Last night Dallas and I had the privilege to attend an event at RTS, Orlando–the Spurgeon Lecture series where Dr. John Piper delivered the address.
According to the RTS website, “The Spurgeon Lecture is a hallmark of the Nicole Institute of Baptist Studies, which was established on the Orlando campus of RTS in 2012 to honor the legacy of Dr. Roger Nicole (1915-2010). Nicole, a founding editorial board member of Christianity Today, was a distinguished visiting faculty member at RTS from 1989 to 2000. The Spurgeon Lecture, named after the great Reformed Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon, is designed to equip and inform the audience on a broad range of theological, historical and cultural issues.” Promoted at the seminary as Baptist and Presbyterians coming together around reformed theology (rooted in the Protestant Reformation many believers returned to the gospel of salvation by grace alone).
The lecture was classic Piper, and very well done. It was a mix of admiring Spurgeon (“known as the ‘Prince of Preachers’ he produced powerful sermons of penetrating thought and precise exposition. His oratory skills held his listeners spellbound in the Metropolitan Tabernacle and many Christians have discovered Spurgeon’s messages to be among the best in Christian literature it is believed he preached to well over 10m people”) while at the same time, according to Piper, recognizing s few of his shortcoming (his appreciation of fine cigars). Grin.
He used his illustrations/antidotes about Spurgeon as a springboard for encouraging those in the room committed to pulpit ministry/pastorate. He said, be yourself, not someone else. We all have shortcoming, even Spurgeon had his shortcomings. “Get going” Piper said.
One of the characteristics of Piper is strong commitment to a mind dedicated to truth and a heart committed to God. His sermons are punctuated with expressions of humility which are genuine. Having just “retired’ (he said last night he and his wife, Noel, don’t use that word) from regular speaking at Bethlehem Baptist, he was asked by a reporter if he had any regrets. “Regrets? I could have done better!” he said.
I’m reminded that even showing up is a virtue. Many people just don’t show up. I love what the way Peterson paraphrases Ephesians 4:1-3 MSG “…here’s what I want you to do…I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily…”
Sure you could do better…just do something.
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