Posted tagged ‘D.A. Carson’

Covenant Marriage

June 7, 2011

John Piper, Tim Keller, and D.A. Carson share their thoughts on the importance of understanding covenant and promise (biblical theology) in marriage.  Good stuff.

[vimeo 24636925]

The Many Ways of Destroying the Church

December 17, 2009

D.A. Carson:

“The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful.  Raw factionalism will do it.  Rank heresy will do it.  Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it–admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul.  Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it.  Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God.  Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism–all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church.  And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

– D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 83-84.

D.A. Carson on Portraits of Jesus in John’s Gospel

March 3, 2009

While doing some research this morning, I stumbled across a sermon series preached by D.A. Carson on the portraits of Jesus from the Gospel of John.  Downloadable audio is available when you click on the links.

Part 1 :: Jesus the Word of God (John 1:1-18)
Part 2 :: Jesus the Temple of God (John 2:13-25)
Part 3 :: Jesus the Gift of God (John 3:1-21)
Part 4 :: Jesus the Son of God (John 5:16-30)
Part 5 :: Jesus the Bread of God (John 6:25-71)
Part 6 :: Jesus the Shepherd of God (John 10:1-21)
Part 7 :: Jesus the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-54)

Carson on Intra-Trinitarian Love, Part II

November 29, 2007

I think this might be my last excerpt on the topic for now. The purpose of these excerpts is to shed some light on the issue raised by Dr. Ben Witherington on whether God is narcissistic and whether a God who is passionate about His glory can be reconciled with John 3:16 (to catch up on the debate, see my compilation of posts). Previous excerpts include John Frame on “God’s Self-Love” and “Intra-Trinitarian Glory” as well as D.A. Carson on “Intra-Trinitarian Love.” Now here is part two from Carson, again on intra-trinitarian love (emphasis mine):


There are texts in which Jesus addresses God as Father in terms of shared experience in eternity past (notably John 17:5: ‘Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began’).

It follows, then, that the love of the Father for the Son, and the love of the Son for the Father, which we have been considering, cannot be restricted to the peculiar relationship pertained from the Incarnation on, but is intrinsically intra-Trinitarian.

What we have, then, is a picture of God whose love, even in eternity past, even before the creation of anything, is other-oriented. This cannot be said (for instance) of Allah. Yet because the God of the Bible is one, this plurality-in-unity does not destroy his entirely appropriate self-focus as God. . . . To concede he is something other than the center of all, and rightly to be worshiped and adored, would debase his very Godhood. He is the God who, entirely rightly, does not give his glory to another (Isa. 42:8).

. . . in eternity past, the Father loved the Son, and the Son loved the Father. There has always been an other-orientation to the love of God. All the manifestations of the love of God emerge out of his deeper, more fundamental reality: love is bound up in the very nature of God. God is love.

– D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000), 39.


Carson makes a key point, viz. that the plurality-in-unity does not destroy his entirely appropriate self-focus as God. To believe that God has anyone other himself central and first in his affections would be to say that God values someone or something higher than himself, making him the subject rather than the object of worship. Before creation began, God entirely satisfied in Himself, and that did not change when he created the world. John 3:16 is not irreconcilable with God who does not give his glory to another which answers the challenge/charges brought by BWIII.

Carson on Intra-Trinitarian Love, Part I

November 28, 2007

Transitioning from the excellent scholarship of John Frame, I want to post two excerpts from another leading scholar, D.A. Carson, from his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. If you have not read this short but significantly important book, I highly recommend it. Here’s part one (emphasis mine):


Certainly there is endless ground for wonder in the Father’s love for us, in Jesus’ love for us. But undergirding them, more basic than they are, is the Father’s love for the Son. Because of the love of the Father for the Son, the Father has determined that all should honor the Son even as they honor the Father (John 5:23). Indeed, this love of the Father for the Son is what makes sense of John 3:16. True. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’—there the object of God’s love is the world. But the standard that tells us just how great that love is has already been set. What is its measure? God so loved the world that he gave his Son. Paul’s reasoning is similar: If God did not spare his Son, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things (Rom. 8:32)? The argument is cogent only because the relationship between the Father and the Son is the standard for all other relationships.

– D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000), 35.


Catch the flow of Carson’s reasoning:

1. The Father loves the Son
2. In light of this love, the Father has determined that all should honor the Son
3. The world knows God’s love through the sending of His Son
4. The goal is that the world honor the Son because of the Father’s love

Again we see an intrinsic relationship between intra-trinitarian love and God’s purpose in honoring (glorifying) Himself. This speaks directly to Witherington’s charge regarding John 3:16. “Why does John 3:16 make sense?” Carson asks. Because God has love us through giving us His Son which find its telos not in us, but the Father’s love for, and determination to honor, the Son.