What a fitting venue for this historic conference! Charleston, SC is a beautiful city. The historic downtown area is a living history in itself. Each house has a plaque with the names of the original owners and dates of construction. First Baptist Charleston itself is a historic congregation. Established in 1682 (this year is their 325th anniversary), FBC Charleston is the oldest Baptist church in the south. It has been served by such famous pastors as William Screven, Oliver Hart, Richard Furman, Basil Manly, Sr., and Vance Havner. Furman himself is buried on the grounds and his tombstone adorns one of the outside walls of the sanctuary. Other pastors are honored with large plaques on the walls inside the sanctuary. I hope to share pictures of these later. For an early history of this historic congregation see this one by Mid-Nineteenth century pastor Basil Manly, Sr.
So far the conference has been good. It has been great to fellowship with Dr. Michael Haykin. It has also been good to meet Dr. Keith Harper and soon-to-be Dr. Nathan Finn from SEBTS in person for the first time. It was also nice to meet Dr. James Renihan, who wrote the foreward to my and Dr. Haykin’s forthcoming book on Hercules Collins. The biographical profiles on John Gill (by Dr. Haykin), John Gano (by Terry Wolever), Ann Judson (dramatic presentation by Rosalie Hunt), and Lott Carey (by Leroy Fitts) have all been excellent. The lectures on hymnody have also been well-done. Dr. Keith Harper’s break-out session on “Baptist Mission Movements” focused on the largely untapped treasure of missionary correspondence which historians have access to today. Dr. Harper was both informative and hilarious. He has a great sense of humor. The plenary sessions have also been well-written and presented, but I have serious disagreements with the vision of Baptist history and identity proposed by both William Brackney and Bill Leonard (not that their views are identical). Nevertheless, it was interesting to hear them in person and helpful to hear how they argue their position from Baptist history.
Tonight Dr. Tom Nettles is scheduled to speak on “The Philadelphia Assoc. & The Philadelphia Confession: Its Origins Significance and Influence on American Baptist History”. I’m really looking forward to hearing Dr. Nettles. As many of you know, Dr. Nettles has been having problem with his voice/throat. However, I saw him and his voice sounded much better. He is, in his words, “getting better.” Please continue to pray for him as he speaks tonight.
Tomorrow I am to give a 7 minute presentation on the devotional writings of Hercules Collins in the midst of a paper by Michael Haykin on “Baptist Devotional Literature.” Due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict, Dr. Haykin had to fly out today and he asked if I would read his paper. So I will be reading his paper tomorrow and giving my own section on Collins during the space he has provided. Nathan Finn will be taking the second half of the session to read his paper on Baptist devotional literature in America. I look forward to further fellowship with Nathan this evening and tomorrow.
For notes from Kim Davidson who is liveblogging the conference, click here.