Tuesday, April 20, 2010

...the infallible divine plumbline for all matters of life and godliness

The Together for the Gospel Conference held last week in Louisville, KY has been the subject of some debate on Twitter the past few days. Yours truly found himself unintentionally at the center of the crossfire. The issue began when not a few pastors were texting, emailing or phoning me from the conference confused as to why not more of the speakers were preaching the Word? Some pastors even expressed sadness over the sacrificial cost that their church extended to them and their leadership to attend this conference when in reality so little Bible teaching and exposition was taking place.

I had nothing to judge this by until the audio/video was made available the day the conference concluded. After listening to all of the messages a few times, I have to say that I do share in their pain. Don't misunderstand me... there were some very good messages preached out of the Word by men like John MacArthur, CJ Mahaney, John Piper and Thabiti Anyabwile. And there were others who gave us some good thoughts and information to chew on, but chose to not develop their talks out of Scripture. Personally, I prefer to hear preachers, preach the Word!

Scripture is very clear on this issue. The Apostle in sobering and sacred terms says the following to young Timothy:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. -2 Timothy 4:1-2
Any pastor, Christian leader, Bible teacher has one duty that eclipses all others: preach the Word! And we are to do this "in season and out of season." IOW, when it's popular and when it's not; when it's convenient and when it's not; when it's acceptable and when it's not. We are to preach the Word.

So here are some thoughts from John Calvin on this important subject facing the greater church in evangelicalism once again. Think about this as you are reading the following: When is it ever permissible for pastors not to obey the biblical command to preach the Word? IOW, when can pastors treat as an option this solemn duty before the Lord?

Grace and peace to you...
Col. 3:16-17

To preach the word . . . and not to follow it with constant and fervent prayer for its success, is to disbelieve its use, neglect its end, and to cast away the seed of the gospel at random. -JOHN OWEN
  • The Scriptures should be our joy: Psalm 1:2 and Psalm 119.
  • God gives His Spirit through His Word: Galatians 3:2 and Romans 8:5.
  • The word of God gives hope: Romans 15:4 and Psalm 78:5, 7.
  • The word of God makes us free: Psalm 119:45 and John 8:32
  • The Word of God makes us wise: Psalm 19:7-8 and 119:98.
  • Wisdom brings joy: Proverbs 3:13.
  • The Word of God gives assurance: 1 John 5:13
  • The Word of God overcomes the evil one: Ephesians 6:17
  • The Word of God revives us: Psalm 19:7.
  • The Word of God is our life: Deuteronomy 32:46-47
  • Our physical life depends upon God's word:
  • He created us by His Word: Psalm 33:6 and Hebrews 11:3
  • He keeps us in existence by His Word: Hebrews 1:3
  • Our spiritual life depends upon God's Word:
  • We are born again by God's Word: James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23
  • We go on living spiritually by God's Word: Matthew 4:4
  • The Word of God causes faith: Romans 10:17 and John 20:31.

The Word our Only Rule
by John Calvin

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and
unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

-Titus 1:15-16

St. Paul hath shown us that we must be ruled by the Word of God, and hold the commandments of men as vain and foolish; for holiness and perfection of life belongeth not to them. He condemneth some of their commandments, as when they forbid certain meats, and will not suffer us to use that liberty which God giveth the faithful. Those who troubled the church in St. Paul’s time, by setting forth such traditions, used the commandments of the law as a shield. These were but men’s inventions: because the temple was to be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those in the church of Christ, who hold this superstition, to have certain meats forbidden, have not the authority of God, for it was against His mind and purpose that the Christian should be subject to such ceremonies.

To be short, St. Paul informs us in this place that in these days we have liberty to eat of all kinds of meat without exception. As for the health of the body, that is not here spoken of; but the matter here set forth is that men shall not set themselves up as masters, to make laws for us contrary to the Word of God. Seeing it is so, that God putteth no difference between meats, let us so use them; and never inquire what men like, or what they think good. Notwithstanding, we must use the benefits that God hath granted us, soberly and moderately. We must remember that God hath made meats for us, not that we should fill ourselves like swine, but that we should use them for the sustenance of life: therefore, let us content ourselves with this measure, which God hath shown us by His Word.

If we have not such a store of nourishment as we would wish, let us bear our poverty patiently, and practise the doctrine of St. Paul; and know as well how to bear poverty as riches. If our Lord give us more than we could have wished for, yet must we bridle our appetites. On the other side, if it please Him to cut off our morsel, and feed us but poorly, we must be content with it, and pray Him to give us patience when we have not what our appetites crave. To be short, we must have recourse to what is said in Romans 13: "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Let us content ourselves to have what we need, and that which God knoweth to be proper for us; thus shall all things be clean to us, if we be thus cleansed.

Yet it is true that although we were ever so unclean, the meats which God hath made are good; but the matter we have to consider is the use of them. When St. Paul saith all things are clean., he meaneth not that they are so of themselves, but as relateth to those that receive them; as we have noticed before, where he saith to Timothy, all things are sanctified to us by faith and giving of thanks. God hath filled the world with such abundance that we may marvel to see what a fatherly care He hath over us: for to what end or purpose are all the riches here on earth, only to show how liberal He is toward man!

If we know not that He is our Father, and acteth the part of a nurse toward us, if we receive not at His hand that which He giveth us, insomuch that when we eat, we are convinced that it is God that nourisheth us, He cannot be glorified as He deserveth; neither can we eat one morsel of bread without committing sacrilege; for which we must give an account. That we may lawfully enjoy these benefits, which have been bestowed upon us, we must be resolved upon this point (as I said before), that it is God that nourisheth and feedeth us.

This is the cleanness spoken of here by the apostle; when he saith, all things are clean, especially when we have such an uprightness in us that we despise not the benefits bestowed upon another, but crave our daily bread at the hand of God, being persuaded that we have no right to it, only to receive it as the mercy of God. Now let us see from whence this cleanness cometh. We shall not find it in ourselves, for it is given us by faith. St. Peter saith, the hearts of the old fathers were cleansed by this means; to wit, when God gave them faith (Acts 15).

It is true that he here hath regard to the everlasting salvation; because we were utterly unclean until God made Himself known to us in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, being made our Redeemer, brought the price and ransom of our souls. But this doctrine may, and ought to be applied to what concerneth this present life; for until we know that, being adopted in Jesus Christ, we are God’s children, and consequently that the inheritance of this world is ours, if we touch one morsel of meat, we are thieves; for we are deprived of, and banished from all the blessings that God made, by reason of Adam’s sin until we get possession of them in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it is faith that must cleanse us. Then will all meats be clean to us: that is, we may use them freely without wavering. If men enjoin spiritual laws upon us, we need not observe them, being assured that such obedience cannot please God, for in so doing, we set up rulers to govern us, making them equal with God, who reserveth all power to Himself. Thus, the government of the soul must be kept safe and sound in the hands of God. Therefore, if we allow so much superiority to men that we suffer them to inwrap our souls with their own bands, we so much lessen and diminish the power and empire that God hath over us.

And thus the humbleness that we might have in obeying the traditions of men would be worse than all the rebellion in the world; because it is robbing God of His honor, and giving it, as a spoil, to mortal men. St. Paul speaketh of the superstition of some of the Jews, who would have men still observe the shadows and figures of the law; but the Holy Ghost hath pronounced a sentence which must be observed to the end of the world: that God hath not bound us at this day to such a burden as was borne by the old fathers; but hath cut off that part which He had commanded, relative to the abstaining from meats; for it was a law but for a season.

Seeing God hath thus set us at liberty, what rashness it is for worms of the earth to make new laws; as though God had not been wise enough. When we allege this to the papists, they answer that St. Paul spake of the Jews, and of meats that were forbidden by the law. This is true, but let us see whether this answer be to any purpose, or worth receiving. St. Paul not only saith that it is lawful for us to use that which was forbidden, but he speaketh in general terms, saying, all things are clean. Thus we see that God hath here given us liberty, concerning the use of meats; so that He will not hold us in subjection, as were the old fathers.

