The Sinner’s Prayer, David Platt and the SBC

Most folks who know me know of my close friendship with David Platt. I am grateful for how God has raised David up for this time and this generation. Our friendship is not surprising given our mutual passion to see the name of Jesus made famous among the nations. And, when you consider my son Paul serves as a missions pastor and elder at The Church at Brook Hills, David preaches at SEBTS annually, we are editing together with Tony Merida a 40 volume preaching commentary, and SEBTS is partnering with CBH in EQUIP, where our seminary works with local churches in doing theological education (we are now partnering with more than 100!), this friendship has been a natural and wonderful working out of God’s providence. The fact that we agree so much about preaching and theology hasn’t hurt either! I love this brother and thank God for him.

Recently David caused quite a stir with a comment he made concerning the “sinner’s prayer.” His use of the word “superstitious,” no doubt, caused the greatest concern. While I think David could have chosen a better word that would have avoided a visceral reaction on the part of some, I too share his concern about poor gospel presentations, manipulation and false professions of faith that have resulted in our churches being filled with unregenerate members. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I want it to be known that I shepherded all of my sons in praying a “sinner’s prayer” as an expression of the work of God in their hearts as they repented of their sin and placed their trust in Christ alone for salvation. I have also preached more than a dozen graduation messages and in each and every one I have shared the gospel, invited people to receive Christ, and even helped them as they surrender their lives to Christ by leading them in a “sinner’s prayer.” I have done this many more times when preaching, as well. Handled carefully and wisely, I gladly invite people to repent of sin, trust in Christ, and surrender their lives to Him. David and I, I am quite certain, are in 100% agreement with one another on the issue.

David spoke again to this issue when he preached at the Pastors Conference at the SBC. I gladly commend his message to you, and you can find the manuscript of that sermon here. Also at the SBC, the messengers passed, overwhelmingly, a resolution on a “sinner’s prayer.” Both David and I gladly voted for the resolution, and you can find David’s comments on that resolution and the entire issue here. I again commend and affirm David’s comments, and appreciate both the clarity and charity he brings to the conversation.

In the days ahead I hope and pray Southern Baptists can model genuine Christlikeness as we talk about important issues like this one. Wild exaggerations and misrepresentations must be avoided. To say I am against the “sinner’s prayer” because everyone in my town has prayed it and our churches are filled with lost people is irresponsible and does not help. On the other hand, to say that Calvinists do not want to use the “sinner’s prayer” because they fear leading someone who is non-elect to pray a prayer that is hopeless is equally irresponsible. Let’s all of us be better than this. Let the “Golden Rule” be your guide, and represent others as you, yourself, would want to be represented. This will build us up and not tear us down. And, it will show so many who are watching us closely the difference Jesus makes even when brothers and sisters may see things differently. It is a good thing for fellow believers to talk to one another when we “seek the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Let’s work hard to ensure this good thing!

Excited To Announce The Launch of “Christ-Centered Exposition:” Exalting Jesus In Every Book Of The Bible

At the SBC in Phoenix last year, David Platt, Tony Merida and I sat down with the great folks at Broadman & Holman to dream and brainstorm about the possibility of an expositor’s preaching commentary that would be both expositional and Christ-centered. In other words we talked about how faithful, verse by verse, exposition of the whole Bible could properly point to Christ as Jesus Himself taught us in text like John 5:39, Luke 24:25-27 and Luke 24:44-47. Well, that vision has come to fruition.

In the spring 2013 the 1st of a 40 volume preacher’s commentary entitled “Christ-Centered Exposition” will be published. David Platt, Tony Merida and I have the great honor of serving as the editors of the project as well as authoring together the first volume. The initial volume will be “Exalting Jesus in the Pastoral Epistles.” David will produce 1 Timothy, Tony will write 2 Timothy and I will pen Titus. The goal is for the entire series to be complete in 10 years! We certainly need your prayers for that goal to be met!!!

