This is the introduction to a 12 part series of videos. I encourage you to watch the entire series.
Robert* grew up in a strong Christian family and attended a large, conservative evangelical church. In high school, he was active in his church’s youth group. and after graduating, attended a conservative Christian college and got involved in ministry.
By all appearances, Robert was a well-adjusted and healthy, young Christian man. Yet during college, Robert confessed to his family and Christian friends that he struggled with attraction to other men.
Robert’s family and Christian friends responded with love and compassion. His parents didn’t shun or shame him, but instead expressed support. Similarly, Robert’s friends continued to include him in their social group. And his church responded with open arms, allowing him to serve in leadership, so long as he resisted acting upon his same-sex desires.
Yet no one seemed to know how to help Robert.
The sovereignty of God is not a secondary doctrine that is relegated to an obscure corner in the Bible. Rather, this truth is the very bedrock doctrine of all Scripture. This is the Mount Everest of biblical teaching, the towering truth that transcends all theology. From its opening verse, the Bible asserts in no uncertain terms that God is and that God reigns. In other words, He is God—not merely in name, but in full reality. God does as He pleases, when He pleases, where He pleases, how He pleases, and with whom He pleases in saving undeserving sinners. All other doctrines of the Christian faith must be brought into alignment with this keystone truth.
Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear’s response to Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at SBC annual meeting this week,
“I know that sent a terribly mixed signal. We are grateful for civic leaders who want to speak to our Convention—but make no mistake about it, our identity is in the gospel and our unity is in the Great Commission. Commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do.”
I agree with him!
It’s one of those moments we wish we could have seen firsthand. It took place in the square before the Water Gate. At daybreak, Ezra brought out the law. He unrolled the scroll and began reading. He kept on until noon, and all the while the great crowd gave their rapt attention. The law was read, interpreted, and studied. Nehemiah 8, which records this event, also tells us that this Bible study session resulted in worship. The people were humbled, and their faces looked to the ground. They bowed before God as He revealed Himself in His holy Word.
This event from the Old Testament is a precedent-setting moment. God’s people gather, they hear God’s Word read, they hear God’s Word interpreted and taught, and they worship. This is how it’s supposed to be. As the decades pass and generations come and go, however, God’s Word sadly recedes from the center of His people’s lives and from prominence in His congregation. The Old Testament prophets spoke of a famine of the Word of God. As we look through the pages of the Bible and through church history, we find such times of famine. One of the severest of these times of famine came on the eve of the Reformation.