I would like to give the impression that there were other speakers at the Conference, but unfortunately Rich Bledsoe was one of the only speakers I was able to hear for consecutive lectures, so most of what I got out of it came from him; this is not to discredit the vast wisdom of the other speakers (if you couldn’t attend the conference, I recommend the mp3s).
Following up on his discussion of tribalism, he made an interesting comment on what this means. Both now and then, we are obsessed with glory. In the days of tribalism, we were obsessed with being glorious: today, with the opposite of glory, shame.
And in order to make any reformative progress, this issue of glory must first be addressed.
We move from the aesthetic to the ethical.
Pastor Randy Booth, in his exhortation to ministers, reinforced the principle that Paul tells the young pastor Timothy in Ephesians: the world will change, it will refuse to listen, it will not heed. Yet the Gospel never changes: it remains the same from generation to generation, and we preach it regardless of how it is received.
Because it is not the receiver who determines the efficacy of the Word: it is the Word itself.
In the midst of changing things, Paul is telling us to be the unchanging Thing.
The Gospel affects those around it: it is not affected in the slightest by the persecution we know the Church will receive. We welcome that persecution because it shows that we are having an effect.
The Gospel will change the world. Despite how it may seem, despite the many who turn a deaf ear, despite the hatred of the world, the coming of Christ is inevitable and His dominion will cover the world as the waters cover the sea.