Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Spiritually Humbling and Moving Conference

In my previous blog entry I indicated that last week I was privileged to attend the Think Tank conference of truthXchange at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, CA. To encourage him, I offered to Dr. Peter Jones my assessment of the conference. With full sincerity, I observed that, to date, it is the best conference I have attended. Why? It is because, despite reasonable expectation of some unevenness among the presenters, all mined deeply their assigned focus, and the progression and development of the conference theme effectively flowed. (For presenters and topics, see here.)

All who know me well realize that I am neither particularly moved by the affective nor easily impressed. Therefore, I trust that the point that I am about to make should be received with all that much more weight. At this conference I was exposed to and I made acquaintance of several young scholars who have considerable spiritual depth, holy gravitas, Christian acumen, and breadth of biblical knowledge. Among the various impacts witnessing the vastness of the knowledge and understanding that these folks have acquired has had upon me, I will mention three.

First, I have renewed confidence that the Lord God is raising up young individuals throughout his church to lead his people to resist the devil and the neo-pagan assault upon truth, against Christ, and upon the church. Not only are the presenters that I heard well-equipped to engage the battle against the forces of darkness, but they are capably equipping Christians to do the same. And each of the presenters manifested considerable humility.

Second, I am humbled by the wealth of knowledge, by the breadth of understanding, by the depth of spiritual maturity, by the vastness of the mastery of information, and by the weightiness of Christian demeanor that I witnessed from each of the presenters. I am grateful that so many from the younger generation are and have acquired a far more well-rounded and more deeply plumbed education than I received, given my quite unguided choices. The conference reminded me of encouragement that I have frequently offered students whom I have been privileged to instruct and to counsel, including young scholars whom I hear present their research.

Once again, what I have witnessed among so many young scholars revives hope and a deep sense that my own labors in Christian education, puny as they are, are not in vain. The pleasure I have taken in encouraging young scholars whom I fully expect to exceed my few and little accomplishments is refreshed and invigorated. An important and essential quality of true scholarship, in my estimation and for which we all should strive, is to find delight in serving as the source of ideas that stimulate and stir the imaginations and passions of younger scholars who will almost surely advance well beyond ourselves. Scholarship entails leadership that finds joy in passing ideas, insights, and curiosity on to others in such a manner that they take these up as their own and advance them. And we are to do this all without whining that the ideas may have originated with ourselves in some small way once we discover that those whom we have encouraged have done just as we encouraged them to do. True Christian scholarship is not particularly concerned to receive credit and applause for ideas, even if they are brilliant ideas, for we do not serve ourselves but the Lord.

So, if I have the opportunity of playing some small role in stirring research and writing juices in young scholars, I take delight in it. If an essay I publish prompts ideas which a young scholar takes up and advances even farther, as one student recently did, I am delighted.

Third, not only biblical scholars presented at the truthXchange Think Tank conference. Presenters came from a cross-section of disciplines. A look at the program reflects this. By way of example I will comment upon the penultimate presenter, Mr. Steve Baarendse, (Professor of Literature, Columbia International University, Columbia, SC). His presentation vividly displayed that one's scholarly study of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek, as is so dominant in my guild, is no substitute for one's humble, believing, and daily reading of the Bible in English. Mr. Baarendse's knowledge of and use of the Bible in his presentation puts to shame the same as done by numerous scholars who read the Bible in the original languages. May Mr. Baarendse's tribe increase.


Pilgrim said...

Wow, that lineup looks wonderful. No doubt it was a time of being affected by Truth.

"One-ism" is a new term to me, but it reminds me of F. Schaeffer's "Pan-Everythingism."

abcaneday said...

Dr. Peter Jones coined the terms, "One-ism" versus "Two-ism." By "One-ism" he means "monism." "One-ism" versus "Two-ism" are Jones' simplified terms to express the great antithesis between monism and trinitarianism, between Creator and creation.