Therefore, seeing God hath abrogated that law which was made by Him, and will not have it in force any longer, what shall we think when we see men inventing traditions of their own; and not content themselves with what God hath shown them? In the first place, they still endeavor to hold the church of Christ under the restrictions of the Old Testament. But God will have us governed as men of years and discretion, which have no need of instruction suitable for children. They set up man’s devices, and say we must keep them under pain of deadly sin; whereas God will not have His own law to be observed among us at this day, relative to types and shadows, because it was all ended at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Shall it then be lawful to observe what men have framed in their own wisdom? Do we not see that it is a matter which goeth directly against God? St. Paul setteth himself against such deceivers: against such as would bind Christians to abstain from meats as God had commanded in His law. If a man say, it is but a small matter to abstain from flesh on Friday, or in Lent, let us consider whether it be a small matter to corrupt and bastardize the service of God! For surely those that go about to set forth and establish the tradition of men, set themselves against that which God hath appointed in His Word, and thus commit sacrilege.
Seeing God will be served with obedience, let us beware and keep ourselves within those bounds which God hath set; and not suffer men to add any thing to it of their own. There is something worse in it than all this: for they think it a service that deserveth something from God to abstain from eating flesh. They think it a great holiness: and thus the service of God, which should be spiritual, is banished, as it were, while men busy themselves about foolish trifles. As the common saying is, they leave the apple for the paring.

We must be faithful, and stand fast in our liberty; we must follow the rule which is given us in the Word of God, and not suffer our souls to be brought into slavery by new laws, forged by men. For it is a hellish tyranny, which lesseneth God’s authority and mixeth the truth of the gospel with figures of the law; and perverteth and corrupteth the true service of God, which ought to be spiritual. Therefore, let us consider how precious a privilege it is to give thanks to God with quietness of conscience, being assured it is His will and pleasure that we should enjoy His blessings: and that we may do so, let us not entangle ourselves with the superstitions of men, but be content with what is contained in the pure simplicity of the gospel. Then, as we have shown concerning the first part of our text, unto them that are pure, all things will be pure.

When we have received the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that we shall be cleansed from our filthiness and blemishes; for by His grace we are made partakers of God’s benefits, and are taken for His children, although there be nothing but vanity in us. "But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure." By this St. Paul meaneth that whatsoever proceedeth from those that are defiled and unbelieving is not acceptable to God but is full of infection. While they are unbelieving, they are foul and unclean; and while they have such filthiness in them, whatsoever they touch becomes polluted with their infamy.

Therefore, all the rules and laws they can make shall be nothing but vanity: for God disliketh whatsoever they do; yea, He utterly abhorreth it. Although men may torment themselves with ceremonies and outward performances, yet all these things are vain until they become upright in heart: for in this the true service of God commenceth. So long then as we are faithless, we are filthy before God. These things ought to be evident to us; but hypocrisy is so rooted within us that we are apt to neglect them. It will readily be confessed that we cannot please God by serving Him until our hearts be rid of wickedness.

God strove with the people of old time about the same doctrine; as we see especially in the second chapter of the prophet Haggai: where he asketh the priests, if a man touch a holy thing, whether he shall be made holy or not, the priests answered, no. On the contrary, if an unclean man touch a thing, whether it shall become unclean or no, the priests answered and said, it shall be unclean: so is this nation, saith the Lord, and so are the works of their hands. Now let us notice what is contained in the figures and shadows of the law. If an unclean man had handled any thing, it became unclean, and therefore must be cleansed. Our Lord saith, consider what ye be: for ye have nothing but uncleanness and filth; yet notwithstanding, ye would content Me with your sacrifices, offerings, and such like things. But He saith, as long as your minds are entangled with wicked lusts, as long as some of ye are whoremongers, adulterers, blasphemers, and perjurers, as long as ye are full of guile, cruelty, and spitefulness, your lives are utterly lawless, and full of all uncleanness; I cannot abide it, how fair soever it may seem before men.

We see then that all the services we can perform, until we are truly reformed in our hearts, are but mockeries; and God condemneth and rejecteth every whit of them. But who believeth these things to be so? When the wicked, who are taken in their wickedness, feel any remorse of conscience, they will endeavor by some means or other to compound with Cod by performing some ceremonies: they think it sufficient to satisfy the minds of men, believing that God ought likewise to be satisfied therewith. This is a custom which has prevailed in all ages.

It is not only in this text of the prophet Haggai that God rebuketh men for their hypocrisy, and for thinking that they may obtain His favor with trifles, but it was a continual strife which all the prophets had with the Jews. It is said in Isa. 1:13, 14, 15: "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new-moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with: it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting, your new-moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood."

And again it is said, "Though ye offer me burnt offerings, and your meat-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts" (Amos 5 :22). God here showeth us that the things which He Himself had commanded were filthy and unclean when they were observed and abused by hypocrites. Therefore, let us learn that when men serve God after their own fashion, they beguile and deceive themselves. It is said in another text of Isaiah, "Who hath required these things at your hands ?" Wherein it is made manifest that if we will have God approve our works, they must be according to His divine Word.

Thus we see what St. Paul’s meaning is when he saith there is nothing clean to them that are unclean. And why? For even their mind and conscience are defiled. By this he showeth (as I before observed) that until such times as we have learned to serve God aright, in a proper manner, we shall do no good at all by our own works; although we may flatter ourselves that they are of great importance, and by this means rock ourselves to sleep.

Let us now see what the traditions of popery are. The chief end of them are to make an agreement with God, by their works of supererogation, as they term them; that is, their surplus works; which are, when they do more than God commandeth them. According to their own notions, they discharge their duty towards Him and content Him with such payment as they render by their works, and thereof make their account. When they have fasted their saints evenings, when they have refrained from eating flesh upon Fridays, when they have attended mass devoutly, when they have taken holy water, they think that God ought not to demand any thing more of them and that there is nothing amiss in them.

But in the mean time, they cease not to indulge themselves in lewdness, whoredom, perjury, blasphemy, &c.: every one of them giving himself to those vices; yet notwithstanding, they think God ought to hold Himself well paid with the works they offer Him; as for example, when they have taken holy water, worshipped images, rambled from altar to altar, and other like things, they imagine that they have made sufficient payment and recompense for their sins. But we hear the doctrine of the Holy Ghost concerning such as are defiled; which is, there is nothing pure nor clean in all their doings.

But we will put ‘the case, by supposing that all the abominations of the papists were not evil in their own nature; yet notwithstanding, according to this doctrine of St. Paul, there can be nothing but uncleanness in them, for they themselves are sinful and unclean. The holiness of these men consists in gewgaws and trifles. They endeavor to serve God in the things that He doth not require, and at the same time leave undone things that He hath commanded in His law.

It has been the case in all ages that men have despised God’s law for the sake of their own traditions. Our Lord Jesus Christ upbraided the Pharisees, when He saith, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition" (Mat. 15:3). Thus it was in former times, in the days of the prophets. Isaiah crieth out, "Wherefore the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work and wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (chap. 25:13). While men occupy themselves about traditions, they pass over the things that God hath commanded in His Word.

This it is that caused Isaiah to cry out against such as set forth men’s traditions; telling them plainly that God threatened to blind the wisest of them, because they turned away from the pure rule of His Word to follow their own foolish inventions. St. Paul likewise alludes to the same thing, when he saith they have no fear of God before their eyes. Let us not deceive ourselves; for we know that God requireth men to live uprightly, and to abstain from all violence, cruelty, malice, and deceit; that none of these things should appear in our life. But those that have no fear of God before their eyes, it is apparent that they are out of order, and that there is nothing but uncleanness in their whole life.

If we wish to know how our life should be regulated, let us examine the contents of the Word of God; for we cannot be sanctified by outward show and pomp, although they are so highly esteemed among men. We must call upon God in sincerity, and put our whole trust in Him; we must give up pride and presumption, and resort to Him with true lowliness of mind that we be not given to fleshly affections. We must endeavor to hold ourselves in awe, under subjection to God, and flee from gluttony, whoredom, excess, robbery, blasphemy, and other evils. Thus we see what God would have us do, in order to have our life well regulated.

