The first Evangelical Press Conference in the USA took place on 11-13 November 2005 at Berean Baptist Church, Grand Blanc, Michigan, under the title, ‘The gospel of Jesus Christ: defended and proclaimed’.
Over the past five years the church has seen several hundred people brought to Christ and the conference had a corresponding evangelistic thrust. We were glad to welcome as speakers Dr John Blanchard and Pastor Roger Ellsworth, along with members of the EP board. We were also delighted that the Lord drew many visitors to each of the sessions, with congregations of up to 500 filling the auditorium to near capacity.
John Blanchard brought three messages defending the gospel, based on three of his books: Does God believe in atheists?, Has science got rid of God?, and Where is God when things go wrong?
In his warm and engaging manner, he showed clearly that belief in the God of the Bible is the only logical answer to the big questions of life. Bombarded as we are by the criticisms of sceptics, it was so helpful to be equipped with simple answers to give to such people.
Dr Blanchard’s final message dealt with the important question of why God does not prevent pain and suffering. We later heard testimonies of how this message helped particular individuals who had been struggling to cope with their own pain and sadness.
We were reminded that even in the biggest natural disaster, God is right where he has always been – on the throne. He uses tragic events as his ‘megaphone’, reminding us of the need to be ready for death. Dr Blanchard ended each of his messages with an exhortation to look to Christ as the only way of salvation.
Pastor Ellsworth proclaimed the gospel in his three messages, exalting Christ in each. Based on his new book, What the Bible teaches about angels, he presented the gospel of salvation in Christ alone from Genesis 3:24′ describing why the cherubim were stationed at the entrance of the Garden of Eden.
From 1 Peter 1:10-12he described the wonder and preciousness of our salvation – these are ‘things even the angels desire to look into’.
The final message from Hebrews 13:20-21reminded us why Jesus is worthy of ‘glory for ever and ever’ and challenged us not to pass over such statements in -Scripture.
Each of Roger Ellsworth’s messages was rich in teaching and warm in its invitation to look to Christ. Above all, they magnified him – leaving me realising my own unworthiness, but also worshipping the one who has done everything for me and given me such riches in himself.
At the start of the conference David Clark shared with us news of EP’s publishing ministry in the five major languages of the world. The book room did a brisk trade with Christians and visitors alike making use of the discounts available.
How thankful we were for God’s presence amongst us and that he should bless us so richly. We would love to do it all over again – perhaps next year?