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Early Martyrs’ Witness to Christ’s Worth

[caption id="attachment_7646" align="aligncenter" width="367"] Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer[/caption]   In early years of Christianity, many withstood the tests of torturous persecution and martyrdom to the glory of the One whose Name they bore: “Yet, if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter. 4:16). As I have been learning of the history surrounding these men and women who loved Christ more than life on this earth and reflect upon their voices that echo through the centuries, I am led to honor Christ for His suffering, power, and worth. Martyrdom as Reality In classical Christian times (roughly 100 to 600 A.D.), persecution varied according to who was in power of the Roman empire at the time—each emperor having the power to create his own policies and climate for Christians. In summary of what I have been learning, here is an...

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Interview with Thomas R. Schreiner

I recently talked with Thomas R. Schreiner, the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, about biblical content and its importance today in contemporary culture and the church. Below is our interview. JM: Tom, you’ve spent your life committed to studying and teaching the Bible. Isn’t a rather archaic thing to be doing in our contemporary world? TS: It is archaic in one sense, but sometimes the old truths are the best truths because they are the true truths. I could answer this in a number of ways, but here I want to say that I see no evidence that contemporary people, who have abandoned the scripture, live happier or more fulfilled lives. Instead many marriages are dissolving, many children grow up in homes plagued by fighting, and many wander from thing to thing in utter boredom. If they...

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Sola Giveaway

500 years. 5 Solas. One Night Centered on God. As a thank you for signing up to One Night Centered On God, you can be entered in our $100 giveaway to be used toward exhibit books or music (or both!) during the event on March 17th. Here's how it works. 1. Contact your friends, let them know you are going to One Night Centered on God event on March 17th, and ask them if they would like to attend. 2. Let us know you have invited your friends and would like to be entered by emailing us at conferences@godcenteredlife.org and using the subject line "$100 giveaway." 3. That's it. We will notify the $100 giveaway recipient prior to the event with instructions on how to pick up his or her $100 exhibit credit. Tickets and Information The schedule for Sola: One Night Centered on God for Friday, March 17, has now been released. There is a special...

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How Is Faith Alone?

During this fifth centenary of the Protestant Reformation (dating from 1517 when Luther famously nailed his Ninety-Five Theses) we are remembering how God used faithful men and women to retrieve the gospel. At the center of this story is the doctrine of justification, that is, the particular way God makes children out of rebels. Amidst the constellation of titles released this year on the subject of justification is my recently published book, Justified in Christ, which compares the doctrines held by the legendary nineteenth-century Catholic, John Henry Newman, and an Italian hero of the Reformation, Peter Martyr Vermigli. Despite the intervening centuries, these men speak to us in fresh and practical ways. In what follows, I’d like to highlight a particular lesson that pertains to every conversation we have with our Catholic friends on the subject of salvation. Consider a classic landmine on which we often step: our message that justification is...

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Habit 7

Today's post is the last in our series entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists" by Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth. Read the introduction here, Habit #1 here, Habit #2 here, Habit #3 here, Habit #4 here, Habit #5 here, and Habit #6 here.  Habit #7: Practice good works. Neither Whitefield or Moody viewed preaching as their only area of Christian calling. Whitefield felt a strong calling to start an orphanage in the colony of Georgia, and then put significant time and effort into raising funds to operate it. He also brought (as part of his entourage) a couple of orphans with him from England. Additionally, Whitefield had a strong ministry to slaves in the southern colonies. At his funeral it was said that he did more to convert the 18th century slave in the American south than any man ever before him (I learned this in Dr.  John Piper’s sermon on...

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Habit 6

Today's post is part of a series entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists" by Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth. Read the introduction here, Habit #1 here, Habit #2 here, Habit #3 here, Habit #4 here, and Habit #5 here.  Habit #6: Surround yourself with like-minded people. Both books (Dallimore and Torrey) speak extensively of Whitefield and Moody’s close colleagues. George Whitfield had men like Charles Wesley and his brother John Wesley by his side at Oxford and after. He traveled with a man named William Seward and a small group of other supporters through the American colonies, Seward became a type of personal/PR assistant to Whitefield. D.L. Moody frequently had men like Henry Varley, Ira Sankey and Dr. Torrey by his side. I think it is apparent that these great men didn’t “do ministry” alone but as part of a team of like-minded individuals, sharing the plow and holding each other accountable...

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Habit 4

Today's post is part of a series entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists" by Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth. Read the introduction here, Habit #1 here, Habit #2 here, and Habit #3 here. Habit #4: Be intentional about witnessing to others. There are numerous story of personal witnessing by both men in these books. For example, Dallimore states that soon after his conversion, Whitefield couldn’t keep to himself the blessing of his new life. In his diary Whitefield records that after praying one day he felt led to go the home of a woman whom he had known prior to his conversion. He shared his faith with her and soon she wanted to be taught the ways of the faith. He says this was an occasion where he “became a fool for Christ’s sake.” He also recounts in his diary several other conversions of young people in which he was...

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Habit 3

Today's post is part of a series entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists" by Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth. Read the introduction here, Habit #1 here, and Habit #2 here. Habit #3: Don’t make prayer a priority, make it THE priority: Both Whitefield and Moody had set times of prayer every day. Neither left prayer to chance but were intentional and disciplined in setting the time aside. Whitefield would pray one to two hours in the morning (pg. 81), oftentimes praying over God’s Word as he read (pg. 82). He would also devote an hour or two to prayer every evening (pg. 80), and pray regularly at noontime. Whitefield was so consistent in his prayer time that Dallimore mentions a time when Whitefield was annoyed with himself for once skipping his nightly prayer time (pg. 81). Whitefield not only practiced a disciplined prayer life, he believed in the power...

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Habit 2

Today's post is part of a series entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists" by Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth. Read the introduction here and Habit #1 here. Habit #2: Saturate yourself with the Word of God through regular times of study: Both men were students of the Bible; they both daily set aside extensive time for regular Bible study which enabled both to saturate their ministries and the sermons they preached with the Word of God: Dallimore said: “Whitefield in the pulpit was a reflection of Whitefield in the study. The hours on his knees with the Bible, the Greek New Testament and some rich puritan volume spread out before him, were his preparation for this pressing and powerful ministry.” Additionally, Whitefield’s incredible knowledge of the Bible greatly aided him in pulling together talks and sermons (often at a moment’s notice) from his memory of God’s Word (Dallimore p. 83). Torrey...

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Habit 1

Today's post is part of a series entitled "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists" by Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth. You can read the introduction here. Habit #1: Be fully surrendered to God: A talk I heard recently on Whitefield stated that he was “always about his Master’s business.” Reading his biography it feels as though every waking hour of Whitefield’s life was consumed with Kingdom work. For example, it is estimated that Whitefield averaged 1,000 sermons/talks per year. Dallimore says of Whitefield (p. 83), “(at the height of his ministry) we see him preaching forty or more hours per week, with little or no time for preparation” oftentimes preaching to crowds that numbered in the 5,000-10,000 people (Dallimore p. 432) scattered for two miles. Whitefield would frequently travel great distances to speak, including more than a dozen times across the Atlantic Ocean between the UK and the USA (six round...

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