This year’s Shepherd’s Conference in Los Angeles featured a wonderful set of theologians and pastors from two different theological commitments, Reformed and Baptistic ecclesiologies. Both came together over the doctrine of the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, affirming and defending the plain fact of its own self-witness as incapable of error in any matter upon which it teaches. The sessions were easily accessible for non-theologians and are available for free online. We would all be wise to listen to them all, but if I were to pick a favorite, it would be Mark Dever’s exposition of Psalm 119. Early in the message he read the entirety of the Psalm. I know I had a visceral reaction to the reading, so wanting in my life to do all the holy will of God revealed in Scripture without any deviation or sin.
The best parts of the conference were the experiences shared with other men from our church who also went. Laughing with fellow-elder Tim Knotts during the messages’ funnier points, or sharing a wink over insights. Walking with Dan Thomas in the mornings and watching him fall in love with Ian Hamilton, one of the speakers. Watching David Alves whisking off to meet another friend or speak to one of the notables at the conference like theologian Michael Vlach or Mike Riccardi. Or enjoying the deep fellowship of Paul Moran, who missed his young family terribly yet knowing he was investing in something that will bless him and them for years to come.
At the end of it all, after 15 or more of these conferences, it’s the people who stand out. I met and had great fellowship with old friends, and was blessed to meet a number of men and encourage them in their lives, both fellow-elders and non-elders alike. I grew during the conference in compassion for men and their obvious desires to make Christ known in holiness while rejecting the pragmatism of shallow Christianity all around them. Thanks, elders of Grace Church, for paying for me to go!
— Ted Bigelow