These may seem a little late in coming since I attended T4G at the beginning of April. It is, however, deliberate that I have waited a month to post these. I wanted to wait a few weeks and let the conference high wane and then look back over my notes and see what really stuck.
One of my favorite messages at T4G was the one given by Mark Dever. He is one of those unique pastors that will say something only in passing that could potentially spark an entire book. I have several one-liners like this scattered throughout my notes that Dever just kind of added as side-notes to his message.
I am not confident that I titled this correctly. Towards the end of his message Dever listed three common errors of churches in the way that they present their church. The church is to be the display of God’s glory and character. What Dever listed here are three common errors of display:
- To present a church without holiness. It can be really tempting to want to present the church as tolerant and accepting of all types of sinners—even those that are unrepentant. Yet, our motivation must be the love of God that is contrary to this world. If anyone knows Mark Dever this one comes as no surprise. It is the next two that I was glad Dever emphasized…
- To present a church without suffering. True Christianity calls us to suffering and not away from it. Dever rightly denounced the health and wealth gospel, and then challenged those of us in attendance to consider if we ourselves are selling a soft prosperity gospel. He then said, “If you want to get a lot of fake Christians in your church, tell them that picking up the cross daily is for those who order Extra Large when they order their spiritual meal.”
- To present a church without love. One of the most provocative things Dever said here is that he often tells young guys that like to read the Puritans that if they refuse to get up early to help a 90-year old guy get to church perhaps they aren’t Christians. A church without love will attract theological accountants. I found this part especially helpful. Many (undoubtedly those who view it from a distance) would accuse the church Dever pastors of being unloving. But Dever made a great argument that a community of true biblical love is both repellent and attractive.
Dever’s entire message (False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church) is worthy of watching and reflecting upon. You can do so here: