Interview with Dr. Phil – Part 3

Continuing from Part 2.

Who are some of your favorite authors (live and dead ones)?

  • Live ones–Iain Murray, Jerry Bridges, Bruce Ware, Jay Adams, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, John Piper, John MacArthur, James R. White, Paul Tripp, Ed Welch, Dave Powlison
  • Dead ones–B.B.Warfield, Philip Schaff, John Owen, Francis Schaeffer, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Franics Turretin

Who are some of your favorite preachers today?
I generally don’t listen to the sermons of others (except the freebies of GTY!). Doug Bookman is probably my favorite teacher/speaker. Rolland McCune probably delivered what is probably the most memorable sermon for me when he spoke from Isaiah 40.

What are some theological threats that you as a pastor are concerned about presently? And possible solution(s)? Watching the new emergent system folk dress up in the threadbare theological clothes of the old liberalism. Also, the latest step in apostasy of those who signed the so-called agreement between Christianity and Islam is something I find quite disturbing. The solution? Teach and preach the Word. When people consistently hear the Truth, they will be able to identify error when it approaches them and their congregation.

What are some ecclesiastical threats that you are concerned about presently? And possible solution(s)? The man-centered philiosophy of Warren and Hybels are exceedingly dangerous. But perhaps more sinister is the “Yeah, but…” philosophy. Those who say, “I know what God’s Word says, but…” are doing serious hindrance to the ministry of the Word. People who have a low view of the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word tend to have a low view of the authority of God. The solution? We need to give all diligence to study and teach the Word, emphasizing its authority and sufficiency for all areas of life. We need to set the example of humbly yielding to His powerful and gracious Word in our own lives as elders. Every aspect of doing church must be scrutinized and evaluation to make sure it aligns with the teaching of God’s Word.
What is CBC doing for evangelism currently? And what have you guys done in the past?
We have sought to focus on individual evangelism rather than large group evangelism. I realize God uses both approaches, but the individual setting works best for us. We have sought to equip members of CBC to answer questions (Colossians 4:4-5; 1st Peter 3:15) and address spiritual matters with unbelievers from a Godward perspective. One very helpful tool we have utilized is the Discovering God material from PAGE Ministries.

Has CBC always been non-denominational? If so, why? Are you guys happy where you are or thinking possibly to join a denomination or affiliation in future? I’m not sure if we are technically non-denominational, but I do know we are Baptist with a little “b.” By that I mean I agree with the Baptistic position, but I am fully convinced that many under the banner of Baptist are not Biblical. Being Baptist proves nothing. At the same time, I think it is very important to assist people in identifying where a congregation stands on issues. There’s a balance somewhere. CBC was planted by and initially associated with the Minnesota Baptist Association. That relationship ended in 1980. We were, until 2007, associated with the NTAIBC.

We are content with our relationships with sisters churches such as yours, and also those who attend our Pastors’ Fellowships. Perhaps some day we will consider affiliating with another group.

Are you an embracer of the doctrines of grace? If so, when and how did it happen for you?
I gladly embrace the doctrines of grace today, but it was a long, slow process. My training was on the non-doctrines of grace side of the spectrum. Some in that camp were even anti-doctrines of grace. I don’t think I can identify any one specific book I read (though I have read many over the years) or one specific event that took place that pushed me in this direction. I do know, however, that from the task of studying God’s Word for messages here at CBC God graciously and gradually opened my heart to see these truths. Perhaps the transition became most noticeable in the past 10 years or so.

In your estimation, how important are the doctrines of grace? I believe they are vital if we are to have a Godward ministry. But having said that, I also realize that some folks do not hold to them and used for God’s glory far more than I. I believe the doctrines of grace give structure and direction to the thought and ministry of an elder. They give balance to our teaching, to our evangelism, etc. They give encouragement in the face of the latest, hottest trends to come off the presses or the internet.

What made you to pursue D.Min in biblical counseling? And why at that particular school? Would you recommend it to other pastors? The pursuit of this degree began for rather pragmatic reasons. When I arrived at CBC, I was bombarded with a variety of personal and family counseling/discipling issues that I was ill-prepared for. The counseling class through my MDiv training was relatively worthless. (Thankfully that school has made the appropriate changes.) I was introduced to nouthetic counseling during my college days. As a young believer, I was thrilled to see someone take the Word of God seriously enough to use it in helping struggling people.

Why did I choose the school I did to complete my DMin? Again, it was for rather pragmatic reasons. There were no other schools at the time that offered a degree in nouthetic counseling. Plus, I was able to do everything via the mail (this was the early days of distance education) and stay here at CBC.

Would I recommend this school to other pastors? I haven’t kept track of what that school is doing or where it is right now, so I can’t say for sure. I don’t hesitate to recommend distance education, however.

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