Hunt exhorts pastors to evangelistic fervor

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ORLANDO, Fla. – With Southern Baptist baptisms at a seven-decade low, Johnny Hunt told pastors attending the 2019 Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference at First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., Monday, Nov. 11, “We (Southern Baptists) have lost our way,” in keeping the “main thing (sharing the gospel)” the main thing, and he then exhorted attendees in their evangelistic fervor.

Hunt, senior vice president, evangelism and leadership, North American Mission Board, focused on the theme, “The Pastor and His Witnessing,” based on Mark 2:1-12, when the paralytic man was lowered through the roof to be with Jesus. He highlighted six aspects to “what happens when Jesus is in the house.”

First, he said, “the Word is preached.” Jesus’ preaching was dynamic, and it drew a crowd. “The greatest thing that could happen in any church is for word to get out that Jesus Christ is in the house,” he said.

Second, faith is persistent. “So great was their love for the sick man and their faith in the power of Jesus to heal that they would not take No for an answer,” he said, describing this biblical account as “one of the greatest stories on ‘whatever it takes.’”

Florida Baptist State Convention, Dr. Johnny Hunt, Florida Baptist Pastors' ConferenceThird, forgiveness is present. “Forgiveness is the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performed. It meets the greatest need, costs the greatest price, and brings the greatest blessing and the most lasting results,” Hunt preached.

Fourth, “Doubt is on the prowl,” he said. Hunt explained, “The Jews integrally connected sin and suffering. They argued that if a man was suffering, he must have sinned.”

Fifth, God’s deity is proven. As the paralyzed man was healed physically, Jesus’ power to forgive sins was demonstrated.

Sixth, God is praised. “Healing would allow this man to walk home. Forgiveness would allow this man to walk into heaven,” he said.

In closing, Hunt quoted theologian John Phillips who taught, “A path runs from earth to heaven; and a path runs from earth to hell, but no path runs from hell to heaven.”

Hunt encouraged attendees, “If our sins are to be forgiven, it must be while we are still on earth; both character and destiny are fixed at death. The Bible offers no hope of redemption beyond the grave.”

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