Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
Posted on September 1st, 2014 by Jonathan
In Ephesians, Paul tells us that “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). Going from death to life is at the core of every conversion story, and in the sense that there is certainly no such thing as a boring resurrection, no one has a boring testimony. Still, some transformations are more dramatic than others. And while it can easily seem that God’s grace is more profound in the saving of a Paul-former-Saul than it is in the saving of a scripturally-reared-Timothy (2 Tim 3:15), this is not the case. Boring testimonies are boring because God’s graciously made them that way (so they aren’t really boring at all).
In the video below, David Platt describes the amazing grace of such a testimony as he gives glory to God for a family and church that led him to Christ as a child.
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 12th, 2014 by Jonathan
Mack Stiles is a businessman who also leads a student ministry in the United Arab Emirates. He’s currently an elder at Redeemer Church of Dubai, and he spent many years previous as a church planter. David Platt, who had the honor of writing the forward for Stiles’ recent book, Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus, said: “I truly cannot think of anyone better to write a book not just on cultivating the discipline of evangelism as a Christian, but on creating a culture of evangelism in the church.”
He was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us on this topic . . .
Mack, you define evangelism as “teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.” Why do you put it this way, and how is this a corrective to many of the evangelistic constructs in our church culture today?
I love this question, because it’s really one of the critical heartbeats of the book.
When I look out at the evangelical community, be it church, or individual believers, or evangelistic outreach ministries, or even missionary efforts, there are so many ideas about evangelism. Most all of them, at least the ones I know, want to be rooted in the scriptures, most all of them are good hearted, nobody wants to offend non-Christians, all of them want to see fruit, but more often it seems that good hearted people don’t always have the big picture view about sharing our faith, and consequently they can spin into error by over or under emphasizing one part of evangelism over another.
The reason I’ve found this definition so helpful is that it’s really a boiled down, biblically rooted summary of the big picture concerning evangelism. So, it focuses on what we share (the gospel) and how we share (teach), the way we share (our aim), and the goal for sharing (persuade), such that each word in the definition is important.
It’s not a perfect protection, but it guards us against sharing other things besides the gospel, sometimes the way testimonies are given for instance. Sometimes I’ll hear a “testimony” and it has everything to do with how greatly they sinned, and almost nothing to do with the gospel. We want to share such that anyone has the information they need to come to Christ.
There’s so many things a big picture view guards us from . . . it guards us from manipulative methods that have more to do with sales techniques, or forgetting that evangelism is not only about numbers . . . that is our aim is to persuade, but God is the one, the only one, who can actually convert someone.
My only disappointment with this definition is that it took decades for me to put it together.
The second chapter of your book talks about what a “culture of evangelism” looks like. What does that mean and why is it significant?
A culture of evangelism is really about everyone working together to “teach the gospel with the aim to convert.” There is great joy to be a part of a community that is “on game” for a common goal of sharing the faith. A culture of evangelism is really an intuitive concept; ultimately it’s about the church focusing on being a healthy gospel centered, church, while supporting a culture of people who are sharing their faith. So it’s not the professional pastor, or the evangelism specialist, or those with the gift of evangelism, but the whole church speaking about Jesus.
It’s important to note that biggest danger to a true culture of evangelism is the evangelistic program. It’s similar to a culture of evangelism (or another way to say it is that it mimics a culture of evangelism) in a way because the entire community pitches in together for a program, but it’s not everyone sharing their faith. Just for the record, I participate in occasional evangelistic programs, but the best evangelism is when the church is filled with people all sharing their faith. The way I say it is that programs are to evangelism as sugar is to nutrition: small amounts are okay, too much will kill you. The big danger about sugar is that you can eat it and think you’ve eaten, but you haven’t had a real meal; the same is true about evangelistic programs, you can do one, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve really shared the gospel yourself.
Could there exist a culture of evangelism apart from the local church? Why is the local church so important when it comes to evangelism?
I think any ministry can have a culture of evangelism. Campus ministries should, mission agencies should, social programs should . . . but the best culture of evangelism is in the church. We need to remember that Jesus didn’t forget the gospel when he built the church. The gospel is inherent in what we do as church, at least in a biblical church: the gospel is in our songs, in our prayers, in the sermon, in the practice of baptism and communion . . . it’s all there. And primarily there in how we love one another. Think about it – Jesus says the love we have for one another in the church is a statement that we are truly converted. And when we are unified in the church, we show to the world that Jesus is the Son of God. Love confirms our discipleship. Unity confirms Christ’s deity (Jn 13:35, Jn 17:20-21). That’s a powerful witness that best happens in a convented community called the church.
