Posted tagged ‘2008 National Founders Conference’

Random Moments, or, You Supply the Caption

June 30, 2008

Handing off my camera to a friend, I didn’t realize that he would take more pictures in five minutes than I took all day! Here’s one (see it large) where we (Phil Newton, myself, Tom Ascol, and Donald Whitney) were discussing pens (in case you didn’t know, Dr. Whitney converted me to fountain pens this past week). Only one had a “stick pen” in his hand–anyone guess who? ūüôā

2008 National Founders Conference Summary and Compilation

June 28, 2008


I know that attempting to summarize loaded week in just a few words seems like a futile exercise, but I will attempt to do so here. In fact, I think it is quite appropriate that words should not summarize or bring closure to a conference like this. Indeed, this past week was more than a conference, and thus it requires more than words. I have been told that is was unlike an other in recent years (this is only my second NFC) for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the live-streaming which included over 3,000 viewers with relatively little announcement (my blog, Tom’s blog, and the Founders website) the day the conference began.

The messages were great, and I encourage you to download them all. You can also catch up with the messages by perusing my live-blogging posts as well. Perhaps one of the most helpful times was an unscheduled extended meeting with Stetzer Wednesday where candid talk and genuine concern for church planting took place for the purpose of listening, learning, and hopefully one day leading a movement in the area of church planting in the years to come. I was also greatly encouraged by the time I had talking with Voddie Baucham and Andy Davis who instilled in me a desire to be more godly, to love the church more deeply, and give myself more sacrificially for the glory of Christ. The meetings, fellowship, and mealtime get togethers with guys like Doug Baker (whose podcasting equipment I lusted over), Don Whitney (King of the Fountain Pens), Phil Newton (whose baritone voice I envy), and Art Rogers was really refreshing as I heard of all that God was doing in place like North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

Lastly, I want to say a word about the men whose lives have shaped this movement for twenty-five years. Men like Tom Nettles, Fred Malone, Tom Ascol, Phil Newton, Don Whitney, Joe Nesom, and Bill Ascol–all who have endured much criticism and caricature and yet have continued to work for reformation within the local church–are men whom I consider my heroes. I don’t have many, especially in the SBC, but I am grateful for these that have taught me more with their lives than all the academy can muster with the sharpest of acumen and brightest of minds.

I suspect that in the future you will be hearing more of all that took place. I pray that what was implanted in the hearts of men and women will find fertile soil in the lives of His people and the churches they serve so that abundant fruit may be harvested for years to come.

Below are the conference audio (MP3), a compilation of my blogposts, and the podcasts I did with the conference.

Conference Audio:

1. Ted Christman on ‚ÄúAn Exposition of Psalm 1″
2. Andy Davis on ‚ÄúDangers in Reforming a Church‚ÄĚ
3. Tom Nettles on ‚ÄúBiographical Sketch of Daniel Marshall‚ÄĚ
4. Voddie Baucham on ‚ÄúBuilding a Solid Doctrinal Foundation‚ÄĚ
5. Ed Stetzer on ‚ÄúLengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 1″
6. Don Whitney on ‚ÄúReforming Through Discipline‚ÄĚ
7. Ed Stetzer on ‚ÄúLengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 2″
8. Andy Davis on ‚ÄúThe Importance of Filling Your Life With Scripture‚ÄĚ
9. Phil Newton on ‚ÄúFrom Planting to Reforming‚ÄĚ

Compilation of Posts:

1. A Primer on Ed Stetzer
2. NFC I: Ted Christman on ‚ÄúAn Exposition of Psalm 1″
3. NFC II: Andy Davis on ‚ÄúDangers in Reforming a Church‚ÄĚ
4. NFC III: Tom Nettles on ‚ÄúBiographical Sketch of Daniel Marshall‚ÄĚ
5. NFC IV: Voddie Baucham on ‚ÄúBuilding a Solid Doctrinal Foundation‚ÄĚ
6. Dr. Nettles Bio Sketch of Daniel Marshall (PDF)
7. NFC V: Ed Stetzer on ‚ÄúLengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 1″
8. NFV VI: Don Whitney on ‚ÄúReforming Through Discipline‚ÄĚ
9. NFC VII: Ed Stetzer on ‚ÄúLengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 2″
10. NFC VIII: Leadership Dialogue
11. NFC IX: Andy Davis on ‚ÄúThe Importance of Filling Your Life With Scripture‚ÄĚ
12. NFC X: Phil Newton on ‚ÄúFrom Planting to Reforming‚ÄĚ

** If you would like a PDF of all 12 posts together, you can download it by clicking here.


1. Interview with Tom Ascol
2. Interview with Donald Whitney
3. Interview with Voddie Baucham
4. Interview with Andy Davis

To view live-blogging posts from the 2007 National Conference, go here.

