American Council of Christian Churches
77th Annual Convention, October 23-25, 2018
Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, NJ
Resolution on Conference Theme: “The Faithful Preacher of the Gospel”
We live in a celebrity-worshipping world, which is ever ready to acclaim those who have achieved success with rewards of fame and fortune. Music icons, sports figures, movie stars, and political demigods live and die with the praise and appreciation of a multimedia-saturated culture. This reality characterizes our society of people who are dead in trespasses and sins, who walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-2). Conversely, our God, rich in mercy and great love, quickens dead sinners by His grace through faith in Christ alone for their salvation, and not through works (vv. 4-10). Every true and faithful preacher must proclaim this gospel.
Tragically, some preachers of the gospel have aspired to the world’s approval, often claiming a desire to influence more people for Christ. Succumbing to this temptation, some preachers have forgotten the warning of our Savior, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). In an exchange for the fleeting praise of man, these gospel preachers forfeit the approval of their Lord, who promised, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (vv. 22-23).
These and other commandments of God our Savior defined the Apostle Paul’s calling as a faithful gospel preacher (Tit. 1:3). He preached as the servant of God, not as a pleaser of men (v. 1). He encouraged his son in the faith, Titus, to do the same difficult work. The Lord who commanded them to preach the gospel would give the grace, mercy, and peace they needed to be faithful (v. 4).
This faithfulness requires an exemplary character (vv. 6-8). The faithful gospel preacher is not a worldling, but a steward of God. In his marriage, his home, his temperament, his habits, his motives, and his loves, the faithful gospel preacher is a blameless man, sober and holy. He is an elder in his local church. His calling is to preach the word, and by this preaching to set in order what is wanting in spiritually dark and needy places, like first-century Crete (v. 5).
The ministry of the faithful preacher of the gospel is to “hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (v. 9). He preaches what the Bible says, not what he thinks, still less what those who hear him prefer to hear. His charge is twofold (v. 9). On the one hand, he must expound the doctrines of God’s Word; and on the other, he must expose the error of those who rail against those doctrines. The preacher who seeks to obey only one of those charges is not a faithful gospel preacher.
The negative aspect of faithfulness in gospel preaching was Paul’s particular emphasis for Titus. The enemies of the gospel of salvation are those who are “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” (vv. 10-11). The influence of their mouths must be stopped, and it is up to the faithful gospel preacher to protect his local church from these lies. Spiritual collaboration in gospel ministry with the unruly men, vain talkers, and deceivers of our day is itself unruly, vain, and deceptive.
Therefore, the American Council of Christian Churches at its 77th annual convention, October 23-25, 2018, at the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, NJ, resolves to be a lover of good men, particularly faithful gospel preachers. We shall resist the temptation to embrace the world’s definition of success, which is contrary to biblical gospel preaching. Fidelity to the word of the Lord shall be our measure of a man, not the extent of his celebrity influence. We shall remember the warning of our Lord, lest we be tempted to exchange His approval for the praise of men. We shall encourage one another to the exemplary holy character of the faithful preacher of the gospel, and we shall rededicate ourselves to his twofold ministry, “holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”