Q: If substitution atonement is the true biblical doctrine does it provide any room for a universal atonement that Jesus died for the whole world without exception?
Washer: I’m going to answer the question without really answering it. When he thinks about the glorious doctrine such as the atonement it upsets me that some people only think about it when they want to argue over Calvinism. The doctrine is best used proclaimed to the masses that Christ died and to call all men to repent. Even John 3:16 is not to argue a particular doctrine of the atonement but to proclaim Christ’s death for sinners. Both sides go too far trying to fight on this issue.
Q: Many consider themselves expositors, but are not. Lawson describes expository preaching.
Lawson: 1 Tim 4:13 – until I come give attention to the public preaching of Scripture. Read the text, teach or explain the text and then exhort. 2 Tim. 4:2 – preach the word. Both are important in expository preaching. All exposition with no preaching and you end up with an egghead church. Other extreme is equally dangerous – all preaching with no exposition. All ranting and raving with no substance. You must marry the two – exposition and preaching. The word is to be delivered with all of the elements of preaching: to exhort, to confront, to challenge, to convict, etc. The puritans used to say you want a fire in the pulpit that gives off light and heat. Most men are top heavy in one direction. They are brilliant expositors as walking commentaries. Or, they are very shallow with very little content and theological fire. Nothing is more powerful than expository preaching and it reigns in the life of the church.
Q: Preached without notes. What counsel would you give to someone who wants to memorize large amounts of Scripture.
Miller: It’s much easier to memorize a contiguous passage than a verse here and there. Memorize it in context. There is no real virtue in memorizing unless it is something worthwhile. When he gets verse one right he moves onto verse two, etc. Keep moving forward and the next thing you know you’ve got a chapter memorized. One of these days you’ll be in a circumstance where God will bring to your memory just the Scripture you need. Don’t memorize so you can just quote Scripture in front of others. The reason you memorize Scripture is for your own personal sanctification.
Q: Single woman who desires marriage to a godly man. Too many men are living like boys. Where should the standard be set when looking for a man?
Baucham: I hear that question a lot – too much. Four P’s: priest, prophet, provider, protector. Priest is a spiritual leader. A prophet represents God before people by knowing and instructing in the word of God. A provider sees that his people have what they need. J-o-b is more than just a book in the Bible. He needs to have a work ethic and do what he needs to do to provide. A protector puts himself between his people and that which would harm them whether that be physically or technologically. Need wisdom and not be a fool who doesn’t not cause trouble nor run from it. Need a man who is seeking these things and bears some evidence of them in his life. Encourage women in two ways. There are men out there like that. God found a wife for Adam when he was the only human on earth – your chances are better than that.
Washer: Fathers this is a wake-up call to you. The coach is not going to teach your boy to be a man. No one is, but you. Train your boys from a young age to be men. The moment your boy hits the ground he’s yours. Do not count on anyone else training him.
Q: Advice on family worship.
Beeke: They have got to be absolutely convinced of family worship themselves. Despite all of Beeke’s titles and tasks the most important is leading his family. Convey to people what Scripture says about family worship. Scripture says we should do four things with our kids daily: read the Bible, talk to them about the Bible, sing with them and pray with them. Pastors should encourage family worship through examples, modeling, books, etc. Bring other families into your home and show them your own family worship as the Puritans did. Puritans held the lack of family worship essentially as a church disciplinary issue. The Bible commends it and Jesus is honored by it. We must do it.
Follow-up Q: Challies asks how a father might implement family worship tonight.
Beeke: Go home and tell your children you should be doing this and your sorry you have not been. Open the Bible, have the children read some verses. Explain the verses. Close with everyone praying and then sing. Start with a short amount of time and increase it. If they refuse then – no singing no food.
Beeke explains his own experience with family worship growing up. His father read “Pilgrim’s Progress” to them daily. His father was very passionate while teaching the Word. This family worship time formed Beeke’s life.
Q: Pointers on how to control technology rather than letting it control you.
Challies: Technology will be a blessing or a curse if we allow it. We create technology in our image and it returns the favor to us. Be deliberate with technology. He takes his family on a vacation annually by turning all technology off and getting away. He shuts everything off on Sunday as much as possible. A week a year and a day a week where we turn everything off.
Q: Is allegorical preaching plaguing the church today and what can we do about it.
