Today’s article reflects my experiences attending the Shepherd’s Conference in Sun Valley, California. I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to hear some good solid preaching from God’s word and am blessed to know there are still men in this country that believe God is sovereign in all His works and all glory should go to Him for the salvation of souls. In today’s congregational reading, you will see this verse: “His watchmen are blind: they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. (Isaiah 56:10). Thankfully, there are some good preachers left who sound the alarm for the glory of God.
I am also pleased to report that in this conference God is continually exalted so that we come away with a great reverential fear of Him and truly respect how we must bow to His majesty. Unlike many conferences I have attended, this is not about personalities. There are no platform squatters here!
Throughout my Christian life, the glory of God has been pressed down deeply into my soul. I never want to fail in my preaching to stand in obscurity behind the cross and let all the glory shine on the Saviour. I am not interested in techniques and marketing ploys to fill the church. I am not interested in entertainment which is falsely substituted for and called worship. I am not interested in theology that says the sinner must meet God half way and through man’s cooperation God is given permission to save him. I am only interested in the Holy Spirit that conquers man’s resistance to the gospel; a Spirit that regenerates and quickens to life enabling the sinner to trust Christ. I want to preach a Saviour that never failed to accomplish everything He intended; a Redeemer who really does redeem; a Substitute who really does infallibly secure salvation for those He intended to sacrifice Himself for. I want to preach the Christ that demands repentance from sin and submission to His Lordship.
This view of God is biblical and should be so fundamental to our teachings that we wouldn’t believe anyone could possibly teach otherwise. These are foundational teachings that stretch back to Jesus and the apostles and were boldly proclaimed by our Baptist forefathers. And yet Baptists today that still preach these doctrines are so few and far between that a diligent search must be launched to discover where they are. Thus, you have the reason I am found at the Shepherd’s Conference instead of in conferences held by most fundamental Baptists.
Our Baptist brethren seriously need to be recalled to these essential doctrines of the faith. There needs to be recovery of a soteriology that is God centered instead of man centered. It is horribly shameful that the landscape must be scoured to find someone who still preaches the old gospel truth, and when it is discovered the label too often is something other than Baptist. If we can get our eschatology right and our ecclesiology right, why must we fail in our soteriology? It is way past time to get the central focus of our purpose back on track. We must preach salvation to the glory of God!
Pastor V. Mark Smith