I was able to meet D. A. Carson this morning. It’s the third time I’ve met him to talk to him.
I was blessed that he was willing to come and speak at such a small venue. There were no more than 50 people in the room. Seeing such a world-class scholar minister in such an obscure venue taught me that I should be humble and serve Christ’s church. It also taught me that no venue is too small to serve when asked to speak and knowing when to agree to a venue should not be based on size alone or even primarily. More importantly I saw God’s heart for the church and his kindness in giving teachers to the church, and giving them the availability to teach and equip us.
I asked Carson what advantage would there be for me to do a Ph. D. if I wanted to pastor. First he suggested I get experience and find models of good pastoring. He highly recommended Mark Dever’s internship (like Dr. Barrick’s advice). He emphasized the importance of practical mentorship and pastoral experience. I hear that. He said, that once you do learn pastoring, know that the Ph.D. can make you an obscurantist and that one needs to be careful of that. Then he said that it will help in analytical skill and open up some opportunities that may otherwise not be there. He recommended Trinity as a place to do it as opposed to SEBTS, because it will be more broad in its exposure for me. Carson told me to go to a good school and don’t look at money alone. He told me that Trinity has many Ph. D. students there with half of the tuition provided for by scholarships and some students even have a free ride in regard to tuition. That kind of program attracts me because I feel that it will stretch me and that I’m incapable of doing what is required of me.
Carson’s sermons were a blessing to me too. He preached on John 20:24-31 (Doubting Thomas) (for the same message in a different context, click here) and Acts 17:16-31 (Telling the Truth to Biblical Illiterates, for the same message in a different context, click here).
I will apply the truth from the first message by articulating, defending, and propagating the truth. D. A. Carson said, “You increase faith by articulating, defending, and propagating the truth; not by saying to yourself, ‘Believe! Believe! Believe!’” I will also blog on the nature of faith according to the New Testament, because many today do not understand what faith is according to the biblical definition of it. I will also apply the message by sharing the gospel more with people, beginning with my neighbors, Leon, Matt and Mitchell at CFBC.
I will apply the second message by continuing to study the Bible, think in worldview terms, and learn how to communicate the gospel to unbelievers. I’ll read Questioning Evangelism, engage with people and respond to blog comments, and witness to my neighbors and the visitors that come to our church relying on the power of the gospel and being and sensitive to their views as I can be. I want to be culturally relevant without compromising anything that God does not want me to compromise. I think reading David Wells’ books and Driscoll’s books and Stetzer’s would help. Maybe I’ll take a few on my trip to the P. I.