NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Calvinism, a frequent topic within the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond, will be the theme of a Nov. 26-28 conference sponsored by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Founders Ministries.
The conference, titled “Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism,” will be held at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.
“The Word of God calls us to love the Lord with all of our heart,” said Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary. “It also calls us to love Him with all of our mind. Thinking biblically and theologically, therefore, is essential to a balanced and healthy Christian life.
“Calvinism has generated a lot of interest in recent years in Southern Baptist life,” Akin added. “Unfortunately we have often talked at and not with one another. Unhealthy rhetoric and misrepresentations from all directions have led to confusion and even ill will among brothers and sisters in Christ. We hope this conference will demonstrate how important theological issues can be discussed with grace, integrity and love.”
Subjects to be addressed during the conference include: “The Historical Record;” “Calvinism: A Cause for Rejoicing, A Cause for Concern;” “The Atonement: Its Design, Nature, and Extent;” “Theological Stereotypes: Let’s Be Fair and Honest with Each Other;” “Election and Calling: A Biblical/Theological Study;” and “Working Together to Make Christ Known.”
Scheduled speakers are:
— David Dockery, president, Union University, Jackson, Tenn.
— James Merritt, pastor, Cross Pointe, The Church at Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Ga.
— Malcolm Yarnell, assistant dean of theological studies/associate professor of systematic theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
— Greg Welty, assistant professor of philosophy, Southwestern Seminary.
— Danny Akin, president, Southeastern Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.
— Nathan Finn, instructor of church history, Southeastern Seminary.
— Ken Keathley, senior associate dean, professor of theology, Southeastern Seminary
— David Nelson, senior vice president of academic administration, dean of faculty, professor of theology, Southeastern Seminary.
— Charles Lawless, dean, Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.
— Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology, Southern Seminary.
— R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president, Southern Seminary.
— J.D. Greear, pastor, Summit Church, Durham, N.C.
— Sam Waldron, academic dean and professor of theology, Midwest Center for Theological Studies, Owensboro, Ky.
— Voddie Baucham, church planter and pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church, Spring, Texas.
— Jeff Noblit, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, Ala.
— Thom Rainer, president and CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources. — Ed Stetzer, director, LifeWay Research and resident missiologist, LifeWay.
— Brad Waggoner, vice president of research and ministry development, LifeWay.
— Tom Ascol, senior pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Fla., and executive director, Founders Ministries.
Each subject will have at least two speakers addressing differing perspectives and at least one panel discussion will be held.
“We intend to follow the example of those who have gone before us by rediscovering the spiritual vitality that comes from humble, honest theological dialogue,” Ascol said. “We have a significant lineup of excellent theologians who represent what Scripture means when it says iron sharpens iron. This conference is an opportunity for Southern Baptists to experience the kind of theological sharpening that takes place when brothers and sisters come together to learn from one another and to challenge each other to follow our Savior more faithfully.”
LifeWay Research, which studied Calvinism as its inaugural study last September, will serve as conference host. Brad Waggoner, LifeWay’s vice president for research and ministry development, said this conference is compatible with the mission of LifeWay Research.
“The goal of LifeWay Research is to provide relevant information to people and churches for the purpose of reaching people for Christ,” Waggoner said. “Calvinism is obviously something that a lot of people have discussed over the past couple of years. Anytime Christians can come together — especially those within the same ‘family’ — and seek deeper biblical understanding, the entire Body of Christ benefits. LifeWay Research’s desire is to stimulate and inform those types of discussion.”
First sessions will begin on Monday, Nov. 26, and conclude at noon Wednesday, Nov. 28. Program fees are: $75 (excludes meals) or $104 (includes six meals). Lodging options are: $69 per night (Mt. Laurel Inn) or $54 per night (Pritchell and Maple). Contact LifeWay Ridgecrest reservations at 800-588-7222 or online at www.lifeway.com/buildingbridges.
Chris Turner is media relations manager for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.