Wednesday, October 12, 2011

D. A. Carson on "This Present Evil Age"

In a recent book, These Last Days: A Christian View of History, edited by Richard D. Phillips and Gabriel N. E. Fluhrer (P&R, 2011), there is an essay by D. A. Carson entitled "This Present Evil Age."  Carson discusses Revelation chapter 12 and how it is that we overcome the enemy's rage.  In particular, Revelation 12.11 states:
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Carson has some excellent meditative thoughts on this text.  In the process of developing these thoughts he speaks of the central importance of the gospel.  He writes:
I have been teaching for more decades now than I can count, and if I have learned anything from all of this teaching, it is this: my students don't learn everything I teach them; what they learn is what I'm excited about.  So within the church of the living God, we must become excited about the gospel.  That's how we pass on our heritage.  If, instead, the gospel increasingly becomes for us that which we assume, then we will, of course, assent to the correct creedal statement.  But, at this point, the gospel is not what really captures us.  Rather, it is a particular form of worship, or a particular style of counseling, or a particular view of culture, or a particular technique in preaching, or--fill in the blank.  Then, ultimately, our students make that their center, and the generation after us loses the gospel. As soon as you get to the place where the gospel is that which is nearly assumed, you are only a generation and half from death.
Again, the centrality of the gospel of Christ's cross must reign supreme--in our thinking and our affections.

For those interested, Carson's essay is available HERE