Tag Archive | Tim Challies

Question and Answer Session – G3 2014

DM – David Miller​
TC – Tim Challies​
SL – Steve Lawson​
JS – John Snyder​
CM – Conrad Mbewe​
TF – Todd Friel

Q.​Working definition of the church.
A.​DM – A visible congregation of Christ’s baptized disciples.

Q.​What are the essentials of a church?
A.​TC – preaching, ordinances, church discipline

Q.​Should small groups give/take ordinances?
​TC – No, that should be only the church

Q.​What about a church that doesn’t want to sing?
A.​SL – That would be a church that would fall short of God-ordained things to do in the church.
​JS – There is a difference between churches with professional music and congregational music.

Q.​What are options and what are requirements for church services?
A.​SL – Scripture is silent on this issue. Opinions – regularly on Sunday morning and one or two other times during the week.
CM – everybody is not going to do everything. But the majority should be involved in the normal life of the church.

Q.​What about an assembly of people who are watching their pastor on video?
A.​TF – There is a difference between a mediated relationship and a face-to-face relationship. Preaching is a two-way communication.
TC – We are poor at seeing the cost that will come because of technology. We see the benefit, but not the cost.
SL – Some of the most important pastoring is done immediately after preaching, answering questions, meeting people, being hospitable. Also important for the church to see the pastor’s family.

Q.​How much of your library are books and how many are media?
A.​TC – a book is media. The question is mode. 1/3 is screen.
​SL – most of my reading is “real” books. Has some Kindle books.
​CM – almost all are real books. Electronic media is much more limited in Africa.
​TF – I like real books.
​DM – transitioning from books to e-books out of necessity.

Q.​What does it mean to plant a church versus expanding via a satellite campus?
A.​TC – Church restoration is important as well.

Q.​Why are there so few churches with schools these days?
A.​SL – Because it is very expensive. And is this the primary mission of the church?
​TF – But what about the holistic element of education?

Q.​The controversy over the doctrines of grace. What is the difference between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism?
A.​SL – those who see no difference are those who know nothing of the doctrines of grace. Only the Calvinist plays with a full deck. The Hyper-Calvinist is passive, not evangelistic, not mission-minded, not burdened for the lost.
​CM – Christians are called to beware of becoming a Calvinist. There is no distinction between the two in Africa.
​JS – Calvinism when not viewed within in its biblical framework can be controversial, such as complete sanctification is controversial when it is taken out of its biblical framework. If election is taken out of its framework, it will lead to Hyper-Calvinism.

Q.​What are the big issues in the SBC?
A.​DM – Homosexual marriage. All world religions are a path to God.

Video available at G3 Conference

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Session 2 – The Radically Normal Life of the Christian – Tim Challies

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,
10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,
11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
12 so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

ESV

How do we live out the Christian life on a day-to-day basis? What does it look like in the home? What does it look like in the local home?

We are inundated with books that encourage us to live radical lives. To live crazy lives. These books are trying to meet the need to feel significant, to make a difference. The Bible tells us to be extraordinary. But is also tells us to ordinary, to be normal. What is the ordinary Christian life?

Thessalonica was a big city. It was an important city. It was an immoral city. The Christians ask Paul what it looks like to live as a Christian in such a city. What is Paul’s answer? Does he tell them to sell everything and spend all their time witnessing? Does he tell them to sell everything and live in a cloister? No.

We live with a low-grade guilt that we are not doing enough.

The summary of Paul’s teaching regarding living the Christian life:
1. Be decent
2. Be devoted
3. Be diligent

1. Be decent

a. Be sexually pure. The way we express sexuality tells whether we are following God or following along with the world

i. The culture in Paul’s day was shocking in its sexual immorality

ii. People being saved and coming into the church were bringing this baggage from their old life with them and did not know how to deal with it

b. The commands (vv. 3-5)

i. Negative – abstain from sexual immorality in order to be holy

ii. Positive – control your own body in holiness and honor

1. Self-control – Christians learn to control their desires

iii. Don’t do – Do do. Put off – Put on. Stop and Start. Run away – Run to.

c. The warnings (vv. 6-8)

i. Sexual sin defrauds another person

ii. God is the avenger

1. It cannot be hidden from God

2. God will protect the innocent from the guilty

iii. To ignore the warnings are to ignore God himself

d. What does it not say?

i. It does not say be celibate.

2. Be devoted (vv. 9-10)

a. Contrast is love versus lust.

b. Churches are warned about their lack of love and their loss of love.

c. The church in Thessalonica was exceling in love.

d. Four observations of the love of the Christian

i. Love is taught by God

1. How? By the cross. By the gospel.

ii. The primary object of the Christian’s love is for each other.

1. Love must make us uncomfortable because we must love those who are not like us.

iii. Love extends outward

1. …all the brothers throughout Macedonia.

2. Can the love of your church be gauged by what is said by other churches?

iv. Love is meant to grow.

1. It is a lifetime calling to grow.

2. …more and more.

e. What does Paul not say? Move around the world and love over there. He says love those around you right where you are.

3. Be diligent (vv. 11-12)

a. Aspire to live quietly. Be peaceful. Calm down. Be content to be unremarkable, to be unnoticed. Be normal.

b. Mind your own affairs (business). Don’t be involved in things that are not your concern.

i. Serve with others interest in mind, not your own interests.

c. Work with your own hands. Take care of yourself. Don’t be lazy. Don’t consider work as something beneath you.

