The Gospel of Jesus will remain the answer to the church’s challenges into the future, speakers said at a conference June 8-9 prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Dallas.
Southern Baptist pastors and other leaders addressed how the Gospel should shape the church’s ministries and outreach during keynote messages and panel discussions at the event, which was titled “The Gospel and the Future of the Church.” The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and The Village Church co-hosted the pre-conference in partnership with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The event was held at The Village Church’s Flower Mound campus in metro Dallas.
H.B. Charles, pastor-teacher of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., told attendees, “For us to be effective witnesses as the church of Jesus Christ in our time, we must get the Gospel in, we’ve got to get the Gospel right, and we’ve got to get the Gospel out.”
In a keynote based on Romans 1:16-17, Charles said the passage demonstrates Christians should live, witness, serve, minister, preach, teach and suffer with confidence in the Gospel because it is “the power of God,” “reveals the righteousness of God” and “affirms the Word of God.”
Charles, president of this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference, said the most important question regarding the Gospel and the future of the church is: “Do you believe it? Declare it with confidence.”
ERLC President Russell Moore said Americans are living in a time of instability and animosity. “People are saying things to one another they never would have said before,” he told the audience, which consisted of more than 560 registrants.
The sign to the culture God has given through His people is one of weakness, Moore said. “We do not boast in ourselves, but we proclaim our own brokenness and sinfulness and our own need for grace.
“We are the people who ought to understand and know the culture cannot make us right even if we were to take it over and do it exactly the way we think it ought to be run,” he said. “The church must be holy and set apart, not in order to say to the outside world, ‘Look how much superior we are to you,’ but because we are the people who are saying, ‘We have been through judgment day, and we have been found guilty. And we stand before you with the message that there is redemption and reconciliation found in the blood of Jesus Christ.'”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, said America’s increasing secularism is demonstrated in data that show one of five adults overall and one of three adults under 30 years of age now identify as “nones,” meaning they have no religious affiliation.
In the face of this increasing secularism, Mohler said the answer for Christians is: “We’re going to do and we must do and we are called to do exactly what the church was called to do in the First Century.
“This is where Christ’s people say, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord, and we have the Gospel of the cross and an empty tomb, and we know that Jesus saves, and we know that the cross is not now all of a sudden foolishness to those who are perishing,” Mohler told the audience. “It always has been. And until every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord, it always will be.”
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Source: Baptist Press