Posted on August 27th, 2014 by David Burnette
This morning the trustees of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention elected Pastor David Platt to be the IMB’s 12th president. (For more on this announcement, see our previous post). So what does that mean for Radical, Secret Church, and related resources and events?
Here’s a nine-minute video in which Pastor David talks about the Lord’s leading in this ministry transition as well as the future of Radical:
Radical will continue to be the resource ministry for David Platt’s preaching and teaching. You’ll still be able to access sermons (both past and present), and we’ll continue to offer resources such as: a regularly updated blog, translation resources into 6+ languages, Secret Church events and resources, Multiply, etc. We’re also thinking through the potential for new resources, such as a regular podcast.
Please be in prayer for Pastor David, for the IMB, and for Radical as we seek to continue to serve the church in carrying out Christ’s mission.
Posted on August 27th, 2014 by David Burnette
We’re grateful to announce that the trustees of the International Mission Board (IMB) have just elected Pastor David Platt to be the IMB’s 12th president. As the missions entity of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the IMB serves approximately 40,000 churches and over 4,800 international missionaries. David Platt will succeed Tom Elliff in this position.
Here’s a video announcement from the IMB along with a few excerpts of the news release from Baptist Press:
ROCKVILLE, Va.—David Platt, one of the most passionate and influential voices for missions among evangelicals, was elected president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board Aug. 27 by board trustees, meeting at the IMB’s International Learning Center in Rockville, Virginia.
Platt, 36, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a Southern Baptist congregation in Birmingham, Alabama, will take office effective immediately as president of the 169-year-old organization, the largest denominational missionary-sending body among American evangelicals. More than 4,800 Southern Baptist international missionaries serve worldwide.
Platt succeeds former missionary, pastor and Southern Baptist Convention president Tom Elliff, 70, who has served as IMB president since March 2011. Elliff asked the agency’s trustees earlier this year to begin an active search for his successor. Elliff and his wife, Jeannie, plan to return to their home state, Oklahoma.
Pastor David on the Lord’s leading in this transition:
“This is not something I saw coming,” he said. “I love pastoring The Church at Brook Hills. I love shepherding this local church on mission for the glory of God among the nations and could picture myself doing that for decades to come. At the same time, God has been doing an unusual work in my heart and life. The only way I can describe it is that He’s been instilling in me a deeper, narrowing, Romans 15 kind of ambition, where [the Apostle] Paul said, ‘I want to see Christ preached where He has not been named.’ … He has given me a deeper desire to spend more of my time and energy and resources in the short life He has given me to seeing Christ preached where He’s not been named. The concept of unreached peoples — of nearly 2 billion people who have never heard the Gospel — is just totally intolerable.”
David Platt’s message to IMB missionaries overseas:
“I just [want] to say to you, more than anything, that the vision of the IMB remains the same: a multitude from every language, people, tribe and nation knowing and worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ.. If you don’t hear anything else, please hear me say that all I want to do is lock arms with you, with what you’re doing on the frontlines, with what’s going on back here in mobilizing churches, to go after that vision. … I’ve been so thankful over the years pastoring in the church to partner with so many of you in different parts of the world. I’m thinking about specific brothers and sisters that I’ve had the joy of serving alongside and many others that I look forward to serving alongside in different ways. And I just don’t believe that there is a means that God has blessed so greatly as He has the IMB and this coalition of 40,000 [Southern Baptist] churches working together for the spread of the Gospel to the nations.”
“I am honored, humbled, overjoyed and overwhelmed to be in this role, and I just want you to hear from me from the beginning that I am committed to praying for you, to supporting you, to listening to you, to learning from you. … How can we most effectively work together to make disciples of all nations? … I love you, I’m praying for you, and I’m honored to serve alongside you in what is the greatest mission on this earth.”
For the entire article, go here.
Please be in prayer for the IMB and its missionaries, for SBC churches and members, and for Pastor David and his family as they make this transition in ministry. Also, please remember to pray for The Church at Brook Hills, as they too will enter into a time of pastoral transition.
Posted on August 26th, 2014 by Eric Parker
If people were emotionless, then the world would be motionless. This is the conclusion of pastor-theologian Jonathan Edwards during the height of his thinking during the 18th century. He writes,
The Author of the human nature has not only given affections to men, but has made them very much the spring of men’s actions. As the affections do not only necessarily belong to the human nature, but are a very great part of it; so (inasmuch as by regeneration, persons are renewed in the whole man, and sanctified throughout) holy affections do not only necessarily belong to true religion, but are very great part of that. And as true religion is of a practical nature, and God has so constituted the human nature, that the affections are very much the spring of men’s actions, this also shows, that true religion must consist very much in the affections.
