Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reflections on the Miami Pastors' Conference 2007

I'm back in the saddle in Grand Cayman after a wonderfully refreshing three days at the Miami Pastors' Conference. Without doubt, this is one of the most anticipated meetings of the year for me. I long for the time together with brothers who love the Lord and are committed to the truth of the gospel and the glory of Christ Jesus.

One of the best things about the conference is the laughter. We laugh. We discuss serious things, and we discuss them with appropriate gravity and intensity. But there is great joy in the fellowship. There is joy at hearing the word and great appreciation for the various gifts the Lord has given to His servants. There is joy over the wonderful meals the saints at Glendale Baptist prepare for the attendees. And there is outright hilarity during late night deserts and dinners where conversations range from this or that theological issue to fun-loving ribbing of one another. I love to laugh and there perhaps isn't a conference on the planet where I laugh and rejoice more than the Miami Pastors' Conference.

And I learn by God's grace. The conference theme this year was the question: "What Is the Gospel?" A person might be tempted to think that such a question would be too elementary for a gathering of pastors. That thought speaks more about the lightness and familiarity with which we regard the gospel than it does about the knowledge of pastors. And it may overlook the tremendous attack that rages against the gospel in our day. This was a most timely theme in light of the so-called prosperity gospel, the so-called new perspective on Paul, and social gospels on the left and the right. The conference left me with both a clearing understanding of the gospel, a more urgent desire to defend it, and a fresh appropriation of the gospel for my own life and ministry. It would be too long a post to detail these things, so I'll encourage all interested to definitely get copies of the addresses.

But we were served extraordinarily well by Michael Leach, Michael Horton, Ken Jones, Anthony Carter, Redditt Andrews, Tom Ascol, Sherrard Burns and host pastor Rickey Armstrong. As I did last year, I'll just provide below a few quotes and thoughts that struck me:

Michael Horton in his talk, "What Is the Gospel?"

Often times you hear evangelicals asking the question "What's your testimony?" If you ask someone that question, they will tell you what happened to them. If you ask the Apostle Paul, he tells you what happened to Jesus. (Explaining that the Gospel is God's message, a testimony concerning our Lord)

Are you driven more by promises or purposes? Doesn't living life according to our own purposes become a burden? (Meditating on Abraham's faith in Genesis 15)

Salvation is another ex nihilo creation.

Rickey Armstrong on election--

Election is the foundation for the superstructure of redemption.

Election is the way God does God's work.

Ken Jones on "The Creation of Man and the Gospel"

Adam is not just the first man and a role model, but our corporate representative. We do not get the gospel right if we do not understand the federal headship of Adam

Michael Leach on "The Gospel and the Fall of Man"

Ne plus utra! (Trust me; you had to be there! Get the disc!)
Fleeing and being afraid are new concepts and pictures in Genesis 3. Where do they come from? From within Adam's now sinful heart.

Tom Ascol on "How Romans 1:16-17 Impacts Our Preaching of the Gospel"

The gospel is the only thing that saves sinners. The way the gospel works guarantees this.
All biblical preaching is a gospel sermon.
Redditt Andrews on Perseverance/Preservation:

It's not what you profess but who you possess.
Three things that should be granted in this discussion: (1) hypocrites will fall away; (2) if God relaxed His grip on us we would all fall away; and (3) saints can fall into sin. Having said that, genuine believers do in fact complete the journey to glory.
Perseverance is really a discussion of the nature of conversion. Regeneration is participation in divine life.
God preserves the inheritance and the inheritor.
Faith is the state God induces in the believer to preserve us for heaven. God perpetually inclines the soul to look toward Him always. When God preserves us, He inculcates our striving.

1 comment:

Chris Davis said...

These quotes stir up deep joy over the fellowship and feasting we had. Who could have known that repeating a Latin phrase could be so stirring?!?

Thankful for your gospel koinonia,