Note to readers: The above image is from the weekly publication, "The Baptist Messenger", produced by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). The link is www.baptistmessenger.com. All comments below and links were granted permission by the BGCO to be used in today's post. May what is written below inform and equip the reader to the glory of God.
A few weeks ago this blogger had the opportunity to attend a conference sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (henceforth from here we will use it's abbreviation "BGCO") entitled: "The Gospel, Sexuality and the Church". My intention for attending this conference was two-fold:
1). To be equipped on how to better communicate to people what the Bible has to say about the Gospel and it's bearing on gender, sexuality, the church and culture.
2). To know how to express the love of Jesus in a better way to all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
The conference to say the least was very well done, organized, positively communicated and Biblical. As each sermon and panel discussion was presented, I felt it necessary to not only take notes but to make them available to readers of this blog with the hope of sharing this informative, engaging and Gospel-centered conference. Today's post continues my summary of this very important and significant conference. The BGCO has posted some of the plenary sessions on their website, as well as links to their weekly publication: "The Baptist Messenger", which features after-conference reflections and articles by key leadership in the BGCO. Here are the links: http://www.bgco.org/bgco-conference and http://www.baptistmessenger.com/the-gospel-sexuality-the-church-2/. Today's post will feature remarks about how to pass the torch of the Christian worldview onto the next generation and a summary of the final plenary message given by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Panel Discussion on the topic of passing the torch of the Christian worldview on the next generation
1.) The discussion began with talking about the generation known as the "millennials" (roughly defined as either people born in the 1980's or people reaching adulthood by the early 2000's). Today Millennials are very strong when it comes to the issue of "pro-life", and yet the Millennials do not by and large have any conflict with same-sex unions.
It can be very instructive to compare the development of the pro-life movement responding to the pro-choice agenda to how Christians are looking to approach a culture wherein 47% of polled adults favor same-sex unions. Although pro-life arguments are gaining traction within the culture, the traction is not ncessarilty based on theological reasons. Inconsistency among Millennials on the issues of pro-life and same-sex is due to fear. Whatever you fear drives your worldview.
2). What concerning points should Church be aware of in movies like "50 shades of grey"? We must realize that the same lies that are promoted in the culture can be written into the hearts of uncareful people in the church. For those who go by the world's standard, sexuality becomes a means of escape rather than covenant. Dr. Al Mohler quotes atheistic philosopher Michel Foucalt as saying that to experience life, one must transgress the forbidden limits so as to illicitly awaken sexual desire.
3). How do we minister to people who are struggling over their gender? First, remind people of the common humanity shared between men and women and secondly, point to the distinctiveness of men and women. (Genesis 1:26-28 ;Genesis 2:24-25). Such distinction are crucial to biblical narrative, since the Bible warns us to of what happens when these roles are misused (such as in the case of Samson and Delilah).
The distinctions between men and women are not only a matter of creation and redemption, but also eschatology. The doctrine of creation teaches from the beginning God created male and female so as to introduce beauty, relationship, depth of meaning and genuine enjoyment in marriage. The doctrine of redemption has Jesus Christ as the second Adam, a man, coming to die for His bride, the church (symbolized as his wife). Henceforth the doctrines of creation and redemption point the way to the fulfillment of God's purposes or eschatology. In eternity, there will be God's redeemed people, each with a resurrection body and each distinguished as male and female. When looking at God's eschatology for His people and creation, at the center is Christ and His Bride (the church), functioning as One yet distinct, with Christ as Lord and the church as his yielded and cherished wife.
4). Dr. Moore mentions we need one another since men and women have distinct roles. Only time women are to be submissive is a marriage not in a general sense. What does Church need to address with young people without a Christian worldview? Three observations:
First, we cannot keep doing the same things we've done before in reaching out to people.
Second, older generations of Christians need to stop seeing Millennials as a different species of people. Millennials still need to know what to do with their guilt and they still need the Church and parents articulating the Christian worldview.
Thirdly, Millennials need a mentor. One of the panelists noted it is the preacher's responsibility to preach the text and it is the Holy Spirit's job to apply the message specifically for each person's heart. We need to teach students how to walk in the spirit and overcome the flesh which never helps.
5). Dr. Moore notes two ways we can respond the young people: either like Saul throwing a javelin at David vs a Paul extending a ministry hand to Timothy and others. They need to see a genuine faith in Christ with a testimony of God with the conviction that there is a word from God.