Archive for October, 2016

Happy Reformation Day! Luther on the “first duty” of the preacher

October 31, 2016

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The following is from Luther’s “Preface to the Book of Romans,” to which John Wesley was listening at a meeting on Aldersgate Street when he found his heart “strangely warmed.”

The first duty of the preacher of the gospel is, through his revealing of the law and of sin, to rebuke and to turn into sin everything in life that does not have the Spirit and faith in Christ as its base. Thereby, he will lead people to a recognition of their miserable condition, and thus they will become humble and yearn for help.[1]

1. Martin Luther, Preface to the Book of Romans (Franklin, TN: Seedbed, 2016), 18.

Happy Reformation Day! Luther on faith and works

October 31, 2016

luther-nailed-it

The following is from Luther’s “Preface to the Book of Romans,” to which John Wesley was listening at a meeting on Aldersgate Street when he found his heart “strangely warmed.”

Faith is a living, unshakeable confidence in God’s grace; it is so certain, that someone would die a thousand times for it. This kind of trust in and knowledge of God’s grace makes a person joyful, confident, and happy with regard to God and all creatures. This is what the Holy Spirit does by faith. Through faith, a person will do good to everyone without coercion, willingly and happily; he will serve everyone, suffer everything for the love and praise of God, who has shown him such grace. It is as impossible to separate works from faith as burning and shining from fire. Therefore, be on guard against your own false ideas and against the chatterers who think they are clever enough to make judgments about faith and good works but who are in reality the biggest fools. Ask God to work faith in you; otherwise you will remain eternally without faith, not matter what you try to do or fabricate.[1]

1. Martin Luther, Preface to the Book of Romans (Franklin, TN: Seedbed, 2016), 14-15.

We love you, Tom Wright, but haven’t you said this many times before?

October 27, 2016

No one on this blog will question my bona fides as an admirer of N.T. Wright. Heck, I just quoted him a couple of hours ago!

But I don’t think I need to read his new book on atonement. I feel like I’ve already read it, based on Scot McKnight’s blog posts about it, including this one. I had to reply to one commenter who said the following about Wright’s views on penal substitution:

He uses a lot of plural pronouns (as in “…we have paganized soteriology”) and hints at widespread distortions (as in “The danger with this kind of popular teaching, and examples of it are not hard to come by…”). As though he, and all the rest of us, have been doing it all wrong. Or is it maybe just us?

I’m a fan of his, even when I disagree, but he often does come off as being the guy who’s finally figured it all out. Most of the caricatures he tilts at are routinely spoken against by committed PSA advocates. So who and what exactly he is refuting?

To this I wrote:

Exactly! Very well said. Even Wright’s constant refrain against speaking of “heaven” as opposed to “new creation” rings a bit hollow to me—at least by the 348th time he’s labored to emphasize that distinction.

One of my eccentric hobbies is collecting sermons by Billy Graham on vinyl records. My point is, I’ve heard a lot of old sermons. Most of these are from the ’50s and ’60s. It’s true that Graham always referred to our eschatological future as “heaven,” but he never did so in a way that implied, as Wright would have us believe, that heaven was disembodied or independent of resurrection and new creation. On the contrary, he spoke of these things, too.

Wright’s “Yes, but…” approach regarding heaven also misses one important point: While I totally appreciate that Christ’s victory on the cross and his resurrection mean so much more than “heaven when I die,” I can’t escape the fact that, selfishly speaking, the best part of Christ’s victory is… ahem… heaven when I die. Say whatever you want about it, that’s incredibly good news!

That when I die, I don’t lose the best of this life, including my loved ones within it… How could that not be the best news of all?

I don’t think I’m wrong to feel that way, even as I appreciate the importance of new creation, victory over the principalities, etc.

I don’t need self-improvement. I need Jesus!

October 27, 2016

This Sunday I’m preaching on Luke 17:3-10, a collection of teachings that seems, at first, like a hodgepodge. N.T. Wright, however, believes that they are linked by our need for humility. Regarding the disciples’ plea for greater faith in verse 5 and Jesus’ response, he writes the following (emphasis mine):

Perhaps not surprisingly, the disciples realize in verse 5 that all this [i.e., what Jesus has said in vv. 1-4] will require more faith than they think they have. Jesus is quick to respond. It’s not great faith you need; it is faith in a great God. Faith is like a window through which you can see something. What matters is not whether the window is six inches or six feet high; what matters is the God that your faith is looking out on. If it’s the creator God, the God active in Jesus and the Spirit, then the tiniest little peep-hole of a window will give you access to power like you never dreamed of.[1]

So faith, like most things related to the life of the spirit, is not about us; it’s about God. Of course.

Anyway, in today’s devotional from The Mockingbird Devotional, John Zahl shares a related thought about faith (emphasis mine):

Faith means trusting Him to be all the things you need Him to be, despite your own inadequacies, and, for that matter, in light of the fact that you don’t actually know what you need or what success actually looks like. He won’t give you strength; He will be your strength.[2]

Finally, I tried to make a similar point in a sermon earlier this month about the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:1-22:

Consider Peter… Even though he seems so brave and strong and powerful in today’s scripture, he wasn’t so different from that scaredy-cat that we saw the night that Jesus was arrested. He hadn’t changed that much in a just a couple of months! Especially if we consider what Paul writes about Peter in Galatians 2.

There, Paul describes a situation in which, he says, he confronted Peter “to his face” for his hypocrisy.

Why did this happen? This was a time in the early church when Jewish Christians weren’t so sure how they were supposed to relate to their non-Jewish brothers and sisters. Many of them believed that these Gentile believers had to first become Jewish—by being circumcised and following other Jewish customs. And unless or until they did these things, Jewish Christians wouldn’t mingle with them. They wouldn’t sit down at a table and share a meal.

Paul, of course, would have none of this: As he writes in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And Peter was on Paul’s side—at least at first. When Peter came to visit Paul’s church he enjoyed table fellowship with Gentiles.

Until some Jewish Christians from Jerusalem showed up—then Peter stopped associating with them. Paul says in Galatians 2:12 that Peter did this because he was “afraid of the circumcision party.”

So let’s get this straight: In Galatians 2, years after the events described in today’s scripture, this same Peter, who wasn’t even afraid of being killed as he stood before the high priest and the Sanhedrin, was afraid of other people’s opinions—he was afraid for his reputation; he was afraid of what others might think about him!

So much for brave and fearless Peter!

I’m not saying this because I think Peter is a bad guy. Not at all. I’m saying this because Peter isn’t so different from us! Aside from being filled with the Spirit in today’s scripture, he was mostly the same old person he always was!

I know it seems obvious to say out loud, but Peter’s success as an apostle isn’t because he—to whatever extent he had been sanctified—had become a much holier person; it was because of God’s power working in him.

Our Wesleyan emphasis on sanctification, while true and fitting, is also potentially dangerous, as I’ve discussed in the past. “Yes, yes,” we say, “even sanctification is a gift of God.” But is it really? Or is it something we achieve as we apply ourselves to the task? Is it, in other words, self-improvement by another name?

I don’t need self-improvement. I need Jesus! At every moment! Because I’m a disaster left to my own devices. Because I’m utterly lost and helpless without him.

I’m not kidding. I have enough emotional scars to prove it. Scars on top of scars. And so do people who get closest to me. Thank God many of them still love me!

1. N.T. Wright, Luke for Everyone (Louisville, KY: WJK, 2004), 204.

2. John Zahl, “October 27” in The Mockingbird Devotional (Charlottesville, VA: Mockingbird, 2013), 362.

Piper: Ultimately, scripture is the “God-ordained means of creating saving faith”

October 26, 2016

In the sermon I posted yesterday about witnessing, I argue that the proclamation of the gospel possesses its own power—through the Holy Spirit—to change lives. Therefore, if our efforts to witness never include a deliberate proclamation of the gospel, we are robbing our witness of power, and we shouldn’t be surprised when we fail to make converts.

As I’ve said before on this blog, the vast majority of church growth—especially once you subtract confirmations or baptisms of children who already go to church—is “sheep-stealing”: already-Christian people leave one church to join another.