NFC X: Phil Newton on “From Planting to Reforming”

June 27, 2008

About Phil Newton:

Pastor Phil Newton began South Woods Baptist Church in 1987. He received his education at the University of Mobile, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Fuller Theological Seminary. In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Phil serves on the Executive Board of Founders Ministries, has taught as an adjunct professor at Crichton College in Memphis and Theologique de Nimes (France), and enjoys leading foreign mission trips annually. He has published articles in several journals and has authored Elders in Congregational Life and The Way of Faith.

Church planting and church reformation have everything to do with each other.  I want to show you this in Acts 14.  We should not be satisfied that we have planted a church and walk away; there must be an ongoing reformation in the church.

Text: Acts 14:21-23 (click)

I did not realize what I was getting into 21 years ago when I planted a church.¬† I knew what church planting was, I understood about finances, buildings, community engagement–but what I didn’t know or expect was combining the necessity of reformation to church planting.¬† If I just planted a church the way I wanted, everything would be perfect and pure.¬† Had I known what had happened, I might have been frozen in might tracks, but after thinking about it, I would have continued because it has been a remarkable journey.

When I started, church planting was a novelty and church reformation was a rare thing.  They are not new innovations; this is just biblical.  Plant churches and continue the work of biblical reformation.

1.  Church planting in a nutshell

Church planting takes places once persecution took place after Stephen’s martyrdom.¬† Churches began to be planted in Judea and Samaria, and then we find the gospel going to the Gentile world with Cornelius, and so on.¬† From Antioch with a missionary spirit inherent in the gospel, Paul and Barnabas was sent out by the Holy Spirit.¬† It is in the first missionary journey of Paul we find the text.¬† Everywhere they preached the gospel, however, not all places churches were planted (e.g., Perga).

I want to look at these two elements in church planting.

A.  Preaching the gospel with a reliance upon the grace of God to work.

That’s the NT pattern; no circus shows, high-wire acts, mud wrestling, etc.¬† Over and over, they were preaching the Word of God.¬† They were hearing the word as though God were speaking it to them through the gospel.¬† They relied on the grace of God to work through biblical proclamation.¬† There is a temptation today for making things happen–to rely on ourselves.¬† Do you rely on the power of God to work?¬† Or do you seek out some clever device that will really make people respond?

When the gospel was preached, the hand of the Lord was at work.  They witnessed (saw) the grace of God at work among the people.  There was a continual dependence upon the Lord.  We are to preach the gospel with all the passion and vigor we can, depending upon God to do th work only He can do.


Founders Podcast 4: Interview with Andy Davis

June 27, 2008

Yesterday afternoon, I did my final podcast of the conference (there is another one with Dr. Tom Nettles yet to go online) with Dr. Andy Davis. I have heard much about Dr. Davis from Nathan Finn and others, and it was at T4G 06 when I first became aware of his little booklet on extended Scripture memorization. Dr. Davis is a fantastic preacher, and, in my estimation, one of the best relatively known pastors in the SBC. He is a stakeholder with the Gospel Coalition, working for a renewal within modern evangelicalism. All this and more we discuss in the fourth podcast of the conference, and I am sincerely grateful for the time he gave to sit down and share some excellent thoughts on such matters as church membership, scripture memory, the gospel, and the Great Commission.

The total listening time is approximately 43 minutes.

>> Download: FP 4 :: Interview with Andy Davis (at 08FNC)

Previous Podcasts:
3. Interview with Voddie Baucham
2. Interview with Donald Whitney
1. Interview with Tom Ascol

NFC IX: Andy Davis on “The Importance of Filling Your Life With Scripture”

June 26, 2008

I hold in my hand a miracle.  The Bible is a miracle, and I challenge you to give me any definition of a miracle that our Bible does not qualify.  It was the Word God sent, for faith comes by hearing so that we might be saved.  James 1:17 РGod chose to give us birth by the word of truth.  The Scriptures are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15).

