Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ARBCA GA 2013 - Day One

The 2013 ARBCA General Assembly is being hosted by Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Bremen, Indiana. Once again, the host church has devoted great energy towards making the delegates comfortable. The theme of this year's conference is "The Life of Christ."

The GA began on Tuesday, April 23, at 8:30 a.m. Pastor Martin Nish opened the assembly with a devotion. His text was Philippians 4:14. The Philippians shared in Paul's distress; they made his afflictions their own. Pastor Nish gave two exhortations. (1) As we share with one another this week may share in the lives of one another; enter into the afflictions and struggles of one another. (2) Just as the Book of Philippians is Christ centered, may Christ be exalted in all that we do this week.

The devotion and prayer was followed by miscellaneous business: roll call of churches, recognition of guests, reports, etc. This year we will be receiving 6 new churches into our association. Each of the prospective churches gave a PowerPoint presentation describing their church. It was great hear about these congregations, most of which are newly constituted church plants. We dismissed for lunch at 12:45. Our lunch cuisine was a savory chili.

We returned at 4:45 for the first of our theological discussions, which was on the topic of local or regional associations of churches. Several pastors who have formed local associations in Texas, California, and Georgia spoke on the advantages of these associations as well as logistics in forming them.
Supper began at 5:45 - mashed potatoes, green beans, and chicken Alfredo with apple pie for dessert.

The evening worship began at 7:00 p.m. We began with the robust singing of a hymn. Pastor Walt Chantry delivered a sermon, "The Miracles of Christ." He began in Matthew 11 stressing the importance of the Word of God -- that miracles were used with the Word and Spirit to impart faith, but if they were not willing to hear the mighty Word, the miracles made no difference. Then Pastor Chantry took us to 1 Cor. 13 concluding that "that which is perfect" is the Word of God, the completion of the Scriptures. He stressed there are two extremes today. First, there are the new or neo-Calvinists who claim to be "open" to the charismatic gifts rejecting the cessation of the revelatory gifts. Their position is contrary to the Reformed tradition. Second, there are those who deny the miracles of Christ--the supernatural. They want a religion free from the Word of God.

Day one of the GA was blessed of the Lord. The fellowship of the brethren was most edifying.

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