Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada (which is only about a 1 hour drive across the border from where I live) hosted an event called "EvangelFest 2015" back in September 2015 sponsored by the Lutheran Church-Canada (LCC) Department For Outreach, and Worldview Everlasting's Rev. Jonathan Fisk was the Keynote Speaker.
With meticulously thorough yet lively and engaging style, Rev. Fisk led his hearers through the sermons preached in the Acts of the Apostles. The example set by the apostles shows that their message consistently focused on Christ crucified and resurrected. Against the temptations, so prevalent today, to change the focus of our preaching to better fit with the expectations of our hearers, the witness of the early church shows that proclaiming the good news of God’s justifying and life-giving grace to sinners is the only way to lasting success in mission work.
Sounds good to me! In that sense, it echoes what we learned about "Lutheran Apologetics" being an "Apologetic of the Cross."
This annual 2-day Conference gathered more than 80 people to hear and discuss how to share the Gospel with an unbelieving world, which makes Rev. Fisk's presentation there extremely relevant to our recent studies in this space, as previously mentioned.
Now, I know that asking you to listen to 3 hours worth of material all at once is a lot. So, if you listen to nothing else, then be sure to listen to the first 10 minutes of his message (from "Part 1") since it's the definitive rebuttal to the "Church Growth," "Missional" and "Seeker Sensitive" mindset in which he uses 2 Timothy 4:2 and 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 as the proof texts.
1 Corinthians 3:7-8 (ESV) So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
For that reason, you might say that this lecture is also the video companion to his book Broken: 7 "Christian" Rules That Every Christian Ought To Break As Often As Possible, which was great!
I like that he systematically goes through parts of Acts for us too and engages in some expository preaching along the way. For instance, regular viewers of his Worldview Everlasting videos will appreciate that during "Part 2" he explains how we Christians should always approach the word "obey" whenever we find it in the New Testament based on what the Greek and Hebrew tells us (HINT: "It's much broader than just 'do!' and 'get it done!' all the time..."; "It's a 'translation' issue, not a 'textual' issue...").
I also love that he reiterates that Christianity is not a mere concept, but a set of facts rooted in actual history. Remember, the historicity of our shared and cherished faith is one of our greatest Apologetic tools.
Bottom line? During this full, in-depth 3-hour message, Rev. Fisk points out how the persistent theme in the New Testament (with each and every evangelistic sermon recorded for us there is) the plain and simple fact that, "Christ died FOR YOU! Christ is risen FOR YOU!"
Why wouldn't we want to model our approach after theirs? Why isn't such a confession being heard regularly today? Why do we think that anything we do in the name of "evangelism" and/or "outreach" can exclude these Law and Gospel truths?
Apologetics is always necessary to some extent in this fallen, sinful, unbelieving world we live in and it is always about contending for the faith and defending the faith even though we recognize that the Lord does not need our help to accomplish His plans and purposes for humanity (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 1:3).
Christ's Church is a "Confessing Church" indeed, and when you have been given possession of the truth, how can you not stand and speak it to those who desperately need to hear it? To withhold from the dead the very truth about the Truth Himself that has the power to make them alive would be truly unloving.
In a Lutheran layman's terms, such Apologetic discussions with others (Christians and non-Christians alike) should always be viewed as being most certainly helpful and necessary, but we should never believe that such Apologetics debates and discussions somehow serve as a "Means of Grace" in and of themselves unless they include a clear and faithful proclamation of Law and Gospel.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!