I’m excited to let you know about an upcoming conference sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. It’s called “The Politics of Jesus” and it will be held as a one-day event on Friday, October 10th, 2008 at the First Baptist Church of Durham, NC, an important SBC and reformed church. Some of you will recognize the name of the church’s pastor, Dr. Andy Davis, a neo-Puritan shepherd who represents robust theological ministry in the finest sense. He is a personal role model for me, and I look up to him a great deal.
I will be live-blogging this conference, which will showcase top evangelical minds like C. Ben Mitchell of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Greg Thornbury of Union University, and Ken Fentress of Montrose Baptist Church. These speakers and others (including up-and-coming historian Nathan Finn, Southeastern Dean C. David Nelson and Davis) will tackle a plethora of topics related to Christ and the public square: marriage, the SBC, the gospel in public life, and more, all with an eye to building the church and educating Christ’s people.
I love the nature and purpose of this conference, and I’m thankful for the vision of organizer Doug Baker and others who are providing opportunities for Christian intellectuals to think out loud about the way Christianity is to fit into society. The fact that a state convention is sponsoring this event speaks well to the future of Christian engagement with issues of grave importance that our segment of society, regrettably, has all too often despaired over, handled simplistically, or simply ignored. Let’s hope that the future holds more events of this type as more Christians think hard together about life in the public square and more pastors and church leaders provide leadership over this process.
Here’s the conference website, which provides a considerable amount of fun and helpful content: podcast interviews (next to the speaker’s bios), a comprehensive schedule, lodging information, and more. This is a quick snatch of the event blurb:
“The modern church finds itself riddled with internal contradictions between the teaching of Jesus and politics. The demands of caring for the poor, the elderly, and children fiercely interact with the issues of war, economics, abortion, and homosexuality. Christians of all denominational associations struggle to construct a comprehensive and biblical view of the state without compromising the content of the gospel. Does the Bible offer any help when dealing with issues of politics? Did Jesus speak directly to matters of government? Can theological conservatives be socially active without compromising evangelism? What can Christian history teach the modern church about the political future?”
It would be a pleasure to hear thoughtful Christians handle these and other questions of great import for the modern church. Join me in Durham in October 2008 to do just that.