Truth Conference Audio

I imagine that most MTC readers have seen other blog posts linking to the MP3s and PDFs from the recent “Preserving the Truth Conference” in Troy, MI. If you haven’t, you can find the files here. I spoke in a workshop on music and a plenary session on the book of Jude. I enjoyed the fellowship and the other presentations very much. I’d be interested in your overall impression of the conference, if you were there, or your thoughts on the various recordings, if you weren’t.

It was a profitable time and a privilege to participate. Grace.

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19 Responses

  1. I thought your exchange with Dr. Minnick regarding repentance and the elements of the gospel was interesting. I am supportive of the idea of gospel-centered separation. I used that concept in a SS series I taught one time. But there doesn’t seem to be consensus, yet, on what that really means. I recently read Graeme Goldsworthy’s book, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, and he, too, wants to limit the definition of the gospel to just the historical events of Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection (p. 58). He says this:

    “It cannot be stressed too much that to confuse the gospel with certain important things that go hand in hand with it is to invite theological, hermeneutical and spiritual confusion. Such ingredients of preaching and teaching that we might want to link with the gospel would include the need for the gospel (sin and judgment), the means of receiving the benefits of the gospel (faith and repentance), the results or fruit of the gospel (regeneration, conversion, sanctification, glorification) and the results of rejecting it (wrath, judgment, hell). These, however we define and proclaim them, are not in themselves the gospel.” (p. 59)

    I would argue that even if the gospel itself is limited as Goldsworthy and Minnick (initially at least ) suggest, that gospel-centered separation must include things “that go hand in hand with it.” In 1 Timothy 1:9-11 you have a list of things that are said to be contrary to sound doctrine and the gospel. In Phil 1:27, Paul says that our manner of life should be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Add to that the instruction by Paul to the Thessalonians to separate from those who do not walk in accord with the tradition or sound doctrine of the apostles, and I would submit that gospel-centered separation means more than just separating from those who reject the bare gospel truths found in 1 Cor 15.

    So far I’ve only listened to the panel discussion, so I don’t what you said in your session on this topic. It seems to me that this is the right approach, as long as we don’t limit how it is applied to just unbelievers.

  2. And then connect that God is the Gospel.

    What if someone says that they hold to faith alone by grace alone in Christ alone, but then they categorically reject the Triune God?

  3. I read the explanatory info about PTT on their site and have listened to several sermons/lectures. I am wondering if their strong position on Dispenstionalism means that a believer cannot be a part of their brand of Fundamentalism if he is not dispensational?

  4. Your sermon implied that most people who practice separation do so out of a sinful heart and divisive spirit. Personally, I have separated from several individuals out of personal obedience and faithfulness to the Lord and the scriptures. Separation does not always imply that someone is an unbeliever (2 Thes 3:14-15). If someone rejects a literal 6 day creation, premillenialism or cessationism, they are in sin. Those are explicit teachings of the scripture and to deny them is to deny inerrancy. A believer who denies these truths must be reproved and corrected (2 Tim 3:16). If they continue to sin, separation must occur. It is not to be left to personal preference. More specifically, theologians who hold these views (Piper, Dever, Mahaney) should be noted and made ashamed for their belief of false doctrine. They are to be held to a higher standard (James 3:1) . We should have a thoroughly biblical view of Christianity and not be reductionistic in our thoughts.

  5. Mark, I’m not sure how you came to your conclusion from the actual content of my message, most of which stressed the biblical mandate for contending for the faith and/or separating.

    Though I’ll not engage every part of your comment, I would encourage you to be more careful about saying that to have an interpretation that differs from your own is “to deny inspiration” and to promote “false doctrine.” That is honestly one of the most reckless statements I’ve encountered on the issues and teachers you mentioned.

  6. Andy, I’m thinking more on the gospel vs. gospel response issue. As I look at the term throughout the NT, it seems that there are places where it is used in both ways.

    Todd, I’d say that a denial of the Trinity changes the content of “faith alone.” The “Christ” such a person believes is not the biblical Christ.

    Borrowedlight, I don’t think that would be true. Most of the speakers are strong dispensationalists, but you’d not hear Bauder (who mentioned the issue) withhold fellowhip from someone like Barrett (no friend of dispensationalism).

  7. Absolutely, the faith is inseparable to the object of the faith. And in true Gospel, the object of faith is what saves, not the strength of one’s faith.

  8. Is the rejection of a 6 day young earth creation, premillenialism and/or cessationism sin? Denial of these explicit teachings is to deny the plain, normal, consistenly literal interpretation of the bible. Are you saying that belief in an old earth, amillenialism, and continuationism are not false doctrines? You have stated that I am reckless, is it reckless of these men to teach these doctrines?

  9. @Mark, perhaps you forget that the now deceased Dr. Bob Jones held to the gap theory? I think most people would consider him a great leader of fundamentalism, though perhaps I will go without comment on whether or not he is reckless.

