Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Building Bridges Conference - Initial Thoughts

The conference ended on a high note with Danny Akin's presentation on Working Together to Make Christ Known. His comments were insightful, inspiring, bold, courageous and gracious. He argued for why and how Southern Baptists should make the effort to work together for a "Great Commission Resurgence."

This is on talk you absolutely must hear from the conference. It (along with the other talks) is available at the LifeWay website.

I will recap with further reflections when I have more time. I am currently sitting in the Ashville airport with my beautiful wife waiting for the first leg of our trip home. All in all, the conference met or exceeded my hopes and prayers. I believe that much good will come from it. Much good has already come from it.

Thanks for your prayers. I hope to get my thoughts together and post them in the next day or two.


John said...

I too was so encouraged. In fact I came home and told my wife that Danny Aiken's sermon was the best I've heard by a non-calvinist in years. I greatly appreciated this man's heart and I hope that others will speak out like he has so that there really can be more bridge building.

Timmy Brister said...


All of us, Calvinist or non-Calvinist, are indebted to the labors and sacrifices made by you, Dr. Akin, Dr. Rainer, and everyone else who have worked to put this conference on. If I may, I want to speak on behalf of everyone in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Iran in saying "thank you" for your hard work. (See Yarnell's presentation for the inside joke).

But seriously, this conference will a historical marker for years to come. The leadership that you, Akin, and Rainer have demonstrated is not only to be commended but also a model for others in the SBC to follow.

Tom said...


I thought Dr. Akin's presentation was one of the finest I have heard from an SBC statesmen in many, many years--Calvinist, non-Calvinist or Molinist! ;-) He has set a standard and is providing leadership that we desperately need in the SBC.

Tom said...


I wish you could have been here. And I am grateful for the affirmation from all of those states because folks from those states have proven to be very opinionated in the last 24 hours. ;-)

I am grateful to have been a part of this conference. The spirit was great and there were some great presentations. I pray that much, lasting good will come from our time together the last 3 days. Early indications are that this may indeed happen.

Todd Pruitt said...


I was fortunate to attend Building Bridges. It was an outstanding conference. I commend you and Dr. Aiken both for your courage and your wisdom in selecting speakers. I thought the structure, though gueling, was very effective. I kept thinking that I was attending an historic event.

Thank you for your vision. I pray God will continue to bless the efforts of Founders.

Will Dr. Mohler's message be available. I have heard many good messages. Mohler's message Monday evening was a great one. Every evangelical would profit from hearing it.

Todd Pruitt said...

I'm not sure what "gueling" means. I think "grueling" is a better fit.


Tim Rogers said...

Brother Tom,

I enjoyed being at the conference also. It was a great time and sorry we could not find the time to visit. Maybe some other time. I certainly would love to take you up on that interview.

What do you see this conference accomplishing for the future?


William said...

Brother Ascol,

I attended the conference and I must say that my heart was changed! Changed to become what I have never been, a man of God that wants so desperately to know how to PREACH the GOSPEL!

I was not raised in church but God still extended His call upon my life and at the age of 17 I was faced with a decision, a decision might I add, that transformed my life forever and is still transforming my life.

15 years later I find myself attending bible college. I am now in my last year and have plans to attend Southeastern Seminary in the Fall of o8.

I never heard anything about Calvinism being from North Georgia area unitl I arrived in Kentucky. At first the arrogance of some Calvinist turned me away,frightened me, and caused me to build some walls. However, through my studies and new found friends, that never tried to convert me but simply discuss God's word with me honestly and truthfully, I have come to appreciate and embrace this call back to the bible and to correctly live by God's scriptures.

Although, I have yet to embrace all 5 points I am still a seeker of the truth that is doing his best to not make this journey one of systems.

I needed this conference!


Les Puryear said...


As did most others, I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. Thank you for all of your efforts.


Tom said...


Gueing, was probably both! I am dog tired, and can't wait to catch my last flight home. I think Dr. Mohler's message will be available, but probably not for a couple of days. I have been told that the downloads from LifeWay's site have been exceptionally high. Once the IT guys are back in Nashville they will be able to upload things more efficiently.


It was good to see you there, brother. I wish we could have found time for more fellowship. I would be glad to give you an interview anytime we can work it out.

I think the conference can serve at least of couple of uses for the future. 1. It can help raise the bar for discourse within our SBC family. Substantive issues were addressed plainly absent the belittling, harsh rhetoric that too often accompanies such dialogue. 2. Anyone who wants to know what at least some representative Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the SBC believe will have easy access to audio and written files to satisfy their curiosity.

Beyond that, I share Dr. Akin's desire that a genuine Great Commission Resurgence might develop among all Southern Baptists who are willing to rally around our non-negotiable common commitments.

johnMark said...


It was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for your message. I hope much good will come of this.


Debbie Kaufman said...

Although I did not attend the conference, I have been listening to each and every message and reading blogs that have information on this conference as it has unfolded. I was drawn to the message by Nathan Finn. Having been impressed by him for quite some time, this message furthered by respect for this young man.

Tom said...


>>I attended the conference and I must say that my heart was changed! Changed to become what I have never been, a man of God that wants so desperately to know how to PREACH the GOSPEL!<<

Amen! Thanks, brother.

Les and Mark:

It was great to see both of you. I wish I could have fellowshipped more with you. The schedule was really packed, wasn't it! Thanks for your comments.


Nathan's presentation was a highlight for me. I told him that it serves as a paradigm of how we need to address potentially volatile issues. He was clear, factual, humble and pointed.


wayner said...

Dr. Ascol,

I know the conference has just finished and gauging the fallout (so to speak) is far from over, but has there been consideration of doing similar meetings in different traditional SBC areas, or perhaps making it part of the SBC Pastor's Conference?

Anyway thanks to you and the others that organized it, it is a great beginning.


Will said...

I just want to say that I was humbled and moved by Danny Akin's message. There is much there that I need personally to act on.

Tom I also would like to say that your message was wonderful as well. I felt that your three questions and the exegis of your answers was moving and Christ Centered.

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Tom said...


I hope there will be further efforts like this one to continue the dialogue on important issues in a healthy way. Pray to that end!


Thanks. God has raised Danny Akin up for such a time as this in our convention. Pray for him!