Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mike Ovey interview

Christian Focus will be publishing a collection of interviews that I conducted with senior ministers and seminary professors. The provisional title is To Protect and Serve: Interviews on handling truth and error in the Church. The line up includes Mike Horton, Carl Trueman, Scott Clark, Mark Dever, Tom Schreiner (penal substitution), Joel Beeke, Kim Riddlebarger, Derek Thomas, and Ligon Duncan (justification). The foreword is by Sinclair Ferguson.

Robert Letham writes about the interviews:
This collection is fascinating, sobering and encouraging. It presents an impressive range of experience and wisdom on the challenges facing the church and its ministry in dealing with false teaching while being sensitive to those affected by it.
I have also interviewed Mike Ovey, one of the authors of Pierced for our Transgressions and the Principal of Oak Hill Theological College. You'll have to buy the book to read the full interview but here is a taster:
How should a minister keep his own heart, mind and will from theological error?

I think a minister must remember first that his mind is not a neutral instrument, but one that not infrequently will be used to rationalize his heart’s desire. From that point of view there is a real need for a minister to concentrate on the fruit of the Spirit and in particular the virtues of humility and gentleness. It does seem to me that a heart that is prone to pride and aggression is likely to be prone to theological error. So spending personal time with the Lord, submitted to his word, and where possible having an accountability group – all these things to my mind help protect us from theological error as well as from unholiness of life. The two do, I think, go together.

Why do men possessed of fine intellectual gifts end up embracing and believing significant theological errors?

I think there are three things that spring to mind. First, pride: in particular perhaps a pride of intellect that insists God should have said this rather than that, and therefore squeezes the Scripture into one’s own system. Secondly, boredom: I think there is a spiritual malaise that has a sense of ennui at the presentation of simple Gospel truths (Christ died for my sin, Christ rose again, he is the ascended Lord) and wants, so to speak, to explore the periphery of Christian theology. I think there is a cultural spirit in our time that loves the new and loves the esoteric. Thirdly, we can embrace error because we want to justify what we are doing: simple immorality over the years has led many of us astray.

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