THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn
An estimated 60,000 people gathered around video screens and computer monitors on Good Friday for Secret Church, an annual event hosted by Alabama pastor David Platt. Speaking from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Platt delivered nearly six hours of teaching on heaven, hell and the end of the world.
“We need to pause,” and consider the big questions related to what comes next, Platt said, because we are “continually blinded by the temporal, subtly numbed by the trivial, and we desperately need to contemplate the eternal.”
Platt covered biblical truths about heaven and hell before turning his attention to controversial questions in the book of Revelation. Speaking in rapid-fire sentences, he worked through a 190-page, fill-in-the-blanks notebook while viewers around the world scrambled to keep up, some with the help of a live Twitter feed that provided the answers.
Questions related to heaven, hell and Jesus’ return have always intrigued Christians, and often have been a source of disagreement. A 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center found nearly half of U.S. Christians believe Jesus will definitely (27%) or probably (20%) return to earth in the next 40 years, while 38% disagreed.
In the first few minutes of the Secret Church simulcast, Platt urged his listeners to “leave room for disagreement over secondary (and tertiary) doctrines while celebrating agreement on primary doctrines.” And to live with urgency. He quoted 18th century preacher Jonathan Edwards:
“Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments.”
Read more about Secret Church here.
-David Platt quotes from Secret Church study guide
Kerry advocates for Iranian pastor’s freedom
(From Baptist Press)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Friday (March 22) called for the release of pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent who is suffering in a notoriously brutal Tehran prison because of his Christian faith. The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s wife and two young children living in the United States, called Kerry’s statement “a tremendous step forward in our government’s involvement in securing Pastor Saeed’s freedom.” Read more at BPNews.net.
Piper preaches final message at Bethlehem Baptist
Pastor John Piper ended his pastoral ministry at Minneapolis’ Bethlehem Baptist Church over Easter weekend by preaching during the church’s holiday worship services. Christian leaders went online to honor Piper, blogger Justin Taylor. “When all is said and done, John Piper will be remembered for many things. But apart from his own relationship to God and his relationship to family, his most important vocation will remain serving as a faithful, worshipful, prayerful shepherd to a local body of believers,” Taylor wrote at thegospelcoalition.org.
Russell Moore elected next ERLC President
(From Baptist Press)
Russell Moore, currently dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been elected the next president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Moore, 41, a native of Biloxi, Miss., will be the eighth president of the entity charged by Southern Baptists with addressing moral and religious freedom issues. “I pray for God’s grace to lead the ERLC to be a catalyst to connect the agenda of the kingdom of Christ to the cultures of local congregations for the sake of the mission of the Gospel in the world,” Moore said. Read more at BPNews.net.
In sculpture, Jesus takes on ‘dirt’ of mankind – literally
A Wheaton College art professor has meticulously covered a sculpture of Jesus with dirt and dust collected from all over campus, in an effort to artistically express how Christ took on the sin of mankind through his death and resurrection. David Hooker’s Corpus
will be displayed in the college’s biblical and theological studies department, Christianity Today
reports. The magazine talked to Hooker about the inspiration and method behind his work.