Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1st Kings 19:18
A few weeks ago I returned from Norway, where I attended the “Back to the Word of God” conference. I went expecting quite a bit of hostility, as the Gospel was going to be proclaimed to pastors who had been preaching a false gospel.
Most pastors in Norway, like many in America, have replaced the true Gospel with the false seeker driven gospel, that consists of a watered down version of the Law and a sinner’s prayer, or even worse, the command to “be a Jesus follower,” that makes no mention of the need for repentance and faith for the forgiveness of sins. As well as this seeker driven gospel there was the word-faith / dominionist gospel, which is all about making demands of God as if He is a genie who does the will of whoever can rub his lamp the right way by saying the right words, having enough faith, being audacious enough, tithing, or keeping certain laws. This false gospel is usually accompanied by manufactured miracles and false healings.
To my surprise, and I think to the surprise of the host of the conference, this isn’t what we found. Rather than a group of pastors who had never heard, let alone taught, the true Gospel, we were blessed to have a gathering of mostly true believers; pastors and lay people who knew, proclaimed, and loved the Good News of Jesus Christ who paid for the sins of His people; a remnant of the invisible true Church holding fast to the Gospel despite their very small number and the opposition of the false churches and the enemies of the Gospel urging them to compromise.
By God’s grace, a remnant from all over Norway gathered to hear the Gospel, to be encouraged by the Gospel, and to fellowship with others who believe.
For sure, the false teachings I mentioned above exist and run rampant all over Norway, but the people who preach such things didn’t show up; instead, news of the conference spread across Norway and a remnant came to hear the Truth. There were some who were influenced by such things, especially those who have heard of the false miracles Bethel Church in Redding, California claim to be performing on a regular basis, but after some reasoning from the Bible and explanation of the “gospel” Bill Johnson and Jesus Culture proclaim, I think those who were influenced by them were able to see the truth.
If at any time then we are troubled at the small number of those who believe, let us, on the other hand, call to mind, that none comprehend the mysteries of God save those to whom it is given. – Calvin. Institutes 1.7.5
One of the best things I think will come of this conference is believers meeting one another and knowing they aren’t alone. Rather than hiding in fear believers will hopefully be emboldened to proclaim the Gospel, knowing they aren’t alone, even if they are few. Along with this, there was some good instruction as to how and what to preach.
As for me personally, aside with knowing the hosts and wanting to hear solid preaching, I didn’t have a reason to go, and I wondered why God would have me there. Thankfully, God did have work for me to do there. I was able to do some teaching one on one or in small groups between sessions and I was able to enjoy the fellowship and make some new friends.
It is my prayer that God will use this conference to increase the faith of all who attended, that we may all go our way encouraged and instructed in how to share the Good News with an unbelieving world. And, that this remnant in Norway will be used to reach the elect with the Gospel.
And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.
2nd Kings 19:30-31