"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16
Conference on Nehemiah by D. A. Carson (26th Oct 2007)

Project Timothy had organised a two day evening conference (26th and 27th Oct 2007) on the book of Nehemiah, which I attended earlier at Singapore Bible College this evening. And I must emphasize that I felt really strange and uncomfortable sitting there and listening to the speaker for a passive two whole hours. House church conferences and workshops are more participatory in nature, than such exposition or bible conference. But anyway, that's beside the point. A couple of observations during the conference are listed below.

New Testament leaderships are connected to the priests in the Old Testament. As usual, NT leaderships are always thought of as an extension OT priestly office, when in fact it contradicts the Scripture which declares the priesthood of all believers. Why on earth do we keep segregating the senior priests and junior priests? And some have even blatantly distinguished between the clergy and the laity! Instead, all believers are His royal priests and are positionally equal before Him as brothers and sisters, for there is only one Lord. It's true that different brothers and sisters have different degree of maturity, but there is no biblical room for a super brother or sister!

The Scripture has taken over the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is strange to hear an exposition of the Scripture without any mention of our Lord! For the first time, I have a deeper appreciation of what's a glorified bible study/conference is. There's nothing wrong with reading the Scripture, but the Scripture points us to Christ, if you get my point. We could run the risk of missing Jesus when He passed by, just like the Pharisees. While God's word is important (and we want to learn from it), we run the risk of worshipping His words, and not His Word personified.

To be frank, I was feeling a little dry back then since I already know most of what he has shared. The book of Nehemiah is about the restoration of God's house, and I was hoping that he could touch more on God's desire for His church which is not forthcoming, perhaps the next evening. It then does seem that not many brethren have caught on the vision of God's eternal purpose and could passionately declare it. May God raise up more people to impart His desire!