Message 15, International Panel Discussion:
On this panel, various international speakers discuss how God is working in their respective countries. They consider how reformation is taking place today and what the global future of the church may look like.
- What is the difference between the church in Scotland, and the church in America? (1:15)
- What does training for gospel ministry look like in the UK? (6:42)
- How is the exclusivity of Christ alone under attack in different cultural contexts? (11:38)
- How can the North American church and the global church better pray and serve each other? (29:35)
Note: Answers given during Panel Discussions reflect the views of the individual speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dr. R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. Here is our Statement of Faith.
LARSON: In light of the message that we just heard from Dr. Tong, we wanted to naturally flow right into a round table discussion if you will, of the situation in the global church, and to speak informally with some of our guest speakers, and I’ve asked Dr. Burk Parsons to join us on the panel because he has a heartbeat for the global church, and has traveled to many places in the world meeting with pastors, and trying to serve ordinary means of grace churches. So he’s going to help me lead this panel discussion, so, welcome Burk, to this as well.
Let’s get started and let’s go to a context that a lot of folks probably will have a little more familiarity with, at least here in North America, but that of Britain, and the situation that is there. And, I’ll come first to you Dr. Ferguson. From the perspective of someone who has lived here in the states for a good number of years, and had a great sphere of ministry here within these United States, but now as one who has moved back to his native Scotland, and is seeing firsthand perhaps some of what has happened there in the British Isles, again a land of tremendous heritage in terms of the Christian faith.
What has been most striking to you as one who has lived here in America, and kind of translate for us, the situation there on the ground, and then we’ll come to hear your perspective Dr. Reeves.
FERGUSON: Well, whenever people have asked me in general what are the differences, I’ve always said everything, absolutely everything is different, about life, there’s a subtle twist of difference. The accent in everything is on a different syllable, and that is probably even more so when it comes to the life of the church. It would take a lecture in history, I think, to try and explain the context I know best, which is the Scottish context. I
t’s a very, very complex context, but I think the thing I have noticed most in going back, is how the imagery in my mind is of a house on top of clifftop that is about to fall into the sea, and people have been living with the sea, the waves of the sea coming in for centuries and not realize that the house on the clifftop is in danger of going into the sea, and statistically from one point of view, the church in Scotland would cease to exist in about 25 years if the numerical decline continued. The mainstream church, the mainline church, has lost vast percentages of members over the last number of years. I better not start getting into all of the reasons why.
The other side of that is — and I think this is the thing that kind of excites me, is that being a Christian in Scotland now is much more like living in the environment of the New Testament than at any time in my life, and I have no doubt that god is working in wonderful ways — for example, our small denomination is planting more churches than the major denominations in the country.
There are young men committed to the gospel, loyalty to the mainline church I think has almost disappeared. But if you know where to look there are very vibrant and growing congregations. And, rather than being pessimistic about the future I’m actually very optimistic about the future, because I think that the truth about Christianity in Scotland is completely different from either the way it’s portrayed in the history books or from the perspective that most Americans have on it.
I do not myself believe that Scotland has ever really been a Christian country. I believe that the default religion in Scotland is a form of medieval Catholicism that heaven helps those who help themselves, that if you’re going to be justified, you’re justified at the end of life, and that it’s really been a series of awakenings of true religion in Scotland that have been the focal point of people’s attention, that has given them the impression that Scotland has largely in the past been a Christian country.
Since, you know, people speak about the European Enlightenment, you know, Mike would speak to this, I don’t think anyone would really speak about there being an English Enlightenment, but people do speak about there being a Scottish Enlightenment, or as we would say, a darkening, and the Scottish Enlightenment, simultaneous with the European Enlightenment has had a profound effect on Scotland. Profound effect on Scotland, and to try and analyze the situation, I think, would, you know, take a whole course of lectures.
But I, you know I feel tremendously encouraged, very concerned about good men in the national church, who do not really know what do to, where to look, how to move forward in a situation, where now, the church recently decided, we maintain the traditional view of marriage but if you want to call a homosexual minister practicing his homosexuality in a personal homosexual relationship, you may do that.
I mean that’s a sign that they will change their view of marriage. They just haven’t got around to it. But in that sense, the mainstream church in Scotland, I think is further down the line than most churches in the English speaking world.
