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A Conversation with Wayne Grudem

Mark Driscoll
As one of the most important theologians of our day, Dr. Wayne Grudem has impacted me tremendously since my conversion to Christianity at the age of nineteen. I believe the first book of his I read was Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Today, I own every book he has published that I am aware of. His Systematic Theology is in my opinion the finest on the market and the standard for Mars Hill Church and many of the churches we are affiliated with in the Acts 29 Network. Over a year ago while in Raleigh, N. C., I met Dr. Grudem’s son Elliot and was encouraged at the loving and respectful way he spoke of his father. Sometimes a man is great in print or on the stage, but far less impressive the closer you get to him in the everyday affairs of life. But the way Elliot spoke of his dad was incredibly reassuring and made me all the more eager to one day meet and thank him. God answered that desire on a recent trip to Orlando, Florida, while on my way home from a time of preaching and teaching across London and Brighton, England. At the 70th anniversary banquet for Crossway Publishing I got to meet Dr. Grudem and thank him personally for the enormous impact his writing has had on my life as he has combined a complementarian view of gender roles with reformed theology and a love for God the Holy Spirit. He was very kind and encouraging and so was his lovely wife. She went out of her way to encourage me and was a very gracious and enjoyable woman in our brief time together. After our time together, the Grudems went so far as to leave a loving and encouraging voicemail for me at my hotel that meant a great deal. In my time with Dr. Grudem I asked him a few questions that I thought would be worth sharing. (I informed him that I would blog his answers to ensure that he was respected.) I asked him which doctrines he would encourage young Christian leaders to devote themselves to studying as they prepare for what potentially lies ahead theologically. He said that for such a weighty question he would prefer to thoughtfully craft an answer, but did give two recommendations in the moment: 1. Scripture — He said that every issue ultimately hinges on one’s view of the inerrancy, authority, and truthfulness of Scripture in every way. He encourages all young Christian leaders to make sure that deep within them is a love for and trust in every word of Scripture as God’s perfect revelation to us. 2. Authority — He said that he sees authority as a pervasive problem in our culture. As we talked, it became clear that what he meant is that people profess to be Christians yet refuse to submit to God’s authority, including Scripture, and people God has ordained to be in loving authority, such as godly parents and pastors. He summarized his points by saying that he aspires for Christians to believe whatever God says and obey whatever God commands. As a final point, I asked him if there was anything that people could be in prayer for him about. He said that he was praying about whether or not God would have him write three books, and if so in what order and noted that prayer for wisdom on this matter is appreciated. The subject matter for these possible books is: 1. Ethics — exploring the enormously complicated and controversial issues of our day, such as sexuality, gender, divorce and remarriage, abortion, war, and the like with a rigorously biblical examination. 2. Global Poverty — exploring the reasons why there is economic disparity in the world and ways in which Christians could be used by God as agents of change for good in the world according to biblical principles. 3. Government — exploring the role of government, the role of Christians in regard to their government, and how to live as faithful citizens of God’s kingdom in the nations of the earth as the Scriptures declare. Lastly, it seems that many of these ideas sprung forth from his work on the articles he oversaw for the English Standard Version Study Bible due out this fall. In an interview with Justin Taylor at the dinner where Grudem and I met, he said that he was motivated to see the big ethical issues of our day included in the ESV Study Bible so that it connects God’s Word with the big issues in God’s world.
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