Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sam Storms at Desiring God Conference for Pastors!

If I had an unlimited budget then there is no doubt that one of my greatest pleasures would be to "conference-hop" over the earth and manage to hear the great names that I admire and respect. I was extremely excited to hear that Sam Storms was the keynote speaker at John Piper's conference for pastors at Desiring God this year. The conference has just ended and blog updates can be found at the Desiring God blog. Adrian Warnock has taken a slightly different approach but still reflects on the conference extremely well.

Sam's topic (unsurprisingly) was Christian hedonism. It is a doctrine I am familiar with but Adrian Warnock said quite rightly that it is something we need to be reminded of. In fact he said;

"The message of Christian hedonism is intoxicating!".

I like that. Sam Storms third message dealt extremely practically with the issue of combating sin and this is something I am increasingly becoming passionate about. I have made no secret of the fact that the SGM/Mahaney approach of speaking about "indwelling sin" and the processes of accountability trouble me. Frankly I don't think they work and actually give sin a platform that it does not deserve and take away from the power and finality of the Cross.

Sam Storms summarises the various approaches to dealing with sin well:

"I think Christians have typically employed three tactics in their efforts to help others fight sin:

1. Labor to portray sin in the ugliest possible terms, hoping and praying to frighten people into righteous living.
2. Revert to legalism by producing long lists to corral our impulses.
3. Argue that the problem is the presence of desire for pleasure in the human soul".

He summarises;

"The only way you can conquer one pleasure is with another greater and more pleasing pleasure. The only way to break the bondages in which our people find themselves is by cultivating a passion for joy and delight in beholding the beauty of Jesus".

And concluded;

"People are in bondage to sin today because they are bored stiff with God, and that's our fault. If your people don't hear you speak the same truths that Paul did and if they don't sense the enthusiasm in you that was in him, they will just go home and turn on whatever anesthetizes their pain".

I realise that to some who view grace seriously - this may not be enough. To others like those who still see indwelling sin - this may be too much. But I found this message encouraging and challenging. And above all if it makes us re-think the wonder of what Christ did at the Cross then it's going to be worth-while!

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