Thornton: It’s bad. Everyone in this room is an allegorist. Any meaning different than the author’s meaning in an allegory. If you proclaim a text and it’s not what the author intended that’s allegory. Sometimes expository preaching is better taught than caught. Lawson’s sermon last night is the perfect definition of expository preaching. If you preach truth you’ve only done part of your job. Your finger must be on the right text that it teaching that truth. We need to talk about whether or not the sermon has a lasting impact.
Q: As an African-American, how do I encourage other African-Americans to the Reformed faith away from Pentecostal-types of teaching?
Baucham: This person must not know him because they used the term “African-American”. Voddie does not like the term. Paul had a special desire to people like him – his kinsmen. Nothing wrong with that, but there would have been had Paul let that interfer with his calling to the gentiles. Our passions do not define our calling. Our calling is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to those whom you can do so. He does not want to get caught up in his own affinity groups getting caught up in them and perverting the mission. When he hears that question – he cringes – and wants to say we are called to make the gospel clear for all people. We are called to warn everyone of idolatry and that which is not the gospel. A level of melanin in a person’s skin does not change the need for the gospel and it does not determine how you hear the gospel. Another assumption in the question is that people with more melanin are pulled toward Pentecostalism and that’s racism. Millions are pulled toward Pentecostalism and he wants them all to turn to another direction; both high and low melanin people. Another assumption is that all black people have the same circumstances. When he sees a person who is like him – who comes to faith, who gets it – ultimately what he is reminded of is what God did in him. It reminds him of the goodness of God.
Q: How do you share the truth with a brother who differs with you theologically? A conference attendee is staying with a follower of Joel Osteen and wants to know how to share the truth with him.
Washer: In all things, Christ-likeness. We have guides of when to speak and when not to. If they are open to the truth then share, but if they close down then back off. Col. 4:2-4 references where Paul prays for an open door. When I cannot speak to men about God, I speak to God about men. He is not a great debater. He prays that a door opens for a conversation. He says, “Excuse me. I am a Christian and it would mean everything to me to be able to share the gospel with you.” People will appreciate that so they don’t feel accosted, but loved. Our problem is a lack of Christ-likeness.
Q: How can the Puritans encourage and help in ministry today?
Beeke: Great question. I’m convinced the Puritans in all branches of theology have a lot to teach us. He thinks the Puritans have their mistakes and are not monolithic. They took the whole Bible and applied it to the whole man. They teach a Trinitarian theology, how to walk with God, etc. If you are not reading the Puritans, start reading them and learning from them. If you can get your congregation to start reading the Puritans you will see an increased measure and a profound spiritual depth and an increased holiness. He’s been reading the Puritans for 51 years. They have been the greatest means of grace in his life.
Q: Being involved in the SBC Conservative Resurgence and now seeing a rise in the Doctrine of Grace, do you see the current resurgence of the Doctrines of Grace as a result of the CR?
Miller: Absolutely. We fought the battle of inerrancy for years. Turning a big ship around takes time. He told his wife that if we can ever get past the nature of Scriptures, perhaps we could discuss the nature of the atonement. We may even ask what God’s purpose was in eternity past when the plan of salvation was devised. A lot of people who have never considered the Doctrines of Grace are looking into them and finding that they even exist. Those of us to preach grace ought to have some grace. Let’s debate, let’s discuss and show grace toward one another. The Lord God will teach his people.
Thornton: I’m 37 years old and I represent an age group in the SBC. I want to say thank you for making those decisions. He is a large part of the decisions were made when he was born. Let’s continue and die on the right hills for our kids.
Q: Would you counsel individuals to stay or leave in a church that is very pragmatic and man-centered?
Lawson: Each situation is unique so you can’t automatically say what should be done across the board. History bears out that those who try to stay and change the church end up being rolled up and spit out. Even the Puritans were thrown out of the Church of England. Calvin had greater effect than Luther who tried to stay and change the church. Follow your conscience. Most will probably leave. You don’t want to fight your own church. If there is really no hope of capturing the church it can be a very difficult task. He was raised under Adrian Rogers and saw the battle for inerrancy though Rogers was no friend to the Doctrines of Grace. Each battle is different. It would be hard to sit under a ministry where the word is not preaching, false conversions occur, etc. He could not support such a ministry and give good money after bad money. A wise man is going to pour his investment into what is making money rather than what is losing money. He wants all that he has to be invested in that which is in most conformity to Scripture. There needs to be some evidence of hope that the church can be turned around. But there are dead churches like the church at Sardis. Every individual has to answer the question on their own.