Interview with Mark Dever on Richard Sibbes

Tim Brister —  January 21, 2008 — 18 Comments

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to interview Mark Dever on the life and ministry of Richard Sibbes. As you will find while searching the internet, there are several interviews of Dever on a number of issues, but I am not aware of any specifically focused on his doctoral dissertation, Richard Sibbes: Puritanism and Calvinism in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart England. I am not one to do many interviews, but I thought this was a great time to approach Dever regarding his expert knowledge of Richard Sibbes, whose sermons (which comprise The Bruised Reed) we are reading. I want to say a special thanks to Tony (King Kummer) who came over to assist with the technical aspects of the interview (and for laughing at me throughout).

The questions I asked Dever include:

* Why Sibbes?
* On Friendships
* On Assurance
* How Sibbes Personally Impacted Dever’s Life
* On the Works, Which Piece You Recommend Next
* On Ecclesiology, Moderation, and WWSD (What Would Sibbes Do?)
* Chief Theological Contribution of Sibbes
* Sibbes the Affection Theologian and Jonathan Edwards
* Words of Encouragement and Advice to Those Reading for 1st Time

Listen or download my interview with Mark Dever:

Interview with Mark Dever on Richard Sibbes

Let me know what you think or if there is anything you want to discuss. 

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  • Dave Bignell

    Timmy,

    I thought the interview was excellent. Thanks for providing that for us; I appreciate your effort. Other than Bunyan and Samuel Rutherford, I’m absolutely new to the puritan writers and their theological and church perspective. The historical context that you and Mark provided adds, for me, an extra dimension to the experience of reading the book. It certainly helps to understand a little about the man, the people around him, and the concerns of his day.

    As a newbe to your blog, I appreciate your openness and I look forward to seeing how we all grow spiritually through this challenge.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Thanks Dave. All this podcast biz is a little new to me, and as you can see, I was stumbling and speechless more than once.

    I do hope the interview was helpful to better understand Sibbes, the Puritans, and the times in which they lived.

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  • http://www.jenniferpartin.blogspot.com Jennifer Partin

    I just finished listening to the interview—-too bad Mark Dever couldn’t read the entire Sibbes book aloud for us. (I found that tip really helpful for myself the hard way!)

    You could hear in the interview not only the wealth of knowledge Dever has about Sibbes and his life but the passion Dever has for Sibbes work and his use of illustrations.

    I really enjoyed the interview and must admit I was surprised by your slight southern accent. :)

    I already have next month’s book and am hoping not to feel so behind as I did with this month’s book. Thank you for all the effort you are putting into the PRC for us all.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Southern accent, eh? I think I will chalk that up to the “third shift slur.” You know how you talk when someone calls you in the middle of the night? Yeah, that’s me at 10:00 a.m.!

    Okay, maybe I have a little southern accent. After all, my father is from Yazoo City, Mississippi. :) Anything that ends with “sh” with inevitably have a “r” in there somewhere (e.g. “wash” really should be pronounced “warsh”).

    Yeah, Dever has an incredible mind and wit. I offered to give the questions to him ahead of time to look them over, but he preferred to got at it without any preparation on his end. Needless to say, I was quite impressed.

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  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com/ Stephen Newell

    Is there a transcript somewhere?

    And yes you definitely have a Southern accent. Takes one to know one.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Stephen,

    I thought about you when I was preparing to post this. If you will give me a little time, I will work on it. I might have to go the Trevin Wax route and break it down by question to make it more concise. If I go that route, which issues (above posted) would you want transcribed first? That way, I can prioritize the parts of the interview you are most interested in reading.

  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com/ Stephen Newell

    Well, I wouldn’t mind reading the whole thing, quite honestly. I actually find Trevin’s way of transcribing it easier to follow, so if you wanted to focus on the questions that would be fine. At least the speechless parts will be easy to transcribe. ;-)

    Don’t rush, I’m in no hurry what with the baby being due any day in the next 2 weeks. Plus with school starting I’d rather not take up too much of your time!

    Also, it dawned on me yesterday that the baby will come out just in time to start The Mystery of Providence. I’m gonna be reading that one out loud in the hospital, in my recliner, everywhere that I’m sitting down with the baby in my arms! :D

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    That’s funny Stephen, because that is what Dever encouraged us to do, viz. reading the book out loud. That is because The Bruised Reed is actually a collection of sermons Sibbes preached; ergo, they were originally (or intended to be) read out loud. Also, I think you get a greater feel for the spirit or pathos of the book when it is read out loud too.

    So you don’t have any particular point that interests you more?

  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com/ Stephen Newell

    At this point, no. I actually went through all 7 years of seminary totally ignorant of the Puritans beyond the usual high school “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and “The Scarlet Letter” studies. So I guess you could say I’m in a “learn all you can” mode!

    As it is, I finished The Bruised Reed last night and will be posting on it soon.

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  • http://minormutterings.blogspot.com Jerry

    Timmy, Great interview. I especially enjoyed the interaction, very engaging and personable.

    I think that I will take up Mark’s suggestion and start reading out loud. Hearing Mark read aloud from Sibbes was truly “Great benefit to your soul.”

  • http://www.feedingonchrist.blogspot.com Nicholas T. Batzig

    Its interesting that so many of the best theologians in the church today (Mark Dever, Sinclair Ferguson, Derek Thomas, Carl Trueman, Joseph Pipa, etc.) all did their doctoral studies in Puritan history or theology. We have much to learn from the writings of the 17th century Puritans today. Sadly, the church has not wanted to learn from them due to the idea that the Puritans are not culturally relavent. In all my reading of the Puritans there is only a very small amount of their writings that are not relavent today. If you consider the significance of studying history even that small portion is beneficial. These were men who had fervent love to Christ and because of that, they labored to expound and apply His word.

  • http://www.theosource.com Jason Button

    Timmy,
    Thank you for putting forth the effort to conduct this interview with Mark Dever. I read Sibbes’ The Bruised Reed last May with a few friends and was thoroughly blessed. I sought out biographical information and found Dever’s book and carefully read through it, too.
    One of the things that came immediately to mind was the fact that Dever kept remarking on Sibbes’ interest in the “marks of a true church.” I couldn’t help but think of Dever’s many books on the same subject.
    I’ve been wanting to hear him talk about what he took away from his study of Sibbes, and how it has affected his passion for healthy churches for months now. This interview was fantastic. Especially helpful was Dever’s clarification of the differences between the Anglican church in Sibbes’ day and contemporary denominations. The questions you posed to him about denominational apostasy and moderation are questions I’ve been pondering since I read the book. Dever’s remarks on this subject helped to clarify some things for me. This was great. Thanks!

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