This week a group of forty pastors met in Florida at the inaugural Joshua Convergence Conference where they issued a list of seven key principles.
Next month I will be one of seventy Fellows participating in the continuing research of Columbia University's Next Generation American Assembly on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Dwight D. Eisenhower established the Next Generation Program for the purpose of diaologue, research and the issuing of official reports on foreign affairs and international issues related to the United States. The organizational effort and logistics of holding national conferences such as these are not easy, so I can appreciate the amount of effort that went into the Joshua Convergence.
In addition, I have learned to appreciate documents that come out of such meetings, and I wish to give my affirmation to the seven key principles proceeding from the Joshua Convergence. Other than possible differences in the interpretation of the church and worldliness -- as defined by the Bible and not culture -- I find nothing with which I would even remotely disagree. In fact, I would like to attend the next Joshua Convergence, and with a little more notice I just might be able to do so.
I listened to the seven theme interpretations presented by the seven pastors and I would encourage others to do so as well. I enjoyed the messages, and gleaned much from them, but was disappointed in a couple. I have called the men involved in order to speak to them directly, but have not yet received a return phone call. For that reason I will leave them nameless, but would like to issue the following two corrections -- both of which involved me.
One Pastor said in his message:
"Not long after the convention one of them (preachers) went on to say that he went to share Jesus with someone, had a meal with her, and asked her for wine at the meal. She was so moved that a Baptist preacher would ask her for wine that her heart just opened up to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and she got saved. The very idea that the Holy Spirit of God is moved by the spirit of alcohol is contrary to God's Word and sacreligious."
I think if anyone reads my post they would see that the above paragraph is a complete distortion of what I wrote. I believe that the movement of the Holy Spirit of God upon the wife of a man I had recently led to Christ had nothing to do with the use of alchohol, but rather, God saved her by His sovereign pleasure. However, he used a pastor who loves people where they are, and accepts the sufficiency of Scripture alone for his Christian faith and walk.
Further, my post clearly states I promote abstinence in my church, but do not judge, condemn, or discipline those Christians who use alchohol in moderation. We discipline anyone who commits the sin of drunkenness. It's sad to me when the true principles for which I stand (the sufficiency of Scripture alone for Christian conduct, the freedom for all Bible believing Southern Baptists to participate in denominational missions and evangelism, and the Biblical mandate to love our brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with third tier interpretations of Scripture) are marginalized by repeated attempts to divert the discussion through distorted portrayals of me.
I am deeply disturbed that a person would call what I teach contrary to the Word of God and sacreligious. To be sacreligious is to be profane. To be profane (Latin for "outside the fence") is to be outside the family of God.
I will seek to work this out with my brother, but I would urge participants in the Joshua Convergence to see truth as not only the Scripture, but a Biblical ethic as well.
Finally, one pastor commented:
"I only have one question.
Those preachers who blog, how do they have time to pastor their church?"
Frankly, I find plenty of time to pastor. Our church is now holding five services a week, averages 1500 in small groups, and will baptize over 100 people for the third year in a row. I preach expositionally through Genesis on Sunday mornings, do a Bible survey on Wednesday nights, preach various expositional series on Sunday nights, and participate in our Refuge service on Saturday night. I visit the hospitals to minister to the sick, conduct funerals, perform weddings, lead our staff meetings, support my kids in their athletic endeavors, take my wife out on dates (after 23 years of marriage!), etc . . . . My church and family are doing quite well. :)
I would ask that those who seek to quote me, reference me, or speak of me, only do it accurately so that I don't have to issue corrections like this one.
Then I would have additional time to devote to more important issues.
In His Grace,
Update: The preacher in question regarding the first issue has issued a public apology for his misrepresentation of my post. I have accepted his apology and will remove this post if and when the video of the messages is ever removed from the internet.