How would you encourage someone who wants to become better at sharing Christ with people?
This may be the easiest question. And as tempted as I am to say that the way to become better in evangelism is to read my book, really the way to be better in evangelism is to do it. We need practice. It’s like marriage. For all the books written about marriage, the best way to learn about marriage is to get married.
The second thing is to risk. Everywhere I go people want to know why they aren’t having opportunities to share their faith, and my answer in most situations is that they take more risks. Talk to the mom next to you at soccer practice, let people know at work about your Christian life, get your courage up at school and see if a friend would read the gospel of Mark with you. It’s no good waiting around until the culture gets easier . . . it’s not going to anytime soon. And it gets harder in life, too. But God rewards risk. It’s really tied up in faith. I tell people that if you can’t risk you better find another god to love besides Jesus. If you think about it, we are really risking our life that the message of the gospel is true. And if it’s true, it’s worth risking what others think about us to share that truth.
Posted on July 31st, 2014 by Jonathan
Dan Darling (of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) talks with David Platt about the persecution of Christians worldwide.
Posted on July 24th, 2014 by Jonathan
Jon Akin of Baptist21 interviewed David Platt on a variety of topics last month at the SBC Annual Meeting.
For your convenience, here are some time markers for when each of the topics was covered:
0:16 – prosperity, radical giving, and the gospel
2:32 – the gospel and social action
5:58 – addressing both physical and spiritual need
7:33 – global missions vs. local ministry?
10:44 – being part of the SBC
13:10 – should we re-structure missions/funding models?
Posted on July 21st, 2014 by Jonathan
Every once in a while, it’s good to get a refresher on concepts we generally think we understand. When’s the last time you’ve heard a good explanation of persecution?
Below, you can listen to a good overview of what persecution is, how it may look, and why it occurs from Jonathan, the (well-traveled) Pastor of Global Disciple-Making at The Church at Brook Hills.
~ The goal of persecution is to silence witness. ~
Posted on May 9th, 2014 by Jonathan
Lora Lynn Fanning is a wife, a mother of seven, and a member of The Church at Brook Hills, where her husband, Andrew, serves as an elder. She home-schools the children, and in her “free time” blogs at Vitafamilae.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, we asked her to answer some questions for us about life as a Christ-follower and a mother …
What does a typical weekday look like for you?
I get up just early enough to sneak in some Bible reading before the kids get up. Then we hit the ground running with chores and breakfast. We do school together until lunch, then I take some time to exercise and deal with my to-do list while my kids do independent schoolwork and the babies nap. We all convene again for snack (and more coffee for me) before the dinner time rush and pre-bedtime routines – AKA “the witching hour.” We do family worship right before the kids go to bed and then, depending on the kind of day we had, I either collapse into my bed and eat chocolate or head to my desk to write.
Given your busy schedule, how do you find time for fellowship and spiritual growth?
Coffee makes our world go round these days, so my husband and I use our twice daily coffee break as our time to sit on the porch and talk about that morning’s Bible reading or to ponder parenting. I like to read blog posts (because they’re short) and he reads books, so we swap anecdotes from our reading and challenge each other to hold everything up to the Truth.
The magic of the Internet means I can communicate with my friends on a daily basis via text, social media, and phone. We see each other “in real life” when we can, but being able to touch base with my heart friends, no matter how far away they are, is a huge help when I’m craving adult conversation.
Our little circus isn’t the easiest to take on the road, so we try to make our house a place where folks want to congregate. We host our small group and we also put a small ballet studio in our basement so we can host a young ballet class. The mamas congregate upstairs around the coffeemaker and I’m pretty sure the only reason any of our daughters are still taking ballet is because we mamas love our coffee talk so much.
Scripture calls us to honor our mothers. When do you feel particularly honored by your children?
Is “when they let me sleep in” a valid answer?
Honestly, I wish I had a deep spiritual answer for you, but what comes to mind are the moments when my children see me as a person: when they belly laugh at my jokes, when they pat me on my shoulder while I cry, when they get excited to give me a gift because they know how much I’ll like it. I love being Mommy. But it’s nice when they see me as a human, too.
Which is, in truth, the complete opposite of what parenting is all about. See next question…
What’s the most frustrating aspect of motherhood? How does the gospel speak into this?