Surely, our Lord wants us to do better. As I said in my sermon,

The gospel, Paul writes in Romans 1, is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” As I said earlier, citing 1 Corinthians, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The gospel is “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,” but Paul continues: “to those whom God has called,” the gospel of Jesus Christ is the “power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Do you see the point: The gospel itself has power. God has made it to be that way. God calls people through our gospel proclamation. If we aren’t proclaiming the gospel to people, then we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re not making disciples! [pick up smartphone] If we as a church aren’t sharing the gospel as our number one priority, it’s like we’ve spent money and resources to build this amazing device but we’ve removed the battery… or we’ve disconnected the power supply… This may be the greatest thing people would ever experience, but they’ll never know because all they have is this blank screen! It’s not working! There’s no power! They need power. And the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power they need!

I was heartened to read that John Piper, in his irenic yet critical assessment of Andy Stanley’s recent sermon “The Bible Told Me So,” makes a similar point. As important as it is to clear away intellectual hurdles that prevent people from believing in Christ, mere intellectual assent can’t bring someone to saving faith.

Saving faith is not the persuasion that the resurrection of Jesus rose bodily from the grave. That persuasion is essential to saving faith, but not the essence of it. The devil knows that Jesus rose from the dead, and he is not saved (see also Luke 16:31). The essence of saving faith is seeing the supreme beauty of Christ in the meaning of the event, and embracing him as Savior, and Lord, and the greatest Treasure in the universe. Satan does not see the crucified and risen Christ as supremely beautiful, and he does not treasure him. But believers do. That is the essence of saving faith…

The gospel is more than the events of crucifixion and resurrection. It is a God-given narrative of what the events meant (as in 1 Corinthians 15:3, “for our sins”). It is not merely the assembly of events and evidences. It is a divine interpretation of their meaning…

What young preachers need to be clear about in deciding how they will preach is how God planned for the glory of Christ to be revealed to more and more people as the centuries pass. When Stanley says, “For the first 300 years the debate centered on an event, not a book,” that’s not quite right. The debate centered very largely on which written witnesses provided a trustworthy interpretation of the event. The church realized immediately that everything hung not just on whether the event happened, but on what it meant: What were its roots, and accomplishments, and implications for life and eternity? Who was this man, Jesus? Whom can we trust to tell us? How then shall we live? Who can tell us this with authority? That was the issue, not just the event.

God was kind enough to bring those authentic, long-trusted Gospels and Epistles together in the New Testament in due time. But their trustworthiness and authority were functioning from the middle of the first century onward. And the most significant reason God provided these Gospels and Epistles from the beginning was so that the compelling beauty and worth of Christ would shine through these God-given writings. That is how people came to faith. They saw the glory of Christ shining through the writings God had given — or the oral heralding or reading of them.

Therefore, what I am suggesting is that in our present New Testament we have the consummation of God’s demonstration of the beauty and worth of Christ. It is God’s own complete portrait of the glory of his Son — the meaning of his work from eternity to eternity, and its implications for human life.

Piper says that this truth has several implications. Chief among them is that the

testimony of God in Scripture to the truth and beauty and worth of Christ is self-authenticating. That is, the decisive cause of saving faith is not human argument (as crucial as that is). The decisive cause is described in 2 Corinthians 4:6: “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” God creates a real illumination of our hearts by lifting the veil so that we can see the glory of what is really there in Scripture.”

Another implication is that “God’s portrait of Christ, as he is presented in the inspired Book, is the God-ordained means of creating saving faith.”

Finally, lest you doubt that Piper is one of his generation’s most gifted preachers, he concludes his essay with this:

So my concluding suggestion is this: join Andy Stanley in caring deeply about winning “post-Christians”; join him in moving beyond simplistic and naïve-sounding shibboleths; join him in cultural awareness and insight into your audience; join him in the excellence of his teaching and communication skills; and join him in his belief in the complete truthfulness of the Bible. And then spend eight years blowing your people’s post-Christian circuits by connecting the voltage of every line in the book of Romans with their brains.

When it comes to preaching, nothing is more powerful and self-authenticating than the Spirit-anointed, passionate, expository exultation over the inspired text of Scripture. If you don’t believe that, perhaps you have never seen such preaching.

