Biblical Training is now offering Bryan Chapell‘s “PR 600 Preaching” course for free (29 MP3s). (The link to the preaching course may not work for you since you need to create a user name and log in to view it.) These are lectures he gave at Covenant Theological Seminary, where he serves as president and which offers many other courses on MP3 for free. Chapell’s books include Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon.
Update: The Gospel Coalition is now hosting a comprehensive collection of DAC MP3s. Consequently, I won’t be updating this list.
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I have profited immensely from MP3s by Dr. D. A. Carson. His manner of speaking is just as articulate, thoughtful, and engaging as his published books and articles. He exalts Christ by exegeting His words, tracing themes through the Bible’s salvation-historical story-line, systematically addressing hot topics, and engaging and confronting bad theology as well as the culture. What follows is a list of some of his MP3s arranged somewhat topically.
The Use of the OT in the NT
- 1, 2, 3
- Hard Texts: Why does Hebrews cite the OT like that? 1, 2, 3 (2005 J. B. Gray Lectures at SBTS in Louisville)
- Understanding Postmodernism from a Confessional Stance: 1, 2 | outline
- 1, 2, workshop
- Sacred and Sure:
- The Intolerance of Tolerance: 1, 2 (3.26.04)
- The Gagging of God Q & A
- Keeping Up with the Conversation: Understanding the Emergent Movement and the Emerging Church (2.8.08) – from the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology
- Is the emergent church biblical? (9.21.05)
- 1. A Description of the Movement with a Focus on Its Strengths
- 2. The Movement Evaluated More Critically
- 3. An Exposition of Scripture on the Relationship Between Experience and Truth
- The Gospel and Postmodern Minds: How Do We Reach Out to a Changing Culture Without Selling Out? (Feb. 9, 2008) – from the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology
- Reaching an Untouched Generation (Oct 18-19, 1997 at High Park Baptist Church in Toronto)
- Evangelism in the 21 Century: 1, 2, 3
- Ongoing Imperative for World Mission
- Telling Premodern Truth to Postmodern People
So-Called New Perspective on Paul Critiqued
Love of God
- The Love of God | outline
- Distorting the Love of God (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1998)
- The Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World (Desiring God Conference, 9.30.06)
Vision of a Transcendent God
- 1, 2
- 1998 Pastor’s Conference
Jeremiah (Christmas at the Castle, Dec. 2007)
preached at College Church in Wheaton on March 2, 9, and 16, 2008
- The Supremacy of Christ (2 Thess 1)
- Waiting for the Last Time (2 Thess 2)
- Waiting in the Mean Time (2 Thess 3)
The Book of Revelation
- Revelation (“Summer at the Castle” in Ireland in 2004):
- Missions as the Triumph of the Lamb (2004 RTS Missions Conference in Jackson)
- 1994 Conference
- Even So, Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev 21.1-22.6) | outline
Jesus and the Cross
- Sin and the Fall (Gen 3) | outline
- Jesus Christ, the God-Man (John 1.1-18)
- Jesus the Word of God (John 1.1-18) | outline
- Jesus, the Son of God
- The Bread of Life (John 6)
- Who Touched Me? (Mark 5.21-34)
- Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:1-14)
- Ironies of the Cross (Matt 27:27-50) (3.26.04)
- Why Trust a Cross? (Rom 3:21-26) | outline
- Why Trust a Cross? (Rom 3:21-26) – Christian Life Conference, 1.21.06
- Faith in the Cross of Christ (Rom 3.21-31)
- Love for the Tough-Minded and the Great-Hearted (Mark 12:28-34) – SBTS chapel
- Doubting Thomas (John 20.24-31) – SBTS chapel
- My Lord and My God (John 20.24-31) – 3.4.07
- The Cross and Christian Ministry (Acts 17.16-34)
- What Is the Gospel? (1 Cor 15) – The Gospel Coalition, 5.23.07
- What Is the Gospel? (1 Cor 15) followed by Q & A – Christmas at the Castle, Dec. 2007
The Pastor as Father and Son
delivered at the 2008 Desiring God Conference for Pastors on Feb. 4-5, 2008
- The Pastor as Son of the Heavenly Father (MP3 audio | MP4 video)
- The Pastor as Son of an Earthly Father (MP3 audio | MP4 video)
