Results tagged “Trueman” from Reformation21 Blog

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The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and WFIL 560 AM have had a long partnership. In addition to broadcasting The Bible Study Hour with James Boice and No Falling Word with Liam Goligher, they are one of the sponsors of this year's Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology taking place in Bryn Mawr April 28-30. Advance registration ends on April 23, we encourage you to attend. 

WFIL's most recent issue of their magazine FaithTalk features articles on the Reformation including "Luther, and the Creative Power of the Word" by Carl Trueman. Carl, co-host on Mortification of Spin, will be joining us as a conference speaker at PCRT. His article is shared here with permission. 


Luther, and the Creative Power of the Word
The importance of Luther to the Christian faith cannot be overstated. For many today, he is probably a figure who looks larger as a symbol of defiance or a heroic rebel against a corrupt church and decadent theology.There is much truth in such images. His stand at the Diet of Worms was a remarkable act of courageous defiance. And his theology represented nothing less than a self-conscious attempt to overthrow the medieval thought which he had been taught and replace it with a comprehensive understanding of God and the gospel as refracted the incarnate and crucified Christ.

Yet there is more to Luther. Indeed, perhaps his greatest contribution to the faith, and one that we can still learn from today, is his understanding of God's Word. When we hear this term, our modern evangelical minds typically go to the contemporary debates about inerrancy, infallibility, interpretation and the like. Certainly such questions are legitimate. But for Luther the central point about the Word of God was its creative power. God's speech is the means by which he does things - makes, destroys, blesses, curses.

The idea of the Word as creative is particularly evident in Luther's Lectures on Genesis.  In reflecting upon Genesis 1, Luther is constantly mesmerized by the fact that God's Word is what brings creation into being, what makes one type of creature out of material which cannot naturally do such - as in birds emerging from the waters on the fifth day. God says and it comes to be. The Word is a powerful, creative force.

This, of course, underlies his most famous of doctrines: justification by grace through faith. Unlike medieval notions of justification, where God's declaration that the believer is righteous is rooted in some quality intrinsic in the believer, Luther famously makes this a matter of extrinsic declaration. Sinners are righteous because God has externally declared them to be so, no matter what their actual, real outward condition might appear to indicate. I may be a thief and a liar but, if I turn and put my trust in Christ, I am clothed in his righteousness and God's Word will declare me innocent.  And this ties in with his understanding of the love of God. As he said in the last theological thesis of the Heidelberg Disputation in 1518, the love of God does not find but creates that which is lovely to it. How does it do so? By the Word.

I would suggest that this is one aspect of Luther's theology which both pastors and congregations can benefit from meditating upon. For the pastor who preaches, the idea that when he declares God's Word he is not simply describing a state of affairs but is actually confronting people with God's Word in a manner that can and must transform them should surely be an awe-inspiring, exciting, and humbling thing. In the pulpit, Luther did not think he was simply explaining the Bible.He was blessing those who turned to Christ and cursing those who turned away from him, carrying some to heaven and shutting the gates of paradise to those who simply hardened their hearts. And congregants should go to church with a sense of expectation.  They go to church not simply to learn the Bible better - they can do that by sitting at home and reading good commentaries. No, they go to hear God's Word in all of its powerful, untamable creativity.   

The Word of God preached for blessing and for cursing - that is the heart of Luther's practical and theological Reformation.

Mortification of Spin talks Rosaria Butterfield's Book

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Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt recently sat down to talk about Rosaria Butterfield's book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, which details her conversion to Christ from lesbianism. This is a must-listen!

Trueman Debate Video

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Since Trueman's assent to stardom as Augustine redivivus, the requests for copies of the debate have almost crashed our server. Ok, so maybe that's a bit of an embellishment, but either way you can watch the debate here:

"Not Enough Evidence!": Augustine versus Russell

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Such was the (in)famous reply of atheistic British analytic philosopher Bertrand Russell when asked what he would say if, upon his death, he found out that God really existed. 

