From Minnesota: Day 1 (continued) at the Pastor’s Conference

I will try to brief you on some more oddities, blessings, and messages as time allows.  For this post, a few things to mention:

1.  Another first for me this morning – as I am walking (not jogging) to the conference center, breathing ever so normally through my nostrils, an odd thing was happening in my nose that took me at least 4 seconds to realize what exactly had just happened – alas, my nose hairs had frozen, and as I wiped them as a thawing technique, they would continue freezing much to my wonder.

2.  Attended four talks today – one delivered by Matt Chandler, one by Piper, and two by Mark Dever; I’ll address Dever’s first message  (from yesterday) now, however, and the others will follow as time and space permits:

Summary: The Gospel divides.  It divides not only the unbelieving masses over the person and work of Jesus, but it tends to make clear divisions amongst evangelicals.  This is obviously an undesirable state, for there is only one Gospel – the biblical Gospel, the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, God’s redemptive drama supremely manifest in the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Jesus Christ.  The one true Gospel must be the Gospel offered to the lost sinner, and the confusion that persists over the nature of this Gospel within evangelical circles does nothing to aid the current situation.  This does not mean that we ought to throw our arms up in the air as if we must forfeit all hope of Gospel endeavor when we may not agree, but only that we must agree and come together around this one Gospel.  There is one and only one Gospel.  We must turn to the pages of Scripture to know, articulate, teach, preach, live, and daily reapply this Gospel.  

Dever primarily kept to the outline of the redemptive drama: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.  These serve as a map to help us know where we are and where we are going when evangelizing the lost.  The Gospel is not just the story of redemption; it is, but it also includes the biblical realities of the Kingship of God, His rights as Creator, humanities (and thus one’s) fall from God and grace through sin into rebellion and death and separation, redemption in Christ of the individual sinner and the entirety of creation, and the final restoration of all things in Christ Jesus, the settling in of the kingdom of God in fullness again.  In sharing the Gospel we are moving this loved one, this neighbor, this waiter through the biblical witness of the purpose of God that centers on Jesus Christ and salvation in Him.

Dever seemed to stress clarity and authenticity in evangelism.  One must make the bad news clear before the good news can be made clear.  One must communicate clearly who God is, what state the sinner is in which he is ignorant of, the discontent of God with them, and the willingness of the eternal Son’s sacrifice for them.  One must be clear about the person and work of Christ, both of His deity and His humanity.  One must be clear in one’s call to repentance and faith – (I think this is the most difficult aspect of evangelism, but it is vital); one must be met with the reality of life and death; clear about what is at stake in their rejection and in their reception; like Christ one should be clear (not fearful of) in mentioning the sovereignty of God in salvation, in being the One who grants both repentance from sin and faith in His Son.  

3 reasons for all Christians to be doing evangelism included: a desire to be obedient to God’s commands, a love for the lost, and our love for God (he, of course, went into some depth here that this post will not allow, but your inquiries and comments are always desired).

The most important thing that Dever said, however, I believe he may have said in passing – his personal practice, if I have perceived it correctly, is authenticity and honesty with the unbeliever.  Lost people are still smart people who know what we are doing when we are doing it.  It is best to be up front with them – “I am a Christian.  I’d like to share with you about becoming and being a Christian.  How might I best communicate this to you?”  Or something along those lines.  I do believe that this is vitally important in our efforts.  Be honest in our evangelism, honest about who we are, for we are Christ’s and there is no shame in that, nor in making that known to others, nor in making that way known to others for their own conversion.  Let us do this faithfully, and let God bring the fruit.

3.  Tomorrow, a summary from Matt Chandler’s message on “Shepherding Unregenerate Sheep,” and the rest of Day 2 including briefs on Piper’s biography on George Whitefield, and Dever’s two messages on “The Pastor and Evangelism” and “The Church and Evangelism.”  I would highly recommend listening to, downloading, watching all of these messages – they will encourage you in the faith once for all delivered to the saints.  

 4.  To listen to Dever’s message from last night, click here.  You can listen to every message thus far (including Chandler’s and Piper’s biography) already by clicking here.

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2 Responses

  1. as you sit in minnesota…your tigers just beat the pukies.

    hope you guys are well and enjoying the frigid weather, we need to get together soon!

  2. Let’s be honest… Were your nosehairs frozen, or could it be that which was previously stuck in your nosehairs that was frozen? You looked like Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber didn’t you???

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