27 June 2007

Founders Conference, Day 2 session 2

by Frank Turk

Raymond Perron is speaking to us on "Preaching the Gospel in a Secular Culture".

Brother Perron has a wonderful French-Canadian accent. He has just called it "Jean Cauvin's Accent".

He begins at 2 Tim 4:1-5. Preach the Word in season and out of season.

He makes the point that there is a "conspiracy" regarding conferences on how to reach people in the 21st century. He invites us to revisit the basics.

This presentation will survey 2 Tim 4.

Two tendencies in our milieu:
[1] To look for a miracle recipe which will bring every person to the Lord. There is no magic strategy. All the Lord has given will come. Some ministries have admirable qualities, but there is no magic bullet. Billy Graham, Bill Hybels, etc. are not the "right way". We need some strategies, but do not rely on methodology. When we sow the seed of the word, the power is not in the sower or the soil but –in the seed itself-. We are not vending machines for the Gospel: we are relational, and must deliver the Gospel in some kind of relationship. Cf. Mt 28 "go and make disciples". The context is us going.

[2] Behaviorism. We assess people the average person by their religious experience to find traits. For example, we see the average American man is individualistic who has been hurt by the church but has been in the church, and tends to be socially pluralistic and relativistic, influenced by pomo who is in a quest for spirituality, and who is a bit cynical about Christianity. What tools does he have to deal with his experience? He is biblically ignorant and has a pomo epistemology. (He calls pomo "the old error of Pythagoras" and "garbage") This man is no difference than Adam and Eve. But do we have to take a behaviorist attitude in presenting the Gospel in that the man is made by his experiences – or do we take a Gospel anthropology and say he is a –fallen man- who needs the Gospel as God has declared it. People who panic over things which go wrong lose the message of the ages in the word of God. They get sidetracked.

What is the Biblical assessment of the average North American non-believer: wholly-effected by the noetic effects of the fall. He cannot receive the things of the spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14) He has not received the (love of the) truth (Rom 1, 2 Thes 2:9-10) but has suppressed it. He is still in God's image and has the sense of divinity; he cannot get rid of it in spite of self-deception. He is who has a knowledge of God to leave him without excuse.

Philosophy appeals to reason – so philosophy –cannot- penetrate the non-believer. Theology appeals to –revelation- and therefore is a proclamation of the truth and not a negotiation of the truth. It calls men away from rebellion to God, but this is a head-on collision. The world and the church are exactly opposed.

2 Tim 4:

[1] God's word does God's work. Theology ought to decide the agenda in evangelism. Truth, sound doctrine, the true word of the faith must be proclaimed not when people are open or "where the Holy Spirit is 'working'". Preach the word in season and out of season. A. W. Pink "Profiting from the Word": Where the Scriptures are ignored, God is the unknown God. The Scriptures reveal a supernatural God who can only be known supernaturally. It is supernatural fruit.

[2] "how to".
-- be urgent about eternal life and death
-- Address people under God's judgment
-- Relationship is the best "locus" for evangelism
++ Application is relational
-- Stott: Christian ministers must exert expository ministry in the city
-- We must be longsuffering
-- conviction, warning, encouraging: the Gospel is not just "good news" but good news as a solution to God's wrath.

Os Guiness: the 3 umpires
1: Strikes and balls the way they are
2: Strikes and Balls the way I see them
3: Strike and Balls are nothing until I call them
How do we evangelize these umpires?

1: yes, there is objective truth in the word of God.
2: it doesn’t matter what you think you see.
3: We prophecy to the dry dead bones.

[3] There are different callings: big churches, small churches, some fruitful, some not so much. The fickleness of the servant must be overcome. God's word will accomplish what God pleases. It seals the elect and reveals the damned. If people are left to themselves, they will harden.

David Vaughn's cart of callings.

