My church, Colonial Baptist Church, in conjunction with Shepherds Theological Seminary (which I am attending), just concluded their first annual national church leaders’ conference. The theme was, “Christ and our changing culture,” and the speakers included names such as Al Mohler, Gene Getz, Erwin Lutzer, Rick Holland, Greg Gilbert, and Stephen Davey. An excerpt of the website description reads:
We live in what may be one of the most challenging cultural contexts experienced by God’s people. Frankly, our culture isn’t so much post-modern anymore as it is pre-Christian. And as our pre-Christian culture sheds any remnants of Judeo-Christian roots, the role of the pastor is becoming increasingly challenging… How do we serve and lead in such a culture, braving the effects of a growing marginalization and antipathy?… Some leaders will choose not to think too seriously about culture—assuming all is well; others will attempt to evade their culture and try to stay out of harms way; still others will attempt to embrace culture and thus forfeit the distinctives of the gospel.
The first night of the conference kicked off with Dr. Albert Mohler – president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a leading voice in evangelicalism – and he blew everyone away with his perceptive analysis of the culture around us.
Dr. Mohler gave some fascinating insights into the moral and religious crisis we see in the world today. He cited several sources who have made the staggering statement that today, in western civilization, we are seeing the most rapid moral paradigm shift that has ever occurred in human history! His entire message was excellent, but I will just share a couple things he said here. He commented on the sequence of events that take place during a moral paradigm reversal such as we are witnessing today. Notice how accurately these describe the very things we’ve seen recently in modern day America.
Pattern of a Cultural Moral Revolution:
1) That which was once condemned, now becomes celebrated.
2) That which was celebrated becomes condemned.
3) Those who refuse to celebrate are condemned.
“Cultural Christianity is not Christianity.”
“Too many Christians have assertions, but they lack arguments.”
“Christianity is not assertions – it is argument.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Mohler after his message, and a question I asked him was: what should a seminary student like myself make sure to learn before I become a pastor, that is not normally taught in seminary? His answer was to learn to love reading the Bible devotionally. He said in seminary the tendency too often is to simply study Scripture academically, and you lose the excitement of reading the Scripture. So learn to simply love, and crave, reading the Scripture.
The breakout session with Dr. Mohler was convicting, informative, and challenging. I’ve had the privilege of hearing him in person before, but this was an especially excellent message, and it was particularly enjoyable to speak with him for a few minutes.
In the next post or two, I’ll record some of my notes from the rest of the conference sessions as well, so check back soon to hear about the rest of the speakers!