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2007 National Leadership Conference - Notes from Dave Doran's Presentation - "Our Unique Gospel"

Monday, February 26, 2007

And now we return to our regularly scheduled program - reports on the National Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

As I indicated on my last post, Thursday at the National Leadership Conference started off with a great presentation by Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Doran’s text was 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 and the topic was "Our Unique Gospel."

Dr. Doran started off by reminding us that "the easy targets are not the dangerous ones" and that "it is the erosion of the Gospel that poses the greatest threat to our commission."

Considering a recent discussion over at Pastor Chris Anderson’s My Two Cents (here - including the comments - especially the interraction from Pastor Mark Perry), I thought Dr. Doran’s take on the issue of the nature of this passage provided some helpful clarity. Dr. Doran commented that since Paul is dealing with a specific departure from the Gospel - namely, false teaching regarding the resurrection - the passage starts with a summary of the Gospel before focusing on the area of the departure.

The following are some additional notes from the presentation:

I. The Priority of the Gospel - "first of all" (v. 3)

A. It is a message of Essential Content

There is a departure today that would claim that we should take the Bible
and put it aside and go after Christ instead. However, what we know about Christ
we know through the Bible and when you put aside the Bible to go after Christ,
you are not going after Christ. Christ is revealed for us through the Bible.

Repeatedly, our faith is linked to the word (e.g. Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy
3:15, etc.)

We must have a Gospel full of Gospel truth.

B. It is a message of Eternal Consequences - "by which ye are saved" (v. 2)

"The faith that saves is a faith that clings to Christ."

"Either you have the Biblical Gospel or you don’t have the Gospel at all"

"As a Pastor, I must give my life to guarding that Gospel and proclaiming it and teaching it."
II. The Purity of the Gospel

A. The content of the Gospel

Dr. Doran pointed out that while there is a summary statement in the beginning of this chapter, it is simply a summary statement and that summary statements must be expanded and explained to arrive at a full understanding.

Paul is not writing a systematic theology in these verses, he is doing pastoral work.

Dr. Doran also commented that the idea of Brian McClaren that someone can become a follower of Jesus without becoming a Christian is a departure from the faith, not a
defense of the faith.

It is essential that we do not assume an understanding about Scriptural truth on the part of the people to whom we witness. How can we say "trust in Christ" without defining Who Christ is? What sin is? etc.

B. The character of the Gospel

1. Apostolic
2. Scriptural
3. Historical

C. The context of the Gospel

The context of the Gospel is man’s alienation from the true and living God - Our Creator.

Again, we cannot assume that our hearers have this context, so there must be an announcement of man’s rebellion if the call for repentance is to have any effect.

D. The center of the Gospel - Jesus Christ

In Philippians 1:12-18, Paul weds "gospel" and "preaching Christ"

Repeatedly in Acts "preaching Christ", "preaching word", etc. are intertwined.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the O.T. promises. This includes details regarding the life, death, and resurrection and culminates in the exaltation of the Lordship of
Christ, etc.

Other selected approximate quotes.
"We must not take a reductionist stance on the Gospel."
"We take the Gospel and drop it down to a sound bite and wonder why it never bites."
"We cannot ignore threats to the Gospel."
"We must strive to make the Gospel central to fellowship."
"We must do more than just argue about the Gospel, we must give it out."

*All quotes are approximations. I tried to get things as accurate as I could, but I have three pages of notes from Dr. Doran’s presentation and there was so much said that was good that it was hard to write down everything that I wanted to write down. I have ordered the CD from CBTS, but the quotes are from my notes, not from the CD. (Of course, I recommend that you go over the and order your own copy of this presentation. :) ).