LARSON: Mike, in your context as well as some of the things you’ve talked about in terms of the need for training the next generation to go into a missionary context in Europe, build on what Sinclair said.
REEVES: There are certainly many great encouragements in terms of faithful ministries, growing churches that are orthodox, and yet overall the big picture in terms of church attendance to generalize, would be the church attendance figures in the UK compared to those in the US; US church attendance figures would beat those of the UK 20 times over, just in terms of percentages.
So, there’s a sense in the UK that we’ve moved beyond Christianity, though I absolutely agree, I don’t think England or Scotland or wales, were ever Christian countries as such. We’ve moved beyond Christianity, we’ve moved beyond truth, and so you speak to a Brit, an average Brit about God, truth, Christianity, and you’ll probably get a self-satisfied smile, a look of “We’ve moved beyond that.” Truth, God, Christianity are exploded old ideas of yesterday.
Now, Sinclair mentioned the Enlightenment. To add to that, a flipside to the Enlightenment, which has been very important for modern culture, for us, was Romanticism, which was not about rom-coms, Valentine’s day. Romanticism was the idea that we are more than thinking machines, we feel, we desire, we love, and Friedrich Schleiermacher, the Father of modern liberal theology, really set a trajectory among others, it was very important where our feelings drive what we will consider to be true, if we can use such a word as true.
And with men like Schleiermacher having pushed their agenda so successfully on that, we have a culture where feelings have taking the magisterial role in thinking, they drive what — how we understand reality. So, how I feel, is how things should be. This is how I am, that’s how I should be.
Now, what that means for gospel ministry in the UK, is that it’s OK to mention the name of Christ, to mention God, but absolutely not to speak of Christ alone. To speak of Christ, Christ as an example perhaps, Christ merely loving, good man, that’s acceptable, but what’s really necessary for this context is to speak of Christ alone. And, to speak into that optimism that I share with Sinclair, I don’t think this feeling of post-Christianity, post-truth in the UK has left people as confident agnostics or atheists.
Quite the opposite, when atheists speak in the UK, they sound shrill and petulant because they’re not confident, and the people who imbibe and assume a basic atheist or agnosticism are not confident in it, but confused about life, it’s — they are drifting on an endless sea of meaninglessness, and they are endlessly distracting themselves. Looking for satisfaction and rest in all the wrong places, and Schleiermacher’s gospel, that liberal gospel has effected the churches so that people aren’t being presented with a gospel that confronts that culture.
REEVES: The answer that the UK’s going to need is a Christ alone gospel, a Reformation gospel, which actually answers directly the problems that are there.
PARSONS: Mike, on that point, wherever I’ve been I’ve found that to be true. That even in Muslim countries you can speak of Jesus, of course Muslims have respect for Jesus as one of the prophets of Allah, along with, of course Muhammad as his greatest prophet and Moses and so on, but, this exclusivity of Jesus Christ is under attack, and it’s under attack not only in England and Scotland, but around the world.
And, I think it would be fascinating to hear from each of our — each of the men here this morning, just briefly as to how the exclusivity, preaching the exclusivity of Jesus Christ alone is the only way to the Father, the only way to salvation, is under attack in your contexts. Leonardo would you address that, in Rome?
DE CHIRICO: Yeah, the gospel that — the seal of the gospel that my city and my nation has received as the standard form of the gospel was a Rome alone kind of gospel, and in our twentieth century context, or twenty-first century context, has been substituted with mercy alone gospel. This is the key word of the present pope.
Mercy, and mercy has no limits, it has no place for an exclusive Christ, and it has shifted into an inclusivist Christ, pluralist Christ, multi-face, multifaceted Christ, to the point that while still maintaining the forms of traditional Christianity, it has quickly adapted to become a multi-religious type of offer, and so, even though we are in a different context than Britain or the rest of Europe, we are constantly dealing with this difficulty by people, ordinary people to come to terms with exclusive claims of Jesus, and the exclusive way of salvation.
LOPES: Latin American and South America — and I mean Brazil, mainly — we have been privileged at this time, we do enjoy freedom of speech and religion, even though the state is secular, is still — there is no resistance to — I can go to public street and just preach openly about Jesus is the only way, and I can even say openly that I am against gay marriage or homosexuality, and nothing’s going to happen me.