Our own Carl Trueman, eschewing the unbelief of Russell while evidencing the same British snobbery, will engage in a formal debate with Chad Trainer, Bertrand Russell Society chairman.

However, as the title of this post informs us, this will not be a typical debate. Trueman will be speaking as Augustine, while Trainer will speak as Russell. This intriguing format was devised by Darin Pesnell, pastor of the event sponsor Iron Works Church.

If you're in the Phoenixville (PA) area, make sure to witness these two intellectual giants from the past rise from the ashes and engage in a debate we all wish could've happened. Since both Augustine and Russell now have impeccable theology, it will be interesting to see how their earthly interpreters fare in this unique venue!

The New 'Dockers' Spokesman?

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A friend stumbled across this Dockers ad from a few years ago and sent it on after reading Dr. Trueman's recent piece. Surely the good doctor will be horrified to learn that an American clothing company got the jump on him!

Trueman Down Under

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The recent issue of Ambassador magazine, of the Melbourne School of Theology, features our resident celebrity, Dr. Trueman. Nevertheless, he still has street cred: few celebrity pastors get the title "International Scholar." 

Trueman Christianity Today Interview

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Carl Trueman weighs in on James Macdonald's exit from the Gospel Coalition over at Christianity Today. Also, see Trueman's latest Wages of Spin article and a review of Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshear's Doctrine. A busy day at ref21!

Trueman's Annual Christmas Article

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Click here for Trueman's latest optimistic take on all things relative to Christmas.

Trueman on Throwing Books

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Click here for the audio of Dr. Trueman's (excellent) lecture on the King James Bible, given at Westminster Seminary's Library yesterday. The title alone should whet your appetite: "Throwing the Book at His Enemies: King James I and His Bible"

A True Non-Celebrity Pastor Moment

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There are at least two things that the world at large should know about the Rev. Dr. Trueman. First, he does not have fangs, does not make cuddly puppies run in the opposite direction, and shows signs of having smiled before. So much so is this the case, that, judging by my 4-year old daughter's reaction whenever she sees Dr. Trueman (shouts of joy, running to him after worship), I've been tempted to wonder if perhaps he isn't either (a) a celebrity pastor after all or (b) an astute American politician with a British ruse. 

Second, and despite protestations to the contrary, Trueman is no celebrity pastor (Dr. Thomas's prodigious Twitter following notwithstanding). The demonstration of Dr. Trueman's non-celebrity status, however, was nowhere more on display than yesterday's morning worship service. As the good Rev. ascended the sacred desk, he pulled out the sine qua non of the celebrity pastor - the ubiquitous iPad. I know, I know - the scandal is unbearable. One can almost hear the sniggers of "hypocrite" ringing in the halls of a meagchurch somewhere.

But what happened next demonstrates that such sniggering would be unwarranted. After ably reading the text, with the glow of the fabled device illumining his countenance and a few seconds pause, the good Dr. spoke to the people, "I'm afraid I can't find my sermon. I will hand my iPad over to my son to sort it out and preach from memory."

No legions of interns to assist the hapless technological troglodyte. No iPad backup fetched whilst the cameras for the big screen cut to a shot of a stunning ocean scene while "How Great Thou Art" echoed forth from the praise band. No,in the ultimate demonstration of un-hipness (in a fashion that would make Tower of Power smile), the middle-aged man hands off the "new-fangled" device to the tech-savvy son. How uncool! And, to top it all off, Trueman was wearing a suit while doing this. A suit! The writers for an ABC family series could not have scripted it better. Indeed, with this kind of device malfunction, I couldn't help but be transported to the Stonehenge scene of This is Spinal Tap.

So, while his politics may be a study in contradiction, his celebrity pastor status is not. Despite the appearance of one who secretly wishes to join the ranks of the multi-site, it was all too clear yesterday that Trueman is like us, after all: our gadgets outdo our competence. And you can't fake that.