When men would justify themselves by outward works, it is like covering a heap of filth with a clean linen cloth. Therefore, let us put away the filthiness that is hidden in our hearts; I say, let us drive the evil from us, and then the Lord will accept of our life: thus we may see wherein consists the true knowledge of God! When we understand this aright, it will lead us to live in obedience to His will. Men have not become so beastly, as to have no understanding that there is a God who created them. But this knowledge, if they do not submit to His requirements, serves as a condemnation to them: because their eyes are blindfolded by Satan; insomuch, that although the gospel may be preached to them, they do not understand it; in this situation we see many at the present day. How many there are in the world that have been taught by the doctrine of the gospel, and yet continue in brutish ignorance!

This happeneth because Satan hath so prepossessed the minds of men with wicked affections that although the light may shine ever so bright, they still remain blind, and see nothing at all. Let us learn, then, that the true knowledge of God is of such a nature that it showeth itself, and yieldeth fruit through our whole life. Therefore to know God, as St. Paul said to the Corinthians, we must be transformed into His image. For if we pretend to know Him, and in the meantime our life be loose and wicked, it needeth no witness to prove us liars; our own life beareth sufficient record that we are mockers and falsifiers, and that we abuse the name of God.

St. Paul saith in another place, if ye know Jesus Christ, ye must put off the old man: as if he should say, we cannot declare that we know Jesus Christ, only by acknowledging Him for our head, and by His receiving us as His members; which cannot be done until we have cast off the old man, and become new creatures. The world hath at all times abused God’s name wickedly, as it doth still at this day; therefore, let us have an eye to the true knowledge of the Word of God, whereof St. Paul speaketh.

Finally, let us not put our own works into the balance, and say they are good, and that we think well of them; but let us understand that the good works are those which God hath commanded in His law and that all we can do beside these, are nothing. Therefore, let us learn to shape our lives according to what God hath commanded: to put our trust in Him, to call upon Him, to give Him thanks, to bear patiently whatsoever it pleaseth Him to send us; to deal uprightly with our neighbors, and to live honestly before all men. These are the works which God requireth at our hands.

If we were not so perverse in our nature, there would be none of us but what might discern these things: even children would have skill enough to discern them. The works which God hath not commanded are but foolishness and an abomination: whereby God’s pure service is marred. If we wish to know what constitutes the good works spoken of by St. Paul, we must lay aside all the inventions of men, and simply follow the instructions contained in the Word of God; for we have no other rule than that which is given by Him; which is such as He will accept, when we yield up our accounts at the last day, when He alone shall be the judge of all mankind.

Now let us fall down before the face of our good God, acknowledging our faults, praying Him to make us perceive them more clearly: and to give us such trust in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that we may come to Him and be assured of the forgiveness of our sins; and that He will make us partakers of sound faith, whereby all our filthiness may be washed away.


scripturesearcher said...


There is nothing stale and boring about your blogs!

The VARIETY of your great TOPICS, and the FREQUENCY of your changing them, has made this one of the finest blogs available today.

Persevere! Press on, pardner which
is Texanic for partner!

Many of us think you are doing a
fantastic work for the Lord and His

Jonathan Moorhead said...

As always, great post.

DOGpreacher said...

There are more and more good blogs (as well as bad ones who think they are good)these days, but YOU are the one I can count on to "bring it" with these kinds of posts. Thank you.

Denise said...

Increasingly "Christians" do not accept the all-sufficiency of Scripture and the PERSON and work of the Holy Spirit. This is unacceptable.

In my family I am constantly battling psycho-heresy and its everywhere in "Christian" circles; from the "gospel" which makes Man the center of it, to church being a therapy session, to the "Christian" crookstores.

Its no wonder then, that so many professing Christians are no different than the world and are just has helpless.

I was just over at www.alittleleaven.com ---there's one that relates to this issue (by showing the rejection of the Sufficiency of Scripture):


Psa 138:2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Rick Morgan said...

I blogged about Hebrews 4 and 5 this morning and a couple of days ago.

Digging into the word will help me:
• To keep myself pure
• See what is on the inside, that sword opens you right up
• Teaches me how to live to please God
• Shows me my loving God and Savior

Great post!

gigantor1231 said...


This was meaty, tasty and full of nutrients garnering a rating of two thumbs up!
Steve, how did you ever do this with out using any sophomoric humor, scatology, lewd innuendo? Aren't you afraid that without those elements this message just wont be relevant, I mean those that speak using foul language need to be spoken to using foul language, right?
The critics are right, you bring a good balance, minus the trash!

The Heretic said...

If we have not such a store of nourishment as we would wish, let us bear our poverty patiently, and practise the doctrine of St. Paul; and know as well how to bear poverty as riches. If our Lord give us more than we could have wished for, yet must we bridle our appetites. On the other side, if it please Him to cut off our morsel, and feed us but poorly, we must be content with it, and pray Him to give us patience when we have not what our appetites crave.

This does seem to be a root issue in America today; both physically and spiritually. A lesson we all need to learn well. Good post, Steve.

SJ Camp said...

To All
Thank you for your very kind and encouraging words towards this post.

Calvin really hit the mark with his words I thought.

Great insights from some of you as well. May we all be men and women of the Word of God. It alone is sufficient for all matters of life and godliness.


Tom Chantry said...

I appreciate this too, Steve. I haven't been through Titus in Calvin yet, but these are valuable words.

Sports4Him said...

Thank you for the challenge Pastor Camp. May we constantly be reminded that the power to change lives is found in the powerful Word of God. Preach the Word!

Patrick Eaks said...

Thanks Steve for this post!

Continue to stand firm upon the word of God!

What else does the preacher have to preach then the word of God?

Joh 6:68 - Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

1Co 2:1 - And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

May we shun the wisdom of this world and preach, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the word of God!

Hayden said...

I agree that some of the 'talks' were difficult to listen to, but look at past T4G conferences and see that there is ALWAYS a blend of expositional preaching and lectures on topics related to the Gospel. This is nothing new. The same happens at Shepherd's Conference as well.

I am not saying that I fully agree with this pattern, just putting it into historical context. This is what this conference is like. They invite expositors and then others teach like in seminary. It is what it is.

Personally I loved the blend and enjoyed the great fellowship with many brothers from different backgrounds.

This is not meant to be combative, Is there ever a time for theological talks at a Pastor's Conference?

John said...

I was at T4G and couldn't agree more. I understand their desire to deal with certain topics, but if you can't do that with exposition then I would say you shouldn't do it. I will say MacArthur, Piper, and CJ knocked it out of the park and the worship was awesome.

Mark said...


You know I was at the conference with my church staff and you know we (along with a well known apologist) disagree on this.

Before I state my inquiry I want to share the reason I even thought of the event below. It was at that event that my wife and I picked you up and took you to dinner. :)

Okay then.

I'm curious if there is a particular reason why you are speaking out against T4G this year instead of confronting the conference you partook of last year with DeMar and American Vision** (See brochure).

Seems like you would have had a little more influence or at least the ability to grab someone's ear.

**FYI, the topics were (in case the brochure is tough to read):
* We're from the Government and We're NOT Here to Help (by Gary DeMar)
* Doing an End-Run Around the Mainstream Media (by Joseph Farah)
* Restoring State Sovereignty: The 10th Amendment (by Herbert Titus)
* Restoring the Sanctity of Human Life State by State (by Herbert Titus)
* The Nitty Gritty of Film Production (by Darren Doane)
* So You Want to be in Movies (by Dr. Ted Baehr)
* Starting an At-Home Web Business (by Byron Reese)
* The Goldless Standard Phase 1: 1971-2008 (by Dr. Gary North)
* The Goldless Standard Phase 2: 2008-???? (by Dr. Gary North)
* Protect Your Wealth from Liberal Fallacies (by Joel McDurmon)
* The Byzantine Empire: Christian Worldview in Action (by Byron Reese)
* Liberal Tyranny in Higher Education (by David Goetsch)
* Bailouts, Handouts, and Entitlements (by David Goetsch)
* Financial Tips for Tough Economic Times (by Mark Graham)
* Equipping Kingdom Warriors for the Battle of the Millennium (by Kevin Swanson)
* Christian Impact on the World: Past and Present (by Dr. Joseph Morecraft)
* Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters (by Dr. Jerry Bergman)
* The Christian Roots of Science (by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati)
* Creation Science at the Cutting Edge (by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati)
* Dismantling Black Christian Racialism (by Pamela Wilson)
* The Church and the Family: Part 1 (by Voddie Baucham)
* The Church and the Family: Part 2 (by Voddie Baucham)
* Faith, Liberty, and Charity: A Biblical Worldview of Healthcare (by James Lansberry)
* History of the Conservative Movement: Part 1 (by Dr. Gary North)
* History of the Conservative Movement: Part 2 (by Dr. Gary North)
* Our Legacy (by Gary DeMar)
* The Second Mayflower (by Kevin Swanson)

SJ Camp said...


