Who is the speaker?
“Dr. Michael P. V. Barrett is the President of Geneva Reformed Seminary. He is also Associate Minister at Faith Free Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. For almost thirty years, he was a professor of Ancient Languages, Old Testament Theology, and Interpretation at Bob Jones University and Seminary. His works include Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament, Complete in Him: A Guide to Understanding and Enjoying the Gospel, and God’s Unfailing Purpose: The Message of Daniel” (from back cover of God’s Unfailing Purpose).
Our senior pastor came to know Dr. Barrett first at Bob Jones University while taking graduate level classes. Since then he has been impressed with Dr. Barrett’s books and also with his personal life as well. My first introduction to the man was through a required reading at Northland. Each student taking Christian Service was required to read Beginning at Moses one semester while I was completing my Masters. Jon Hutchins and I were given the assignment of writing study questions for each of the chapters. I have never met our speaker in person but am looking forward to the opportunity next month.
The lesson of Ecclesiastes 10:10 is obvious: There is an advantage to being prepared for any task, and wisdom marks the difference between success and failure. Wisdom is the skill to use the best possible means to achieve the best possible end. Although this text has overwhelming relevance to lumberjacks, its application extends to every occupation, including the gospel ministry.
A dull ax may eventually do the job, but the cut will be rough and a long time coming. Every job requires tools especially designed for specific tasks, and those tools are most effective when in the hands of those trained to use them. Using the wrong tool results in shoddy work and/or wasted time and energy, and using the right tool in the wrong way is dangerous. For a skilled surgeon to use a chainsaw for surgery would be preposterous—you would have the right person but the wrong tool for the job. For a professional lumberjack to attempt surgery with a scalpel would be dangerous—you would have the right tool but the wrong person for the job. What is true for secular occupations is even more important for sacred service.
There is no occupation with greater consequence than the gospel ministry, and there is no greater folly than entering the ministry unprepared. Ministers cannot afford to do shoddy work, and time in the ministry is too precious to waste. Training time is not wasted time, and learning to use the tools of the trade is not wasted effort. The ministries of Moses, Daniel, and Paul illustrate the importance of training and preparation for service in God’s kingdom. It is true enough that God can make dumb donkeys declare His word, but that is the exception and not the rule.
Who is invited?
The Spring Bible Conference at Bible Community Church is open to anyone who would like to attend. There is no registration or fee but there will be several offerings designated for an honorarium and to offset his travel expenses. If you are coming from out of town, you can email me for directions and any other information. I hope you will be able to join us April 5-9, 2006.