Paul Washer – The Sufficiency of Scripture and Personal Evangelism

Paul Washer just preached to a packed room on “The Sufficiency of Scripture and Personal Evangelism.” With all the seats full, another 100 people were sitting on the floor or standing to listen with rapt attention. One of Paul’s powerful points was to contrast the clear preaching of the Gospel Word, which the Holy Spirit can choose to use to grant saving faith, with the emotional manipulation techniques which dominate modern “evangelism.” Scripture is not silent on how the gospel is to be communicated and men and women brought to Christ.

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NCFIC Vendor Hall

Attendees browse the many helpful resources in the vendor hall.

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Doug Phillips – The Sufficiency of Scripture and the heart of the NCFIC

In describing the heart of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, Doug spoke passionately on the issue to which he has devoted his life: the wedding of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Theology is not to reside in our brains, but to live in our fingers and be manifest in the palms of our hands, in the way we speak with our children, the way we hold them, the way we look them in the eyes, where we walk with them, the books we read with them, the journeys we take with them, the times we kneel in prayer with them. Without this, our generations are destined for the dustbowl. This is happening on a massive scale all around us. Grievously, generational apostasy can be seen consistently in the families of theological teachers.

Doug made the case that we currently face a Babylonian captivity of the church. He described the many ways in which the church has looked to the traditions of men and been guided by emotion and experience, syncretizing with an idolatrous culture. This is seen in abandonment of the foundational creation order in manhood and womanhood, in the surrender of the next generation to pagan pedagogical institutions, in the idolatry and isolation of youth, in cleric-driven church culture, and in mystic psychobabble. Rather than building on the foundational doctrines for which our spiritual fathers gave their lives, today’s church has abandoned them.

At the close of the message, Doug spoke stirringly to the heart issue: We must be passionately consumed by the Lord Jesus Christ. When that’s true, we will be consumed with a desire to follow His Word. Our passion for our children, our passion for the church, proceeds from that. In the time of King Josiah, Israel found the lost book of the law. The response was to put on sackcloth and ashes. That is when revival came.

May God help us to divest ourselves of man-made traditions which beset us, and return to the heart of the NCFIC: Scripture alone. Someday our children will look back and ask, “What did mom and dad do with their lives?” I hope that you and I will be able to leave a legacy of sola scriptura—semper reformanda. That is the heart of the NCFIC.

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Voddie Baucham – The Sufficiency of Scripture for Manhood and Womanhood

Dr. Voddie Baucham started off our morning with potent words on manhood. One thing I really love about Voddie is how tightly he sticks to the text, no matter what topic he addresses. His heart is passionate about the exposition of Scripture.

In this morning’s message he presented the Bible’s core teaching on manhood and outlined the destruction the church is facing in the wake of the militant feminist attacks of the 1960s. These attacks have resulted in the fruit we see around us today: Boys have become effeminate, girls have been masculinized, we see abortion, delayed and confused marriages, an epidemic of unprotected women, plummeting birth rates, the normalization of single parent homes, and the acceptance of sodomy. Voddie pointed out that not only is the nation of American seeing the total destruction which feminism brings, but the Church of God as well, because the feminized men have slunk away from the pulpits and the women have embraced the burden of leadership.

Voddie then went right to the crux of the Scripture’s sufficient teaching on manhood: Genesis 2. Adam, before the Fall, was committed to God-honoring work. He was committed to obey God’s law. And he was committed to a family.

Why do we have to defend the Biblical doctrine of manhood and womanhood? When Christ wants to illustrate His relationship to the Church, he points to the human institution of marriage as the picture. Marriages that do not portray the relationship between Christ and the Church detract from the gospel. We absolutely cannot redefine the roles of men and women without giving the lie to Scripture. Secondly, parenting practices that do not train boys to be masculine and girls to be feminine do not prepare boys and girls to be husbands and wives who model the relationship between Christ and His bride.

Voddie closed with the hope for healing the brokenness of manhood. All the areas attacked by radical feminism are addressed clearly in the Scriptures. We can know what has caused us to slip from our moorings and how to get back. “When we have the scriptures, we have everything we need. I don’t write the mail, I just deliver it. If you have a problem, take it up with the author.” Praise God that is Word is sufficient!

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Presenting Voddie Baucham

This morning Voddie Baucham opened with a stirring message about Biblical Manhood:

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Embracing the Sufficiency of Scripture – from the Very First Verse

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis brought tonight’s closing keynote – a tremendous call to embrace the Genesis account of origins.

He began by documenting the rampant apostasy across the West – the culture which was once known as Christendom. The prevailing religion is that of moral relativism (which is polytheism), when, as the book of Judges puts it, “every man does what is right in his own eyes.” We see many distressing things: sodomite marriage, anti-Christian sentiment, abortion, euthanasia, the removal of 10 commandments from public places, etc. But these are only symptoms. Christians have spent millions of dollars blindly attacking the symptoms, while those who hate God attack the foundations, and the “Genesis 3,” “Hath God said?” attack in our day has been aimed at the history of the book of Genesis. This is a time when Christians must be like the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32, who understood the times and knew what should be done.

