2019 FUTURE OF CHRISTENDOM CONFERENCE: Advancing the Kingdom Through Enterprise

October 18-20, 2019 Lancaster Convention Center, Lancaster, PA

 

God, in His love, mercy, and infinite wisdom has not only provided the means of forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ, but has also provided, in the Old and New Testaments, all necessary directions and instructions for a just, happy, and productive society. Read more

 

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    Upcoming Events

    October 18-20

    Future of Christendom Conference: Advancing the Kingdom Through Enterprise

     

     

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    Highlights from 2018 Future of Christendom Conference

    Oliver Cromwell

      "Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking"

    Facing Down the “Legalist” Label

    I cannot tell you how many times I have been accused of being a legalist, and while my brother would insist me a legalist, he makes the claim he is under grace not the “Law” as if grace will allow him to live freely in or out of sin.

     

    The two paragraphs quoted below are from John Colquhoun (Ka-hoon) (1748-1827) “A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel” (1816) ----Republished 2009 Soli Deo Gloria Publications (pg.32).

    “The great design of God in giving the law in the hand of Christ to His people is not that by their obedience to it they may procure for themselves a right to eternal life, but that it may direct and oblige them to walk worthy of their union with Christ, of their justification in Him, of their legal title to and begun possession of life eternal, and of God Himself as their God in Him. Their conformity of heart and life to its commands, instead of procuring their title to salvation, is a principle part of their salvation already begun, and a necessary preparation for the consummation of it through eternity. (Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 2:9)”

    “The law as a rule of life to believers, especially in this view of it, is very different from the law as a covenant of works.  The precept of the law as a covenant is “Do and live,” but the command of the law as a rule is “live and do; the law of works says, “Do or you shall be condemned to die, but the law in the hand of Christ says,  “You are delivered from condemnation; therefore do.”  The command of the former is “Do perfectly that you may have a right to eternal life,” but that of the latter is, “You already have begun possession of eternal life, as well as the promise of the complete possession of it, therefore do in such a manner as to advance daily toward perfection. By the former, a man is commanded to do in his own strength; but by the latter he is required to do in the strength that is in Christ Jesus.  The Lord Jesus says to every believer, “My grace is sufficient for you; My strength is made perfect in weakness; therefore do.”  The commandments of the law, both as covenant and as a rule, are materially but are not formally, the same.”

    Upon receiving Jesus through faith, we are “to do”, attempting to keep the law as we work out our salvation.  How much clearer the law and my Christian responsibility has become. 

    As we discuss different subject matter, we will be able to position our self with a clear understanding of God’s Law and how we are to apply it so as to keep both grace and duty to the “Law” having some understanding, even as we know the frailty of man’s reasoning, with his poor thinking, seeing through the glass darkly.  

    ~ Randy Toman, MARS Board of Directors

    Quixote Dons

    I was shocked and horrified, to be honest. Here was the oldest conference on reformed theology, and all anyone wanted to talk about was Luther, Calvin, and Calvinism. This was not a conference on reformed theology. This was a museum of antiquity. We weren’t here to talk about reformation, we were here to celebrate a 500-year-old one. We weren’t here to discuss the future, we were here to relive the past.

    The question and answer session was especially enlightening. I can’t believe it, but my question was read by one of the speakers, and subsequently addressed. My question was, in essence, “Now that we have learned about all this stuff, how do we go home and reform our society, starting with 3500 babies being murdered daily?”

    Here is the response:

