Archive for November, 2013

Almost 600 professions from intentional evangelism

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by Norm Miller
SBCToday editor/moderator

In the summer of 2010, God burdened the heart of Pastor Charles Stewart about two matters: the Great Commission and Cana Baptist Church’s implementation of it.

In February 2011, Stewart launched Cana’s “Shattering the Darkness” campaign while preaching an evangelistic message from 1 Corinthians 9:22-23; Acts 1:8-9; and Mark 16:15-16 which was based on LifeWay’s Transformational Church program.

Now nearing the end of 2013, the Burleson church also is nearing 600 professions of faith and has logged more than 100 baptisms.

“The Lord burdened me to lead Cana members to trust him for one soul led to Jesus each week by a church member,” Stewart told the TEXAN. “Frankly, I was uncomfortable in going out on this limb because I believed God wanted the evangelistic effort to be led by the Spirit, not the flesh. God wanted Cana people sharing Christ out of love for the Lord and compassion for the lost, not out of a legalistic fear or loyalty to the pastor.”

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(Ed’s. note: A Tweet like the title of this article was interesting, to say the least, and that led to this story. Pastor Stewart was initially reticent to be interviewed because he did not want to “touch the ark,” as he put it, meaning that he wanted not the least of human credit for this move of God in the church he pastors.
Nonetheless, I am glad Pastor Stewart relented because Cana’s story moved me, and I trust it will move all its readers to see what God will do when a church is properly trained and motivated to “Go ye therefore” and make disciples.)

Read the rest of the story, HERE

Interpreting and Preaching Hebrews 6.1-8, part 4

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by Dr. David L. Allen
Dean of the School of Theology
Professor of Preaching
Director of the Center for Expository Preaching
George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Learn more about Dr. Allen, HERE.
Follow @DavidLAllen on Twitter.

Follow on Facebook HERE.

Today we examine the meaning of each individual participial clause in Heb 6:4-5.

“Those who have once been enlightened” most likely refers to the initial illumination that results from a response to the preaching of the gospel, as in Heb 10:32. The question of the meaning and extent of hapax, “once,” must be addressed. As to meaning, it implies a once for all act that cannot be repeated. As to extent, “once” at the very least connects with “being enlightened,” and may modify all four participles in vv. 4–5.

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The Slaughter of the Twenty-somethings

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by Ron F. Hale

In his 1963 book, “The Anabaptist Story,” distinguished Southern Baptist professor of church history, Dr. William R. Estep, points his readers to the singular reason the Anabaptists of Europe were martyred. That reason was sola Scriptura. He says, “The one sure touchstone of the Reformation and clear line of demarcation between Roman Catholics and Reformers was the authority of the Scriptures. Within the Reformation no group took more seriously the principle of sola Scriptura in matters of doctrine and discipline than did the Anabaptists.”[1]

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Interpreting and Preaching Hebrews 6.1-8, part 3

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by Dr. David L. Allen
Dean of the School of Theology
Professor of Preaching
Director of the Center for Expository Preaching
George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Learn more about Dr. Allen, HERE.
Follow @DavidLAllen on Twitter.

Follow on Facebook HERE.

The key section of Hebrews 6:1-8 which causes so much angst for preachers is the middle sub-paragraph 6:4-6. Before we can begin to think about how to outline and preach this passage, we must untangle the Greek syntactical structure. Heb 6:4-6 comprises one sentence in Greek. The subject of the sentence actually does not appear until v. 6 — the infinitive phrase translated “to renew again unto repentance.” The predicate is an understood linking verb translated “is” followed by the predicate nominative “impossible,” which is the first word in v. 4 of the Greek text. The main clause of the entire three verse sentence thus reads: “To renew again unto repentance is impossible,” or to put it in a clearer way: “It is impossible to renew [them] again unto repentance.”

The question then is who is being referred to; who is it impossible to renew to repentance? Asked in another way, what is the direct object of the infinitive “to renew”? The direct object is actually five participles in vv. 4–6a grouped together by the Greek accusative plural article translated “those who.” The sense is “it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who . . .” and then follow five participles describing and defining the people to whom the author refers.

They are said to be those (1) “who have once been enlightened,” (2) “who have tasted the heavenly gift,” (3) “who have shared in the Holy Spirit,” (4) “who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,” (5) and “who have fallen away.” Thus, to this point, the sentence reads: “It is impossible to renew again to repentance those who have been once enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift . . . and who have fallen away.” In v. 6, the infinitive phrase translated “to be brought back to repentance” is followed by two adverbial participial phrases translated “because they are recrucifying the Son of God and subjecting him to public disgrace.” These two participles define the cause or reason for the impossibility of repentance.

The first major exegetical question has to do with the nature of the five participles in vv. 4–6: are they to be construed as adjectival (substantival) or adverbial? The first four participles are easily identified as substantival participles since they are governed by the article tous in v. 4. Grammatically, an articular participle rules out the adverbial (circumstantial) usage. The key question has to do with the fifth participle in the list, parapesontas translated “falling away:” is it substantival or adverbial? Many construe this participle to be adverbial because of its distance from the article and its negative connotation whereas the other four participles express positive notions. It is sometimes given a conditional translation as in the NIV: “if they fall away,” a temporal translation as in the NRSV and the NASB: “then have fallen away,” or a simple adverbial rendering “falling away.”

Although the adverbial usage is certainly possible in this context, it seems much better, on grammatical and semantic grounds, to interpret parapesontas as parallel to the previous four participles. There are three key clues that point in this direction. First, the use of the article in v. 4 at the very least clearly governs the first four participles, and there is no reason to think it does not modify the fifth as well. All five participles in Greek are in the accusative case, masculine in gender and plural in number. All five function as the direct objects of the infinitive translated “to renew again.”

The second clue is the use of the Greek conjunctions te…kai…kai…kai linking the five participles. These are often overlooked by those who assign an adverbial meaning to the fifth participle “falling away.” This use of parallel conjunctions serves to bind these participles together as a unit.

The third semantic clue that these participles are to be viewed as substantival in nature is their bracketing within a single clause which serves to “package” them into a single unit.

The significance of this for interpretation is two-fold. First, the five participles identify and describe one group of people. Second, since the participle is not adverbial, it cannot be given a conditional or temporal translation. Whether the group described in 6:4–6a should be identified with genuine believers or not is a question that awaits examination of the meaning of each participial phrase in vv. 4–5 and the interpretation of parapesontas in v. 6.

Next post: Do these statements in vv. 4-6 refer to someone who is a genuine believer or not?

 

Christ-centered by convention or conviction?

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by Johnathan Pritchett
Graduate Student, Biola University
SBCToday contributing writer

The buzz phrase “Christ-centered” is all the rage these days. This is especially true with regard to preaching. We often hear it asked, “Is your preaching Christ-centered?” I tend to wince when I hear that. Even the most outspoken people talking about being “Christ-centered” have cheapened the phrase to the point where wincing is about the only option left. I know that sounds bad, but it really can’t be helped. It is like how everyone claims their theological position, on just about every theological issue, is “biblical.” But I will set that one aside for another time perhaps, or not.

Here are a couple of reasons why I tend to wince at hearing someone bloviate about being “Christ-centered” in preaching, or whatever.

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