"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Messing with Mr. In-Between!

To call Dr. R. C. Sproul a theological giant is an understatement. God has been kind in the history of the church to dot the landscape with men of serious mental acumen. R. C. Sproul is one of those dots. We might say he is a peak in the mountain range of church history. He soars above his colleagues, pointing us to the person and work of Jesus Christ. I dare say, as others have said, he is the "Martin Luther of the Modern Age!"

Having said all of this, I must admit that at times he soars above us common pilgrims. As the aged theologian spoke with passion and tremendous energy, he left many of the attendees of Together for the Gospel 2010 sitting in a mental stupor. We could not grasp every thing that he said because our small brains were overwhelmed. But do not misunderstand. This is not his fault. This is a challenge for all of us to think deeper, meditate longer, and study to show ourselves approved.

Dr. Sproul spoke on "The Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel - What I have Learned in 50 Years." Sproul listed the greatest danger for the evangelical church as a desire to synchrotize the gospel with other forms of religion. He warned against the loss of thesis/antithesis in modern theological discussion. Sproul is well aware of the dangers of Neo-Orthodoxy, Liberation Theology, Death of God Theology, Process Theology, and the latest attempt at synthesis, Open Theism. The danger for most is the failure to understand the dangers that are lying at the door. We drink from the wells of bad theology because we do not sit and ponder the source and the outcome of the belief we are espousing. Sproul leveled the argument of those who worked just a few years ago under the title Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He posed the question, "Has Rome accepted the Solas of the Reformation? Is there now a readiness on all parts to except the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone? If they have not, then how can Evangelicals and Catholics ever truly come together. We must not mess with Mr. In-Between!"

Dr. Sproul concluded his talk by saying that the second great danger for evangelicals is the desire to improve the gospel. His grasp of the issues that face the church was clear, and his challenge to pastors and churchmen alike was pointed. He urged, "The greatest challenge to every minister is fidelity to the Gospel!" Sproul pleaded with us all to hold on to the gospel that was delivered to us by the apostles in the pages of Holy Writ! "Because it is not your gospel, it is God's gospel. You cannot improve His gospel!"

Thank you God for the dot on the landscape, the mountain peak in the mountain range, R. C. Sproul. We may not be able to soar as high as him or ascend to greatness as effortlessly as he does, but when we sit at his feet and learn, we are pulled upward into the vision of Christ that he presents! May we all live, think, and preach the unadjusted, unimproved gospel of God! Talk to you soon... CW.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Church is the Gospel Made Visible

Mark Dever had the pleasure of getting the T4G 2010 conference off to a start. My first observation is that Dr. Dever has lost serious weight since I last saw him (30 to 40 pounds). He looks great, and he is his normal straight forward, convicting self! After seeing the title of his talk, I knew that as a young pastor it was going to be a challenging 90 minutes.

His first two questions set the table: How does Grace Fellowship make the gospel visible? Would it be better for the evangelization of our community if Grace Fellowship did not exist?

Those are not the questions you here at your typical conference. Most people are trying to promote their big idea on church growth at a conference. Mark is challenging 7,000 people to seriously consider if their local congregation displays the gospel, and he goes on to have us question if our church should exist as a part of the transformation movement in the community. Typical of Dever, things got better from that point. By better I mean more convicting!!

"A healthy congregation displays the proclamation of the gospel in living color - the church is created by the gospel, and then the church exists to reflect the gospel" He explained with precise detail the process of reflecting the gospel by doing the following things well:
  1. We reflect the gospel by displaying and proclaiming the character of God. Specifically we are to make known the holiness, love, and authority of God.
  2. We reflect the gospel by truthful analysis and insightful teaching on the nature of human beings. All humans are created in the image of God, but all humans are totally depraved. Mark did a great job of emphasizing the necessity of humility, confession and the need to keep the church gathering from becoming a gathering of self-righteous people rather than gospel transformed followers of Christ.
  3. We reflect the gospel by holding out the beautiful Savior! Under this point Dever stressed that the unity of a church congregation should be Christ and Christ Alone. If our churches are nothing but homogeneous gatherings, then the world we see little difference between us and a social club! Christ unites us by his grace, and this should challenge us to reach beyond all man made boundaries of race, social, economic, etc. Though Dever is strongly Southern Baptist by denomination, he challenged everyone to move beyond denominational boundaries to come together for the gospel!
  4. We reflect the gospel by responding rightly to the gospel. Repentance and Faith! We should be a group of people who live in daily repentance, God's grace, and full faith in Jesus Christ. Dever said, "The local church is a group of people acting on what they cannot see with their physical eyes. The church is people acting on what they see with eyes of faith!"
To answer the questions from earlier. I believe that Grace Fellowship by the grace of God does display the gospel. We are not perfect but we are on a gospel trajectory. I do believe that we can and are able to be part of God's awesome work in transforming the community by His Gospel!!
Talk to you soon....CW

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

T4G Conference Review!

I was unable to review the conference while in Louisville because of technical difficulty. The entire conference is available on the T4G website for those who are able to listen or watch, but over the next few posts I would like to review each session with you. First, the conference was amazing! I have been to many conferences all over the nation, and this was by far the best conference I have ever attended. I do not know where you will be during April of 2012 but I will spend one week at T4G without a doubt. Second, the conference was challenging! Each day I left the sessions with a new thought, application, or point of repentance. God worked in my life through the preachers who poured out their heart to teach us the Word. There will be eternal fruit from this past week. Third, the conference was encouraging! When you spend day after day in a little out post of the Kingdom in Anniston, Alabama, you tend to think that you are all alone. This conference reconfirmed the movement that God has started in the hearts and minds of people all over this nation and around the world. T4G sold out over one month in advance, and there were 7,000 people at the conference with many more wanting to attend. The Spirit of God is blowing across our land. Finally, the conference was edifying! At each session we began by singing to our Lord. I have never heard the sound of 7,000 men singing from the depth of their heart. If you have not had this experience, then you need to sign up for 2012 ASAP. Often people think of the Reformed tradition as dead and stodgy. I was blown away by the passion in the room. The words of the songs were incredible, the voices were staggering, and the freedom was unparalleled. Over the next eight post I will be reviewing each session. I will only hit the high points from each talk. You can get the entire talk at www.t4g.org. You will not regret the time spent listening and learning and worshiping. Talk to you soon...CW

P.S. - I must mention that the conference was a book lovers dream. They gave us 20 free books, and had a tremendous collection of books in the bookstore. I will have plenty to chew on over the next two years while we await another great week in Louisville, KY!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


This week is a week I have waited for almost 1 year! I will be blogging for the next week (beginning Tuesday)from the conference. I will be giving a round up of the days events each night. The main event is beginning!!!!! Talk to you soon....CW