Do you believe this? I do—although I confess I haven’t always acted like I do.

But that changes now: My invitation at the end of the sermon I quoted earlier was to invite members of our church to join me in creating a “witness team.” In fact, we’re having our first meeting tonight. I don’t know who or how many will show up. But we’re going to discuss ways in which our church can share the gospel in a more deliberate way with people outside of our church—starting this weekend, when literally hundreds of people from our community will be on our church property for our annual “Trunk or Treat” festival.

For starters, I’ve ordered a couple hundred tracts from Crossway. I’ve also ordered some pocket-sized New Testaments to give away to visitors.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights.

Sermon 10-09-16: “Keeping the Promise, Part 8: How We Witness”

October 25, 2016

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Most Christians are afraid of witnessing. Instead of admitting our fear, however, we often make excuses for why we shouldn’t witness. We tell ourselves, for example, that we don’t want to risk “turning someone off,” or that we don’t know someone well enough to talk about religion. What excuses have you used? This sermon challenges us to overcome our fear.

(Sorry… no audio or video this week. 😦 )

Sermon Text: Acts 17:16-34

If you’ve lost a job recently, and have had to find a new one, you know all about networking. The idea behind networking is, when it comes to getting a good job, it’s not what you know, or how good your resumé is, or how well or poorly you interview, or even how skillful or well-qualified you are. No: it’s all about who you know. “Networking” is about marketing yourself to the right people, meeting the “right” people—people who can help you find the right job.

It’s about putting yourself out there, going up to complete strangers and introducing yourself, and making small talk, and talking about how great you are. Many people, especially people who are shy and introverted, would rather die than do these things.

A consultant named Andy Molinsky wrote an article in last month’s Harvard Business Review about the discomfort that many people feel about networking. His advice? Step outside your comfort zone and do it anyway. Otherwise, he says, you’ll make excuses to justify why you shouldn’t do it: “Networking isn’t that important,” you tell yourself. “It’s the quality of your work that counts,” or “People who network are slimy or full of themselves, and I’m not like that.”

I bring this up because I’m interested in talking about witnessing—that fifth promise we make to God and to one another when we join a United Methodist church. We promise to witness. Yet for many of us, the prospect of witnessing is at least as scary as speaking in public, or making small talk with strangers, or anything else that’s outside of our comfort zones. Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 10-02-16: “Keeping the Promise, Part 7: Why We Witness”

October 21, 2016

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Despite what you may have heard, every true believer in Jesus Christ has already received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Does this thought intimidate you? After all, if we already possess the Spirit, then that means we have access to the same power that the apostles possessed in today’s scripture—and they were turning the world upside down with the gospel. What are we doing? This sermon explores the good news of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I hope you’ll be encouraged. (No video this week, only an MP3.)

Sermon Text: Acts 4:1-22

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

If you go to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—where the Temple used to be located, before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.—you’ll see a Muslim shrine known as the Dome of the Rock, considered the fourth holiest shrine in Islam. Non-Muslims are allowed up there, but, out of respect for Islam, we are not allowed to pray—out loud—or carry Bibles there.

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Oddly, this law is enforced by Israeli soldiers who patrol the Temple Mount. They carry big Uzis, and if you bring a Bible with you, these soldiers will confiscate them at gunpoint! Needless to say, I didn’t bring a Bible. I have great respect for 18-year-old kids carrying Uzis, believe me! Read the rest of this entry »

John Piper: What are the commands of Jesus?

October 15, 2016

johnpiperIn his sermon “This Man Went Down to His House Justified,” from August 6, 2006, John Piper spurns the emphasis that secular people often place on Jesus as a great moral teacher. Not because he isn’t that; rather, it’s because apart from the salvation that Christ came into the world to offer us, his moral genius is beside the point. The moral commands of Jesus, Piper implies, are not useful guidelines for people in general; they are instead

descriptions of the way new human beings behave who have been born again; who have therefore been enabled supernaturally to see the glory of Jesus; who have recognized the incredible outrage of their sin; who have ceased to trust in anything about themselves; and who have cast themselves entirely on Jesus for mercy, for righteousness, and for forgiveness.