There are elect people who have not been justified yet; there are justified people who are not finished being sanctified.¬† The finish line of salvation is the resurrected body; therefore, we are not finished yet, and we are in danger every hour.¬† We need the ministry of the word of God every hour.¬† The doctrines of grace, the five points of Calvinism have been precious to me most all of my Christian life.¬† Most believers are aware of the “p” of tulip–the perseverance of the saints.¬† But I have come to have a different view of perseverance over the past couple of years.¬† It is much more dynamic; Jesus continues to save me, continues to project me until I am brought to glory.

(I missed a great exposition on our dependency upon the Trinitarian work of ongoing sanctification in the life of a believer to keep one in the faith through perseverance wholly as a divine work of grace.  I was taking photos as this time).

The ongoing ministry of the Word keeps our faith in Christ strong.

Text: John 15:1-8 (click)

The centrality of this message is abiding, remaining, and dwelling in Christ.  This fruitfulness comes only from abiding in Christ, and abiding in Christ does not come apart from abiding in the Word of God.  Look at verse seven and eight:

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

I want trace out this theme of the centrality of the Word.  Then I want to speak generally how this will be beneficial and helpful, and giving practical helps in studying Scripture.

1.  Eternal life comes by the Word (3)

“You already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you.” We must be washed by Jesus or we do not go to heaven.¬† Nobody’s will is stronger than Jesus’.¬† Clean means justified–to be pure in the sight of God.¬† God is looking on us as clean–he sees us pure and clean in Christ because of the word spoken to you.¬† Rom. 5:1–we have peace with God; Heb. 10:22–hearts sprinkled and consciences cleansed.


NFC VIII: Leadership Dialogue

June 26, 2008

The panel discussion consists of the follow people: Fred Malone, Ed Stetzer, Ted Christman, Voddie Baucham, Donald Whitney, Andy Davis, Phil Newton, and Tom Ascol.

Q:The different between a Reformed church and not a Reformed church.

A: (Christman) We are all in the process of reforming; the definition allows for room between four point and five point Calvinists. A deep and profound commitment with sola Scriptura is fundamental.

Q: Voddie, how essential are godly men in the leadership of a local church?

A: I think godly men are essential in a local church. Baxter bemoans the idea of homes that are not governed appropriately and how difficult that is for the pastor and likewise how easy it is when there are godly men practicing godliness in their homes and in the church.

Q: What do you do strategically to gear discipleship toward men?

A: The first thing we do is to be priest and prophet in their home, to expect and equip men to do that. We put alot of capital in men to being disciplers in their home. “I double-dog dare you to be a shepherd in your home.”

Q: Phil, what’s the best training method or program for raising up elders in the church?

A: Biblical exposition is the starting point, but it is out of the natural teaching and preaching men are being raised up. Some accountability and discipling as well–we went through a series of questions for men in dialogue to teach doctrinal development in men. Small group and one-on-one discipling compliments the preaching.

Q: Andy, how do you know when it is time to leave a church?

A: I think all of us would sense the calling of the Lord (John 10 – my sheep hear my voice). The Lord is sovereignly and providentially leading us to a life of good works. When things are going very difficult, questions are being asked is it time? But no soldier who is called gets involved in civilian affairs. You try to stay because God has called you there. There are some key issues if the church significantly rejects, there may be a time to leave or resign (such as exclusivity of Christ, inerrancy, etc.).


NFC VII: Ed Stetzer on “Lengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 2”

June 26, 2008

Text: Luke 10:1-16 (click)

Is this a church planting related text?¬† I do think we find very important principles we can use in the area of church planting.¬† There are not that many times where the Bible says, “Go and plant churches,” but it does say “Go and make disciples.”¬† But it was the normal practice of the NT church to be engaged in church planting; it was the assumed undercurrent of the early church to be planting churches.¬† Mission is wrapped in theology in the practice of the church.

The normative practice is no longer church planting today.  What was normal in the NT has become abnormal today that is to the fault and detriment of the church in America.

We are to be engaged in church planting.  We are not to be a cul-de-sac in the kingdom of God.  I want you to see six things in this text:

1.  They began in prayer (1-2)

God is a sending God, and they lived under the missional mandate as “those who are sent.”¬† God is at work in the world, drawing men and women to himself.¬† The harvest is there; therefore, we should pray to the Lord of the harvest.¬† That prayer is essential and fundamental because church planters have the tendency of not being prayerful people but workers, self-starters, etc.¬† When you begin to pray for the place you are going to plant a church, God is going to break your heart for the people there.¬† It frustrates me that people are deciding where to plant based on demographics reported six months earlier.

