ETS last week was a great experience. It was good to fellowship with old friends, spend more time with some new ones, and enjoy some stimulating presentations.
I presented a paper called “The Church Militant and Her Warfare: We Are Not Another Interest Group.” The gist is that the church is God’s tool for transforming culture, but in order to be used of God to “rule over the earth and subdue it,” i.e., carry out the great commission by proclaiming the Lordship of Christ to all nations, we must understand the nature of the new birth and we must practice church discipline.
I am more and more convinced that the folks at 9Marks are correct that the church is God’s program for evangelism and discipleship, and I agree with Russ Moore that the church is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in our day. Here’s the paper if you’re interested: The Church Militant and Her Warfare: We Are Not Another Interest Group.
That is a very good paper. I wish every pastor could preach from the perspective that you have done so elequently. I fear the church is becoming so much of a culture club instead of a meeting place to worship God.
i wonder sometimes how long it will be before we have true revival. A place where people focus on the message and apply it instead of hearing some cozy message that doesn’t have any relevance or reverance to God. There are far too many people that come to church out of habit or necessity: but, they nod off, they focus on thier watches to get out in time for lunch or the football game. When will we really mean it when we sing “I surrender all” or whatever we do? What happened to the glory of God being manifested in the Church?
Thanks for posting this. This paper is one of the best I’ve ever heard at ETS!
Great paper. You and I have spoken before on this, but I am not optimistic about the future, especially here in the West. Christianity, especially in the ranks of the SBC, is declining in this country one generation at a time. The latest numbers from Thom Rainer and Lifeway’s research division are not encouraging and show a trend that is extremely troubling. Even with Rainer and others sounding the alarm, there seems to be no overall course reversal on behalf of the leadership and the majority of churches.
I fear genuine reformation is not possible. What I envision, sadly, is a withdrawal and organization of yet another denomination within Baptist life. I pray and hope that this is not the case, but it might just be what is necessary. I, personally, will continue to work, for now, to reform from within. However, I am not optimistic about its success. I believe, sadly, that we are too far gone down the road of “influence and success” to turn back. It seems highly unlikely that pastors will embark down a path which will result in a possible reduction of programs, budgets, and membership (though a precious few have done it). Influence and success, I believe, are the largest barriers to meaningful reform; and as long as we continue to hold up numerical growth, influence, and success as holy, this change will never come. Until we repent and genuine fear of the Lord returns to the eyes of God’s people, and a trembling before His Word returns, genuine renewal remains dream.
Please tell me I am wrong!
you know in 1985 men like WA Criswell and Paige Patterson started the Baptist reformation. I think it’s time you younger ministers take the baton and run with it.
SBC is well known for having a strict bible-based structure in place. We may be even considered the Pharisees of the 20th century because some don’t apply by the rules but they love to enforce them on everyone else.
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