1. You've never stated one Scriptural example as to what gives pastors the freedom not to honor the biblical command to preach the Word.

2. The well known apologist doesn't disagree.

3. The conference where I was at I did confront some of the leadership with the lack of biblical focus and exposition. Had a few great discussions...

Your problem on this issue brother is that you lack objectivity. Even Ligon Duncan in his address was apologetic about not preaching the Word - being relegated "to expound the word of providence." He knew some of the concerns about nonbiblically driven messages taking place. I appreciate his honest objective clarification.

Please answer my question which you have wittingly remained silent on: under what circumstance does a pastor have the freedom to opt out of honoring the biblical command to preach the Word? And define your answer biblically - not emotionally or pragmatically.

Thank you...

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

I find it interesting that the piece from Calvin you use to refute the non-expositional sessions at T4G is itself a non-exposition. Sure, Calvin quotes Scripture to make some points, but so did many of the speakers at T4G. Some of the T4G sessions may not have been purely expositional, but they were certainly grounded in Scripture and biblically faithful.

By the way, your initial question is loaded to one side: When is it ever permissible for pastors NOT TO OBEY the biblical command to preach the Word?

The answer to that, obviously, is never. Never is one to disobey the commands of our Lord. The real question is, WHEN are preachers to preach the word and when is it okay to speak in a way that is not purely expositional. Surely there are qualifiers to the command, otherwise EVERY word out of their mouths, 24x7, would have to be expositional in order to be in obedience to the command. But as I have previously pointed out to you from Scripture, even Paul himself did not always exposit the word when talking to the church or church leaders.

I love you brother, but I think you are swatting at the air with this one.

SJ Camp said...

Once again, same vocabulary - different dictionary.

You seem to have an usual idea of what biblical exposition is. It simply means to "expose the meaning." Similar to Neh 8:8 - "to give the sense of it." Similar to the Apostle John when he said of our Lord in John 1:18 "that He 'explained' the Father" - the Greek word for explain means to exegete. All three share a purpose - to explain, give the sense and expose the actual meaning of what the text is saying.

What I find interesting is that you cannot site any Scripture in regards to the biblical command where Paul gives license to the contrary.

One of the key phrases that I would also like to hear your thoughts on in 2 Tim 2:1-2 is "in season and out of season". What do you think that means? When does it not apply? What are the boundaries of its scope?

I was on a forum yesterday with a group of pastors who were at the conference and brought up the exact same issues I have as well. I'm not certain how careful you listened to the messages that were not preached from the Word of God at T4G, it wasn't that they didn't expound any texts - but some rarely even mentioned Scripture at all.

I would humbly ask you to go to the Word and find where Paul instructs Timothy where not to use the Word in every aspect of his ministry. Do you believe that the Word of God is absolutely sufficient lacking nothing for all matters of life and godliness?

T4G is a good conference. But just how much more ministry could have been accomplished if all 8 men actually preached from the Word of God?

Now, I must go swat some more air... :-)

SJ Camp said...

I will say MacArthur, Piper, and CJ knocked it out of the park...

After listening to their messages a few different times, I would have to agree...

Grace and peace,

SJ Camp said...

To Mark and Bryan
Was just speaking about this issue with one of our faithful elders at The Cross Church and he wanted me to ask all of you who don't agree with the thrust of this article here this question: "What else is a man of God going to preach and proclaim if not the Word of God?" (cf, 119:97-101).

Very good question. I would like to hear your answer.

Tom Chantry said...

I wasn't at t4g and have no real knowledge of the conference, so I have little to say about this particular instance, but I find it interesting that it was pastors who spoke about the lack of exposition.

This is often an issue at conferences. Pastors often attend, and many of them come from small churches where they are always ministering the Word, and where they rarely sit under the preaching of the Word themselves. They, perhaps more than other conference attendees, hunger for the Word and sit expectantly waiting to be fed. A conference that is all history, or all practical "tips" - that conference is often a disappointment. It can even be a crushing disappointment to the man who must go home, unfed, and take up the work of feeding others, waiting months or longer before his next opportunity to listen to preaching.

SJ Camp said...

Very good insight. That sentiment was expressed by a few brothers I spoke with as well.

Thank you friend,

SJ Camp said...

May we constantly be reminded that the power to change lives is found in the powerful Word of God. Preach the Word!

Really good my brother! I thank the Lord for faithful men of God such as yourself who in season and out of season preach God's truth without compromise.

May your tribe increase...

SJ Camp said...

Is there ever a time for theological talks at a Pastor's Conference?

Yes!!! And I hope you believe that there is no theological discourse absent of God's Word? :-). Expound, teach, preach the Word of God is synonymous with sound doctrine and sound theology. Amen?

Appreciate you brother as always even if we don't agree on every jot and tittle...


Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

I still think we see an example in Scripture from Paul to the elders from Ephesus of an address and exhortation that was not an exposition of the word of God. You said before that it DID include an exposition because of v.27 (I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God), yet that statement is a recollection, not an action presently taking place during this address by Paul. Nowhere in this talk to the Ephesian leaders did Paul preach the word of God to them. I think it shows that a biblically faithful word can be spoken without it being an exposition.

Like I have said before, I am one who MUST have expository preaching each week, so I am not at all attempting to denigrate the preached word. I just think there are situations and circumstances where a biblically faithful word can be given without it having to be an actual exposition of Scripture.

SJ Camp said...

Bryan, Mark, Razor
You've been unable to answer any of my basic questions so far.

So let's try a different approach.

Q: when do think a man of God should preach the Word in season and out of season? (provide biblical evidence to support your conclusions).

Pastor Steve Camp
The Cross Church
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

Read the following by Barnes. Powerful!

Preach the word - The Word of God; the gospel. This was to be the main business of the life of Timothy, and Paul solemnly charges him in view of the certain coming of the Redeemer to judgment, to be faithful in the performance of it.

Be instant - The meaning here is, that he should be constant in this duty. Literally, " to stand by, or to stand fast by;" that is, he was to be pressing or urgent in the performance of this work. He was always to be at his post, and was to embrace every opportunity of making known the gospel. What Paul seems to have contemplated was not merely, that he should perform the duty at stated and regular times; but that he should press the matter as one who had the subject much at heart, and never lose an opportunity of making the gospel known.

In season - eukairoIn good time; opportunely; compare Mat 26:16; Luk 22:6; Mar 14:11. The sense is, when it could be conveniently done; when all things were favorable, and when there were no obstructions or hindrances. It may include the " stated and regular" seasons for public worship, but is not confined to them.

Out of season - akairo This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It is the opposite of the former, and means that a minister is to seek opportunities to preach the gospel even at such periods as might be inconvenient to himself, or when there might be hindrances and embarrassments, or when there was no stated appointment for preaching. He is not to confine himself to the appointed times of worship, or to preach only when it will be perfectly convenient for himself, but he is to have such an interest and earnestness in the work, that it will lead him to do it in the face of embarrassments and discouragements, and whenever he can find an opportunity. A man who is greatly intent on an object will seek every opportunity to promote it. He will not confine himself to stated times and places, but will present it everywhere, and at all times. A man, therefore, who merely confines himself to the stated seasons of preaching the gospel, or who merely preaches when it is convenient to himself, should not consider that he has come up to the requirement of the rule laid down by the apostle. He should preach in his private conversation, and in the intervals of his public labors, at the side of the sick bed, and wherever there is a prospect of doing good to any one. If his heart is full of love to the Saviour and to souls, he cannot help doing this.

SJ Camp said...