  10. I’m not looking for controversy, Mark. I’m a young earth guy, a pre-mill guy, a cessationist guy. I believe these interpretations are right, though not as explicit as fundamental doctrines like Christology, etc. I do think it’s reckless to attribute a denial of inerrancy to those who claim it and defend it.

    I’ll sign off this portion of the conversation. You can have the last word if you’d like.

  11. For clarification, when using the term “false doctrine”, I am referring to errant teachings, not a “false teacher”/apostate. I was addressing the issue of a teacher with doctrinal error.

  12. Mark,

    You may not agree with this, but if we take the gospel-centered separation approach to these doctrines, I think you can make the case that you have to treat each situation individually. For example, some Old Earthers deny an historical Adam. There are severe gospel implications to that view and I think you have to mark and separate from people like that. Others, like BJjr, and a lot of the older fundamentalist guard, believed in some form of the gap view. For them, I think they were wrong, but their view doesn’t impact the mechanics of the gospel the same way. I think we can grant deference to people like that. In regards to eschatology, the people in 2 Thessalonians who wouldn’t work based on a faulty eschatology were not living a life worthy of the gospel because they were not obeying apostolic doctrine. We should separate from people like that. But eschatology is not always clear and there are people who differ from me eschatological who are not denying the gospel in how they live. I would not punitively separate from them. I might not join their church, or plant a church with them, or invite them to my prophecy conference, but I think I could fellowship with them in ministry in many other ways. I think you could argue the same way about cessationism. There are lots of different forms of non-cessationism. I think it depends on how one’s view impacts the gospel (and the things that go hand-in-hand with the gospel).

  13. I am a young earth creationist. However, I do differentiate between believers who are gap theorists from those who are framework or day age types. I would not restrict fellowship from a gap theorist. I would separate from a framework or day age believer if they did not change their views after being exposed to the truth over a period of time. Premillenialism is explicitly taught in the scriptures, whereas the pretribulational rapture requires more discernment. We should not place escatology on a second tier of importance and say that it does not warrant separation. I would separate from an amillenialist if they repeatedly refused correction. All continuationism at the present time in this dispensation is errant. The worst form of continuationism opens up the Biblical canon. I do not have fellowship with people who claim to speak in tongues, have revelatory visions or perform healings/miracles.

  14. @ Mark M
    So are you saying a person cannot be a Fundamentalist if they hold to a position other than Premil? And is Dispenstionalism essential to being a Fundamentalist?

  15. Borrowedlight, this is where I think trying to determine whether or not someone is a “Fundamentalist” is the wrong question—as if someone has the authority to say yes or no, and as if the designation really matters. I think looking for biblical fidelity that allows or disallows cooperation is more helpful. FWIW.

  16. Andy, that was helpful.

  17. Ummm, don’t we “separate” from other fundamentalists all the time? Shouldn’t this conversation speak more to levels of fellowship in our carrying out separation?

  18. I was pretty interested in this conference, as a BJU grad that grew up in fundamentalist churches, and now is a member of a Sovereign Grace church.

    I’ve looked over the notes on Dr. Compton’s review of Wayne Grudem’s take on prophecy. And though as a recent convert to continuationism, I disagree with some of what Dr. Compton says, I thought that he had a very respectful and reasonable approach to the topic. His thoughts were challenging. And I’m actually looking forward to reading it again and discussing it with my Sovereign Grace pastor.

    I also listened to Chris’s session on music. I appreciated the emphasis on the importance for biblical texts, as well as the explanation and challenge regarding worship in the Psalms. And I also appreciated the humility that Chris had in approaching the music aspect too. He didn’t come across as the answer man for an issue that the Bible speaks little about. Yet he also did well in explaining exactly what the Bible does say on the topic. Though I would personally prefer a more contemporary style of music than Chris would, I found his thoughts respectful, challenging, Christ-centered, and hope-filled. And he gave me a greater appreciation for Christ as well.

    The other session that I’ve had a chance to listen to was the panel discussion. I wish there would have been more of these discussions when I was at BJU. The men were transparent and honest with each other. They were not afraid to disagree with and challenge each other and still be friends. And they had some very challenging thoughts as well.

    I’ll admit that I’m a bit nervous about the theme for the next conference. But I’m intrigued by the humility, tone, and Christ-centered content of the first conference to continue following it through the next one.

    If it continues with thoughtful dialogue on issues such as cessationism, dispensationalism, worship, and separation, within the framework of the sufficiency of Scripture, the glory of God, and the gospel of Christ, then I’d love to hear more, even if it challenges what I believe.

  19. I agree with everything Rick just said, except I’m not a member of a Sov Grace church. That’s about the only difference in what I could have said.

    I listened to a few of the messages on my commute today, including Chris’ message. It’s interesting that if the Bible really is the standard, then worship could get both more “liberal” and more “conservative” than currently exists in Chris’ swath of fundamentalism.

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