The Brothers of John the Steadfast (BJS) held their first ever national/international conference at Bethany Lutheran (LCMS) in Naperville, Illinois the second week of February 2009. The keynote speakers were Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio and Pastor Todd Wilken, the host of Issues, Etc.™
Chris Rosebrough spoke twice. His first presentation was about his journey out of American Evangelicalism and into Lutheranism, and was entitled “Set Free from Bondage.” His entire presentation can be heard online on the Fighting for the Faith website along with some additional comments.
After Mr. Rosebrough’s presentation, Bethany celebrated Vespers. The music and the liturgy were very beautiful, and took full advantage of the Missouri Synod’s excellent new hymnal Lutheran Service Book.
Then the brothers held a great pizza debate with all you could eat Chicago deep dish, New York, and St. Louis style pizza. Maybe New York style won. The pizza was all quite tasty, and all were very thankful. Finally, the night was capped off with everyone being invited to one or more parties.
The next day’s presentation was by Chris Rosebrough, the founder of Pirate Christian Radio. Pirate Radio refers to a station that broadcasts outside of officially approved channels, and the name Pirate Christian Radio is a play on that idea.
Mr. Rosebrough talked about new media, and how on a shoe string budget Christians can reach a large world-wide audience with the gospel through the internet. With only a few thousand dollars in start up fees, and in only nine months, Pirate Christian Radio is already reaching tens of thousands of listeners around the world.
The final speaker at the conference was Pastor Todd Wilken, the host of Issues, Etc.™
Pastor Wilken spoke against the attempts of many to enhance or sell the Gospel with entertainments. The Gospel has always been small time, and always will be, he said. The Gospel never has a chorus line, there are no marching bands, and the story never changes. Jesus never played Carnegie Hall, and in fact he often avoided the crowds. John the Baptist had large crowds, and Jesus dwindled those numbers down until there were only a few people left at the cross. Finally, no one witnessed his Sunday morning resurrection.
Jesus does not need magnificent buildings or new media or old media. Jesus does not need anything from us. Jesus saves us. He does not ride the coattails of our entertainments. We ride his coattails.
Christ alone saves.
Thank you very much to the Brothers of John the Steadfast. Full audio recordings of all the presentations, the Vespers, and the Divine Service can be heard and/or downloaded at this link on the Brothers of John the Steadfast website.