Welcome! We have chosen this issue to highlight our 2008 Discipleship Conference, Making Visible God’s Invisible Kingdom, which took place Nov. 13-15, 2008. This conference was strategic to the PCA not simply because of the speakers, program, or arrangements, but because it was about the kingdom of God, remembering that our Lord came preaching the Good News about the kingdom. You can read the summary inside, but you can also take advantage of CDs and DVDs from the conference.
They are available from the CEP Bookstore at www.cepbookstore.com or 1.800.283.1357. It has been a great encouragement to the CEP committee and staff to receive e-mails, evaluations, phone calls, and personal comments from attendees. They have underscored the tactical importance of the conference. If the church is ever going to rise above mediocrity and really make a difference in the world, it cannot be like the world in its life and ministry nor can it embrace a self-centered, isolated view of Christianity. CEP prayed, worked, and planned for a kingdom focus with the hopes that God might use the PCA to challenge and model for other churches a kingdom perspective– the foremost thing on Jesus’ agenda. His message was the Good News, sealed in the death and resurrection of our Lord but totally inclusive with Christ the King.
“Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God,” Rev. 12:10. The church is plagued with a capitulation to the enemy’s tactics, as he wages war on the church. This is because, as the accuser, he is also the deceiver. We were reminded by Dr. Christian Smith at the conference that the best description of today’s religion in America is “moralistic, therapeutic, deism,” which has been handed down from the previous generation. Today’s church is quite vulnerable to Satan because it is so unaware of his clever deceitful tactics. Sunday after Sunday, thousands upon thousands hear nothing more than the above description of religion presented– no gospel of salvation, no message of the kingdom, and no submission to the authority of Christ, all in the name of religion and Christianity. Revelation continues to tell us that the dragon (Satan) seeks to destroy the church, but he is not successful against those who keep God’s commandments and are faithful to the testimony of Jesus. God keeps His covenantal promise and “the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.”
Through adult training and resources, the Sunday school curriculum and program, and ministry to the leadership in the church, CEP is committed to using its energies to challenge, assist, and remind the church of its role of making kingdom disciples. We are further committed to helping churches coordinate an effective strategy with their covenant families through the home, school, and church. CEP also conducts training conferences and makes resources available to help local church leaders be more effective in their various discipleship roles. The book reviews in this issue have been carefully chosen, and we believe they are important books that church leaders and teachers should know about and read.
We use Equip to Disciple not only to highlight books and events such as the 2008 Discipleship Conference, but to also keep the local leadership aware of upcoming events and other resources that can assist and encourage them. As you read the highlights of the conference, my hope is that you will be encouraged and challenged to utilize the recordings from the conference.