10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century

Back in April, 2000, I attended a Trustee Meeting at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Back then I was a trustee from Florida, not Kentucky. During that meeting Dr. Mohler, in his address to the trustees talked about “10 Challenges Facing the Church in the 21st Century.” It was prophetic back then and was right on target as to what the church must give itself to if it wants to be a voice for the Gospel in our generation.

As I reflected on these “10 Challenges”, which I haven’t read in more than eight years, I couldn’t help but notice that they reflect exactly what we are trying to do at Grace Baptist Church. We are committed to the authentic Gospel, to truth, to recovering Biblical worship and a focus on missions from Somerset and to the world. I couldn’t help but notice while reading #9 that we are involved in the study of Christian disciplines in our adult Sunday School classes this quarter; and #8 reflects our desire to save and strengthen the family.

1. Addressing Post-modern Americans with the authentic Gospel

2. Cultivating a people of truth in a culture of relativism.

3. Preaching the unchanging word in a time of increasing flux.

4. Recovering Biblical worship against a world sold on entertainment.

5. Contending for the faith in a day of pervasive accommodation.

6. The challenge of being the children of light in the midst of the children of darkness.

7. Challenging a new generation of leadership in ministry.

8. Salvaging the family from cultural destruction.

9. Living the Christian disciplines in an era of “do-it-yourself” spirituality.

10. Building a missiology worldview that is centered in the glory of God.

May God strengthen His church to stand firm in this day and seek to face these challenges with the truth of God’s Word. In my weekly Grace Notes article I have been expounding on these each week. I will probably post some of those here in days to come.

For an analysis of today’s cultural situation that the church is facing, I recommend Dr. Mohler’s book Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth.

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It is Well With My Soul — One of my favorites!!

What if you had received this telegram? The words of the telegram are simple yet startling: “Saved alone. What shall I do. Mrs Goodwin, children, Willie Culver lost. Go with Lorriaux until answer. Reply Porclain 64 Rue Aboukin, Paris”

These were the words that Horatio Spafford received when he lost his children in a tragic shipwreck as his family was sailing for Europe on vacation. He was supposed to be with them but business caused Spafford to have to return home before they boarded the ship. He had his family go ahead and told them he would come as soon as the business was finished. Before he could leave America this telegram arrived and there was nothing he could do.

Spafford was a man of deep faith in Christ. He immediately set out to sail to Europe to be with his grieving wife and to begin putting his broken life and dreams back together again. As he sailed to meet up with his wife the ships captain called him to the bridge of the ship and told him that they were at that time passing over the spot where his daughters had perished days earlier. He went back to his quarters, and taking a piece of letterhead from a hotel in Chicago which he had in his possession, he penned the words to the great Christian hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” Below is a copy of the original of that hymn which was penned:

The words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

A great hymn . . . filled with truth and borne out of tragedy. May God make Himself clear to us in times of trouble through which we pass.

Sola Scriptura ~~ Solo Christo ~~ Sola Gratia ~~ Sola Fide ~~ Soli Deo Gloria

Training in the Truth

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to attend leader training for Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have gone to the “latest, greatest” program only to leave with a sense of having wasted a whole day for nothing. So I had some reservations as I went to the training in the early morning, fearful that it would be just one more “program” designed to make shallow Christians feel good about their shallowness. I am happy to say my fears were totally unfounded. The content is solid and not your usual “Sunday School fluff” that has so often permeated Christian productions. This is really good stuff!! It is the kind of basic, but not shallow, training that is desperately needed in our churches today.

This is not an evangelistic apologetics course. This is a course designed to help the church become stronger by total worldview training. It is not your typical “culture war” stuff, it is solid foundational training to strengthen Christians. The end result should be that Christians and churches will become better equipped for evangelism by understanding truth as it relates to all areas of life.

I like the way the website answers the question: “What is the Truth Project?”“The Truth Project is a DVD-based small group curriculum designed to build a systematic and comprehensive biblical worldview in the lives of believers. Each lesson looks at life from a biblical perspective, studying the very nature and character of God and how He has revealed Himself to us.”

We will be using The Truth Project at Grace Baptist to help strengthen our body to be all that God has called us to be. I encourage you to consider it also. Take a look for your self at The Truth Project.