Sunday, June 10, 2007

SBC-SA, #1

We arrived in San Antonio this evening after a wonderful time of worship and fellowship with Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas. Voddie Baucham, one of their elders and the speaker for the Founders Fellowship Breakfast on Tuesday morning, preached from Mark 9 in the time of worship and it was a joy to meet and share a meal with that church body. The Lord is doing great things in this new church plant and they are already thinking (after a little more that one year) about their next church planting effort.

I caught most of Charles Colson's message at the Pastors' Conference tonight. He told a story about meeting with several prominent pastors and 2 well-known theologians. During his presentation to them about concerns over cultural decay it dawned on him that they may not be tracking with his line of thinking. So, he stopped and asked them to answer the question, "What is Christianity?" After a long and awkward pause, a few answers were put forth, including some Bible verses, loving God and loving others, the Ten Commandments, etc. But none in the group suggested that Christianity is the way of life and view of the world that comes from knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

His story illustrates what I am convinced is the greatest problem facing American evangelicals today: we have largely lost what it means to be Christian. If you have read this blog very long you probably have read my contention that we can no loger assume that evangelicals agree on the nature of the Gospel, conversion and the church. We need to be willing to ask and answer biblically the questions, what is the Gospel, what is a Christian (and how does one become one) and what is a church. Failure to get these right will mean the loss of biblical Christianity.

The highlight of the convention experience so far was receiving a little booklet with the messenger registration packet. Buidling Bridges, by David Dockery and Timothy George is being given to every messenger. If memory serves me, it is in essence the presentations that they made at the Baptist Identity Conference earlier this year at Union University. Colson wrote the foreword and Thom Rainer wrote a preface, summarizing points from his talk at the same conference. It is healthy information for Southern Baptists and I hope it gets a wide readership not only in Alamo city but throughout the whole SBC.

7 comments:

Sojourner said...

Pastor Tom,

My wife and I will be at the breakfast Tuesday, God willing. I look forward to meeting you and others there!

ChuckMorton said...

Tom,

You analysis about Colson's remarks are right on. I believe the greatest need of those in our convention is a need for spiritual understanding of the truths held forth in Scripture.

One thing that Colson pointed out last night that really disturbed me was the anecdotal reference to schoolchildren and their lack of willingness to stand up for Truth. This wouldn't be quite so disturbing had it not been for Colson's next statement that once the children - descibed as Christians - were sent to their parents and pastors for further guidance on the issue, they came back with the same reluctance to stand up for Truth. And the children cited their parents and pastor as the ones backing up their reluctance.

In a day and age where we decry public education, I would submit that the greater problem is the reluctant "Christian". We go to church every week; we sit on church committees every week; we perform our Christian responsibilities every week; we might even engage in prayer and Bible reading every week. The problem, however, is that it doesn't sink in. It doesn't manifest itself in our thinking. Who among us can clearly articulate the Christian message to a non-believer without a tract? I am afraid not too many. I am also afraid that many in our Southern Baptist ranks are much like Colson's example - reluctant Christians.

I pray, as does the convention's president, that we experience revival this week. There is business to be done - that is sure. But the more important nature of this meeting should be to submit to Christ in a spirit of humility, desiring that his Spirit descend upon us and energize us to win the lost.

It would be tragic if the only notable outcome of our gathering is election of the right candidate for 1st Vice President.

Let's agree to change the tenor of this debate. Let's agree on our need for insight into the heart of God. Let's agree that unified we can impact our world for Christ. Let's agree that our greatest need is to know Christ and to be known by Him.

Tom said...

Sojourner:

I look forward to it!

Chuck:

I agree wholeheartedly. If we do not see reformation in our churches--what we believe and how we live--we can shout all day and night about the decline in our culture all-the-while contributing to it by failing to do the one thing that no other group or institution on earth can do--be the bride of Christ who commends her Bridegroom to a lost and dying world. May the Lord revive us!

centuri0n said...

That's the best post I ever read that I didn't write.

I can't wait to meet and greet at the Founders conference at the end of the month.

Kern R. said...

I agree. I think John Piper in his preaching and writings especially his book Desiring God, has done the best job of defining what is a Christian.

Douglas said...

I caught most of Charles Colson's message at the Pastors' Conference tonight.

Sir, have you read this:

Colson's Surprise Guest For SBC's Annual Meeting

This is frightening. Chuck Colson is working hand in hand with Rick Warren and Rick Warren's Purpose Driven methods are riddled with error and Scripture twisting. How can a true Christian work with this? This leaven is spreading throughout the whole western church, world-wide. Chuck Colson and Rick Warren's teachings will not succeed. Things are only going to get worse until the return of the LORD Jesus Christ.

Christians do need to clearly understand and articulate their Christian world-view but in no way at all can we enforce that on secular humanistic society. If professing Christianity came into power in America, tyranny would rule.

The church in America needs to seriously repent! Especially the likes of the Southern Baptist Convention and its "old school mentality."

Chuck Colson promotes Rick Warren's false teaching book "The Purpose Driven Life" and the 40 days program that goes with it, to those in the prisons there in America. That is tragic! No way at all in this life will I ever have anything to do with Charles Colson and Rick Warren's programs. I'd rather be burnt at the stake.

God help America.

Michele Rayburn said...

Hi Tom,

I met you not too long ago at the Florida Founders Conference (Jan. ’06) and also heard you speak in Orlando and Toledo over these past few months. My husband and I really appreciate your ministry.

I noticed that you said that you caught *most* of Charles Colson’s message at the Pastors’ Conference...and that he asked the question, "What is Christianity?". But I wonder if you heard the part that I wanted to bring to your attention.

I had just been looking at Christian Research Network online today.

www.christianresearchnetwork.com

And the editor posted the following in their article taken from Watcher’s Lamp:

http://watcherslamp.blogspot.com/2007/06/colsons-surprise-guest-for-sbcs-annual.html

The article was posted on June 12 and is entitled:

Colson’s Surprise Guest at SBC’s Annual Meeting

This is an excerpt from Watcher’s Lamp about what Charles Colson said at the Conference:

Watcher’s Lamp:

“A segment later in Colson’s presentation went largely unnoticed by the major news bureaus. Colson began to describe the need for a biblical worldview in light of society and culture."

Charles Colson:

"We've got to stop looking at Christianity as simply a personal relationship with Jesus," he said. “We have to understand that Christianity is a worldview. When Jesus came he announced the kingdom, which means that the reign of God has come upon earth and the kingdom will come in power when he reigns again for a thousand years. That's what he's announcing, and that's a worldview. That's a way of seeing all of life, every aspect of life under the Lordship of Christ."

Watcher’s Lamp:

“Colson introduced a new six-week DVD course he recently released with Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren, Wide Angle: Framing Your Worldview, summarizing Colson’s writings over the years about what it *means* to have a biblical worldview.”

Charles Colson:

"What is our purpose in life?" Colson asked Southern Baptist pastors. "It is to restore the fallen culture to the glory of God. It's to take command and *dominion* over every aspect of life, whether it's music, science, law, politics, communities, families, to bring Christianity to bear in every single area of life. And that's exactly what Rick and I teach in that series. That's what I have been teaching."

Watcher’s Lamp:

“... If your worldview includes dominionism and the embrace of all religions that claim to be Christian, then The Word of God ceases to be your authority, and what remains is defined as religion.”

Tom, I have been studying Dominionism for several months now, so this especially caught my attention. And I had just been reading about Colson and Warren being linked with Dominionism but have not yet finished studying it to know to what extent they might be involved in it.

But this quote from Colson gives more indication to me that he is into Dominionism. I have done a lot of reading on the subject and Colson and Warren’s names pop up every now and then.

So, if anything, I am just giving you a “heads up” about it, and wonder if you know anything about Dominionism infiltrating the Church.

Watcher’s Lamp gave a link to Dominionism (above), so if you would like to read more about it, I think you will find it very informative. I found it to be profoundly disturbing.

In His Love,
Michele Rayburn