there were People like me...(Part 2 of 2)
They too don't settle for ok sermons that are just mostly true doctrine. They too won't settle for songs that mostly center on the cross. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of people who are passionate about theology. And there are plenty of people who are passion about worship. But Sovereign Grace is a rare mixture of the two. They are passionate about correct theology and biblical truths that are manifested in both the preaching and the worship. It is not an either/or thing, but a both/and thing.
The conference that I mentioned in my last post, well, it was a intellectually strenuous at times. You had to be constantly discerning. You could never just sit and take notes (except for one session). Many statements had to be carefully weighed and considered next to biblical truth. Many conversations happened after the fact discussing whether this lined up with Scripture, and whether this outline point could be upheld by Scripture. Many times a lyric from a song was brought up-as to whether it was God glorifying or man glorifying. We couldn't just worship and learn. How I longed for a theological stress-free environment! Instead, it was a theological marathon.
But this marathon was good for many reasons. One, we all came away having grown in our discernment skills. Two, we all came away with a greater appreciate and love of Sovereign Grace. But most importantly, we all came away with a greater realization of the importance of NOT compromising where the Bible is concerned. We came away more in love with the absolute truths of Scripture and humbled by the pastors in our own lives that seek to make this occur in our churches.
I mentioned before that Sovereign Grace combines both correct theology and passionate worship. John Piper, of course, says it more eloquently than I:
"Singing and knowing. Rejoicing and reasoning. Delight and doctrine. That's Sovereign Grace Ministries. it is so rare, and so needed...so Sing on, Sovereign Grace. And whatever you do, don't stop studying and thinking and preaching about our great Savior."
"God exists to be worshipped—to be admired and treasured and desired and praised. Therefore, the Word of God is written primarily to produce worship. This means that if that Word is handled like a hot-dish recipe or a repair manual, it is mishandled. And the people will suffer. The Truth of God begs to be handled with exultation. And our hearts yearn for this and need it. Something in us starts to die when precious and infinitely valuable realities are handled without feelings and words of wonder and exultation. That is, a church starts to die, without preaching."
"So there are always two parts to true worship. We can say it in two pairs: there is seeing God and there is savoring God. You can't separate these. You must see him to savor him. And if you don't savor him when you see him, you insult him. Or another pair would be this: in worship there is always understanding with the mind and there is always feeling in the heart. Understanding must always be the foundation of feeling, or all we have is baseless emotionalism. But understanding of God that doesn't give rise to feeling for God becomes mere intellectualism and deadness. This is why the Bible continually calls us to think and consider and meditate and remember on the one hand, and to rejoice and fear and mourn and delight and hope and be glad on the other hand. Both are essential for worship."
But this isn't just my opinion or John Piper's opinion-that correct doctrine in our preaching and worship is vital. Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-4:4
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing, and his Kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. Fr the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
Paul charges Timothy, and really, God charges us, with the importance of having sound teaching. The importance of both seeing and savoring Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
So those are some of the things I have learned and found in the last 730ish days. 1) That fear of man is the root of most of my sins which is easily manifested in pride, self-sufficiency, independence, and lieing. 2) It is so important to address possible issues in friendships in the moment. It saves so much time, heartache, and sin. Most importantly, it allows God to continue receiving His due glory from the friendship. 3) Theology doesn't have to exist separate from Passion and vice versa. True doxology flows from a correct theology, and both are absolutely necessary in the believer's life.