The first day of the Shepherd’s Conference is over and the highlight was CJ Mahaney’s message last night on Isaiah 66:1-2 on humility. I had heard a version of it before on CD years ago, but it is a tribute to the preacher and more importantly to the Word of God to gladly listen to the same message again. And I was definitely glad to hear it.
When I first heard the message, not only did I pass it around our church but I also contacted CJ and asked if he would contribute a chapter on humility to the book, Dear Timothy. He graciously agreed and that book became significantly better because of it. Later, at the encouragement of Mark Dever, CJ developed this theme even further by writing, Humility, True Greatness. If you have not read that book, you should do so before the month is over.
Steve Lawson preached in the afternoon on Peter’s sermon from Acts 2. It was very good and pointed on the importance careful, pastoral, Christ-centered and applicatory preaching.
John MacArthur started the conference with his talk on Pre-millennialism. Tim Challies has given a very gracious summary of his words, and I echo his advice to “buy the CD.” Like Tim, and countless others, I was surprised by Dr. MacArthur’s choice of this topic in this venue. It was a very aggressive presentation of his view of eschatology. Some who are not pre-mill were offended by some of the unqualified, universal statements about those in history and on the contemporary scene who do disagree with this view. The Q and A times today and tomorrow ought to be very interesting.
CJ Mahaney turned the issue, which nearly everyone is talking about, into an occasion for humor as he began last night. As a fill in for John Piper, who is burying his father in South Carolina, CJ said something like, “No matter what your eschatology, I don’t think anyone could have seen this [his preaching at the Shepherd’s Conference] coming!” He said that MacArthur’s invitation to him to preach in his church last year had turned him into a “post-millennialist,” because it is the only theological construct that makes sense of what has happened in the two of them developing a friendship. It was good stuff, timely, and very disarming.
Today, Ligon Duncan starts things off. The question on many peoples’ minds is this: Will he address the millennial issue as a non-premil guy?