Archive for June, 2012

  1. Well Said…

    Posted on June 29th, 2012 by David Burnette

    1. Three lies we might believe:  Ray Ortlund counters three common lies of the Enemy with the truth of Scripture. (HT: Dane Ortlund)

    2. Ten things young singles should know:  If you’re single and in a relationship, Jared Wilson has some helpful advice.

    3. The message of the Bible in 221 words:  D.A. Carson summarizes the message of the Bible in a really short space. (HT: Tim Challies)

  2. Sinner’s Prayer & The SBC

    Posted on June 25th, 2012 by David Burnette

    The following is a personal note from pastor David Platt about the recent discussion surrounding the issue of the “sinner’s prayer” in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Following pastor David’s comments expressed below, there is a link where you can download the entire manuscript of his sermon at the most recent SBC Pastors’ Conference in a PDF.

    I recently had the privilege of preaching at the Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It was a historic few days among Southern Baptists (or Great Commission Baptists, if you’d prefer that title!) as we elected the first African-American president of the Convention, Fred Luter. I was greatly encouraged by the spirit of unity among pastors and leaders at the convention, and I was reminded of the wonderful value of partnership together among churches for the spread of the gospel among the nations.

    At the same time, I was a bit grieved by the response from an issue that I apparently helped spark regarding the “sinner’s prayer.” A three-minute video clip from an hour-long message I delivered at the Verge Conference in Austin earlier this year created conversation and eventually led to a resolution among Southern Baptists to defend the use of a “sinner’s prayer” in evangelism. Though I had some concerns with the resolution as it was originally proposed, I was pleased with the resolution that Southern Baptists eventually adopted, and I voted in favor of it. It was encouraging to see pastors and leaders together say that we need to be wise in the way we lead people to Christ, but such wisdom doesn’t necessarily warrant that everyone must throw out a “sinner’s prayer” altogether.

    What grieved me about this issue, though, was the way it was reported in a few particularly prominent places that seemed to imply that this issue was dividing Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC, or even me personally from various leaders in the SBC. Some even suggested that as “one of the SBC’s Calvinist stars,” I am “against the sinner’s prayer” because I “don’t want the hopelessly condemned thinking they are saved or joining churches when they actually have no chance for life in Christ.” In addition to how nauseous such a label makes me, words really can’t describe how much a comment like this pierces my heart, for nothing (I hope and pray) could be further from the truth. Any cautions I have expressed with a “sinner’s prayer” have absolutely nothing directly to do with the doctrine of election, and I definitively don’t believe that certain people “actually have no chance for life in Christ.” Instead, my comments about the “sinner’s prayer” have been deeply motivated by a concern for authentic conversion and regenerate church membership—doctrines which many Calvinists and non-Calvinists, as well as a variety of Christians in between, would rightly value.

    I believe without hesitation or equivocation that God loves all people in the world (John 3:16) and He desires all people’s salvation (2 Peter 3:9). As followers of Jesus saved by His matchless grace (Ephesians 2:1-10), we are compelled to go with urgency to all people to tell them compassionately of God’s love for them (2 Corinthians 4:5) and to call them clearly to repent and believe in Christ (Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38). As we do this, I believe we simply need to be as biblical as possible (2 Timothy 2:15). Do I believe it is “wrong” for someone to pray a “prayer of salvation”? Certainly not. Calling out to God in prayer with repentant faith is fundamental to being saved (Romans 10:9-10). Yet as I pastor a local church and serve alongside pastors of other local churches, I sense reasonably serious concern about the relatively large number of baptisms in our churches that are “re-baptisms”—often representing people who thought they were saved because they prayed a certain prayer, but they lacked a biblical understanding of salvation and were in reality not saved. This, in addition to a rampant easy believism that marks cultural Christianity in our context (and in other parts of the world), leads me to urge us, as we go to all people among all nations with the good news of God’s love, to be both evangelistically zealous and biblically clear at the same time (Matthew 28:18-20).

    In the end, I believe Southern Baptists—and evangelical Christians, for that matter—embrace this together, stand on this together, and preach this together. That’s part of why I preached the sermon below on Monday at the Pastor’s Conference. My hope in preaching this sermon and even in sharing it now is that it will serve to clarify an issue that is extremely important not just for Southern Baptists, but also for followers of Christ from different denominations, in various streams, and with varying perspectives. May God be glorified across the globe through the faithful preaching of His gospel.

    —Click here to get the PDF of the full manuscript of pastor David’s sermon at the SBC Pastor’s Conference on June 18, 2012. The sermon is titled, “Spiritual Deception, Biblical Conversion, and Global Mission.”

  3. Unreached

    Posted on June 25th, 2012 by Cory Varden

    Badhai, Hindu of India

    The Badhai, Hindu of India are also know as the Jangid Brahman. The Jangid Brahman are successors of Vishwakarma, the chief architect in Hindu culture. In ancient times Jangid Brahman were described as various rishis or saints involved in meditation in jungles for inner vision and performing scientific experiments for the betterment of others.

    The Jangid Brahman are typical Indian people living in most areas of India. They are usually employed in the fields of engineering and education, small-scale industrial manufacturing typical doing engineering work for large industries. Some Jangid Brahman work in the areas of carpentry, stone work and timber trade.