We still do enjoy this kind of freedom, of course as you preach that Jesus is the only way, that will shock people who do believe — don’t believe in truth, or who are sold to pluralistic view of that every religion, will lead you to God, but even though they think like this, I can still go to my TV program, my radio program and say “There is only one way, Jesus Christ,” and nothing will happen to me.
So, we are enjoying this freedom of speech and religion in Brazil, in Latin America as a whole. I don’t know for how long, of course, because there are forces working, operating to finish and to end there. I know, just recently we had to fight against a law proposal by some people that the evangelicals could only express their views about homosexuality within their temples, not in public, but that was defeated, that was defeated, and we can still say what we think, and what we believe, and this is a great privilege, that we enjoy now. We thank God for that. We know that in other places it is not possible, but as for now we are very thankful to the Lord for that.
TONG: May you repeat again?
PARSONS: Yes Sir. Regarding the preaching of Christ alone as the way of salvation, the preaching of the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to the Father, and the challenge to that message in your context.
TONG: In Indonesian about 80 percent of the Muslims, they’re moderate, and only a few percentage are very radical, but when radical tried to make riots, it is a very harmful phenomena for the society. In my preaching, I’m mostly, in the Christian population area. But Islam people are allowed to come, and some of them try to come, and I have a 27-station TV who preach — who have my program 24 hours, one for 24 hours, another is only some time, and when we preach about Jesus Christ, Muslim cannot accept three things: The first, the concept of trinity, the second, God became man — mediator, there’s no such thing.
Second, the blood of a man can save and clean other sin, these they cannot accept, but if we don’t preach all this, we are not Christian. So, we should be very insist of our faith, but we must be very friendly to treat to other people, but we are waiting.
I myself have been promised to God to be a martyr if someday I am killed by our enemies, I am willing. That is the reason I chose myself. My name is Stephen, Stephen is the first martyr, and Stephen means the crown from God, the crown of life. So I am ready to sacrifice for my lord, and I preach, I am not hindering, and I’m not hiding the Christian faith behind a screen, but I speak it very briefly, until now, I still not qualified to be a martyr. I still let my God to preach.
I believe some Muslim are vacant. So, some day I see some Muslims, all men “Are you Stephen Tong?” I say “Yes,” and, “We like to listen to your preaching,” and I asked them, “What church do you go to?” “No, no, no, I’m not a church, I’m not church man, I am a Muslim, but I like to listen to your preaching.”
So we just pray that God we’ll change their hearts. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country, but I now know in the Middle East, within 10 years, Muslim will turn to Christ more than the past 1,000 years become Christian, because this wicked ISIS and so on.
They appear in this world, God let them, those hidden Muslim, which will become a Christian, they come to see the different, other Christian, with love and kindness, and the extreme Muslim, they’re only hatred, only revenge. For Muslim, so called righteousness is equal to revenge. Righteousness is revenge, and since 1,000 years ago, the crusaders from Christianity had caused a Muslim hatred, they hated Christian, and they all cannot understand why Christian tried to invade their land, and that is the reason Christians must be very careful and very wise in preaching the gospel, and I believe when we are minority, that is blessing of God.
When Christian becomes majority that is very dangerous, but when minority is working for the benefit of the majority, and ultimately minority will no more be a minority, they will be appreciated by those people.
PARSONS: That’s very helpful Dr. Tong, thank you, Sir. I think it was Francis Schaeffer (maybe I’m wrong), when he was towards the end of his life he was asked about what is one of his greatest concerns about the future of the church, maybe particularly in the United States, but he said something along the lines of “His greatest concern is, the churches’ inability to do the antithesis, to preach the antithesis.
It’s one thing to preach Christ and to preach Christ alone, but it’s an entirely, another thing, to say that if you don’t trust in Christ alone, then you’ll perish, and that’s what we must keep, and I think in America we’re facing much the same challenge or at least we’re beginning to as we often follow the course of England and Europe, we’re finding the same thing.
It’s one thing to talk about Jesus, people are very happy to talk about Jesus and happy to hear about the teachings of Jesus, the life of Jesus, the ministry of Jesus, but once you begin to preach the words of Jesus that cut like a knife, that bring a sword, that divide, that tell people that, if you don’t trust Him and Him alone, you’ll perish, it’s — you’re cut off.
REEVES: And, I think it’s worth being very clear what we mean when we speak of Christ alone, the doctrine of Christ alone has two parts to it. When we talk about solus Christus or Christ alone, we mean first, that Jesus Christ’s identity is absolutely unique, but we mean secondly His work is entirely sufficient. It was the sufficiency of His work that was primarily under attack in the Reformation 500 years ago.
