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D. A. Carson Delivers Sizemore Lectures at Midwestern Seminary

Posted March 8, 2024 by Michaela Classen

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Midwestern Seminary welcomed D. A. Carson to campus on March 5-6 to deliver the annual Sizemore Lectures.

Carson, who serves as distinguished professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and theologian-at-large for The Gospel Coalition, gave two lectures and joined Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen for a Q&A luncheon. Carson’s lectures addressed the New Testament use of the Old Testament in Hebrews.

President Allen commented on the joy of having Carson deliver the lectures and the enormity of Carson’s impact on the church. He said, “To know Don is to know an accomplished scholar and churchman, a man who loves the gospel of Christ, the Great Commission, and who has been devoted over the years and decades to international work and the global church.”

Christ the Unique Son of God

In his first lecture, Carson addressed the use of the term ‘son of God’ in the Old and New Testaments. He began by noting the diverse ways the New Testament cites the Old Testament, stating how such readings can seem strange to contemporary audiences.

Carson pointed to examples in Hebrews and Acts to show this multifaceted use of Old Testament passages by New Testament authors. From these passages, he highlighted how Scripture refers to Christ as the Son of God from eternity and as appointed Son of God at the resurrection.

He argued that the context of a passage determines what it means when it refers to a son of God. Giving examples from Psalms, Job, and Hebrews, Carson showed that Jesus is the Son of God both in the sense of being like His Father and in the sense of being appointed a mediator between the Father and humanity.

Carson went on to show that the Old Testament references to a Davidic son of God reveal the unique nature of Christ’s sonship. He concluded, “The pattern of sonship that was established already in the Davidic line is now coming to fruition in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Coming to Christ through the Old Testament

Carson’s second lecture focused on the use of Old Testament narratives in Hebrews 3:7-4:13. He showed two examples of how the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament as the culmination of Old Testament trajectories leading to Christ.

In the first example, Carson showed how Hebrews 3 uses the Old Testament account of Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness to warn against unbelief and to underscore the perseverance of genuine faith.

In the second example, Carson explored how the Old Testament uses Sabbath to foreshadow the salvation into which Christ leads believers. Tracing this argument from Hebrews 3-4, he said, “The author of Hebrews is insisting that we read the Bible’s storyline and how the pieces come together to make a pattern.”

Carson shared a word on Hebrews 4:12-13, demonstrating the relevance of the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament for believers today. He said, “The point is that this living and active Word of God pronounced judgment on the Old Testament tribes, and coming to us today, it either pronounces judgment or freedom.”

Concluding the lecture, Carson charged, “Our task as we contemplate the use of the Old Testament in the New is not simply to understand how the bits fit together, but how they fit together in such a way that they drive us to terror and to glorious release.” He went on to say that “the aim of biblical exposition” is to lead people to “the God who calls us in repentance and faith to trust Him.”

Encouragement for the Church

At the Q&A luncheon with President Allen, Carson shared reflections from his life and ministry as a pastor, writer, and Bible scholar.

He concluded with a word of hope for the future of theological education and the church, stating, “The number of good, Bible-teaching, expository churches today with an average age of 40 or less is growing enormously. I am hugely encouraged.” He added, “I could well imagine that in another 10 to 20 years we’ll see singular movements of God rising again. This is not, to my mind, a day for discouragement.”

The Sizemore Lecture series was established in 1978 in memory of Dr. Burlan A. Sizemore, Jr., professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Midwestern Seminary from 1968 to 1976. The annual lecture series brings noted biblical scholars to the Midwestern Seminary campus as a way of continuing Dr. Sizemore’s legacy of theological and biblical commitment.

To watch the Sizemore Lectures, click here.

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