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D.A. Carson – Knowing Nothing Except Jesus Christ

29 Dec

What then does it mean today to resolve to know nothing… except Jesus Christ and him crucified? More narrowly, what elements in our ministries need overhauling when judged by this standard? For this commitment must not only shape our message but our style.

We have become so performance- oriented that it is hard to see how compromised we are. Consider one small example. In many of our churches, prayers in morning services now function, in large measure, as the time to change the set in the sanctuary. The people of the congregation bow their heads and close their eyes, and when they look up a minute later, why, the singers are in place, or the drama group is ready to perform. It is all so smooth. It is also profane. Nominally we are in prayer together addressing the King of heaven, the sovereign Lord. In reality, some of us are doing that while others are rushing on tiptoes around the stage and others, with their eyes closed, are busy wondering what new and happy configuration will confront them when it is time to take a peek.

Has the smoothness of the performance become more important to us than the fear of the Lord? Has polish, one of the modern equivalents of ancient rhetoric, displaced substance? Have professional competence and smooth showmanship become more valuable than sober reckoning over what it means to focus on Christ crucified?

~D. A. Carson~


The Cross and Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House Company; 1993) Chapter 1.3 – The Preacher of the Cross.

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John Stott – The Two Ways of Looking at the Cross

18 Dec

Is is essential to keep together these two complementary ways of looking at the cross. On the human level, Judas gave him up to the priests, who gave him up to Pilate, who gave him up to the soldiers, who crucified him. But on the divine level, the Father gave him up, and he gave himself up, to die for us. As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both, “I did it, my sins sent him there,” and “He did it, his love took him there.” The apostle Peter brought the two truths together in his remarkable statement on the Day of Pentecost, both that “this man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” and that “you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” Peter thus attributed Jesus’ death simultaneously to the plan of God and to the wickedness of men. For the cross which, as we have particularly considered in this chapter, is an exposure of human evil, is at the same time a revelation of the divine purpose to overcome the human evil thus exposed.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 64-65.

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D.A. Carson – The Temple and Christ Crucified

25 Sep

Under the terms of the old covenant, the temple was the great meeting place between a holy God and his sinful people. This was the place of sacrifice, the place of atonement for sin. But this side of the cross, where Jesus by his sacrifice pays for our sin, Jesus himself becomes the great meeting place between a holy God and his sinful people; thus he becomes the temple, the meeting place between God and his people. It is not as if Jesus in his incarnation adequately serves as the temple of God. That is a huge mistake. Jesus says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” It is in Jesus’ death, in his destruction, and in his resurrection three days later, that Jesus meets our needs and reconciles us to God, becoming the temple, the supreme meeting place between God and sinners. To use Paul’s language, we do not simply preach Christ; rather, we preach Christ crucified.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 23

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D.A. Carson – To Those Whom God Has Called

7 Sep

22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

These God-called people, “both Jews and Greeks” (i.e., people called by God without racial distinction), have come to discover that Christ, Christ crucified, is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1:24). The language is chosen carefully. The Jews demanded powerful signs and expected a powerful Messiah. They were offended at the ridiculous implausibility and inherent weakness of any notion of “Messiah crucified.” Yet in deep irony, it is that moment of sublime weakness, the cross of Jesus Christ, that most greatly displays the power of God–and Christians recognize it. For their part, the Gentiles loved what they called wisdom. They dismissed as crass foolishness any notion of a hero who was crucified. Yet in deep irony, it is this moment of transparent folly, the cross of Jesus Christ, that most greatly displays God’s breathtaking wisdom. That is what Paul says: “to those whom God has called,” regardless of background, Christ crucified is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1:24).

~D. A. Carson~


The Cross and Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House Company; 1993) p. 23.

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