Conferences

SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force modifies recommendations in advance of the annual meeting

"...three key changes address future third-party investigations. One clarification is that those investigations will be launched by the local church or other Baptist body, rather than giving the impression of a top-down approach. Churches or groups requiring financial assistance to hire an outside firm will be able to apply for grants"  - BPNews

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My Experience at Refresh

This winter, for the second year in a row, I went back to my seminary alma mater in Ankeny, Iowa, to attend the Refresh Conference hosted by Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. Once again, I exhibited on behalf of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, and this year I was joined by my colleague Paul Pierce, a Faith College graduate who serves as a church ministries representative in the state of Washington.

I extended my time in Iowa by scheduling local church ministries on both Sundays surrounding the conference. On the Monday following Refresh, Paul and I also hosted a pizza lunch for Faith students interested in learning more about The Friends of Israel.

Refresh is one of the longer conferences that I attend, as it touches four days. As an exhibitor, it really stretches from Tuesday noon to Friday noon. There is time off each afternoon, and Faith president Dr. Jim Tillotson begins the conference by telling everyone to make sure they leave truly refreshed—even if that means missing sessions, or using them to conduct personal conversations. Judging from the traffic in the Twigs Coffee Shop and student center, many took him up on that suggestion. The school is also extremely generous in giving out free refreshments to conference attendees.

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My Experience at Shepherds 360

For the third October in a row, it was my privilege to attend the Shepherds 360 Church Leaders Conference in Cary, N.C., and to help oversee an exhibit there for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.

I had heard of this conference previously, but I was specifically encouraged to attend by Dr. Tim Sigler, who had become the new provost and dean at Shepherds Theological Seminary. He and I were once fellow students at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary. STS is housed in The Shepherd’s Church, and the school has hosted the conference each year since 2014.

From the first time I attended, I have felt like this conference was sort of a homecoming event—even though my three visits there are the only three times I have been in North Carolina! I immediately saw several people that I knew—whether it was through The Friends of Israel, IFCA International or other connections that I already had. In the years that followed, I have become very comfortable at the conference, and have made new friends and important ministry connections, as well.

This year I was joined by Cameron Joyner, an FOI church and field ministries representative from Georgia, and I was able to spend much time with him, as well. For the second year in a row, I also had the opportunity to present a workshop at the conference. I count this as a truly great honor, and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed.*

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A Report on the IFCA Annual Convention (Part 2)

In the previous installment, I began to share a report on this year’s IFCA International Annual Convention, which was held from June 28 to July 2, in Lincoln, Neb.

The convention theme was “The Soon & Coming King—Biblical Eschatology.” Convention attendees ratified a resolution that complemented that theme, titled, “Resolution on Dispensational Premillennialism.”1

The convention afforded plentiful opportunities for teaching and discussion. In addition to the four general sessions, there were two theological panels, and 23 workshops in six different timeslots.

There were also five business sessions and three women’s conference sessions, along with children’s programs.

Additionally, there were specialized meetings for chaplains.

Dr. Richard Bargas, executive director of IFCA International, set the tone for the week with his general session message on Monday evening.

“Dispensational premillennialism was the majority view,” Bargas said. “But with the rise of the ‘Young, Restless, Reformed’ crowd … there was a backlash against dispensationalism. Now the popularity of the Left Behind series is used to mock dispensationalists.”

However, Bargas emphasized: “Those who reject our view cannot do it on exegetical grounds.”

He said that the theological opponents of dispensationalism do simply end up mocking it.

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A Report on the IFCA Annual Convention (Part 1)

During the week of June 28 to July 2, I attended the annual convention of the IFCA International, where I oversaw the exhibit for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.

The theme of this year’s convention was “The Soon & Coming King—Biblical Eschatology.” General session speakers were Dr. Richard Bargas, executive director of IFCA International; Dr. Thomas Ice, executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center and professor at Calvary University; Dr. Michael Vlach, who was in the process of moving from The Master’s Seminary (where he taught for 15 years) to Shepherds Theological Seminary (where he is now professor of theology); and Dr. Larry Pettegrew, research professor of theology at Shepherds.

“We need to plant flags as IFCA members,” Bargas told the crowd of more than 300 that assembled for the first general session on June 28. “We have some convictions.”

“The name ‘IFCA’ means a lot to us,” Bargas added during the first business session on June 29, referring back to the adoption of a 2020 “Resolution on Dispensational Theology and Hermeneutics.”* “We didn’t do anything new,” he stated regarding that resolution. “We just put a flag up to say, ‘This is who we are.’”

Bargas said that the IFCA’s bold stand has made it more attractive to some who are looking at the options along the ecclesiological landscape—especially those who are “tired of the sliding, tired of the compromise.”

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