And consider the words of John Gill

Preach the word,....
Either Christ the essential Word, who is the sum and substance of the Gospel ministry; or the word of truth and faith, the Gospel of salvation, the word of righteousness, peace, and reconciliation by Christ; which is to be preached, or published, in like manner as heralds proclaim the will of their princes; openly, publicly, and with a loud voice, without adding to it, or taking from speaking out the whole, and keeping back no part of it; and that with all courage and boldness: some copies read, "the word of God"; and the Ethiopic version, "his word"; that is, the word of Christ:

be instant in season, out of season;
that is, be constant and assiduous in the work of the ministry; be always and wholly in it, either preparing for it, or performing it; or doing those things which are annexed to it, or follow upon it; redeem time, and take every opportunity of dispensing the mysteries of grace, as a faithful steward of them; not only make use of the common and stated seasons for the ministration of the word and ordinances, but embrace every other that offers; make use not only of those seasons which may seem commodious and advantageous both to preacher and hearer, and promise usefulness and success, but even such as may seem incommodious and disadvantageous to flesh and blood; such as times of persecution and opposition; but none of these things should deter and move from the preaching of the Gospel.

Tom Chantry said...

A question for you. (And I am with you on this - at least almost all the way. I am always deeply disappointed when a Christian conference has no or little exposition but a lot of anything else; I'm just trying to work out in my mind if there is any ever exception.)

What place do historical lectures have at conferences?

Tom Chantry said...

Or should I say, "...ever any exception..."

Yes, I believe I should put it that way. Sorry.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

I find it interesting that in your last few comments you did not preach the word, so there must be some qualifiers to the charge from Paul to Timothy as to when that takes place.

I also seem to remember James White asking you whether or not he was wrong to do a conference this past weekend on the subject of Islam. He also came to our church in Feb and did a conference on apologetics...in which there was some biblical exposition and also topical sessions on Mormons, JW's, bibical manuscript reliability, etc. Was he in violation of Paul's charge?

SJ Camp said...

Sure there is. But not to the supplanting of God's Word. Scripture takes precedence. And, IMHO, I don't think it is necessary to amputate God's Word from a vibrant discussion about redemptive history.

Consider Psalm 77:10-15, "10 Then I said, "It is my grief, That the right hand of the Most High has changed." 
    11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. 15 You have by Your power redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah."

Tom Chantry said...

I love history, and I read history, but for all that, I've been disappointed at conferences that are all history and no preaching.

That said, it seems to me that there is a place for historical lectures at certain conferences. The Founders Ministry, back when I attended their conferences, did this very well. Their whole focus is to recall the Convention to its historic roots, which are preeminently biblical. Their conferences are invariably a combination of historical lectures and biblical preaching. In my experience, preaching filled the main part of the conference, but there were always also historical lectures that could not be classified as "exposition" in any meaningful way.

What I am trying to work out is this: is that not a legitimate thing to do in such a setting? To demonstrate how the leaders of the past have struggled for their doctrinal and spiritual commitments can be significant. I would agree that when this trumps preaching, a conference wilts. I am just not willing to say that any non-expository lecture on history is necessarily a violation of the command to ministers to preach the word.

That said, I must acknowledge this: the most memorable and effective historical lecture I ever heard at a conference was on
William Carey. The speaker wove the text of Carey's most famous sermon into the discussion of Carey's life. It was brilliantly done. I wished all historical lectures could be that good.

So maybe the principle does hold: Scripture must always be proclaimed. I only hesitate to hold everyone who speaks on the history of the church to the standard of the very best lecture I ever heard!

I find this a fascinating discussion. I do wonder exactly where the line is to be drawn. It does seem to me that the discussion can only be legitimate, though, if we admit that the preponderance of any Christian ministry should be on biblical exposition. Any conference I have attended in which preaching is relegated to one or two messages has been, in my opinion, a colossal failure.

For that reason, the failure to recognize the preeminent position of preaching is a serious indictment on any ministry - even a conference.

SJ Camp said...

I find it fascinating that u r arguing against preaching th Word at Bible Conferences designed to equip pastors with the truth of the Word.

Four things:

1. You haven't answered my questions posited to you here.

2. My answers through Calvin, Barnes and Gill wer taken from their commentaries which were driven by their pulpit ministry.

3. You are struggling in understanding what biblical exposition is which I've tried to help you with here.

4. I discussed my views w James the other evening and on those things we were on the same page. Again, I've never heard James in any setting or seminar or conference not give the Word. Your point is moot.

Now, if you are able, please try and answer my simple question to you: when do you think the man of God should preach the Word? And what does "in season and out of season" mean? Not mean to you - but what does it actually mean?

Please use Scripture to define your answer if at all possible.

SJ Camp said...

Excellent! Thank you for your lucid interaction.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

My lack of a detailed reply at this point, although it will be seen by you as this, is not a sign that I cannot answer your questions. It is apparent that you will not address my examples either (especially Acts 20 and Paul's "failure" to preach the word to the Ephesian elders).

To characterize me as arguing against the preaching of the word is ludicrous.

Peace to you, brother.

cyd said...

The responsibility of feeding the souls of pastors who spend their lives feeding their flocks is a monumental task. Why offer mere academia - regardless of brilliant delivery - when they could be feasting on the very Word of God? Has it become mundane? Trite? Secondary? Do we really have better things to discuss at a conference entitled "Together for the GOSPEL"?

It's very disheartening.

From the pen of Puritan pastor/teacher William Gouge:

"It is God's word that does convert, quicken, comfort, and build up, or, on the other side, wound and beat down. What is the reason that there was so great an alteration made by the ministry of Christ and his disciples, by the apostles and others after them, indeed, by Luther, and other ministers of reformed churches? They did not preach traditions of elders like the scribes; nor men's inventions like the Roman Catholics do. They preached the pure word of God. The more purely God's word is preached, the more deeply it pierces and the more kindly it works."

SJ Camp said...

Very good - thank you. This is one of many reasons I love you and I married you - a woman who loves the Lord and His Word!

You have come to my blog to engage on this issue - and I have given you a forum for that. But my dear brother, you must answer some basic questions as well as pertaining to 2 Tim. 4:1-5. I understand that you and others are caught between the truth and a hard case on this issue. I wouldn't want to defend your position either.

"Preach the Word in season and out of season..." is the simple biblical command in discussion here. I would have hoped that you would have been able to at least state positively and negatively as to its scope and responsibility - but so far you haven't.

My blog is always open to you my friend if you ever care to expound what this text is actually saying and to answer the questions posited of you.

I'm just curious why you would continue argue to find exception clauses to that simple and all encompassing biblical duty?

Grace to you Brian.

Tom Chantry said...

The trouble with Acts 20 is the same as the trouble with taking the practice of the book of Acts as entirely normative for the church. It is "The Acts of the Apostles"

Paul was an apostle, which is to say a prophet of the highest rank. When he spoke to the elders of Ephesus, his prophetic challenge to them was taken down by Luke and written into Holy Scripture.

So to the question, "Where in Acts 20 does Paul expound the Word?" the answer is, "In verses 18 through 35." Meaning: he was himself delivering the Word of God. Proclamation of the Word of God may mean something different for a prophet or an apostle than it does for any other preacher.

For that reason, it seems wiser to look to the Epistles, in which common ministers like ourselves are told what to do, than it is to look to Acts, in which the Apostles of Christ exercised their often unique ministry.

SJ Camp said...

Paul was an apostle, which is to say a prophet of the highest rank. When he spoke to the elders of Ephesus, his prophetic challenge to them was taken down by Luke and written into Holy Scripture.

So to the question, "Where in Acts 20 does Paul expound the Word?" the answer is, "In verses 18 through 35." Meaning: he was himself delivering the Word of God. Proclamation of the Word of God may mean something different for a prophet or an apostle than it does for any other preacher.

I have made this assertion myself - thank you.

As Acts 2:42 states, "...they continued in the Apostles teaching." Their teaching, or epistles, were synonymous with Scripture (cp, 2 Pt. 3:15-16).

Not certain as to where the communication breakdown is with some of the well meaning brethren here. It is a simple issue for me as it apparently was for many of the great reformed pastors of redemptive history.

