Evangelical leaders esteem Reformation heritage at conference

The news item below from a Southern Baptist source is both encouraging and sad atT4G the same time.

I’m encouraged that a large number of evangelical pastors, seminary teachers, and para-church leaders gather at conferences such as the Together for the Gospel (T4G) 2016, united in the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and upholding the Five Solas of the Reformation. Christians can take heart that the Lord is still on His throne and He’s still raising up men and women who are faithful to His uncompromised Gospel. Please take a moment to read the article and you’ll be blessed.

But on the flip side is the reality that there are many in the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical “denominations” and independent churches who have sold out to “Just love Jesus” ecumenism. The young SBC pastor of the church we attended for thirteen months occasionally littered his sermons and personal conversations with praise for such Catholic figures as Malcolm Muggeridge, Blaise Pascal, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Aquinas, and Peter Kreeft. Some say “SBC” stands for Slowly Becoming Catholic and I experienced the truth of that first hand.

We must pray for our pastors and other leaders to stay true to the Gospel of grace and to resist the siren call of unity with error and apostasy.

Evangelical leaders esteem Reformation heritage at T4G

Andrew J. W. Smith, Southern News, 4/18/16

The legacy of the Protestant Reformation must endure in the doctrine and ministry of the church, evangelical leaders said at the 2016 Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Kentucky, April 12-14.

Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation in 1517, 10,000 attendees from 43 different countries and 20 denominations filled most of the KFC Yum! Center to hear preaching from the biggest names in Reformed evangelicalism. Over 4,000 attendees identified as members of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and co-founder of the T4G conference, said the Protestant Reformation radically transformed the nature of pastoral ministry, starting with Luther himself. The German monk rejected the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel and eventually criticized the priesthood and papacy — key ecclesiological doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Justification by faith alone is not one doctrine among others,” Mohler said of Luther’s famous declaration that justification is the doctrine by which “the church stands or falls.”

“The Solas were not just slogans,” Mohler said. “They were a matter of life and death. Without those Solas, there is no gospel.”

Preaching from Colossians 1, Mohler noted that the fundamental question of the Reformation was about the nature of the gospel, and that has not changed in 500 years, he said.

“The key question that drove Luther to his knees — that drove him to those fits he called ‘Anfechtung’ — the key issue that led him to flee the altar in what was supposed to be his first mass, the key issue that was behind his nailing of the 95 Theses to the door is this: How are sins forgiven? And Colossians 1 declares these sins are forgiven in Christ.”

Mohler also presented a breakout session, “Nowhere to Hide? Facing the Reality of the Secular Movement” and was on a panel with Ligon Duncan and John MacArthur on the need for seminary education. James M. Hamilton, professor of biblical theology at Southern Seminary, also spoke at a breakout session about the role of biblical theology in the pastor’s study of Scripture.

David Platt, president of the International Mission Board of the SBC, preached on the martyrdom of English Reformers, including William Tyndale and John Rogers, who were persecuted for translating the Bible into the common language. They were able to endure death at the burning stake, Platt said, because they knew the greatness of their forgiveness from God.

“Your perspective of earthly embers changes when you’ve been saved from an eternal inferno,” Platt said.

With countless unreached people around the world, many of them without a Bible translated into their native language, Platt urged believers to consider what price they are called to pay for the spread of the gospel today. Following the example of Tyndale and Rogers, Christians should boldly speak the gospel despite opposition.

“The martyrs didn’t die because they believed this gospel; they died because they were proclaiming this gospel,” Platt said.

Matt Chandler, president of the Acts 29 Network and pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, said a healthy awe of God fuels the believer’s endurance through personal trials and public opposition.

“Thin, flat pictures of God will not sustain with the courageous force of a big, deep, beautiful, borderline-frightening, glorious God,” Chandler said. “If you preach him flat, if you preach him small, if you preach him worried, if you preach him hopeful, your people will not be bold.”

Preaching from Paul’s rich doxology in Romans 11:33-36, Chandler said Christians can have absolute confidence in God’s wisdom and provision.

“Christian courage, inflamed and informed by the glory of God, will be the undoing of every empire but the kingdom of God,” he said. “Brothers, be fearless to preach the fullness of the character of God.”

Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and president of 9Marks, said pastors are tempted to place too much value upon worldly achievements like large numbers in the pew, numerous conversions, or many church plants. Instead, he challenged attendees to value the slow, lasting joys of “the elder’s chair” instead of the fleeting joys of the spotlight.

“Things that may first appear to be the kind of nourishing joys that we need to live on may in fact not be,” Dever said. “In fact, they can deprive us of the discipline we need to find our joys where we should.”

Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., walked through the salvation language in Romans 3:21-26, noting that the glory of saving grace shines brighter when perceived out of the darkness of believers’ fallen condition.

“If we can comprehend something of the ugliness of sin, then we can against that dark backdrop, see something of the beauty of justification,” he said.

Because of God’s mighty and powerful love to save Christians, Anyabwile said, Christians can have absolute confidence in their final deliverance. The Father’s plan stretches into eternity past and will endure forever.

“Before time began, God decided that he would save us, not because of anything we did, but because of what his Son did,” he said. “Because his Son did it, it can never be controverted, it can never be subverted, it can never be taken away for those who trust in Christ.”

MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, said believers should heed Christ’s call for reformation in the church. Expositing the message of Christ to each of the seven churches listed in Revelation 2-3, MacArthur said pastors should remind their congregations to return to their “first love” of fidelity to Christ.

“We all like to call the nation to repentance, but when do we call the church to repentance?” he said.

John Piper, founder of Desiring God and former pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, traced Luther’s doctrine of human sinfulness as expressed in “The Bondage of the Will” through the New Testament, highlighting the numerous ways the Bible describes the human bondage to sin. It is from this slavery to sin and selfishness that Christians were saved and by God’s power that they can live in freedom.

“Our working is not added to God’s working. Our working is God’s working,” he said.

Kevin DeYoung, pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, argued Christians cannot be glorified if they have not been sanctified during their lives. Despite some articulations of grace that seem to diminish the importance of personal holiness, Christians should recognize that lives truly changed by the gospel do not live in sin, he said.

After noting the three signs in 1 John that a person is truly regenerated — believing Jesus is the Christ, loving one’s brother, and refraining from sin — DeYoung said Christians must not depend on their own self-evaluation of their spiritual condition.

“You are not bound to be a very good evaluator of the fruit in your life,” DeYoung said. “You need other people. Assurance is a community project.”

C.J. Mahaney, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Kentucky, said leaders should be prepared for suffering in ministry. The Reformer John Calvin had preached 156 sermons on the book of Job, Mahaney said, and pastors and ministry leaders should learn how trials and suffering relate to their ministry.

“Think of your suffering as part of your sermon preparation,” he said.

Duncan, chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, demonstrated the continuing need for the reformation of the church, as all of Calvin’s reasons for the Reformation are still necessary — justification by faith, a more biblical understanding of the sacraments, and the reclamation of the pastoral office remain areas the Roman Catholic Church has still not reformed.

The 2016 Together for the Gospel conference was the sixth iteration of the conference, which started in 2006 under the leadership of Mohler, Mahaney, Duncan, and Dever. Audio and video from the conference will be available soon at t4g.org.


17 thoughts on “Evangelical leaders esteem Reformation heritage at conference

  1. If they were truly Christian, would / could they ever really be, becoming slowly catholic.
    None of the Christians that I have fellow-shipped with,would even consider accepting roman catholics as brothers, NO , not in a million years.
    So really need to ask why those people are slowly becoming catholic, as you say. It is because perhaps, that they are not regenerate ?!!

    I personally will never accept a roman catholic as being a Christian brother..I will be dead first.!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I politely disagree. I believe there are some Catholics who become so exasperated with Roman legalism that they accept Christ as Savior in desperation. They’re saved in spite of their church’s standard theology and remain in Catholicism for a variety of wrong reasons. Maybe others are led to Christ by family or friends but remain in Catholicism for a period until they can no longer reconcile God’s Word and their new faith with their old religion.

      I also believe there’s a number of genuine, born-again Christians who sincerely believe the Catholic church is Christian. Most of these people either don’t have a deep understanding of doctrine and comparative religions or they are fooled by ecumenical Catholicism’s use of familiar terms such as “saved by grace” and “justified by faith.”

      I was a Catholic for 27 years and I’ve read a lot about Catholicism since accepting Christ. I often become frustrated with Christians who don’t share my views on Catholicism but obviously most don’t share my history. These days it’s becoming increasingly unacceptable to write about any group in a negative way. Many people would never read anything from a blog called excatholic4christ because they mistakenly believe the name is not Christ-honoring.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If someone becomes a Christian, and is filled with the Holy Spirit, I cannot accept that, they would not be aware that, they need to leave that Ungodly / Demonic religion.

        Also, how can any genuinely born again Christian, actually believe that catholicism is Christian.
        I do not accept that they are born again, if they accept obviously demonic dogmas/practices as being Christian.

