SBC Panel Discussion on “Salvation and the Mission of God”

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  • Does one’s belief on the extent of the atonement affect their understanding of mission and the offer of the gospel?
  • Can two Christians disagree on soteriology and partner in ministry?
  • Does the order of salvation affect how one does evangelism?
  • When it comes to the theological particulars of salvation, what is the difference between compromise and cooperation?

Join us at The Southern Baptist Convention to hear Ed StetzerFrank PageDavid Platt, and Trevin Wax discuss the topics of salvation and mission. Only 500 seats available, so sign up now!

  • Date: Tuesday, June 10th
  • Time: 6:30am – 8:00am (Be there at 6:15am!)
  • Place: The Baltimore Convention Center
  • Location: Ballroom IV on Level 400
  • Free breakfast and books

Each attendee will receive a bag of free books including:

We look forward to seeing you at The Southern Baptist Convention. Sign up for the breakfast here. 

April 24, 2014 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

The ERLC Leadership Summit

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The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention will host the first annual ERLC Leadership Summit April 21-23 in Nashville, Tenn. The inaugural Summit’s theme is “The Gospel and Human Sexuality.” It will equip pastors, church leaders and lay people to speak to these critical issues in their congregations.

Speakers include ERLC President, Russell D. Moore; J.D. Greear, Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh, N.C.; and Trillia Newbell, ERLC’s Consultant for Women’s Initiatives. Keynote addresses, panels and breakout sessions will focus on how the gospel shapes a person’s sexual identity, redeems sexual desire and sets free people held captive by sin.

“So many of the questions that pastors grapple with today deal with situations that would not even have been possible a generation ago,” Moore said.

“As technology advances and the culture changes, the questions that we have to grapple with are often increasingly complex. At the ERLC Leadership Summit, we’ll talk about these questions, and how we can be be faithful in ministry, gospel-focused in engagement and Christ-shaped spiritual warriors in the ways we seek to wrestle with the principalities and powers of this age.”

The main sessions will be live-streamed on erlc.com. Follow the conversation on Twitter by following @ERLC, @ERLCPressRoom and #erlclive. A complete schedule of events and speaker information can be found online.

April 21, 2014 at 7:05 am Leave a comment

Evangelism as Captivating with the Gospel

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I recently wrote this article for Facts & Trends magazine on The Power of Story: Captivated by the Gospel.

Do you remember the last time you heard a good story? 

It’s easy to become captivated by a compelling narrative or a fascinating myth. Stories are instruments of powerful mnemonic and formative capability.

From movies to novels or warm conversations over dinner, stories can capture our imagination and shape the way we think about the world like nothing else can. We love stories.

And like children sitting on the edge of a bed awaiting their parents to read a beloved bedtime book, we long to be told a good story. But more importantly, we want to be part of a good story.

Stories help us make sense of where we find ourselves, what has gone wrong with things, and what can be done about it. Stories shape and narrate how we view ourselves. These narratives speak to a deep longing in our hearts, opening the doors of possibility to things that could be.

However, most of the narratives that captivate the imaginations of children are nothing more than fanciful myths.

Sadly, the same can be said of the worldviews that narrate the worlds of most adults. The burning question that each of us must ask is, who gets to narrate my world?

The true story of the whole world

As Christians, we understand all people are confronted by a host of master narratives that compete with, and often contradict, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We also believe God has revealed the true story of the whole world. The story of Christ is, as C.S. Lewis put it, “the true myth.”

In many ways, the Bible presents redemptive history as a four-part drama—creation, fall, redemption, restoration. In that drama, Jesus isn’t part of the story; He is the point of the story.

Evangelism is sharing the greatest story ever told, namely, the story of redemption through Jesus Christ.

In order to make sense of our lives, we depend on narratives that provide us a broader framework of meaning.

I believe Alasdair MacIntyre was correct in After Virtue, when he wrote: “I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’”

This principle is extremely important for evangelism. Not only do we need to understand the true story of the whole world, we also need to understand how to read the story of those we talk with. What narrative shapes their worldview, outlook and self-image?

Reading their story, sharing Christ’s story 

Too often our evangelism efforts are driven by one-sided, canned presentations. How often do we listen to those we are sharing with in order to present the gospel to them with wisdom and care?

What if our efforts in sharing the good news were less about putting people in evangelistic headlocks until they make a decision and more about capturing their imagination with the beautiful gospel?

We believe the story of Jesus’ life and work is directly related to the story of our world, and to the personal stories of everyone we meet.

When we share the gospel with others, do we ever stop to wonder if they are able to perceive how the gospel is good news for them? How does Jesus’ story enter their story?

