Wednesday, March 12, 2008

John 3:16 Conference, take 2

Diane Lytle alerted me in a comment that Dr. Steve Lemke has explained the purpose of the announced John 3:16 conference coming up this fall in Woodstock, Georgia. Dr. Lemke writes,
This conference is intended as a majoritarian Southern Baptist response to the "Building Bridges" and "Together for the Gospel" conferences. The announcement of this conference has already provoked considerable buzz and speculation in the blogosphere.
As I wrote in response to Diane, Dr. Lemke's "majoritarian Southern Baptist" descriptor is at best best ill-stated and at worst a joke perpetuated and believed only by those who refuse to deal with the implications of the fact that the majority of Southern Baptists can't be found! If Dr. Lemke's description turns out to be accurate, then about 60-70% of those who sign up for the conference will not even show up!

When will people who know better begin to speak honestly about "the majority of Southern Baptists?" The majority of Southern Baptists don't care enough even to attend worship services in the church to which they belong.

I appreciate Dr. Lemke's candor in letting us know that the conference was provoked by concern over the Building Bridges and T4G conferences (although the latter is not in any way promoted as a "Southern Baptist" event). Based on his words, obviously the planners of the Woodstock conference believe that they will speak for the "majority" of Southern Baptists. It will be very interesting to hear what their understanding of the "majoritarian" mentality is, although it does not take much imagination to speculate on this.

Nevertheless, my hope remains that, regardless of the rationale behind it, the conference will be marked by a Christ-honoring spirit and thoughtful, helpful presentations.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

John 3:16 Conference

Jerry Vines Ministries is hosting a "John 3:16 Conference" at First Baptist Church, Woodstock on November 6-7, 2008. While the final schedule of the meetings will be posted later, according to the website, the following lineup is listed.
  • John 3:16 - Dr. Jerry Vines
  • John 3:16 to the entire world - Dr. Charles Stanley
  • Total Depravity - Dr. Paige Patterson
  • Unconditional Election - Dr. Richard Land
  • Limited Atonement - Dr. David Allen
  • Irresistible Grace - Dr. Steve Lemke
  • Perseverance of the Saints - Dr. Ken Keathley
No explanation or elaboration is given about the rationale for the conference. All of the speakers are gifted, competent ministers. Hopefully the messages will be made available online. This has the potential to be one of the best contemporary engagements of the so-called five points of Calvinism by those who, generally, disagree with them (or at least most of them).

While, given what I know about the preachers, I do not expect to agree with many of their conclusions, I welcome this kind of theological dialogue. Isn't it great that Southern Baptists are talking about important matters of biblical theology rather than whether or not to ordain homosexual men to the gospel ministry?

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