FHU Lectures 2006

Written by Drew on February 13th, 2006

Blogging came to a halt for me last week, as I attended the 70th Annual Freed-Hardeman Lectureship in Henderson, TN. In my opinion the lectureship was unusually good this year. Below are some of the highlights.

1. Nathan Segars’s lecture on “Divine Design.” As the Intelligent Design Movement began to warm up a few years back, Christians became more informed on the argument from design regarding the existence of God. In a nutshell it claims…

  • Where there is design, there must be a designer.
  • The world manifests design.
  • Therefore, the world has a Designer.

Nathan shared two analogies in his development of this subject. The first was the familiar spatial analogy, which is best known in William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. The second was new to me, a temporal analogy that utilized the existence of successive regularity in the universe. No empiral evidence explains why the law of cause and effect works. Yet we’ve come to rely on it in just about everything we do. This is evidence of design, thus leading us to belief in an Almighty Designer.

One thing I liked about Nathan’s presentation was that it was coated with a good dose of humility. When discussing Christian Evidences, we can sometimes sound a little silly, contradicting respected scientists and philosophers with arguments we extracted from the one book on Christian Evidences we’ve read. Nathan’s words came off differently. Not only does he have an earned Ph.D., he also acknowledged that atheists do have arguments to combat his information. When looked at objectively, these do not negate the existence of God. But it does no good for the Christian to pretend they’re not there.

Nathan has one of the best minds in the brotherhood. That is why every year I make sure I’m at his session.

2. Chapel speeches. I did not hear Neal Pollard on Monday, but the rest of the week young preachers were featured during the chapel hour. The three that I heard–Gavin Pinkston, Daniel Hope, and David Sproule–were excellent. If anything, their work should restore our confidence in the next generation of preachers.

3. Chuck Webster’s lecture on “Sexual Purity.” Chuck had one of the most difficult topics on the program this year, and he handled it well, as he always does. I wish every Christian could hear his discussion of the world’s influence on our perceptions of human sexuality. Our minds are being filled with perverted ideas, while biblical ideals are being ignored. Unfortunately, much of the material he presented in the lecture is not in the book. I recommend ordering a CD from FHU.

4. William Woodson’s Chapel Hall address, “Worship and the Instrument.” One of my favorite traditions during lectureship week is to go to Old Chapel Hall and listen to seasoned preachers relate their experiences and share their vast knowledge. A heavy scent of nostalgia is always in the air as one sits on old chairs bolted to an ancient, hardwood floor. Portraits of Restoration leaders hang all around. These days FHU uses the room for plays and concerts. It’s a better setting, though, for history lessons.

As it turned out, this is just what William Woodson gave on Thursday morning. To me, this, his third speech in a series, was the most important lecture I heard all week. Most of us know the scriptural evidence against instrumental music in worship. What we don’t know is the history behind our stance against this practice. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, many brethren wanted to use the instrument in churches of Christ. Conscientious men like J.W. McGarvey, Alexander Campbell, David Lipscomb, Benjamin Franklin, and others stood firm against it. Woodson expertly related the battles and hardships they endured to defend the truth. Sadly, by the 1906 U.S. Census, the Christian Churches and Disciples of Christ divided from churches of Christ over this issue, among other things.

Woodson then made a heartfelt appeal to those of us who are in the church today. Basically, he urged us not to destroy the work of our forefathers in the faith. It was a beautiful speech, one that only William Woodson could give. Unfortunately, this material cannot be found in the book, either. Much of it, I believe, was given extemporaneously and was drawn from the immense deposit of Woodson’s mind.

I was able to attend a dinner Tuesday night honoring the life and work of William Woodson. He truly is a great man who has done much for the kingdom.

5. Open Forum. Ralph Gilmore moderated the Open Forum again this year. He did a great job, as usual. Some are still bemoaning the end of the Woods/Highers era, but I don’t think it’s fair to expect Dr. Gilmore to handle the forum just as they did. One could say it is more “open” than ever. And many are enjoying the new format.

It was a great week. Not only did I learn more about God’s word, but I also gained insight into contemporary concerns. In addition, I was able to renew old acquaintences. Every elder and gospel preacher ought to reserve the first week in February for the Freed-Hardeman lectures. It always proves to be a rewarding experience.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mackenzie says:

    What a great opportunity! Reading your review of the lectureship made me really miss being there and wish I could have gone

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