As promised, this is an overall review and commentary regarding the recently concluded Pastor’s Conference.
Word of the Day. Like I mentioned before, the “hot topic” was all about the Lord of the Sabbath session. The speaker, understandably, didn’t want to get into the “legal” side of the issue, meaning what may or may not be done during the Sabbath. While he insisted on the perpetuity of the Sabbath (Christ declaring himself Lord of the Sabbath having a lot to do with its perpetuity), he stopped short of endorsing or disapproving particular activities. He emphasized, and I agree, that to give statements about particular activities on Sunday (e.g., don’t go to the mall, don’t open for business, etc.) would be akin to opening a can of worms.
Food. The food was good, period. I find it miraculous that the cook (whoever he or she is) can stretch the budget that way. As I mentioned before, it wasn’t five-star quality, but still something you’d go back for.
Books. As before, CRBC gave out blessings in the form of free books for the delegates. The free books are together worth at least P 4,500.00. (I can’t really prove this, but some people just go there for the free books. A few delegates seem to mysteriously disappear right after lunch, which is when the free books are distributed. Considering the conference costs around 450.00, and the return is ten times that in books…) I’ll be uploading the titles over at my Shelfari page, but for this post, I will comment on a couple (these are the ones I can’t wait to get my eyes on):
- Reign of Grace by Abraham Booth (1734-1806). I’ve wanted to read Booth’s works since I first heard (read?) his name here: http://www.timmybrister.com. I was afraid that, being as he is from the 18th century, I might find his words hard to read. But after a quick glance, I find that not to be the case. The blurb at the back of the book says, “In this work he (Booth) examines the very nature of divine grace and how it operates in every part of our salvation, dealing with its sovereignty in such subjects as our election, calling, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, leading us eventually to eternal glory. He seeks to humble the pride of man and show that grace, when rightly understood and embraced, leads to a life of love and holiness.”
- The Great Gain of Godliness by the Puritan, Thomas Watson. Considering that this is the one book that was sought after by no less than C.H. Spurgeon (and him having a personal library of 12,000 volumes!), I have in my hands a treasure indeed. I wish I had a personal library of 12,000 volumes.
- One of the conference speakers, Ian Densham, personally endorsed Robert Sheehan’s The Word of Truth: Scripture – Its Origin, Sufficiency and Relevance. Two things mark this book as special – First, it was written by “the leading Reformed Baptist theologian of his generation,” according to Banner of Truth. Second, any book about the sufficiency of Scripture is a must read.
A few quotes from the conference:
- (Against the legalists) “Legalism robs us of the intended joy of the Sabbath.” – N. Espinosa
- “When we go into the pulpit, we go not alone.” – Iain Murray.
- (Commenting on the tripartite activity of man – worship, work, and play) “We have become people who worship our work, work hard at play, and play during worship.” – N. Espinosa
Overall, I’d give this conference an 8/10. (Just for information’s sake, last year’s was a 9/10. The year before that was also an 8/10. The first one I attended was an 8.5/10.
Figure 1: This is a snapshot of the crowd in attendance. This was taken the third and last day of the conference, so there were fewer people – some had to leave early for previous appointments and all that. The shot was taken from my spot near the front row.
Figure 2: This is a group shot of the conference speakers (l-r) I. Densham, N. Espinosa, Brian Ellis, D. Linblad, and J. MacDonald. Brian Ellis is pastor of Cubao Reformed Baptist Church. This was taken a few minutes into the Open Forum (Q&A Session) on Thursday afternoon.
Addendum: The Pastors’ Conference has been held every February (save one) at the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church, Quezon City. I am not sure if the organizers plan to have a different venue like they did last year. CRBC usually gives out notices for upcoming event through snail mail. This year, my ID number was 001 – yup, I registered that early.