Archive for the 'Shepherds’ Conference' Category

2015 Shepherds’ Conference (Day Four)

Today was the last day of the 2015 Shepherds’ Conference. I started the day out by picking up a couple Shepherds’ Conference hacky sacks for my boys (yes, they sell such things here) and enjoying breakfast with several of the men from my church. We were again greeted by a lone protestor as we came on campus, but he seemed to have lost much of his spark in light of the utter futility of his task Smile.

The morning session featured Sinclair Ferguson speaking on the doctrine of Inerrancy and Pneumatology. Ferguson walked through John 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 20 in order to draw out the implications of the work of the Holy Spirit in delivering the inerrant Word through the ministry of the apostles. It was a masterful treatment of the subject that you really have to listen to in order to fully appreciate. He was only able to finish his first point before closing the message, which meant that there were two points left that I would love to hear about at some future point. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

The second morning session was with Iain Murray. Murray took us all the way back to the 1880’s and the birth of the New Apologetic , which was born out of a desire to help the gospel by focusing attention the kernel of the biblical message rather than the details of the message. The tragic consequence of the New Apologetic was the inevitable lack of confidence in the Scripture and the abandonment of the message as a whole. The two applications fro Murray’s historical survey were 1) When the lines between belief and unbelief become blurred, we must redraw them quickly and stand by them, 2) The battle for inerrancy is a deeply spiritual / supernatural battle and can only be won through supernatural dependence upon God. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

Lunch was the usual Friday fare at the Shepherds’ Conference with hot dogs, chips and a drink. The third plenary session of the day was with Kevin DeYoung. DeYoung spoke on Matthew 5:17-20 exploring two aspects of the text 1) Christ and the Bible, 2) The Christian and the Bible. This was the first time I’ve been able to hear DeYoung preach and I really appreciated what he had to say, as well as the humor he used to keep the congregation’s attention as the day was wearing on. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

John MacArthur brought the conference to a close this evening with an exposition of Matthew 22:23-33 and Jesus argument for life after death. But before the exposition he made several announcements 1) Crossway will be publishing a book titled “The Inerrant Word” which will contains chapters written by each of the speakers at the summit. 2) The Association of Confessing Evangelicals, who are stewards of ICBI’s legacy and founding documents, have asked The Master’s Seminary to partner with them to promote & further the work of ICBI through seminars, further statements and more. After MacArthur’s message the conference was closed in prayer and with an invitation to next year’s conference. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

In other news The Master’s Seminary was more involved in this Shepherds’ Conference than I’ve ever seen before. I’m particularly thankful for two ways that the seminary was intentionally serving the alumni 1) Express registration was GREAT!!! 2) Offering the seminary lounge for alumni to retreat too in order to find quiet and a place to rest was a tremendous blessing to me personally. I wrote most of the blog posts in the lounge and am so thankful for the quiet it provided. You may also be interested in the fact that TMS was recently given a Torah Scroll from the 1700’s (see photo below) that they have put on display in the library. You can watch the video here for more of the history and meaning of the scroll.

March 06 2015 | Shepherds' Conference | 2 Comments »

2015 Shepherds’ Conference (Day Three)

11025953_10205935546054140_7216709272944882813_nOne of the difficulties in a summit on inerrancy is the need to be clear about what we are affirming. Traditionally within the inerrancy debate a middle ground position has been what has wrongly called infallibility. Infallibility has often wrongly been understood as a limited form of inerrancy. While the term is hopelessly lost in confusion by now, it is valuable to remember that the real definition of infallibility is actually stronger than that of inerrancy. While inerrancy means that the text is without errors, infallibility actually means that the text cannot fail. It means that it is impossible for the text to fail or to err in any way. While even a newspaper article can be said to be inerrant (free from errors), only the Scripture is truly infallible.

11041775_10205935441851535_7673217055841048997_nWe were blessed again this morning to have Fernando Ortega leading us in worship. Followed by a powerful sermon by Steve Lawson. Lawson’s message was titled the Invincible Power of the Inerrant Word. The message was comprised of seven symbols of Sacred Scripture: 1) A Sword that Pierces – Hebrews 4:12-13, 2) A Mirror that Reveals – James 1:23, 3) A Seed that Reproduces – 1 Peter 1:23, 4) Milk that Nourishes – 1 Peter 2:2, 5) A Lamp that Shines – Psalm 119:105, 6) A Fire that Consumes – Jeremiah 23:29, 7) A Rock that Shatters – Jeremiah 23:29. Lawson has always been a favorite preacher of mine, but this morning was an especially powerful message. I was in the Family Worship Center where the message was being broadcast. At one point the audio feed failed (they’ve had quite a few technical difficulties this week) and the entire room audibly groaned because they were so engaged in what Lawson was saying. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

