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2007 National Leadership Conference - Final Day

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On Friday, the National Leadership Conference is only a half-day. This actually works really well since it allows most people who come from the area to get back to the office a little on Friday afternoon for things that need to be done during business hours.

Since Friday is only a half-day, there are no workshops, there are just general sessions instead (and a panel discussion this year).

The First General Session on Friday was one by Pastor Ron Jones, who serves as an Assistant Pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Sellersville, Pennyslvania. Pastor Jones, in keeping with the nature of the general sessions, preached on "Our Unique Community" from Colossians 3:1-17.
Pastor Jones dealt with three ways that we are a unique community.

I. We are a Unique Community because we hold an eternal perspective and focus

Our living here and now must reflect where we are going.

Where the Head is, there the members must be.

He used an illustration about visiting his grandmother - there is evidence you are there, but there is also evidence that it is only temporary. The same thing should be said in regards to our sojourn here.

II. We are a Unique Community because the transformation of our character

We are to make a corpse of our life.
If we have a transformed character, why do we have so much covetousness, which is idolatry?
People ought not to see covetousness in the lives of Christians.
III. We are a Unique Community because of the unique character we display

The new man that we put on is drastically different than the old man.
The new man understands that we are one community - neither Greek nor Jew, etc.
After the 1st General Session, there was a short break and then a Panel Discussion. The members of the Panel were some of the General Session speakers. Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Kevin Bauder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN), Pastor Ron Jones of Faith Baptist Church of Sellersville, and Pastor Danny Brooks of Heritage Bible Church of Greer, South Carolina. Dr. Sam Harbin, conference co-ordinator and President of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary served as the moderator and questioner for the Panel Discussion.

Many of the questions that Dr. Harbin asked were related back specifically to points and comments made by the speakers in their General Sessions and the questions covered a pretty wide range.

Pastor Ron Jones (who is African-American - a fact only mentioned because it is relevant to the question) was asked about diversity in our churches. He commented that we have made some good progress, but that there are still some hurdles that we need to clear.

Pastor Tim Jordan, who had started off the conference with communion, was asked about the practice of "tacking on communion" to a service, which he does not like. He also commented that the Lord’s Table is one of the few commanded aspects of worship and that we should take it more seriously. (By the way, for a great communion hymn, our church uses "We Gather to Remember" written by Pastor Scott Annoil of First Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois. The stanzas deal with different aspects of communion - the body, the blood, examine yourself, etc. I would link to it, but the site is temporarily down for maintenance.)

In regards to expository preaching, Pastor Dan Brooks commented that since God’s word is quick and powerful (Heb. 4:12), we need to get out of the way and let God’s word do its work. He also commented that we are merely table waiters delivering what God has prepared for His people.

In regards to a question about dealing with people of this post modern age, a comment was made by a panelist about establishing an understanding of the Bible as God’s Word and Dr. Doran jumped in with "I am a thorough going presuppositionalist" (which got a good response). He also commented that when Paul referred to the poets (for instance), he did not do it to gain credibility, but he did so in the sense, "You already know you don’t have the answers." He also added, "I don’t see any Biblical warrant for us to use external evidences as part of pre-evangelism."

In dealing with a question on the nature of Scripture, Dr. Bauder pointed out that the sufficiency of Scripture does not suggest that the answer to every question is in the Bible, but that all we need is in the Bible.

He illustrated this concept by talking about jumping out of an airplane with a bad parachute. The Bible does not address the question of "how do I survive this fall?", but it does address the issue of being prepared to die, etc. (There was a humorous moment in this that I will share in my overall evaluation post to come later.)

When asked about staying in touch, Dr. Doran spoke about the fact that exposition is key - it allows you to unfold the Word of God so that the various needs are met. We should remember that the transformation of the mind is a slow process. Even if people don’t remember specifics, if we are expositional in our preaching, they can see that the base is in the Bible and know where to go.

Dr. Jordan commented on the need to getting to know more and more of your people and Pastor Brooks reminded us that the point is that their faith would rest in God, not in the Pastor.

In regards to pastoral authority and to preaching a comment was made (by Doran?) that the two keys of a pastoral authority is exposition and example.

Dr. Doran commented that "the best preaching is the extension of extended reflection on the text" and listed some key developmental questions. These developmental questions included "What do I need to explain?" "What do they need to be convinced of?" and "Where does this show up (in living)?

There was also a pretty good discussion in regards to planning and schedules that I will include separately (since this is getting so long).

The Last General Session of the day was by Professor Doug Finkbinder of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary and dealt with "Our Unique Story."

Dr. Finkbinder commented that a lot of what could be said in this session had already been covered by Pastor Brooks in the session on "Our Unique Savior" and by Pastor Doran in the session on "Our Unique Gospel."

The emphasis on Dr. Finkbinder’s presentation (which, unlike the other General Sessions, included a full set of pre-printed notes - 6 pages worth) was upon the idea of using God’s story line in our presentation of the God’s Story. He dealt with the idea of the Creation, Fall, Pursuit and Culmination and the way these things work together. Since these notes are available (or will likely be available) for downloading, I won’t bother to rehash the specifics here.

One of the challenges that Dr. Finkbinder mentioned in this presentation is one that I may actually do - preach a series on Major Movements in God’s Story. (To be fair, I have been thinking along doing something like this after reading about how Don Johnson’s "through the whole Bible" series that he mentions on his blog.) He also challenged us to consider getting up and telling the whole Bible storyline in one message and to connect the text to the Bigger Story.

There was a closing song and things were wrapped up for the conference. I have two more general posts (an overall evaluation post and a post on the planning and scheduling section of the panel discussion) before getting into specific workshops.

Just my thoughts (feel free to add your own),



Andy Efting said...


You said that Doran's comment regarding presuppositionalism got a good response. Does that mean that the audience and panel agreed with Doran on that point? And, if so, do you think that the majority of people there knew what presuppositionalism means?

I agree with Doran but my impression is that presuppositionalism is not a well-understood concept to many in fundamentalism. I know it wasn't for me until just recently.

Frank Sansone said...


Yes and no. I believe that, for the most part, the audience agreed with the point and that many/most of the audience would have understood what he meant by that. This is not to say that all of the audience understood to what he was referring, but I imagine that most that were there understood what he was referring to and agreed. (Of course that could be me reading things with my bias, since I am a presuppositionalist and have been since undergrad - late 1980s - and most of the folks I discussed this in seminary and the majority of Pastors that I have been friends with who have taken much of an interest in apologetics have also been presuppositionalists.) I would also point out that Professor Mark Farnham of CBTS (who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics at Westminster) had done an seminar on Thursday entitled "Defending the Faith: The Current State of Apologetics from a Fundamentalist Perspective" which was the seminar in the big room (the downstairs chapel) for that session and dealt with persuppositionalism and while the session was good, I did not get the impression from the session that this was an unfamiliar topic to most of the audience.

Perhaps I have just been fortunate.

In Christ,

Pastor Frank Sansone