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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Chandler’


I am currently reading (among other books) The Great Work of the Gospel by John Ensor.  In proclaiming the greatness of God’s work for our salvation, John takes a very different approach than Rob Bell.  Bell, during his Sex God tour, talked about how God was not angry with sinners, but sinners only seemed to think he was.  Bell’s upcoming book seems to allude that God is not an angry God.

Ensor, on the other hand, spends a chapter on the great need for the great work of the gospel.  He focuses there on the justice of God’s judgment, or the reality of God’s wrath.

11 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.  Psalm 7

In one of his sermons on Colossians 3, Matt Chandler distinguishes between God’s active and passive wrath.  His active wrath is clearly seen in judgment upon nations and people.  Think the flood, or Sodom and Gemorrah.  His passive wrath, as noted in Romans 1, is to give us over to our own dark desires.  He gives us over to the sin we love that it might ruin us.  Then, some of us cry out for mercy.

Ensor notes that the frequency with which the Bible speaks of God’s wrath should lead us to some startling conclusions.

“Either our sin and guilt is far, far greater than we ever knew, or God’s punishment far, far exceeds the crime.”

If God is just (and He is), then the latter proposition is not the case.  In other words, our sin and guilt are far greater than we ever imagined.  As Anselm noted to Boso, “You have not yet considered how great the weight of sin is.”  We need only look to the cross to discover the greatness of sin and guilt.  Our perception is off, by a large margin.  Instead of seeking mercy, we tend to excuse, overlook and ignore our sin and guilt.

Ensor, like Chandler, brings Romans 1 into the picture.  Our sin suppresses the clearly seen truth about God and his invisible attributes revealed in creation.  We exchanged the real God for any number of fake gods in creation: the Creator for the created.  We have turned our backs on God, and sought life in a wide variety of created goods- sex, money, family, music, food…

Hulk Smash!

Ensor reveals the compatibility of love and anger.  The sermon by Chandler, and one by Tim Keller, takes the same approach.  We tend to think of love and anger opposed to one another.  But anger is the proper response to a threat against that which is loved.  God hates sin because sin threatens to destroy creation, and people.  In the most recent version of The Hulk, the Hulk’s rage is greatest when the woman he loves is in danger.  Wrath seeks to eliminate the threat.  Sinful anger is sinful, in part, because it takes out more than the threat.  It adopts a scorched earth policy.  But love must get angry when the object of love is threatened.  If you don’t get angry when your spouse (or child) is physically or sexually assaulted, you don’t love them.

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I’m not a big Leadership Journal guy.  I find much of what they put out less than helpful.  But they have an interview with Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village.  Matt is one of the new generation of church leaders who embraces conservative, Reformed theology but recognizes this isn’t the 1500’s or 1950 either.

They discuss sanctification, and its connection with discipleship.  I really appreciated one of the phrases that he used.

“It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay there.”

Sanctification is a process, and a difficult, long often exasperating one.  The other day I was screaming “I hate me” because I cannot separate my sin from me (another good point Chandler discovered one day after a friend admonished him).  All the bad things I do flow from a tainted, ugly heart.  At times this is more clear than others.

“Some people are meant to wrestle with their sin a long time before God brings them to freedom, but let’s wrestle. Let’s fight. Let’s do something besides just complain.”

But we are not to do this alone, but together.  Discipleship, according to Jesus, includes teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Mt. 28).   He and Darren Patrick, pastor of The Journey, put together what they call Greenhouse which tried to balance the relational/organic with the structure/system.

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I listened to a great Q&A from the Resurgence Conference: Text and Context with John Piper and Matt Chandler.  It was an interesting dynamic.  Mark Driscoll was the one asking the questions, with some commentary.  John Piper is in his 60’s and Matt Chandler is in his 30’s.  They are in very different places in pastoring “successful” faithful churches.

They talked about the dangers pastors face, false gospels, TV (Piper hasn’t owned one since he was 18), accountability and relevance.  Some fun comments, and some great wisdom. 

Some quick quotes:

“Relevance is ultimate reality lived out with passion in front of people in authentic ways.”  John Piper

“Doug Wilson is one of the most careful and bright Reformed and postmillenial, objectivist theologians around and he’s got people around him that are dumb.  … Wrong on numerous cases, but wrong in a way you’d expect a Presbyterian to be wrong.  … I don’t know if his trajectory will be as faithful as is the present case.”  John Piper

“We want other ethnic groups to join us as long as they like to worship to Coldplay.  … I want to preach the death of an ethno-centric idea.  I don’t know how we get past this thing (wanting ethnic diversity on OUR terms).”  Matt Chandler

“Without a diverse leadership it is unlikely you will have a diverse membership.  … I grew up in South Carolina and was racist to my toe nails for the first 20 years of my life.”  John Piper

Mark: You insulted my band.  John: You care about insulting people?  Mark: There is a comeback, but this is where I practice on-going sanctification.

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