Close to 1000 pastors, students and local church members gathered for the fifth annual 9Marks conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). Approximately 60 students would receive course credit through the conference class. Evangelism was the theme of the conference and featured six speakers and panel discussions including Danny Akin, Thabiti Anyabwile, Mark Dever, John Folmar, J.D. Greear and Peter Williams.
9Marks’s mission is to: “Equip church leaders with a biblical vision and practical resources for displaying God’s glory to the nations through healthy churches.” The 9Marks of health include: preaching, biblical theology, the Gospel, conversion, evangelism, membership, discipline, discipleship and leadership. The conference was held on Sept. 27 and 28 in Binkley Chapel on the SEBTS campus.
“One of the things that marks a healthy church is healthy evangelism,” said Dever.
The first speaker was Akin, president of SEBTS. Akin preached on the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8. He highlighted the seven aspects of a soul winner like Philip. They included that God’s Spirit led Philip to leave the many and go to the one, the identification of the sinner that needed to be saved, the role of the Holy Spirit in speaking and Philip being ready to respond.
Also, the Scriptures and preaching the Gospel are essential to win souls. Furthermore, personal surrender for the sinner followed by public confession through baptism results in satisfaction and joy. “The Gospel is only Good News if it gets there in time,” said Akin.
Secondly, Williams, the warden (CEO) of Tyndale House in Cambridge, U.K., a world-leading evangelical center for biblical research, spoken on responding to objections in the Old Testament in evangelism. He challenged the audience to pray and love, use Scripture to ask questions and to be consistent and committed while asking the person you are engaging in to do the same. Williams encouraged Christians to remember that evangelism is God’s work through the Holy Spirit and that people are not saved by a good answer.
Thirdly, Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., preached on the theme of evangelism in the book of Exodus. “God intends us as His special people to be different from the people around us,” said Dever. He asserted that God worked sovereignly in Moses and that we are also supposed to see that God worked sovereignly to save a special people. Furthermore, God worked sovereignly for His own glory. Dever said: “Circumstances don’t determine God’s plan. God’s plan determines circumstances.”
Fourthly, Anyabwile, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, casted the vision for the church to be a witness through intelligible worship. Anyabwile preached from 1 Corinthians 14:1-25 and focused on the reality that believers give testimony to Jesus in the context of a community of believers. Many church members where Anyabwile currently serves have Pentecostal and charismatic church backgrounds. He also looked at Paul’s emphasis of the proper use of the gift of tongues, stating that a church service should not be distracting but a way to clearly proclaim the Gospel.
Fifthly, Folmar, pastor of United Christian Church in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, spoke from Colossians 4:2-6 on what effective evangelism involves. “Before you speak to your friend about God, speak to God about your friend,” said Folmar. He encouraged the group to pray regularly with their Bible open and with others while being steadfast, watchful and thankful. He challenged the audience to be prepared to share with non-believers and to go share the Gospel wherever God calls. “To speak clearly, you must understand clearly,” said Folmar.
Lastly, Greear, the lead pastor of Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., gave a sermon on Mark 14:32-42. Greear stressed the importance for Christians to feel the weight of Christ’s love for sinners and that the body of Christ should read the Great Commission through the light of this vision. He focused on the importance of honoring Jesus with big dreams and that Jesus did not die so that Christians could have comfortable positions in stagnant churches. Greear also noted that restoration comes from the hard work of discipleship as well as in a large group setting. “The Savior who says ‘go’ is the Savior of Gethsemane,” said Greear.
SEBTS looks forward to hosting the 2014 9Marks at Southeastern Conference on Sept. 26 and 27 on church membership.
To view photos from 9Marks, please click here.
For additional information about 9Marks please visit: 9Marks.org
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.