I had intended to blog about The Conference on the Holy Spirit earlier this weekend, but my schedule has been full and this is the first time I had the opportunity to sit down at the computer in the hotel room and write down some thoughts about my impressions of the conference.
First, the host church and pastor Dwight McKissic have done a wonderful job of preparations and hosting. There are a large number of volunteers who have made everything very smooth for all the participants and speakers, including all the meals.
Friday morning and afternoon we had the "Pastor's Roundtable" which was a carry over from our first meeting at Cornerstone last year. Dwight McKissic and Ben Cole spoke and both did an outstanding job. Both men are always very well prepared and accomplished speakers. Dwight's sermon was entitled "The Road from Babel to Pentecost" and he showed how God reversed all the negative things that happened at Babel by pouring out his Spirit at Pentecost. Ben spoke of walls being broken down at Pentecost, including the walls of national identity, racial segregation, and testamental divisions. There was a robust discussion on both messages as we enjoyed lunch around the tables. The afternoon offered us an opportunity to hear a testimony and challenge from Art Rogers and messages from Ralph W. Emerson and another guest pastor friend of Dwight's. I enjoyed all the speakers and the discussion that followed.
Friday night's service was three and a half hours long, but the time passed quickly. I always enjoy the worship when led by Daniel Brymer and both Gary Smith and Denny Davis, pastors from two of the largest Baptist churches in the metroplex did a great job on the role of the Holy Spirit in Church Growth and Kingdom Growth. I enjoyed preaching to a very responsive crowd on the role of the Holy Spirit in the Great Commission.
Saturday was a very long day, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and going until 9:30 p.m. that night. However, I learned a great deal from every one of the speakers. I enjoyed meeting and visiting with Bart Barber and appreciated his lecture on the cessationist viewpoint from a historical perspective, and Robin Foster presented his subject matter in a very humble attitude. Both men were in the minority in their positions, but I really appreciate the spirit they displayed today of accepting those brothers who disagreed. I also enjoyed the presentations of Alan Cross on continuationsim, particularly the way in which Alan is matter of fact about the Sciptures approach to the gifts, but it is evident Alan's emphasis in life and ministry is on Christ. I met for the first time Dr. Boyd Luter, former dean of Criswell College and now a pastor in Texas. His presentation on cooperation within the SBC between people with differing views on the gifts is absolutely must hearing for leadership within the SBC. I have received permission to post his lecture and plan on doing so sometime next week.
Saturday night Sam Storms and Daniel Brymer did a great job leading us in teaching and worship respectively. I don't think I have ever heard a clearer presentation on the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer than that presented by Sam. He is a theologian par excellence and I learned a great deal Saturday night. He was the only preacher and as far as I was concerned he could have continued for hours.
This morning, Sunday morning, I will be preaching at Cornerstone at 7:30 a.m. and Sam will be preaching at 10:00 a.m. I will be heading back to Enid after the morning service to be present for our evening service in Enid.
All in all I really enjoyed the weekend. I met a lot of new friends and enjoyed the fellowship with people from all over the SBC. I was also greatly encouraged by what I heard from people on both sides of the issue. Everyone displayed a Christian spirit. Everyone mentioned the necessity to continue in cooperation for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Our convention could learn a great deal from studying the model at this conference at Cornerstone.
There's room in ministry and leadership of the SBC for people with differing views on the gifts, and NOBODY should desire to exclude people from EITHER side.
In His Grace,