Friday, September 23, 2005

(Long overdue) post on the 2005 AOMIN Conference/Debate/Cruise

Sorry for the slowness in updating my blog. I need to blog much more often! Good thing I have topics waiting in the wings :)

The 2005 Alpha and Omega Conference and Cruise

The trip was an incredible time of learning, edification, encouragement, fellowship, and fun! It was wonderful to meet many brothers and sisters in Christ. I got to meet quite a few people from #pros: irRational, Micah, DeoVolente, redgoatee, OzPhantom, c0ach, PesterBrat, LifethroughJC, and, of course, DrOakley, shuey, unicalman, and AOMin.

I would recommend everyone to buy the mp3s or CD of the James White/John Dominic Crossan debate. The debate was slated as "Is the Orthodox, Biblical Account of Jesus of Nazareth Authentic and Historically Accurate?" but, as the debate so plainly and powerfully demonstrated, it was truly about the presuppositions that we all bring to the table. The truth of the matter is that Dr. Crossan could not believe the Biblical accounts of Christ's miracles, teachings, and resurrection because he does not believe that God intervenes in the world nor that He has spoken in any sort of clear way. More foundationally, the reason Dr. Crossan could not believe this is because such things are spiritually discerned. As Dr. White told Crossan, it's God who regenerates our hearts and draws us to faith and repentance, not any human attempt at goodness or any persuasive man-made argument. The two debated the historicity of Biblical prophecies and miracles, the harmony of the Gospels, what should and should not be taken as parable, and other issues related to the trustworthiness of the Bible. And Dr. White ended in the way we as Christians should approach those who are lost: he faithfully and warm-heartedly proclaimed the Gospel. Whereas some debate to win arguments to boost their egos, Dr. White does not: he sees it as a ministry to glorify God.

My hope and prayer is that this debate will continue to be used by God to stir up His saints and to convict the unsaved of the folly of their ways.

The teaching we received at the conference was wonderful! We heard from Dr. White, Dr. Jim Renihan, Tom Ascol, and Steve Camp. Those of us on the cruise benfitted from their teaching there as well. Over the next few days, I will be posting notes that I took. Topics included the authority of Scripture, the transmission of Scripture, the sufficiency of Scripture, the Da Vinci Code, whether or not God speaks outside of Scripture, how to recognize sound exegesis, the phrases "that's just your interpretation" and "that's what it means to me", and being doers of the Word and not hearers only.

The onboard debate on the Resurrection was equally as edifying and enjoyable. I will have to say that it has caused me to meditate on and rejoice in Christ's resurrection and our own future resurrection in a way that I didn't before the trip. The debate was more of a discussion by Dr. White and Dr. Renihan with Dr. Crossan and Dr. Marcus Borg. White and Renihan began with 1 Cor. 15, and, not surprisingly, neither Crossan nor Borg gave any real answer to the plain meaning of the text. Crossan believes that Christ is raised in the sense that the memory of him and his plan of "social justice" lives on in the minds and lives of those who embrace the Jesus of the Jesus Seminar. For Borg, resurrection is dying and becoming part of God in some sort of panentheistic sense. Again, their presuppositions blinded them to the truths of God's Word. Not only was the resurrection discussed, but the doctrines of God's wrath against sin and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for sinners was also proclaimed. One amazing thing was how Borg and Crossan believed themselves to be "Christians" even while denying such basics as substitutionary atonement and the physical resurrection. Borg proved to be quite postmodern, as he kept saying he didn't want to debate but wanted to "dialogue" in a non-confrontational way. But we preach Christ and Him crucified, as Paul wrote, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness. My prayer is that the Lord would open the hearts of these two men before it is too late.

Hopefully, the discussion will be available on mp3, CD, or DVD in the near future.

Here are my pictures form the trip. Of course, pictures can't really describe how beautiful it was and how fun it was to be there!

It was so fun that, Lord willing, I will be going to next year's conference/debate/cruise :)

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