A Resource for Mentoring Seminary Students: Advice from Don Carson and John Woodbridge

LettersTomorrow begins what I hope will be many meetings with my four new seminary mentees. They are each in year three of our four-year MDiv-program at Bethlehem College & Seminary. Among other things we’re planning to work through many of the letters in this book:

D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge. Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life. Wheaton: Crossway, 1993.  

I briefly reviewed this book in 2006 after Jenni and I read it together, and I reread it earlier this month. It’s packed with wisdom. So edifying. [Read more…]

Carson on Ecumenism and John 17

farewellD. A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Exposition of John 14–17 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980), 201–4:

To some people, the term ecumenism has only good connotations. Utter the word, and they hear harps playing and angels singing; or if harps and angels are deemed too ethereal, at very least a certain fire lights up their eye. To others the same word evokes only images of evil. Ecumenism is intrinsically a doctrine of compromise which emasculates the gospel and wickedly flirts with apostasy and assorted forms of unbelief. The first group tends to cite John 17 in its favor; the second group tends either to ignore John 17 or else to include within the unity only a very small group, while defining the unity in such innocuous terms (e.g., making it entirely a positional unity with no entailment for conduct) that it becomes difficult to see how such unity could ever serve as a witness of anything to the world. What does the text say? [Read more…]

Carson on Presuppositional vs. Evidentialist Apologetics

gaggingD. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism  (Fifteenth Anniversary Edition; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 184–88:

[P]artly under the impact of postmodernism, the various “schools” of Christian apologetics have an opportunity to draw closer together than they have usually been in the past.

At the risk of oversimplification, let us restrict ourselves to presuppositionalism, rational presuppositionalism, and evidentialism. All three labels are loaded, and various proponents mean slightly different things by them. Moreover there is a tendency, especially among more popular writers, to caricature the other positions. Thus:

(1) The presuppositionalist may charge the evidentialist with superficiality. You can line up evidence to support the truth of Christianity until you have exhausted yourself by your efforts, but no amount of evidence is sufficient to compel belief. Did not Jesus himself say that even if someone came back from the dead, they would not believe? Evidentialism simply does not understand the implications of human finitude or the profound noetic effects of the Fall—and both limitations are exacerbated by postmodernism. [Read more…]

An Encouraging Word for Mothers of Young Children

Martyn Lloyd-Jones once spoke with a group of medical students who complained that in the midst of their training and the ferocious work hours they really didn’t even have time to read the Bible and have their devotions and so on. He bristled and said, “I am a doctor. I have been where you are. You have time for what you want to do.” After a long pause he said, “I make only one exception: the mother of preschool-aged children does not have time and emotional resources.[Read more…]