SBC Evangelism Conference- Try harder!

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by YRRSBCGuy, Feb 13, 2017.

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  1. YRRSBCGuy

    YRRSBCGuy Puritan Board Freshman

    I recently attended our states evangelism conference conducted by the SBC. Dr. Steve Gaines, president of the SBC and Sr. Pastor of Bellevue Pastor church was the main speaker. Now, it should go without saying that I disagree with Gaines theologically and philosophically in regards to soteriology, but that does not mean we are not brothers and colaborers in Christ. I attended the conference curious because I had never heard Dr. Gaines preach (I had gathered bits and pieces on the television growing up, but never fully engaged in a sermon.)

    To be honest, I was a little shocked. Let me set the scene for you: there were about 300-400 ministers present, most coming from rural towns within our small state, and Dr. Gaines made statements like this:

    "When's the last time somebody got saved when you were preaching? Do you think that's Gods fault, or maybe you're not doing it right? Because when you give the gospel, eventually, somebody is gonna get saved"

    "If we will be more serious about it, maybe they'll be more serious about it...instead of just getting up there preaching a homiletically correct-perfect sermon; explanation, illustration, application...introduction, conclusion, and your conclusion is: ok let's go home now. You haven't concluded anything, and you haven't preached anything until you preach with evangelistic persuasion. If that bothers you then good, it needs to bother you, because you're not doing it the way they did it in the bible."


    Dr. Gaines also took subtle jabs towards Calvinists within the SBC, spoke on the "Sinners prayer" controversy, and gave a "biblical" explanation for the invitation system. It seems Dr. Gaines believes that baptisms are down within the SBC because preachers are proclaiming the gospel, and instead buying their heads in their seminary textbooks. So his prescription is this: try harder! Do better! If you're not seeing results, you may be not doing it right!

    Sometimes I feel like pragmatism will be the death of my denomination. And I cannot imagine the guilt/shame an arminian pastor would feel after hearing a sermon like that. Rants like these given by the traditionalists within our convention do more harm than good in my opinion, and I'm not so sure the division between theologically-minded calvinists and pragmatic, numbers-based arminians within the SBC will continue to remain amicable.

    Now I know what you're thinking, I should have known what I was getting into. And to some extent, I did. It was just shocking to hear the implications of an erronaeous view of soteriology. Try harder! Do better! Plead! Weep! <-None of which are wrong in their own right, if they are genuine.

    Here's the link to portion of the sermon I am addressing. I brought this up to a couple close friends of mine, and a respected brother told me I was being a little too dogmatic. Perhaps I am. I'm just finding it increasingly difficult to identify as a Southern Baptist within the Bible belt.
     
  2. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would say, when he says "Try harder! Do better! Plead! Weep!" he is almost correct, that is, he need to do these things in prayer
     
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Steve Gaines also said this:

    "“If you say the only way God can speak to you is through the Bible, you have missed it.”

    So, yeah.
     
  4. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    I'm thinking Mr. Gaines, unlike Mr. Spurgeon, has trouble believing the Bible is a lion that merely needs to be let out of it's cage, but rather must be accompanied by the whole Barnum and Bailey show.......
     
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  5. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I've long thought weak soteriology leads to misery. Can you imagine, your family member, friend, colleague dies, and he's going to hell because you never convinced him to say the sinner's prayer. Yikes.
     
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Spurgeon was on to something when he preached the likely prayer of the man who thinks he is captain of his own soul:

    “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like these poor, presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free will; I was born with a power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace as I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know that thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves… it was not thy grace that made us differ… I made use of what was given me, and others did not—that is the difference between me and them.”
    -"Free Will a Slave" The New Park Street Pulpit, 1855- 1856, Volumes I & II (Pilgrim 1975), 395-402.
    Sigh.


     
  7. YRRSBCGuy

    YRRSBCGuy Puritan Board Freshman

    Agreed, I don't know how Armenians (much less Armenian pastors) sleep at night.
     
  8. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    I've wondered that myself seeing as I've heard that Armenia gets quite cold at night.
     
  9. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Yes, and they have been seen in the news protesting about how they are misunderstood.
     
  10. YRRSBCGuy

    YRRSBCGuy Puritan Board Freshman

    Bahaha! Got me. Auto-correct must be reformed because it refuses to acknowledge Arminians*
     
  11. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Yes that seems to be the case.
     
  12. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Heh. I had the board's auto correct set for Armenianism to be rendered Arminianism. I guess the auto-correct was just too aggressive. Deleted it so all should work as intended now, even when intentions are, well, suspect. ;)
     
  13. jprince

    jprince Puritan Board Freshman

    The SBC's got no clue on how to respond to the marginalization of Christianity in the West. Really sad to see.
     
  14. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't know this man; nor have I listened to this sermon; but just based on the quotes it is worth noting that his confusion notwithstanding, he is right to say we ought to do better, work harder, plead more seriously and weep more deeply. Paul is an exemplar of all four of these responses to the gravity of the great commission, he could have preached on Paul's life and it would have been a wonderful encouragement to the effect he was aiming for I am sure. Paul's soteriology might have rubbed off him too, a happy thought.

    It doesn't matter if ones concerns are well founded or not; when publicly and formally addressing Christians, especially those who minister; one should be eager to unfold the scriptures and let the Lord work and thus avoid taking the audience for a ride on a hobby horse.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    No doubt we do need to work harder, but the problem is that Gaines equates the size of your church with success, so if your church is big you must be doing everything right, but if your church is small then you obviously don't care about the gospel.
     
