For my last 3 “profile” posts, I have written about the three main speakers at the upcoming “Rise Conference” (August 19-22, 2017) at The House church in my hometown of Modesto, CA. Carl Lentz, Samuel Rodriguez and Jabin Chavez are these speakers (click the hyperlinks for my post on each respective speaker). In this post, I wanted to give a final word, based on my comparative work, that explains what I think of this conference.
While this conference is free (and free things are cool), I would not attend this conference. I also would not encourage others to attend this conference. Based on the comparative work, this conference will be very person-centered and not Jesus-centered. The comparative work in the three aforementioned “profile” posts shows that this conference is likely to not contain a preaching of the Gospel. In fact, the conference’s “about” page does not mention the Gospel, the cross or the name of Jesus in the following paragraph:
RISE CONFERENCE is a four-day gathering that will rekindle the flame, the vital spark of the Fire of The Holy Spirit in your life. We believe that through this conference the church will be inspired to reach new levels, higher positions and bring God glory. Our faith will increase and we will begin to believe for greater miracles, for salvation and breakthrough. We, the people of God, will be set apart in the market place and see greater success in our jobs, business and finances to the glory of God. We are called to influence the culture and this generation as leaders, musicians, teachers and creative minds. We will see this generation become the voice of God to our schools, communities, and neighborhoods. Let The House of God be fueled the power of the Holy Spirit. It is time to take a stand; to take back our relationships, our families, our finances, our marriages, our lives, and all the ground that the enemy stole from us. This moment belongs to God’s people and we will be revived, renewed, and refreshed by the Word of God and by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We will increase and expand as we extend our reach to the corners of our nation. We will lift our voices loud to declare that the deaf will hear, the lame will walk and the dead shall RISE again.
As you can see, there is no mentioning of the Gospel, the cross or the name of Jesus. Instead, the page focuses mainly on the person given the plethora of “we” and “our” references in the paragraph. Furthermore, aren’t we called to make disciples and walk in good works (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:10) instead of influencing “the culture and this generation as leaders, musicians, teachers and creative minds”? How can this conference’s attenders believe “for salvation” when the Gospel will likely (if not certainly) not be preached?
In Bryan Wolfmueller’s book Has American Christianity Failed?, he states on page 90, “The cross, the simple teaching that Jesus died for sinners, is the heart of the Scriptures. It should be the heart of our theology.” As my blogs have shown, the cross is not at the heart of the messages of Carl Lentz, Samuel Rodriguez or Jabin Chavez. Furthermore, it is clearly not at the heart of the “Rise Conference”, as evidenced by its clear omission of it, the Gospel and even the name of Jesus from its (essentially) mission statement. Is the “Rise Conference” worth attending? The answer is a definitive no. If there’s no cross, no Gospel and no Jesus, there’s no point in either attending that conference or inviting others to attend it.