This podcast was recorded at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s 2017 Annual Meeting and focuses on revitalization. The early church faced extreme persecution and held no political power, yet it grew exponentially. Today’s church in America, however, with its extreme political power and little persecution, is dying. What’s more, while nearly three-fourths of Americans identify as Christians, countless numbers of them can’t give an answer for what they believe. Why is this the case? The answer is found in 1 Peter 3:15 — apologetics. Many church leaders have stopped teaching the “why” behind the “what” of Christianity. Eric Simmons covers the role of apologetics in discipleship, including practical insights for equipping believers to defend their faith in an ever-changing culture.
Here is an excerpt from this podcast:
I want to share with you real quick from Luke chapter 5, and also I guess it’s John chapter 21 as well. We see the same story, with similar qualities in each of them. Jesus is calling His disciples. In John chapter 21, it’s at the end of His ministry after the resurrection, and the disciples are out fishing. They’ve fished all night long and they’ve caught nothing. Jesus, in fact, walks up and He says, “Guys, have you caught any? Do you have fish?” And they look down and check their nets and they realize there’s nothing in them. Then Jesus says, “How about casting out on the other side of the boat?” How about casting out into the deep? How about casting out into a place you haven’t tried? Try something new. And you know the story—that they caught so many fish that their nets were breaking. They could not haul all of them in. What I see in those stories is a lot of what I see that takes place in revitalization. For churches and organization members and pastors to come together and say, “You know what I need to listen to and listen for? The voice of Jesus again.” Because there’s one common thread in both of those; they heard Jesus’ voice. In Luke 5, it says that Peter looks at Jesus and says, “At Thy word I will do this.” And that’s what prompts him to go out and cast on the other side of the boat. So I think that that’s something in revitalization that we need to do. Listen for the voice of Jesus. What is it that He is telling us? What is it that He’s asking us to do?
by Lonnie Reynolds / Contractor / Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
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