This kind of life is to display the power of God to Christians and non-Christians (v.12). Your life will be God-honoring. We are not impressive to others if we are lazy, if we are busybodies, if we are unloving, if we have no self-control. The Lord expects us to live lives as ordinary Christians. Those who are going to live a “radical” life must also be ready to live an “ordinary” life. If we want to see the ultimate example of living this ordinary life, we need look no farther than the Lord Jesus Christ.


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Extraordinarily Ordinary Christians

Funny how a topic just keeps popping up here and there.  Back in July, Tim Challies posted about Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission.  That was a topic of discussion with others with the post “Just” a Mom and The Great Commission.  The sum of some of the discussion is that just being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.  A similar topic actually came up again in our ladies’ Titus 2 Bible Study.  How does it look to share the gospel and witness to the those outside our family for a mom of little ones or a variety of ages at home?  Should that even be a focal point for us?  Then when you add in homeschooling that even increases the load at home.

Jesus spent the majority of His time with twelve disciples as He was going along. He even narrowed that group several times to four of what is commonly called the “inner circle”, consisting of Peter, Andrew, James and John.  It was very rare for Jesus to be separate from His disciples except when He went away to pray.  So surely there is nothing wrong with us as moms focusing on making disciples, our children, by making sure we are with them in the mundane things of life leading, guiding and teaching.  We might haul them with us when we go out to serve others but generally they should be our focus.

{The God of the Mundane by Matt B. Redmond, who is actually from Birmingham, Alabama, fits this whole discussion.}

Yesterday I read this post from Michael Horton Ordinary: The New Radical?  While it covers a similar topic as Challies post, it does point out some different ideas.

“Many Christians express astonishment when a fellow believer is content with an ordinary Christian life, with an ordinary church, among ordinary Christians, where God showers his extraordinary gifts through ordinary means of grace.”

“Facing each day with ordinary callings to ordinary people all around us is much more difficult than chasing dreams.”

“My target isn’t activism itself, but the marginalization of the ordinary as the richest site of both God’s activity and ours.  Our problem isn’t that we are too active. Rather, it is that we have been prone to successive sprints instead of the long-distance run.  There’s nothing wrong with energy.  The danger is that we’re burning out ourselves—and each other—on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations.  It’s an impatience with the familiar, sometimes slow, and mostly imperceptible aspects of life.

Think of the things that matter most to us.  They aren’t movements; they are institutions.  They require us to submit to a community, to be “tied down” in ways that clip our restless wings.  Yet in the process, the discipline brings wisdom and delight.”

These all remind me of the saying “You can die for your wife, but can you die to yourself day by day for her?”  What if you turned it around and asked “You can die for Christ, but can you die to yourself for Christ every day in your ordinary everyday life?”  Is Christ more glorified by our going out to the ends of the earth or by our serving Him in the mundane, ordinary things of life?  The world, even Christians, praise those who go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel but where is the praise for unclogging the toilets at church so a congregation can gather to worship the Lord?

Missionaries in Africa or China use books and Bibles produced and published by Christian printing houses.  They use commentaries written by theologians.  They use computer Bible programs designed by programmers.  They use paper produced in factories. Drive cars made by assembly line workers. We need those who labor to teach in seminaries and colleges.  We need those who focus on school so they can be our doctors and nurses.  Even in the local church we need those ordinary Christians.  The ones who repair the broken windows, clean the toilets and mop the floors.  The church and the missionaries need men who work hard 40 – 60 hours a week to support families and yet sacrifice to share hard earned money to support Kingdom work.  We even need bank tellers to help us transfer the money to where it is needed.

So how do believers mesh the idea of leading quiet lives at home with the push to be radical, missionaries to the world?

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (ESV)

9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

12 so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

How does “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 look?


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“Just” a Mom and The Great Commission

Ever feel like being “just” a mom and staying home caring for your family is less than the Lord has called you to?

Feel like unless you are serving overseas as a missionary you couldn’t possibly be fulfilling the Great Commission?

Feel pressured that laundry, cooking, cleaning and caring for children is less worthy than other things?

Being Christian wives and mothers is ‘Radical’ today.

This should be encouraging!

Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission by Tim Challies

For a long time now I’ve had a fascination with what we might refer to as ordinary Christianity, Christian living for the rest of us. This kind of a life stands in contrast to the demands of so many of today’s bestselling Christian books, books that tell us we ought to live extraordinary lives, crazy and above-and-beyond lives. Some of these authors tacitly (or even blatantly) suggest that ordinary must be synonymous with apathetic and that all these comparative and superlative terms–this-er, that-er–are synonymous with godly. But when I look to the Bible I just don’t see it.

The Bible gives us those well-known big-picture commands, the meta commands for the time between Christ’s resurrection and return. “Go and make disciples of all nations.” That Great Commission tells us the what but does not give us a lot of instruction on the how. How do we do that in our daily lives? How does this look in the home and in the office and in the church? Can normal people living normal lives do all of this?

Answers come all through the New Testament and I find it fascinating that concern of the biblical writers is how to be ordinary, how to be normal. In their minds being ordinary offers challenge enough and to be normal is to honor God. Ordinary Christians carry out a Great Commission in ordinary ways through their ordinary lives.

….   Be sure to read the rest

 


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Think You Observe The Sabbath?

