This is my concluding article on the 2018 T4G conference. For my articles on Mark Dever & H.B. Charles, Jr, click here. For the one on Platt & Chandler, click here. For the one on DeYoung & Dr. Mohler, click here, and finally, for the one about Duncan & Anyabwile, you can find it here. This article is a quick take on John MacArthur and John Piper.
I must be honest, John MacArhthur’s sermon came soon after lunch. I was exhausted from the late nights and early mornings, so I fell asleep and slept through much of what he said. I did however, go back this morning and listen to his sermon and caught everything that I missed (which as it turns out, was almost everything but the story of his granddaughter).
The thrust of MacArthur’s sermon came from Galatians 4:19, where he stated the fact that if, “You tamper with faith alone, even in a small ritual, that is a corrupted damning gospel.” Yet, as he pointed out, evangelicals are so likely to tolerate such false gospels: They were “saved by the gospel but in an effort to be friendly to religious people they tolerate false gospels.” From here on out, this pastor of 50 years, encouraged and called upon pastors to work and labor and agonize over the sanctification of their people. Our pastoral mandate is to see Christ formed in our people. Our pain, as pastors, “should come, not in the empty seat, but in the occupied one.” Such a reminder to pastors, like myself, that while it is a labor of love, it is also labor. It is the labor of seeing Christ formed in them.
I was recovering from my nap when John Piper began to preach. Piper has long been my hero, ever since my first Desiring God pastor’s conference in 2004. I loved the conference and read Don’t Waste Your Life on the way home. A couple of years ago, I made it a goal and met the goal to read one Piper book a month. I cannot tell you how many sermons I have read/listened to of John Piper’s. I listen to nearly all of his Ask Pastor John podcasts since finding out he was doing it a couple of years ago. But this sermon did not resonate with me as much as his others. While having one central theme, he seemed all over the place–so much so, that I couldn’t hardly keep up. It wasn’t that it was bad, but I felt like he was trying so hard to say so much in so little time that it came off so disjointed. But I may be the only one. Here are some of my favorite lines though: “The most basic and essential distinction between the Christian and the non-Christian is not a new decision of the will, not new deeds or hands, not new doctrine in the mind, but delight in the heart.” I agree with him when he said, “Our god is not our pleasure, but what we take greatest pleasure in,” and that American Christianity believes, “decisions in God are more important than delight in God.”
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed John Piper’s sermon. It was good. But the only way I could make heads or tales of it was to stop taking notes and really listen. Otherwise, I missed something. Like I said, he was squeezing so much in. In fact, there were times where he simply listed Scriptures without reading them, and I believe it was because he just didn’t have the time. At the end of his sermon, I was exhausted. I can only imagine how he felt.
I’d love to hear what you think though. Am I wrong about Piper? Did you enjoy MacArthur? Let me know with some comments.