Only time will tell, but it seems that the first annual Cross student missions conference was a historic event, perhaps a key moment in mobilizing God’s people to help the nations be glad in him.
Here are all of the main sessions—summarized with video. (I assume audio will be forthcoming here.)
Trip Lee Kick-Off
Summary: Before speaking of how and why to share the gospel with the nations, CROSS wanted to make clear what that gospel was. Trip Lee began CROSS 2013 by doing just that by teaching throughout his rapping on the truths of the gospel.
John Piper: “The Chief End of Missions: The Supremacy of God in the Joy of All Peoples”
Summary: “The chief end of missions is the supremacy of God in the joy of all peoples.” These two ends are of an identical essence, totally and completely inseparable, for the only gladness that lasts is a gladness in the glory of God. This reality frees us from choosing either the glory of God or compassion for the lost as the primary desire for missions.
Panel: Mark Dever & John Piper
Summary: Mark Dever interviews John Piper about why he’s not a missionary, the relationship between marriage and missions, and what tricky terms like “missionary,” “unreached,” and “calling” actually mean. This discussion helps clarify the distinction in role between the individual Christian and the local church, while also giving Piper the opportunity to squelch the notion that Calvinism kills missions and evangelism.
Thabiti Anyabwile: “Beauty from Ashes: The Plight of Man and the Purposes of God”
Summary: In Romans 1:13-18, the apostle Paul describes a life unashamed of the gospel, eager to proclaim Christ in places where He has yet to be named. Paul is eager because the gospel is the best news in the universe, containing divine power and providing in Christ the singular salvation from God’s holy, righteous, and personal wrath. The only thing that turns away the wrath of God is Jesus.
Kevin DeYoung: “Five Surprising Motivations for Missions”
Summary: Far from being obstacles for mission, Kevin DeYoung shares why the five points of Calvinism are surprising motivators for missions. In fact, belief in an electing, sovereign, all-powerful God is the only thing that keeps one humble in the midst of results and hopeful when there are none. Many may ask why anyone would go if God has only called some. But the Bible asks, “Why would anyone go unless God has certainly called some?”
Conrad Mbewe: “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ: The Good News of a Bloody Cross”
Summary: To speak of God’s wrath evokes all different sorts of emotions and reaction in people. Yet the horrific death of Christ and his glorious resurrection is the greatest news that mankind could ever hear given that with each day, humans store up God’s righteous judgment and wrath. Believing this news necessitates announcing it.
Richard Chin: “Seeing Jesus Properly: The Lord to Gladly Obey Forever”
Summary: Richard Chin preaches from Mark 8 in order to show that a proper view of Jesus demands a proper response to Jesus. Because He is the Son of Man whose kingdom will never end, His followers confidently and joyfully take up their cross and obediently take the gospel to those who do not know Him.
Mack Stiles: “The Call of Christ: Inspired, Informed, Confirmed”
Summary: In this session, Mack Stiles upholds biblical criteria one should use when discerning a “call” to missions. Mere inward and emotional certainty is not enough. The missionary’s call should be inspired by the Word of God, informed by the content of the gospel, and externally confirmed by the church.
Panel: Mack & Leann Stiles, Zane & Catherine Pratt, and Mark Dever
Summary: What are some realities of missionary life? Why should or why shouldn’t a person become a missionary? Who determines this? Mark Dever interviews missionaries who have spent decades on the field to answer fundamental questions like these.
Matt Chandler: “The Life Worth Living for Christ Is a Life Worth Losing”
Summary: Matt Chandler unpacks the life of the apostle Paul as proof positive that there’s no such thing as a person beyond God’s saving mercy. In fact, his post-conversion commitment to evangelism and, even more, his Christ-exalting fearlessness in the midst suffering depicts the truth of his words in Philippians 1:21: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” May the same be said of all God’s people, that a better day is coming where we will receive our reward and see — finally — our treasured King face to face.
David Sitton: Testimony
Summary: David Sitton of To Every Tribe Ministries shares his testimony of how the Lord saved him over 30 years ago and then called him to serve among the unreached peoples in Papua New Guinea. This same Lord saves and calls today, and it is a privilege—not a burden—to join Him in this work.
Michael Oh: “What Do Cross-Cultural Missionaries Cross Cultures For?”
Summary: Michael Oh of the Lausanne Movement calls Christians to care about all types of global suffering, especially eternal suffering. In this, the church functions as both prophet and servant — boldly heralding the truth of God’s Word while simultaneously seeking to serve others’ needs in showing the compassion of Christ. Individual Christians, too, will suffer and should use these moments — as often as the Lord brings them—to endure in faith and to hold out the gospel as the only true and lasting alleviation from suffering.
D. A. Carson: “The Church as the Means and the Goal of Missions”
Summary: D.A. Carson preaches on the social dimensions of both sin and the gospel. Sin doesn’t just send you to Hell, and the gospel doesn’t just save your soul. Each has necessary social, personal, and horizontal ramifications, culminating in the existence of and a commitment to the church, the bride of Christ, for it is in the church where the love of God is made known and reflected to the nations.
David Platt: “Mobilizing God’s Army for the Great Commission”
Summary: To close CROSS 2013, David Platt delivers a clarion call to all Christians, imploring them to consider what their obedience to the Great Commission looks like. For many, it will be as stateside senders; for some, it will be as lifelong goers; for others, it will be as offerings poured out en route to give the gospel to yet-to-be-reached peoples. In every scenario — in going and sending and even in dying—God is achieving His incontrovertible purpose: the supremacy of the glory of God in the Christ-exalting joy of all peoples.