The SBC Pastor’s Conference has been a place for great preaching through the years. During the days of the Conservative Resurgence, the conference was a rally for inerrancy, and a vital element in turning the ship. While it has not typically been a place of high-quality exegetical sermons (perhaps the setting calls for Biblical topical sermons), the preaching in the past has been some of the best that Southern Baptists had to offer.
I believe that a clear public invitation, when extended after anointed, biblical preaching and done for the purpose of allowing those who’ve heard the proclaimed Word to respond as led by the Holy Spirit is not only biblical, but beneficial to the church as well.
He served as a chaplain in the Revolutionary War and his big claim to fame is that he is alleged to have baptized George Washington during the war. A painting at William Jewel College shows him baptizing Washington in a river by immersion.
There comes a time in the life of every church, and consequently every pastor, when a certain question must be asked: “Do we want to draw a crowd or do we want to build a church?” The way the church answers this question determines not just its future, but also tests its present spiritual health.
True revival begins within the church calling Christians to a new life in the Spirit, but it also means converting thousands of present members for the first time to a new birth by the Spirit. That is a stupendous task considering the way things are today and involves far more than popular meetings, happy singing, and canvassing new ‘prospects.’
The bottom line is that evangelistic preachers know that they can’t do the work of the Holy Spirit. I cannot offer or provide grace. I can’t regenerate a lost soul. It’s not in my power to glorify anyone in heaven. What I can (and believe I must) do, is to make the explanation and plan of salvation as clear, organized and understandable as possible.