D.A. Carson

Pope Don Carson & his Magnum Opus

I love D.A. Carson's work. Obviously, he is not my pope, but I take everything he says and writes seriously. He is a unique gift to the church. I have learned about Postmodernism, the new perspective on Paul, exegesis in ST, evangelism, biblical theology, and obviously NT studies from him.

One of the ways I have been most helped by Pope Don is the whole area of the NT use of the OT. He himself has taught, preached, and written on this subject often, and he is editor of the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament along with G.K. Beale. He is also editor of the New Studies in Biblical Theology series. Pretty much every volume in that series is worth reading. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Carson one time in Ohio. Knowing he was busy, I just thanked him for that series. It has been a blessing.

In Andreas Kostenberger's biographical sketch on Carson, he mentions a major volume dealing with the NT use of the OT (p.3). I can't remember who or where, but I recall someone saying that he wanted to do more exegesis in preparation for this volume so he was going to pump out several more commentaries before writing this one.

In a recent article on Carson's theological method, Andy Naselli mentions this volume. He says:

"His magnum opus will be a two-volume ‘whole-Bible’ BT. He explained to me that he needs about twenty more years to do this well. He first desires to finish his commentaries on John’s letters, Galatians,
Hebrews, Revelation, and Ezekiel. Carson is one of those exceptional figures who is equipped to contribute an outstanding integrative BT that would serve as a reliable foundation for ST that is more genre-sensitive
and aware of the Bible’s storyline."

This is exciting! If you care about such things, pray for this project. I think it will be quite significant for the church.

Carson on Typology

I was recenlty listening to a lecture on 'Preaching and Biblical Theology' by D.A. Carson and thought this comment was worth sharing:

"Biblical Theology helps you avoid anachronism in your preaching by enabling you to develop the biblically warranted interconnections including the true understanding of different kinds of typological fulfillment. I mean, there are some people that jump from the OT to Jesus and I am never quite sure how they made the jump. I mean its quite clever and I am glad they got to Jesus but I am not sure how they got there, you know? I'd rather they get to Jesus than that they stop, but on the other hand it would be nice to see that it was clear how they got there, but Biblical theology properly done actually shows you how you legitimately through the text itself must get to Jesus."

Carson then goes on to recommend the following books for good introductions to Biblical Theology:
Related to this quote is the recent panel held at Southern on "Christology in the Old Testament." I found Peter Gentry's discussion of typological warrant and Jim Hamilton's comments particularly helpful but the whole panel was great.

(HT: Andy Naselli & See the points from Carson talk at Dave Schrock's blog)

Review: Letters Along the Way

"Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life" by D.A. Carson and John Woodbridge (283 pp) is must-reading for all Bible college students and seminarians, although they are not the only ones who would benefit from this book. I mentioned Carson in the last post, but he is professor of New Testament, and Woodbridge is professor of church history, both at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). This is a set of fictional letters between Timothy Journeyman and Dr. Paul Woodson, professor of systematic theology at TEDS. Timothy became a believer, went to Princeton, Cambridge, Trinity, then Yale for a year, then back to Trinity where he graduated with an Masters of Divinity before pastoring his first church. Dr. Woodson was a friend of Tim's dad before he passed away and became a life-long mentor to Tim when be became a believer. Some of the topics covered in the letters are:

assurance, saving faith, carnal Christians, Lordship salvation, TBN, naturalism, theistic evolution, evangelical life in Britain, the secularization of France, temptation, repentance, sexual sin, communism, universalism, revelation, evangelism, dissatisfaction, psychology, preaching, political involvement, self-fulfillment, what makes a good pastor, how to pick a seminary, the call to ministry, engagement and marriage, apologetics, Reformed epistemology, inerrancy, seminary life, mind and heart, academic responsibility, pluralism, building a theological library, being prepared for pastoral ministry, liberation theology, evangelical scholars, humanism, women's ordination, the already/not yet, battling heresy, lay ministry, time management, church discipline, sports and recreation, worship, HIV, homosexuality, the new spirituality, prayer, evangelical unity, criticism, revolutionary events in the Soviet Union, Marxism, culture shift, barrenness, Darwinism, the new perspective, and dying well
So if you would like "personal" advice and reflections on these issues and more from Carson and Woodbridge, this book is for you. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Specialization & D.A. Carson

I was reading a recent interview by Christianity Today with Greg Beale and Don Carson about their new "Commentary on the NT Use of the OT," and was caught by a comment by Beale on knowing Hebrew and Greek. He said, "There's such specialization in all fields today." It struck me because in seminary life I see it to be true as well. I am not sure what the solution is but I think pastors and scholars need to be well-read and well-rounded. An OT scholar ought to speak with ease about systematics and church history, and with a firm handle on the NT as well. I have not come across this too much at Southern thankfully, but it is here.