Such is man’s nature, that he is very inactive, any otherwise than he is influenced by some affection, either love or hatred, desire, hope, fear or some other. These affections we see to be the springs that set men aging, in all the affairs of life, and engage them in all their pursuits: these are the things that put men forward, and carry them along, in all their worldly business; and especially are men excited and animated by these, in all affairs, wherein they are earnestly engaged, and which they pursue with vigor. We see the world of mankind to be exceedingly busy and active; and the affections of men are the springs of the motion: take away all love and hatred, all hope and fear, all anger, zeal and affectionate desire, and the world would be, in a great measure, motionless and dead; there would be no such thing as activity amongst mankind, or any earnest pursuit whatsoever. ‘Tis affection that engages the covetous man, and him that is greedy of worldly profits, in his pursuits; and it is by the affections, that the ambitious man is put forward in his pursuit of worldly glory; and ’tis the affections also that actuate the voluptuous man, in his pursuit of pleasure and sensual delights: the world continues, from age to age, in a continual commotion and agitation, in a pursuit of these things; but take way all affection , and the spring of all this motion would be gone, and the motion itself would cease. And as in worldly things, worldly affections are very much the spring of men’s motion and action; so in religious matters, the spring of their actions are very much religious affections: he that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.
The question you have to answer is this: what kind of emotion do you want moving the world?
Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections in Readings in Christian Thought, ed. Hugh T. Kerr, 199-200
Posted on August 25th, 2014 by Jonathan
The following is from Secret Church 6: The Cross of Christ.
We should boast in the cross . . .
1. Because the cross confronts us with who we once were. (Eph 2:1-5)
- The cross reminds us of how horrible sin is.
- The cross reminds us how humbling grace is.
2. Because the cross comforts us with who we are now.
- We are alive to God. (Rm 6:8-14)
- Sacrifice: He died our death.
- We were dead; now we live!
- We have an advocate before God. (Rm 8:33-39; Heb 7:23-25)
- Propitiation: He endured our condemnation
- We were afraid; now we are friends!
- We have access to God. (Heb 4:14-16)
- Reconciliation: He suffered our separation
- We were cast out; now we are invited in!
- We are adopted by God. (Rm 8:15-17)
- Redemption: He suffered our separation.
- We were slaves; now we are now sons!
3. Because the cross teaches us what it means to be saved.
- The cross makes clear our justification. (Gal 2:15-20)
- Christ died for us.
- We are not working for righteousness, but from righteousness.
- The cross makes possible our sanctification. (1 Cor 1:18)
- Christ now lives in us.
- We are not in debt to Christ; we are indwelt by Christ.
- The cross makes certain our glorification. (Rm 8:28-30)
- Christ is coming back for us.
- We are not living for this world; we are living for the world to come.
4. Because the cross shows us what it means to love. (1 Jn 3:16-18; Jn 13:35)
- In the church . . . we unite around the cross.
- Among the lost . . . we proclaim the cross.
- Toward the poor . . . we embody the cross.
5. Because the cross reminds us that our safety is not in this world.
- We do not fear suffering. (Matt 10:26-31)
- We are free to suffer. (Phil 1:29-30; Col 1:24)
6. Because the cross keeps us from wasting our lives in this world. (Phil 3:7-11)
- This world has nothing for us.
- Christ is everything to us.
7. Because the cross grips us with a vision of the world to come.
- Jesus has identified the ultimate problem. (Rev 5:1)
- We stand before a holy God hopeless.
- We stand before a holy God helpless.
- Jesus has paid the ultimate price. (Rev 5:5-6)
- He is a conquering Lion.
- He is a suffering Lamb.
- Jesus has fulfilled the ultimate purpose. (Rev 5:7)
- Jesus now deserves the ultimate praise. (Rev 5:8-14)
- Our song will be new.
- Our worship will be never-ending.
Posted on August 23rd, 2014 by David Burnette
God works “all things” for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), but does that include affliction? Here’s Thomas Watson, the 17th century Puritan minister of St. Stephen’s Walbrook, on how “all things” applies to affliction, which he refers to as our “preacher and tutor”:
Luther said that he could never rightly understand some of the Psalms, till he was in affliction. Affliction teaches what sin is. In the word preached, we hear what a dreadful thing sin is, that it is both defiling and damning, but we fear it no more than a painted lion; therefore God lets loose affliction, and then we feel sin bitter in the fruit of it. A sick-bed often teaches more than a sermon. We can best see the ugly visage of sin in the glass of affliction. Affliction teaches us to know ourselves. In prosperity we are for the most part strangers to ourselves. God makes us know affliction, that we may better know ourselves. We see that corruption in our hearts in the time of affliction, which we would not believe was there.”