        Would a true born again Christian,be deceived by Ecumenism or cathollicism..I doubt it.


      2. You’re undoubtably convinced of these things but your black and white approach doesn’t take into account any nuances in knowledge, wisdom, and obedience. It seems you believe every genuine Christian should be a mature, meat and potatoes eater the minute after they accept Christ. The reality probably is that the vast majority of believers are milk drinkers when it comes to doctrine, even decades after accepting Christ. I know several. They’re trusting in Jesus as their Savior and they know some Bible but try to have a conversation with them about some meatier doctrines or comparative theology and their eyes glaze over. They run with the Billy Graham/TBN pack and just want to have “fellowship” in peace and harmony and certainly don’t want to offend anyone. They don’t ask hard questions of themselves or others. Did people genuinely accept Christ at Billy Graham crusades? I’m sure many, many did. But they probably didn’t grow much in the way of doctrine if they continued with Graham and his crowd.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I understand what you ar saying.
        Every Christian has to start with milk of the word, that’s true.
        I did myself.
        I fully understand the pint you are making, but the facts that you are stating, only serve, to illustrate my point in a small way, I suppose.
        If someone becomes truly born again, do they not desire, to get deeper into God’s Word ?
        The Christians, that I have spent time with, always did..They weren’t perfect of course,,neither was I, but we had the desire to get deeper into God’s word.

        The fact, that you know some people who were ‘ born again ‘ and then did n ot aparently desire the sincere milk of the word, and the wheat, and then the mat etc, tells me that they were only in receipt of what, could be called a bucket of joy.

        Billy Graham is a bad example for you to choose.
        He is a traitor to the Gospel of Christ, his unfortunate habit of visiting the vatican, the fact, that he is a Freemason, and the things that I have heard him say on YouTube, especially when talking to that clown, with his professorial gown on,Robert Schuller.

        Where the Holy spirit is in a person’s life, a desire for God’s Word is ALWAYS present..I am confident, that this is true.

        Christians have to be more discerning, rather than concentrating on being politically correct.
        I have no intention of attempting to be politically correct at all.

        We need a bit more ‘Backbone ‘ around here !! 🙂 Ahem


      4. No, my choice of Graham was very intentional. I’m not endorsing milk bottle Christianity, I’m only saying it’s a reality. Christians mature at different rates and to different levels. To say someone is not a genuine Christian because they don’t believe exactly as someone else is wrong.


      5. Im casting into doubt, that someone is genuinely saved/Christian, if

        ” there is no desire for more understanding of Giod, through his word, ” because it has been my own experience, that after a genune conversion, there is desire for more knowledge of God.

        Of course, I understand that different people progress at different rates e.t.c…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Lets not fall out over this..
        we are two different people with a different viewpoint, but follow the same Lord, and God, Jesus Christ.
        I hope ??

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It doesn’t matter what you call anything really, No offence intended,,there will always be someone that does not like it..
        As long as what you are doing, is glorifying to God, and is based, soundly on his Word,and Christ centred,,then to be honest, who cares what anyone thinks..?
        It’s good to talk to you..
        I hope you will reblog something on my blog, if you find something useful at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Thanks, good to talk to you also. You’re right about the blog name. It offends many because it contrasts error with Truth and that’s not popular these days.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. I have watched a few of excatholic4christ video’s,,in fact I think I re blogged some,of them also.
        Mybe you should call it reaching catholics for Christ or something.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Thanks. I’ve thought about a name change but once people get past the name it will be the same “negative” messages. I’ve noticed most people are just looking for a daily dose of spiritual cotton candy here at WordPress.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Well spiritual cotton candy would make me puke..luke warmth is probably what you refer to ?? )

        Do you know any bible believing Christians in blackpool?

        Hope you dont think that I am luke warm hee hee??

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Regarding spiritual cotton candy: I enjoy basking in the Lord’s goodness as much as anyone else but He also commands us to be watchful and to test the spirits.

        Blackpool? No, I’m based in New York. The only person I know who’s from Blackpool is Graham Nash.


      13. He’s the English third of Crosby, Stills, and Nash and was in the Hollies previous to that. He wrote a song called “Military Madness” in which he mentioned being born in Blackpool. I pretty much doubt he’s a believer.


  2. Billy Graham the traitor,Apostate,deceiver..Its a shame, but it’s true..
    I used to love listening to him, on the back to God hour,on radio. and Professor McGee,
    Oh well, its sad really..easy believism,lightweight theology,
    tut tut tut tsk tsk
    And things are going to get a lot worse, a great deal worse..

    Liked by 1 person

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