I like that! While Piper doesn’t let us disciples off the hook for living up to Jesus’ many commands, he rightly recognizes that apart from God’s saving grace, made possible by Christ’s atoning death, we are helpless to carry them out. God must first perform a supernatural action, which he does through justification and new birth.

Moreover, he emphasizes that our obedience isn’t something we perform in order to be saved; rather, we obey in response to the salvation that he has already given us.

I would only add one thing: even after we have been born again, we will still fail (unless or until we are perfected in love, this Methodist pastor hastens to add) to cast ourselves “entirely” (superlatives make me nervous) on Jesus for mercy, righteousness, and forgiveness. As Paul writes in Romans 7, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

But Piper’s right: Inasmuch as we do cast ourselves on Jesus, our obedience, along with many good works, will result.

I’m joining the Wesleyan Covenant Association

October 14, 2016
Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, addressing the inaugural WCA conference.

Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, addressing the inaugural WCA conference.

Last Friday, I joined over 1,700 fellow United Methodists from around the world, including many clergy colleagues from North Georgia, at the inaugural meeting of the Wesleyan Covenant Association in Chicago.

You can read about the meeting here. According to a founding document that was approved at the meeting, the organization exists to “advance vibrant, scriptural Christianity within the global United Methodist Church.” It continues:

We affirm that the core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture. We look to the Bible therefore as our authority and trustworthy guide, which “is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16; NRSV). Illuminated by tradition, reason, and experience, the revelation of Scripture is the church’s primary and final authority on all matters of faith and practice.

We affirm classical Wesleyan doctrine and the historic faith, which the church has used to define the parameters of Christian teaching.

We believe that both women and men are called to and gifted for ordained and licensed ministry, and both genders are able to hold any role of leadership within the WCA.

The WCA specifically renounces all racial and ethnic discrimination and commits itself to work toward full racial and ethnic equality in the church and in society.

We believe marriage and sexual intimacy are good gifts from God. In keeping with Christian teaching through the ages and throughout the Church universal, we believe that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union. We affirm faithfulness in marriage and celibacy in singleness as equal paths of discipleship.

In grace and truth, we seek to love God with our whole hearts and afford every person compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity.

Among other things, the WCA urges our bishops to fulfill the promise they made at General Conference to appoint and convene a commission to resolve the crisis that threatens our denomination’s existence, and to do so quickly. It urges them to call a special General Conference in early 2018 to vote on this commission’s proposals. It rejects any plan for unity that involves the so-called “local option,” which allows individual congregations or clergy to decide whether or not they’ll submit to historic Christian doctrine regarding marriage and sexual ethics.

I affirm each of these points. And along with the WCA, I reject “unity” at any cost. If we can’t agree on a proposal that will enable our church members to live together with integrity and in good conscience, then let’s create a plan for separation.

I know this sounds drastic. Why has it come to this? Why has the WCA formed now?

One reason only: Since the bishops promised to form their commission at General Conference in May, in exchange—they vainly hoped—for breathing room to solve the problem, covenant-breaking among clergy and annual conferences has only increased. As one WCA statement points out, “at least nine boards of ordained ministry or annual conferences and two jurisdictional conferences have pledged not to conform or comply with the requirements of the Discipline.” One jurisdictional conference even elected a bishop who is herself in a same-sex marriage, in defiance of church law.

In general, I’m a reluctant “join-er” of organizations. But I decided to be part of the WCA because, like Wesley, I am a “man of one book”—or at least I want to be. And despite what you’ve heard, the issue that divides our denomination isn’t marriage and sexual ethics—those are merely symptoms of the real issue.

The real issue is the authority of scripture: will we as a denomination be faithful to God’s Word or won’t we?

A part of me wishes I could be among the famous “Methodist middle,” and sit outside the ring while Methodists further to the left and right of me duke it out. It would certainly be better for my career. But I can’t. When I was ordained in 2010, I told God, my bishop, and our annual conference that I believed in our church’s doctrines, which included its traditional stance on marriage and sexuality. My fingers weren’t crossed behind my back. I wasn’t equivocating.

I wasn’t even—to use the popular parlance of candidates for ordained United Methodist ministry—”conflicted.” Not by 2010. I’ve long since repented of the ways I played fast and loose with God’s Word in the years during and shortly after attending a liberal mainline seminary. But in 2010, I meant it.

My point is, if I weren’t convinced at ordination that our church was right about marriage and sex, that this is what I believe God is telling us through his Word, based on our best exegesis and interpretation of scripture, I would have found another church in which to minister. At least I hope I would. (God knows I’m a hypocritical sinner.) To do otherwise would compromise my integrity even more than it is routinely compromised by sin.

All that to say, within the next couple of years—in fact, before the next scheduled General Conference of 2020—we’ll know whether or not we will, as a denomination, strive to be faithful to scripture as our “primary and final authority on all matters related to faith and practice.”

In the meantime, I intend to play my part to ensure that we do. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.

That’s why I went to Chicago last week. And that’s why I’m joining the WCA.

Will the Spirit reveal something beyond what is written in the Bible?

October 13, 2016

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My friend Brandon tagged me in this post. Rev. Guyton is an author and fellow United Methodist pastor—and one who identifies himself as a progressive evangelical.

In response, I wrote the following:

So our Lord is telling us that he will reveal something in the distant future (for example, that the meaning of marriage is up for grabs) that will directly contradict what he would reveal to us through Paul and the other apostles in the near future? And contradict what he himself already taught in Matthew 19/Mark 10? Is that what Morgan thinks “progressive revelation” is?

As to what Jesus meant, did the Holy Spirit not inspire the apostles and evangelists as they eventually wrote down what became the New Testament? Didn’t this represent new and additional information? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit guide all of us as we read and apply his word?

In his Eerdmans commentary on John, D.A. Carson addresses the possibility of continuing, definitive revelation head-on, emphasizing both the finality of God’s revelation in the Son, and the intended audience of Jesus’ words in John 16:12-15. Jesus is directing these words, Carson says, to the apostles in their lifetimes, not to future disciples. Moreover, this further revelatory work of the Spirit, which the apostles couldn’t bear at this particular moment, would help them understand the full meaning and implications of the revelation of God in Christ—which was (or would be after Christ’s ascension) a finished work of God.

Why was the Spirit’s guiding role in the lives of the apostles so important? Because they were the ones who transmitted and interpreted the events of the life of Jesus—writing, shaping, and influencing the books and letters that became the New Testament.

We who are the spiritual descendants of these first disciples already have the New Testament. There’s nothing more that needs to be said. As I said above, while the Holy Spirit plays a role in helping us apply the revelation of Christ to our circumstances today, this is different from saying that there’s further revelation.

It is important to recognize that the disciples who will directly benefit from these ministrations of the Spirit are primarily the apostles. In two of the the other Paraclete passages, explicit reference is made to reminding the disciples of what Jesus said during the days of his flesh (14:26) or to the fact that they had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry (15:27). Both references rule out later disciples. Here, too, the primary focus of the Spirit’s ministry is doubtless on those who  could not, when Jesus spoke, bear more than he was giving them (v. 12), but who would need to be guided in all the truth of the revelation of God in Christ Jesus that they had been privileged to witness. At least part of the consequences of that unfolding is this Gospel of John.

Derivatively, we may speak of the Spirit’s continued work in the disciples of Jesus today. But that is not the primary emphasis of these verses; and in any case it is impossible to think of such continuing ministry of the Spirit leading men and women to stances outside the enriching and explanatory ministry he exercised amongst the first witnesses, which is crystallized in this book. That the emphasis is so transparently on the first witnesses, on how they came to what we would call a fully Christian understanding of all that Jesus is and did, drives our attention to Jesus himself, and away from subsidiary themes like discipleship, the continuing work of the Spirit and the like.[†]

I know from reading Guyton’s blog and other online interactions that Guyton’s testimony of faith includes a rejection of the Christian fundamentalism so pervasive in the American South. By putting so much weight on one particular proof-text, however, how is Guyton not being just like a fundamentalist, albeit from the other direction?

While I’m sure he would disagree with Dr. Carson, I hope he would appreciate that Carson is interpreting these verses in the context of the entire Gospel.

D.A. Carson, The Gospel according to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 541-2.