By John Greening
The growing trend in our Western culture of people having “non-Christian faith” or “no faith/unaffiliated” comes as no surprise. Individuals in these classifications, as designated by the Barna Group, are the people our churches are endeavoring to reach. Additionally, pastors and teachers increasingly find themselves ministering to congregations influenced by the worldviews of those of “non-faith.”
These cultural realities demand that the church assess its readiness to communicate the gospel and teach the Word. The gospel and the Word do not change, but we must contextualize our communication through choosing effective means of engaging people, asking questions, and giving explanations.
Recently I listened to a conversation featuring Tim Keller and Russell Moore in “How Sharing the Gospel in Our Secular Age Is Different,” a Gospel Coalition online video. Russell Moore makes an important point by using a hypothetical illustration from James K. A. Smith’s book How (Not) to Be Secular. Smith describes a missions trip of evangelicals traveling from the Bible Belt to Portland, where they learn what people think about life after death by asking, “What would you say to God if He asked you why He should let you into Heaven?” Moore explains, “It is not just about different answers but different questions. No one in Portland is consciously thinking about the question, How do I get into Heaven? So you have to come at it in a different way.”
This cultural shift requires our churches to refine their manner of speaking to and with people, rather than past them. Schools training students for careers in church-related fields must equip their students with a functional Christian worldview to discern the times, apply the Word of God, and articulate truth in a relevant manner.
In staying true to its mission, Regular Baptist Press must produce resources for churches to use in teaching the Bible so people of all ages can know and live the gospel in the real world. RBP takes that stewardship seriously, striving to publish curriculum, studies, and books that are true to God’s Word and relevant for today’s church. Apologetics, or arguments in defense of subject matter, is an essential component of instruction. The church cannot simply assume that everyone agrees and is on the same theological page, intellectually or philosophically. This reality must be part of the design and production of RBP resources.
In tooling for the future, the Council of Eighteen and I thought carefully in the selection of the next director of Regular Baptist Press. The leader would need to possess not only the technical skills for publishing, but also the theological chops and cultural awareness to create products for effective teaching in the church today. I am pleased to announce that David Gunn has been selected as director of RBP.
Over the last three years as a colleague on the RBP staff, David has evidenced scholarship, an exceptional work ethic, technical editing skills, an ability to multitask, a loyal commitment to the Word, and outstanding communication competencies. He is aware of cultural trends and arguments and discerningly responds with Biblical and theological clarity. He is a team player with a godly manner.
Significantly, David understands the role that apologetics is increasingly playing in the effective articulating of truth in the current societal milieu. He is a respected teacher in online undergrad and seminary training, equipping students in ministry readiness for today’s culture. He is deeply committed to RBP’s Regular Baptist doctrine and the local church as the primary platform for ministry.
With the Council of Eighteen’s unanimous support of David, RBP is in a good position to help churches effectively engage the culture and convey the truth. Please pray for David in this important role. I ask that you get to know him through his teaching, speaking, leading, and writing. He will help your church more effectively teach the Word, not only to sympathetic learners, but also to skeptics.
John Greening is national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.