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D.A. Carson – Prayer for Power

15 Jan

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14-19

To put the matter simply, Paul wants us to have the power to grasp the love of God in Christ Jesus, to the end that we might be mature. To be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” is simply a Pauline way of saying “to be all that God wants you to be,” or “to be spiritually mature.” A similar expression is found in the next chapter of this epistle, where Paul tells us how various people in the church are to serve “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (4:12–13). God himself, Christ himself, is the standard. God elsewhere says, “Be perfect, for I am perfect,” and “Be holy, for I am holy”; now he says here, in effect, “Be mature, be complete, as I am mature, complete.”

Do you see the stunning implication? Paul assumes that we cannot be as spiritually mature as we ought to be unless we receive power from God to enable us to grasp the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ. We may think we are peculiarly mature Christians because of our theology, our education, our years of experience, our traditions; but Paul knows better. He knows we cannot be as mature as we ought to be until we “know this love that surpasses knowledge.” That is why he prays as he does: he wants us to grow in our grasp of Christ’s love so that we will become mature, “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

~D. A. Carson~


A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), 196.

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D.A. Carson – My Interpretation vs. Objective Truth

20 Sep

All the challenges arising from postmodernism and philosophical pluralism are connected in some way with hermeneutics, with how we interpret things. Postmodernism is an outlook that depends not a little on what are perceived to be the fundamental limitations on the power of interpretation: that is, since interpretation can never be more than my interpretation or our interpretation, no purely objective stance is possible. Granted this conviction about the nature of the interpretative enterprise, philosophical pluralism infers that objective truth in most realms is impossible, and that therefore the only proper stance is that which disallows all claims to objective truth.

~D. A. Carson~


The Gagging of God: Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan; 2002) p. 57

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D.A. Carson – Cleaning Up Our Exegetical Messiness

11 Jul

Make a mistake in the interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s plays, falsely scan a piece of Spenserian verse, and there is unlikely to be an entailment of eternal consequence; but we cannot lightly accept a similar laxity in the interpretation of Scripture. We are dealing with God’s thoughts: we are obligated to take the greatest pains to understand them truly and to explain them clearly. It is all the more shocking, therefore, to find in the evangelical pulpit, where the Scriptures are officially revered, frequent and inexcusable sloppiness in handling them. All of us, of course, will make some exegetical mistakes: I am painfully aware of some of my own, brought to my attention by increasing years, wider reading, and alert colleagues who love me enough to correct me. But tragic is the situation when the preacher or teacher is perpetually unaware of the blatant nonsense he utters, and of the consequent damage he inflicts on the church of God. Nor will it do to be satisfied with pointing a finger at other groups whose skills are less than our own: we must begin by cleaning up our own backyard.

~D. A. Carson~


Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids, IL; Baker; 1996) Introduction.

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D.A. Carson – The Controlling Center of the Book of Revelation

4 Jun

The great vision of Revelation 4–5 controls the entire book [of Revelation]. There we learn that Christ, this male child, is the only one who is fit to open the scroll in God’s right hand to bring about all of God’s purposes for judgment and blessing. He is the Lion and the Lamb, the reigning king and the bloody sacrifice, the heir to David’s throne yet the one who appears from God’s throne. Because of his struggle, men and women from every tongue and tribe and people and nation are redeemed. Countless millions gather around him who sits on the throne and the Lamb and sing a new song of adoring, grateful, praise.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 84-85

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D.A. Carson – The Nuanced Love of God

29 May

What the Bible says about the love of God is more complex and nuanced than what is allowed by mere sloganeering.

~D. A. Carson~






The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2000) p.24

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D.A. Carson – Satan’s Rage Against the Church

2 May

Revelation 12 to 14 marks a major division in the Apocalypse. These chapters constitute a major hiatus before the final display of God’s wrath in the seven plagues of Revelation 16. John traces in these chapters the underlying cause for the hostility and suffering that fall upon the church. That cause is nothing less than the rage of Satan against the church. If you do not have a category for Satan’s rage, John says, then you cannot understand deeply what is happening in contemporary Christianity.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 79-80

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D.A. Carson – Justification and the Vindication of God

22 Apr

The way that Jesus propitiates his Father is in the Father’s wise plan. All of God’s justice is worked out in Christ, who takes our curse and penalty in his own body on the tree. That is why Christians speak of satisfying the wrath of God. This expression does not mean that God is up in heaven smirking, “This really satisfies me.” It means that the demands of his holiness are met in the sacrifice of his own Son. His justice is satisfied in Jesus’ propitiatory sacrifice so that all may see that sin deserves the punishment that he himself has imposed, and the punishment has been meted out. This vindicates God so that he himself is seen to be just, as well as the one who justifies the ungodly (cf. Rom. 4:5). Justification is first and foremost about the vindication of God. God simultaneously preserves his justice while justifying the ungodly. That is the heart of the gospel.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 67

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