving the lives of the elderly and the right of the elderly and infirmed to live.

3. Mark Driscoll lists some free stuff that Mars Hill is and has been giving away.

4. Just heard this cutting-edge Chicago band: Milano.  Check out “Zombie World” toward the end: “the dead are going to live, the living are going to die.”  That’s going to be true, one day soon.

5. Theologian and Evangelical Theological Society president Bruce Ware on “Missional Christology.”

6. Soon and very soon, Andrew Sherwood of 9Marks is going to blog the “God Exposed” at Southeastern Seminary featuring names like Dever, Akin, Anyabwile, and McKinley.  My friends on Baptist21 are doing a panel: here’s a pic.  Looks like another packed event for B21…

7. For those who are wondering, the audio and video from the Henry Center’s Kantzer Lectures and Ravi Zacharias events will be online soon.  We had an incredible response to Ravi’s visit–ATO Chapel was completely filled, between 100-200 people filled the overflow room as well, and we had many more by webcast (including some of you–thanks for watching!).  We are grateful to God for this response, for Ravi’s global ministry, and the chance to participate in it in our small corner of things.

–Have a great and God-saturated weekend, all.


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Important Event: CBMW Panel on the Trinity

I’ve just heard from CBMW’s John Starke about a discussion at Southern Seminary in a few weeks that continues the Ware/Grudem vs. McCall/Yandell debate begun on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in October 2008 (here’s the coverage of the event by Christianity Today).  Without taking a position on this matter, I want to let you know that the conversation is continuing.  Here’s what John had to say:

On September 9th, on the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood will host a panel discussion on the Trinity and Gender with Dr. Bruce Ware and Dr. Gregg Allison.  Here is the blurb that will be sent out concerning this event:

The Trinity and Gender Panel Discussion

CBMW and the School of Church Ministries are sponsoring a panel discussion that will include Dr. Bruce Ware and Dr. Gregg Allison on issues concerning the Trinity and Gender.  The panel will discuss the authority-submission structure of the Father and Son and how it relates to current gender debates.  The panel discussion will take place on September 9, 2009, 10-11:00 am, Heritage Hall.

The audio and video will be available through SBTS and CBMW’s websites.  This issue is hotly debated within seminary campuses, churches, and theological societies.  You can read Bruce Ware’s article “Equal in Essence, Distinct in Roles: Eternal Functional Authority and Submission Among the Essentially Equally Divine Persons of the Godhead” for a good summary of the arguments.

Here’s hoping that this discussion serves to advance the broader conversation and further the church’s understanding of the Holy Trinity, the cornerstone reality of our Christian faith and heritage.

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Exceptional Pastoral Ministry Internships: CHBC, TBI, NECEP, and More

mark-deverThis is a post that needs writing.  So here we go: a primer on the best pastoral ministry internships that I am aware of.  Please note that I don’t know every detail of these programs; I may get something wrong.  Check the websites below for definitive information (and see a great resource by 9Marks on how churches can train pastors).

My personal suggestion for seminarians and pastors-in-training would be to couple your academic learning with an internship.  These are some of the best you’ll find. 

Without further ado, ministry internships for future pastors and leaders that I highly recommend:

The Capitol Hill Baptist Church internship.  Washington, DC.  In my eyes, with TBI (see below), this is the top of the line (full disclosure: I did it).  The program is nothing less than rigorous, the curriculum is expertly plotted, and the staff with which you work is incredible, including Mark Dever, Michael Lawrence, and Matt Schmucker.  This is a semester-long internship.  They offer a generous stipend, housing, and lots of time with supervisors and church members.  Ideal for single men.  If you do the CHBC internship, you’ll come away exhausted, enlived, and educated.  You will learn a ton about polity, ecclesiology, and preaching.  If those things don’t sound important to you now, rest assured that after the internship, you’ll think rather differently.

The Bethelehem Institute.  Minneapolis, MN.  Bethlehem Baptist Church has been shaking this up of late, and truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what form TBI is now taking in light of the MDiv being offered at Bethlehem College & Seminary.  TBI as it now stands is one year long and unaccredited.  At any rate, I have gotten to know many TBI grads through Southern Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and they are without fail godly, smart, and well trained.  How can you not be, when you’re training under John Piper and other highly faithful and gifted men at a great church?

The First Baptist Church of Durham internship.  Durham, NC.  At the church led by Andy Davis, a pastor worth attention and emulation, you can do a semester-long internship based on the CHBC program.  This would be ideal for Southeastern Seminary students, though if you want great training, you could consider moving to Durham, working part-time at Starbucks, and doing this excellent program.  Davis and Andy Winn, a great guy and faithful shepherd, have just started this internship up, and the opportunity is ripe for students/future pastors to go and get top-notch ministry training at a church I love.

The New England Center for Expository Preaching internship.  Hampstead, NH.  Led by Dave Ricard, a choice guy and a personal friend, this internship is ideal for men who want to commit to the hard labor of gospel work in New England.  Semester-long, with lots of preaching opportunities (unlike many of the other internships listed).  Dave has placed a number of his interns in New England churches, one of the most exciting developments in New England Christian circles that I know of.  Small stipend, and again, tremendous opportunity to listen to and preach sermons in the region that started it all in America.

The NETS Center for Church Planting residency.  Williston, VT.  Another excellent ministry training program, this one more intensive.  A two-year residency followed by training.  NETS sends out its planters with funding for church planting, which is terrific.  Grounded in great theology, an aggressive, Christ-centered approach, and led by Wes Pastor, one of the more dynamic guys you’ll meet.  For those who have a few years to train and want to do an intensive program, this is a great option, one that is yielding rich fruit from the hard soil of New England.

Lakeview Baptist Church internship.  Auburn, AL.  Led by Al Jackson, a renowned pastor, this program has turned out a number of really solid guys I know.  I can’t find a webpage on it (feel free to share it), but here’s a 9Marks profile of the program.  Contact the church for more info.  Great for SBC guys who want a staunchly biblical approach to pastoring.  Holistic, involves a serious commitment, and allows you to do seminary while you intern, which is unique and much-needed.

Here are some other programs that you should know about that also offer excellent ministry training (I think most are unaccredited):

RE:Train through Mars Hill Church.  Seattle, WA.  Just started, with a great faculty (Piper, Ware, and Driscoll, among others). 

Cornhill Training Course.  London, UK.  I know little about the specifics, but I have met a few grads and they are some of the sharpest minds I know when it comes to exegesis and preaching.

Simeon Trust.  Chicago, IL.  I don’t know a great deal about the rudiments of the course, but this is run by great leaders with international connections.  Seems very nicely plotted out, and it’s in Chicago.  Led in America by David Helm.

Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College.  Gaithersburg, MD.  I almost applied to the Pastor’s College some years ago because it seemed to combine an emphasis on head and heart so well.  With instruction by CJ Mahaney, Josh Harris, and Jeff Purswell, this is a great program to consider.  Nine months, I think.


As I said earlier, I’m sure I’ve missed some great internships–please share any you know of in the comments.  Here’s info on a few more from 9Marks, particularly some international opportunities.  You can go all over the world to train for pastoral ministry–maybe you should (particularly if you’re young and single).

And if you want to be a pastor, I think it is absolutely essential that you couple your formal training with a ministry internship in a program of the kind suggested here.  Oftentimes, you’ll learn as much from a great internship as you will from seminary.


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