In many ways this has been a long two weeks since we drove 2400+ miles to the conference and the same distance home. Combined with the three days of the conference it has a been a very busy 2 weeks. It may be this busyness that has us all sick now. But it has in all been a good two weeks.
The conference started Thursday with a Leaders Luncheon in which many of the speakers shared a little and we also had time to fellowship with others we had not seen for some time. After last year this has a been a good way to start the conference and to get a feel for the direction that many of the speakers were thinking. The conference officially started with Scott Brown Speaking on Christ’s Love for the Church. He spoke of many of the ways Christ loves the church and that we are not to take the church lightly. Doug Philips then spoke on The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail. In this talk he went through history to show God’s preservation oh His church. He also listed what he termed “5 Hell Gate Battles”:
1) Battle for Fundamental Orthodoxy
2) Battle over Syncretism
3) Battle Over Lawful Jurisdictions
4) Battle for the Preservation of the Word
5) Battle for Who is the Lord of this World
The first night ended with a talk by Joel Beeke entitled Cherishing the Church. I had not heard Mr. Beeke speak before and he was very good. You could tell from his talk that he truly did cherish the church.
On Friday the day started with a talk by Andy Davis called The Church Described, Portrayed and Illustrated. He spoke of the many Metaphors of the church listed in scripture. From National Metaphors to Religious Metaphors and then Family Metaphors. He finished up in one of the breakout sessions by looking at four other metaphors: Biological, Architectural, Possession and finally Display Metaphors. The second speaker in the morning session was Paul Washer who spoke on the Nature of Conversion. He was as convicting as ever and it is always good to hear him speaks as he makes no assumptions about peoples spiritual state and thus makes sure that everyone hears the gospel.
After the morning session there were three breakout sessions times where one could chose a number of speakers and topics. I went and heard Dan Horn speak on The Lord’s Table for the first session. After lunch and during the second breakout seasons was when I gave my first talk at a conference and it was on Church Planting and its Purpose. This was to be the first part of a three part series that I did with two other men on Church Planting. For the last breakout session of the day I sat in on Jason Dohm speaking on Church Planting and its Practice as this was Part 2 of our series. I need to go back through the MP3s of the conference to listen to the other talks as it is the only way one can hear them all, and they are all worthy of listening to.
After dinner on Friday the evening began with a talk by Jeff Pollard on the Union with Christ. Mr. Pollard spoke of how in the past this was a popular topic but was now spoken of far to little of late. His talk spoke of the Definition of Union W/Christ, the Nature of the Union W/Christ and lastly the Importance of Union W/ Christ. The next speaker was Scott Brown who spoke on Paganism in the Church. In this Mr. Brown dealt with pagan influences that have entered the church most often through, as Doug Phillips had spoken of, syncretism. He also mentioned that one of the protective principles we have to combat these pagan influences is the principle of “Sola Scriptura.” Within the talk were also given a number of historical and contemporary examples of pagan influences. The last speaker of the night was Paul Washer who spoke on The Tests of Conversion and was as good as ever. He did a great job of speaking on 1st John and how it is the content of ones life n looks at and not just some isolated instances. In this was the call to self examination that we all need to partake in. Thus ended a great day of teaching.
The last day of the conference, Saturday, began with a final set of breakout sessions. I sat in on Steve Breagy’s talk on the Pitfalls of Church Planting as part 3 of the Church Planting series. Once again I will have to listen to the other talks later. The breakout session was followed by Joel Beeke speaking on The Family at Church. Due to a long conversation after the breakout session I was not able to hear this talk but only heard the last few minutes but have been assured it was very good. The next talk was by Doug Phillips and it was concerning Answering Critics of the Family Integrated Movement. He dealt with many of the arguments that have come forth with regards to the FIC. In this he did agree that at times the arguments may have been valid and were taken note of. However, far too often the criticisms have been more hearsay and anecdotal. Thus Mr. Phillips offered a challenge for an academic and well researched and footnoted critique of the FIC.
The last session of the conference was a Question and Answer period and then Scott Brown closed with a talk: Love the Church. Mr. Brown of among other things that the Love of the Church is not simply a love for some nebulous thing but is love of something tangible. Also he spoke of be devoted to praying for the church practicing hospitality and applying what is taught. This was a good wrap up of al that had come before in the previous three days. Thus ended a great conference.
I highly recommend the audio recordings of this conference as they would be greatly beneficial to all. You can buy the audio here: Love the Church Audio.
Here are links to other reviews of the conference: