Last Saturday I attended the Canadian meeting of The Gospel Coalition. The speakers were Don Carson and Mike Bullmore. In one of Carson’s sessions he recommended the TGC website as a one-stop resource for articles, audio and video. One of his suggestions, to combat becoming a clone of one personality or another, was to listen to fifty different preachers hosted at the TGC website. Fifty seems like quite a lot! But his point is well-taken. For what it’s worth, here are my suggestions on who to listen to, though I doubt I’ll get to fifty. Though a person may not be on this list, it does not mean that I haven’t appreciated their ministry. The ones whom I have included stand out in particular as helpful to me. I have placed in bold the ones whom I turn to regularly. In an almost random order, these are the preachers and teachers who have benefited me the most:
I was converted to Christ not long after my eighteenth birthday. I was at a Christian cottage ground visiting my best-friend at the time, Tim McCready. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of my conversion–I’ve written about that elsewhere on my blog–but I do want to post a couple of thoughts about Tim.
The second annual Toronto Pastors Conference is fast approaching, so get registered! If this year’s gathering is anything like last year’s it is sure to be a tremendous blessing. This past weekend Mike Bullmore, the keynote speaker for TPC, spoke at The Gospel Coalition in Hamilton with D.A. Carson. I was impressed with Bullmore’s humility, his boldness, his clarity and biblical insight. I can’t wait to hear him at TPC! Other speakers include Dan MacDonald who pastors Grace Toronto, Paul Martin who pastors Grace Fellowship and Robbie Symons who pastors a Harvest Bible Chapel.
The conference theme is about making the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the center of pastoral ministry and church life–a theme that can never be spoken of too much. Because each of the speakers come from a different background I am every excited to see the harmony that will ensue in their discussion of such an important subject.
For more information and registration go here: TorontoPastors.org.
I first read large chunks of Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life quite a number of years ago after a friend had publicly recommended it as an important book for all Christians to read. I was frustrated by it, not only because of its theology, but the style was pedestrian and Warren’s use of Scripture wasn’t sound. The first time that I read parts of The Purpose-Driven Church was for a course on pastoral leadership at Toronto Baptist Seminary. No, no, don’t worry! TBS does not advocate the “purpose driven” model for ministry. We had to read it as an example of bad methodology. The critiques offered by my fellow students and the professor were really helpful in thinking through issues of pragmatism in the church.
Recently John Piper, whose ministry philosophy is at polar opposites with Warren’s, has invited the pastor of Saddleback Community Church to speak at the upcoming Desiring God conference. There has been quite a lot of heated debate generated in the blogosphere over this one — no wonder!
The two best places to turn for a good perspective on Warren and the whole Piper invitation is Tim Challies’ recent post and the link that he provides to Michael Horton’s article at Modern Reformation. Tim, as usual, offers balance and helpful criticism. He argues that Piper made a mistake by inviting Warren because of the confusion it will cause. I wholeheartedly agree. Horton’s article is a great piece on Warren’s overall theology and chameleon-like ability to look Calvinistic in one context, and Emerging in another.
I’ve highlighted Doug Wilson’s “Ask Doug” segment at the CanonWIRED website before. Now I’m especially excited to draw your attention to it because my question was answered (and answered well)! I asked: “You advocate reading and reading widely, what do you say to pastors who don’t read, whether because they don’t care for it or they feel that they don’t have enough time for it?”
Doug Wilson’s answer is blunt but dead-on. Reading is integral to pastoral ministry. A mentor of mine has gone so far as to publicly argue that a pastor should be reading at least two hours a day, beyond their own sermon prep — if not, they’re not fit for ministry! While I may not go that far, I definitely sympathise!
A friend at church who–like so many of us–grew up believing the dispensationalism she was taught, is now beginning to question it. She had asked me about some good resources about this very popular, although very recent, teaching. Dispensationalism is a movement that started in Ireland in the early- mid-nineteenth century. It has since grown and evolved over time, so that now it is hard to talk about “dispensationalism” and may be better to speak of “dispensationalisms.”