2.  It flows into a radical reliance (3-4)

When you fall in love with God’s mission and love for his calling, then a radical reliance is the natural outflow that began in prayer.¬† We have created a three-tiered level of Christian spirituality.¬† The bottom tier is lay people; the second tier is those called to ministry; the top tier is those called to missions.¬† This is one of the most unhelpful, unbiblical distinctions because people begin to say, “Well, I am not called to be on mission.¬† We pay you to do that.”¬† All Christians are called to ministry; all Christians are called to be on mission.¬† We are all sent on God’s mission–the only question is where and among whom you will go.

Jesus is unapologetic about the “go.”¬† Jesus is talking about us in prayer transitioned into a radical reliance.¬† The gospel is not a promise to comfort, but a promise to mission.¬† The call of God is not determined by any human agency.¬† People will try to talk you out of being involved in church planting.¬† Don’t be distracted by people along the road–focus on the mission.¬† You will never have enough money, never have enough people, never have enough resources to plant a church.¬† But when you let them go, God will bless and provide.

Let’s bring forth not only historic theology and historic missiology.¬† The only church planting movement that took place was called “The Western Frontier” (1795-1810).¬† It was the era of the Baptist farmer preacher.¬† It was a time when poor farmers went out and started churches.


You Supply the Caption

June 26, 2008

NFV VI: Don Whitney on “Reforming Through Discipline”

June 26, 2008

About Don Whitney:

Don Whitney has been Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Senior Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2005. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, for ten years. He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spirituality.¬† Prior to his ministry as a seminary professor, Don was pastor of Glenfield Baptist Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), for almost fifteen years. Altogether, he has served local churches in pastoral ministry for twenty-four years. He is the author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 1991), which has a companion discussion guide. He has also written How Can I Be Sure I’m A Christian (NavPress, 1994), Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church (Moody Press, 1996), Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health (NavPress, 2001), Simplify Your Spiritual Life (NavPress, 2003), and Family Worship (Center for Biblical Spirituality, 2006). His hobby is restoring and using old fountain pens.


This issue has been addressed on repeated occasions, and now there are many people in this room who teach on this subject of church discipline.  When this conference began 26 years ago, it would be hard to find one church who practice church discipline, but now there are dozens who are doing it.  There is always the need to teach again the doctrines we hold dear, especially the doctrine of the church and focusing on the change that needs to be brought in the reformation of the church.

Reformation always begins with teaching.¬† The goal of church discipline is restorative, not punitive.¬† It is not “banning people from the church” (as the Wall Street Journal puts it).¬† The goal is to restore a believer to righteousness.¬† We want to bring them back, to heal the breach, to restore them in love.

Let’s look at Matt. 18:15-20.


Founders Podcast 3: Interview with Voddie Baucham

June 26, 2008

Yesterday afternoon, Voddie Baucham joined me for the third Founders Podcast, discussing his theological pilgrimage, cultural apologetics, church planting, family worship, the Southern Baptist Convention, and future projects he is pursuing. As I shared with Voddie, I first met him a decade ago at a conference for college ministers (REFUGE) in Birmingham. It’s great to see what God is doing in the life of Voddie after ten years, including all that God is doing through him and the church he pastors in the area of church planting. I hope you find this interview as encouraging and instructive.

The total listening time is approximately 46 minutes.

>> Download: FP 3 :: Interview with Voddie Baucham (at 08NFC)

Previous Podcasts:
2. Interview with Donald Whitney
1. Interview with Tom Ascol

NFC V: Ed Stetzer on “Lengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 1”

June 25, 2008

About Ed Stetzer:

Ed Stetzer has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and transitioned declining churches in Indiana and Georgia. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed served for three years as seminary professor at the Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and has taught at fifteen other seminaries. He is currently the Director of Lifeway Research and Lifeway’s Missiologist in Residence.

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10; and Luke 24:46-49

I am delighted to be here and challenged to be here at the same time.  I am anxious because of the journey that I have been in.  I also realize that this is not my typical setting, and I am not the typical speaker at the Founders Conference.  I want to be up front with you that I have a bias, namely, that many of my Reformed friends are not well-represented in church planting.  One of the reasons why we are having this meeting is so that we can be more active in church planting.

4 of the 5 top multiplying churches are Reformed (Redeemer, Mars Hill, Perimeter, Spanish River).  I am here to say that I believe that you want to be more engaged in church planting, and I want to provoke you in this area.  I want to encourage you in some ways we can do the work of church planting.

Quote: William Carey in Inquiry (using every lawful means to bring about the conversion of the heathen)

If a biblical theology is to birth a biblical church, how is that to work out to biblical church planting?¬† We don’t do a very good job of listening to and learning from others.¬† We desperately need each other with doctrinal preaching and missional engagement.¬† Let’s look at Luke 24:46-49 to see how it is done.

A recruitment to a cause is not a propagation of the gospel.¬† I want to look at four things in this passage.¬† Let’s begin where the Scriptures begin.


Dr. Nettles Bio Sketch of Daniel Marshall (PDF)

June 25, 2008

Due to the fact that there were some technical issues with the live-stream and my inability to keep up with Dr. Nettles in the presentation of biographical sketch of Daniel Marshall, I have asked Dr. Nettles to allow me to post a PDF version of his notes, to which he graciously agreed. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Nettles for making his lecture available to us as I believe we have much to learn from men like Daniel Marshall.

>> Download: Biographical Sketch of Daniel Marshall by Dr. Tom Nettles (PDF)

Also, some have asked about the book that Dr. Nettles mentioned at the beginning of his message regarding the life of Daniel Marshall.  Here is the bibliographic information for those interested:

Thomas Ray, Daniel and Abraham Marshall: Pioneer Baptist Evangelists to the South (Springfield, MO: Particular Baptist Press), 2006.

NFC IV: Voddie Baucham on “Building a Solid Doctrinal Foundation”

June 25, 2008

About Voddie Baucham:

Voddie Baucham serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has become one of the most highly sought-after preacher/teachers in the nation, and has been referred to as an ‚ÄúEvangelist to intellectuals.‚ÄĚ Voddie‚Äôs ministry is marked by thought-provoking insights into God‚Äôs Word and commitment to sound biblical theology and expository preaching.

We are a church plant, but we are hoping to be a church planting movement.  We have seven guys who have been in training for the purpose of planting churches in our area.  We want to put into the DNA a solid doctrinal foundation.  I want to give an easy answer, and then I want to expand on that from a practical perspective.

First, the easy answer.

Text: 2 Timothy 4:2a (1-5)

“Preach the Word.”

That’s it.¬† That’s how you do it.

In order to understand the significance of this passage, we need to understand the significance of the context of 2 Timothy.¬† First, the intimacy of 2 Timothy is astounding–the closeness of their relationship, the love they have for one another.¬† Second, the care and instruction that Paul takes to help young Timothy.¬† Third, the overall singleness and focus is hard to miss.¬† The theme is on the one hand preserve and proclaim the truth of the gospel.¬† Paul is about to be martyred, he knows he is about to die.¬† On the other hand, endure the suffering that will inevitably follow as a result of having done the first part (of preserving and proclaiming the gospel).

2-Pronged Theme of 2 Timothy

1:13-14 – guard the good deposit entrusted to you
1:8 – share in the suffering for the gospel by the power of God

2:1-2 – entrust to faithful men who will teach others also
2:3 – endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus

3:14 – continue in what you have learned and have believed
3:12 – all who live a godly life will be persecuted

4:2 – preach the Word
4:5 – endure suffering

It’s all throughout the book.

I believe that it is important to understand this two-pronged theme: we are called to preserve and to proclaim, and on the other hand, we are to suffering and endure as a result of faithful stewardship of the gospel.

Why is this so crucial?¬† Let’s look at the text:


NFC III: Tom Nettles on “Biographical Sketch of Daniel Marshall”

June 25, 2008

About Tom Nettles:

Dr. Nettles is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America. He came to Southern Seminary from the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. He previously taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author or editor of nine books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible, the highly influential volume which he co-authored with L. Russ Bush; and Why I am a Baptist, co-edited with Russell D. Moore.

Text: 2 Corinthians 3 (click)

It is a tremendously powerful concept to say that “You are our letter . . .”.¬† This passage speaks of the ministry of Daniel Marshall.¬† We are looking at Daniel Marshall because we are here talking about church planting.¬† The history of Baptist life is a series of church plants.