    “I think a very significant question, it is true. I don’t know those numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were true. It is a horrific sin being committed in a very polite way…we have babies being slaughtered in nice white buildings, maybe close to our churches and I think it can only be compared to…Molech worship…we offer our infants on the altar of lifestyle and self. As a culture, our murdering them, how great must the wrath of God be against us. People say to me…do you think God will ever judge us? I say, what do you think’s going on? What do you think judgment looks like biblically with what we are seeing here? Let me answer the question though, let me answer it a couple ways. Do we see in the Apostles and in the Lord Jesus Christ, a diversion in the church from its gospel centered redemptive work towards a radical intervention of gross cultural sin? The answer is no. Jesus said the poor are always with you and I am with you now, that is not a callousness towards that, it’s a primacy on the great redemptive work that is the mission of the church. When Jesus gave the great commission, the great commission did not include a militant, violent, essentially the energy of the Zealots…they had a righteous cause. There is much to be said for the Zealots in that sense. But it is not cause militancy in intervention to keep gross sins from happening. That is not part of the great commission. What is part of the great commission? The proclamation of the gospel, the bringing of people into the church, the discipling of people, the very work which we are doing this weekend. So I think it’s very important that the church not denigrate or push to the side the great work given to us that has the most strategic, eternal implication: the work of the gospel in the midst of the church. That includes conferences like this. Paul, in Romans 13, when he counsels, when he orders obedience to the civil authority, it’s probably Nero… Why was there a disproportionate amount of women in the early church? Because they were being abandoned by their parents and Christians would go get the girl and they’d raise her. Likewise let me praise and honor the work of women’s health services. I think it’s a wonderful expression of Christians zealously, laboring with the women who are contemplating abortion, to help them think through it, to give them options, support them, we should be doing that. It does not denigrate the ministry of the word of God or the church. In fact, the best thing we can do, as a church, to reform the culture is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Are we surprised that an atheistic, secular-humanist society like ours, over several generations, has turned its face against God...The remedy for the situation is the grace of God that comes the Lord Jesus Christ.  So don't misread me: I'm not against Christians exercising civil rights to protest in appropriate ways…the thing we must not fail to do is to preach Christ in the midst of the congregation and bear testimony. There is no hope for reform in our culture apart from  turning to the Lord Jesus Christ and the most important thing we can do is what we are doing this weekend.”

    Notice the first part of his response: “Do we see in the Apostles and in the Lord Jesus Christ, a diversion in the church from its gospel centered redemptive work towards a radical intervention of gross cultural sin? The answer is no.”

    I wonder at a conference celebrating sola scriptura and now it’s sola-the-apostles-and-Jesus. Reducing application to the New Testament is foolish for a knucklehead sitting in your typical pietistic pew, but for a conference speaker to say such a thing? It’s shameful.

    Have you ever seen an AHA or BAMH video? Pull out your watch and time how long it takes for them to start preaching the gospel. You go zero to scripture in less time it takes for a conference speaker to write out Ephesians 5:11. The fruit of these protestors is unbelievably tangible. The testimonies of people coming to know Christ, let alone the children physically saved from being killed, is more than enough so that lately, protesting is the new 95 theses. Or maybe it’s just making the 95 theses cool again.    


    What you are seeing here is a Quixote Don. If you are familiar with Don Quixote, then you might understand why I have reversed the name. Originally, Don Quixote set out to battle giants on his horse and antiquated armor, and battle he did. Except that the giants were windmills. He was delusional, and everyone watching him knew it.

    Here’s where the switch comes in. A Don Quixote fights windmills that he thinks are giants. But a Quixote Don fights windmills and makes the onlooker think he is fighting a giant. He finds a windmill. He puts on his armor. He mounts his horse and grabs his lance. He attacks! What a fight! Look at him go! Everyone thinks he is fighting Goliath! The only person in the room, though, that knows it’s all a fake, is Quixote Don.

    These leaders would have us think that they are fighting the good fight, setting out to battle the cultural idols of our day in a fierce show of hubris. But they are not idiots. They have picked windmills while the real giants prey on everyone outside, and even inside, their churches. The institutional church will continue to root for the windmill slayers and condemn those who take on real giants.

    ~ Luke Saint, MARS Board of Directors

    Three Effective Christian Comebacks. 

    Getting an advantage in a disagreement even though you don’t win the argument.

    Someone, somewhere, at work, lunch or family get together makes an offensive remark, something designed to malign, misrepresent, demean, or outright attack your Christian faith. You know you should say something, but you don't know what to say.

    You can learn how to respond effectively and survive such an encounter by being prepared with three effective Christian comebacks.

    Be prepared. You must be ready. "Always be ready to give an answer (Peter 3:15)," stresses the importance of being prepared. When that disparaging remark is made at the coffee klatch, it's too late to be guessing what you are going to say.

    Ask a question. A question will give you an advantage in three ways:

    1) It will put you in control of the encounter.

    2) It will gain you time to gather your thoughts.

    3) It will put your challenger on the defensive.

    These comebacks are designed to help you be prepared with what to say even if you don't know in what way or setting a challenge will come. They are not designed to win the argument for you. Sometimes they may simply force a challenger to retreat. If you encounter someone who is truly seeking the truth, this approach will open doors of future opportunity for you to explain the truth of the issue. On the other hand, you may be facing an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive challenger. You may feel like you lost ground, but you are to be commended for standing up and not conceding the field without a challenge.

    Comeback question #1

    What exactly do you mean by that?  

    Keep your tone even and interested.

     

    Comeback question #2

    Why do you believe that?  

    Again, keep your tone even and listen intently to his response, because you really do want to know the answer to this question. It will give you more insight and discernment as to where his heart and mind is.

     

    Comeback question #3

    How do you know that?

    This is the most directly challenging question and usually is reserved for someone making an untruthful claim about Christ, His Word, or His people. Put this question out there only once and wait and listen through his answer. You may not need to say anymore. Allow him to listen to himself as he tries to defend his position. The purpose is not to start or maintain an argument. You simply challenged his challenge which may  prevent him from making further bold statements in your presence.  Good job. You have stood for the truth just by challenging the untruth.

     

    Warrior of Christ, God does not expect you to win every argument. However, He does want you to stand for Him. You are to be commended that you stood and defended your faith and the truth of God'’s Word.

    ~ Joel Saint

    Why a conference?

    In an age of instant communication, web conferencing, internet blogging, and social media, is there a place for a brick-and-mortar, face-to-face conference?  We believe so, emphatically.

    Without doubt, Most of our readers have noticed the shortfalls of social media.  While teleconferencing can handily enable us to assemble the nuts and bolts of our short term projects, we have all noticed the differences between electronic communication and meeting face to face.  The teleconference or social media platform may get us 80% of what we need, nearly for free.  It's that last 20% that makes the difference between success and failure.  A conference puts us in touch to grab that last 20%.  If we are truly working to build God's Kingdom, we cannot afford to squander all the work in a failure of communication.  So yes, the last 20% is the costliest, yet it is so very valuable.

    A focused conference puts us together with like-minded people...people who "get it"...with enough time to share ideas, and to generate better ones.  Have you ever noticed how this happens almost spontaneously when several gather together with time for a lively discussion?  We have! 

    A conference breaks through the insulation that can surround us in a way that only happens in person.  It is exciting to realize that the people who spend the time and money to attend are usually people with ideas and who are looking for better ways to do things!

    Several good things are intentionally built in to the Future of Christendom conference.  We start with a knowledgeable speaker lineup to stimulate thinking on the subject matter.  Then in order to leverage that, the schedule allows a generous amount of time for personal interaction and fellowship with speakers and other attendees.  This takes place throughout the day, in the evenings, and during the on-site meal times.

    The very intentional purpose of our conference format is that attendees go home with several key things.  First are new ideas to help them fulfill their ministries, businesses, professions, or vocations more effectively.  Second are new or enhanced associations with others involved with similar work, forming a synergy that sparks productivity.  Third are new associations to promote and advance God's Kingdom in better and more effective ways.  MARS is continually attempting to spark new associations and we are thrilled to see them develop.

    We encourage you to attend the Future of Christendom conference for a few days that will sharpen and enhance your work in your corner of God's Kingdom.

    The dates of this year's conference are October 18-20 in Lancaster, PA.

    See FutureofChristendom.org for further details. 

     

    “AND” Is Not a Dirty Word

    Don’t we love to see the world in black and white? Either this way OR that way. Christian OR not Christian. Agrees with me OR doesn’t.


    No one can argue that black is white or someone is Christian and not Christian. That’s illogical – or insane. So count me in the logical camp. I believe that right and wrong are painted in black and white.


    Here’s where it gets sticky:
    Who says what is right and what is wrong? Where does the infallibility rest?


