OBF Pastors Conference

It was my privilege to attend the Ohio Bible Fellowship‘s annual Pastors Conference at Peniel Bible Camp this week. Approximately thirty pastors and laymen attended from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, and Ontario. Although I am still recovering from the trip home and lack of sleep, I thought it would be good to post my thoughts on the conference before they disappear.

Messages

The main speaker for the week was Dr. John Mincy of Heritage Baptist Church near San Francisco. I had never heard of him before, but I found him to be a quiet blessing. He reminded me of a grandfather gently offering wisdom from his experience in the ministry. During one of his messages, I was reminded that the Lord has entrusted me (i.e. He trusts me) to do the work of the ministry. That was an encouragement and motivation for continued faithfulness.

Each evening, an OBF pastor also spoke about an assigned subject. Pastor John Ashbrook spoke Monday evening about teaching biblical separation to your congregation. Pastor Dan Greenfield spoke about the history of the OBF on Tuesday evening. And Pastor Don Gallion spoke about discouragement in the ministry.

Anabaptist History

Tuesday afternoon, we traveled to Berlin, Ohio to peruse the history of the Anabaptists at the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center. After sleeping through a 15 minute documentary, we were given a 30 minute guided tour of the Behalt Cyclorama. Our Amish tour guide explained the significance of each picture in the 1o’ by 265′ painting which covered the walls of a large, circular room. What interested me most was his answers about salvation and good works. My limited experience with the Amish had led me to believe that all Amish people are trusting good works to gain God’s favor. But this man (from the Old Order) clearly stated the need for faith in Christ alone for salvation. Apparently, Amish beliefs differ from place to place.

Conversations

Throughout the week, I listened in on several interesting conversations. A recurring conversation over the last year or so has been about the kingdom. Is there a present aspect of it now in the hearts of men, or is it limited to the future, millennial kingdom? That took up much of the return trip from Berlin. But the conversations which I enjoyed the most were those with my cousin Brad.

Brad is currently pastoring a Free Methodist Church in Pennsylvania. We have been corresponding about various topics over the past two years, including fundamentalism and biblical separatism. After several profitable email conversations, I invited him to attend the conference with me. We shared one of the new A-frame cabins as well as several lengthy conversations about fundamentalism and his concerns about his denomination. I’ll be praying that the Spirit will guide him as he seeks to address each issue from a biblical perspective.

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All in all, the conference was a blessing to me. It enabled me to get away from the pressures of ministry just long enough to recharge my spiritual batteries. It also enabled me to renew some friendships. (Jesse Bartz, an acquaintance from Northland, made it down from Toronto.) If you are thinking about attending in the future, you might be encouraged to know who will be speaking.


2007
Dr. Rolland McCune
Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary


2008
Dr. Bob Jones III
Bob Jones University


2009
Dr. Mark Minnick
Mount Calvary Baptist Church

1 thought on “OBF Pastors Conference

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you again for inviting me to your OBF Pastor’s Conference (and paying my registration) cousin, brother, pastor, Andy! As I said over and over again to you, I now say for the record, what a joy it was not only to be challenged by your fellowship’s militant obedience to the Word of God but also to experience the softer side of Fundamentalism in the forms of heart-felt worship and personal prayer. You Fundamentalists, even the Separatist variety, are truely humans after God’s own heart.

    As far as my concerns for my Free Methodist denomination goes, let me specify a few things. First, our doctrine states that “The Bible is God’s written Word, uniquely inspired by the
    Holy Spirit. It bears unerring witness to Jesus Christ, the
    living Word (http://www.freemethodistchurch.org/PDF%20Files/Resources/2003_BOD/Contents.pdf).” I would like to see a statement about the entire witness of Scriptures being inerrant and that Gensesis (i.e. particualarly Creation, the Fall & the Flood) is true history. Secondly, our church has a strong history of holiness; including specific doctrine for church discipline. In that regard we need to be careful to teach our disciples to obey, even as we seek to make new disciples. Thirdly, whether our denomination qualifies as new-evangelical or not, we have freed our people to experiement with contemporary music and seeker-sensitive methods of worship. My conclusion in those regards are that our pastors must make those decisions only after careful searching of the Scriptures so that Biblical guidelines are in place to prevent the slippery-slope principle from damaging the holy bride of Christ. – Cousin, brother, pastor, Brad

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