North Texas Free Conference
Report at the bottom of the page.
Who is Jesus?
Christless Christianity in the Contemporary Church.
Friday - Saturday ... January 23-24, 2009
Faith Lutheran Church
1701 East Park Blvd. - Plano, Texas 75074
Contemporary Christianity wants a powerful, successful, and popular Jesus, but not a Jesus who was crucified. Therefore, Jesus is seen as a coach, therapist, buddy, political messiah, and a moral example, but not as an atoning sacrifice that satisfies God’s wrath against sin. The preacher will often focus on moral reform and progressive sanctification rather than on repentance and faith in the forgiveness of sins. The Bible is taken out of context for the purpose of a certain agenda. The Gospel is assumed and, therefore, seldom mentioned and the Sacraments are minimized. Instead of defending the faith, many want to “give their testimony” or “tell their story.”
St. Paul determined not to know anything among the Corinthian church except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). The apostle had the cross at the heart and center of the Gospel. The message of the cross may be foolish to the world, but it is the way of bringing salvation to us sinners. We are not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of our salvation.
Mr. Craig Parton is a trial lawyer and partner with a law firm in Santa Barbara, California. Upon graduation from college, he spent seven years on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. His long journey from generic American evangelicalism to confessional Lutheranism is described in his book, “The Defense Never Rests: A Lawyer’s Quest for the Gospel” (CPH 2003). He is also the author of Religion on Trial (Wipf & Stock 2008) and has published articles in Modern Reformation and Logia–A Journal of Lutheran Theology. He is a member of Wayfarer’s Lutheran Chapel in Fillmore, California.
Rev. Todd Wilken is the host of the radio program Issues, Etc. (found at: www.isuesetc.org). He is also the assistant pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, Illinois. He is a graduate of Concordia Seminary in 1990. He has written articles for magazines, such as, Modern Reformation, Higher Things, and For the Life of the World. He was born and raised in Dallas, Texas.
Plan to attend “Octoberfest in January,” a fund-raising dinner from 5:30 - 6:45 p.m. on Friday, January 23. Proceeds will support Issues, Etc. The dinner is sponsored by the Brothers of John the Steadfast Chapter of Faith. Tickets are $12 per person. Reserve and pay for your ticket to Faith Lutheran Church by January 18.
This was without a doubt the most useful and instructive conference in North Texas in several years. The pastors and people of Faith are to be commended for offering us this excellent time of learning and worship. The speakers covered their subjects thoroughly enough for the amount of time they had. That amount of time was just right for the sizable audience who came.
The breaks were, as usual, all too brief because the snacks provided by the ladies of Faith were abundant and balanced between succulent sweets and fruits, cheese and tasty crackers. My annual kudos to these ladies who also provided a nice lasagna lunch on Saturday after the conference. The visiting and Christian fellowship during the breaks with those of like mind and confession is wonderful, although too brief.
Mr. Parton's topic was both informative and useful, delivered with punch and enough humor to keep one's interest. Rev. Wilkin's coverage of Lutherans drift into the morass of American Evangelicalism hopefully opened the eyes of the lay attendees. I trust that most of the clergy were aware of how badly things have gone in the mainline denomination that has "Lutheran" in its name and to which many of them belong. What a blessing that "Issues Etc." is now independent and thriving!
The audio of the two speakers will be placed on the Faith, Plano webpage soon, I understand. I think both presentations will be worth a second listen.