    Image result for right wrongIn American society today, the red states are convinced the blue states are wrong. The blue states believe the red states are wrong with equal fervor. As a matter of fact, each side is convinced of its own absolute righteousness. The opposite side is thus seen as being absolutely wrong. What’s more, that opposite side must be eradicated because its mere existence is a blot of the fabric of the universe and offends the sensibilities of the righteous side.


    Think about the so-called snowflakes on the current college campus. They are so sensitive to any opposition that they need “safe spaces” on campus to which they can retreat and not hear or think about things they deem offensive. They are as delicate a snowflakes and will melt away if touched. HooBoy. They’re “touched” all right.


    This kind of absolutism has now almost completely permeated America. Worse, it’s found throughout Christ’s church in America. There seem to be fewer and fewer grownups who accept the idea that their ideas are not infallible. This is sort of to be expected in politics but in Christ’s church? Shouldn’t we know better?


    There is only ever One Infallible Arbiter and that is God Himself. Often said, less often heeded.


    What has happened to Christian charity that holds to the idea of “AND?”


    For instance, I read and interpret the Scriptures in a way that convinces me to practice credo-baptism. I consider myself a Baptist. I also consider myself a Christian in that I hold to salvation by grace through faith. That makes me Baptist AND Christian. At least, I think so.


    What of the Presbyterian? He reads the Scriptures in a way that convinces him to baptize his infant children into the Covenant. If he also holds to salvation by grace through faith that makes him Presbyterian AND Christian. At least, he thinks so.


    Are we … can we … both be right? Well, right about the “Christian” part but not about the baptism part. Can we have a spirited debate over our positions on the ordinance of baptism? Of course, and we should. Should we go to war over that? I think not. Should I anathematize all Presbyterians? Sure. ‘Lil ole me is going to throw Jonathan Edwards over the side! Ridiculous. And Presbyterians are going to boil Charles Spurgeon in oil?

    I am all in favor of exercising individual judgment and discernment. We do so when deciding tobe Baptist and not Presbyterian or Democrat and not Republican. Yet along with our judgment comes the responsibility to discuss our differences with those who hold the other view. Discuss, not necessarily shout. Exhort, not necessarily condemn.


    As mentioned above, we Christians tend toward the black and white because much of God’s Word is black and white. In the Big Ten there is no wiggle room to interpret “Thou shalt not” in any other way. But (at the risk of sounding satanic) did God really say, “Thou shalt be Baptist?”


    I am a post-millennial Baptist and tend to hang around with other post-mil Baptists more than those of other persuasions. There are plenty of dispensational, Presbyterian, amillennial, and even (gasp!) Methodist and charismatic folks in my circle of friends, too. Many of their positions I heartily disagree with. But they love Christ and are doing good works prepared beforehand.


    Building up the Church is much more important than my harping on them about doctrines on which I think they’re wrong. We’ve had the discussions; they didn’t persuade me and I didn’t persuade them. Okay, let’s have a cup of coffee, sister. I may not hang out with these folks, but you might and that’s perfectly okay with me. Should I brow-beat you about that? That’s your business, not mine.


    When I personally decide who is allowed to associate with whom, when I personally decide who must repent of what, I am on dangerous ground. I, personally, am not the Church which is the sole institution on earth with the power of excommunication. It’s not for me to bind someone else’s conscience.


    So can’t we all exercise some mature Christian judgment (grace, even), take a deep breath, and relax a little? Can’t we have reasonable dialogue; answer a respectful question with respect? Can’t we acknowledge that someone with whom we disagree is Christian AND ___________?


    Much of Jesus’ dialogue with His opponents was not as much to convince them of His righteousness as it was to convince those looking on. Unlike ourselves, His logic and arguments were unassailable and His witness was pure. We must recognize that our logic is not perfect and sometimes downright self-serving – a lousy witness to those looking on and not a pleasant aroma to our sovereign God.


    If in our arguments we must attribute ill motives to those with whom we disagree, or engage in public condemnation, disparagement, denigration, slander and libel, or point fingers and shout and scream, then it’s very likely that we’ll receive treatment in kind.


    Or be ignored so as not to add to the stench.


    ~John Bingaman, January 2019