Frustration comes from my own selfishness. I want mothering to be about ME, what I want for me and for my babies. But Jesus… He selflessly poured himself out, He sacrificed His wants, His preferences and said, “Not my will, but YOURS, Father.” He endured unspeakable affliction–much worse than my complaints of bodily fluids and missing shoes–and He was content, even JOYFUL about washing some guy’s feet because He loved his disciple, but even more so … He wanted the will of His Father more than He wanted his own way.
This parenting gig is all about making us more like Christ. Every nose I wipe and every midnight puke-fest refines me a little more. And as He makes me more like Him, I learn to want what He wants–for myself and for my children. I am learning to want holiness for my babies over their safety or sleeping through the night. All my worries and fears as a mom fade in the face of my desire for my kids to love Jesus: To know how selfless and good He is, how much better at loving their every breath He is than their weak mama.
What a gift to be able to trust God that much, with my most precious loves, because I know He loves them so much better than I do!
Posted on May 8th, 2014 by David Burnette
This video interview with D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981) from 1970 is made available from the MLJ Trust.
The website of the MLJ Trust has 1600 sermons from Dr. Lloyd-Jones to listen to and download. Go here to check out this great online resource for one of the great preachers of the 20th century.
Posted on April 12th, 2014 by Jonathan
Yesterday, we posted part 1 of an interview with the Erwin brothers about how the gospel affects their work as filmmakers. Today is part 2…
Be sure you check out their upcoming movie, Mom’s Night Out. Also, we invite you to join us 6 days from now for a the Secret Church simulcast with David Platt as we dive into “The Cross and Everyday Life,” a topic that will cover the affect of the cross on both work and entertainment.
Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Radical
Ann Voskamp and Sophie Hudson recently sat down with Pastor David and his wife, Heather, to talk about a number of topics surrounding this year’s Secret Church topic, “The Cross and Everyday Life.” Ann is the author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and she blogs at “A Holy Experience.” Sophie is the author of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon and she blogs over at “BooMama.”
Ann and Sophie each bring a unique perspective to this discussion in their respective roles as wife, mother, author, and blogger. Yesterday we posted our interview with Ann about Secret Church and how the gospel impacts everyday life. Today we put Sophie on the hot-seat.
Sophie: Since we’re members at Brook Hills, I remember the first time David announced that we were going to do Secret Church. I tried to listen really carefully as he went over some of the details–it would help us identify with the persecuted church, it would be six hours of intensive Bible study, it would be on a Friday night–and because I am so deeply spiritual, my first reaction was, “Oh. Bless his heart. I just don’t know that people are going to show up for that.”
Clearly I’ve been given the gift of prophecy.
I ended up volunteering to help at either the second or third Secret Church, and I was blown away. For one thing I was so moved by the sight of all the college students who showed up at our church and gave up their Friday nights to study the Bible. But the biggest thing for me has been that when you get to cover that much scriptural ground in one sitting, it is utterly encouraging (and oh-so-humbling) to be reminded of the consistency of God’s character, the depth of His love, and the sufficiency of the cross. So, despite my ROCK SOLID initial reaction, now I totally get why people all over the world participate in Secret Church via simulcast. It’s an incredibly edifying and convicting and affirming six hours. There’s no agenda other than the faithful proclamation of what God reveals to us through His Word.
And I also think that the later Secret Church gets, the funnier David gets. But that is just my personal observation.
You’ve got a new book coming out next year … can you tell us a little about what you’re working on?
Sophie: Oh, it’s pretty much exactly like Radical and Follow Me, except I added in an exegetical take on the book of Leviticus because I was feeling bored and needed a challenge.
It’s actually going to be another book of Southern stories. For my last book (A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet), David planned a ten-week sermon series on it but called it off after the first week because he felt like it had more rich theological content than he could possibly cover. Actually, that didn’t happen at all–the book is mostly about God’s faithfulness to us through our families. This new one, which I think is going to be called Home Is Where My People Are, is a little more focused on friendship and how God faithfully puts the right people in our lives at the right times. It’s scheduled to be released in February of 2015, but that’s all dependent on whether or not I finish writing it. FINGERS CROSSED.
Your focus on family fits with an issue we’ll cover in Secret Church 14–how husbands and wives treat one another. So how should the gospel inform these relationships?
Sophie: So you know how you’ll be at church and you’ll see a couple in the congregation who have this amazing zeal for service and they talk about how, from the early days of their marriage, all they’ve wanted is to serve the Lord together and make His name known and leave a rich spiritual legacy for their kids? I love those couples. But that is not the story of my marriage.
