Christus Victor

If you have ever wondered how Jesus defeated Satan on the cross then you could do worse than listen to Sinclair Ferguson’s lecture on “Christus Victor” at the Highland Theological college. You can find it on this page. In it he gives a superb defence of the penal substitutionary view of the atonement.

You need to be prepared, though. This is an academic lecture, and you may need to listen two or three times to get all of it, but I think it is well worth the investment of time.

Christus Victor

Performance Driven Worship

John Piper has a chapter in his book (Brothers, We are Not Professionals) on worship. In typical Piperian fashion he speaks of worship as ‘treasuring Christ in our hearts’. While discussing this at length he notes a subtle change that can occur in our public worship:

If the focus shifts onto our giving to God, one result I have seen again and again is that, subtly, it is not God that remains at the center but the quality of our giving. Are we singing worthily of the Lord? Are our instrumentalists playing with quality fitting a gift to the Lord? Is the preaching a suitable offering to the Lord? And little by little the focus shifts off the utter indispensability of the Lord himself onto the quality of our performances. And we even start to define excellence and power in worship in terms of the technical distinction of our artistic acts.
John Piper, Brothers p. 239

This speaks to me. I’ve had it up to here (hand well above head) with people discussing worship in functional terms. I’m guilty myself. Has the right effect been achieved? Instead of our focus being on God himself, the gravitational pull of self is so attractive, subtly distorting our public worship.

It is interesting, then, that yesterday Tim Challies should also write about worship. He likens the problem to someone admiring a sunset, but then that person ends up admiring himself admiring the sunset! Daft, eh?

Al Roberts also has a challenging post on how the worship experience becomes all important. The analogy he uses is much less palatable than Tim’s.

Performance Driven Worship

Grace Church, Belper

The astute regulars to this site may notice an addition to my Links section to the right. There is now a link to Grace Church, Belper.

Over the last six or seven months Dr. Gareth Crossley and David Anderson have been working towards planting a new church in Belper, Derbyshire. (I have been working in a support role, while my main work is at Derwent Free Church in Derby.)

Like many small towns in Derbyshire, the situation in Belper is bleak. There is no shortage of groups and churches meeting, and we have visited them all. But there is a distinct lack of evangelical preaching founded upon the Bible. This new work seeks to break up the ground and sow the seed of the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord.

Go and take a look around!

Grace Church, Belper

Cry to the LORD!

O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”
Isaiah 30:19-22 (NIV)

Cry to the LORD!