11027501_10205935441811534_1087936623694792518_nThe second session of the day was with Dr. Greg Beale and was titled “The Use of Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15”. It was a much more technical / academic treatment that I found thoroughly riveting…although I’m afraid it may have been a little much for those not accustomed with the academic nature of the discussion. Beale’s basic answer to the difficulty of Matthew’s use of Hosea is that Matthew is actually alluding to Hosea in this passage, not looking to Hosea as a direct fulfillment. Beale’s argument pressed this point even further by demonstrating how well versed Matthew was in Hosea’s writing and how thoroughly appropriate his citation of Hosea 11:1 is at Matthew 2:15. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

The last session of the day was with Dr. Mohler who preached on Inerrancy & Hermeneutics. Mohler listed 12 hermeneutical principles for those who believe in inerrancy: 1) When the Bible speaks God speaks, 2) The Bible establishes the limits of its interpretation, 3) The importance of the analogy of faith, 4) Grammar matters, 5) The canon establishes the limits of God’s revelation, 6) The forms of literature are essential as the author intended, 7) No external authority can correct the Bible, 8) The historical claims of the Bible are historically true, 9) The Bible is a story that consists of many stories, 10) The Bible is true in all it claims and all of its promises will come to pass, 11) Our understanding is dependent on the Holy Spirit, 12) Study is not an end in itself. The message was classic Mohler and was profoundly helpful. You can read Busenitz liveblog here.

11046769_10205935441771533_5098416672033949393_nIn other news, I’ve really enjoyed running into old friends and new friends here at the conference. I got to spend a lot of time with the men from Emmanuel Baptist (so excited that they’re still coming to the Shepherds’ Conference) and I actually ran into my High School Youth Pastor and got to catch up with him as well. Finally, Grace Community has added a coffee shop to their campus (see photo), which serves some delicious coffee!

March 05 2015 | Shepherds' Conference | 3 Comments »

2015 Shepherds’ Conference (Day Two)

11053282_10205927249366728_1289885907303731492_nThis morning started off with a special surprise as Fernando Ortega lead us in worship. Speaking of surprises, apparently John MacArthur is a Pandora listener. Who would have guessed Smile.

Miguel Nunez was the first speaker of the day. He preached a powerful message on Inerrancy & the Great Commission. Two of the big takeaways I took from Nunez sermon were 1) Without a robust doctrine of inerrancy missions loses all of its authority to confront and engage with foreign cultures, 2) In the global north people lost their confidence in the Bible through the assaults of higher criticism, but in the global south people lost their confidence in the Bible through the belief in extra biblical revelation. If the Bible still needs to be completed through dreams, visions, etc. than it is a very short step to the Bible needing to be corrected. You can read Busenitz live blog here.

The second plenary session of the day was delivered by Carl Trueman on the topic of Inerrancy & the Reformers. Trueman’s message was truly epic! Using historical theology he addressed two of the most common objections to inerrancy 1) Inerrancy is strictly an enlightenment issue, 2) Inerrancy is an American eccentricity. One of the most jaw dropping statements that Trueman made was taken from Augustine’s Letter 82 written to Jerome in which Augustine states that any supposed errors in the Scriptures can be explained by either 1) faulty manuscripts, 2) poor translations, 3) misunderstandings in his own interpretation. This is a profoundly significant witness to the doctrine of inerrancy well before the enlightenment. The essence of the message was 1) The Reformers had a high view of Scripture because they had inherited a high view of Scripture and did not need to question or refine it, 2) The Reformers believed that the Scripture is trustworthy because God is trustworthy. Ultimately our view of the Scriptures and our view of God are two sides of the same coin. You can read Busenitz live blog here.

11041805_10205927249326727_4662897901822858980_nThe evening plenary session was delivered by Mark Dever and was an exposition of Psalm 119. Mark started the message by reading the entirety of Psalm 119. The message centered around four questions: 1) What is the God’s law? The Bible. 2) What is God’s Word like? It is true. It is good. It is eternal. 3) What does God’s Word do? It blesses God’s people by inspiring awe, bringing them to grief over their sins, encouraging them to stay pure in the midst of temptation, bringing hope to the hopeless, and deliverance to the suffering, 4) How should we respond? We should obey God’s Word, love God’s Word, meditate on God’s Word, trust God’s Word and fear God. Dever closed by exploring the ways in which Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 119.  You can read Busenitz live blog here.

In other news, this was an exciting day for me because I was finally able to complete my MacArthur New Testament Commentary series. I’ve been working on collecting the series for more than 16 years and they finally came out with the last two volumes just in time for the conference!

March 04 2015 | Blog and Shepherds' Conference | Comments Off on 2015 Shepherds’ Conference (Day Two)

2015 Shepherds’ Conference (Day One)

Inerrancy-SummitIf Sunday is the best day of the week, then I’m convinced that the Shepherds’ Conference has to be the best week of the year. I’ve been coming for 12 years and I have never walked away unblessed or unmoved by the ministry of Grace Community Church to so many thousands of pastors.