This post by Tim Challies concerning the Law verses Grace is very interesting.  We’ve had lots of discussion at our church recently concerning the Law, the Ten Commandments and believers today.  The sermon on Wednesday night was a very good understanding of how believers today should relate to the Sabbath.  This sums up my best understanding of how the Sabbath relates to believers today.  I always get tickled when someone says they observe a Biblical Sabbath and yet it looks nothing like a Biblical Sabbath.  Church, nap and Church does not a Sabbath make.  Although it does make for a nice day.  😉

What the Law-Keeper Cries to the Gospel-Lover by Tim Challies

Jewish law forbids work on the Sabbath, but the question that has always plagued law-keepers is this: what actually constitutes work? Many modern interpretations of the law state that using an electrical button on the Sabbath constitutes work. Pressing a button closes an electrical switch and the closing of the switch is interpreted as “building” a circuit. Any kind of building on the Sabbath is strictly forbidden by the law. For that reason, many of the apartment buildings in this area use a feature in their elevators known as “Shabbat [Sabbath] service.” Sabbath service removes the need to press buttons. When the service is engaged, the elevator will either stop at every floor on both the way up and the way down, or it will rise to the top and then stop at every floor on the way down. In either case, the sanctity of the Sabbath is maintained. (Wikipedia’s article on Shabbat service is fascinating in its explanation of the variations of interpretation)

Be sure to read the whole article, very much worth it.

Some might say that well these Jews have taken the OT Sabbath and become legalistic about it.  But if you study what was said in the OT concerning the Law you would see that nope, they aren’t being legalistic.  Remember the passage in Numbers 15:32-36?  That was taking the Sabbath pretty seriously!

But then if you were to read everything in the NT concerning the law you might be surprised at what the Bible actually says about our relationship with it today.

The Law of Christ by Charles Leiter is one of the best explanations about the Law and believers.  I highly recommend reading the book. 🙂

Oh, be thankful for Grace!

 


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G3 2013 Conference Notes

These are my husband’s notes on the G3 Conference

 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

 

Dr. Steve Lawson

Preaching the Intolerant Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Galatians 1:6-10

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—

7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (ESV)

 

To be wrong here is to be wrong in everything that matters and to be on the way that leads to damnation. There is no salvation outside of Christ alone, grace alone, and faith alone. This is an exclusive gospel message. All other paths lead to heaven. The gospel is not a way, it is the way.

 

The book of Galatians is Paul’s powder keg of dynamite ready to explode. It is zeal for the exclusivity of the gospel of Christ. Why is Paul so worked up? Because the gospel is under siege. It has been corrupted. It is under attack by the Judaizers, mixing works and grace. Paul’s day is no different than ours.

 

1. Note Paul’s amazement, astonishment, shock (v.6). He is amazed at just how quick the Galatians deserted God. Not the theology, but God himself. God and the gospel are inseparable. Desecrating the gospel is desecrating the glory of God, the holiness of God.

 

God only calls sinners to himself through the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ.

 

The Galatians were turning away from the gospel of Jesus Christ to a different (heterous – of a different kind) gospel. But this different gospel is really not another gospel (v.7). A different gospel is not a gospel at all.  Anyone who denies the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a false teacher who distorts the gospel.

 

2. Note Paul’s adversaries (end of v.7). False teachers trouble, disturb the church. They distort (turn in to the opposite) the gospel. They did this by including fleshly efforts in the gospel of Christ. Or they distort the gospel by subtracting from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

3. Note the fervency of Paul for the gospel of Jesus Christ (vv.8-9). Paul uses an extreme hypothetical example of distortion of the gospel. If Paul, or even an angel, preaches a different gospel, he is to be damned. He is to go to hell before he can take anyone else with him. Then in v.9 Paul extends this condemnation to anyone who would distort the gospel. He moved from the hypothetical to the reality. “Is preaching: – present tense…it is an ongoing problem right now. Anyone who distorts the gospel is to be accursed.

 

Note that this is the opening to the letter. There is no argument leading up to this pronouncement. There are none of the typical opening remarks in this letter. He is an erupting volcano of open public rebuke of the Galatians.

 

4. Note Paul’s aim (v.10). What is Paul’s aim? Paul asks a searching question. Is Paul seeking the favor of men or God? Is he striving to please men or God? Paul’s language shows he is not seeking the approval of man. He just finished condemning many men. Paul seeks to please only God. Preachers who preach to please God preach a narrow gate. This does not please man. A wide gate pleases men. We must be about asking this question of ourselves.

 

Friday, January 25, 2013

 

Tim Challies

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

ESV

 

The mission stays the same but our methods may change in a changing world. There is a massive shift in the way we communicate. The personal computer started this shift. The internet exploded the shift. The mission given to us is to go out and communicate the gospel the Jesus Christ. Our mandate is to communicate. What do we use? What do we reject?

 

The Great Commission in the light of a digital world. Three imperative components of the Great Commission: Go, Preach, Disciple. What can help us? What can hinder us?

 

1.            Go. We must get off the couch to share the gospel message. The apostles had to leave the upper room, and then had to leave Jerusalem. Missionaries must leave their home to other lands. But what does it mean to “Go” in a digital world?

 

a.            Can we go and still remain at home in front of our computer? Is cyberspace a real space? Are we together in fellowship when connected only by a wire? This capability has never been available before. Can there be such a thing as a cyberchurch? Can our sense of belonging and identity be divorced from our geography? Is an online community a community? Are we closer to people on line than the person who lives next door? Shared interests or shared space?  Online communities allow Christians to participate in society.

