Southern Baptists urged to march onward boldly
June 14 2002 by Tony Cartledge , BR Editor

Southern Baptists urged to march onward boldly | Friday, June 14, 2002
  • The cross' evaluation of the human condition is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. "We used to accept God's evaluation of sin," he said, but now some people think they know more about it than God.
  • The cross' declaration is that people are lost without Christ. Hill said preachers across the country have "trimmed back the gospel" to appease a "pagan mindset."
  • The cross' propitiation provided the way through which "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe."
  • The cross' imputation of righteousness covers those who trust in Christ. "You're not saved by sanctification or being like Jesus, as wonderful as that is," Hill said.
  • The cross' renunciation of other roads to salvation means that Jesus is not just a good way to be saved but the only way to be saved.

    "Anybody that preaches a gospel that says Jesus is not the only way has covered the cross," he said.

    Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., put a twist on the theme, saying, "You only get the highest power when you do the greatest task."

    "First, we must adopt God's agenda," Warren said, "to build His kingdom, a family of redeemed individuals from every nation. "If you want God's anointing on your life, you must care about what God cares about most, the redemption of lost people. He wants His lost children found."

    Believers who seek the highest power must abandon all distractions and focus on seeking first the kingdom of God, Warren said. "What's distracting you?

    "As long as there is one person who doesn't know Christ, you have to keep growing," he said. "We don't grow for our benefit, but because others need Jesus."

    There is no greater task than to reach the lost, Warren said. "To get the highest power, you must do the greatest task."

    Terry Fox, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan., said a model church is "a church that is impacting its community for the Lord Jesus Christ."

    The church at Antioch as described in Acts 11 was such a church, he said, because the hand of the Lord was upon it, so that a great number were believing.

    "I'm thrilled to be a part of the Southern Baptist Convention," Fox said. "I'm glad God has allowed us to have a conservative resurgence the last 20 years. ... I believe the Southern Baptist Convention is impacting the world because we are not ashamed of who we are."

    Fox said the model church had three characteristics - the right attitude, the right atmosphere and the right agenda.

    The right attitude has led his church to baptize 2,000 people in the past five years in inner-city Wichita, he said.

    The right atmosphere is not seen in "dead, cold, liturgical churches," he said, but through preaching the word of God and experiencing the power of God.

    The right agenda is found in personal evangelism, he said: "Soul-winning must be the No. 1 agenda of the church." Christians are not called just to make peace and feed all the hungry people, he said, but "to lift up the cross of Jesus Christ."

  • Friday, June 14, 2002

    Southern Baptists urged to march onward boldly

    By Tony Cartledge BR Editor

    ST. LOUIS - A variety of speakers challenged Southern Baptists to be faithful in proclaiming Christ to the world through theme interpretations at the June 11-12 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis.

    Bob White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, said the church began with boldness but has become powerless and needs to reclaim its heritage of bold preaching. Jesus' words in Acts 1:8 call believers to share the gospel boldly, White said, postulating that if the church had been more focused on evangelism, the world would be Christian and the events of Sept. 11 would not have happened.

    White said the verse "speaks of power" that comes from the Holy Spirit. Too many Baptists have been afraid to preach about the Holy Spirit for fear of the charismatic movement, he said. "Don't ever let anybody take the Holy Spirit from you, from your preaching, from your church," he said.

    The verse also speaks of people who are called to be missionaries in their own communities as well as around the world, he added. Jesus also spoke to the issue of place, instructing believers to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the world, White said. He encouraged each person, church, association and state convention to question whether they are doing what it takes to spread the gospel from their own Jerusalem to the world.

    "It's not a time for Southern Baptists to look backward," he said, "but to march forward singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers!'"

    Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and a former SBC president, said Southern Baptists need encouragement to live out their calling.

    God encouraged Paul through a vision recorded in Acts 18:9-10, Vines said, offering three promises designed to encourage Paul to keep going and not give up.

    God offered the promise of His presence, the promise of His protection and the promise of potential, Vines said.

    The world may hurt believers but cannot harm them, Vines said. "It is better to suffer pain living for Jesus than pleasure living for the devil."

    Vines encouraged Southern Baptists to see as Jesus sees, recognizing that even "depraved communities" are home to many potential people of God who haven't yet been converted.

    Alabama evangelist Junior Hill pleaded with messengers to proclaim the cross of Christ unashamed. He described a church near his home that allowed another faith group to use its facilities. While using the sanctuary, the other group covered a prominent cross with a white drape.

    "The twin gods of political correctness and religious pluralism" seek to cover the cross so as not to offend the secular world, Hill said, "But I am not ashamed of the cross!"

    Hill listed five reasons why he believes Christians should hold forth the cross:

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