The natural man
God's sovereign work on the heart
Man experiences the effects of God's action
Man actively responds based on his heart condition
Man is saved of condemned according to his response to truth
This is either a Grace/Salvation action or a Justice/Judgment action.

Closes with a Mark Dever quote on the mail carrier: the mail carrier delivers the message someone else has written and has sent. As Christians, we are supposed to –deliver- the message, not –invent- the message. It is entrusted to us.

1 Cor 4 is his closing passage.


steve said...

Some excellent thoughts there--thanks, Frank, for noting them for us.

As Christians, we are supposed to –deliver- the message, not –invent- the message. It is entrusted to us.


thelittlefields said...

You did a great job of getting all of what he said!! The Calvin accent was really hard for this Texas boy. We were blessed to have him come and teach--Dirk

bloggernaut said...

Excellent synopsis! I must say that you’re positively spanking Brister on head-to-head blogging.

I like the part where members are encouraged to go home and reform their own churches. As skeptical and cynical as I am, with God, surely anything is possible.

So here’s my vent: the mall mentality is nurtured and defended in most SB churches. People are doing this (firstly) not because they don’t want Jesus as He really is; it is because they think this IS who Jesus really is–the Divine supplier of psychological therapy and the Church is the vendor of His religious goods and services (terms I’ve borrowed from my pastor), making the churchgoer a consumer of religious goods and services. My angst is this: THIS is the worldliness that churches are mired in which has personally driven me away from Southern Baptist churches. Forget about smoking, dancing, rated R movies, and alcohol. That Christians have been, at best, blind to this shade of ungodly, at worst, defending it, is precisely why the church has lost its effectiveness nowadays. Now, churches based on religious consumerism are unable to comprehend the postmodern culture and complain how FAR GONE things have gotten? A little like the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?

I could bag on the state of churches all day long, but thankfully I won’t. Is there anyone who sees real danger or is it only me? I’m thankful for the NFC, but where is the passion and motivation? Does anyone feel a fire lit under them? Anyone willing to state what he/she will do personally?

(member of the infamous The Journey church in St. Louis, just for those of you who don’t think I’ve stirred up enough for one day)

Am I caught yet?

bloggernaut said...

I meant the part about reforming our own churches in relation to the previous session. Sorry for any confusion

bloggernaut said...

Ok, my heavy handed congratulations are not falling on jovial ears as expected. Those of you monitoring both this and Timmy Brister's blog know that I posted the same entry to each. Just to make myself clear, the serious stuff is serious. The spanking part is NOT. Timmy Brister and TeamPyro are doing a fantastic job covering the conference. I thank each for their contributions to the web and are learning a great deal from these blogs.


donsands said...

It's so pure and simple, the Gospel. It's so refreshing to hear messages like this.

centuri0n said...

I'd like to go on-record to mention that Timmy was not now, nor has ever been, spanked by us.

No meat-chubs were bruised in the blogging of this conference.

jsb said...

Thanks for the summary, though the odd Billy Graham reference was superfluous and, from the wording, without substance.

Hang in there. Keep dry.

David said...

Sounds like at least as much fun as The Saddleback Worship Conference.

Maybe not as loud.

Sewing said...

Evangelicalism in Canada is in an even sorrier state than it is south of the border. And Quebec is even more secular than the rest of Canada, with deep Catholic roots to boot. May God guide folks like Raymond Perron as he does the Lord's work in Quebec, and may his work be a shining light for English Canada as well.

David, you just like mentioning Saddleback to get Cent's hackles up, don't you? ;)

Phil Johnson said...

Frank: "I'd like to go on-record to mention that Timmy was not now, nor has ever been, spanked by us."

...not to mention the fact that Joe Thorn's photos are going to make our cell-phone captures look like trash.

I'll bet our lunch was better than theirs, though. That's gotta count for something, huh?

joethorn.net said...

I don't know. We ate at P.F. Changs. Where'd you guys eat?

DJP said...

I'll tell you this about it, Joe: it was "bad." And that's good.