Don Carson is an exception though. He has a handle on many domains of discourse, which is why I profit from his work so much. You will read with profit from Carson on a range of topics such as prayer, evangelism, exegesis, biblical theology, pastoral ministry, worship, culture, pluralism, and much else. His faculty page at Trinity says, "Dr. Carson's areas of expertise include biblical theology, the historical Jesus, postmodernism, pluralism, Greek grammar, Johannine theology, Pauline theology, and questions of suffering and evil." Andreas Kostenberger writes, "D. A. Carson may one day be remembered as one of the last great Renaissance men in evangelical biblical scholarship. In an age of increasing specialization and fragmentation, Carson, to the admiring disbelief of many of his colleagues, persistently refuses to limit his interests. His publications cover a vast range of subjects: New Testament Greek, Bible translation, hermeneutics, contextualization, the use of the Old Testament in the New, preaching, various aspects of New Testament and biblical theology, major commentaries on Matthew and John, and even poetry."

One reason I have much respect for Carson is that he is such a churchman. He is a servant to the church, as most biblical scholarship should be. So read widely, know your subjects of interests well, and read Carson.
(Image taken from Monergism.com)

Carson on Piper's New Book

John Piper has written a book responding to N.T. Wright's view of justification. I think it is due out in Nov. for the ETS meetings. Here is what D.A. Carson, the evangelical pope, has to say about it:

The so-called 'New Perspective on Paul' (NPP) has stirred up enormous controversy, especially, but not exclusively, in the English-speaking world. The issues are so complex that it has taken time to mount a careful evaluation. During the last decade many have undertaken the task, often with helpful contributions. John Piper’s work may not be the last word on the subject, but it brings to Christian leaders everywhere five enormous strengths: (1) By focusing on N. T. Wright, by far the most influential writer of the NPP, Piper brings to bear a badly needed focus. (2) Despite the interlocking complexities of the debate—Tom Wright has an amazing capacity to move theological and exegetical pieces around, creating such a new tableau that words have shifted in meaning and theological notions their conceptual location—Piper has written with admirable clarity. (3) Better yet, John has engaged Tom with simultaneous depth and courtesy. That is a rare but wholly admirable combination. (4) Certain parts of John Piper’s book have quietly broken new ground—not least his handling of “righteousness” and “justification,” their connection with the “gospel,” and his careful insistence that making the words mean different things for the Judge in God’s law-court and for the defendant in that law-court really cannot be sustained in the light of Scripture. (5) John Piper sees the moral and spiritual implications of what he is seeking to explain. Are men and women saved, on the last day, on the basis of the whole life lived? But if not, what is the nature of the connection between justification and good works? The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior."
(HT: JT)

Piper Conference and Carson on the Gospel

Registration for the 2007 Desiring God National Conference is now open. It is called 'Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints.' The speakers are John Piper, John MacArthur, Randy Alcorn, Jerry Bridges, and Helen Roseveare. I can't make it but I am sure this will be a great conference. These men have remained faithful to Christ with unswerving commitment to his Word for the entirety of their ministries. All too many compromise with age, as this poor example from Mr. Graham shows (video starts at 1:18). Here is John Piper's invitation.

Also, the Resurgence has posted Don Carson's first sermon from the Gospel Coalition conference.

Tribute to Don Carson

Here is a section of a post by Mark Dever concerning D.A. Carson. Carson is a man that is worthy of all of our attention. Dever posted it to say that Carson has a book coming out later this year called 'Christ and Culture Revisted.' Carson is particularly qualified to write such a book. According to the Trinity website, his areas of expertise include biblical theology, the historical Jesus, postmodernism, pluralism, Greek grammar, Johannine theology, Pauline theology, and questions of suffering and evil. Anyone who has read 'The Gagging of God' would have to agree. Anyway, here's Dever's comment:

Don Carson has for years put his God-given gift of brilliance and hard academic labor to use for the church. I from time to time have had the privilege to share a platform with him at ministers conferences and other events. I have seen him far away from the Ivy-covered halls of academia, laboring long and hard not simply over language theories or a fine hermenuetical point (good things to do) but with a pastor (whether from South Africa or England or Illinois) helping him think through a Biblical or pastoral issue.
Don has shown this in his career as a teacher and a writer as well. He has a passion for God, and a passion for God's truth, and a passion for God's church. First-class Biblical scholars who are not hostile to systematic theology, are themselves orthodox and pious, and have a love for the church which shows itself in doing helpful pastor- and popular-level writing for decades have marked too few people in the history of the church. John Calvin. B. B. Warfield. (OK, even Don Carson will stop reading at this point!)
Anyway, from How Long O Lord to Showing the Spirit to The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God to Worship by the Book to The Cross and Christian Ministry--I could go on and on--Don has been a blessing to me and to countless other pastors, rather than putting all his time into forwarding his academic career (though he's done just fine in that area) Don has put his time into helping us.
Stop and thank God for the gift that Don is.