 

b.            The gospel is preached most effectively where there are intimate relationships. It is a part of loving others as ourselves.  We need to be loving the people who are close to us – family, neighbors, town. We are not to ignore the people near us. We need to value real-world relationships. We need to relate people who are not like us. Imagine a church made up of 150 me’s. The love of the Lord should be what engenders our love for one another, not common interests.

c.             Romans 10:15. Why the feet? They are representative of going.

 

2.            Preach. It should be easier than ever to preach the gospel to the world. The digital age gives us communication power. As we communicate more in quantity, we communicate less in quality. There is a lack of quality when we get away from face-to-face communication.

 

a.            We have lost communications with those at the bank, at the stores, with our friends, with our fellow church members. Evangelism no longer occurs on the street corners and market squares.

 

b.            As the voice extends, the personal recedes. We are less present when our communications are going over an extended distance than when we are close. No boyfriend ever says that he can’t wait to be away from his girlfriend so he can write her a letter. We long to see our savior face-to-face.

 

c.             Our extended-distance communications are mediated. They are mediated by screens, keyboards, distance. Unmediated communications requires elimination of distance and devices. Being on line allows us to withhold parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see. It is much more difficult to cover up when we invite people into our world.

 

3.            Disciple. We are called to grow in our obedience and knowledge. The digital world is a distracting world. We have lost our ability to think. We live shallow lives because we think shallow thoughts because we are distracted.

 

a.            Our digital devices are always demanding our attention. Everything else is less important than the demands for attention of the digital devices.

 

b.            Our digital devices open up to us a world of entertainment. We have something to distract us during our down times. We spend all our extra time filled with entertainment. We no longer meditate. We never stop to consider things like Solomon does in the book of Proverbs.

 

c.             What are we meditating on day and night? The words of God or Facebook? Or the latest streaming movie? Meditation is a daily battle, it is hard work. Digital devices give us a new source of temptation.

 

d.            How can we disciple someone if we are constantly distracted? How can we disciple someone if we are constantly thinking shallow thoughts? Mediated communications limits intimate relationships which are required for discipleship.

 

Conclusion:         All things are lawful but not all things edify. What is it that we serve and what is it that we use to serve us?

 

Dr. Steve Lawson

The Preaching of John Calvin

 

John Calvin was the exegete of the Reformation. He was the king of commentators. He was the greatest theologian given to the church since the apostles. He was a biblical expositor of the highest order. He is the single most important reformer. He uncovered doctrines that had been buried for centuries. He is the most important figure in the church in the last 500 years. But chiefly, Calvin was a preacher and a pastor. He viewed his chief duty was to preach the word. He was shy and retiring, but was thrust into the spotlight by the providence of God. Theodore Beza said of Calvin “his every word weighed a pound.”

 

What are the marks of John Calvin’s preaching?

 

1. The authority of Biblical truth, or Biblical preaching – Sola Scriptura (see James 3:1) – and nothing but the Bible. John Calvin’s preaching was true to the text of God’s word. The preacher has nothing to say apart from the words that God speaks. Preaching must be rooted and grounded in the authority of the word of God. There is no room for inventions, fantasy and imagination. The preacher is nothing but a dispatched messenger from God’s throne, merely a delivery boy. Calvin submitted to the sovereignty of the word of God. John Calvin said “We owe to the scripture the same reverence which we owe to God himself. When the Bible speaks, God speaks.” The inerrancy and inspiration of the word of God arises with John Calvin.

2. The priority of sequential preaching – expository, systematic preaching of the Bible, verse by verse, phrase by phrase, word by word, the full counsel of God. Difficult doctrines could not be overlooked. Long books were covered by upwards of 200-300 consecutive sermons. Calvin was reluctant to stay in Geneva and was run out of town after two years because he upheld the word of God. It was with reluctance he returned to Geneva. But when he returned, he took up his exposition just where he had left off three and one half years earlier. He did not change to please men. Topical sermons have their place, but they are the dessert to the main course of exposition.

3. The energy of lively preaching – with energy. Calvin preached only with a Hebrew and Greek text before him. He preached with no notes. But he was not unprepared. The sermon came together from the text itself. This allowed him to be dynamic and not boring. This allowed energetic, lively, passionate preaching. Steve Lawson – “If you are going to bore people, bore them with Shakespeare and not the Bible.” Calvin was accurate and precise with the word of God. There was no fluff, no wasted statements, every word was to the point. Stenography was birthed in the front pew in Calvin’s church. Brief introductions – short porch into a large house. He established the context, set a central theme, told the hearers where he was going, and then preached the truth of the word of God so that the common man could understand. There was little literary flourish to Calvin’s preaching – familiar, personal, and easy language, yet still the words of God. He preached with analogies, word pictures, metaphors to illustrate truths of scripture. He used the first person plural personal pronouns – “us, we”. Calvin – “Preachers must be like fathers, dividing the bread into small pieces to feed his children.”

4. Exegetical preaching – historical context, original languages, grammatical structure, literal, normal, plain direct interpretation. Calvin the founder of modern exegesis. The task of the expositor is to unfold the mind of the author. Never lead the hearer away from the meaning of the author to the original audience. Only knowing what the passage means from the original author to the original audience makes any difference. Not uprooting the text from the context. No eisegesis, only exegesis. The natural and obvious meanings, not hidden meanings. No holding back the Bible from the common man – the Bible is written in clear language. Calvin – “The important thing is that the scripture should be understood and explained. How it is explained is secondary.” This is substance over style, doctrine over delivery. “Nothing is of more importance than the literal interpretation of the text.” You cannot have the text until you have the meaning of the text. True interpretation requires much perspiration. We must rightly handle the word of God.