Daniel Marshall (1706-1784)

Ninth of eleven children.¬† Became a believer in 1726.¬† A man of “ardent temper” very zealous for Christ.¬† For 20 years, he lived in prosperous circumstances.¬† Marshall was speaking of the necessity of the new birth and was arguing for a regenerate church membership.¬† In 1744, he heard Whitfield preach and saw many conversions.¬† He came to believe that the time of the millennial glory was near.¬† The confession stance of his church and his hope of success was in the historical stance of Calvinism.¬† Marshall had the conviction that he should dispose of all his earthly goods for the sake of the conversion of the heathen.¬† The nearest opportunity for the conversion of the heathen was the Mohawk Indians in 1751.¬† Many of the Indians were impressed by the concerns of the gospel, and several were converted.

In Winchester, Marshall attended a church within the Philadephia Association and concluded that they were biblically sound.¬† He was licensed to preach the gospel and the unrestrained exercise of his gifts.¬† His gifts were “not above the level of mediocrity.”

** At this moment, I realized that I in no wise will be able to keep up with Dr. Nettles in his paper on Daniel Marshall.¬† I will see if I can get a PDF copy of it up for download.¬† In the meantime, another article by Dr. Nettles related to Daniel Marshall is “Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition.”

Biblical Principles that can be gleaned . . .

1.  True success and preaching comes not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit.

2.  God gives the increase.  Marshall gives flesh to reality that God does not depend on the legs of men, but on His own determination to build His own church and uses whatever instrument He desires.

3.¬† The great value of personal courage bolstered by the fact that God will own His cause.¬† Paul–“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

4.  Marshall served as a great encouragement to young ministers.  He attended his preaching with great urgency and fervency.  He knew how to encourage one to stir up the gift of God in them, to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord.

5.¬† The irreplaceable value of zeal.¬† The prominent feature of Marshall’s character was the burning zeal for the conversion of the heathen.¬† Love to Christ, love for the souls of men, constituted his ruling passion.

6.  The indivisible nature of doctrine and gospel ministry.  Each church plant began with a robust doctrinal statement.  A firm doctrinal basis from the beginning can protect the sheep from the wolves as well as a witness to truth once for all delivered to the saints for generations to come.

NFC II: Andy Davis on “Dangers in Reforming a Church”

June 24, 2008

About Andy Davis:

Dr. Davis was born in Boston, Massachusetts where he later earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 1984. He then began his career as a Mechanical Engineer with Eaton-Nova Corporation in Beverly, Massachusetts. He was married to Christine Lee Rogers on Mar 14, 1988, and they have two sons and three daughters. Dr. Davis started his seminary training while working as an engineer and earned his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1990. In 1992, Dr. Davis resigned from his engineering position to pastor the New Meadows Baptist Church in Topsfield, Massachusetts. In 1994, the Davis family followed the call of the Lord to Tokushima, Japan, where they were involved in church planting through the International Mission Board. In 1998, Dr. Davis graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, with a Ph.D. in Church History. In October of 1998, Dr. Davis accepted a call to be the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, Durham, NC.

The greatest display of the glory of God in my life has been the reformation of a local church.

It has also been a time of great difficulties, strife, and depression. At a period of my ministry of preaching book-by-book in Scripture, I was led to Revelation chapter 1 verses 10 through 20. I would ask that you turn there this evening.

Text: Revelation 1:10-20 (click)

I prayed that God would give me a vision for the local church and His glory in it, for the reformation of the church, and the renewal of his people in it. This is a vision that John had of the resurrected Christ in the reformation of His Church.

The seven lampstands represent all churches everywhere in all times. The lampstands represent actual local churches in John’s day, and Jesus is walking through the midst of His churches. The fact that the church is represented as lampstands speaks to the fact that the church is to be a light to the world; the church is the focus of all God’s saving efforts. The church is of immense value and worth to God (the reference to gold).

Jesus holds them in his right hand, a sense of ownership, protection, and authority–the right to rebuke, to correct, and to protect. How awesome is it to consider Jesus’ priestly ministry among His Churches? These seven churches represent Christ’s ongoing work of reformation in the Church. To all, Christ gives words of exhortation, to look ahead to the sweet rewards, to hear all that God is saying to the churches. This is a potent handbook of God’s zeal to bring reformation to the churches. God is at work, and Jesus is at work always.

The immense danger of not reforming the local church is utmost danger. We are out of step with Jesus Christ, who is always rebuking us, correcting us, changing us. Jesus will come and in judgment remove the lampstand from its place. Martin Luther, “The whole life of the believer should be one of repentance.” When the church stops reforming, it is saying that it no longer needs to repent.