Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Miami Pastors' Conference

I am spending a couple of days in Miami with my son, Joel, at the 2nd Annual Miami Pastors' Conference. The conference is hosted by Pastor Rickey Armstrong and the Glendale Baptist Church. Its genesis goes back to 2001 when a few pastors met in Atlanta to discuss the prospects of hosting a conference geared toward encouraging African-American ministers to think of ministry based on the doctrines of grace. A conference did meet that year in conjunction with the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals but was not organized again until last year when Pastor Armstrong and GBC decided to host it.

The theme is "The Christ-Centered Aim of Preaching." Three speakers addressed us today. Ken Jones of the Greater Union Baptist Church in Los Angeles and Michael Leach of All Saints Redeemer Church in Decatur, Georgia led a workshop on the state of preaching in African-American churches today. It was fascinating, insightful and offered several helpful correctives that transcend cultural and ethnic distinctives. One observation that Pastor Jones made was the tendency of many preachers within the African-American community to relegate preaching to an "art form" with little regard for content. Of course, preaching is primarily defined by subtance ("Preach the Word") not style. Pastor Leach cited Jeremiah 5:30-31 as an apt description of modern evangelicalism. Listening to his arguments, I had to concur.

Tonight, Pastor Jones gave a very helpful message out of Luke 24 on the Necessity of Christ-Centered Preaching and Thabiti Anaybwile, pastor of First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Island, gave a wonderful example of doing what Christ did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He offered 5 examples of how to preach Christ from all the Law. We are still to hear from Pastors Armstrong, Anthony Carter and Sinclair Ferguson. I don't know if recordings of the sessions will be available. You can check with the church. If they are, they will certainly be worth having.


GUNNY said...

Sounds like a great conference and I'm encouraged by efforts to make the Reformed community more ethnically diverse.

I heartily recommend Reformed Blacks of America in this regard as well. Some good brothers and sisters over there who subscribe to the Cambridge Declaration.

Q. A. Jones said...

It's encouraging to know that you're attending this conference and posting insights from it (for those of us who wanted to be there but couldn't the summary is encouraging)! And thanks for bringing attention to what God is doing within African American community.

Semper Reformanda,


Forest A said...

For my fellow SBTS blog readers:

Just a heads up and little off topic for this post: the Fred Malone mentioned in the post regarding the new edition of Boyce's Abstract is the same one speaking on campus next Wednesday at 10am on the topic of "A Grace-Saturated Marriage". See you there!

Tom said...


I am very grateful to be at this conference. A few men from our church were to join me but, unfortunately, one by one had to back out for various reasons. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mark Dever is also here, along with several other Anglo as well as Latino pastors. The preaching has been exceptional and the fellowship rich.

Q. A. Jones said...

Praise God bro. I think that's a real blessing - the diversity within the conf that is. Because though the conference is somewhat pointed - the issues aren't particular to AA churches, e.g., the biblical definition of preaching, the gospel, what it means to be a Christian, biblical philosophy of ministry. Philosophies and doctrines of word of faith (temporal success through faith), psychologized gospel, seeker, etc. are rampant throughout Christendom right now; we all have to be vigilant to be preserving the faith once delivered in all our spheres.

I think where those of us within the Reformed community (and any wishing to preserve biblical Christianity) can be misled is that defending the gospel and preparing ourselves to do so has to necessarily be ethnically dichotimized. While doing so isn't sin - its good to see that brothers understand that we're all in the same war, just on different fronts.