PCRT 2007 Grand Rapids
First, I was a little surprised to learn that this was the first year the PCRT (this was the 34th year for the PCRT) had dealt with the subject of the Scriptures. Given Dr. Boice's long history of involvement in defending the inerrancy of the Scriptures, this seemed odd. But it was noted that there were other conferences in which Dr. Boice was involved that covered this topic. One interesting note is that Dr. Boice had commented that while evangelicals had won the battle over inerrancy, we are losing the war on the Scriptures. This was a statement about the general decline in the belief in the sufficiency of Scripture and a corollary decline in Bible knowledge.
Second, from a personal standpoint, I realized at one point that I was not as excited about this conference as I was the Desiring God conference last fall. In large part this was due to the speakers at the two conferences. Not because one group was more knowledgeable, or godly, than the other. Not because I feel one group is more able to represent Christ. But I was putting too much emphasis on the speaker, not enough on the Word itself. It is the Word that transforms life (and lives). God has promised to bless His word. Dr. Duncan's final address in the pre-conference seminar ("How to Listen to a Bad Sermon") in particular addressed this.
Which leads me to: third, in counterpoint to the second, this is not to say that the speakers are unimportant. There was an emphasis, particularly in the pre-conference seminar, on the need for preachers to be prepared and as engaging as possible. Much of Dr. Duncan's last session in the pre-conference seminar came from Richard Baxter's "A Christian Directory" Chapter 19, which provides much good information about how to listen well. But even Baxter, early in the chapter, writes:
"Live under the clearest, distinct, convincing teaching that possibly you can procure. There is an unspeakable difference as to the edification of the hearers between a judicious, clear, distinct, and skillful preacher, and one that is ignorant, confused, general, dry, and only scrapeth together a cento or mingle-mangle of some undigested sayings to fill up the hour with. [This was good for a laugh from the crowd.] . . . Ignorant teachers, that understand not what they say themselves, are unlike to make you men of understanding; as erroneous teachers are unlike to make you orthodox and sound."I would like to reflect a bit on Dr. Carson's break-out session on recent underminings of the Scriptures, but I'll save that for later.