Shepherd’s Conference 08

I’m back in my old stomping grounds for the first time since 05. It seems like forever ago when i actually lived in sunny (think 73 degrees) Southern California. It is crazy to think that driving on these freeways was ever “normal” to me.  You can be going 75 mph and have people pass you left and right.  It is great to be back at Grace Community Church.  Grace was my home church for 12 years.  It is a special church with a great testimony in the community and around the world. 

Pastor John MacArthur was on fire today during his opening address at the 08 conference. Last year he spoke on “Why every self-respecting Calvinist should have a Biblical eschatology (pre-mill that is)”. This year it was on “Why every self-respecting Calvinist should reject the church growth movement.” It was actually a relevant/updated powerful sermon. Though topical in nature this was another gem from John. He showed how sovereign election actually goes against the entire church growth premise.

God is obv. all about building His church (Matt 16:18); the question is what means does He want to bless in order to bring it about? In other words, by what means does Christ build His church? MacArthur went to the book of Acts and suggested the following 5 means: 1. A Transcendent Message 2. A Regenerate Congregation 3. A Valiant Perseverance 4. A Evident Purity 5. A Qualified Leadership

One of the great quotes from this sermon was as follows, “The modern cry for Contextualization is a curse!” Why? Because the message of the cross transcends all languages, cultures, education backgrounds, social backgrounds, etc. The proof of this statement is revealed in the book of Acts. MacArthur asked we pastors, “Can your message go to every person in your own zip code, in your town, in your home state, nation, world?” “Will your sermon be outdated in 2 weeks?” If so, then you’re not preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Now much more could and should be said but I’m no Tim Challies.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Yes, please check out this link if you want a great summary of the sermon.

    I had lunch with Nate today and his notes are wonderful.

  2. I couldn’t disagree more with Mac on contextualization…I am not convinced he even knows what it is…

    I really respect Mac and his exposition but I wonder if he hasn’t overlooked some things here.

    thoughts? saying, “contextualization is a curse” is crazy talk…

    What is Contextualization?

  3. Posted by Dante Spencer on March 7, 2008 at 1:11 am

    While contextualization is actually unavoidable – we all reflect our culture to a point even though worship is not an element of culture – this lecture sounds a whole lot better than his blunder last year about premill.

    One of the most disappointing things must be when supposedly ref’d churches embrace church growth philosophies. Such a betrayal of faith.

  4. Seth,

    I would suggest you download the first Q and A section as well as this sermon to get MacArthur’s full view on the discussion above. I obv. did not give the full context of all that was said.


  5. Dante,

    Just remember what you consider a “blunder” is considered by others a “masterpiece”

  6. Caleb…
    right on…I will…I just wish that Mac would have been more forthright in what he was talking about from the beginning…it would have been helpful…

  7. Posted by Caleb Kolstad on March 12, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Phil Johnson writes, The problem with the average Fuller-trained missiologist’s notion of contextualization, however, is that more often than not, this entails not merely translation and illustration of the truth but a wholesale deconstruction/reconstruction process where the point is lost in translation.

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