Day two. The child slept well. I slept well. Dunkin Donuts was just as great the second time around.
Steve Lawson - Here I Stand
There isn't a better speaker to kick off the "long day" then Steve Lawson. As a pastor, he is used to getting excited and vocal early in the morning. And boy is it a welcome opening. Launching from 2 Timothy 3:16 he began a disposition on the topic of theology. Since Lawson is on the tail-end of his book on Luther, it was appropriate for him to spend the first many minutes on the heroic stand of Luther upon the Scriptures during the Protestant Reformation. And now it is time to for the Protestant church to recognize the increasing pressure and attacks on every element of Luther's Scriptural stronghold. We are called to echo Luther's cry, "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me."
Lawson listed six Scriptural strongholds upon which we "must stand": 1) the inspiration of the Scripture, 2) the inerrancy of the Scripture, 3) the authority of the Scriptures, 4) the perspicuity of the Scriptures, 5) the sufficiency of the Scriptures and 6) the invincibility of the Scriptures. Now I have the tendency to argue over language for many hours. The only word I dislike is "inerrancy" but not to the extent that I won't use it. Yet again, perhaps a subject I can write about another time.
Cal Thomas - Family Tradition
I don't have the guts to repeat anything Cal said. If you want to squirm in your seat find the video somewhere.
Sinclair Ferguson - Doctrine in the Dock
After twenty minutes of bagpipes, Ferguson was ready to lead the conference revolution to rejoin the motherland of Scotland! Two Scots in one conference is almost more than can be handled. Ferguson opens with a story that resulted in the illuminating concept that the church might need to be confused by Biblical teaching before being re-introduced to the gospel. And in this re-introduction, a proper perspective of Biblical doctrine and Biblical terms will regain their proper place over experience. So how did we arrive at a church culture that postulates that "doctrine divides"?
Why is there a divide between experience and doctrine? Why are church members split into thinking they "represent" a member of the body of Christ when they only participate in one? Ferguson links specifically to the enlightenment and Kant. I will save you from a discussion of noumenal and phenomenal experiences though I would recommend every Christian read Soren Kierkegaard for a more orthodox look at existential thought. Kant however had a devastating affect on pushing religious "experience" as the kernal of Christian thought. Friedrich Schleiermacher was the climax of liberal theology still attempting to be orthodox. Everything after him steeply went downhill. It is in Schleiermacher's shadow that the great Karl Barth rose in disagreement to liberal theology. And on that subject (Karl Barth), I could write articles for the next five years.
Ferguson sees in Schleiermacher a removal of humanity's relationship to God by being His image and replacing it with religious encounters. This denial of being God's image is what has led to the sacrifice of babies and many other corruptions of humanism. It strikes me as fascinating that Ferguson reached a heavy note when he stated that the church does need to turn to experience bu experience of the gospel and Jesus Christ. This was the very basis of everything Karl Barth taught.
Ferguson was awesome. Everybody needs to consume as much of his teaching material as possible.
Alistair Begg - Have Mercy
After more lunch, coffee and two book buying transactions, its time for another dose of Scotland. After many lessons on standing firm in the truth of Scripture, Begg was given an opportunity to remind the church of the need for mercy to be expounded to those outside the church. How hard is it to understand Jesus Christ's teaching on loving our enemies, praying for those that persecute us, giving to those that beg and being kind to the ungrateful and evil (Luke 6:27-36)? The answer from the congregation was a muffled awkward laughter. Begg indicated that he detects a grumbling, moaning, slanderous and complaining spirit with response to this teaching (even in himself).
The church has been called to missions not to admonishing. Admonishing is for within the church. And for the rest of the outside world we are to be about our Father's mission "seeking and saving the lost." Will the church to learn to extend the mission of Christ in a Christ like manner? Perhaps we have become pompous and pernicious of Jesus' time with our own religious hypocrisy (Luke 18:9). Begg really doesn't pull many punches.
A couple funny jokes and a couple critical barbs later Begg had beaten any sensitive heart into a pulp. All in all it was spiritual demanding and all together confrontational.
R.C. Sproul Jr. - A Good Offense
I'm still a little taken back by the overall optimism and passion of Jr. Recently I have been able to consume some of his resources for families. They have been very encouraging in the areas of discipline, education and family worship. I can't really work to sum up his lecture beyond some simple points 1) the gospel win, 2) the gospel wins and 3) the gospel wins. If you don't believe me you'll have to listen to his message!
Ravi Zacharias - He Is Risen Indeed
So originally this posted without any input on the climax of the day. Ravi was in typical form. His ministry has become more and more unrelated with the Christian community but it was refreshing to hear him bring an encouraging message as oppose to all the intellectual answers he is forced to provide on secular campuses.
The subject matter was the resurrection and there was a personal gravity to the end of Ravi's lecture that was unmatched at the conference (except maybe by Jr). An invigorating end to a very long day.