Several things stick out for me as I reflect back on my trip to the SBC 2012 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. First, I enjoyed hanging out with PJ Tibayan of Crossview Church and Kevin Nguyen of Cornerstone Bible Community Church. They are great brothers in the Lord with godly wives. Second, it was meaningful to be part of the historic election of the first African American president of the SBC, Fred Luter, and along with it, the adding of the name/tag line–Southern Baptists, also known as the Great Commission Baptists. Third, I am increasingly encouraged by what God is doing in our denomination in terms of its local missions strategy spearheaded by NAMB as well as the resurgence of young SBC pastors with an interest in a more reformed theological position as evidenced by the establishment of Baptist Twenty One. Lastly, I was greatly challenged by Pastor David Platt’s sermon.
David Platt addressed the Pastor’s Conference at the Southern Baptist Convention yesterday from John 2:23-3:16. Platt emphasized the danger of spiritual deception (a deadly reality for perhaps millions around the world), the mystery of biblical conversion, and the urgency of global mission.
While there are certain issues that Bible-believing Christians may disagree on, Platt was adamant about the fact that we cannot afford to be unclear when it comes to calling people to follow Christ. A true understanding of conversion should lead us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, calling everyone to repent and believe.
A few quotations from each section can be found below:
The Danger of Spiritual Deception
- “Many people in John 2 believed in Jesus…but Jesus did not believe them. Many people in John 2 accepted Jesus… but Jesus did not accept them.”
- “This gospel (John) revolves around the necessity and centrality of belief in Christ… John makes clear to us that there is a kind of belief, a kind of faith, that does not save.”
- “Jesus is not talking in Matthew 7 (13-23) or in John 3 about irreligious pagans, atheists, or agnostics. He’s talking about deeply, devoutly religious people who are deluded into thinking that they are saved when they are not. He’s talking about men and women who will be shocked one day to find that though they thought they were on the narrow road that leads to heaven, they were actually on the broad road that leads to hell.”
The Mystery of Biblical Conversion
- “The Bible is clear about the sinful deadness of man, and we cannot dumb it down.”
- “What we don’t need is superficial religion; we need supernatural regeneration.”
- “Our problem is not that that we’ve made some bad decisions. Our problem is that we are dead in sin.”
The Urgency of Global Mission
- “Could it be that one of the reasons why so many people in our churches are not praying with zeal or giving their resources away or going with the gospel into their neighborhoods or the nations – could it be because they’ve not been born again?”
- “Born again believers don’t have to be cajoled to obey the Great Commission. Born again believers are compelled to accomplish the Great Commission. And born again pastors are charged with leading them on that mission.”
- “Brothers, pastors, we have all kinds of differences and disagreements in this room, but brothers and sisters all across this room, we are men and women who all were once dead in our sin, who all were once hopelessly condemned to an eternal hell… but now, by the grace of God, we have life! So together, we are constrained to work against division and to throw aside distraction, that we might lead our churches and give our lives, even lose them, if necessary, in order to tell the world that God loves sinners so much that He has sent His Son for their salvation.”