Archive for the ‘Heaven’ category

John Piper, Rick Warren, and the Purpose Driven Life

May 27, 2011

Let’s just pretend for a moment you did not read the title of this blogpost.  Let’s pretend that there was an anonymous Christian minister who explicitly affirmed the following:

I am passionate about the glory of God above all things.
I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God in all things, including sin and tragedy.
I believe in exhaustive, meticulous divine providence.
I believe in the doctrines of grace, including total depravity, unconditional election, and particular redemption.
I affirm the five solas of the reformation and consider myself a monergist both in justification and sanctification of the believer.
I believe in the eternal, conscious torment in a literal hell.
I believe that substitutionary atonement is at the heart of the gospel.
I believe in that the imputed righteousness of Christ is essential to the nature of the gospel.
I believe that God saves us from Himself by sending us His Son as the wrath-bearing propitiation in my place.
I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
I believe that those who die never hearing the name of Christ will not go to heaven.  They need to hear the gospel, and the church must go to them and make Christ known in order for them to be saved.
Everything I do in life and ministry has an overarching missionary focus.

Having considered these personal beliefs and affirmations, what well-known evangelical preacher might we be talking about?  John MacArthur? Sounds a lot like him. Albert Mohler? Possibly. D.A. Carson? Perhaps.

Who is it that made these personal affirmations?

Rick Warren.

If you don’t believe me, watch and listen for yourself.

Like just about every other evangelical leader I respect, I don’t agree with everything Rick Warren says and does, but I found this interview very clarifying and confirming.  I cannot imagine the controversy and criticism both John Piper and Rick Warren will receive from this interview, but I’m grateful they made this agreement, having demonstrated a substantive, constructive, engagement on important issues from two very different perspectives.

I don’t know of two pastors in our country who have more influence on my generation than John Piper and Rick Warren.  They have asked that we pray for them, especially in regards to pursuing humility, fighting pride, and stewarding their influence for generations to come.  God has given these men incredible platforms to display the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Let’s pray for them and their continued usefulness in such enormous proportions for the advancement of the gospel both in breadth and depth for many years to come.

Amen.

Hope Loves Best to Live There Most

December 3, 2010

Thomas Brooks, in his amazingly encouraging book, Heaven on Earth, writes about the nature of the Christian hope.  He explains that the first property of our hope is that it “elevates and raises the heart to live above, where its treasure is.”  He adds:

This hope is from above, and it makes the heart to live above: it is a spark of glory, and it leads the heart to live in glory.  Divine hope carries a man to heaven,
for life to quicken him,
for wisdom to direct him,
for power to uphold him,
for righteousness to justify him,
for holiness to sanctify him,
for mercy to forgive him,
for assurance to rejoice him,
and for happiness to crown him.
Divine hope takes in the pleasures of heaven beforehand; it lives in the joyful expectation of them.  It fancies to itself, as I may say, the pleasures and joys of eternity, and lives in a sweet anticipation of what it possesses by faith. Hope’s richest treasures, choicest friends, chiefest delights, and sweetest contents are in the country above; and therefore hope loves best to live there most.

Meditate on that today and see this divine hope elevate your heart heavenward!

Heaven – Home of Gospel-Embracing Repenters

October 13, 2009

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Because heaven is a prepared place, our Christian lives should be characterized by rejoicing and anticipating being with the Lord.  Because heaven is for a prepared people our Christian lives should be characterized by repentance and turning away from ourselves.  Therefore, the Christian life is both one of rejoicing and repentance, at the same time.  In fact, it could be said that, though we mourn over and hate our sin, our repentance should be joyful knowing that God has promised bring to fulfillment that which he began in us, namely the glorification of His Son in us.  There is no genuine joy without thorough repentance, and genuine repentance ought to bring about increasing joy as sin is displaced and we draw nearer to Jesus.

We often call Christians “believers”.  “We are a gathering of believers . . .” but Christians are also “repenters,” so why don’t refer to a gathering of repenters?  Our response to the gospel at conversion is both – a repenting faith or believing repentance, and our response to the gospel from that moment on is the same.  The more we behold Jesus by faith as seen in the gospel, the more we are transformed into His image from one degree of glory to another.  If there are no degrees of glory being experienced on earth, then what, pray tell, would such a professing Christian claim to experience in heaven?  The very degrees of glory we experience in the daily transformation of our lives through repentance and faith are meant to be a foretaste of the fullness of glory to be seen when we are “taken up into glory.”  To miss it here is to forfeit it there.

(more…)