- The Pastor as Father to His Family and Flock (MP3 audio | MP4 video)
- Q & A with Piper, Carson, Loritts, and Livingstone (MP3 audio | MP4 video)
- On Being Prepared for Suffering and Evil: 1, 2
- Trials (9.12.99)
- Steve Matthewson’s Installation Charge
- Cornerstone University Chapel (9.15.04)
- Moses’ Intercessory Prayer (Exodus 32-34)
- The Psalm of the Sheep (Ps 23)
- Laughing All the Way from the Bank (2 Cor 8.1-9.15)
- The Spirit Overcomes Death (Rom 8)
- What Makes You Great (2.24.06)
- Role of the Elder (preached at Mark Dever’s church)
- Equipped to Serve: Part 1 (1 Tim 3:1-13) – 3.25.06
- Equipped to Serve: Part 2 (1 Tim 6:3-21) – 3.25.06
- Equipped to Serve: Part 3: Q & A Session, including emerging church issues – 3.25.06
- Equipped to Serve: Part 4 (2 Tim 3:1-4:8) – 3.25.06
- How to Think About Pastors (1 Tim 3:1-7) – 5.20.07 at College Church in Wheaton
- How to Think About Money (1 Tim 6:3-19) – 5.27.07 at College Church in Wheaton
- How to Think About the Last Days (2 Tim 3:1-17) – 6.3.07 at College Church in Wheaton
- Christian Leaders in the Last Days (2 Tim 3:1-17; 4:1-8)
- How Should We Live Responsibly in the Last Days? (2 Tim 3:1-17; 4:1-8) – Christian Life Conference, 1.22.06
- The Saving Word (James 1:12-25) | video
- The God Who Helps (Psalm 40:16-17) | video
- The God Who Helps (2.10.08) – from the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology
- What Is It Like to Get Dragged Out of the Mud? (Psalm 40) – Christian Life Conference, 1.20.06
- Two Ways to Live (Psalm 1) – Christian Life Conference, 1.20.06
- Only Two Ways to Live: Psalm 1 for Today, 3.24.06
- On Loving God with All Your Mind
- We Preach Christ Crucified: The Danger of Placing Your Faith in Strategic Planning and Ministry Trends (2.9.08) – from the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology
- Just War (Henry Forum at Mark Dever’s church, 3.10.04)
- Openness of God Theology | outline
- Discussion on Communion
- The Reliability of the NT: 1, 2
- The Primacy of Expository Preaching: 1, 2, 3 (1995 Desiring God Conference for Pastors)
- Q & A Session (Christian Life Conference, 1.22.06)
- What is an Evangelical? An Assessment of the Evangelical and Roman Catholic Project
- What is Evangelicalism? (1.28.08, Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto)
- White Horse Inn Interview (10.14.07)
- The Primacy of Expository Preaching: Priorities and Pitfalls (3)
- Expository Preaching from Different Literary Genres (14)
- Nehemiah: The Triumph and Failure of Reformation (5)
- Studies in Ezekiel: Series 1 (6)
- The Olivet Discourse (Matt 24-25) (5)
- The Spirituality of the Gospel of John (5)
- Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gospel (7)
- The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts (4)
- Community and the Cross (Eph 2:11-22) (2)
- Studies in Philippians (4)
- Paul Speaks to Pastors: Timothy and Titus (5)
- Jesus Is Better: Six Studies in Hebrews (6)
- Studies in 1 Peter (5)
- Back to the Basics: Studies in 1 John (5)
- Revelation Lectures: Part 1 (11)
- Revelation Lectures: Part 2 (12)
- Miscellaneous Sermons (13)
- Various Evangelistic Addresses: Series 1 (7)
- For Christian Men (4)
- Some Turning Points in Redemptive History (4)
- Temptation (5)
- Basic Baptist Beliefs (7)
- A Light Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (8)
- More Principles of Biblical Interpretation (7)
- The Interpretation of the Bible in a Postmodern World (7)
- Openness of God Theology (8)
- Evangelizing Postmoderns (5)
- The Emerging Church (3)
- Two on the Holy Spirit (2)
As I mentioned previously, Jenni and I recently moved to Deerfield, IL and have been spending most of our Sundays at Lake Drive Baptist Church in Bay Side, WI, where I’ve been preaching/teaching three times each Sunday. A possible pastoral candidate is preaching there today, so this morning we decided to visit an (in)famous church: the main campus of Willow Creek Community Church located in South Barrington, IL, where Bill Hybels serves as the senior pastor. (For a very brief history of Willow Creek, click here.)
Rather than giving a blow-by-blow account with all of my impressions, I’ll keep my comments brief (drawing on some other exposure I’ve had as well, including attending services at two other Willow Creek campuses):
- Willow Creek’s building and parking lot are huge. It has the feel of a shopping mall. And this is an up-to-date shopping mall, complete with state-of-the-art accessories like escalators, elevators, dozens of flat screens, a food court, a bookstore, and first-class projectors and sound systems.
- Willow Creek’s service is well-planned. It is evident that they put a lot of thought into every little bit of the service, including seamless transitions.
- Willow Creek’s services seem more like a concert than a church’s worship service.
- Willow Creek’s speakers are skilled communicators. They demonstrate that they know the culture well.
- Willow Creek’s speakers are poor expositors. They do not demonstrate that they understand the Bible well. The question they attempt to answer seems to be “What can I say about this text/topic?” instead of “What does this text say?” or “What does the Bible say about this topic, and how does it address it across the Bible’s salvation-historical story-line?”
- Willow Creek’s general audience seems (I use that word carefully because I can’t be the final judge of this.) biblically illiterate and spiritually anemic.
- Willow Creek’s God reminds me more of a really kind, loving, influential, important friend rather than the unique, holy, transcendent, awesome Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of the universe. (Again, I’m not implying that every person who attends Willow Creek is an idolater! I’m simply sharing an impression I get from their “worship” service.)
I could say so much more. Instead, I’ll reference three of the most helpful related sources I’ve read:
- David M. Doran, “Market Driven Ministry: Blessing or Curse? Part 1,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 1 (Spring 1996): 54-84.
- David M. Doran, “Market Driven Ministry: Blessing or Curse? Part 2,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 1 (Fall 1996): 187-221.
- Gregory A. Pritchard, Willow Creek Seeker Services: Evaluating a New Way of Doing Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996). This informative book is based on Pritchard’s dissertation. His research is especially valuable because it is fairly impartial.
Warning: Carson’s description of “the first approach” below may be convicting to some who read this.
The following is from D. A. Carson, “An Introduction to Introductions,” in Linguistics and the New Testament: Critical Junctions (ed. D. A. Carson and Stanley E. Porter; Studies in New Testament Greek 5; Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 168; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 14-17.
Carson recognizes that “the current state of biblical studies . . . has become fragmented,” extending “beyond presuppositions and conclusions to the methods themselves” and reducing BT to NTT to Synoptic Gospel theology to Matthean theology to Q theology to “Q’s couplets in the third Q source.” There are “four responses to this fragmentation.” I’ll not quote the full descriptions of the last three approaches because I’d like to highlight the first in contrast with the fourth. (Carson takes the fourth approach.)
- “The first approach ignores or marginalizes all recent developments. We shall gamely go ahead with commentaries and theologies the way we have always done them. One cannot learn everything; it is simply a waste of time to try to master every new tool or hermeneutical perspective that comes out. Somebody needs to do so, of course, but our job is simply to get on with a serious reading of the text—the normal tracks of responsible scholarship.
“This sounds good, perhaps even pious, but it is a recipe for obsolescence. Such scholarship will reassure traditionalists for a while, but on the long haul they will simply be bypassed.”
