This weekend was our annual conference – as I’ve been blathering about for the weeks leading up to it.
By God’s grace, this year’s speakers were Michael Haykin – Principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary (see his excellent blog HISTORIA ECCLESIASTICA HERE) and the inimitable D. A. Carson (Research Professor of New Testament Greek – See CHRISTWAY MEDIA HERE) and it was a rich time indeed.
But the lessons I personally learned were more in observing the men themselves than the actual data they conveyed. And that’s saying a LOT, given the profound expositions and exhortations we heard. I’ll tall you more about it below.
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The conference theme this year was Christians Facing the 21st Century.
Michael Haykin was first up with the necessity of the doctrine of the Trinity. A wonderful study of some trinitarian passages and reminding us of what is so foundational to true, Biblical Christianity, even though it is sorely neglected in our day.
Don Carson then took the podium to expound Psalm 1 as we thought through “The Bible and What we Think”. Developing a worldview saturated and informed by Scripture.
Saturday morning saw Dr. Carson return with an exposition of 1 Peter 1, and helping us arrive at balancing “Scripture and Experience”.
Dr. Haykin’s second address was on “Why we need to be good Church historians”. This is his baby, and the 7 point demonstration, I think, got everyone wanting to go back and start filling in the gaps in our ecclesiastical history.
Don Carson followed on the theme of presenting Christ to a Postmodern world, in unpacking Paul’s address on Mars Hill.
And closing out the day was Michael Haykin’s call to become men and women of prayer.
What great foundational addresses throughout.
Then, while saddened that Dr. Haykin had to return to Canada Saturday evening, we were most blessed to have Dr. Carson speak to us at our Church on “Why Trust a Cross?” – taken from Romans 3:23-26. Absolutely glorious.
Now here’s where I need to make a very important observation, but one easily passed over.
Both Michael Haykin and Don Carson had both the wisdom and the humility to communicate and interact in such a way, that there was not 1 iota of either of them standing upon, or trying to display anything of their erudition or prowess. They came to minister God’s Word to God’s people, and they each, silently and sweetly took a back seat to anyone (including themselves) and everything else that Christ might have the preeminence And this, I want to highlight by means of one particular observation.
Carson is Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. One of his areas of true expertise is in Greek grammar. He is intimately acquainted with the original text and its finest working points. And in 4 addresses over 2 days, expounding New Testament texts most of the time, and engaging in numerous conversations – several for hours with myself personally: Now catch this – he only cited a Greek word twice. Twice! This is astounding.
The point is this – At all times in and in all places, his most profound concern was for the clear communication of Scripture truth, and never once to give any extraneous scholarly data to display HIS learning – only to improve ours.
That my dear friends is what made this weekend special to me. To see Christ’s humility modeled, and the soundness in Christ’s character revealed in demonstration.
Following the Savior’s example, both of these men took off the robes of academia, set them aside, and washed our feet.
May the Father be pleased to work those lessons deeply into this still very sin-stained heart.