Thomas Watson, All Things for Good (originally titled A Divine Cordial in 1663),27-28
Posted on August 21st, 2014 by David Burnette
What does it mean to be part of an Unreached People Group (UPG)? How do unreached peoples stand before God? What is our obligation, as followers of Christ, to those who have no access to the gospel?
The following outline provides a good summary for these kinds of questions. The outline was taken from Pastor David Platt’s sermon titled “Our Obligation to the Unreached,” and is based on Paul’s teaching in Romans 1-3 about man’s inherent sinful condition. To access the sermon in its entirety, including the outline below, go here.
Who are the Unreached?
- A people group among whom there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage the people group with church planting.
- Technically speaking, the percentage of evangelical Christians in this people group is less than two percent.
How Many People Are Unreached?
- Over 6,500 people groups are unreached . . .
Including at least two billion individual people
- Over 3,000 are also unengaged (meaning there is currently no evangelical church planting strategy under way to reach that people group) . . .
Including around 200 million individual people
What Does It Mean To Be Unreached?
- Practically . . .
You do not currently have access to the gospel.
Unless something changes, you will likely be born, live, and die without ever hearing the gospel.
- Biblically . . .
You have knowledge of God.
You have rejected God.
You stand condemned before God.
You have never heard the good news about how you can be saved by God.
Why Must We Go To The Unreached?
- Because their knowledge of God is only enough to damn them to hell.
- Because the gospel of God is powerful enough to save them forever.
- Because the plan of God warrants the sacrifices of His people.
- Because the Son of God deserves the praise of all peoples.
To learn more about unreached peoples, visit Joshua Project.
Posted on August 20th, 2014 by David Burnette
Have you ever read about Jesus’ miracles in Scripture and walked away thinking, “If only I had seen that, I would never again be ashamed of Christ?” Or maybe it’s one of God’s mighty works in the Old Testament–like Israel’s rescue from Egypt–and you think to yourself, “How could they experience that and still disobey?”
At one level, it’s natural to want to experience unique demonstrations of God’s power and grace. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to be there when God split the Red Sea in two? And who wouldn’t pay to see Lazarus come stumbling out of the tomb covered with four-day-old grave cloths? Surely our struggle to trust God would get much easier if we could only see these things with our own eyes . . . right?
Diagnosing the Sin Problem
The idea that simply eye-witnessing a miracle would catapult us into a new level of trust and obedience misses the teaching of Scripture, not only on the role of miracles, but even more fundamentally on the nature of faith and the blinding effects of sin. To say, “If God would only show me____, then I would trust him,” implies that our unbelief is due to a lack of evidence. But that’s not how the Bible diagnoses man’s sin problem.
Paul tells us in Romans 1:18-32 that all men rebel against God because they prefer idols, not because they lack proof. In fact, it’s because we already have proof of God’s power and divine nature in creation that we are “without excuse” (20). God has made these things “plain,” yet we suppress the truth (18-19). Our “ignorance” flows from a hard heart. (Eph 4:18).
More Than Floating Furniture
Maybe you’ve heard an atheist claim that he would gladly believe in God if only God would perform some great miracle right before his eyes–like causing a table to levitate. God could do that, of course, but as Christians we should know better: it takes more than floating furniture to change the heart. People reject the light because they love the darkness (Jn 1:19). We need our eyes enlightened, even after we’re saved (Eph 1:18). It’s no wonder, then, that Scripture is overflowing with examples, both of godly saints and of rebellious sinners, who sinned blatantly after firsthand experience with God’s miraculous power.
Noah got drunk after being rescued from a worldwide flood (Gen 8:20-21). Abraham lied about his wife after God spoke to him directly (Gen 20:2). The children of Israel saw Mt. Sinai enveloped in smoke and darkness, and they responded by demanding that Aaron make them an idol in the form of a golden calf (Ex 32). The trend continues in the New Testament. Some Jews who watched Lazarus walk out of the tomb refused to submit to Jesus and instead headed straight for the chief priests and Pharisees (Jn 11:46). Nine out of ten lepers who were cleansed by Jesus didn’t even go back to thank him (Lk 17:11-19). And as for the disciples, they didn’t always fare much better. After distributing bread and fish to over five thousand people, they seemed clueless as to how Christ would feed a smaller crowd only a short time later (Matt 15:33). Talk about missing the point!
