Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints
John Piper's Letter of Invitation to the 2007 National Conference
Our dream for the Desiring God 2007 National Conference is to call the church to endurance in the face of anything and everything that would deplete our zeal for the glory of Christ. The overarching theme is “Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints.” The theme verse is Revelation 14:12: “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
When we think of endurance, we have in mind the biblical emphasis captured in the phrases like:
- “rooted and grounded” (Ephesians 3:17)
- “having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13)
- “stand firm thus in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1)
- “not carried away with the error of lawless people” (2 Peter 3:17)
- “we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9)
- “love . . . bears all things, . . . endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
- “suffering produces endurance” (Romans 5:3)
- “stay awake” (Matthew 24:42)
- “the one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death” (Revelation 2:11)
- “keep alert with all perseverance” (Ephesians 6:18)
- “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13)
Our hope is that God would use this conference as one small means to make rugged endurance in the hard path of obedience a beautiful and longed-for virtue among our vacillating generation. Younger people today think of changing, leaving, shifting, moving, modifying, and swapping in order to enhance life—almost anything but enduring. People quit. They move. They change their minds. A long, hard, steady, hold-the-course obedience is a rare and wonderful thing.
We would love to elevate the virtue of perseverance. We treasure the phrase “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Can you dream with us that perseverance and constancy and patience and fortitude and courage and covenant-keeping would become dominant virtues among God’s people in decades to come?
Our speakers are chosen because they represent different kinds of endurance and faithfulness. None is young. All are seasoned. Proven. All have stood firm in their trials for a long time. Each has their own story to tell and witness to bear.
- John MacArthur is the pastor who has stayed in one place a long time and weathered many battles in defending, confirming, and proclaiming the same truth.
- Jerry Bridges has taught us how to keep on Trusting God in the Pursuit of Holiness through decades of faithful ministry by the Discipline of Grace, through cancer and loss.
- Randy Alcorn has stood firm with an eternal perspective in the battle for the sanctity of human life no matter what the cost.
- Helen Roseveare endured through upheaval and war in the Congo and stayed on the path of obedience both in her time there and in the years of global missions inspiration ever since.
You can see the plan. Four spheres of faithfulness: the pastorate, faithfulness and holiness through suffering and loss, radical obedience in the culture wars, and world missions. We are praying that God will use these faithful witnesses to awaken and solidify rugged, Christ-exalting endurance in the people who attend the conference.
If you long to stand firm to the end and would like help, we hope you will come. If you see what seems like insurmountable obstacles in front of you, we hope you come. If someone you love is ready to walk away from the path of obedience, we hope you find help here for how to minister. And if you dream with us about a Christian culture-shift from short-lived experiments to life-long commitments, we hope you will pray for God’s blessing on this effort.
We will worship and pray and think and discuss. It would be our joy for you to be included.