Notes from the Baptist Identity Conference, pt. 1

Already the trip to Jackson, TN and Union University has been worth the expense, time and effort because of renewed fellowship with old friends and the opportunity to make new friends. I finally met Timmy Brister in person, and was allowed to share a table with him, Steve McCoy and Joe Thorn.

I enjoyed renewing friendship with Ben Cole, Art Rogers, Steve Weaver, C.B. Scott, Ray Van Neste, Greg Thornbury, David Dockery and others. Some of these brothers will be live-blogging, or at least blogging about the sessions. I won’t attempt that, but I will try to give some updates as I have time.

Parts of the conference will be live-streamed by a local TV station.

Frank Page spoke on the “Future of the Cooperative Program.” He is the President of the SBC as well as serving as Pastor to the FBC of Taylors, SC and the self-described, “Southern Baptist Forrest Gump.” ūüôā Using Philippians 1:12-20, Dr. Page called attention to 3 points from Paul’s words that apply to Southern Baptists and the Cooperative Program.

1. The issue of mindset, v. 14
2. The issue of motives, vv. 15-19
3. The issue of methodology

I like Dr. Page. His spirit is so gracious and he comes across as a man committed to real humility. He is not willing to paper over the problems and differences in the SBC. He acknowledges the need for healthy debate and wants too encourage it. Dr. Page entertained questions after his talk and I found this to be the most helpful part of his presentation. If everyone interested the health of the SBC would imbibe his spirit, the kind of important, difficult dialogue that needs to take place across our convention could be greatly facilitated.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention, Traditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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