Grace to you and thank you for your thoughts on this important issue.


PS - I haven't seen any other emails from you. Oh wait, just saw a comment on FB. Will read and get back to you.

Mark | hereiblog said...

3. The conference where I was at I did confront some of the leadership with the lack of biblical focus and exposition. Had a few great discussions...

My point is that you didn't send numerous tweets nor blog about them. And the conference you will participate in next month has two sessions by James White which are not biblical expositions: How Did We Get the Bible? and The King James Only Controversy.

2. The well known apologist doesn't disagree.

I was really confused by this statement. So, I went and asked him right when I saw this and he does disagree with you on this issue. I can get the logs too. :)

Even Ligon Duncan in his address was apologetic about not preaching the Word - being relegated "to expound the word of providence." He knew some of the concerns about nonbiblically driven messages taking place. I appreciate his honest objective clarification.
...under what circumstance does a pastor have the freedom to opt out of honoring the biblical command to preach the Word? And define your answer biblically - not emotionally or pragmatically.

First, thanks so much of assigning motive. Apparently, we can't have an honest disagreement, but I must be emotional or pragmatic.

I'd say you just gave an example with Dr. Duncan here and then mine about with Dr. White where a pastor may not preach expositionally. Lectures like these are necessary for pastors/leaders/Christians to learn history, philosophy and apologetics. Even MacArthur writes that subjects such as marriage are topical and not expositional.

I would throw Systematic Theology in the realm of being topical too. Grudem defines it as - Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, "What does the whole Bible teach us today?" about any given topic.

1. You've never stated one Scriptural example as to what gives pastors the freedom not to honor the biblical command to preach the Word.

I saved this for last since I believe it is the crux of the problem where we talk past each other. It seems you are posing a loaded question. I could in turn ask you - Please give me one example from Scripture where pastors are commanded to always preach expositionally?

As stated the other night, a conference is not a formally organized church which is the context in which 2 Tim. was written. So, I have to ask is it your exegesis that 2 Tim 4:1-2 applies to church service as well as conferences and pastoral training classes? How do you explain that from the text? What does Paul mean when he says "preach the word?" Does he mean just the gospel (as it seems)? Or, does he mean expositionally preach only from Scripture?

As Brian brought up, Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:18-35. Paul is before the elders exhorting them, giving testimony, declaring his innocence based on his past preaching, etc., but he is not expositing Scripture. He is, however, giving practical instruction. Of course, we know this is Scripture for us today.

The point is, this is an example from Scripture of Paul not expositing. Just like when one is in a deacon or elder meeting there are topical issues that are addressed using biblical wisdom.

In addition to those topics I mentioned above, there is also the act of learning exegesis and exposition. Some would say that greek needs to be learned for one to be the best expositor/exegete one can be. A conference on greek exegesis would be very beneficial for pastors, but I don't see how learning koine greek is an exercise in "preaching the word."


SJ Camp said...

A few major corrections for you (though I appreciate you commenting).

1. The setting for 2 Timothy was Paul in prison writing his last will and testamont to his true son in the faith Timothy. Not a formally organized church as you state.

2. I never heard any conference audio from the other event. But what I did hear I talked about directly w th organizers.

3. I appreciated Ligon's forthrifgtness.

4. R u kidding me? Systematic Theology is addressing various doctrinal issues from the Scriptures.

5. You still can't answer my simple questions or have provided any interpretation to 2 Tim. 4:1-5.

6. In my dialogue with Doc, he didn't say to me that he categorically disagreed. We talked through different aspects of this matter which I enjoyed immensely. (and I did copy my log with him. Yours I'm not interested in. Please do not reference my friendship and/or ministerial interaction with Doc again. It is not for you to comment on from the bleachers.)

I would encourage you to read Tom Chantry's comments here and Gill and Barnes as well. They will help you.

Grace and peace,
Psalm 119:54

SJ Camp said...

I just counseled a young woman and we had a good meeting. What made it beneficial was addressing the issues she was verbalizing from the Word of God.

The Word was expounded (the sense of it given and explained) and proclaimed (encouraged to obey its truths and follow Jesus). We talked about the character of God out of the Psalms (Ps 139; 63; 103); the Word of God out of Paul's Epistles (2 Cor. 10:1-6; 2 Tim. 3-4); the nature of Christ out of Hebrews (2, 13); and the sufficiency of our Lord out of Ephesians (1, 3, 6).

What a joy as a pastor to be able to go to God's Word and find clear instruction, wisdom, and counsel pertaining to "all matters of life and godliness." The Word is truly sufficient - and by it the man of God made complete; thoroughly equipped; lacking nothing (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Amen?

Now, I could have sent this girl to a psychiatrist or psychologist and let them treat her as just another test case - charging her hundreds if not thousands of dollars with possibly putting her on a long list of anti-depressant drugs, etc.

How thankful I am to the Lord for His grace in this situation that I trust will bring clarity and healing to every area of her life.

Psalm 119:24 "Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors."

RazorsKiss said...


Your question requires context - examination of the presuppositions brought to the table - which I believe are the grounds of the controversy here.

My first question to you, along those lines - is preaching the only office an elder fills?

Second, in the context of the verse you cite, what other things are listed?

Third, as I'm curious, and I didn't see it specifically noted in either the post or the comments: what is your objection to, specifically? I understand that you say they didn't all exposit - but what, precisely, was objectionable? It's hard to recognize or respond to a position when it's a general "they didn't do _x_" when it isn't clearly defined what they DID do, instead. Who? What? When? How? Where? Why? Without any of that information, it's not even clear what you are objecting to.
Fourthly, I noted the comment concerning Dr. Duncan - but I'm hard-pressed to find what exactly your objection is to his presentation. For instance - is the teaching of extra-Biblical history something that pastors should not do? How would you do such a thing expositionally? I have taught a class on apologetics at my church. I've also taught a class on church history. Is either pursuit, if not done expositionally, unbiblical in your view?

I do appreciate your zeal, but I'm rather confused as I said, to what exactly you are objecting to. I would also note that if what seems to be true about what we're hearing you say, there is no place for apologetics, and no place for teaching of any subject whatsoever, apart from exposition of Scripture. Obviously, apologetics is deeply spiritual - but if what we're getting from your position is what you're really saying, you've tossed every form of apologetic, and every form of non-expositional teaching of every subject whatsoever under the bus - which is why we're concerned.

I don't know you very well, and thus have no vested interest in the topic other than attempting to ascertain what exactly your position is. Perhaps it's that I'm not reading you clearly, but I've not seen where you have addressed how far your position extends into all areas of life. That is my concern, and that of others.

I'm not trying to avoid your question - but I'm a presuppositionalist, of course, and I want to know what foundation your are proceeding from when asking the question you do.

Thank you,

RazorsKiss said...

Note: I meant to say "Scriptural" instead of "spiritual". No idea why I typed the other.

SJ Camp said...

Thx for your comment. Excellent tone and thoughtful. I appreciated it.

I just got home from a long day at the church. Several counseling sessions; praise team practice; studying for Sunday sermon; ministering to a very physically sick woman in our church tonight, etc.

Needless to say I will be delighted to answer you in the morning.

Your opinions of what I stand for on several items couldn't be farther off the mark and it will be my joy to hopefully bring clarity to you. I have literally heard from hundreds of men from around the country this past week that don't understand where you all have been coming from. You all have been less than lucid.

It is my sincere prayer to see you, Mark and others see these things from a clear biblical perspective rather than a pragmatic one.

Grace to you,
Pastor Steve Camp
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

1. You said, My first question to you, along those lines - is preaching the only office an elder fills?

Preaching is not an office; it is one function of being an elder. As you know, there are three words that describe the ministry of the pastor: presbuteros - Elder; episkopos - Overseer; and poimaino - Shepherd. 1 Peter 5:1-2 as well as Acts 20:17, 28 uses all three terms.

The duty of the pastor is "the ministry of the Word and prayer" (Acts 6:4). That overall banner covers discipleship, preaching, teaching, proclaiming the gospel, church restoration, worship, counseling, prayer, apologetics, etc. According to 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 4:1-5 that ministry of the Word has several components as well: to reprove, rebuke, correct, train in righteousness, teach, exhort, etc.

The ultimate goal of that office, as with the service of any Christian, is the glory of God. But for those in pastoral ministry, there is this goal as well: "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ." -Col.1:28-29

Paul also defines pastoral ministry as being "servants of Christ; stewards of the mysteries; and that a steward must be found faithful." (1 Cor.4:1-2)

One of the qualifiers for being an elder/overseer/pastor is the didaktikon - "able to teach" (1 Tim. 3:2). This separates the office of elder from the office of the deacon (though the character requirements are virtually identical.) So a primary function of the pastor is to preach and teach in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict (cf, Titus 1:9).

This extends to the gospel as well - "doing the work of an evangelist." We are called to defend the faith (Jude 3); demonstrate it (Phil. 1:27); share it (Phil. 1:5); suffer for it (2 Tim. 1:8); to proclaim it (1 Cor. 9:16); not be ashamed of it (Roms. 1:16-17); be empowered by it (1 Thess. 1:5); guard it (1 Tim. 6:20); and be wholly devoted to it (Gal. 1:6-9). And we proclaim this gospel to others by "the terror of the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:9-11).

Now this function is not bound to a pulpit only on a Sunday morning organized worship service. The texts of Scripture above do not prescribe such prohibition. It is the life-blood of a genuine pastor that this is what marks him 24/7 - not just in a worship service on Sunday. To sequestor any man of God solely to that narrow time would be legalistic and would lower his divine charge and calling to an employee.

Lastly, in Hebrews we are given a further charge: "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." -Heb.13:17

Each of us in pastoral ministry are given the duty to watch over the souls to whom we are servants of Christ to. To watch over here, btw, is episkopos - overseer. One day we will have to give an account before the Lord.

This ministry of the Word we are to do "in season and out of season." As stated before here on this thread by myself and men of God such as Barnes and Gill, this means under all circumstances, situations, and opportunities afforded us in ministry as we represent the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just under prescribed, recognized times; but when it is not convenient as well. We see this in the lives of our Lord, Paul, Peter, etc. Whether it be in a home fellowship group; a worship service; a one on one encounter in the neighborhood; discipleship with others; counseling; evangelism; in prison, at s soup kitchen line; while at the market; in the parking lot after a service; on a blog; when we defend the faith in public arenas; and even in a Bible conference - the man of God must be at the Lord's call 24/7 to minister to others.

Must go for now. Duty at the church calls. Will respond more later.

Pastor Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

You said, Second, in the context of the verse you cite, what other things are listed?

Already answered.

You said, Third, as I'm curious, and I didn't see it specifically noted in either the post or the comments: what is your objection to, specifically?

It's been widely mentioned specifically... The objection is that men of God gathered under the banner "Together for the Gospel" and whose article 4 states specifically their dedication to expository preaching in the proclamation of God's Word - didn't. It's that simple. Either you preach the Word or you don't. Half of the men giving a platform to 7,000 other pastors and church leaders did not proclaim God's Word to which they are bound by sovereign duty to do (2 Tim.4:1-5).

Consider Acts 13-17 the number of times the Apostle says that he was ministering the Word; or that the Word was multiplying among them daily; or the Word of the Lord spread rapidly, etc. Whether it was to a group of elders; to a few in discipleship; in a synagogue; at a home church; on a missionary journey; the marketplace; before governors or kings, or with the Stoic philosophers on Mars Hill - Paul never failed to preach the Word, reason from the Word, proclaim the Word, give the sense of the Word, etc.

That is the issue here. There is a growing trend to not have to preach the Word when given an opportunity to do so. This is grievous and unconscionable. It certainly is foreign to the apostles.

My repeated question for some of you contending that it does not have to be preached at a Bible conference - is to prove it biblically. So I ask you once again: when can you violate the biblical command to preach the Word? Under what conditions can the man of God make optional to fulfill this sacred charge?

And mind you, as a dear pastor friend of mine reminded me today - to violate a biblical command is sin!

SJ Camp said...

You said, Obviously, apologetics is deeply spiritual - but if what we're getting from your position is what you're really saying, you've tossed every form of apologetic, and every form of non-expositional teaching of every subject whatsoever under the bus - which is why we're concerned.

This is categorically not true; I have never said this... nor believe this.

Nice try... but no.

Presuppositional apologetics are deeply rooted in Scripture and cannot be divorced from God's Word.

My question is: why are you throwing biblical apologetics under the bus to defend academics in place of God's Word?

5ptsalt.com said...


Just for a moment, let's turn the tables.

Can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt in Scripture where every time Christians gathered, the word was exposited? Be careful brother, don't let your pride dig you a hole you can't crawl out of. ;)

SJ Camp said...

Your scenario is not what's in question - for it would not be correct. The audience is not what determines the command of Scripture being preached.

It is when the man of God is given an opportunity for ministry does he "give the sense" of the Word? That is quite different.

What I think is interesting is that I have to try and persuade reformed brethren that at a Bible conference dedicated to gathering around the truth of the gospel AND believes in their founding articles in biblical exposition to actually preach the Bible!

It's not pride dear brother that is the motivation. Only the desire to honor the standard of God's Word rightly divided on this issue.

If you can demonstrate where the biblical command in 2 Tim. 4:1-5 can be treated as optional by men of God in the Scriptures, I will gladly repent.

Yours for the Master's use,
Pastor Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

Thanks for your response.

There are three things necessary at this juncture:

1. I don't allow links from a comment section to take any discussion of any post to another site. Say what you want to say here as intended by the rules of this blog. Therefore your comment has been deleted. Please repost any of it you may desire here so that we can carry on this discussion at COT. Thank you.

2. You have not stated any thoughts of yours concerning 2 Tim. 4:1-5. This is important for you to do. I don't mean this in any sort of demeaning manner, but this is a typical tactic used by younger men in the blogosphere and one which I do not permit here.

Say what you will; no drive-bys; but you must also defend your views here according to the rules of this blog.

3. As a pastor I have gone out of my way to answer you and so far you have not reciprocated.

If you choose to engage on this issue biblically you are welcome here. If you choose not to answer any of the questions so directed to you then I wish you well and may the Lord bless you in all you do for His glory and His gospel.

Pastor Steve

Sports4Him said...

I attended T4G this year with a number of the men from our church and (as their pastor)I found myself apologizing to our guys that the Word of God was not the focal point of a number of the "talks". In fact, I was more than disappointed that for several of the "talks" we really didn't even need our Bibles.

This concerned me at the conference and I addressed this with our guys. But reading some of the comments here has really opened my eyes that good men who (I am sure) love the Lord and His truth--do not seem to grasp what Steve is trying to lovingly but resolutely communicate. I personally agree with Steve and all that he has said, and I am bit surprised that there would be such a debate among those who I would assume hold to the veracity, authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

I greatly appreciate each of speakers at T4G. I have their books, I listen to their sermons and I have long appreciated their heartbeat for the gospel. Many of the T4G guys have been very instrumental in my life and ministry as a pastor. But the thing I have most appreciated about them is their willingness to share their giftedness in exposting Scripture.

So as I read some of the comments here, it is curious to me why their deviation from the Bible would be trumpeted as good and acceptable.

Did anyone else find it curious that in one of the "talks" when speaking about the evolution of liberalism it was rightly mentioned that it was because of a gradual departure from the Scriptures...but the Scriptures were not used in the refutation?

Gentlemen, I don't plan to comment further, but to argue that it is perfectly acceptable (and Scriptural)to not use the Bible at a Bible conference is quite a stretch.

Steve, I believe you have gone well beyond the call of duty in providing your readers with this careful admonition. I really don't know what else you could possibly add to what you have already graciously provided. I appreciate your heart for the Word and the opportunity to carefully examine this apparently unpopular issue. Thanks again brother!

RazorsKiss said...

Then feel free to comment on my blog :) As I said in that post, I want to know what your objection IS before I answer questions concerning *my* questions, that I don't feel have been sufficiently answered. Also, the comment was 3 times longer than your character limit, or thereabouts. Posting that would have violated another rule, methinks.

In any case, if you're not interested in further discussion, that's fine. I'm not interested in discussing further until I know what your objection is specifically about, and have it defined :) Thanks!