What people need to know is not only what the gospel is, but also what the gospel does. We need to show them the beauty of the gospel and pray that God would open their eyes to see it.

In his book Unbelievable Gospel, Jonathan Dodson suggests that using gospel metaphors at the prompting of the Holy Spirit is a more effective way to aim at the heart of the listener.

In other words, apply the gospel to their story.

  • To those searching for acceptance in all the wrong places, we can point them to perfect acceptance in the gospel of justification.
  • To those searching for fulfilling relationships, we can point them to profound, personal union with Christ.
  • To those who struggle with tolerance, we can show them the uniqueness of Christ in the gospel of redemption.
  • To those who fear disapproval or demand the applause of others, we can share the gospel of adoption, which offers an enduring approval and produces humble confidence.
  • To anyone longing for a new start, there is the hope of new creation.

Tell His story

This is not changing the message of the gospel, but aiming that message to hit people at their deepest needs.

The gospel story is the only story that will help your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors make sense of the world they find themselves in, what has gone wrong with it, and what has been done about it.

As those who are captivated by God’s story, let us go as storytellers and captivate others with the grace of God found in Jesus Christ.

Sin and death may be part of the story, but we know where the story ends. Paradise may be lost, but in Christ we are headed for peace and satisfaction forever after.

The gospel story is good news. Do you remember the last time you told this great story?

April 17, 2014 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

Free Theology Books for Kindle

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Here is a list of classic theology books for free on Kindle. HT Justin Holcomb.

St. Aquinas

Martin Luther

John Calvin
Jonathan Edwards
D. L. Moody
William Wilberforce
John Bunyan
R. A. Torrey

G. K. Chesterton

April 15, 2014 at 7:05 am 4 comments

David Platt on “Heaven is for Real”

There are many books circulating the market right now that claim to recount visits to heaven – and millions of people are reading them.What should we make of these supposed “post-death experience” stories?

In this video David Platt argues that if we want to know what heaven is really like, we should read the Bible, not fanciful accounts of near death experiences. (HT J.A. Medders)

Justin Taylor notes the MacArthur book that Platt is quoting from: The Glory of Heaven: The Truth about Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life (2nd edition, Crossway, 2013).

Taylor also references a podcast by John Piper, in which he argues against such books from Isaiah 8:19 (And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?)

God’s beef with necromancy [form of magic involving communication with the deceased] is that it belittles the sufficiency of his communication. Why would you inquire of the dead to find out what you want to know instead of inquiring of me? And if they say: Well, I have inquired of you and you didn’t tell me what I want to know. He would say: Well, that is your problem. I have told you what you need to know. You don’t need to know about such and such if I haven’t told you. And, in fact, if you go trying to inquire about such and such that I haven’t told you, you are dishonoring me. So that is the nature of the argument. And, therefore, I think the prohibition of séances and necromancy applies to this kind of thing and people ought to stop writing those books.

April 11, 2014 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

The Gospel and Our Adoption in Christ

In February I had the privilege of preaching at my home church, Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. My sermon was titled “The Gospel and Our Adoption in Christ”, and was based on Galatians 4:1-7.

You can also download the audio from iTunes here.

April 5, 2014 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

T4G Panel on “Group Ministry in the Local Church”

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Groups are a big part of local church ministry. Whether they come in the form of discipleship groups, accountability groups, Sunday School, or home groups, it’s clear that evangelicals believe groups matter.

For this reason, The Gospel Project is excited about hosting a discussion panel on Group Ministry in the Local Church at Together for the Gospel on Wednesday, April 9th in the zero dollar book store from 2:00-2:40. Our panelists will include:

During the discussion our panelists will explore the theological foundations (why) and practical applications (how) of group ministry. We’ll be tackling issues like:

  • How do you integrate a group philosophy into your church’s overall theological vision for ministry?
  • Should groups be on campus or off campus?
  • How do you raise and train new leaders for groups?
  • Should groups monologue or dialogue?
  • How do you connect the spiritual disciplines into the structure of your groups?
  • How do you multiply groups?
  • Should groups have an outward or inward focus?
  • How do you cast vision for groups from the pulpit?
  • Should groups primarily gather to study the Bible or focus on fellowship?

According to the research behind Transformational Groups, the majority of church attenders don’t believe groups are that important to the church. However, a survey among Protestant pastors, 76% agree (32% strongly) that groups are the primary network to mobilize their church and its work. Why is there such a discrepancy between the church leaders and their members? Join us for the panel discussion as we explore the answers.

April 3, 2014 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

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