Winter Conference: The Sufficiency of Scripture

Posted On January 27, 2020

On Monday, January 20, we hosted our 2020 Winter Conference, the Sufficiency of Scripture, and more than 250 attendees joined us in the main hall of our new building on campus in Sanford, Fla.

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In the opening session, our President, Dr. Stephen Nichols, welcomed visitors to the college’s new building and introduced the theme of the conference. He spoke on the Bible’s sufficiency for salvation and sanctification by discussing the importance of having God’s Word as the only infallible rule for our faith and practice. Watch Dr. Nichols’ session on our YouTube channel today.

“People chase after all sorts of things that promise light. Only one thing, God’s Word, delivers.” —Dr. Stephen Nichols

Next, Visiting Professor of Theology and Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Derek Thomas addressed John Calvin’s view of biblical sufficiency, focusing primarily on Calvin’s treatment of 2 Timothy 3:16-17. According to Calvin, “Perfect” in verse 17 “means here a blameless person, one in whom there is nothing defective; for he [Paul] asserts absolutely that the Scripture is sufficient for perfection.” Watch Dr. Thomas’ session on our YouTube channel today.

“When you hold a Bible in your hand, it is the most powerful thing in all the world. It is sufficient to drive the sinner to the embrace of the Savior.” —Dr. Derek Thomas

Members of the faculty then led respective breakout sessions and we asked several of our students to share their remarks on what they had learned in these sessions.

Caleb attended a session with Academic Dean and Professor of Theology Dr. John Tweeddale on John Owen’s understanding of the Bible’s sufficiency. Caleb writes, “How do we heed the sufficiency of Scripture? Owen advises us to read the Word with frequency, to live in the Word, to fall in love with the Word. If the Scripture is truly sufficient for faith and practice, then we should seek to immerse ourselves and our lives in the Holy Scriptures.” Watch Dr. Tweeddale’s session on our YouTube channel today.

A student named Iva attended Associate Professor of New Testament Dr. Matthew Dudreck’s session, Eat This Scroll: Jeremiah 15:15-19. Iva notes that we are reminded by the Lord, along with Jeremiah, to do five things in times of spiritual dryness. We are to (1) repent, (2) return to God’s Word, (3) reform our understanding while rejecting the lies of the culture around us, (4) remember the promises of God, (5) and rest in the finished work of Christ.

Makayla attended a session with Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies Anthony Salangsang. After the session, Makayla shared that she had “a heart of thankfulness for the ways that God uses humanity. His grace is shown to all humans through the rational minds that He has given to us to use as sub-creators.”

Professor of Old Testament Dr. Benjamin Shaw taught a breakout session on the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, a book that Christians often struggle to understand and apply. As he examined the primary themes in this book, Dr. Shaw uncovered how richly practical Ecclesiastes is for Christians living in a world cursed by sin and death. This book ultimately points to Christ, who did not come to make us successful in this life but to save us from life’s fallenness by reconciling us to God.

The breakout session taught by Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Keith Mathison focused on B.B. Warfield’s writings on the doctrine of Scripture. Dr. Mathison noted that Warfield’s works can help the church see the central role of the Bible in faith and practice, building our confidence in God’s Word. Just as Warfield defended the Bible’s authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency, we too should stand firmly on Scripture, knowing that God’s Word has withstood all attacks in every generation. Watch Dr. Mathison’s session on our YouTube channel today.

In the next main session, Ligonier Ministries Teaching Fellow Dr. Steven Lawson spoke on one result of the sufficiency of Scripture: the sufficiency of preaching for the life of the church. Dr. Lawson declared and defended the power of the Holy Spirit working through the proclaimed Word to save the lost and edify believers. Just as only a diamond can sharpen another diamond, Dr. Lawson reminded us that only Scripture is sharp enough to interpret Scripture infallibly. Watch Dr. Lawson’s session today.

“The preacher has nothing to say apart from the Word of God.” —Dr. Steven Lawson

In our final session, Dr. Stephen Nichols, Steven Lawson, and Derek Thomas answered questions questions from conference attendees on the pursuit of holiness, the interpretation of Scripture, worship, and other important topics. Watch the Q&A session today.

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