Collegiate Conference tackles question of biblical revelation

Communications Staff — March 3, 2004

Has God really spoken?

That is the question a number of professors from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary addressed this question Feb. 20-21 during the school’s fourth annual Give Me an Answer Collegiate Conference.

The event drew more than 800 college students from 19 states and the District of Columbia, setting a conference attendance record. The conference’s purpose is to promote God-honoring, Bible-centered worldview thinking on a range of issues. The 2004 conference dealt with various aspects of the God’s revelation in Scripture.

“We wanted students to come with their questions about the Scriptures and to walk away having confirmed that they can be nothing other than the genuine Word of God,” said Scott Davis, director of admissions for Southern Seminary.

“I really think many college students are uncomfortable with the relativism that is all around. Dealing with this topic helps them as they process their own experience and also helps them know how to answer the questions the world around us has about our beliefs.

“The students really appreciate this kind of conference, because they leave feeling like they have learned something substantial…their view of God has been expanded, their love for the Word has grown and this makes us humbly grateful to God to be part of such a wonderful event.”

The conference consisted of five general sessions—including four with seminary president R. Albert Mohler, Jr.—and 21 elective seminars. The elective seminars dealt with particular issues pertaining to the Bible with topics ranging from the history of the inerrancy debate among Baptists to the role that the Holy Spirit played in the writing of Scripture and also its interpretation today.

Mohler told conference attendees that the most important question facing humanity is whether God reveals Himself to men and women.

“If God has not revealed Himself to us, and if He is hidden from us, then His existence is just as meaningless as if He did not exist,” Mohler said. “But if God has spoken, everything is fundamentally different. And if He has spoken in such a way that we can hear his voice and understand His mind, … then all of life takes on a fundamentally different complexion and is established on a completely different foundation.

“If we are lost in space, if we are in the silent universe where no Creator speaks, then we are in absolute darkness and abysmal ignorance and we are, to quote the Apostle Paul, of all men most to be pitied. But God has spoken. … He is a speaking God, and He identifies Himself as the God who speaks.”

Conference attendee Jared Meyer was pleased that speakers tackled tough contemporary questions head-on. Meyer is a senior electrical engineering major at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“I’ve enjoyed the conference because of its truthfulness,” Meyer said. “The professors have not sidestepped the hard questions but have actually attacked them, especially dealing with epistemology—how we know what we know.

“We have to know what we believe because if we don’t, we’re lost in darkness just like any other religion. It is important that we be able to defend our faith because popular culture mostly denies any existence of truth.”

Dani Keith says the conference helped her understand how the constituent parts of the Bible fit together in a way that consistently point to Christ. Keith is a student at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pa. Seeing the unity of the Bible has given her even more confidence in it, she said.

“It’s shown [me] how the Bible fits together,” Keith said. “That just gives me more confidence if I go back home and have to confront people and talk with them about this stuff. They ask me questions, and now I have more confidence because I know it all points back to Christ.”

Todd Higgs said the conference provided him with teaching on basic Christian truths not presented in his secular university. Higgs is a student at the University of Tennessee Martin in Martin, Tenn.

Davis says reactions to the conference among its attendees have always been overwhelmingly positive and that 2004 was no exception. Davis said some attendees are contemplating a call to ministry as nearly 100 students attended one of the seminars entitled “Is Seminary for Me?”

“We drew several favorable comparisons with several other well-known conferences,” Davis said. “Students mentioned that they feel good after these events, but that there really was no take home value to these [other] conferences.

“But here, they really felt like they had something that would help them in their personal walk with Christ as well as helping them become more proficient and effective in sharing the Gospel and defending it to its detractors. The comments have been overwhelmingly positive.”

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