Saturday, October 10, 2009

Don Fortner on Mark 9:30-37

Don Fortner is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Danville in Kentucky. Like Chuck Smith, Don Fortner follows a verse-by-verse approach in his sermons. Unlike Chuck Smith, Don Fortner is a Calvinistic Baptist. The title of the sermon is Matters of Tremendous Importance.

1. Does the pastor explain the text correctly? Smith briefly mentions the crucifixion but does not dwell on it. Markquart and Cantalamessa avoid it entirely. Cwirla does the best job of letting the text speak. Fortner uses these verses as an opportunity to defend Calvinist theology. Fortner claims that "the doctrine taught in these verses is the blessed gospel doctrine of substitutionary atonement." The doctrine of the substitutionary atonement is true and is certainly at the very heart of the Scriptures, but I don't believe that is what is being taught here. Jesus is saying that He will be crucified and rise again and is calling the disciples to die with Him. Fortner also takes time to speak of the sovereignty of God and the hardening effects of the Gospel but these are not the focus of the passage either. It is clear that Jesus was in control of the situation and was offering Himself up but to make it about God's abstract sovereignty distracts from what the text is saying. He sees that the text tells us to be servants but misses the point that Jesus is THE servant who we are joined to. (-0.25)

2. Is the law preached lawfully? Yes. Fortner does say that we are all guilty of the sin of pride. (+1)

3. Is Jesus mentioned? Yes. (+1)

4. Is the sermon about what Jesus has done for us? Some of it. It starts out talking about what Jesus has done for us but it does not present Jesus as the remedy for the sin of pride. It does not apply Jesus specifically to the hearer. (0)

5. Does the creation of a Wordle show a Christian focus in the sermon? No. "Pride" is mentioned 30 times. "God" comes in second at 23. Focus upon some sort of sovereign God is not necessarily Christian. (-1)

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So the total is +0.75 or 57.5%.

The current standings are:

Don Fortner (Calvinistic Baptist) 57.5% F

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