The Scriptures Come to Life (February 3-4, 2012)

We at Between the Times would like to invite you to this year’s 20/20 conference, “The Scriptures Come to Life,” on Southeastern’s campus Feb 3-4, 2011. This year’s conference centers on the nature, authority, and eternal relevance of the Christian Scriptures, and features plenary sessions by Danny Akin (SEBTS), D. A. Carson (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), Tullian Tchividjian (Coral Ridge Presbyterian), and Tony Merida (SEBTS; Imago Dei Church), in addition to 27 breakout sessions. Matt Papa will be leading worship.

The annual 20/20 conference is designed for undergrad and grad students around the country, many of whom sit in classrooms where their professors are militantly opposed to the Christian faith and teach their courses in a manner reflective of that opposition. For many of these students, the brightest and most persuasive people they know are professors (literature, philosophy, biology, etc.) who oppose orthodox Christianity and teach their courses in a manner reflects that opposition. For this reason, the 20/20 conference seeks to expose university students (as well as exceptional high school students) to intelligent men and women who will speak about the important matters of life, and will do so from within an explicitly Christian framework.

This year’s 20/20 conference deals with a host of issues related to the Christian Scriptures. Our thesis is that The Bible is the Word of God and, as such, is deeply relevant to our personal lives, our college studies, and our future vocations. It speaks with power to every dimension of society and culture, and across the fabric of human existence. In other words, the Bible matters not only for personal devotions and for Sunday mornings, but for the arts, the sciences, the university, the government, and business sector. For this reason, The Bible Comes to Life equips students study the Bible for all it is worth, to memorize the Bible as our life depends upon it, to speak the truths of the Bible powerfully in our 21st century context, and to apply the Bible to every aspect of our lives.

The conference begins Friday evening and concludes late Saturday afternoon. In one 24-hour period, you will be exposed to hours of riveting discussion on important issues, coupled time to hang out with 1300 other students. The registration fee is $35, and students may attend for a mere $30; please attend and bring a group! To register for the conference, click here.

Below is a sketch of the plenary and breakout sessions:

Plenary Speakers

Danny Akin (confirmed): The Authority of Scripture

D. A. Carson (confirmed): The Bible’s Storyline

Tullian Tchividjian (confirmed): A Gospel-Centered Reading of Scripture

Tony Merida (confirmed): A Christ-Centered Reading of Scripture

Panel Discussion: Danny Akin, Tullian Tchividjian, Andy Davis, Tony Merida

Breakout Sessions (Listening to the Bible)

What is the “story” that the Bible tells?

What is the gospel (in relation to counterfeit “Christian” gospels)?

What is a Christian worldview (in relation to other worldviews)?

What does the Bible say about the Bible?

How do I answer Bart Ehrman (and other critics of the Bible)? Why should I trust the Bible?

What does the Bible say about what it means to be “human”?

What does the Bible say about the origins of the world?

What does the Bible say about sex, dating, and marriage?

What does the Bible say about my future vocation?

What does the Bible say about discerning a call to full-time ministry?

How does the Bible challenge us to be significantly involved in a church?

How does the Bible challenge us to risk by taking the gospel to the nations?

What does the Bible say about a Christian’s responsibility to the inner city?

How does the Bible challenge us to take care of orphans and the fatherless?

How does the Bible challenge us to make disciples on my college campus?

What place does the Bible have in the proclamation of the gospel?

How does the Bible equip us to share the gospel on my high school campus?

How can I be a witness to my college professors?

Breakout Sessions (Reading the Bible)

Why should I read the Bible in community (rather than by myself)?

How does Jesus Christ relate to the whole Bible, especially the Old Testament?

Is the God of the Old Testament a moral monster?

How do I read the first five books of the Bible?

How do I read the Psalms?

How do I read the Prophets?

How do I read the gospels? And why are there four gospels?

How To Read the Epistles

How do I handle difficult Bible passages?

The Differences Between “Religion” and the Gospel

Because of the craziness involved with the end of the spring semester followed immediately by a three-week summer class, over the past month or so I have not been as active in my blogging. I hope to start blogging in earnest against next week, when I will share my personal thoughts about the GCR Declaration and my hope that a Great Commission Resurgence will become the unifying vision for Southern Baptist churches and the numerous denominational parachurch ministries those churches support.

For the weekend, I thought I would share some challenging thoughts from Tim Keller, via Tullian Tchividjian’s blog. The following is a comparison between “religion” (in the unbiblical sense of the term) and the gospel, drawn from Keller’s sermons at Redeemer Presbyterian Church. It would be a worthy exercise for every Southern Baptist pastor or other individual who regularly teaches Scripture to meditate on this list and then take a look in the mirror (and let it begin with me).

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.

THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.

THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

RELIGION: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.

THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

RELIGION: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.

THE GOSPEL: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

RELIGION: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure and inadequate. I’m not confident. I feel like a failure.

THE GOSPEL: My self-view is not based on a view of my self as a moral achiever. In Christ I am “simul iustus et peccator”-simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling.

RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.’

THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.

RELIGION: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.

THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life-family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.

Podcast with Tullian Tchividjian

The latest InSight Podcast of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is an interview with Tullian Tchividjian, founding pastor of New City Church near Fort Lauderdale and the newly elected pastor of the historic Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Tchividjian is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different (Multnomah, 2009). Oh, and if you didn’t already know, he is also Billy Graham’s grandson.