Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ligonier Pastors Conference (Day 1)

Well after a windy rainy flight, with much lightening I finally got to Orlando on Sunday night.

The first session on Monday concerned the title of the conference: Overcoming the Eclipse of God. With the issue being that an eclipse does not destroy that which it eclipses but instead obscures it. So RC related how this has been done in our day in the area of: 1) Our understanding of nature and 2) Our understanding of Humanity.. With regards to the first point it is a Deistic view of God that has prevailed that allows God to be there but not part of all that happens. We see this especially clear in the Open Theism argument. So the it is not enough for people to believe in God but they need to believe in God correctly. The second part dealt with man’s view of man that obscures God. In this RC basically described the Doctrines of Grace and how it truly does offend humanity since man has such a high view of himself even if they claim God as being sovereign, it is a limited sovereignty.

In the second session Derek Thomas spoke about the “Target Audience in Preaching and was not so much speaking about crafting sermons to the audience but reminding us that we do have an audience and the sermon needs to be relatable to them. So three things were put forth to ask: 1) What does the passage say?, 2) What does the passage say we do? and 3)What redirection may need to be done? All of this to help the preacher keep in mind the audience in all of this. Also he reminded us that preaching should not be divorced from pasturing so that all of this can take place in person and from the pulpit.

Session 3 was given by RC Sproul and dealt with Preaching from the OT and gave a good example. Being that this is a subject that is near and dear to me I have to admit there was not as much light shed on the subject as there may have been if I had not already spent a great deal of time on this in the past.

The last session for the day was on Expositional Preaching by Mark Dever. Many may already know this, but I will give it anyway, the definition given was that the point of the passage is the point of the sermon. Other good insights were:

- The church needs to reformed by the word of God or it will become deformed.
- The basic way to feed congregations is through the exposition of God’s word.
- That preaching is a picture of the Gospel in that the preacher speaks as God speaks to us and just as the congregation is the recipient and does not add to the sermon so this represents us as we add nothing to God and His word.
- Our calling is to deliver God’s word and not create it.

Overall the conference has been great and it is an interesting conglomeration of denominations with way more Baptists than I may have thought. This has led to good conversation and insights. Ligoniers has done all they can do to make people comfortable and have done a great job.

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