A subset of the 8,500 men and women attending The Gospel Coalition Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, joined together today (before the conference started) to hear speakers address what it will take to fulfill the Great Commission in our complex culture.
Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, kicked off the pre-conference with a message concerning the upcoming generation of evangelists. According to Dr. Moore, if we want to succeed in our gospel mission, we are going to have to exercise courage in the face of an increasingly hostile culture.
Dr. Moore used John 12:35-43 to illustrate his point. He emphasized that it is difficult to move against the stream of anything, especially in the current culture. Dr. Moore stressed that the next generation is going to have to walk alone. He wasn’t saying that Jesus isn’t with us or that the church doesn’t provide community. Instead, he was encouraging the church to be realistic about the current state of our culture, which is similar to what the passage in John describes, one that has its eyes blinded and hearts hardened to God. In the face of this reality, the church needs to disciple and live out courage in Jesus Christ because this is what the next generation of Christians will need to succeed.
Here are few takeaways from his session:
- Clarity is not enough. Clarity without courage will amount to nothing in the witness of the church.
- When the culture around you has marginalized you, that is when courage becomes difficult.
- Courage is not FEARLESSNESS. Courage is crucified FEARFULNESS.
- Jesus sees the unseen storyline and he’s willing to walk there anyway because he sees what God is doing.
- Jesus was willing to face the loneliness of cultural rejection for the sake of community later. #Kingdom
- SUCCESS is not being normal; SUCCESS is being crucified.
Ask yourself today if the work of the Lord is worth it even if you don’t see the fruit of your efforts. Are you proclaiming the gospel because you are commanded to do so, no matter what the cost? Or are you proclaiming the gospel simply to be able to count the number of people you have “led to Jesus”?
The next generation entrusted to us is watching; they need to see older generations courageously defending the gospel.
And here, perhaps, is the most convicting thing Dr. Moore said: If we model to the next generation that rejection is failure, then we are dooming the next generation to not be able to uphold the truths of the gospel.
Please join with me in praying that we would equip a generation that is willing to die for Jesus. Not just because we are commanded and encouraged to do so (Deuteronomy 6:6:9), but so they will be prepared to defend the faith no matter what the cost.
Find out more about the ERLC pre-conference here.
For a live stream of The Gospel Coalition’s Conference, click here.