Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Fiery Trial of Popularity

Lord willing I will be preaching on the life of George Whitefield on the last Sunday of December at Redeemer. Preaching a biographical sermon on one of the cherished Saints of old is my attempt to stir the souls of God’s people into a fresh awareness of our need for Christ each new year. In preparation I’m reading Arnold Dallimore’s biography, George Whitefield.

Whitefield was perhaps the most popular preacher of our time. It was not a big deal for him to preach to 10,000 people outdoors. People flocked to him in London so much that he could not even walk in the streets. How did he handle this trial of prosperity?

“The tide of popularity began to run very high. In a short time I could no longer walk on foot, but was constrained to go in a coach from place to place, to avoid the hosannas of the multitude. They grew quite extravagant in their applause, and had it not been for my compassionate High Priest, popularity would have destroyed me. I used to plead with him to take me by the hand and lead me unhurt through this fiery furnace. He heard my request and gave me to see the vanity of all commendations but his own.” (Dallimore, pg 29)

May the Lord lead us through this next year seeking His commendation alone.

How Do I Know God Exists?

A very thoughtful and provoking response below by Dr. D.A. Carson:

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(HT: Mike G. Smith via facebook)


Busy or Unbelieving?

What don’t we pray more? What is at the root of our prayerlessness? Kevin De Young answers:

Here is my favorite paragraph:

You don’t need to work and work at discipline nearly as much as you need faith. You don’t need an ordered life to enable prayer, you need a messy life to drive you to prayer. You don’t need to have everything in order before you can pray. You need to know you’re disordered so you will pray. You don’t need your life to be fixed up. You need a broken heart. You need to think to yourself: “Tomorrow is another day that I need God. I need to know him. I need forgiveness. I need help. I need protection. I need deliverance. I need patience. I need courage. Therefore, I need prayer.”

Read the whole thing here.

(HT: KD)


New 9 Marks E-Journal is Out!

Here’s Jonathan Leeman’s introduction of this issue:

Church discipline is one place where everything in a church’s life collides. Theory and practice collide. The doctrines of God, sin, judgment, redemption, and eschatology collide. Sometimes personalities collide. And, hopefully, sin and grace collide.

This means that practicing discipline well requires good pastoral and theological sensibilities. So we’re devoting a second eJournal in a row to the topic, both to exercise our own sensibilities and yours. Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert provide counsel on what to do before you practice discipline. Matt Schmucker, both in his new article and in the one from the archives, offers advice on dealing with the non-attenders. Stephen Matteucci considers the importance of the one or two witnesses in Matthew 18. And I tackle the question of whether a member can resign his or her membership in order to avoid discipline altogether.

Finally, several pastors recall lessons they’ve learned the hard way in the forum, where Bob Johnson states the conclusion of the matter well: discipline in a church should be as normal and regular as preaching, teaching, and evangelism. That’s a tough idea to accept, and one more reason we think it’s worth coming back to this issue yet again. May Christ’s bride be made ready.

Read the whole thing here.