If you’ve never been to a Shepherds’ Conference here are some stats to give you an idea of the scale of this year’s event:

  • 4,500 men are in attendance this year (1,300 for whom this is their first time at a Shepherds’ Conference)
  • 70 different countries are represented (including many countries in the Middle East)
  • The messages are being translated live into Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese
  • 1,200 Volunteers are here to serve at the conference
  • 50,000 free books will be given away
  • 100,000 books are expected to be sold
  • 7 local Chipotle restaurants shut down today in order to come to the conference and serve lunch

10422175_10205918923318582_2683220718051613673_nOf course a conference of this nature and of this magnitude is bound to attract attention. We arrived at the campus to find several protestors who were for the most part ignored. Additionally, the conference’s website ( was maliciously attacked and taken down for most of the day. Fortunately, the site is back up now so you should be able to watch the live stream tomorrow. If something happens again tomorrow, you can always go to Grace Community’s website where they are also live streaming the event ( Also, you can find Nathan Busenitz Live Blog of the conference here.

The morning began with a Keynote Address from Dr. MacArthur in which he addressed the question of “Why host a conference on the doctrine of inerrancy?” His four points were 1) Because the Scripture is being attacked and we are called to defend it, 2) Because the Scriptures is authoritative and we are called to declare it, 3) Because the Scripture is Accurate and we are called to demonstrate it, 4) Because the Scripture is active and we are called to deploy it. You can find Busenitz live blog of the session here.

The next session began with the Getty’s leading us in worship and introducing a new song that was specially written for this conference on inerrancy. Alistair Begg preached a message on 2 Timothy 4:1-5 called “Let the Lion Out”. For me personally this was the most moving message of the day. Begg explored 1) Timothy’s Charge (v. 1-2), 2) Timothy’s Challenge (v. 3-4), 3) Timothy’s Character (v. 5). You can find Busenitz live blog of the session here.

One of the best parts of the conference is catching up with old friends over lunch, coffee or at the book store. I was blessed to run into several of the pastors and elders from my former church and to hear about all of the wonderful things happening up in Washington. It was a joy to see these men again and to be encouraged by them.

RC Sproul lead our third session through a recorded message. Sproul’s main point was that Jesus believed that the Scripture was inerrant and that we ought not have a lower view of the Scriptures than Jesus does. You can find Busenitz live blog of the session here.

I suppose that now is as good a time as any to confess that me and the guys skipped the fourth session with Stephen Nichols in order to get dinner, but fortunately Nathan Busenitz was there and you can read his live blog of the message here. In our defense, this is a lot of preaching to listen to and we fully intend to listen to the message on the way home from the conference Smile

10353023_10205922568569711_2483588022726477406_nAfter dinner we returned for the last session of the day with Ligon Duncan on 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Duncan broke the passage down into three points 1) What the Bible is, 2) What the Bible is for, 3) What the Bible does. One of the most helpful parts of the message was at the very end when Duncan said that we all know that you won’t obey what you don’t believe, but many of us need to learn that you won’t believe what you don’t obey. In other words in order to believe something to be true, we must begin by acting like it is true (obedience). We must obey in order to believe. You can find Busenitz live blog of the session here.

A couple other interesting things about the conference this year:

  • Master’s Seminary alumni got express registration in the newly remodeled seminary welcome center. It was just finished last week and it really is stunning.
  • The book give away has been streamlined so that each man can pick up his box of 11 books in the book store at any point in the conference. The books included:
    • A new edition of BB Warfield’s The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible
    • The Scripture Cannot be Broken edited by John MacArthur
    • Biblical Authority by John D. Woodbridge
    • Fundamentalism & the Word of God by JI Packer
    • Christianity & Liberalism (CD) by J. Gresham Machen
    • In Defense of the Bible by Steve Cowan & Terry Wilder
    • The Quest for the Historical Adam by William VanDoodewaard
    • Why Believe the Bible by John MacArthur
    • The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
    • Can I Really Trust the Bible by Barry Cooper
    • Sanctification: The Christian’s Pursuit of God-Given Holiness by Michael Riccardi
  • Because the sanctuary only holds 3,000 people they’ve assigned each man to one of three groups (Augustine, Tyndale and Warfield). During each of the sessions 2 of these 3 groups are in the worship center, while the third group is in one of the other venues where the service is live streamed.
  • I have never seen this many people on Grace Church’s campus! It’s amazing how efficiently the staff and volunteers are able to serve each man’s needs.
  • For 10 years I’ve been waiting for The Master’s Seminary to have a shirt or a coffee mug or something that I could purchase to show my support and enthusiasm for TMS and this year they finally did it. I was able to purchase a nice polo shirt with the seminary logo on it that I am REALLY excited about!

March 03 2015 | Blog and Shepherds' Conference | 3 Comments »