05 Evangelism Conference draws high of 2,300 to FBC Euless despite cold and rain




EULESS?Cold, damp weather didn’t keep the 2,300 people who attended the opening session of the Empower Evangelism Conference from being challenged to present Jesus as God’s communication of himself to mankind and to worship him with our minds as well as our hearts.

The opening session at First Baptist Church of Euless Jan. 31 drew the conference’s largest crowd and despite dank conditions, the best weather of the three-day meeting that carried the theme “Jesus: Hope of Glory.” Throughout, conference speakers challenged those attending toward holiness, personal integrity and empathy toward sinners.

Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson and Houston-area evangelist Voddie Baucham preached during the first session. Also during the opening session, SBTC Evangelism Director Don Cass presented Roy Fish, distinguished professor emeritus of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary, with the 2005 W.A. Criswell Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Evangelism.

Cass also announced a new award to be given in Fish’s honor: the Roy Fish Lifetime Achievement Award for Vocational Evangelism.

Fish has written numerous books, preached countless sermons and taught thousands of pastors and evangelists during his long ministry.

On Tuesday night, dozens prayed at the altar while others kneeled in the aisles as First Baptist Church of Dallas Pastor Mac Brunson, after preaching from Jeremiah 8 on Israel’s stubborn unrepentance, called his listeners to examine themselves and lay down any unconfessed sin (See story, page 9).

“2005: Year of Double Harvest”?a challenge to double baptisms?was a big-screen backdrop for many of the platform guests, which ranged from Patterson to humorist Sylvia Harney to Christian musicians Larnelle Harris and Jaci Velasquez.

PAIGE PATTERSON

Taking from the conference theme, “Jesus: Hope of Glory,” Patterson posed the question, “Why talk about Jesus?”

Christianity is not about the inerrancy of the Bible, nor about the premillenial return of Jesus Christ, but “Christianity is about Jesus Christ, who he is, what he did and what he is going to do next,” Patterson said.

Preaching from John 1, Patterson explained that Christ is noted as the Word or “Logos” who existed eternally with God, who also was God, and through whom all things were made. Understanding John’s gospel is key to understanding the whole Bible, Patterson said. “There was never a time that Jesus was not.”

Patterson said the word that carried weight in the first few verses of John is the Logos?the communication of God to man.

In John 1:14, “? the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” and while the Word always was, he wasn’t always flesh. “And the remarkable development of Bethlehem is that the eternal God became man. The Word became flesh. ? When Mary held that little baby in Bethlehem in her arms and looked into his face, do you know whose face she looked into? The face of the eternal God.”

When he became flesh, the Scripture teaches that we had opportunity to “carefully observe him.”

“People say, ‘Oh, if I could just see God. Look at Jesus and you’ll see God.'”

In fact, Patterson said the earliest and best New Testament manuscripts render in John 1:18, “the only begotten Son,” as in the King James, as literally “the only begotten Theos (God)”?a clear statement of Christ’s deity.

“I rarely pick a fight with the King James version. It’s good enough for Paul, it’s good enough to me,” Patterson quipped. “But I’ll pick a little one right here. Here it is: The best manuscripts ? the earliest ones we’ve got of the New Testament all say Theos, ‘the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared him.’ My friend, that verse is a clear statement that Jesus is God.

“He has exegeted God for us; he explains God in such a way that we can know him.”

Voddie Baucham

Voddie Baucham of Spring, near Houston, told of the passion God gave him to communicate the gospel to individuals without neglecting or despising the mind.

“For whatever reason we have become so incredibly anti-intellectual in the modern American church, particularly among Southern Baptists, that we treat head knowledge like a disease from which we need to be cured.”

Baucham said, “I fully expect somebody to come up to me one day and say, “‘You know brother, I’m doing much better, but I went to church, got a shot and now I’m stupid and in love with Jesus and everything is alright.'” Insisting that God does not despise the mind, Baucham said, “I yearn for us to understand the significance of the anti-intellectualism that we display when it com

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