Ken then laid the responsibility for the decline at the feet of the church. America is becoming less Christian every year because the church has hypocritically claimed to believe the Bible from cover to cover but has denied it in practice by compromising on the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis. As he documented in his recent book, Already Gone, children in the most conservative churches see the hypocrisy in this position and are already checking out by 13 or 14 years of age.

The fact that the authority of Scripture in the areas of history, geology, biology, anthropology, and astronomy is being vigorously assaulted by the competing religion of secular humanism in the government’s schools only accelerates this process. Too many modern churches ignore the real apologetic issues and respond by appealing to emotions and teaching isolated Bible stories. Children learn that the religion of the government’s schools is the real thing – coherent and unified – while what they hear in Church are just isolated, silly stories.

Throughout history since the fall of our first parents, mankind has faced the same temptation: to question the authority of the word of God: “Hath God said?” The church’s compromise started big time in the 1800s when they lusted after academic respectability and accepted evolutionary assumptions of origins, only clinging to the vestige of Christian morality. But, as critics were quick to point out, if the Bible is not a trustworthy source of history, then it cannot be an authoritative source of morality.

It is amazing to consider that every major Biblical doctrine is grounded in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. We cannot understand marriage, sin, death, the fall, the holiness of God, man’s need for salvation, or even the cross apart from the book of Genesis. This is why we have to fight for it.

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Happy Little Girls Attend the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference

Our Declining Church and Culture: The Genesis Connection and How to Continue a Godly Heritage – Ken Ham

Ken Ham delivering his Saturday night keynote.

One of Ken’s many amazing slides showing the fruits of the rejection of God’s Word.

Biblical compromise.

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Mapping Out the Battle Fronts – Doug Phillip’s Keynote Address

My dear friend and brother in the Lord, Doug Phillips, brought a strong message mapping out the long war for the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. Doug explained that Psalm 119 is the foundation of all the messages that he will be bringing this week. He then proceeded to read the first 16 verses of this glorious psalm on the Law of God.

Doug is a man who understands the critical role a father plays in the life of his family: When fathers talk about the Word with respect, their children are watching. Likewise, when a father despises the Word, either explicitly or implicitly (by neglecting it), his children learn to hate it. Doug has spent the last year researching and documenting the life of Charles Darwin, whose spiritual progeny have given us the horrors of modernity. Darwin learned his scorn of Scripture from his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, and his other mentors. As Doug exhorted the attendees, “There is no substitute for fathers who are passionate about Scripture.”

He then highlighted the major battle fronts in this war, beginning at the very birthplace of the sufficiency battles—the garden of Eden. It was there our first parents bought into the lie that their own reason was a sufficient guide for their actions and thus proclaimed that knowledge, direction, and ultimate meaning can and should be determined apart from God. Since this first battle, the church has had to contend with Greek rationalism, Roman syncretism, neo-evangelical revivalism, evolutionary hegemony, and the battle of our own day, the definition of Christian orthodoxy.

Doug also gave us a sobering look at the enemies of God, who are often much more keen and purposeful than the soldiers of Christ when it comes to understanding and carrying out the implications of their worldview. Just last month, Richard Dawkins called for “militant atheism,” fully understanding the truth that God and evolution cannot be reconciled. Dawkins understands that worldview neutrality is a myth. Religious commitment is inescapable because all men have an object of worship. Men will either worship and serve the Creator or the creature.

Although the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is a great dividing line between obedience and rebellion, it also gives great cause for unity and joy in the church of Christ because it tightly joins brother with brother in the body of Christ. Standing on the rock solid foundation of Scripture’s sufficiency, even those who may differ on specific points of application can be united.

By definition, “a true understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture requires that we embrace Christianity as a total world and life view and the Bible as the comprehensive source book on that world and life view.” Thus, the doctrine to be examined this week is not one relegated to points of formal theology, but one which extends to family life, scientific discovery, commerce, art and aesthetics, statecraft and warfare. In short, everything that touches our faith and practice. In the end, each of us must every single day answer the question,“By what standard will I live my life?” We can talk and talk about loving Christ, but we cannot do it before the Lord if we cannot say with David, “O, how I love Thy law!”

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Doug Phillips Defending the Sufficiency of Scripture

SoS Men’s Chorale

As I write, the SOS Men’s Chorale is giving attendees a stirring rendition of ‘Speak, O Lord’. Here are the words to this most appropriate hymn:

 

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

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Defining Battles in the War Against the Sufficiency of Scripture

 

 

Doug Phillips delivering his keynote address.

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Do Not Learn the Way of the Gentiles


As I opened the conference with our first keynote address this evening, I was so blessed to see 2600 eager faces, the majority of whom were children. I think the stroller count per capita was the highest of any group in America. The fact that this many families would come to a conference about Scripture is a testimony to the work God is doing.