5. Relevant preaching – preaching to real people with real needs – edify with the Word of God.  Practical preaching. He was personal and winsome and he could rebuke at the same time.

6. The necessity of Gospel defense. The pastor needs to both feed the sheep and ward off the wolves.

7. The fervency of evangelistic preaching. He was constantly calling people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

8. Doxological preaching. Go to the last paragraph of most all of Calvin’s sermon – “Let us fall before the majesty of our great God, acknowledging our sins.”

 

Dr. Chip Thornton

The Sufficiency of Scripture in Preaching

 

Corrupting the word of God in preaching by: 1) emphasizing minor points and ignoring the major point, 2) ignoring the meaning of the text which the author intended to his audience. The SBC is known for allegorical preaching, not expository preaching.

 

The sufficiency of scripture: 1) scripture contains all we need for all matters of faith and doctrine. 2) total absolute attention to the authority of the text. 3) The original Biblical author’s intended meaning and intended application. 4) In practice as well as in principle.

 

1. Scripture is breathed out by God. Produced by the creative breath of the almighty creator.

2. Authorial intent of the text is sufficient.

3. The single meaning of the text is sufficient.

4. Allegorism is a scheme of interpretation which usurps the author’s intended meaning and inserts the desired meaning of the preacher. It demeans or denies authorial intent. When allegorism happens, scripture perishes. It is not a deeper meaning, it is a different meaning. It removes God as the author. It denies context, historical context, and grammatically structure.

 

How allegorism happens:

1. Imposing an agenda-driven hermeneutic. Not all texts are evangelical. Not all OT texts are Christ-centered.

2. Allowing the current culture into the interpretation process. This happens with political platforms.

3. Fanciful tendencies in interpretation. Allegorism repackages itself in every generation. Every detail is not pregnant with meaning that is not evident in the text.

4. Exemplarist tendencies in interpretation. Did the author intend for the text to be interpreted biographically.

5. Atomistic Tendency. A minor detail is exploded and used apart (extracted) from the text as a major point. Do not discard the major meaning of the author in favor of emphasizing a minor point.

 

Watchwords: God-centered, text-driven, authorial intention.

 

So how do we preach expositorily?

1. Determine the minimum amount of text that gives the context.

 

2. Derive from the text the shape and content of the sermon.

 

Question and Answer Session

 

1. Does substitutionary atonement provide any room for general atonement (Jesus died for the whole world)?

 

PW – We proclaim Christ to the masses and call all to repentance. But atonement is particular, not general. John 3:16 does not argue particular atonement or general atonement.

 

2. What is an overall definition of expository preaching?

 

SL – 1 Timothy 4:13.  Read the text, teach the text, explain the text, apply the text to the hearers. Preaching must be a fire – light and heat.

 

3. What counsel to someone who wants to memorize large blocks of scripture?

 

DM – It is easier to memorize contiguous blocks of scripture. You must learn what the text means as it is being memorized. Memorize out loud so your ear hears the word.

 

4. How does a single woman set a standard for marriage to a godly man?

 

VB – There is a famine in the land for Biblical manhood. He must be a priest, a prophet, provider, protector.

 

5. How should a pastor further the cause of family worship in the congregation?

 

JB – The pastor must believe in and practice family worship. Then he needs to relay what the scriptures say about family worship. Help the families to do family worship – provide resources and go model family worship. Past neglect needs confession and repentance.

 

6. How to control technology instead of allowing technology to control you?

 

TC – Technology is in a fallen world. It is cursed as much as anything else. We must be deliberate in using technology. Take a day long break from technology.

 

7. Do you feel that allegorical interpretation is plaguing the pulpit today?

 

CT – It is prevalent because we are always looking for a deeper meaning or a different meaning, other than the meaning that the author intended. A form of allegorism is preaching truth from the wrong text.

 

8. How do we encourage belief in reformed doctrine instead of emotion-driven doctrine in a racial group that is not known for embracing reformed doctrine?

 

VB – We need to have passion for those who are like us but it should not interfere with our calling. All people hear the gospel in the exact same way.

 

9. How do you approach with sharing the truth with someone who differs with you theologically?

 

PW – In all things we need Christ-likeness. When speaking the truth, share to the person who is open to hearing the truth. When they close up, then shut up. When we cannot speak to a man about God, then speak to God about the man.

 

10. How can the Puritans help and encourage us today?

 

JB – The Puritans marry doctrine and application. They take the whole Bible, apply it to the whole man, for the whole of everyday life.

 

11. Is the controversy over the doctrines of grace currently related in any way to the conservative battles in the SBC in times past?

 

DM – Getting past the debate over the inspiration of the scriptures opened the door for moving on to discussions about other weighty matters. It is good that there is a controversy now over the doctrines of grace because it would not be considered otherwise. The debate needs grace.

 

12. What should you counsel a person who is a member of a church which is pragmatic and man-centered?

 

SL – Every situation is unique. Most who try to stay inside such a church and change the church end up getting rolled up in the church. You must follow your conscience. Most people choose to move on. Most people don’t want to cause trouble in their church. We must determine what our presence and assets are supporting.

 

Joel Beeke

What Really is the Gospel?

