We began by talking about this idea of my wife having a tumor, but there is one significant difference: we never really discovered that it was a tumor until the mass was removed. We cannot, as a church, wait until problems come to the surface to deal with them. We cannot figure these things out in hindsight. We must always be on guard and always be prepared to know and defend the truth of God’s Word. To defend the apostles’ teaching, we must hold fast to the apostles’ teaching. We do this when we Realize Our Dependence, when we Recognize the Danger, and when we Respond with Dedication.
There’s a positive example I recently saw of this instruction. The Kentucky Baptist Convention has an annual evangelism conference and they were having their conference last year in Louisville. But there was one major problem that they faced with this conference. One of the main speakers they were going to have there was Brian McLaren. For those of you who haven’t heard of Brian McLaren, he is a well-known leader in what is often termed the "emerging church movement" or the "emerging conversation." And the problem came to the fore because Brian McLaren had just released a book called A Generous Orthodoxy. In this book he questioned such matters as salvation, the gospel, and hell, trying to reformulate some of these things. So the convention had a difficult situation: what should they do about this? Eventually Bill Mackey, the convention’s executive director, and Dan Garland, the church development and evangelism team leader, made the difficult decision of uninviting McLaren from speaking at this conference. This was not a popular move. McLaren was considered by Time magazine to be one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. He is a big name, a big draw. I am sure that cutting this person off so close to the event had very significant negative ramifications. Yet they stood strong because they understood the importance of being a pure bride of Christ, of standing firm on the apostles’ teaching and on the Word of God.
We must do the same thing. We must continue to do this as the body of Christ. I pray that we will do so, and I pray that as we continue to study and to know and to love what the apostles have left us here that we can mature as a body to the day when Christ returns and we will be presented as a pure virgin to our Savior.