Today I had the privilege of attending the fourth quarterly gathering of Plant Midwest, a church-planting networking initiative that spans the Midwest but materializes for us as a Southeast Michigan chapter hosted by our friends at Restore Church in Detroit. Several of my friends and co-laborers have been attending these Gospel-centered gatherings for a time in the word, fellowship, and prayer. I always find these gatherings energizing. This quarterly's talk was about the exclusivity of the claims of the Gospel brought to us by Jared Wilson who is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, VT and a contributor to the Gospel Coalition Blog. A highlight of his talk for me was an edifying reference he made to John Chrysostom when he was being tried by the emperor as an example of how the true Gospel radically transforms our worldview. Here is the reference as it appears also on Pastor Jared's TGC blog (I hope you find it encouraging too):
In A.D. 404 John Chrysostom, the early church father, was brought in before the Roman emperor. The emperor threatened him with banishment if he remained a Christian.
Chrysostom responded, ‘You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.’
‘But I will kill you,’ said the emperor.
‘No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God,’ said Chrysostom.
‘I will take away your treasures.’
‘No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.’
‘But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left.’
‘No, you cannot, for I have a friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.’
(And this anecdote always reminds me of my favorite line from Richard Sibbes’s The Bruised Reed: “A Christian is an impregnable person. He is a person that never can be conquered.”)
TGC source: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2012/02/27/a-christian-is-a-person-who-cannot-be-conquered/