I have finally received the MP3s for the D.A. Carson talks held during the Living Word conference 2008, which incidentally raised my opinion of Singapore Anglicanism. So I have been ripping and editing the MP3s to extract some nice soundbites, typically in the beginning at the Q&A session since I am so not going to attempt to find a section in his sermon which can be generally understood without its context of the entire sermon, though I am sure there are such good soundbites around.
Anyway, here are the interesting soundbites by Don Carson:
In this inclusive postmodern age and time, it is certainly sad that the truth that all people are by nature children of wrath needs to be qualified and treated delicately. I would be happier if Carson did not make that qualifier at the end of his answer to the Inclusivist question, as it distracts from the truth of Scripture and adds nothing of value to it.
And here is Don Carson on the Prosperity 'gospel', which is no gospel at all:
Carson taught on the second day on the topic of the Antichrist that the nature of the two beasts mentioned in Rev. 13 was such that one overly persecuted Christians (the first beast) (cf v. 7) while the second beast 'persecutes' Christians via deceiving them to worship the first beast via heresies and every wind of false doctrines. The question was thus put to him as to whether the Prosperity 'gospel' is a second beast, and he said yes. As you can hear from the clip, I was one of those who applauded, but I did not stand up to applaud him, which my friend Huaizhi did. That said, I similarly think that the qualifier placed at the beginning is totally unnecessary, and serves to confuse more than to enlighten. After all, which prosperity preacher except for the most extreme type would state upfront that they are preaching nothing but prosperity and not Christ? Rather, is it not the nature of deception to play the game of bait-and-switch; to state that they preach Christ yet in practice preach the so-called "benefits" of material prosperity and health?
And onto the last clip:
This was the clip which did not exactly endear themselves to members of FCBC since it was obviously talking about their pastor "Apostle" Lawrence Khong, who incidentally is part of the New Apostolic movement since he calls himself an apostle. Anyway, the question as can be heard wasn't phrased well, and seems to be more of a question of using magic during his services occasionally, plus a tad bit ad-hominem. As I have stated in my review of the talk:
With regards to the first question, the question was rather pointed such that everyone immediately knows who it was referring to – (Apostle) Pastor Lawrence Khong of FCBC. The questioner asked what did Carson thought about the use of magic by a prominent pastor in Singapore, or something to that effect. In my opinion, that was a question that would not really get to the point of contention about Lawrence Khong’s use of magic. After all, with this, it cannot be expected for Carson to know anything of the background information or what this whole issue is about. Furthermore, the question sounded rather personal so it wasn’t a very good question overall. Therefore not only was the basic issue not addressed, but the question was too ad-hominem in nature. From the way that Carson answered, it shows precisely why that was a bad question because Carson probably had in mind a pastor who uses magic occasionally during his sermons. Such magic is thus not occultic in nature, but sleight of hand, and therefore has nothing to do with Scripture’s condemnation of magic. Carson however states that if the doing of magic becomes the primary focus such that it is done to show people how good we are at magic, then he would have a serious issue with that, and with that he ended his answer.
In my opinion, the question should be better worded to focus on the real problem and not on the person. The problem with Lawrence Khong’s focus on magic is not stated here, which is the doing of magic as a semi-substitute for preaching the whole counsel of God, and a distrust of the sufficiency and power of the Word of God to effect salvation apart from his magic tricks. Since Rom. 10:17 proclaims to us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, it is totally unbiblical and inconceivable that anyone can truly comes to faith by just going to one of Khong’s “evangelistic” magic shows, in which no mention is made of the wrath of God, of the sinfulness of Man, and of the necessity of repentance and true faith [mere words do not count], and where magic skills were flaunted This then is the issue and the background information which should be conveyed to Carson, instead of giving a question which assumes as if Carson knows anything about the issues with Lawrence Khong, not to mention Khong is personally irrelevant to the entire issue. A better question to ask Dr. Carson thus is: “What do you think of the using of magic shows by a pastor as a medium for evangelism?”
This then ends Carson's soundbites. For the content of the talks, either go get for yourself a copy of the talks on MP3s somehow, or read mine and various others' reflections on them.