Book Notice: SERVING THE CHURCH, REACHING THE WORLD: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF DON CARSON, edited by Richard M. Cunningham

Published on July 14, 2017 by Joshua R Monroe

IVP, 2017 | 188 pages

 

Dick Lucas begins his Foreword to this book, “What is it about this man D.A. Carson that stirs in me, as in so many, thoughts of affection and admiration?” I suppose the answers vary to the individual, but the question does reflect a widely common consensus.

It’s not too many people who have a festschrift given in their name, and almost no one has been given two. But D.A. Carson is one of those well-deserved rare exceptions. You may recall that he was presented with the first festschrift five years ago: Understanding the Times: New Testament Studies in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of D.A. Carson on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday (Crossway, Andreas J. Köstenberger and Robert Yarbrough, eds.). Richard Cunningham has assembled a new list of contributors for the second Carson festschrift for his 70th birthday. He humorously reflects on his task in his introduction:

Upon realizing that Don Carson would turn 70 shortly before coming to speak at the UCCF London-wide mission, I rather foolishly asked his permission to celebrate this milestone with a party. Don liked the idea so much he threatened to pull out of the entire trip.
Noting his aversion to personal attention and any whiff of celebrity culture, I decided—with regard to this Festschrift—that it would be far simpler to crave Don’s forgiveness after publication than to seek his permission in advance.

The title Cunningham chose for the book characterizes “The Don’s” ministry well: Serving the Church—Reaching the World. And the topics taken up in the book are shaped accordingly:

The chapters in this volume are intended to equip the serious-minded reader with those biblical convictions that will enable us to be more effective both in formal ministry and in ordinary witness to our increasingly secular society without compromising biblical priorities and truth.

Part 1 of the book addresses the subject of preaching and preachers. Packer’s “Preacher and Theologian” here especially makes for good reading. Part 2 addresses matters of truth and apologetics, and I suspect most will find Bill Edgar’s culture-related essay most interesting. Part 3 addresses mission challenges and opportunities. The essays are consistently insightful, and the brief tributes to Carson that show up in them provide affectionate glimpses of Carson’s impact in God’s good providence.

Contributors include:

  • Kirsten Birkett
  • Richard M. Cunningham
  • William Edgar
  • Stefan Gustavsson
  • David Jackman
  • Michael Keller
  • Tim Keller
  • Dick Lucas (Foreword)
  • Michael J. Ovey
  • J.I. Packer
  • John Stevens

Serving the Church—Reaching the World (IVP – UK), right now, at least, is available in the US only on Kindle.

There are few authors I’ve read more than Carson (in fact, now that I think of it, he is probably second only to Warfield!). As for so many others he has been a treasured source of learning and trusted biblical guide. And on a personal level—again, as for so many—he has been a true blessing to me and my family. He will have to forgive me for saying this out loud, but his model of biblical scholarship, his heart for gospel outreach, his concern for the local church, and his good friendships all constitute a good gift from God to our generation. This second festschrift is a welcome tribute and a worthy contribution to topics that genuinely matter.

Fred G. Zaspel

Buy the books

Serving the Church, Reaching the World: Essays in honour of Don Carson

IVP, 2017 | 188 pages