Perhaps Peter serves as the most striking example. This leading apostle was on hand for Jesus’ entire earthly ministry, including Christ’s transfiguration (Matt 17:1-8). He saw all the miracles and he even walked on water (briefly). Yet, on three different occasions during Jesus’ trial, this same Peter adamantly denied that he even knew the Lord of glory. Being an eyewitness did not ensure Peter’s faithfulness.
Believing and Seeing
None of these examples should be taken as a slight against miracles. One reason God performed miracles was to bear witness to the message of his salvation (Heb 2:4). Jesus pointed to his signs and wonders to convince John the Baptist that he was truly the Messiah (Matt 11:2-5). Likewise, God frequently reminds Israel of his mighty works of salvation in order to bolster their hope in him (Ps 105). Still, we’re mistaken to think that simply seeing supernatural events would cure our struggle to trust God.
Unbelief can only be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. Whether it’s witnessing a miracle, understanding the gospel, or simply grasping a truth from God’s Word, we are dependent on the Spirit to see truth rightly and to love the truth that we see. This is the same Spirit who empowered the fearful and doubting disciples—those who had watched Jesus’ perform miracles—to give their lives for him after Pentecost. He will continue his transforming work in us too as we are “beholding the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18).
So the next time you long for some supernatural proof of God’s presence, Christian, remind yourself that God has given you something greater than signs and wonders. You have his Spirit and his Word, yes “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). There is no need to look elsewhere in your struggle to trust and obey. Finally, hear the encouragement Christ gives to those who have never seen him with their physical eyes: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29).
Posted on August 19th, 2014 by Jonathan
Have you ever thought something along these lines?
“I wish I had an overview of (insert New Testament book) so that I didn’t have to jump into studying it blindly.”
Our vault may contain just the remedy.
Way back before people used the term millennial to refer to a generation, when iPods and cellphones were separate, and before simulcasts were in vogue . . . there was Secret Church 2: Survey of the New Testament. The aim of the study was simple, but not easy: complete an overview of the entire New Testament in mere hours. The mission was accomplished and, thankfully, this ancient bit of teaching has been preserved throughout the years on the Internet, through this link.
Although you’re welcome to use the online material totally free of charge, you can also purchase the even more traditional, paper form of the study guide in our online store to enable good, old-fashioned note-taking with a pen or pencil–we even invite you to write in cursive. And should your Internet connection speed be stuck in 2007, our scribes have chronicled the night on digital video discs (DVDs) for your convenience.
Don’t be afraid to take a step back in time and use this valuable resource. After all, when it comes to biblical interpretation, innovation is rarely the best policy . . .
Posted on August 18th, 2014 by Jonathan
This past June, Ed Stetzer sat down with David Platt, Trevin Wax, and Frank Page to talk about election, human responsibility, and God’s sovereignty. The panel participants hold a range of beliefs on these issues, which made for an interesting (and often entertaining) discussion.
It is evident from this panel that there are real and important theological differences among Christians who hold the Bible in high esteem. At the same time though, it is also clear that, regardless of where someone stands on issues like election and free will, there is a deeper bond of unity among Christians and a more central purpose for their lives. The focus for much of the conversation was on what the panelists agree to be more important than their differences: proclaiming the gospel to the lost.
Click HERE for the audio, and be challenged and encouraged as you listen and learn.
Posted on August 15th, 2014 by Cory Varden
Five Principles of the New Sexual Morality, Alastair Roberts: The sociologist Mark Regnerus recently published a piece for the Witherington Institute’s Public Discourse, suggesting that support for same-sex marriage in some Christian circles correlates to broader shifts in morality surrounding sexuality and relations. Survey respondents were asked to declare their level of agreement with seven statements relating to the issues of pornography, cohabitation, no-strings-attached sex, the duty of staying in a marriage, extramarital sex, polyamorous relationships, and abortion. The results illustrated pronounced fault lines between those committed to historic Christian stances on sexual morality and supporters of same-sex marriage.
Jonah, Mosul, and ISIS: Lessons for Us All, David Allen: In the swirling mayhem of the Middle East conflict, we all need to be reminded that one far greater than Jonah, Jesus Christ, once said in Luke 13:3: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Biblical Theology: Guardian & Guide of the Church, 9Marks: Churches, as much as ever, need to know who they are, where they come from, who their ancestors are. Are we not children of Abraham? Doesn’t our family tree include Moses and David, Rahab and Ruth? Are we not all adopted heirs and coheirs with Christ? Sons of the divine king? Biblical theology is not just about reading the Bible rightly, though it begins there. It serves to guard and guide the local church. It maintains the right message, defines the task of the messenger, identifies imposters, tells us what we do when we gather, and sets the trajectory of our mission. It answers the question, Who are we, as the church in the world?
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