 

1 Timothy 1:12-17

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,

14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

ESV

 

1. The Gospel’s content. What is the essence of the gospel? The word begins with “eu”, or good, and then “aggelos”, or message. The gospel is the good message.  The good news as preached by Jesus Christ is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The good news of the apostles is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is not good advice, it is good news, a declaration of what has been accomplished. Christ Jesus: 1) came into this world, 2) to save sinners. We need to understand how bad we are to know how good the good news is. The term we use is total depravity. Every part of me is unclean in the sight of God. By nature, sin is our master.

 

2. The Gospel’s reliability. The gospel is always true. The word “faithful” or “trustworthy” is in the emphatic position at the beginning of the sentence in the Greek text. It is true even for the chief of sinners. The proof is in the bleeding Son of God on the cross.

 

3. The Gospel’s scope. The gospel is commended to be worthy to be accepted by all. The scope of the gospel is unto all men.

 

4. The Gospel’s pattern. Paul himself was a pattern used to exemplify the truth of the gospel. If Paul could be saved, then anyone can be saved. Paul received all long-suffering, that is, unlimited patience.

 

5. The Gospel’s Doxology. The truth of the gospel, the experiential reality of the gospel, results in nothing but giving praise and glory to God. The good news brings honor to God.

 

Dr. Jon Payne

John Owen as Pastor-Theologian

 

What is a pastor-theologian? He is a pastor with a theological education. A pastor who is committed to knowing and understanding theological issues of the day. A pastor who is unafraid to preach and teach theology to his congregation. A pastor who is devoted to giving his congregation theological catechizing. A pastor who is unafraid to deliver the whole counsel of God to his congregation.

 

Owen thought that the feeding of the sheep occurred generally in the reading of the word, preaching the word, and the sacraments in the context of public worship. However, Owen also visited his flock home-by-home to instruct them.

 

Owen’s theology:

1. Regulative principle of worship – as appointed or prescribed by God in his word. The worshipper and the manner must both be acceptable to God.

2. Eager expectation in worship.

3. The means of grace in public worship.

 

Voddie Baucham

Getting the Gospel Right – Why it Matters

 

Simplification of the gospel “love God, love men” is a summary, not of the gospel, but of the law.

 

1. An argument from authority (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

 

Note the gospel: a sender, a receiver, and a message.

Note the tense: you are being saved.

Note the fact that we can’t have salvation from the wrong gospel.

 

2. An argument from evidence (1 Corinthians 15:3-11)

 

Note the Biblical evidence: as it is written in the scriptures.

Note the eyewitness evidence: over 300 were still alive who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ.

Note the personal evidence: Paul saw the resurrected Christ as well. Paul’s gospel was the same as the gospel of the other apostles. The power of Paul’s evidence is not in his conversion, but in the gospel he preached.

 

3. An argument from logic (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

Note seven things that must follow if there is no resurrection from the dead:

a. then Christ himself has not been raised.

b. our preaching is in vain

c. your faith is in vain

d. you are misrepresenting God, a liar, a blasphemer

e. you are still in your sins. There is no atonement without the resurrection of Christ (v.20).

f. those who have died have perished

g. we are to be pitied because we have hoped in a lie

 

Note: If there is resurrection from the dead, then all seven of these things are reversed.

Paul Washer

The Gospel

 

Exodus 34:5-7

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,

ESV

 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is found in this passage. On one hand, we have a God who forgives sin. On the other hand, we have a God who punishes all sin. This requires a knowledge of the attributes of God. How can both of these things be true? How can a righteous God cover sin?

 

Psalm 32:1-2

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity

ESV

 

How can God count a man who has iniquity as if he had no iniquity? Do we really want a righteous God while we are unrighteous?

 

Romans 3:23-25

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

ESV

 

God passed over sins? How can God be merciful in his perfect justice? Because the blood of Christ is a complete propitiation.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

ESV

 

Christ was made sin. The one who knew no sin was made sin. No one who has ever lived has gone one moment without committing sin. We have never loved God should be loved. Christ never sinned, even though he was tempted in every way, yet he never sinned. Christ was not tempted just like me, but just like all of us, and yet he stood. Christ was made sin on our behalf. The moment you believe God, God makes a forensic declaration that you are right with him. Declared and treated as being right with God. Christ was declared to be and treated as if he were guilty of our sins.

 

Galatians 3:10

Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.

ESV

 

What does this mean? The sinner outside of Christ is so vile before God that God is to  be praised for ridding the earth of him.

 

Galatians 3:13

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

ESV

 

Jesus Christ became the curse for us. The blessings and curses from Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal are a picture of what happened on the cross of Calvary. Jesus Christ was the covenant keeper. We are the covenant breakers. But the curses were taken by Jesus and the blessings fall upon us. God crushed his only-begotten Son on the cross of Calvary. This is the bridge between Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal.

 

How can God bless the wicked? How can God be just and the justifier? How can God deal mercifully with Adam, Noah, Abraham, David? Because of Jesus Christ on Calvary. Because Jesus Christ was cursed for them, for me, on Calvary. Jesus Christ took full responsibility for them and for me. This gives a whole new meaning to the command to take up our cross and follow Jesus. It is what happened to Jesus in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus did not sweat drops of blood and pray that the cup be taken away from him because of the physical act of crucifixion. It was because he had to bear the curse of all his people and the wrath of almighty God. God had to satisfy his own justice.

 

Jehovah Jireh – God will provide. Not a new house, not a new car. God will provide a savior. God showed His love for me when He did not withhold His Son, His only Son, from me.

 

Numbers 6:24-26

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

ESV

 

God blesses a wicked nation. How can a righteous God bless this unholy people. It points to Jesus Christ. You are blessed because Christ was cursed.