The more multi-faith a culture is the more it’ll be the uniqueness of His person that’ll be under attack, but we need to ensure that we are preaching, proclaiming, both those truths. The absolute sufficiency of His work, and the complete uniqueness of His person. Those need to be held together.
PARSONS: That’s very helpful.
Chris, you’ve heard me tell this story about my time in Iran in 2004.
I was invited along with a small delegation, to travel to Tehran, and some of this panel, this delegation had been asked to come at the behest of the Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs, at that time Muhammad Ali Abtahi, and his wife Mrs. Mousavinejad, to the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue, and in the capitol, in Tehran, these meetings were being held, and the meetings came to a halt as the panel, the delegation that I was with — even before they had the Vatican, delegates from the Vatican, and this was one of the first, really Protestant, Evangelical and American delegations that had ever been to Iran, like this, at the behest of a Vice President or parliamentary official.
But, the meetings, this discussion of sorts came to a halt when we began to talk about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, and as Dr. Tong was talking about both moderate and radical Muslims, what I found in my time there as I studied a good bit about, at least, Iranian Islam, and — that, the truth of the matter is there’s all this talk about radical Islam and so on, but the truth of the matter is the radical Muslims are the true Muslims.
They’re the ones who take the Quran literally, and seriously, the rest of them are just a bunch of nominal liberals. They don’t take the Quran seriously one bit. The radicals are in fact the true Muslims, and when you begin to preach the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, it’s then when you drive them away. So, thank you.
FERGUSON: Yeah, I don’t know what Mike would think about this, but just looking over my period between leaving homeland in 1980, January the 13th, 1983, day that lives in infamy in my memory. Putting out the lights in New York City and weeping under the covers at my loss, then going back home.
All my Christian life up till that point, like the first half of my life, you people would be angry or you would be demeaned, or there would be hostility if you claimed that Jesus Christ was the only way of salvation. People would be angry in the Presbyterian church, if you claimed that.
That was where Scottish Christianity was, but, if you were convinced of the Lordship of Christ, you were perfectly free to live that out in the public square, whereas today, you know, I look at, for example, my grandchildren, they’re moving into a world where they may not be permitted, not only to live out their convictions about the Lordship of Christ, but to speak out their convictions about the Lordship of Christ, and one of the things that I have noticed happening in the demise of public Christianity, the role for example of the Ten Commandments.
My own convictions is, when a society that has been Christianized removes the Ten Commandments, it is field day for the lawyers, because you then have to multiply laws for the dysfunction that’s created socially by the abandonment of what I call the Big Ten. You know they really do work, and they really do something to a society, and so, what we’re seeing, I think in Scotland, which is a different government by and large now from the one that sits in Westminster.
We’re seeing governments seeking to legislate for the lifestyle that the Ten Commandments produced while abandoning those Ten Commandments, and in the middle of all that, especially in our multi-cultural society one of the things that happens is, that the government now steps into the realm of education and the realm of the family, oversteps what is its properly constituted authority, and for example, brings education contrary to the basic contours of the biblical teaching on creation, right down into the school at which my seven year-old granddaughter is now a pupil.
That has never happened before in my lifetime. And it is — the difference now was, I needed courage in a class where there weren’t any other Christian boys to confess my faith in Jesus Christ, but they expected me to live it out. Indeed, they would poke me if I didn’t live it out. Now, a new generation needs courage, not only to believe and have those convictions, but courage to live out those convictions, to speak out those convictions, and extraordinary wisdom.
Our youngsters, if things continue the way they are will all need to be sufficiently taught to be able to say with the Psalmist, “Your law has made me wiser than my teachers,” and to have that kind of confidence that no matter what is said, what is done, the Lord is sovereign, and the Lord gives wisdom, and as I — my conviction is, as our society continues to disintegrate, these families in our church, which is kind of full of young families — the families in their streets, if things continue in 10 years will be turning to them and saying “How do you do this?” because the government cannot legislate in a way that will reverse the disintegration that is actually taking place in society, which our society in Scotland can now no longer afford, and from that point of view, it’s a tremendously challenging time, but from another point of view as Mike was saying, it’s really a kind of exciting time, however painful it’s going to be.