  16. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    That's the confusion I was referring to. Paul is such a prime example of right effort and emotional response to the work of evangelism and pastoral ministry while maintaining that it is the Lord alone who builds his church when and where and with whom he pleases by the power of the gospel. Content in all circumstances; including small churches!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. jmjm208

    jmjm208 Puritan Board Freshman

    There is a sense in which we do a certain amount to wins souls for Christ. We should pray, we should speak to people, we should answer their questions honestly, we should engage in a reasonable amount of apologetics and so on. However, it is imperative that we remember that the ultimate results are with the Lord. If people are saved it is not because of what we do but because God, in His sovereign mercy, has granted the gift of faith - John 6 v 65.
     
  18. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm no preacher, so ye can take this for what it's worth:

    Gaines' anti-Calvinism aside, I don't think he's really wrong about what I've quoted. This is more or less what Steve Lawson said today at the Shepherd's Conference. He said many have a weakness when it comes to evangelistic preaching. I believe Iain Murray said something similar a few years ago.

    Through the years, I have sat in churches, Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic, Presbyterian and baptistic, where this is done and all too often there is no evangelistic appeal given. No, I'm not talking about so-called "altar calls" which are themselves too often devoid of the gospel. I simply refer to the lack of any kind of pointed evangelistic appeal, a specific call to the hearers to repent and believe such as this one from the late S. Lewis Johnson:

     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  19. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Indeed, there are preachers who seem to know much about preaching Christ but little about urging their listeners to come to him. It's a needed correction sometimes.

    Though I too would question some of the methods and suppositions mentioned in that talk, I agree that preachers should ask themselves whether or not God is using their sermons to get people to respond to Christ. That invitation, that pleading, is part of good preaching.
     
  20. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I agree.

    I think preaching is to be to the heart and to the affections of the hearer. Even if a man is already converted, we ought to be pleading with sinners to hear the voice of the Lord.

    We don't know the mind of the Lord but our own hearts ought to go out to the hearers to be reconciled to God. I don't want to make any kind of theological formula but I think that part of unction is an impassioned and serious appeal to the hearer.

    The message is serious and ought to be delivered as such. Men and women perish without Christ and so our own hearts ought to be moved as we bring such news. It may be met with scorn by some but our appeal should be such that it causes people to sit up at attention and listen. Yes, we must still establish the text but we need to let the serious of the matter wash over us so that the hearer has not doubt: this man cares that I respond as he appeals on behalf of God.

    That said, I think the Biblical understanding of the power of the Spirit of God at work in preaching is distinct from a Finney-ian/Pelagian view of the matter. The latter sees the problem as a lack of information/persuasion to get the man to see the situation and be moved according to the reason or intensity of the situation. The Biblical view sees the work of the Spirit attending preaching so that the power is His but it does not mean that we are not passionate ambassadors or that the appeal is to be dry and without passion.

    In other words, the revivalism mentality (like most error) hits at a truth of the disposition of the rpreacher but misses the reason why. If we can avoid the trap of merely rejecting the criticism and look at what the critic tangentially hit then we can be reminded of what good preaching looks like in the Scriptures. I believe Paul's sense of willingness to be accursed for his brethren was evident in the manner in which he preached to them. Of course he knew, theologically, that this could not be the case but insofar as his appeals went to them (be reconciled to God) I believe his love for them shone through.
     
  21. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Jack, agreed. Knowing the truth is not the same thing as communicating the truth. Preaching entails the ability to persuade by proclaiming the truth. Preaching is a call to action on the part of the hearer, while understanding that is the Holy Spirit who is at work, not the messenger. This type of preaching need not be Finneyesque, so long as the preacher is not trying to convince his audience based on his skill and eloquence.
     
  22. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Puritan Board Sophomore

    How could Spurgeon possibly say something like this. Did he not read Calvin's Camels https://www.wayoflife.org/database/calvins_camels.html or that Dave Hunt powerfully refuted Calvinism https://www.wayoflife.org/database/dave_hunts_powerful_refutation_of_calvinism.html
    :lol: :lol:
     
  23. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Thanks for this. I needed a laugh this afternoon.

    That hypothetical prayer by Spurgeon has served me well in the past. I usually dissect it into its constituent parts and offer it up without attribution as to source initially in the following form:

    The anti-Calvinist's Soteriological Manifesto For The Unbeliever
    I
    was born with libertarian free will
    I possess the power to seek after God
    I improved upon the grace God gives equally to all persons
    I did what my neighbor did not
    I know God does not actually make me willing when I am not
    I know God's grace does not distinguish me from anyone else
    I made use of God's grace and such is why I am different than others

    Of course it helps to be wearing this during the discussion:
    upload_2017-3-7_12-43-38.png

    And have the Arminian Confession of Faith handy (attached), since they really do not have one of their own. ;)
     

    Attached Files:

  24. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I went to a Fundy Bible college for one Looooong year. We had a missionary come and speak at chapel and I was, for once, super-enthused. But his spiel was the following, that world evangelization depended upon us, that God was doing all He could do, but He needed our help. I could not be silent and said from the back, "We are sure in trouble then with a God like that!"

    BUT.....hard work IS essential. God ordains it. A good balance is William Carey's Serempore Compact that said


    "We are firmly persuaded that Paul might plant and Apollos water, in vain, in any part of the world, did not God give the increase. We are sure that only those ordained to eternal life will believe, and that God alone can add to the church such as shall be saved. Nevertheless we cannot but observe with admiration that Paul, the great champion for the glorious doctrine of free and sovereign grace, was the most conspicuous for his personal zeal in the word of persuading men to be reconciled to God. In this respect he is a noble example for our imitation. Our Lord intimated to those of His apostles who were fishermen, that he would make them fishers of men, intimating that in all weathers, and amidst every disappointment they were to aim at drawing men to the shores of eternal life. Solomon says: "He that winneth souls is wise," implying, no doubt, that the work of gaining over men to the side of God, was to be done by winning methods, and that it required the greatest wisdom to do it with success."
     
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