Missionary Training Conferences in 2013
At HeartCry, we consider the training of indigenous missionaries to be one of the greatest privileges entrusted to us by God. We believe missions is primarily a theological endeavor in which the Church grows as the true Gospel is proclaimed and believers are discipled in the whole counsel of God. For this reason, we seek to strengthen our missionaries’ understanding of the biblical Gospel and sound doctrine by conducting regular theological training conferences.
Last year, we were blessed to have many such conferences for our missionaries in South Asia. The following is a list of all the HeartCry conferences that were held in South Asia in 2013 and a summary of the topics that were covered. We thank God for these opportunities which He has given us.
Feb - North India
* The Preacher’s Communion with God - 6 Sessions
* The Importance of the Preacher’s Marriage & the Responsibilities of Fathers - 1 Session
* The Doctrine of Salvation - 5 Sessions
* True and False Expressions of Healings and Miracles - 1 Session
* The Doctrine of the Church - 4 Sessions
Feb - South India
* The Holiness of the Minister - 8 Sessions
May - North Nepal
* The Preacher’s Life - 5 Sessions
* The Doctrine of Salvation - 10 Sessions
May - S.W. Nepal
* The Truth About Man - 16 Sessions
Jun - North India
* The Order of Salvation - 10 Sessions
* Bible Interpretation & Biblical Preaching - 8 Sessions
Oct - North India
* The Importance of the Preacher’s Holiness - 1 Session
* The Relationship of the Law and the Gospel to Justification and Sanctification - 9 Sessions
* Biblical Preaching - 3 Sessions
Nov 2013 - S.E. Nepal
* The Preacher’s Life – True Conversion - 7 Sessions
Nov - S.W. Nepal
* True Discipleship - 3 Sessions
* The One True God - 8 Sessions
A more thorough report of the teaching of one of the conferences is contained in the next article. Recordings from these conferences are available at heartcrymissionary.com/sermons-hi and heartcrymissionary.com/sermons-ne.
Conference Report, North India - October 2013
The following report of a recent training conference in North India was written by HeartCry missionary Rema S.*
Conference - Day 1
In the first session, the teacher lectured us about four priorities in a pastor’s life – 1) Christlikeness, 2) doctrine, 3) preaching, and 4) leadership. He also emphasized the following aspects of holiness – its definition, foundation, practical expression, means, and power.
The teacher also pointed out that holiness is developed in prayer and is dependent upon a correct understanding of the relationship among the law, grace, justification, sanctification, and the Gospel. He warned us of the dangers of falling into the extremes of legalism on one side and antinomianism on the other. He then asked us seventeen questions relating to the law, Jesus, the Gospel, justification, and sanctification – the answers to which were dealt with in subsequent sessions.
Regarding the law, our professor related that the word “law” means different things in different passages of the New Testament, and that Christians are bound to follow the moral laws from the Old Testament. Using an illustration, he explained that in justification, the law is opposed to grace, but it is an ally to grace in the process of sanctification. This is something which was talked about in subsequent sessions as well. We also learned about the function of the Old Testament law for the Christian, and we ended the day with the truth that people in every generation can be saved only by Christ – whether it be through believing the prophesies about Christ, believing the promises of Christ in types, or believing in the person of Christ.
Conference - Day 2
On the second day, our teacher built upon what he had taught the first day. He talked about the two extremes of legalism and antinomianism. He described characteristics of both and explained why they were defective in their view of the relationship of the Christian to the law. He pointed out that the antinomian fails to see the differences between justification and sanctification.
After this, our teacher lectured about Gospel obedience, which is: (1) based upon our union with Christ, (2) initiated by faith, (3) empowered by the Holy Spirit, (4) motivated largely by love and grace, (5) directed by the law and the commandments (including those in the New Testament), and (6) has God’s glory and pleasure as its goal.
Our teacher discussed the relationship between love and obedience. He showed us that love motivates obedience. He also discussed another motivation for Gospel obedience – the fear of God. He clarified that it is not the fear that a slave has for his master, but the fear that a son has for his father in the context of discipline. He said that this motivates people when love and grace seem insufficient.
At the end of the day, our teacher talked about the importance of making the distinction between the Christian’s positional righteousness and his actual righteousness. He pointed out that in the context of sanctification, it is not helpful to think God does not see our sin because He sees Jesus. He also pointed out that it is important how one handles freedom. Freedom is not meant to release us from God. Instead, having been made free from sin, we are now free to please God and edify others. The day ended with a question-and-answer session.
Conference - Day 3
The main topic of the sessions on the third day was preaching. The teacher taught us that the life and doctrine of a preacher (topics covered in the previous two days) are very important, but they are not enough on their own. A preacher should be able to preach biblical, simple, clear, and direct sermons. He reviewed what had been taught on the subject from his previous visit.
Our teacher also shared some basic characteristics of biblical preaching – 1) it is from the Bible; 2) it has a well-defined subject and purpose; 3) it has unity, order, and progression; 4) it is applied specifically to men’s hearts, lives, and consciences; and 5) it is empowered by the Holy Spirit. He then presented some evidences to know that one is called to preach such as: the inward conviction by the Holy Spirit, God-given character, a God-given gift, and a confirmation by the church. He dwelt on each of these points, especially clarifying what it means to be called to be a preacher.
Finally, our teacher talked about three types of messages which every preacher needs to know how to preach – 1) a textual message, 2) a topical message, and 3) an expositional message. He repeatedly cautioned against being too complicated and stressed the need to be clear, simple, and direct. He also talked about how to prepare a sermon and gave the participants verses with which to practice so that they could study and explain what the text is saying. The day ended with a discussion on regeneration and conversion – a topic which was triggered by the way Revelation 3:20 is often misinterpreted.
*For security reasons, a pen name is used for this missionary.