You know, and we’ve been immunized against it, we’ve complained that Christians suffer. Well, we weren’t reading the New Testament if we thought that Christians don’t suffer, but it is a new challenge for us in Scotland.
LARSON: To better inform all of our prayers — we’ve talked about the churches center of gravity moving to the global south. What can the North American church do, and how should we pray, how should we serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are serving in Latin American contexts, European contexts. We’ve heard from Southeast Asia, and what’s happening there.
There’s certainly Africa, and so many different challenges and opportunities there, as well as India. Just help us to understand how to better pray, how to better serve, how to better give, and send, and to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, and then I’m going to turn it all back around on you, and say “How are you all going to help us?” because we’ve got problems here too.
LOPES: Yeah, I think that one of the ways that churches in the Global South can help the Western church is to remind them the need to remain faithful to Scriptures. I know there are exceptions, but as you look as a whole, it appears that the churches that are growing in the Global South, they have a more strong faith in the authority of Scripture, and they are willing to die for that and to live out what they do believe is the Word of God.
I say that there are exceptions, of course. I know that the church in the West has been infiltrated or impacted by liberalism, by the ideas of Friedrich Schleiermacher that was just heard, and many other ideas, and, so perhaps we could remember that, remind the Western church about that.
Even though we’re very thankful to the Western church, because our missionaries first came from there. Also, perhaps we could remind the Western church that there has been a great change in the center, geographical center of Christianity, a shift in the last 35-40 years, when the center of Christianity — I’m speaking about number of churches, of Christians, and even financial power has moved from the North to the South. And now, if you want to imagine a Christian, how would a Christian look like, a standard Christian.
It would not look like a white man, a middle class, living in the North, but probably a woman living in a village in Africa or in a slum in Brazil. So, this is going to make a huge change in the way Christianity look like, in the profile of a standard Christian in the next few years. So, the Western church should be attentive to that, sensitive to that because these things are going on.
Another thing, for a Reformation to survive in the Global South, it has to adapt to what is going on the Global South. Much of this growth of Christianity in the Global South is due to Pentecostal movement, is due to charismatic movement, and we do share somethings with them. The classical Pentecostal church does believe in the Bible as the Word of God, and they do tell the members to love the Bible, and to read the Bible, and seek God’s way — ways there.
Of course, they are a little bit inconsistent when they do believe in revelations, personal revelations as well, but a normal Pentecostal member of a classic Pentecostal church, would say that the Bible is God’s Word and infallible, and inherent even, and would go by what the Bible says. And, but then Pentecostalism is different from the classical Protestant tradition streaming from the Reformation. They’re different as to the way of worship, they’re different as to the way they live every day.
So, it has to be adaptation, we’re not sure. Just tell you what much trying to say, many, many, many Pentecostals, and Neo-Pentecostal Christians have come to the Reformed churches in Brazil, or, they have come to the Reformed faith, they have discovered R.C. Sproul on YouTube, they have discovered MacArthur on YouTube, they have discovered all of you who have in somehow been translated into Portuguese, and they say “I want to be Reformed, but I’ve been raised in Pentecostal church.
I can’t take the service in a Presbyterian church. It’s dead, it’s cold. So how do you put together the Reformed faith and this desire for a worship that — where you can feel something, where you can experience something, in which, in the sense is not as strange to our tradition.
The old Puritans would say something about that too. Just to give you an example. I think that the men who opened the door to the Pentecostals, to the Reformed faith, was Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones. His works have been translated (30 years ago, started to have been translated), and the Pentecostals were looking for more biblical teaching, started to read Martin Lloyd-Jones and says “Here is a man who is Reformed, but that believes the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second experience.”
Of course, what Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones believed about the baptism of the Holy Spirit was not the same as the Pentecostal believed, because Martyn Lloyd-Jones would consider that as being assurance.
God would give you a full sense of assurance, after conversion, was a different experience in the Pentecostal movement. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is related to speaking with tongues, which is completely different from what Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, but then the guys — these people read Martyn Lloyd-Jones and says “See, here’s good theology, strong theology, and this man believes in something after conversion, conversion is not all that we get.
We do get more after conversion, in what — these feelings of the Spirit, being filled up with the Holy Spirit, experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit. So, they now they don’t know what to do, these people converted to the Reformed faith, they say “I don’t want to be a Presbyterian, I don’t want to go back to my Pentecostal church. What do I do?” And this is a problem. Huge problem that we’re facing now. What is happening to this Pentecostal-turn-Reformed, where are they going to go? And this is the question we’re asking now.