 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

 

Don Whitney

Believing God and Yet Questioning God

 

Matthew 27:46

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

ESV

 

When things get tough, we ask the question “Why?” And yet the explanation never comes. Even Jesus asks “Why?” Jesus questions God. Jesus asks God why God has forsaken him. In what ways did God the Father forsaken Jesus Christ?

 

1. First, there is the darkness that fell over the land. The darkness indicates the judgment of God falling upon Jesus Christ.

2. Second, God did not deliver Jesus from the cross (see Psalm 22:1).

3. Third, no help and no comfort was given (see Psalm 22:11, 19). No man, no woman, no angel, and particularly not God the Father.

a. “forsaken” – to leave someone in the state of defeat, to abandon, to desert, to leave wounded on the battlefield

4. Fourth, God allowed him to be ridiculed and mocked by the wicked (see Psalm 22:7-8). Not just the Romans, not just the Jewish leaders, not just those who passed by, but even the thieves crucified on either side of him, who were dying there, mocked Jesus.

5. Fifth, God forsook Jesus Christ to endure physical suffering (see Psalm 22:14-17).

6. Sixth, God forsook Jesus by separating fellowship with Jesus. Jesus did not complain about others forsaking him. He was concerned only about God forsaking him.

a. Many people live their entire lives without a thought of God. Jesus had never known a moment without being in fellowship with God.

b. God was present there are the cross in a real way, perhaps more so than anywhere else in history. Yet God forsook Jesus Christ on the cross.

c. Why did God forsake Jesus? Because God is holy and Jesus was made sin for us (see Psalm 22:3). Analogies fail us because we know nothing that is perfectly holy.

d. Sin separated Jesus from God and the wages for that sin resulted in death.

e. Sin will result in the eternal separation of sinners from the presence of God in Hell.

f. God’s justice is inflexible. He must punish even his own Son Jesus Christ when sin was found in him.

 

Paul Washer

Prayer

 

Matthew 5:13

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

ESV

 

Salt has certain properties. If you take away those properties, you no longer have salt. Likewise, there are certain characteristics of the disciple that will impact the world (see Matthew 5:3-12). Power exists in character and virtue.

a. the poor in spirit – absolute dependence on God. Not our cleverness, contextualization, cultural relevance. Our weakness drives us to total dependence on Jesus Christ.

 

Mark 1:35-38

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him,

37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”

ESV

 

Although Jesus was God, he was also man. What he did he did in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was subject to all our weakness. Yet still he gets up while it is still dark he gets up to pray. Even when there was so much to do, he still needed to separate himself.

a. There is prayer that is work (intercession, etc.), but then there is also prayer that is the enjoyment of God.

 

John 15:7

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

ESV

 

John 15:16

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

ESV

 

Fruitfulness is aligned with prayer. We need to believe what God says and stand on that foundation. We have not because we ask not. If we expect to be fruitful, then we need to ask God to make us fruitful.

 

Luke 11:1

1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

ESV

 

Luke 11:8-10

8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

ESV

 

What did the disciples see in Jesus that they wanted to emulate? His praying.

a. The presence of Christ cannot be fabricated.

b. Persistence in prayer is needed. We need to become familiar with the phrase “wrestling with God” as we are with the phrase “resting in God’s sovereign decrees”. Sometimes we are just too refined to wrestle with God, to be bold in prayer, to ask God.

 

Luke 11:11-13

11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;

12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

ESV

 

Consider the state of the disciples before and after the resurrection. They had no valor, virtue, or insight prior to the resurrection. But after the resurrection they remained doubtful (Matthew 28:17). But after Pentecost we see significant change (Luke 24:49). It was there that there at Pentecost that they received power from God. The resurrection was not enough to propel the disciples. It required the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

ESV

 

Would you describe your life as endued (arrayed, clothed) with power? Does your church look like it is endued with power? With power for ministry? With power to live?

 

Acts 2:21

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

ESV

 

Pentecost was a unique event in the history of the church. It is unique in that it was the initial moment. It was the unique fulfillment of scripture. It was accompanied by unique signs. But the truth of the outpouring of the Spirit was not and is not limited to the day of Pentecost. It was the beginning, but not the end.

a. This prophecy of Joel is wrongly interpreted as a new covenant promise that is limited to a single event. All the other new covenant promises are understood to continue on through the entire age of the church.

b. it the outpouring of the Spirit marks the entire church age, then the results of the outpouring of the Spirit should also be expected throughout the entire church age. Not the dreams, visions, tongues, but the saving of people because God’s Spirit has been poured out on them. What then? They will know God, they will understand God, they will receive power. They will be bold.

c. At the moment of conversion, a person is regenerated and indwelt with the Holy Spirit. But this is not the grounds for passivity.

 

1 Corinthians 2:4

4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

ESV

 

It has nothing to do with smart. It has nothing to do with strong. It has everything to do with the power of the Holy Spirit. Smart is useless in the kingdom of heaven. The church is too often just a cheap version of the world. You need the power of the Holy Spirit. Every time you see weakness in you, you need to ask for the unction of the Holy Spirit.


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Q&A Panel Discussion

1) Does substitutionary atonement provide any room for general atonement?

Paul Washer – We proclaim Christ to the masses. It is not a subject just to use to grind out theological issues and fight over.

2) What is the simple definition for expository preaching?

Steve Lawson – Until I come give attention to the public reading, exhortation and teaching.

1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Expository is explanatory.

3) What counsel would you give to someone wanting to memorize large portions of Scripture?

David Miller – it is easier to learn large passages in context than verses here and there. Learn what is being said in the text, otherwise you might as well memorize the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Say it aloud to hear yourself. One day you will have a circumstance that the Holy Spirit will bring to your memory just what you need for that occaision.

4) Single woman – Where is the standard to set when choosing a spouse? All I see seem to be children playing video games instead of men ready for families.

Voddie Baucham

Priest – leader, man of prayer
Prophet – instructs in the word of God,
Provider – sees that people have what they need. JOB is more than a book in the Bible.
Protector- wisdom to protect

Warning to women – some of you are looking for such a perfect man that Christ on the cross is the only candidate. There is not another available.

God found Adam a wife when no one else was on earth. Women your chances are better than that.

Paul Washer – men you are to be training your young men. Not the coach, not the preacher, not the mother, definitely not the other boys.

5) How to further the cause of family worship?

Joel Beeke – The pastor needs to believe in and practice family worship The most important thing I do is family worship. Read the Bible, teach the Bible, sing about the Bible. Provide resources and lead them. Offer to help by leading other families in family worship to model the practice.

Tim Challies – How would this look if you started tonight?

Joel Beeke – Apologize to the family for the neglect. Everyone with a Bible and reading a short passage. Singing, Prayer. No worship, no food.

Beeke told about his father’s worship with the family.

6) How can you control technology and not let it control you?

Tim Challies – It is a battle. It is a fallen world. Be deliberate. A week’s fast from technology. Sunday try to shut off as much as possible.

7) Do you think Allegorical interpretation is plaguing the pulpit.

Chip Thornton – Yes, it is prevalent. Allegorical Interpretation is – If you proclaim a text and it isn’t the authors intent. Lawson’s Galatians 1 last night is perfect example of exegetical preaching. Repent if you didn’t hear it and go listen online.

8.) As an African American how can I encourage a reformed belief in the gospel and not in the typical churches others African Americans are a part of?

Voddie Baucham – Obviously they don’t know me or they wouldn’t say ‘African American’!

Have passion for people like you but your calling is to proclaim the gospel to all people. Don’t get into a trap of people groups. Make the gospel clear for all people. The melanin in their skin isn’t a factor in receiving the gospel. All hear the gospel in the same way.

9) How do you approach sharing the gospel with someone who differs theologically? Example someone who follows Joel Osteen?

Paul Washer – Speak the truth. Share with them as long as they are listening.

If you cannot speak to men about God, speak to God about men.

Our problem is a lack of Christ likeness.

10) In light of your recent book on Puritan Theology, how can they encourage us?

Joel Beeke – I dreamed of this in my 20’s. The Puritans marry doctrine and application. The Bible is applied to the whole man. Granted they are flawed.

11) Are the doctrines of Grace related to the controversy over inerrancy years ago?

David Miller – Absolutely, turning the big ship around takes a long time. I told my wife years ago if we could get past the inerrancy of Scriptures perhaps we could get to the weightier matters such as the nature of the atonement. This is wonderful. Those who preach grace ought to have grace.

Chip Thornton – I’m 37 years old, I am a product of those decisions on inerrancy of Scriptures. So “thank you”. Clapping.

12) Based on Famine in the Land the book of Steve Lawson’s, what if a family is awakened to the truth yet they are in a pragmatic church?

Steve Lawson – Often those who try to stay are rolled up and thrown out. The Puritans that tried to stay where often thrown out. Calvin had greater effect on Rome than Luther who tried to stay and change. It is hard to fight your own church.


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Tim Challies – Mission in a Changing World

The mission stays the same but our methods may change.

St. Frances of Assisi “live the gospel if necessary use words.” We reject that. Use words.

The Great Commission in a Digital Word

Matthew 28: 19-20

1) Go

Not on your couch

Go where the people are

a) Going while sitting in front of a computer?

b) Cyber churches?

c) Community today is more shared interests than shared location

d) Go and love – love your neighbor Love needs closeness. Trading real world relationships in favor of virtual relationships.

e) “How beautiful the feet” ( Romans 10:15) not the fingers

2) Preach – communicate

a) More communication in quantity and less in quality

b) Less present over extended distances

c) Less authenticity when communicating online

3) Disciple

a) Demanding

b) Distraction- lack of thinking

Digital devices are evolving to distract us. Shallow thoughts lead to shallow lives because we are distracted. Down times to think. Chewing things over.

c) What are we meditating on day and night? Facebook or God’s word

d) 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.


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G3 Conference

G3 Conference – Gospel, Grace and Glory

The Date

January 24th – 26th, 2013

The Location

Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, GA.  Douglasville is a suburb of Atlanta sitting just 25 minutes west on I-20 from downtown Atlanta and only 30 minutes from the Atlanta airport.

The Mission

The purpose of the G3 Conference is to exhort Christians to become grounded in sound doctrine and to be passionate missionaries for Christ. The purpose of the G3 Conference is to create a blaze in the hearts of those who attend – by the Word of God – to shake the neighborhoods and the nations with the gospel of King Jesus.

The Preachers

Paul Washer
David Miller
Tim Challies
Steve Lawson
Donald Whitney
Voddie Baucham
Joel Beeke
Chip Thornton
Jon Payne

The Registration

  • OPEN: Registration = $159 (November 6th – 30th)
  • Late Registration $200 (December)
  • Last Chance Registration $300 (January 1st – 23rd)

 

My one complaint is that there is no way over that short time frame to hear these preachers enough. 😉

 


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