I opened the conference with an urgent appeal for the church of Christ to repent of its faithless creativity and to proclaim that the Scripture is wholly sufficient and authoritative to govern all areas of faith and practice. Those watching us may wonder–Why do we make such a big deal of this doctrine? The reason we raise this banner with such anguished urgency is this: What is at stake here is the question of the sufficiency of God. God did not breathe into the Scripture; He breathed the Scripture. Thus the battle of our day is for the Bride of Christ, in embracing the sufficiency of Scripture, to embrace the sufficiency of God Himself.

The battle over the sufficiency of Scripture is the consistent theme of Scripture, from the serpent in Eden to the temptation of Christ, and it continues unabated in our own day. We are not saying that the church just needs to be tweaked; ours is an urgent plea of anguish. Today’s church is heeding the professors rather than the prophets of God, and thus the house of God has become a house of inventions and a mirror of the world. Those who claim to be the children of God have become the children of the world. The church is not man’s playground, and living the way of the world will bring destruction.

This abandonment of the sufficiency of Scripture to the creativity of man is supported by five assumptions—assumptions widely held in the modern church:

False assumption #1. The red letters are the most important part.
False assumption #2. If it is not mentioned in the Bible, it is automatically lawful.
False assumption #3. If there is no command, it is not required.
False assumption #4: If it is not condemned in Scripture, it is authorized.
False assumption #5: The Old Testament is automatically void unless repeated in the New Testament.

The antithesis between God’s Word and man’s invention forces a battle, and those who grasp the dire urgency of the fight and run to the standard of the Word of God will reach the finish line with scars. We must join the fight, ceasing to learn the ways of the Gentiles and casting ourselves on every single word of Scripture, because our God is sufficient.

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The Sufficiency of Scripture Has Begun!

Scott Brown opens the Sufficiency of Scripture 2009 Conference.

Conference crowd.

Conference speakers line the front row.

Voddie Baucham addresses the audience.

Doug Phillips at the podium.

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Fred Wolfe Testimony

One of the men I asked to speak some words of encouragement to the leaders this afternoon is a young man named Fred Wolfe. Here is the substance of the powerful testimony he delivered:

Today you are looking at a former emergent, missional, conversational, tolerant, and unifying waste of pulpit space. By God’s grace I stand before you a redeemed wretch, kingdom member, and a profoundly changed man.

Not too much more than a year ago, I could be found among the small gatherings in coffee houses reading books by Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, and Phyllis Tickle. Part of a movement? Not really. It was more of a conversation that never ended, maybe you could call it a rebellion against movements, but deep down I thought of it as an introspective glimpse into the wonders of God’s greatest creation. Me. How did I end up there amongst the black rimmed faux glasses, hair highlights and eggnog lattes? I suppose at the time I would have told you I landed there because of zeal. I wanted to create a new church for a radically new generation. I saw the statistics in my schooling that warned us that the Church was losing this generation, and unless we made the necessary unlearning of “church” we would lose this generation. I was willing to do anything necessary to make sure young people weren’t needlessly going to hell over a worn out approach and irrelevant presentation of the gospel. I could go on and on with excuses, but from the objective perspective I have now been given, I realize I was sitting there because I was simply depraved. I had not in mind the things of God but the things of men.

God began to speak to me one day as I sat down to read an article by Christianity Today, which quoted Rob Bell as saying, “We are rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion…” And something sparked in me, and all of a sudden I suspected the crowd I was following might just be playing for the other team. I wanted to dismiss these thoughts, after all, I had devoted years to building my ministry around the teachings of these Emergent leaders. I couldn’t just throw it all away now could I? I opened my Bible, and read these words, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God ” (2 Cor. 6:14-16) It was not so much the verse that made me start to weep at that point, but my initial reaction to it scared me. I did not like that verse. It was so judgmental, and intolerant. The thought crossed my mind that Paul really did not sound like Jesus at all, and I wondered whether he was really a Christian.

For the next couple of months I was in a daze. I could not concentrate well. I could not bring myself to study for my sermons, which caused a lot of people to wonder whether I had gone off the deep end. But there was one evening, after my family had gone to sleep that I began to surf the Internet, and I ran into a sermon by brother Paul Washer. I listened to about five minutes of it before calling him a Pharisee and turning it off. But something kept telling me to listen to the rest of it. So, I forced myself to listen to the whole thing. Then I listened to it again. I sat down and read the book of 1 John, then Romans, and it seemed as if it was for the first time. It is hard for me to describe it to you, but the Bible describes Saul’s conversion in such a way that seems fitting for what happened to me. Something like scales fell off of my eyes, and I was struck by how vivid and fulfilling the scriptures were. The next day I decided that I could not continue to preach the way I had. By God’s grace, I preached a sermon for the first time to my congregation that lifted up the Holiness of God, and did my best to shed light on their depravity. I repented publicly of my sinful pride and flippant use of the scriptures. There were a lot of tears that day, but there was also Glory being given to God through those tears. People wanted to be saved; they were cut to the heart, and desired to be forgiven.

Since then, so much has happened that I do not have time to tell it all, but to give a few examples, as a church we are family integrating, we have families taking part in home worship groups, Bible studies that are actually about the Bible, and the Scripture is being lifted up as our sole authority in faith and practice. For me my faith is now by Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone, to the glory of God alone!

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