Thursday, August 02, 2007

BHC Plenary 3

Profile: Obadiah Holmes (Jeff Faggart – the best speaker so far at the conference, as far as voice and diction/style goes)
He suffered and endured grief for conscience’s sake. He was persecuted in America for his Baptist’s belief. “Free man” – he got voice and vote as a citizen. They were arrested during one of their preaching trips, fined, and then whipped (because he didn’t pay the fine). He was beat in Boston – paying for his beliefs. Sounds very similar to many of the martyrs of the earlier times of Christianity – but you wouldn’t think it would be suffered in America (well, the American before 1776 and our Bill of Rights). He did live and had many children – one in relation to Abraham Lincoln. If he was going to suffer (which he did), he wanted to make sure it was for the pleasing of Jesus and not for men. “Ye have beaten me with roses.” He greatly influenced many of the people influential in the starting of the three oldest associations.

Profile: David Jones (George T. Rogers)
He was a Welsh Baptist Minister from Delaware who was Benjamin Franklin’s chaplain. He was a true renaissance man. He was a soldier chaplain, a physician, a missionary, a friend to Presidents, a farmer, and many other things. He was friends with Samuel Jones, Hezekiah Smith, and other rather influential people. He started his military career and endured many conflicts, starting in the French and Indian War. Neh 4.14 – “Be not afraid of them, remember the Lord…” He was a missionary to the Indians. He was hyper-active, not to be settled. He loved being the old soldier.

Baptist Hymnody: Baptists Practice Their Confessions: David Gregory – Southern (2 Southern boys right in a row)
Come Holy Spirit, Dove Divine (by Adoniram Judson, and I just picked up To the Golden Shore – a book I’ve been meaning to read since the summer of the first Institute trip to the Pacific Rim)
How Firm a Foundation – what great words, especially for people who are going through trials – remember that Jesus is firm and steady and eternal.
A holy ordinance of Christ – article 23 out of the confession (added to the 2nd London Confession to make up the Philadelphia Confession). It is not just a moral duty – but is it on par with the Lord’s Supper and Baptism (2 Baptist ordinances – at least of SBC)? Singing of songs and hymns are to be done to the obedience of God. Benjamin Keach wrote in 1697 word for word what was to be eventually written in the Philadelphia Confession. He was the champion of hymn singing.

Tom Nettles: (so glad he is better to be with us as he has been sick for some portion of the summer. In 7 years, I’ve never heard anything but great admiration for this man who teaches at Southern and has connections with the Founders Organization as well. I’ve wanted to hear him for several years and this is my first opportunity) Great person of knowledge and “fame” to speak on the Philadelphia Confession: Its Significance and Importance to all Baptists.
Authors - Benjamin Keach’s son was one of the authors of this great Confession that leads so many of the Baptist associations and denominations in religious circles today. It is a rendition of the 2nd London Confession. It was officially adopted in 1742.

Association – the first Philadelphia Baptist Association met in 1707 (hence this 300th anniversary of it and this conference). “The eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ our Lord,” and other similar thoughts were great concerns for the association.

After 1798 – important themes were still brought up to incite us to Christian virtue. We need to always be thinking and questioning – never accepting without thinking and putting our creeds (or confessions) against the Word. This was a big discussion at this year’s SBC in TX: whether the BF&M 2000 was a creed, a confession, a statement – or whatever you want to call it. Truly, I don’t care what you want to call it – as long as you don’t call it inerrant, infallible, or inspired by God – because then we would be placing it on par with Scripture.

It’s Influence – They (the minutes of the association) were first published in the mid 1800s. Philadelphia was at the helm of Baptist influence for all these years, both in the North and South. Hart and Furman (Furman University fame) were two preachers from this church who were greatly influenced in the early days of the Philadelphia Association and Confession. Furman took special interest in the teaching of the young children. Even with no Sunday School, the Baptist teachings were taught regularly to the children of Furman’s congregation.

Nettles continued to tell of its similar influence on the young churches in the states of Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia. They held confession as well - but with room for caution – the Holy Spirit must still lead under the headship of Jesus Christ (Eph 5 – Christ is the head of the body of the church). It had great effect also on the forming of Southern Seminary (of course, where Nettles has been Baptist history professor for many years) and Southeastern Seminary (my alma mater).

The prayer of the church should be unity in the correct matters of Scripture – as they are laid out in the Word – not necessarily in our traditions. Tomorrow is the last day of the conference. More on the history of Baptists and what we can stand on – unified for the glory of God. Let’s pray to that end.

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