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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Paul Washer Calls for Purity in Our Pulpits at the Leaders Luncheon

The luncheon was held at the beautiful Marriott hotel where church leaders from across the US gathered for fellowship and to hear Paul Washer speak on purity in the pulpit.

RC Sproul, Jr. laughs with luncheon attendees.


Paul Washer speaking with luncheon attendee.

More than 200 men gathered for the event.

Geoff Botkin takes notes during the main message.

Paul Washer delivered a stellar message on 1 Timothy 4 calling for a return to purity in our pulpits.

Starting in verse one, he pointed out that the apostasy which is evident in much of the American church should not be surprising or discouraging, because the Spirit expressly says that it will happen. Christ says that “They went out from us because they were never of us.” When these men leave the Church, she is not being weakened, but Christ is in fact purifying her as He has promised. False teachers can actually even act like a compress on a wound, drawing out the infection by attracting away and consolidating those with “itching ears.” Washer stated that he has been astonished at what he sees happening in the church today as he preaches all over the country: God is raising up young men and families who are hungry for the Word. Young men who are searching it and asking questions, and laboring to apply it to their lives.

In explaining what the Apostle Paul meant by a “doctrine of demons,” he made this really crucial statement: “A doctrine of demons is any doctrine taught within the confines of Christianity which does not place Christ at the very center.” We in the family-integrated church movement face a danger, and this danger may seem surprising. It is the danger of making our churches be family-centered. It is dangerously easy to react to the unbiblical methodologies behind youth ministry and let ourselves be defined by family-centricity, but we must preach Christ. The sufficient Scripture which we endeavor to live by, teach, and which we want to define us completely places Christ at the center.

Paul closed his message with a call for training in godliness. The word the Apostle Paul uses for “training” has reference to the rigorous training of an athlete. An Olympian denies himself for years, straining past the point of exhaustion over and over, in order to run a 10-second race and win a medal which is not even real gold. How much more effort should men devote to knowing God? We should not to be studying with the purpose merely of preparing our sermons; we should be studying to prepare ourselves—by seeking God. As Washer said, “My family’s greatest need is a godly man.”

The man whom God can most powerfully use is the man who is least about self. A man who can be alone in the presence of God—a man to whom God is the most pressing reality. That kind of man can say in truth, “the God before Whom I stand,” and speak without fear of man, because he fears that God more. That kind of man will be useable.

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On the Ground to Serve You: the NCFIC Team

Join Us Saturday Night in Cincinnati for the Mysterious Islands Premier

Live Blogging During the Conference

Beat the Crush at the Registration Line

Please register early! Due to the large amount of people attending the Conference, the registration lines may be extremely backed up. Suggestion: plan on registering a couple hours early. We are concerned that some might miss the first session if everyone comes at the last minute.

We will open registration at 12 noon on Thursday. It would be very helpful if you would register between 12:00 and 2:30 if you are able. We understand you may not be able.

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Spanish Language Translation at the SOS Conference

All messages given in the main ballroom at the SOS conference will have a live Spanish translator. We will be using a transmitter that will allow the translator to speak into a microphone and transmit the message. Individuals needing Spanish translation will need headphones with special receivers that can pick up the signal. We have a limited number of headsets available so you will need to email us right away if you need this. Please email David Brown at [email protected].

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Ken Ham Invites you to the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference

Ken Ham has just posted an invitation to the SOS Conference on his blog. He says,

“I will be joining Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham, Paul Washer, and others for a seminar on the Word of God and how it applies to the local church and home life—all designed to uphold our belief that Scripture alone provides the right answers to our modern-day challenges in both home and church life.”

Click HERE to register for the SOS Conference.

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New Books!

We are excited to announce that Scott Brown is releasing three new books. All books will be available at the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference.

Preparing Boys for Battle

This is a handbook for dads to help them train their sons for battle.
In this book you will find lessons for manhood that arise from the WWII battle for Iwo Jima with its fighter planes, amphibious assaults, foxholes, cave warfare, and flamethrowers.
It contains seventeen critical exhortations that I believe fathers must deliver to their sons. Why? To discipline them to be the mighty warriors God intends them to be. These were the things I told my own son David as he was growing up.
This is a book about leading boys to be truly great boys—and someday, men. It uses a personal, modern example (the example of my father and some other men I’ve met) to illustrate what God has already said in Scripture.

Moment of Courage

On Iwo Jima, boys became men in the crucible of pain, suffering and enormous sacrifice. They jumped on grenades and ran into unrelenting firepower to save their comrades. They ran and crawled and groveled in the dirt to do their duty. We need boys like that today. I hope this book can help a few of them understand the sacrifices of heroism.

This is a handbook for manly courage. It displays the stories and language of the heroism of our boys during the battle for Iwo Jima. Boys need stories with real men who went before them to show them what courage looks like. Iwo Jima was a factory for courage. Her Medal of Honor recipients prove it. Their stories are contained in this book.

It Can Be Done

These are poems for hardship, sacrifice and dominion. They will make you smile, square your jaw, lighten your load, heighten your step, and grow rebar in your spine. They will lift you up, make you soar, and give you a view of the smallness of your problems. They will help you think bigger, feel better, laugh harder, and eat your problems for breakfast.

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