When David and I got married almost 17 years ago, we didn’t have the faintest idea about how the gospel should inform our relationship. I mean, we wanted to treat each other well and love each other well and all that, but in terms of the parallels between the gospel and marriage … I don’t think we’d have been able to articulate that, even after growing up in the church.
But here’s why it’s so cool that God doesn’t leave us where He finds us. By His grace, He has shown both of us that the gospel is not just the foundation of our marriage; it is the purpose of our marriage. We die to ourselves and love each other and sacrifice for each other and lovingly confront each other and support each other, not so that we can be happy, but so that God can be glorified. That doesn’t mean that marriage is daily misery that we endure, because the kicker to this whole thing is that there is such joy and contentment in lovingly surrendering and submitting yourself to another person. Marriage has been one of the most sanctifying experiences of my life, no doubt about it, but by the same token it has been such a privilege to see the Lord do amazing things in the life and heart of my husband. I am unspeakably grateful for that.
As for parenting: How much time do you have? Every moment of parenting parallels something in my relationship with God. I can’t think about how much David and I love our son without thinking of one of my favorite hymns: “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure; that He would give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.” For me, motherhood has exposed every insecurity I have, every tendency to compare and keep score and feel like all the other mamas have everything under control and I’m the only train wreck in the bunch. But what I’ve learned is that I don’t have to be a perfect mama with a perfect child in order to be in the center of God’s perfect will. Motherhood is messy and wonderful and difficult and glorious; I will never get over how the Lord teaches us as we teach the little ones He’s entrusted to us. Yes, it can be a hard road to travel sometimes, but let’s not miss that the road leads us to healing, redemptive places.
We’re also going to be talking about sports, and it’s no secret that you’re a huge sports fan—Mississippi State to be exact. So what are the dangers and blessings of sports as you see it?
Sophie: Well, I’ve always been very level-headed and even-keeled where sports are concerned.
And now I’m just gonna sit here and wait for some lightning to strike me (!)
Listen. I love me some sports. My daddy and I always went to Mississippi State games (football, baseball, basketball – you name it) when I was growing up, and even now that is my favorite thing to do as a family. Just this morning, in fact, I felt a little giddy when I realized that the SEC baseball tournament is just a little over a month away because our family just enjoys the fire out of it.
Given all of that, I am all too aware that sports can take on a significance in my life that is neither merited nor healthy. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stories and the games and the drama, especially living here in the heart of the SEC. So I am forever asking the Lord to help me keep that part of my heart and my life in check. It gets tricky with kids’ sports, too. As parents, we can take something that’s so good for our children–being on a team, sacrificing for teammates, learning to work with others–and taint that thing with our pride and our egos and our expectations.
I have learned (and I am still learning) that there’s a big difference between enjoying something and elevating it to god-like status in my life. If sports are a hobby, that’s awesome. But if sports are an idol, that’s troublesome. Sometimes that means that I have to distance myself from the message boards, and I’ve pretty much quit listening to sports radio altogether. That’s not because those things are bad; that’s just because my preoccupation with those things can start to create a barrier in my relationship with the Lord and change my priorities in a way that’s not necessarily wise.
All that being said, there can be so many blessings that come from sports. There are physical benefits from playing and participating, and sports are the source of so many of our favorite family memories. I just have to be careful to keep those things in perspective and remember that there is no place in Scripture where Jesus rang a cowbell and screamed, “Hail State.”
As a wife and mother, why do you think this particular Secret Church topic is so crucial?
Sophie: It’s everything, isn’t it? I mean, I can have all the head knowledge in the world, I can quote Scripture and sing hymns and memorize the entire book of Psalms, but if I’m not lovingly putting the gospel into practice in my everyday life in terms of how I care for and respond to my family and co-workers and neighbors and people who don’t know Jesus, then some part of my so-called cross-centered life is out of line (I just re-read that last sentence and thought, Um, that’s pretty much the gist of 1 Corinthians 13, and really, Paul says it so much better). Sometimes I think I learn more about where I am in my walk with Christ when I’m standing in line for a car tag than when I’m spending the weekend at a women’s retreat, because the daily stuff is where I see the places in my head and my heart that aren’t fully surrendered (Can we please talk about the opportunities for sanctification that are available to us in the carpool line? Or at Chuck E. Cheese?). Our day-to-day routines are where the sacred and the ordinary intersect, so how we view the gospel absolutely affects how we walk it out in all the different areas of our lives.
– For more information or to register for Secret Church 14, “The Cross and Everyday Life,” go here.
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