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BJU Pastors/Wives Fellowship - Dr. Bob Jones, III Session

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As I mentioned last week, I recently had the privilege of attending a Pastors/Wives Fellowship in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania sponsored by Bob Jones University. I introduced the speakers and made general comments in my last post.

The first session of the day was by Dr. Bob Jones, III, Chancellor of BJU. Dr. Bob spoke on "Turbulence in the Air; Chaos in the Cabin; Confusion in the Cockpit: What a Time to be Flying!"

The text was from 2 Timothy 3 and Dr. Bob used the analogy of an airplane flight throughout - as if you could not have guessed that by the title :) .

In regards to the Turbulence in the Air, he spoke about the "dangerous times" v. 1 and the reality that the prince of the power of the air continues to stir things up and cause many problems.

In regards to the Chaos in the Cabin, he spoke about the fact that church has tares among the wheat and that in these dangerous times there would be persecution from without and corruption from within.

The character of men in general (the world at large) is described (with lovers of self and lovers of pleasure being the bookends of the description given in 2 Timothy 3:2-5) and the reality is that this description is often mirrored within the church.

The description of ministry men is also discussed in this passage with a description given in 2 Timothy 3:6-9 and 2 Timothy 3:13 - reminding us that there are folks in the ministry that sneak into houses, they deceive, and wax worse and worse.

In regards to the Confusion in the Cockpit he dealt with the confusion that sometimes occurs among the older and younger men in ministry and the need for "Pauls" and "Timothys" to work together. In doing so, he focused on 2 Timothy 3:10-17 where Paul writes that Timothy has fully known his doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, etc.

The emphasis was on the relationship between the older and younger men in ministry.

Among other things mentioned, there was a challenge to the older men to admonish the younger as Paul did with Timothy (2 Timothy 2:7, 2:8, 2:14, 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:6, 4:11), there was a challenge to the older men to instruct the Timothys, and an encouragement that God was not looking for another Paul when he chose Timothy and that one day the Timothys will replace the Pauls.

He also encouraged the older men to "train the Timothys, don't try to clone yourself" and "Don't fault them because of questions. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. They need to have freedom to come to Bible convictions themselves. We can't dictate the Timothys conclusions."

To the Timothys he commented on the need to not blame the guy in the pilot's seat for all the turbulence and to have a learning disposition and to recognize that both Pauls and Timothys are needed.

He also commented on a discussion he had with some folks who were from far different theological perspectives (one was Episcopal, I believe) and the concerns that they had going on within their groups. After discussing this conversation, he also made a comment (not as an excuse, but as an observation), that every group (including Fundamentalism) has "foolishness, failures, and fogeys."

In the discussion time, he also commented to the effect that there are people who call themselves Fundamentalists that he would not want to have anything to do with - which led to a private conversation later that will remain private.

I don't know where I am in the Paul/Timothy scale anymore. I tend to think of myself as young still, but now that I am 40, perhaps some would dispute that.

I do know that I have greatly appreciated some of the Pauls in my life.

As a teenager, God brought Pastor Ron Hamilton (no, not THAT Ron Hamilton) into my life as a Youth Pastor at my home church in Phoenix, Arizona and I had the privilege of later serving with him at Heritage Baptist Church in Mt. Laurel, NJ when I was the Youth Pastor and he was (and still is) the Administrator of the Christian school. It was neat being able to work with Pastor Ron and I appreciated the privilege of even having some of his children in my youth group while I was there (as I had been in his youth group when I was younger). Pastor Ron helped me prepare my first "real" sermon, demonstrated for me a steadfastness in his walk with Christ that never seemed to waver even in the midst of difficult times, and showed me how to uncompromisingly stand for the right with a right disposition.

In college, I had a number of godly men that surrounded me - from my society chaplain, Eric Chapman (now a missionary to Lithuania), to teachers, pastors, and work supervisors.

As I got older, I was privileged to serve under Pastor Mark Franklin at Hardingville Bible Church in Monroeville, New Jersey. In Pastor Franklin, I was able to observe up close the kind of Pauline leadership that Dr. Bob was espousing as we had three young men go through the HBC Pastoral Internship program while I was there before I also went through a modified version of the Pastoral Internship program in preparation for my current ministry as "Senior" Pastor.

On the Timothy side of things, I appreciate the fact that God has given me the opportunity to work with a number of young people over the years who are now faithful in serving Christ - including some who are faithful as Godly laymen and deacons, as well as those in ministry as Pastor, Youth Pastor, and Christian School Teachers.

As I thought about the illustration/analogy that Dr. Bob used, I was reminded of a recent plane flight that I was on in which I experienced more turbulence than I have ever experienced before as a passenger. While I would love to do some piloting myself one of these days, I have never actually been a calm passenger (on the inside). I am grateful that the pilot who was flying was experienced with dealing with the turbulence. I appreciated his warning that it was coming and the calm demeanor he projected as he spoke of the upcoming turbulence. I also appreciated the reassuring comment that we were just about through the worst part of the turbulence. A hand of experience at the helm in the midst of turbulence can be a very good thing. Having been through it before will help to avoid the errors of inexperience - whether that is failing to realize how serious it is or overcompensating and making changes so quickly that the cabin is even more chaotic than it was at the beginning.

Anyway, just my thoughts on his thoughts,