October 30, 2007

Missouri Baptist Convention (III)

Jonathan Leeman, Director of Communications for 9 Marks ministries, wrapped up the morning with an address on conversion and evangelism. He did a good job in the address, helping us see that preaching and evangelism are not distinct animals but rather one in the same. He talked about how preaching the Word helps three very distinct groups of people in our congregations:

  1. Non-Christians – Here we must learn to apply sermons to their lives that will seek repentance and faith. Jonathan made a great point about not winning their approval but rather their lives with our preaching.
  2. Nominal Christians – This is where he talked about the groups that I think I have been the hardest on in my blog and how we take way too much for granted with this group assuming that they have a grasp on the Gospel and they don't.
  3. Christians – Even this group needs to hear the Gospel regularly to increase their understanding of it and to learn how to increasingly integrate it with the rest of their lives.

Jonathan then went on to talk about that conversion IS NOT:

  1. Reciting a creed
  2. Reciting a prayer
  3. Walking an isle
  4. Emotionally heated experience
  5. Reaching a certain age
  6. A journey

In contrast to what he believes conversion IS:

  1. Turning from path your on
  2. Turning from self-justification to Christ's justification
  3. Turning from idol worship-god worship
  4. Turning from self-rule to God's rule
  5. He created the first time – he creates us the second time.

He then spent some time talking about a subject that quite frankly has plagued and is the biggest issue with the MBC and SBC. He said that misunderstanding conversion will cause our churches to be filled with serious pronouncements but not with people who have experienced a radical change. OUCH. He's absolutely right and that is the exact diagnosis that is wrong with a lot of churches in America today.

Jonathan did a good job. He had a lot of content and delivered it well. More to come on the afternoon sessions.

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