By God’s grace we have enlisted an incredible array of contributors for the series. We thought you might be encouraged and excited by the list of authors who are currently assigned to help us in this significant project, so I have listed them below. It will be apparent that the authors are all committed evangelicals, the majority are Southern Baptists, and most are on the younger side when it comes to age. That was by intention. Further, the Southern Baptists contributors represent the healthy diversity of theological perspectives that exist within our convention of churches within the parameters of the BF&M 2000. And, 6 of the contributors are African-Americans which is a real plus in my judgment.

Now, we recognize in a project of this magnitude there may be some adjustments along the way, but as of today those are the men who will participate and the book(s) they have been assigned.

Our goals in all of this are several. Above all we want to exalt and honor King Jesus. Second, we want to model faithful, biblical exposition. In this context we are excited to show the appropriate differences that exist within in this preaching model. Third, we want a strong missional thread running throughout the series. Building Christ’s Church and extending the gospel to all the nations will be a consistent focus of this series. Finally, for all who preach and teach the Bible, it is our hope and prayer you will be helped in your own ministry of the Word. These are exciting days for the Church of the Lord Jesus. The faithful preaching of His Word, as always, is essential to the health and vibrancy of His Body. May our Lord by His grace and for His glory, use this series for the fame of His Name and the great good of His people.

                                      The Old Testament

Genesis  Volume I Russ Moore
Genesis Volume II Russ Moore
Exodus Tony Merida
Leviticus Allan Moseley
Numbers David Prince
Deuteronomy Al Mohler
Joshua Robert Smith
Judges / Ruth Eric Redmond / David Platt
1 & 2 Samuel J. D. Greear / Heath Thomas
1 & 2 Kings Tony Merida / Jim Hamilton
1 & 2 Chronicles Danny Akin / Adam Dooley
Ezra / Nehemiah Tony Merida  / Jim Hamilton
Esther Jimmy Scroggins
Job Tullian Tchvidjian
Psalms  Volume I Danny Akin / Josh Smith
Psalms Volume II David Platt/ Jim Shaddix
Psalms Volume III Danny Akin / Tony Merida/ Johnny Hunt
Proverbs Jon Akin / Danny Akin
Ecclesiastes Darrin Patrick
Song of Solomon Danny Akin
Isaiah Andy Davis
Jeremiah / Lamentations Steven Smith
Ezekiel Landon Dowden
Daniel Danny Akin
Hosea / Joel Kevin Smith
Amos / Obadiah Greg Heisler
Jonah / Micah Eric Redmond / Bill Curtis
Nahum / Habakkuk Ken Fentress
Zephaniah / Haggai Micah Fries
Zechariah / Malachi Stephen Rummage / Robby Gallaty

 

The New Testament

Matthew David Platt
Sermon on the Mount Tony Merida
Mark Danny Akin
Luke Thabiti Anyabwile
John Matt Carter
Acts David Platt / Jimmy Scroggins
Romans David Platt
1 Corinthians James Merritt / Danny Akin
2 Corinthians Eric Mason
Galatians Tony Merida / David Platt
Ephesians Tony Merida
Philippians Tony Merida
Colossians / Philemon Matt Chandler / Danny Akin
1&2 Thessalonians Mark Howell
1&2 Timothy / Titus Tony Merida / David Platt / Danny Akin
Hebrews Al Mohler
James David Platt / Francis Chan
1 Peter Mark Dever
2 Peter / Jude Mark Dever / Danny Akin
1st, 2nd, 3rd John Danny Akin
Revelation Danny Akin

 

Reflections on the 2010 SBC in Orlando

The record may reveal that the 2010 Convention in Orlando was a historic moment for the churches of the SBC. Only time will tell. From my perspective it was a wonderful Convention as Southern Baptists affirmed overwhelmingly how we wish to chart our future. What were the crucial happenings and their significance at this year’s convention? Let me highlight several.

