Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Believers Most Valuable Asset Is His Mind? - Rick Warren's Sermon At Desiring God (Part 2)

The following commentary corresponds to the following video from 2:08 to 7:45

It is a big claim to not only tell the hearers that you have a message from God, but also to say that their lives depend on this message. That must be an awfully huge burden on Pastor Warren's shoulders. I am intrigued to see how this message develops and reveals my life dependancy on it.

From the outset here Warren lays out the central focus of his message which is the mind. I imagine this would be mainly due to the conference being themed on the word "think". Now that words are getting mentioned and Warren is speaking I guess I had better give out a large acronym and rhyming alert, I'm sure they are coming. I had also better issue alerts for "four points", "five steps", and "six principles" because I can already see the avalanche of advice coming down the hill. Also, is it just me, or are there more important assets than our mind? I'd be gunning for Christ's imputed righteousness . . . that's a possession of believers.

Here Warren zeroes in on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 as his key text in what he calls the battle of the mind. I would contend that the surrounding verses here provide some important context that is being missed. That aside, I am intrigued that He claims the reason there are "so many ineffective Christians" is that they don't know how to fight this battle of the mind. And he then blames pastors for not teaching them how to fight this war. There may be an element of truth to what Warren is saying here but his emphasis (as usual) on the "how to do" rather than the "Who has done" really is getting to where Warren differs so much from Christ centered preachers like John Piper. This is all boiling down to how Warren views conversion and I'm sure this will be a major theme as we progress through this message. Matthew 25 also talks about "ineffective Christians" but uses the word "goats" instead.

Yes, I will concede that the Christian's thought life is a battlefield. I hate some of the thoughts that pass through my mind. But the Scripture describes genuine Christians as people who are "new creatures" (2 Corinthians 5:17) with new hearts and desires (Ezekiel 36:25-27). If there is a "how to" it involves the mortification of sin as Jesus clearly described in Mark 9:

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' (Mark 9:43-48)

But even this sanctification is more of an indicative than an imperative. The ability to mortify sin in our lives, including mental strongholds, is evidence of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It is fruit of genuine conversion. The spirit wars with the flesh in the life of a true believer but he is always broken, repentant, and deeply desirous to please His Savior. But I wouldn't describe him as "ineffective". Where Warren offers information and education, Christ points to sanctification. And this sanctification is an indication of the Spirit's work. Where there is no sanctification there is no work of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11), and where there is no Holy Spirit there is no regeneration.

Yes, the believer can benefit from some education in this area and John Owen's classic work on "The Moritification of Sin" is a great place to go for that. And I am not going to label every individual with the same stroke of this broad brush. But the plague that besets the seeker sensitive universe, presided over by Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, is thousands of people who have said a prayer but never repented, acknowledged Christ but never abandoned their sinful lifestyle, and are purpose driven but not Christ centered. By and large the issue is conversion and the solution is the Gospel. It all boils down to meditating on who we are - sinners, Who God is - Holy, and what Christ has done in His finished work on the cross.

That's all for now, but I'm sure we'll talk a lot more about this issue over the coming posts. More to come on Friday . . .

Go On To Part 3
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Cameron Buettel said...

If my mind is my most valuable asset then I have deep concerns about my total net worth.