09 March 2007

I have a famous pastor and a distinguished church, na na na na na

by Dan Phillips

I've mentioned my pastor before, the redoubtable Reddit Andrews, III. I haven't known a pastor who preaches sermons as consistently Biblical, passionate, Christ-exalting, and heart-searching as are Reddit's sermons, and that's why this convincedly Calvidispiebaptogelical family attends Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church.

Among the many, many things Reddit has done right was to make and retain some excellent friends from his days at Trinity seminary back in Illinois. Reddit knows (and drops) so many big names that we in the Men's Fellowship tease him a fair bit, asking whether he's had lunch with John Owen and Jonathan Edwards, too. Reddit led their chapel program, and in the course of that started a relationship with Dr. D. A. Carson.

You don't need me to tell you about D. A. Carson. I'd be interested in a productivity comparison between the late F. F. Bruce and Carson. The good doctor is a world-class Biblical scholar with NT emphasis, and has written or edited a truckload of books, including popular works, textbooks, and commentaries. He's a rare and precious combination of top-rate academics, love for the Lord, concern for His church, and crackling, powerful communication.

So Reddit is famous now because Justin Taylor writes about the collaboration Dr. Carson invited Reddit to join, and the conference they're having in Illinois. One of the workshops?
Defining Evangelicalism (Ray Ortlund, Jr., Reddit Andrews—Dan Phillips' pastor)
Okay, I made up that last part.

Back to Carson.

I've a long list of URL's I've found that feature Carson's lectures and sermons, and I think I have downloaded and listened to all of them. Last week, I attended the Philadelphia Conference for Reformed Theology meeting in Sacramento, about which perhaps I'll write more later. Carson spoke, and he was brilliant.

But here's the cool thing, on a personal level. Early on I gave Reddit a heads-up, and his friend Dr. Carson agreed to preach to our church last Sunday evening. It's not a large church, as "large churches" are measured today. Large for my experience of churches numbering in the dozens, but it's maybe a couple of hundred or more. (I don't do numbers. Ask my wife.)

So here's this little church and this distinguished, international speaker — and the preaching was wonderful. Don't take my word for it; you can hear it for yourself. My 11yo son Josiah sat with me, and Carson held his attention; he's discussed it with us since, which is very cool.

BTW, as always, I distinguished myself. Before the first meeting at the Conference on Saturday, I went to use one of the two very small restrooms in the large, old host church. It was a neat building, but I've never seen men standing in line before, while the women's room had no line. (Poetic justice, I know, ladies.)

When my turn came, I pushed the door open and unceremoniously whacked a gentleman waiting inside.

I recognized the face.

Yep, you guessed it.

Sigh.

Dan Phillips's signature


24 comments:

Steve said...

That's an ingenious way to get D.A.'s attention, Dan.

DJP said...

Thinking ALL THE TIME.

donsands said...

What a memorable blessing.

I plan on going to The Jonathan Edwards Institute Conference in Annopolis this summer where Don Carson will be speaking.
I'm a little more fired-up now than before.

REM said...

Can we call you "Big Time" now?

DJP said...

LOL, sure, why not? My claim is that I know people who know people. I used to know people myself, but don't much anymore.

(I'm just waiting for Phil to come in and mock my title.)

Doug said...

Look who's a name-dropper now! Next, you'll be telling us you refused to "spare a square" for Charles Spurgeon!

jsb said...

When you whacked Carson, did he say "I'm glad THAT part of God's plan is over"?

DJP said...

I could wish I were that quick a wit. Usually have to settle for half-.

centuri0n said...

Dude, that's the best punch line of the month. It's in the running for best of the year. We'll keep tabs -- you might win an award or something.

The Doulos said...

"I have a famous pastor and a distinguished church..."

I guess that's better than having an infamous pastor and an extinguished church.

Neener, neener, neener...

John Haller said...

I'd hate to read this post if he had not locked the door.

I'm a lawyer and once stood at a urinal next to Flea Bailey at Logan Airport in Boston.

Maybe a post on encounters with famous people/bathroom division?

Doug said...

I'm not sure, but I would think a whole "bathroom encounters" entry would be deleted by the blog administrator or something.

étrangère said...

Haha, the Don connected me with both my grandfather and father with one look at my surname, Dan, at a conference in November. But that'd be the grandfather o mine whose book you didn't like the look of. And Carson speaks French. So maybe you should be more careful with whom you associate - you can be just too hasty in name-dropping... ;-)

Martin Downes said...

Dan,

During a visit to Gordon-Conwell I almost collided with Meredith Kline..on my way into the restroom in the library.

SB said...

And Reddit likes Holy Hip Hop--don't make me link to it -Dan
...and you know what I'm talkin about.

jeff said...

Hello,
This is my first blog

The Doulos said...

I am in awe of the commenters here that are on a first-name basis with D. A. Carson. "Don"?

donsands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Puritan Man said...

I guess I could say that my claim to fame is that after Carson got done preaching at our church last Sunday night I got to personally serve him communion. SWEET!!! ;-)

SolaMeanie said...

I saw Don Carson when he came to a local church I once attended to talk about the dangers of the Emergent Church movement. He was excellent, of course, and very careful in his analysis. It's interesting because the EC people (McLaren especially) say Dr. Carson "doesn't understand" them. Every time I hear that, I find myself wanting to borrow one of Phil's Costco meat chubs. I am glad you got to hear him first hand. I'd like to hear a lot more myself.

I hope this isn't off topic, but the idea of name dropping sparked me thinking of it. I am at the Shepherd's Conference currently, and I saw something tonight that blessed me beyond words. John MacArthur was keynoting tonight preaching on Luke 18. In the front row were Drs. Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever and Steve Lawson. All had their Bibles out, notepads in hand, and were listening intently to John preach. (When John was listening to the others, ditto)

I thought it was so cool to see world class preachers and Bible scholars like that so eager to hear and, yes, learn from each other's messages, instead of just dutifully sitting there with the "I know all this already" attitude we often see. Maybe that's an odd thing to bless somebody, but it did. I loved to see the love and respect for one another that was there. They don't know it, but their example spoke volumes.

Stephen Dunning said...

You say you have a list of URLs for Carson's messages online. Any chance of you posting them or mailing them - just in case I have missed any.

donsands said...

sola,

Thanks for sharing that. That is definitely cool, and encouraging, to know about our leaders.

The Doulos said...

Thanks for that great observation, Solameanie. I think the attitude you saw there of ongoing teachability is a characteristic of a great preacher, teacher or man of God. I've seen that in my own sr. pastor, who often has sat in on Sunday school classes I am teaching, and is always taking notes and listening (and not correcting!). On more than one occasion he's used things he picked up in my class or others classes in his sermon - and almost always gives credit for where he got it. Praise God for humble servants who are always looking to be sharpened further by others.

étrangère said...

The Doulos: I referred to Dr. D.A.Carson as 'the Don'. A jokey honourific that (on reflection) is probably only used for him in Britain, since a) a British 'don' is a university tutor, esp. at Cambridge or Oxford and b) we've a fondness for giving jokey titles / diminuitive nicknames to those we admire (Stottie, The Dr. (that's MLJ, not Who), The Don, etc.). Actually when I chatted with him I called him Dr.Carson, and then felt embarassedly Britishly formal. But as we're rather concerned with correctness and yet sadly lacking in greeting/goodbye procedural policy in Britain, unlike most of our European neighbours, we spend much of life feeling awkwardly over-formal or embarassed at over-familiarity.