First, and by far the most important, was the adoption of the GCRTF Report. By a 75%-80% majority vote the report was passed with only a minor amendment, one that I believe actually strengthened recommendation #3 on “Celebrating & Empowering Great Commission Giving.” (For those wishing to read the final report go to www.PRAY4GCR.com ). The adoption of the report was a small but major step in the right direction. I agree with my good friend David Platt. Adopting the report was a small step forward in the right direction. Rejection of the report would have been a giant step backward in the wrong direction. Now we must ALL get about the business of implementing the report from the local church level to our national entities and agencies. I pledge Southeastern’s enthusiastic commitment to see that the report and its recommendations will permeate a campus known already for its Great Commission passion.

Second, Johnny Hunt completed two years of outstanding leadership as our president. History will identify him and his legacy with the GCR. This is most fitting. He was clearly God’s man for this time. It was a joy to work alongside of him, Ronnie Floyd and many other wonderful brothers and sisters on the Task Force. It also was a thrill to announce to our alumni that we have fully endowed the Johnny Hunt Chair of Biblical Preaching at SEBTS. This will be a wonderful way to honor this man of God until Jesus returns.

Third, strong evidence for the GCR received additional support with the election of Bryant Wright as our new president. That the two men who were strongly pro-GCR were thrown into a runoff is significant. It sends a strong signal where Southern Baptists want to go in terms of what we emphasize and what we support. In the “Axioms of a GCR” message, it was stated that Southern Baptists could come together and would support that which promotes 1) International Missions, 2) Aggressive Church Planting and 3) Healthy Theological Education. Here is a 3-prong vision that transcends generational and methodological differences. Here is a captivating agenda that can lead us into our greatest days as a Great Commission people if God would be so gracious as to allow this to happen and to let us partner with Him in what He is doing in bringing the nations to Himself.

Fourth, Frank Page was elected as the new president of the Executive Committee. The vote was closer than many would like, but Dr. Page accepted the call and has promised to work hard to be a team player and build a healthy consensus. He clearly deserves a chance to do exactly that. He also deserves our prayers as he implements the GCR recommendations at the Executive Committee. He will have both from me.

Fifth, the Resolutions Committee, under the excellent leadership of Russ Moore, brought strong and pointed resolutions which subsequently passed on The Oil Spill in the Gulf, Gospel Centrality, the Scandal of Divorce in the SBC, and Family Worship. Many thanks to Russ and the committee for their superb work.

Sixth, we say goodbye to the long tenured leadership of Morris Chapman and Jerry Rankin. Though I obviously disagree with Dr. Chapman’s opposition to the GCRTF report, I love him and respect his passion for the convictions he holds. I know he only wants what he believes is best for the SBC. I gladly applaud that. Dr. Rankin has become a good friend and encourager, especially since I returned to SEBTS 6 1/2 years ago. He has been a visionary leader at the IMB. I believe he and Bobbye will continue to serve our Convention of churches well as they champion the call of getting the gospel to all the nations.

As we move on from Orlando, we need to pray fervently for the search committees at both the IMB and NAMB. Both need God’s man to lead them in the crucial days before us.

Finally, what lies ahead for Southern Baptists? Of course only our sovereign and omniscient God knows. Will we be seduced by the non-biblical sirens of the emergent church? I do not think so. Will we be divided over the “bogey man” called Calvinism? No. Will we be distracted from our main assignments by differences in worship style, names on church marquees, and other methodological issues that are biblically neutral? Let’s hope not. These are interesting and challenging days to be sure. However, of these things we can be certain:

Jesus is Lord.

The Bible is True.

Salvation is by grace alone thru faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.

God is Building His Church.

All the Nations will gather to worship the Lamb.

Our Savior is coming again.

In the end our God wins.

This is more than enough to give me hope. This is more than enough to keep me going until I see my Master face to face and worship at His nail scared feet. What a God we have. What a Gospel we preach. What a family we enjoy. What a Savior we serve!