This was a conference I’ve heard of before, but it was different that any conference I’ve ever attended before.
It is a conference for those who are serious about the authority and sufficiency of the Bible, and just as serious about preaching/teaching it. Most of these men were full-time pastors. For the pastor/teacher, seminary is like medical school, but just like a doctor, a pastor must continue to refine his skills — this conference was just that for those in full-time ministry.
It is a three-day conference and it was broken into three components — “the big meeting,” “the small meeting,” and the individual time in God’s Word. I was only able to attend for one day, and as an observer I was still able to glean many things from this conference. There were two speakers: David Jackman and Chris Spano. Jackman spoke first and he stressed the importance of “Staying on the line.” He started with the question, “What is expository preaching?” His definition was clear: “The Bible text drives the sermon!” It is hard work but if the Bible drives the sermon then it is God Himself who speaks to His people. The other take-away from his presentation was the fact that the Bible interprets itself.
Chris Spano then came and showed us how to stay on that line by explaining the importance of context. He used Mark 8 and we all did it together in our “big meeting.” One of the things he stressed was the reading and re-reading of the book to understand the purpose of the author. He said, “Biblical context is the king but the cultural context is the prince.” We get into trouble when we enlarge the cultural context over the biblical context. It was so rich. I would encourage anyone who is in full-time ministry to find a workshop and attend it. I know for me, as soon as I get into full-time ministry I will sign up right away. Hope to see some of you there.
Brian — D.O.C.