Tonight thousands of people across the country and around the world will participate in the Secret Church Simulcast with David Platt. This is a live event broadcast from the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL where Platt is senior pastor. You may recognize the name, as he is author of the New York Times best-seller Radical — and Radical Together.
A number of churches and small groups across the country will join this event live where they are, thanks to the miracle of modern technology. Platt has held ‘Secret Church‘ for several years, and it has now become part of the disciple-making DNA of this local church. Held twice each year, Secret Church continues to draw people from all over the country — so much so that overflow seating is necessary on-site. This in-depth time of Bible study, worship, and prayer is intended to help us identify with the many Christ-followers who meet in secret all over the world — not so much out of fear of persecution as devotion to Christ.
As was the case on Good Friday of this year, LifeWay Christian Resources has partnered with Platt’s mission organization, Disciple-Making International, to make this experience available on a whole new level. Platt had originally planned to speak on the subject of ‘Heaven, Hell, and the End of the World.’ And that is a topic of great interest and certainly worthy of discussion. However, Platt decided to shift the focus for this session to ‘Family, Marriage, Sex, and the Gospel.’ He says that this change was made in response to many of the issues showing up in major ways throughout American society today. As a pastor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I must say that I am absolutely thrilled to see someone willing to take on topics such as marriage, divorce, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, singleness, adoption, abortion, and pornography — just to name a few. During six hours of intense study, Secret Church participants will receive biblical teaching and instruction regarding issues that, quite frankly, many pastors — even in evangelical churches — are afraid to tackle for fear of offending others. I am reminded over and over that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is and should be offensive, because we are all sinners standing in need of God’s mercy and grace.
Now I understand that Friday nights in the fall are full of lots of possibilities for activities and entertainment. High school football is still king, especially in the deep South, and many school systems are also enjoying a few days for ‘fall break.’ However, I’m going to challenge you to shift your focus for this one Friday night. We have lots of people sitting in our pews every Sunday who honestly have no real clue about what the Bible has to say about some of these specific issues that are plaguing our culture today, bearing constant evidence of the steady and accelerating decay of Christian values. It was just yesterday that someone said to me, “How do we know homosexuality is wrong? Aren’t people just born that way? The Bible seems to contradict itself.”
Friends, we not only need to know what we believe; we also need to know why we believe it — and how to communicate the truths of Scripture to those in our circles of influence. I’m convinced that it’s only when each individual believer decides for him- or herself to be the salt and light Christ calls us to be, that we will ever see spiritual renewal in our land.
In a recent interview with Trevin Wax, Platt recounted this powerful quote from author Daniel Heimbauch:
“The stakes in the current conflict over sex are more critical, more central, and more essential than in any controversy the church has ever known. This is a momentous statement, but I make it soberly, without exaggeration. Conflict over sex these days is not just challenging tradition, orthodoxy, and respect for authority in areas such as ordination, marriage, and gender roles. And it does not just affect critically important doctrines like the sanctity of human life, the authority and trustworthiness of scripture, the Trinity, and the incarnation of Christ. Rather, war over sex among Christians is now raging over absolutely essential matters of faith without which no one can truly be a Christian in the first place—matters such as sin, salvation, the gospel, and the identify of God himself.”
In his sermon series, Attachment: The Gospel and Our Families, David Platt said,
“There is no question that the picture of a Christ-centered family in our culture is under attack. And there’s no question that the things the Bible teaches us will set us, in many ways, against the culture in which we live. We’ve got to decide from the very beginning whether or not we want to be molded into what our culture says is right, or if we want to be molded into what God says is right. This is not about cultural convenience.”
I couldn’t agree more. All that said, let me share a few comments from respected Christian leaders that help shed light on the fundamental importance of tonight’s topic of study:
“There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage. Interviews with young adults suggest that they want their initial marriage to last, but are not particularly optimistic about that possibility. There is also evidence that many young people are moving toward embracing the idea of serial marriage, in which a person gets married two or three times, seeking a different partner for each phase of their adult life.” – GEORGE BARNA, The Barna Group [Full Article Here]
ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
“Our authority to speak to the needs of our nation today is the Scripture. The Scriptures teach that there are absolutes and that there is such a thing as right and wrong. Truth is never tolerant of a lie. The real battleground around this debate on homosexual marriage begins with the question: Who is your authority? We believe that the timeless truth of Holy Scripture gives us the authoritative blueprints for life. We respect those who wish to deny the truth of Scripture. We would ask for a mutual respect in return.” – DENNIS RAINEY and BOB LEPINE, FamilyLife Ministries [Full Article Here]
“The reality is that pornography is the most abused ‘drug’ in our country and sexual addiction is the addiction of choice among Christians. Based on surveys conducted by Christianity Today, 47 percent say porn is a ‘major problem’ in their homes and 51 percent of ministers say it’s their biggest temptation. For 37 percent, it’s a current struggle.” – MARNIE FERREE, Recovering Sex Addict, Marriage Therapist, and Speaker [Full Article Here]
As the above statements indicate, barring divine intervention, the moral collapse of our culture is imminent. We can and we must do a better job of studying God’s Word, applying God’s Word to our daily lives, and communicating the truth of God’s Word at every opportunity. I have no doubt that your participation in tonight’s session of Secret Church will help equip you to do just that.
The Secret Church Simulcast is scheduled for tonight from 6:00 p.m. to midnight (CST). Click here to find a host site near you.
Watch the brief promotional video: