What if there was a strong church right in the middle of the nation’s capitol? What if it was pastored by a humble man of God of profound spiritual insight, impeccable academic credentials, and a dynamic personal presence? What if this pastor was absolutely convinced that his own abilities and giftings were not the point, that God’s glory in Christ is the point, and that God’s word—not this pastor’s own clever ideas—is what needs to be proclaimed in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday? What if this pastor was reproducing himself in literally dozens of sharp young men who intern under him at the church? What if the pastor and his staff gave themselves to do everything they could to help vivify dying or dead churches?
If all these things came true, wouldn’t we all stop and offer a hymn of thanks and praise to God for so blessing his church with someone who so relentlessly points us to Christ? It’s time to pause and offer that hymn of thanks and praise, and I suggest you learn this one if you don’t already know it.
Let me continue with these “what if’s”? What if this pastor I’ve been describing (Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.) gave himself to preaching overview sermons on every book of the whole Bible? What if these sermons were informed enough of the scholarly discussions to pass muster with Bible professors, and yet not bogged down with all the technicalities that keep us from “seeing the forest.” What if these sermons were truly “gospel preaching,” that is, magnifying the holiness of God and his mercy in Christ and the inability of humanity and the power of God that is demonstrated in his ability to save sinners through the death of Christ on the cross? What if these sermons not only got the big picture of the books of the Bible right, what if they spoke to our day—right into the heart of contemporary concerns?
Well, if all this stuff could possibly come true, we would have, for God’s glory, what we do have, Hallelujah!, in these two books:
I recommend you get them as soon as you can and begin to feast your soul. Take them slowly. As you finish (or start, whichever) the next book in your Bible reading, let Pastor Mark give you either a preview or a roundup, or maybe both. I like these books so much that I’m requiring the one on the New Testament for my “Great Themes of the New Testament” course next week and the one on the Old Testament for my OT Survey 1 course next fall (with a bunch of academic stuff, too). My prayer is that God would raise up many ministers of the Gospel who will preach the Word as clearly and faithfully as this modern day Spurgeon does in these two books.