Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Extraordinary Preacher Worth Hearing

Last night I heard for the first time an extraordinary preacher from Texas at the Midwest Region New Baptist Covenant Conference. With an eloquence like Spurgeon, a passion comparable to Moody, and a penetrating and prophetical exegetical skill like that of Lloyd-Jones, the young pastor of First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas, Ellis Orasco, preached the finest message I have heard in the last twenty-five years. His message was entitled "The Baptist Legacy and Poverty," yet his subject matter was Jesus ... what Jesus says about poverty ... what Jesus commands His followers to do about poverty ... the obstacles in the church that prevent us from being change agents in a world growing increasingly hostile to the Christian church and apathetic to the poor, etc ... I realize that we preachers are prone to hyberbole, but my feelings are heartfelt. Other than meeting Ellis in the elevator earlier in the day, though I had heard of him, I had never before met him, much less heard him preach. His message tonight in Norman, Oklahoma needs to be heard if at all possible - from beginning to end. In the archive it begins at General Session 2, at the one hour and twenty four minute mark. Don't give up on it. May God move in your heart as he did mine.

In His Grace,



Ken Coffee said...

Glad you discovered Ellis. Those of us who have known him for a while agree that he is certainly one of the most talented preachers in our midst, as well as an outstanding young man. said...


I think one of the disadvantages of the SBC distancing from the BGCT on the national level is we miss out on discovering people like Ellis at the national level. Hopefully that will change.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Wade,

Thanks for the heads up on this...


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

Where is our Thy Peace when you need him? :o)

I cannot find the archive of the sermon...

Ramesh said...

General Session 2.

Breakout Session 2, Fri.

Live Stream.

Darrell said...

Thanks Wade,

Amen Lydia,

thanks Thy Peace

Darrell said...

Is there any way to fast-forward the stream to the right spot? I know nothing of such things.


Ramesh said...

If you click on the horizontal faded out scroll bar underneath the video at 2/3 'rds of its length, you will approximately get to 1Hr:24Minute mark.

greg.w.h said...

Stop when you see Todd Littleton around 1:22 and get the intro for Ellis. ;)


Lydia said...

Thy Peace, you are a prince!

Ramesh said...

Conference > Midwest Regional Meeting - New Baptist Covenant > Live Stream + Recorded Streams.

greg.w.h said...

From around 1:39 to 1:41:

The church cannot serve a socio-political ideology and Christ at the same time. The church can speak prophetically only from the margins of society, only when she stands with the poor and the hurting and the dehumanized and the marginalized. Never from the center of power, only from outside the corridors of power.

And it seems to me that the left and the right in American Christianity today are both fighting to be at the center of political power. And any Christianity operating from that position [the center of political power] will become a controlling, legalistic and spiritually oppressive force unable to distinguish the voices of allies from God's voice.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

curious what you believe regarding that statement?


Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

NYT > Attack on Twitter Came in Two Waves.
The meltdown that left 45 million Twitter users unable to access the service on Thursday came in two waves and was directed at a single blogger who has voiced his support for the Republic of Georgia in that country’s continuing conflict with Russia.

Facebook’s chief security officer, Max Kelly, told CNet that the attack was aimed at a user known as Cyxymu, who had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal and other sites affected by Thursday’s cyberassault.

In an interview with The Guardian, the blogger said he believed the strike was an attempt to silence his criticism on the behavior of Russia in the conflict over the South Ossetia region in Georgia, which began a year ago on Friday.

How did a targeted attack against a single user manage to cripple Twitter for almost an entire day?

greg.w.h said...


I think it causes questions more than beliefs:

1. Are Matthew 25--the story of the sheep and goats--and the book of James--with its emphasis on faith proved by actions--truly central to our faith or peripheral to it?

2. How likely is it that we can be like Christ Jesus if we use the tactics of his enemies to enforce agreement with our politics?

You really should go listen to the whole sermon if you want to understand why that particularly comment stood out to me. Orozco offers that traditional Baptists distinctives make us--especially those from the great Baptist traditions that Southern Baptists have long adhered to--particularly well-suited to deal with the impact of globalization. We are well-suited for that because of our emphasis on distinctives such as soul competency, priesthood of all believers, autonomy of the local church, as well as specific support for religious freedom, our opposition to creedalism, and our belief in separation of church and state.

If you value those distinctives, then you understand his warning about seeking to stand in the corridor of power and how being there is essentially corrupting and leads to a desire for control, to legalism, and to act oppressively against those that disagree with you.

But I oversimplify the construction and presentation of his sermon by even make those separate points outside of the full context. The heart of his sermon is that the Gospel is for the poor, weak, and oppressed, not the rich and powerful. Would you agree with that central theme of his sermon or not?

Greg Harvey

Christiane said...