PARSONS: That’s where they become Reformed Baptists, I think.
LOPES: I hope they do.
TONG: May I add something. When Christianity come to Indonesia, it had started only 1,500 years after Christ. But Muslim came in the end of the seventh century, so missionary are too late to come to Indonesia, and then when missionary come, they come by bringing the gospel plus cannon and the warships, and they do their merchant and their business by cheating people, but most of them come, they’re more honest.
So, Indonesian people think, Muslim is better than Christians, because Christian label with imperialism, colonialism. That is our sin that we should confess before God, but after disasters, like tsunami in Aceh. Aceh is first visited by Muslims. About this, the end of the seventh century, after Muhammad died, 60 years, already most of them come to Indonesia to preach the Muslimism, but after 800 years Christians come, they don’t believe in Christian after the Crusaders.
So, in Muslim, they think Christianity is cheating, Christianity is invading, Christianity is tyrant, Christianity is no love to other people, they don’t believe that. That is the reason to preach gospel in a country like Indonesia, after influence of Muslim is very difficult, but when tsunami come, about 13 years ago, only Christians go to help Aceh people, and first they said “These are unclean, these are pagans, they do not even want to eat the food given by the Christians, because this the Muslim food, this Christian food is unclean, but by and by, several months after, they see the good works of Christians is so obvious, and Arabian aid, only 3 million, and the same time Arabian King go to tour in the Mediterranean Sea, and used more than 50 million in 2 weeks. So they think Muslims are not merciful than Christian.
So good works is very important to change their concept, their perception of Christianity. Even though good work cannot bring men into the grace and salvation of Christ, but we Christians should show our good works, our mercy, and our honesty in order to regain and to change their concept.
LARSON: Our time is — excuse me, our time is short. Leonardo, any last words, and then we’ll finish with you, Mike.
DE CHIRICO: We have so many things to learn from you, and we’re so grateful for your commitment to prayer and to support gospel work in our region of the world. Perhaps one thing that we can share with you, is the need in our generation to learn how to live with longsuffering and with patience.
God’s work doesn’t happen overnight, and we live in a culture that expects short term results and immediate outcomes. In our part of the world, you need to learn to be a minority, you need to learn to be a long-suffering minority, and to be a positive, positively Christian minority. Loving thy neighbor, preaching the gospel, not having antagonistic attitudes, but trusting the Word of the God and the Holy Spirit to accomplish His work.
REEVES: I think the US can help (I’m going to speak particularly to the UK situation), the US can help the UK by loving the church in the UK with a humble, listening generosity, generosity in prayer, in supporting faithful churches and ministries, and to do so humbly, walking lightly, listening to those who are faithfully engaging that culture, speaking the gospel into it.
And the UK can help the US in making the church aware of where things will go if the secularist trend continues, and giving some lessons on how we’re finding it is to deal with this, and I wonder if a simple picture might be something like a spiritual martial plan.
You help us, and that’ll help stop the rot come back to you.
LARSON: Well, Dr. Parsons, would you close in prayer for these men, their ministries and that we would be found faithful.
PARSONS: Let’s pray together. Our Lord you are sovereign, and you are calling forth your people, your elect from every tribe, tongue and nation. Lord, we are so thankful for these men, for the ministries that you have entrusted to them, and we know Lord that you have your people throughout the world in every nation, and so we ask, Lord, that you help them to be faithful to the task.
That you would continue to be their sustenance, and that you would continue to preserve them and protect them and their families. Lord, that you would bless their preaching of your Word and keep them faithful. Lord, bless the preaching of the gospel, may it flourish in their countries and contexts, and Lord may you draw many to yourself.
May your Spirit work mightily through their preaching and though the ministries, through their people may you make them men who are first and foremost evangelists, disciple makers, men of prayer, men of your gospel, bless them, O Lord, we pray. And bless us here in these United States, that we would be a faithful church, that we would proclaim your Word in season, and out of season, and that we would proclaim with unashamed boldness the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, that He is the only way to the Father.
So Lord, give us this gracious and compassionate courage and boldness, and do this Lord, for your glory, not our own, in Christ’s name we pray. Amen
LARSON: Amen, thank you.