Thursday, January 06, 2005

AAPC - intro

I'm still letting all my thoughts on the Auburn Avenue Pastors' Conference simmer, but I hope to have a few posts worth. Overall, we had a great trip. The conference was excellent. The folks at Auburn Avenue did a great job of putting the conference together. The speakers were, of course, fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed the hymn singing, as well. It was also good to put faces with some disembodied names from the blogosphere (such as Mike and Barb). Our bookshelves really benefitted from the conference, too (although my wallet wasn't too thrilled).

There were, of course, a few moments of awkwardness for us. The whole situation, actually. Two baptized Methodists, who currently attend a Baptist church, at a Presbyterian pastors' conference. And of course, not just any conference, but one for and by "theological miscreants." Wow.

Anyway, apparently there were some who were under the impression that this conference would be more of a debate between Bishop Wright and Dr. Gaffin. Not true at all. Instead, each presented a series (5 each) of parallel lectures addressing basic contours of Paul's theology. At many points, their concerns intersected and complemented. And at others, the large-scale differences between the two men were apparent. Of extreme value were the Question and Answer sessions, where the two not only answered questions from the audience, but also dialogued with each other about the content of their lectures. I found both men to be able teachers of the Bible and benefitted from their lectures. Pastor Steve Wilkins (of AAPC) opened the conference with his hope that the subsequent presentations would not injure the Church, but rather, would be a blessing to Christ's people. I believe it certainly was.

Oh, the good folks at First Baptist Church of West Monroe hosted the conference, since they have a LARGE sanctuary and facilities, which were necessary for the high attendance. This setting provided no shortage of lighthearted humor, as Wright, Wilkins and others commented that they weren't used to preaching in such a large "theater." Also, during a Q&A dialogue on infant baptism, Wright exclaimed that he couldn't believe he was saying what he was saying in a Baptist church. All humor aside, it was extremely generous of FBC-WM to open their doors to a bunch of Presbyterians and Anglicans (and whatever Allison and I are ...).

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