The 2022 Bible Conference at Bob Jones University will emphasize contending for the faith in a hostile culture from Feb. 15-18.
Dr. Steve Pettit, president of BJU, who will open the conference on Tuesday night, believes the theme of contending for the faith is very relevant to the student body.
“I believe that our students are being threatened by the nature of our culture to actually not believe,” Pettit said. “I think it’s time to stand up and start fighting and say we’re not going to throw away our faith.”
“The goal is not to change the faith,” Pettit said. “The goal is to believe the faith and stand for the faith. If you don’t stand for anything, you fall for everything. We’ve got to have [young people] that are willing to stand for what they believe in and not compromise.”
Dr. Pettit will be using the book of Jude as a guide through this subject of contending for the faith.
Dr. David Doran, senior pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, Michigan, and president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, is set to speak on Friday morning at the conference.
“The shifts in our culture that have been happening for decades are forcing believers to wrestle with core issues in a way similar to the major theological battles of the early 20th century,” Doran said.
“The challenge then was whether Christianity should accommodate modern thinking or resist it out of faithfulness to the Scriptures. We are facing the same kind of challenge today regarding the foundations of a biblical worldview,” he said.
Dr. Bob Jones III, BJU’s chancellor who will speak at the conference on Thursday morning, said he sees Bible Conference as an opportunity to learn in a different way from regular chapel messages.
“I think it’s the difference between grabbing a bite of fast food and eating it in your car as you drive frantically to work and sitting down to a large banquet,” Jones said. “It is a big difference in terms of the enjoyment, the satisfaction and the nutrition as well.”
Doran echoed this sentiment. “Bible Conference can be a special time because the pace is different, there is more time for interaction and it can provide a few different men’s perspectives on an important biblical theme,” he said. “As a speaker, it’s different from normal chapel sermons because students are pressed between classes, and, most importantly, you get a little more time to preach!”
Ben Beam, a junior keyboard performance major, emphasized the importance of Bible Conference for students.
“The conference definitely eliminates other distractions that you would have so that you can solely focus on the theme,” he said. “You also have access to a variety of different speakers that maybe don’t all have the same background and can offer different perspectives.”
Doran said it is important that students prepare for Bible Conference. “One way that I think might be helpful [to prepare] would be to read the book of Jude a lot before the Conference starts,” he said. “It’s a short book that can easily be read in a few minutes. Jude has some challenging parts, so knowing what it says before the conference starts will allow you to focus in more clearly on what it means.”
Pettit also believes students should be intentional about being engaged during Bible Conference.
“I think prayer is a really important aspect [of spiritual engagement] because prayer is what changes our minds and our hearts and our emotions,” he said.
“I believe that you should always take some kind of notes during preaching,” Pettit said. “If you watch me on the platform [during chapel], I’m always writing out ideas because I’m engaged. … I think students today are challenged to be engaged mentally [when taking notes].”
Dr. Sam Horn, pastor of Palmetto Baptist Church in Easley, is scheduled to speak at the conference on Wednesday morning; evangelist Rev. Mike Redick will speak on Wednesday afternoon; Dr. Alan Benson, BJU executive vice president for student development and ministry advancement, is set to speak on Friday afternoon; and Dr. Jason Ormiston, pastor of Family Baptist Church, will speak at the conference on Thursday night.
Ormiston will also hold a workshop.
The workshops will focus on the application of what the students have been learning throughout the week. Other workshop speakers include BJU faculty members Dr. Brian Trainer, Dr. Brent Cook, Dr. Renton Rathbun and Dr. Greg Stiekes.