Thank you Wade and Thy Peace for enabling me to see this sermon.
I was moved to tears by the part about the little boy with no shoes.
That brought back memories of the times my school guidance counselor and we teachers took 'our' students to shoe stores and paid with our own money. It happens . . .

That part of the sermon about Christ and the Poor: that was absolutely in sync with my own faith, without exception. Right from the Gospel of the Lord.
You cannot watch this and not weep.
Why? because our spirit is moved by the Holy Spirit of God to know the truth of it.

There is a hymn we sing in my Church: 'The Lord Hears The Cry of The Poor'.

It has this refrain:
'Blessed Be The Lord."


linda said...

Hmm--I believe the gospel is for all classes--not just the weak and poor, or just the rich and powerful.

Rather, all classes need the gospel. Make a poor man rich in money without Jesus and he is still a poor sinner headed for hell.

Teach a rich man to give sacrificially to the poor, but give him not Jesus, and you just have a nice man still hell bound.

In one sense only is the gospel just for the poor. It is just for the poor in spirit, that know their poverty in spirit and seek a Savior.

But I agree the Baptist distinctives were key to high evangelism rates, and believe in losing them the SBC lost evangelistic momentum.

Rejoice with us: we are in the middle of VBS. Last night we had one rededication and three pray for salvation. One of the three has been a troublemaker all week, but when God got ahold of him he nearly bowled the VBS director over getting up the aisle to pray.

Lydia said...

"If you value those distinctives, then you understand his warning about seeking to stand in the corridor of power and how being there is essentially corrupting and leads to a desire for control, to legalism, and to act oppressively against those that disagree with you."

Sort of like Richard Land has more in common with Jesse Jackson than either do with Hudson Taylor or George Mueller. (Or some other modern day preachers or missionaries with no power or fame...who are out there but we do not know their names but God does)

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greg.w.h said...


Great insight.


I was thinking specifically of the parable of the father sending out invitations for the son's wedding and the rich and powerful rejecting those invitations, causing them to be extended to the poor and weak instead.

Do the rich need the Gospel? Yes. But is it more likely that a camel will go through the eye of a needle than a rich man will enter heaven? Also yes. Paraphrasing "White Men Can't Jump", sometimes to get rich (win), you have to be poor (lose), even if you think you're already rich (have won).

Greg Harvey

Christiane said...

The Gospel call of St. Matthew
Chapter 25:31-46 is our 'mission' also.

We have thought to take the 'Name of the Lord' to those places of the world that knew Him not.

But if we ignore the Gospel of St. Matthew, how can we do this?

Will we be 'able' to share Him, Whom we would not serve in our own ghettos and barrios, prisons, jails, group homes, nursing homes, orphanages, drug rehabs and schools where no one wants to teach, much less allow their own children to attend?

Label it anything you want.
I call it the Gospel of the Lord.
We are called. We are much needed.

The call to be 'with the Poor' may be much more important than we realize. said...

I agree with Linda that the gospel is for the wealthy as it is for the poor. The point of Ellis' message is that Jesus Himself, the author and finisher of both the gospel and my faith in it, sends me to the poor. To ignore the poor and defenseless is to ignore the commands of Jesus.

Ramesh said...

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Michael Ruffin said...

I smell something...and I think it's hope.

Ramesh said...

Conference > Midwest Regional Meeting - New Baptist Covenant > General Session 4, Fri, August 7th, 2009 8pm to 10pm EST.

Highlights related to Pastor Wade Burleson's speech:

Pastor Wade's Speech about Women In Ministry - 1Hr:30Mts to 2Hrs:08Mts

Tod Littleton Introduction of Pastor Wade - 1Hr:16Mts to 1Hr:20Mts

Sarah Stewart's testimony - 1Hr:03Mts to 1Hr:16Mts

Anonymous said...

I will go listen to the sermon but in answer to this question I do disagree with your conclusion.

"The heart of his sermon is that the Gospel is for the poor, weak, and oppressed, not the rich and powerful. Would you agree with that central theme of his sermon or not?"

The Gospel is for everyone...period.

I did listen to Jimmy Carter and again I disagree with his premise.

BTW....I think the SBC does much better in putting on the ground so to speak....then any of those organizations in the NEW Baptist Covenant. Just look at the financials of the yellow hats.


Alan Paul said...

I am reminded of James' definition of "true religion" in Chapter 1 by this. Of course, working for Buckner International, a ministry to orphans, at-risk children and families, and who's board Ellis is a member of, I am reminded daily of that passage by the many stories that pass over my desk as I work to help promote and raise funds for the ones we serve.

Though the gospel is indeed for everyone without regard for income level or anything else for that matter, it is truly the poor, oppressed and defenseless that Jesus had a special place in His heart. Look at who he surrounded Himself with... and who he had hard and/or harsh words for.

Rex Ray said...

Thy Peace,
Thanks for saving the day again.

