An estimated 43,000 people from about 1,200 churches and small groups participated in the second Lifeway simulcast to hear author and pastor David Platt teach on “Family, Marriage, Sex and the Gospel.” The Nov. 4 Secret Church event was simulcast into 44 states and more than a dozen countries.
Groups from 14 different countries including South Korea, Thailand, India, Australia, Guam, Mexico and a few restricted-access countries participated in the event.
Secret Church is designed to call the church to greater awareness to biblical fidelity and build unity with the persecuted church worldwide. There have been 10 prior Secret Church events, but after the first meeting The Church at Brook Hills began a reservation system due to the sell-out capacity.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Martin Luther once declared, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” I see a similar conviction in David Platt.
As someone who also loves to teach, I admire David’s passion for the Word of God. His commitment to the Bible is seen in both his knowledge and zeal for teaching with conviction.
I hadn’t been on the campus of The Church at Brook Hills long last week before I knew my high anticipation for Secret Church was well warranted. Even in the parking lot there was a spirit of anticipation within those involved — from the Lifeway crew in a broadcast truck sending a simulcast to nearly 45,000 worshippers around the world, to the dozens backstage making Secret Church a success. They were confident in the God who had led them into such an endeavor.
It is obvious when David addresses Secret Church participants he doesn’t take this opportunity lightly — he is a steward with a tremendous obligation. This night was no different as David emphasized the Word was his only source of authority. He declared it’s not personal, organizational, intellectual, psychological, or experiential authority. It is ONLY biblical. He also described the Word as the ultimate source of accountability, stating that we are accountable to hear the Word, teach the Word and to obey the Word.
And with that, we dug in.
For the next several hours, we explored what the Bible has to say about family, marriage, sex, and the gospel.
David introduced these issues by acknowledging the serious challenges around us. Citing statistics and utilizing several quotes from leading voices, he highlighted rampant sexual immorality, continually skyrocketing divorce rates, the degradation of marriage, confusion of gender, destructive sex industries such pornography and prostitution, and deadly abortion industries.
He also described the challenges associated with these issues within the church such as indifference to the culture, practical imitation of the world, immoral conduct among leaders, theological battles among denominations, and a lack of trust in God.
David addressed several related challenges that exist within the home, including struggling marriages, single parents, hurting children, sexual confusion, abdication of responsibility, and abuse of authority.
Quickly moving through a notebook of more than 150 pages of outlines, Scripture references and quotes, David taught on how the gospel should captivate our families and be evident in our marriages. He taught that it should be celebrated in our sexuality and should ultimately spread to all families, nations and generations.
David reminded us of our roles individually as well as the role of the church within all of this. He stated that we must be careful not to exalt the family and ignore the church. Likewise, we must be careful not to exalt the church and ignore the family.
He addressed gospel foundations such as the character of God, the sinfulness of man, the sufficiency of Christ, the necessity of faith, and the urgency of eternity. He also taught on God’s design including the relationship between the gospel and sexuality, marriage, parenting, the orphan, singleness and the widow.
Next, he spoke on man’s distortion of this design by teaching about the gospel and issues such as divorce, homosexuality, abortion, polygamy, and pornography. And finally, he addressed special issues such as sexual distinction in the church, sexual sin in the church, and sexual satisfaction in marriage.
In all of this, I kept thinking about the work in which I get to participate. As someone who is committed to connecting this generation to God and the church, I resonate with David’s message and admonition to teach as well as to lead with an increased biblical commitment. We must remember there is power in the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. We all must step up and declare our heart for the nations.
That’s the beauty of Secret Church. It isn’t about a preacher, a book or even a church. It’s about making the name of Jesus known to the ends of the earth. It’s about making disciples who are solely committed to the fame and renown of our God. And it’s about God’s immeasurable grace in the lives of His people.
As David said during the evening: “We can run to the cross, rest at the cross and rejoice in the cross. There is hope for the hurting, love for the lost and beauty for the battered! He makes the unclean clean and He makes the dead alive!” It is those Truths that make Secret Church a success.
by Jason Hayes