December 17, 2017

Live from Pastorum Conference…

From CM: I will be live-blogging from the Pastorum Live conference in Chicago today. Feel free to check in throughout the day and ask questions as I share what I’m hearing, my impressions, and my interactions with others.

* * *

Arrival
I left Indy just before 7am ET and arrived at Park Community Church in Chicago. It is a clear, cool, cloudless day, perfect for traveling. I pumped up one of my James Taylor playlists and sang along through the boring stretches on I-65 (is there any other kind of stretch on I-65?). Traffic was fine, except for some slowness on the Dan Ryan expressway, but that’s to be expected. I got here in plenty of time, with only one stop for coffee and a bathroom break, got checked in, and am seated at a table in the middle of the church auditorium. We are seated at round tables and everyone has a laptop, iPad, and other electronic devices at the ready for processing and sharing the teaching today. I’m seated next to a delightful lady from Valparaiso, IN who teaches Bible studies at her church and came for a couple days of study. I think that’s cool.

Sesson One: Dr. Craig Evans
Dr. Evans is talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls and their implications for the NT teaching about Christ. Main point = Christology not later Christian concept that grew out of Greco-Roman cultural concepts and responded to Caesar, etc., but much already present in Judaism prior to Jesus, as evidenced by DSS.

Session Two: Dr. Craig Keener
Dr. Keener is speaking about the fact that we approach the Bible “across cultures and across centuries.” They are having trouble with projection from laptop. Taking a break to cast out demons from the technology.

During the break, talking with a few young pastors from Indiana who’ve joined us at our table. They read Internet Monk! And they didn’t change tables when they found out who I am!

Craig K. just called us all liberals who don’t believe the Bible. None of us have obeyed 2Timothy 4:13. And Paul is still waiting for his cloak and books.

Dr. Keener is winsome and an excellent teacher.

Session Three: Dr. Eckhard Schnabel
Dr. Schnabel is from Trinity, where I went to seminary. He is teaching on Paul in Athens (Acts 17) as an example of how knowing background can help us understand Bible better.f

Was Paul’s speech EVANGELISM? Not likely. No Gospel. Was it PRE-EVANGELISM? Not sure Paul would have embraced this concept. What kind of speech was it?

Dr. Schnabel suggests that Paul was going before the city council for an official hearing about introducing a new “god” into the city of Athens. Paul is trying to allay the fears of the council about the “god” he is bringing to Athens and letting them know they need not get involved in investigating further. However, Paul also uses the occasion to subtly challenge the commitments of the council in the light of the one true and living God.

First Impressions…

While the Logos software guy promotes their Bible study program, let me respond to the experience so far.

  • Technology is great — when it works.
  • Thank God for people who devote themselves to studying and teaching the Scriptures.
  • Reading and understanding an ancient book is more challenging than many are willing to admit.
  • As a pastor, I would feel overwhelmingly inadequate to know immediately how to simplify this and make sure I keep my focus on the Gospel. I’ve been lost in the trees and missed the forest so many times in my life before when trying to teach and preach, and I’m reminded of that today. For a person who loves to study, this is a banquet. But packaging it in such a way that it will be bread for the hungry, that is a different matter.

Comments

  1. 2 Timothy 4:13 is such a key verse to understanding that not all biblical commands are intended for all time and all places.

    • I’ve been reading this blog too long. Even before I looked it up I knew which verse you were talking about.

      “But it’s a COMMAND FORM verb!!! Doesn’t that mean we HAVE to do it???”

  2. Sounds like a great conference. Any chance that there will be audio made available afterwards to us poor schmucks who couldn’t go?

  3. cermak_rd says:

    I’m not sure the Dead Sea Scrolls are illustrative of Judaism as a whole at the time. It seems to be a book for a specific community that was probably opposed to the Chief Rabbi in Jerusalem (there’s talk of a evil priest that the community was at war with).

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