Bible Conference preachers emphasize Scripture exposition

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CORPUS CHRISTI?Preachers from Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Mississippi, and Virginia spoke at the 2010 SBTC Bible Conference, gleaning
from various passages a recurring theme of the necessity and urgency of
preaching Scripture to their congregations.

The Bible must be preached effectively for the Holy Spirit
to move in people, convert souls, and positively influence society, speakers
told those present for the conference preceding the SBTC annual meeting.

The Bible Conference elected as officers for 2010-11: Terry
Turner, pastor of Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church in Mesquite, as conference president. First vice
president for the coming year will be Alex Gonzales, pastor of Hickory Tree
Baptist Church in Balch Springs, and serving as second vice president will be
Scott Gray, pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church in Decatur.


Tony Merida, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Meridian,
Miss., told the Bible Conference that he identifies with Timothy, the recipient
of the New Testament letter, “because he was not a stained-glass saint” but
timid and fearful among the “jacked-up church” he was leading in Ephesus.

Paul’s advice to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1-8, Merida said, is
a prescription for a gospel-centered ministry that draws on the grace of

“The key in our day is to keep what is central [the gospel],
central, and to not put it in the middle.”

In the passage, Merida said Paul exhorts Timothy to be daily
strengthened in the gospel, to multiply the gospel intentionally, to suffer for
it faithfully, and to hope in it wholeheartedly.

“My strength is not in how long I’ve been a Christian, how
much I know about the Bible or how long I’ve been in ministry” but by his grace
in the gospel.

Noting that Paul was not physically impressive or persuasive
but instead was conscious of his weakness, pastors must also recognize their
inherent weaknesses.

“This is the key to faithfulness; we live out of our
weakness and into his strength,” Merida said?. “Grace comes to us as we open
the Word of God.”

Quoting 2 Timothy 2:2’s command to entrust the gospel to
faithful men who are able to teach others, “This verse is really a life verse
for me,” Merida said.

The fact that the Bible Conference was gathered in Corpus
Christi for gospel purposes is proof “somebody did 2 Timothy 2:2 and they’ve
been doing it for 2,000 years.”

Using a golf analogy, Merida said if preaching is the driver
in a pastor’s golf bag, then small groups are the irons and one-on-one
mentoring is the putter.

“You drive for show but you putt for dough,” Merida said,
repeating the oft-quoted mantra and lamenting that many pastors are not
involved in personal mentoring.

“I think if Paul wrote your job description he would
[include it],” Merida said. “This is an important thing; we are missing an
entire generation.”

“You might find yourself rejuvenated if you’d start doing 2
Timothy 2:2.”


Steven Smith, dean of the College at Southwestern and
professor of preaching, asked the gathering, “Do you think there is any future
for the gospel?”

The question was not facetious or rhetorical. Smith said
studies show 26 percent of Americans (even as few as 14 percent) attend church.
Of those, only a fraction attends evangelical churches. And amongst that small
band only 50 percent believe in the exclusivity of salvation in Christ.

“So,” he concluded, “if you believe in what we call the
gospel you are in the minority of the minority, of

TEXAN Correspondent
Bonnie Pritchett
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