Free Will Baptist leaders from 18 states and Canada gathered at Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel December 3-4, for the 2012 Free Will Baptist Leadership Conference. The annual event, which provides a meeting venue for denominational boards and agencies, is open to every Free Will Baptist minister and leader.
The 2012 conference addressed the theme, “How Firm a Foundation.” From the opening hymn (of the same name) to closing statements, every moment explored and reaffirmed the Free Will Baptist doctrines of the inspiration, authority, and preservation of the Scriptures. North Carolina pastor Dr. Danny Dwyer and Dr. Robert E. Picirilli, longtime professor at Welch College, delivered powerful messages each evening as they defined and defended the importance of these vital doctrines. “To use a football analogy,” Dwyer said during his Monday evening sermon, “there are some ‘Red Zone’ issues worth defending at all costs, and inspiration, authority, and the sufficiency of the Scriptures are certainly included.”
On Tuesday morning, a six-member panel of Free Will Baptist Bible scholars continued the discussion, answering 17 common questions about the Word of God such as: “How did we get the Bible?” “How has God preserved His Word throughout Scripture?” and “How do we respond to the existence of so many different English versions? Does it make any difference which one we use?”
The panel included Danny Dwyer, Leroy Forlines, Paul Harrison, Thomas Marberry, Stanley Outlaw, and Robert E. Picirilli. Their answers are available in both DVD and booklet format. One copy will be provided to every church in the denomination at no cost by contacting state promotional offices. Additional copies are available for a nominal cost at RandallHouse.com or by calling 800-877-7030. Following their discussion, the panel answered questions from the audience during an hour-long dialogue.
Denominational Moderator Tim York reflected on the importance of the conference topic: “These two days have reminded all of us that the Bible is the foundation of Free Will Baptist doctrine, no matter what translation one uses. We walk away knowing that Free Will Baptists—both today and throughout history—believe the Bible to be the Word of God.”
In addition to plenary sessions and worship services, denominational officers and board members handled a lengthy slate of business. The Nominating Committee of the National Association of Free Will Baptists met to make recommendations for board and commission vacancies to be filled at the 2013 convention in Tampa, Florida. Mike Wade (OK) chairs the seven-person committee.
Other national boards and committees met in conjunction with the conference, including the Executive Committee, Board of Retirement, Home Missions Board, International Missions Board, Welch College Board of Trustees, Board of the Free Will Baptist Foundation, Randall House Publications Board, and the Master’s Men Board.
The 2013 Leadership Conference will meet December 9-10, at Nashville Marriott Airport Hotel.