- “The second approach focuses on just one method, preferably the most recent.”
- “The third approach is to rejoice in the fragmentation, and to insist that such developments are not only inevitable but delightful, even liberating.”
- “The fourth approach emphasizes the classic disciplines first: the necessary languages, detailed familiarity with the relevant texts, wide reading and reflection, a secondary (but important) grasp of the principal secondary literature. It insists that a concentration on tools, hermeneutical debates, and epistemological shifts without absorbing the primary texts is a distraction that promises more than it can deliver. At the same time, it frankly admits that these ‘distractions’ churn up some useful material. This approach is unhappy to see these genuine advances magnified disproportionately, but it tries to learn from them. It may acknowledge, for instance, that postmodern epistemology has exposed some of the more arrant claims of the assured results of modern biblical science, and convincingly shown how all reading is done, among finite readers, in some limited framework that shapes one’s conclusions, but it nevertheless insists (whether this is a reasoned philosophical response or not) that there is some objective meaning in the texts themselves, and even if we cannot retrieve all of it, or any of it with the certainty of omniscience, we can so spiral in on it that genuine communication, in part if not in whole, is possible. . . .
“The problem with this approach, of course, is the sheer volume of material. A scholar’s life is not long enough to become an expert in every field that butts up against biblical studies. But are there genuine alternatives beyond the four approaches suggested here? We do the best we can, try to learn from the most important lessons from the new disciplines—and remain focused on the text themselves.”
See D. A. Carson‘s penetrating review [as a PDF] of Frank Thielman, Theology of the New Testament: A Canonical and Synthetic Approach, Review of Biblical Literature 8 (2006): 535-39.
I’m currently working on a term paper on D. A Carson’s theological method, and I’ve really enjoyed reading many of Carson’s books and articles. One virtue (among many) that I highly esteem in Carson’s writings is his combination of humility and boldness. The following quotes are some of my favorite that illustrate courageous boldness:
- “When the Bible is examined as a whole, and its themes and plot-line traced out . . . the position of religious pluralism is from a Christian perspective utterly untenable. One may be a Christian, or one may be a religious pluralist in the third sense [i.e., not empirical or cherished but philosophical/religious pluralism]; one cannot be both. From the pluralist’s perspective, the Christian must appear a bigot, unless ‘Christian’ is redefined so that it has no necessary connection with Scripture; from the Christian’s perspective, the religious pluralist, however sincere, is both misguided and an idolater” (The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996], 238).
- “So which shall we choose? “Experience or truth? The left wing of the airplane, or the right? Love or integrity? Study or service? Evangelism or discipleship? The front wheels of a car, or the rear? Subjective knowledge or objective knowledge? Faith or obedience? Damn all false antithesis to hell, for they generate false gods, they perpetuate idols, they twist and distort our souls, they launch the church into violent pendulum swings whose oscillations succeed only in dividing brothers and sisters in Christ” (Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], 234).
- “Drawing lines” is “utterly crucial” because “truth demands it,” “the distinction between orthodoxy and heresy models it,” “the plurality of errors calls for it,” and “the entailments of the gospel confront our culture—and must be lived out.” (These are the four major headings in “On Drawing Lines, When Drawing Lines Is Rude,” ch. 8 in Gagging of God, 347-67.)
Interesting trivia: Kevin J. Vanhoozer (a.k.a. KJV) plays the piano beautifully!
Dr. Vanhoozer’s DST 980 class (Advanced Theological Prolegomena, a Ph.D. seminar required for all Ph.D. students in theological studies at TEDS) spent this evening at his home for dessert and our final theological discussion of the semester. Jenni and I really enjoyed it (Jenni audited the course). I had heard that Dr. Vanhoozer was a “concert pianist,” but he clarified that he’s an “amateur pianist”—but a good one, nevertheless. I asked him to play for us, and he was kind enough to play two nocturnes, one by Chopin and the other by Beethoven. And true to form, he bookended his playing with theological discussions about the hermeneutics of music!