KANSAS CITY (BP) – As society’s view of truth continues to change, attendees at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s second annual For the Church Conference were urged to lead their churches and ministries in becoming pillars and buttresses of truth.
More than 1,000 pastors, students and ministry leaders from across America packed into the Kansas City campus’ Daniel Lee Chapel complex to attend panel discussions, workshops, and main sessions with messages by Jason Allen, Russell Moore, Darrin Patrick, H.B. Charles, Jared Wilson and David Platt.
The conference’s theme – derived from 1 Timothy 3:15 – focused on “The Church and Truth.”
“In this, our second year of hosting For the Church, we desired to build upon last year’s theme: ‘Ready for Ministry’” Allen, Midwestern Seminary’s president, said during the Aug. 31-Sept. 1 conference. “How better than to get back to the basics of grounding ourselves in the truth of who God is and in the truth of His Word?
“Amidst significant cultural shifting and ever-mounting strife, by God’s grace, we [the church] must stand as a pillar in the midst of this widespread confusion and instability,” Allen said. “Our prayer is that the conference participants will return to their ministries prepared, equipped, and with a strengthened resolve to proclaim God’s truth and to fulfill their calling within the local church.”
Allen started the conference by stating, “We are about the church at this conference, which means we better be about the truth of Scripture.”
He noted the entirety of the New Testament is concerned with proclaiming truth. Christianity consists of more than sentiments or feelings – what it is, he said, is a set of truth claims to be affirmed. “When disemboweled of its truth claims, there is no Christianity left behind,” Allen said.
“If we believe half of what we say we believe, we have to acknowledge … it is a life or death business to which we are called,” Allen said. “We cannot sloppily go through life and ministry, dabbling in the truths of God. We are called to … prepare intellectually and theologically to be able to give that defense for the hope that is within us.”
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, explained that when cultural turmoil surrounds believers, they are free to experience a sense of peace and tranquility that can only be found by trusting in God’s Word.
Speaking of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6, Moore said, “The seeking – Jesus tells us – frees us from anxiety … whether that is about our future personally or about our future culturally. It also frees us from a kind of security that is built in ourselves …. You can either serve God and follow Christ or you can find your tranquility and your confidence in whatever it is that you find your security in.”
Darrin Patrick, pastor of The Journey in St. Louis, detailed the leadership models of two men within one passage – Acts 27.
“Leaders are fueled by vision,” he said. “If you lose your vision, your leadership is neutered. Obviously, vision is based on God’s truth, under God’s authority and God’s Word …. When you lose vision, you can’t see what God is doing. You don’t remember what God said. You are not sure of where God is taking you.”
Basing his message on 2 Corinthians 5:21, H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., used the words sovereignty, sinlessness, substitution and satisfaction to explain the concept of the Great Exchange, and why it is imperative that church leaders preach it.
“Here, essentially stated, is everything for sinners to be made reconciled to God,” he said. “The message of this verse is that guilty sinners are reconciled to God through the Great Exchange which was accomplished by God through Jesus Christ.”
Preaching to pastors and ministry leaders from Isaiah 40:9-11, Jared Wilson, who serves as director of content strategy and managing editor of the For the Church website at Midwestern Seminary, shared that when shepherding a congregation, the glory of Christ is one’s true message, one’s true strength, and one’s true comfort.
“In a church culture that offers countless steps, tips and helpful hints, one million ways to ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps,’ what is the biblical shepherd actually called to do?” Wilson asked. “According to the Scriptures, the only thing that works for the aims that we ought to seek is the glory of God. Nothing else works.”
International Mission Board President David Platt emphasized three “connections” to the topic of truth and missions as found in John 14: truth is why we participate in missions; truth is what we proclaim in missions; and truth is who we personify in missions.
Platt noted it is the pastor/ministry leader who sets the bar for missions in the local church.
“It is the responsibility of every pastor to fan a flame for God’s global glory in every local church,” Platt said. “I am convinced that when pastors get a heart for global missions, it changes the entire ballgame.”
To view all of the conference’s plenary sessions, visit: http://m.ftc.co/ftc15video.