P.S. - Why don't you get a blog with trackbacks? Anything but blogger? Eww :)

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

Do you realize you have included men like James White into this declaration of what you call grievous and unconscionable?

James conducted 6 sessions at our church in February, plus a SS lesson and sermon message on Sunday. Out of those sessions, maybe two were expository. The rest were on topics like Mormons, JW's, NT manuscript reliability, etc.

I bring up James because he is a personal example I can use who edified our church body and those from the surrounding areas who attended...and he did so without preaching the Word every session. Are you prepared to declare that James is also among those who are doing grievous and unconscionable things at conferences? If not, then you are being a hypocrite, sir.

And you better believe that I and others will be watching the CRI conference in Florida very closely to see if EVERY message is expositional and, if not, to see if you decry its existence as you have the T4G conference.

SJ Camp said...

You've been blogging long enough to know two certainties:

1. This is a dialogue
2. You don't set the rules of that here.

Did you read Sports4Him comment? It's obvious what the issue is my brother and it has been stated here several times. But by alL accounts, I do understand that you may not be ready to comment on what a text of Scripture means and how it applies to biblical ministry. I can respect that.

When you are able you are welcome here anytime.

Guard The Trust,
Pastor Steve
1 Peter 3:15-17

SJ Camp said...

You said, Do you realize you have included men like James White into this declaration of what you call grievous and unconscionable?

James conducted 6 sessions at our church in February, plus a SS lesson and sermon message on Sunday. Out of those sessions, maybe two were expository. The rest were on topics like Mormons, JW's, NT manuscript reliability, etc.

First. This is not true brother. I have not decried James in this context at all. I have chatted with James about this issue and appreciate his thoughts greatly.

Secondly, you are superimposing the issue under discussion here to what took place in your church this past February as if I was aware of it, heard the lectures, and commented on it - none of which has taken place. Now that is unconscionable!

If you would be so kind to forward those link(s) on to me for review it would be my delight. I always enjoy hearing James. I have heard him many many times and over the years I have never once heard him not include Scripture as his foundation or defense of the once for all delivered to the saints faith.

I have stated before here with you, I think you might want to rethink your definition of "expository" which so far I would not ascribe. But, you attribute your meaning to your conference as if I endorse that meaning and then want to hold me accountable to something I have not said or have no context for. And it's in this phantom scenario that you have constructed you are content to label me a hypocrite. Unfortunate to say the least.

I have appreciated you throughout the years of blogging Brian and I'm not certain why you have taken the stance or tone you have with me here. Nonetheless, you are my brother in the Lord and I appreciate what you do for the kingdom.

I will continue to pray for you.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

Here is what rule seven of my blog states for future dialogue:

7. You may not copy any comment thread or portion thereof (except your own) and reproduce or distribute them either electronically or in printed form without written permission from the blog administrator. To do so will be to violate the copyright and license provisions of this blog. You may copy a portion of any article (a few paragraphs) and link back to this site. You may not link to your blog to redirect any discussion on any article to promote your own site. Please keep the discussion here as intended. Reproducing the entire contents of any article posted at COT at another site, book, magazine, newsletter, mailing, etc. requires written permission from the blog administrator. This does not apply to unedited works that are already public domain reproduced here.

I know you will honor this...

RazorsKiss said...

Are you saying that you want me to take my post down, by "keep the discussion here, as intended"?

I really don't want to, as 1) The content I created was original, responding to your points, linking to them, and attributing them 2) Blogger's comment system royally stinks and 3) I'd like this to be an issue discussed between blogs, as your character limit is exceptionally small. Comment sections in general, aside from forums, are the single worst communication medium on the internet.

Well, then there's Twitter. It's in it's own zip code of stink.


RobGuest said...

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." 2 Tim 4:3-4. This is why Paul gives the great command to Timothy to preach in season and out of season and why this issue of when is it acceptable to not exposit God's Word is so huge. Because we give into or own evl passions, because we can so easily wander away and listen to our own myths, there is never a time when we should not preach the word of God first to ourselves and then to whatever audience God has graced us with. Whether at church, at a conference, at school, at work, at home, the Word must be lived out in our lives. Period. I appreciate all the thoughts on this, but bottom line this is a command, a charge from God to all pastors. Preach the Word, live it out in all areas of your life. "Be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry". vs 4-5. I can't add any more to that.

Humbly yours,


Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

To exposit is to explain or give the meaning of, simple as that. If you do not hold to that definition of what an exposition is, then what do you consider to be an exposition?

Honestly, it appears your own definition has changed since you began this critique against the T4G speakers (except for MacArthur, of course). First Mac was the only one who exposited Scripture, then you gave some props to Piper, and more recently you included Thabiti and C.J. in the group that did not violate what in the beginning only Mac did not violate. Steve, it's actually becoming quite hard to follow what it is exactly that you are upset about! I'll grant that Piper's session was quite expositional, actually much more so than MacArthur's. But neither Thabiti nor C.J. gave an exposition of a text of Scripture.

Now, when I mention James and his conference here in GA, your definition of exposition seems to have changed again to merely mean including Scripture as a foundation or defense. Does that mean all one has to do to qualify for your acceptable group is reference Scripture in their message? Is that really exposition?

I have already spent too much time on this, and have given you even more fodder to comment on. Nite...

SJ Camp said...

Some good thoughts.

You said, "To exposit is to explain or give the meaning of, simple as that." Fully agree! That is why, under that definition, I confidently say (for example) that CJ exposited the text of 2 Tim. 4:1-5. He explained its meaning; and he did so in proper context (both historically, exegetically, and biblically).

That is why when an apologist, like a James White, unfolds the meaning of several texts of God's Word either in a debate or a seminar or a preachment, etc. - it all can be exposition. Are all sermons? Of course not. But biblically I believe the command to preach the Word is fulfilled. I don't believe Paul is exclusively speaking just about a 45 minute sermon, given on a Sunday morning, once a week.

I think you and I maybe closer on this than we think...

SJ Camp said...

To All
Here is a great example of what I'm speaking about here:

I watched Larry King Live tonight. His program was on "Being Gay and Christian." A CCM artist recently came out of the closet and she was a guest tonight and a main topic of discussion.

Larry had on a pastor who was not ready for this program. He couldn't find the Word and apply it rightly if he tried. Sigh.

This applies to this thread on this basis: if he had preached the Word on this subject; corrected, reproved, exhorted from its pages, this might have been a program with redemptive value to it. But nonetheless, he gave his words which have no power vs dealing with this issue biblically and allowing the Spirit of God to minister its truth to this woman.

This was proof positive that even at Bible conferences attended mostly by pastors and church leaders, one should never take for granted their need to be taught the Scriptures.

What was most regrettable tonight for me was that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was not presented.

SJ Camp said...

You said, Because we give into or own evl passions, because we can so easily wander away and listen to our own myths, there is never a time when we should not preach the word of God first to ourselves and then to whatever audience God has graced us with.

Amen my brother! Well said.

I am honored to be your pastor and to serve with you in ministry at The Cross Church. How grateful and humbled I am to be co-laborers in Christ with men after God's own heart such as yourself who hold in high esteem the Word of God and the scope of its influence and importance.

Good to have you weigh in on this crucial issue. Wonderful post.

SJ Camp said...

Great and Timely Quote
"There is but one message that can include the whole world, in spite of all divisions and distinctions. There is but one power that can bring all men together and unite them and bring them to true brotherhood. There is but one solution to the problem of individual man and of the whole world. It is the ‘gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.’

We have but to believe on Him, to yield ourselves to Him, and to begin to make of Him our only boast here and now, and it is assured."

- Lloyd-Jones, Martyn. The Plight of Man and the Power of God. Christian Heritage, 2009. 119. Print.

And may we faithfully preach and proclaim its truth given any opportunity when representing the Lord Jesus Christ!

SJ Camp said...

Thx for the discussion here. I've heard from many pastors around the country who are grateful for this forum on this issue. It's caused many, including myself, to reevaluate this issue and the scope of its influence.

To God be the glory as we all press on to understand more fully our calling and duty in serving Jesus.

This thread is now closed.

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