    They are traditional Hindus and follow the ancient way as they themselves created various forms of Hindu idols and temples. One of their needs is systematic education in field Engineering as they have strong technical inheritance. Continue Reading

  4. Well Said…

    Posted on June 22nd, 2012 by David Burnette

    1. Kevin DeYoung’s Book Recommendations: Check out these recommendations for books on a variety of topics. Even if you’re not a pastor, DeYoung points to some excellent and edifying resources.

    2. Avoiding Unhealthy Gospel-Centered Worship: As usual, Bob Kauflin has some words of wisdom for worship that is intended to be gospel-focused. A good word for all who praise God in song.

    3. Spiritual Lessons From An Almost Plane Crash: Christian, do you often live as if the supernatural didn’t exist? In light of his near-death experience, Francis Schaeffer reflects on the tendency of Christians to live as materialists. (HT: Justin Taylor)

  5. The Church’s Role in Discipleship

    Posted on June 21st, 2012 by David Burnette

    David Platt talks about the indispensable role of the church in the task of making disciples.

  6. David Platt & Matt Carter on How to Pastor with the End in Mind

    Posted on June 20th, 2012 by Cory Varden

    David Platt and Matt Carter (Pastor of Preaching & Vision at The Austin Stone Community Church) had the opportunity during the Verge Conference in Austin this year to discuss what it means to be a church with a heart or DNA for the nations. The issue of reaching over 6,500 unreached people groups with the gospel is not only for the mission organizations, but for the local church to rise up and be apart of spreading the good news. Hopefully this conversation will prove helpful in learning how to spur your churches on toward spreading God’s fame in all nations.

    HT: Verge Network

  7. And Now, Lord, Bless the Unconverted

    Posted on June 20th, 2012 by David Burnette

    Two quotations from Charles Spurgeon’s pastoral prayer for his congregation on the 24th of March 1878:

    “And now, Lord, bless the unconverted that come into this house today, or into any other place of worship. Be pleased to save them; let the eternal purpose be fulfilled in many today. Oh, bring home Thy prodigal children, and let such as are coming home be met by the loving Father, and may such as have come home have a feast of fat things today.”

    “O Thou one God of Israel, whom we worship, let others worship whom they may; the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is our God for ever and ever, and we worship Thee, O Jehovah Elohim, in the name of Jesus Christ Thine only-begotten Son. Amen.”

     

    The Pastor in Prayer: A Collection of the Sunday Morning Prayers of C.H. Spurgeon, 32-33

  8. Marks of the Church

    Posted on June 19th, 2012 by Cory Varden

    In Mark Dever’s book, The Church, which we’ve chosen to commend to you this month, he expounds on two essential marks that define a local church.  He says, “These two marks are the right preaching of the Word of God and the right administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.”  He goes on to say…

    “The first mark is the fountain of God’s truth that gives life to his people, and the second is the lovely vessel to contain and display the glorious work.  The church is distinguished by the right preaching of the Word.  The church is distinguished and contained by the right administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  It should also be noted that this latter mark presumes and implies the practice of church discipline.” Continue Reading

  9. Spiritual Deception, Biblical Conversion, and Global Mission

    Posted on June 19th, 2012 by David Burnette

    David Platt addressed the Pastor’s Conference at the Southern Baptist Convention yesterday from John 2:23-3:16. Platt emphasized the danger of spiritual deception (a deadly reality for perhaps millions around the world), the mystery of biblical conversion, and the urgency of global mission.

    While there are certain issues that Bible-believing Christians may disagree on, Platt was adamant about the fact that we cannot afford to be unclear when it comes to calling people to follow Christ. A true understanding of conversion should lead us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, calling everyone to repent and believe.

    A few quotations from each section can be found below:

    The Danger of Spiritual Deception

    • Many people in John 2 believed in Jesus…but Jesus did not believe them. Many people in John 2 accepted Jesus…but Jesus did not accept them.”
    • “This gospel (John) revolves around the necessity and centrality of belief in Christ…John makes clear to us that there is a kind of belief, a kind of faith, that does not save.”
    • “Jesus is not talking in Matthew 7 (13-23) or in John 3 about irreligious pagans, atheists, or agnostics. He’s talking about deeply, devoutly religious people who are deluded into thinking that they are saved when they are not. He’s talking about men and women who will be shocked one day to find that though they thought they were on the narrow road that leads to heaven, they were actually on the broad road that leads to hell.”

    Continue Reading

  10. Unreached

    Posted on June 18th, 2012 by Cory Varden

    Azeri Turk of Iran

    In Iran the term “Azeri” is used formally for these people; however, informally, Azeris and other Turkic speaking Iranian populations are colloquially referred to as “Tork” (Turk). Despite some friction in the past, Azerbaijanis in Iran came to be “well represented at all levels of political, military, and intellectual hierarchies, as well as the religious hierarchy.” The living conditions of Azeris in Iran closely resemble that of Persians.

    The region of Iran and Azerbaijan does not offer easy access to Christian workers. The Lord is calling many to His name in Iran. Perhaps Iranian believers will make opportunity to carry the good news of Jesus to the Azeris. Pray the Azeris won’t be overlooked by the movement of the Lord’s Spirit in Iran. Continue Reading