Orasco said so many good things; it’s hard to pick out the best. But what stood out to me was:

“The thing that has always been wrong with those who seek to purify the church is that they always wind up looking like those that crucified Jesus than those that followed him.”

I believe it also applies to those who seek to purify our missionaries.

Instead of the IMB serving missionaries, missionaries have been made into employees to serve the IMB.

It’s good that the full extent of the law today only allowed being fired instead of being burned at the stake for not signing a man-made paper.

Chris Ryan said...

Certainly the Gospel is for everyone. But the fact of the matter is that it should be the poor who hear it and understand it most readily.

Why? Because they know what it is to have reached the end of self-sufficiency. They know what is is to need grace and mercy.

Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. But as one of my professors often asked, "Where are they? They aren't among us in the churches I've attended." I find that a very sad statement of things: that those who are most ready for grace and mercy cannot feel at home in church. And why is that? Because we have corrupted the Gospel to give us solace in our lives of ease and prosperity and they can see right through that. No longer is there any room for Luke who tells us Jesus' words were "blessed are the poor," a far harder word for middle and upper class Americans to hear. We pass off Jesus' statements that it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (and contra Baptist apocrapha, there was no really small gate that was known as the eye of the needle. They were referring to the literal eye of a literal needle).

The gospel is for all people, and in that it serves as the great equalizer. But not all of us percieve our need as readily as others. Indeed, many of us are not ready to do what it takes to be made brothers, equals, bondfellows with the poor. Why? It entails giving up the means of our self-sufficiency to aid them. And most of us don't trust God enough to sustain us through that giving up process. The poor can understand the Gospel; it is the rich who need to hear it again for the first time. Maybe then they will percieve how God's grace levels every playing field including the economic one.

Christiane said...

Maybe we need a 'different kind of Jesus Camp', where we live under bridges, and 'go shopping' out of dumpsters, and bathe in the river, and eat together around a camp-fire after thanking the Lord for His tender mercies to us.

We do this for one week, and we might begin, just begin, to understand.

And never again, can we walk 'past the poor' and pretend that they are invisible; or worse, that they do not exist.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

Suzanne is back.

Suzanne's Bookshelf > Back to blogging.

Suzanne's Bookshelf > Who is pomo?.

The above links to this post and an interesting comment of Suzanne:
When I was a young woman, I memorized 2 Tim. 2:2 in the NASB.
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Since I was raised on the KJV I understood that “men” meant “human beings.”
One day, I was copying the book of 2 Tim for a manuscript copying experiment, and I cross-checked part of it with the ESV which was still relatively new at the time. I read first the preface, as you see above, and then this,
“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
I went to Dr. Packer shortly after, having read Poythress and Grudem’s book on the TNIV, and I asked Dr. Packer what this meant. He said at first that he thought it meant “men” that is males only. Then, seeing my distress, that he had just ripped a verse out of my personal Bible, he said, of course, one could say that perhaps it meant “people.” But it was too late. I had sat under his ministry, and my eyes were opened. Some men do actually intend to actively deprive women of parts of God’s truth.
I can only suppose that some men have no idea what harm they do to God’s children. I am no longer young, and I regret the years spent under complementarian ministry very much.

Florence in KY said...

Thank you, Wade, for a wonderful sermon last night. I followed it live on my computer. I was blest by viewing the entire 2 days' services. It was almost like being there!
Florence in KY

linda said...

Some of you folks definitely do not live in my town.

In my town, the richer Christians are:

providing free medical care to the poor

providing free food to the poor

providing free garden produce to the poor

providing free clothing to the poor

helping the poor with utilities, transportation, and housing

feeding poor children at church and transporting them to and from church

giving poor kids free camp

reaching out to the poor (and all classes) with the gospel

offering drug and alcohol treatment, education, job coaching, and financial planning to the poor

just generally hanging out with the poor

Of course, all that couldn't be done unless the rich were, well, rich.

Some of the poor accept the help.

Some refuse it. What more can be done for those that refuse?

We do not ignore Jesus' clear teaching regarding the poor.

But neither do we believe He expects those who are not to feel guilty about that, or to be seen as somehow less spiritual because they are financially blessed.

Rather, we believe He expects all believers--rich and poor--to follow all the teaching of the scriptures.

But then again, I don't think He ever equated riches or poverty with only material things.

Chris Ryan said...


That's great. I'm sad that the people in your town are the exception rather than the norm.

And you're right. Nobody has to feel guilty if they are using their financial resources (I hesitate to call money either a blessing or a curse) to aid those who do not have those resources. But can you deny that by and large the problem of poverty and the response to it in the Bible has been largely ignored in the past century of American church life?

Lydia said...

Linda, I am sad you know this. It does not bode well for them if you know who they are and what they are doing so specifically as per Matthew 6.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I listened to the General Sessions 3 and 4 also last night. Thank you very much, Wade and Mr. Carter.

Alan Paul said...

Love and identify with your first post Chris. Good words!

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