On Friday night and Saturday from 9:30 to 4:00 about 50 of the saints from the Denver area met for a great time of fellowship and teaching. We met at the Denver Rescue Mission and three of our speakers are chaplains there. The audio from the nine messages are now up at our website. You can click here to go to the audio.
Here is a brief summary of the messages:
Denver Rescue Mission Spiritual Director Lon Gregg showed there are six sections in Matthew and argued that entering into the kingdom of God in Matt 5:20 and 7:21-23 concerns not entering the kingdom, but entering into the kingdom, which he suggested is sharing in Jesus’ kingdom reign (eiserchomai eis, see Matt 25:21, 23).
Dr. Steve Lewis (BEE and Rocky Mountain Seminary) showed that the warning in Heb 10:26-39 concerns temporal judgment, not eternal condemnation in hell. This passage is not a warning that if believers fall away from the faith they will be eternally condemned. That cannot happen.
I suggested that calling saving faith “a personal encounter” (as Wayne Grudem did last year in his book Free Grace Theology: 5 Ways It Diminished the Gospel) is a spiritual scam. It turns “whoever believes in Him” into “whoever has a mystical encounter with Him” or “whoever submit to and obeys Him.” The only condition of everlasting life is believing in Jesus for it, that is, believing that He guarantees everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it (e.g., John 3:16; 11:25-27; Acts 16:31; 1 Tim 1:16).
Steve Walkup[i] argued that Mark 16:16 is not talking about regeneration by belief in Jesus and water baptism, but about escaping temporal judgment by believing in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (compare Mark 16:11, 13, 14) and by being baptized in the sense of sharing in Jesus’ sufferings (compare Mark 10:38 where baptism refers to martyrdom).
Pastor Dix Winston of Crosspoint Community Church spoke on Col 1:21-23 and showed that how we are presented before Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ depends on whether we persevere in faith and good works. We should long to hear Him say, “Well done, good servant.”
Dr. John Niemela (Message of Life Ministries and Rocky Mountain Seminary) showed from Matt 4:17 and from John’s Gospel that the Lord Jesus did not begin preaching repentance until after John the Baptist was thrown in prison. But prior to that Jesus had evangelized many people. Jesus called the nation to repent, but He always taught that individual regeneration is simply by faith in Him.
Chaplain Steve Swihart showed that in John’s Gospel Joseph of Arimathea was both a believer and a disciple of Jesus long before he claimed the body of Jesus after the crucifixion. Many of the rulers of Israel were secret believers and secret followers of Jesus prior to His crucifixion (John 12:42-43).
Dr. Jody Dillow (BEE) responded to Dr. Craig Blomberg’s article suggesting that there will not be degrees of rewards in the kingdom. Jody showed much evidence that there will be degrees of reward and he showed why this is not selfish. The more we are rewarded, the closer fellowship we will have with the Lord and the more we will be able to glorify Him forever.
I closed out the conference with a message on the epistle of James. I showed that James is wisdom literature and that James is addressing born-again people (Jas 1:17-18) throughout the letter. We looked at the five uses of the word save in James (1:21; 2:14; 4:12; 5:15, 20) and saw that all five concern deliverance from temporal judgment. We need to be people who not only say what we believe, but who also do what we believe (Jas 2:12, 14, 15-16, 17).
My thanks to all the speakers and conferees and to Denver Rescue Mission for the use of their super facilities.
We will probably have another conference in Denver next year, likely in the fall (September or October 2018).
By the way, on Sunday I spoke on gaining your life by self-denial (Matt 16:24-27) at Crosspoint Community Church. I really enjoyed interacting with the wonderful people of that church. Saturday night I enjoyed a great time of fellowship with Dix and Cynthia Winston, Steve and Laurie Walkup, and John and Diane Niemela. Thanks, Cynthia and Dix, for the fine dinner, fellowship, and a nice place to stay. (Thanks, too, Laurie and Steve for hosting me on Friday night.)
[i] Lon Gregg will be reducing to half-time soon and then Steve Walkup and Lon will share responsibilities in directing the many chaplains of the ministry.