Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Building Bridges Day 2

On the second day of the Building Bridges conference we began the morning with a brief message by Buddy Gray leading into a time of prayer. He directed us to pray for unity in families and churches. He also asked for us to pray that we would be intrinsically motivated to desire a right view of God through theology. He emphasized the importance of our picture of God, encouraging us to study theology so that by God’s grace, we might know Him better and see Him more clearly. He concluded the time with bringing out three important aspects of our Christian lives together. They were to live it out (doctrine), stand firm (in your doctrine), and strive together (in the preaching of the Gospel).

Jeff then spoke on the ways that Calvinism is having a positive effect in the SBC. He spoke of how Calvinism is helping to restore the sufficiency of Scripture and remove inerrancy and idolatry from our churches and homes. He stated:

“A church that doesn’t hold to the sufficiency of Scripture as much as the inerrancy of Scripture will fall into the cesspool of liberalism”

He spoke very boldly about the state of our churches and how we’ve also replaced the sufficiency of Scripture with the wittiness of men and thereby are feeding the roots of liberalism in the church. He said:

“The new rise of Calvinism will help expose this liberalism and call our brothers back to truth”

He also made the point that Calvinism will help restore evangelism in the church. He passionately put an emphasis on this point as he stated:

“Most people come to Jesus not to see their sin, but to put another layer of frosting on their lives.”

In the end of his message, he spoke of the importance of restoring Gods glory in the church. Here are a few of his closing comments:

“We must have a passion for the glory of God in the church… The church is the epicenter of God’s glory”

Next, David Nelson spoke on the Atonement: Its Design, Nature, and Extent. He carefully explained these points using certain Scripture. At the conclusion of the message he asked if we were losing the Gospel in the SBC. There are two common problems in the SBC. There is either no offer of the Gospel, or a cheap offer of it.

Before the lunch break Sam Waldron, author of the popular commentary on the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689, spoke on the biblical conformation of particular redemption. He gave a detailed explanation of the doctrine of particular redemption.

This afternoon, Nathan Finn, gave a wonderful presentation on the common mischaracterizations of Calvinistic Southern Baptists. He message was comprised of five of these mischaracterizations. One important one was that Calvinism is a threat to Evangelism. He argued that the sad truth is that the whole of the SBC is not being faithful in fulfilling the great commission. He concluded with the following three points: (1) We must share a common commitment to the Gospel (2) Both Calvinist and Non-Calvinist must commit to a historical view of the Baptist (3) Southern Baptist Calvinist and Non-Calvinist must share an equal passion to fulfill the great commission together.

Before dinner, there were two more speeches given on calling and election. Ken Keathley presented on infralapsarianism and Molinism. Following, Ken Keathley, Greg Welty presented from a Calvinistic perspective on unconditional election. He made three specific points from Ephesians 1:3-11. The first was that election is eternal, the second, election is personal, and third, election is grounded in God’s will. He stated:“Divine election is not on the basis of our will or efforts, but it’s quite important to God.”

Following dinner, we enjoyed a wonderful time of singing and then heard a passionate message by J.D. Greear on Calvinism and the preaching of the Gospel. He presented such a balanced view on the importance of doctrine, yet strongly emphasized on the aspect of sharing our faith with the lost world. In closing, he posed the following question:

“Are we in danger of rising up something that would supplant the Gospel?”

Finishing up the day, Don Whitney gave a stirring message on hell and the Gospel. He did an exposition on Mathew 25:41. He presented seven points on the subject of hell. He continued to communicate the message with much urgency, solemnity and humility. He stated:

“Salvation is by works, you bet it is, but not by your own, but by the life and death of Jesus Christ.”

He concluded the night with three dynamic truths: (1) Hell is inevitable if you’ve never come to Jesus Christ (2) Hell is inescapable once you are there (3) Hell is avoidable for any and for all who will come to Jesus Christ.

This day has been blessed with such rich messages and speakers. I am thankful to the Lord for what he is doing here and I can’t wait to hear what yet awaits us.

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