Thoughts from the ERLC Leadership Summit: Days Two and Three

Reminder: all primary sessions and panels are uploaded on the ERLC website and can be viewed here.

Day 2 and 3 of ERLC Leadership Summit provided more fireworks on Twitter. They also provided some great content on how the gospel interacts with sexuality and how the church should respond in this age of confusion both inside the church and out. As this post is only meant to be a recap, you are encouraged  to watch the sessions in their entirety to learn more about these issues.

Day 2 began with Dr. Mark Regnerus speaking on the Sociological Trends in American Sexuality. He provided a lot of slides with research information about the changes in American sexuality. Particularly noticeable in his research was the onslaught against marriage in our culture as increased non-monogamy is one the rise. But most disturbing is the effect that pornography and online dating have had on women. According to Regnerus, with the increase of accessibility to easy avenues of sex, the sexual capital that women hold has progressively been cheapened, thereby making it possible for men who are failing at life to be the ones who have the upper hand in the bedroom. Again, please listen Dr. Regnerus’ session in its entirety for all of the statistics and research presented.

Next, Dr. Russell Moore, the President of the ERLC, gave a Q&A on topics of sexuality and the public square. This is a must-watch as he discussed issues of parents/pastors equipping on sex, sexual abuse, sex-change repentance, divorce, and many more. In the midst of wise and convictional counsel, one thing was clear: Dr. Moore is not afraid to tackle any tough topics or questions.

Dr. Moore was followed by Dr. David Prince, Pastor of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, who spoke on The Gospel and Your Childrens’ Sexuality.” Similar to what I wrote yesterday about Dr. Scroggins’ talk, Dr. Prince gave helpful counsel on how to encourage and protect the sexuality of children. Throughout his session he gave thoughts on how to instruct our children at an early age to embrace and pursue a biblical view of their gender and how to teach them in direct language without being crude. He gave examples of how he prays for his children in this area: “Thank you that you made Luke a male, and Lydia a female, help them understand how to have their gender surrendered to identity of Christ.”

One of my favorite talks of the conference was Pastor Matt Carter’s, Pastor the Austin Stone Church and renowned Bird-Catcher, talk on exposition and sexuality. Carter, who pastors in Austin, TX, was told that he could never grow a church in Austin by preaching expositionally through books of the Bible. Well, he has proven that wrong and encourages expositional preaching as the best way to address all of the sexual confusion in our culture and churches. Some helpful thoughts from Carter:

  • The solution to the problem of human sexuality isn’t in the ballot box, but the pulpit.
  • The lack of expositional preaching has led to the problems of sexual immorality among evangelical Millennials. Many have grown up more likely to hear sermons on 5 tips to better sex and marriages than expositions of 1 Corinthians 6 or Ephesians 5.

Romans 10 is clear that there is power in the Word! If we believe that, we will believe that in area of sexual confusion and we will preach the Word as God has given it to us.

This talk was followed by a helpful panel on manhood where pastors discussed topics like: What does biblical manhood look like? How do we engage men in our churches? What does it look like to lead a family in today’s sexual culture? What will be the greatest threat to the next generation of families? And many more. I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Dr. Moore gave the last talk of Day 2 in a sermon entitled, “Walking the Line: The Gospel and Moral Purity.” This is a must watch. Moore highlighted the way demons want to fight on issue of sexual sin. They first want to deceive with a lie as old as the garden itself: “Has God really said?” They want to make those trapped in sexual sin (whether that be heterosexual or homosexual) believe that it is really “ok” just like Eve eating the Apple. They also want to accuse and make sexual sinners believe they will never be able to made right with God. Moore challenged all to preach a gospel that presents both truth and grace–one that lets sexual sinners know they will be held accountable for their sin, and also that one stood in our place to handle our account if we will repent and believe in Him! Moore admitted the gospel is a strange message and encouraged all to embrace the strangeness of a World Emperor who would take the account of others and grant them no condemnation if they will be found in Him. That’s Good News!

Kevin Smith, Teaching Pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Lousville, Ky, concluded the conference talking about Keeping the Marriage Bed Pure. This is a must-watch as well—another one of my favorites. Smith pulled no punches in his talk and pointed out how honoring God’s design for marriage, as well as building a culture of marriage, is vital for our churches. He also challenged us to see that the main threats to marriage are not from homosexuals but from the divorce culture where many children have heard dad’s say, “I’ve left your mom,” even at times for someone 2 years older than themselves. Smith was clear that homosexuality is clearly taught as sin in the bible, but challenged pastors to address the more major issues “in house” first. He said, “If you’ve been a pastor for 20 years and haven’t preached about divorce then shut up about homosexuality.” Smith’s point was not that we should not declare homosexuality is wrong (he addressed that clearly); it was that we should fight first the sins in our congregations that are even more frequently challenging our marriage beds.

Note: Some other breakouts to check out are Tony Merida’s Talk on Sex Trafficking, where Tony points out the massive problem this is in our world. If we love the Bible (which over and again speaks of justice) and if we are parents (if we see these victims as our own daughters) we will fight diligently to combat this problem. He also gave practical advice about how to start fighting and raising awareness of human sex trafficking no matter where you live. In addition, check out Baptist21’s Jon Akin on Resisting Adultery. In this session Jon gave helpful counsel from the Proverbs on the primary means of sexual temptation, the consequences of sexual sin (both temporary and eternal), and how Solomon ultimately point us to a personal relationship with Wisdom, Jesus Christ, and the gospel to fight sexual sin.