ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.—First Baptist Church hosted the Spring Conference of the Illinois-Missouri Association of Regular Baptist Churches April 3 and 4. This was the first time First Baptist has hosted a conference, says Pastor Bryan Augsburger, and the church family worked months in advance to prepare the facility and plan the event. The church’s goal, he says, “was to provide a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere for fellowship, encouragement, and edification.”
The conference committee allowed First Baptist to give input regarding the speakers and schedule. “We were thrilled with the amazing complement of speakers and presenters, who uniquely encouraged and stimulated those gathered,” Bryan says.
Brian Trainer, dean of Detroit Theological Seminary, spoke on the difficulty of decision-making in debatable areas of the Christian life, emphasizing the importance of recognizing Scriptural commands and principles that address such issues. “While there is a tendency for many to focus on the liberty (rights) we have in Christ, as well as the pertinent place of maturing knowledge, the real focus should be on the lordship of Christ, the necessity to not deliberately offend other believers, and the importance of reflecting Christ to the watching world of believers,” summarizes Bernie Augsburger, state representative of the Illinois-Missouri association and Bryan’s brother.
David Gunn, editorial director of publications for Regular Baptist Press and managing editor of the Baptist Bulletin, led a session on theological errors affecting the church. In his session called “Dispatches from the Theological Minefield,” he addressed such topics as fresh challenges to inerrancy, resurgent continuationism, and kingdom exclusion. Don Anderson, assistant editor for Regular Baptist Press, presented a workshop highlighting RBP resources.
Much encouragement, joy, and fellowship took place at the conference. Bernie says, “Our hearts were blessed, our minds were stimulated, and our love for God and for each other was greatly enhanced.”
“After the Monday service, many stuck around and chatted, even though it was the night for the final game of the NCAA championship,” Bryan says. “The value to us as a church will likely be felt in the days ahead, as we have now made some new friends, [and] our people have interacted with some of the pastors and wives, ministry personnel, and members of other churches. We have had the opportunity to encourage the choicest people on earth, those dear saints giving their lives and souls in service to Christ and His church.”
The Illinois-Missouri Association of Regular Baptist Churches plans two conferences each year: one in the spring, and one in the fall. The fall conference will take place Oct. 2 and 3 at Camp Manitoumi, Lowpoint, Illinois, in celebration of the camp’s 60th anniversary.