Christian Conferences Exposed

Rick has a good post up.

I for one have never understood the need for all these conferences (or, as far as that goes, the numerous “manifesto’s” issued periodically either) that my fellow Christians run to (or in the case of manifesto’s, sign their names to).  To my thinking it’s all a waste of time, and in the case of conferences, also money. I mean, when these conferences are held, only those who hold to the same theological views attend, so its like preaching to the choir, and the the manifestos…well, don’t get me started! I’ve relayed my feelings about those in a number of posts over the years.

Anyway, hope you’ll check out Rick’s post.

As transportation became more and more accessible in America many things began to change. Vacations could now be enjoyed across the nation, people could drive many miles to their jobs, many would travel thousands of miles to see a sporting event, and believers could pick a church to attend from a large menu of churches within even a fifty mile radius. And during the sixties especially another phenomenon arose within the evangelical community. It was called the Christian conference.

The format was basically this: One or more famous preachers were slated to speak and special music was also an important part of the event. These preachers became famous through periodicals, radio, television, and by many local churches within their particular doctrinal clique. So the independent Baptists knew of Jack Hyles and John Rice, and the Calvinists knew of John McArthur, the Charismatics knew of Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin, and Southern Baptists knew about W. A. Criswell and Adrian Rodgers. And these men and others were enlisted in a conference designed for their particular doctrinal bent and through extensive publicity that included mail outs, pulpit announcements, television and radio spots, and glossy pamphlets people were informed about the event.

Now these events charged admission when they were held at some public auditorium and even some charged when they were held in some large church auditorium. And they are well oiled events that are well scripted and organized. Most of these events are not geared toward evangelism, and most if not all are not geared toward a prayer meeting event. The drawing card are the notoriety of the men and women speakers as well as the singers. People come form all around and gladly pay the entrance fee just to hear their favorite preacher who they believe speaks the truth that they espouse at the time. Back in those days people would wait in line to have their Bible signed or the book they just bought.

Continued here


4 comments on “Christian Conferences Exposed

  1. I think church history is replete with the conference model of those times, which was synods, councils, and the like.. Current church manifestos are modeled after their forerunner which was confessions and creeds.

    I for one am grateful for such manifestos as the Westminster Confession of Faith, the London Baptist Confession, and the early forerunners of conferences such as the Synod of Dort. They shaped much of what is our church today, and stood up against the predominant heresy of that time, which was the church of Rome.

    I don’t object at all if the church carries on in these traditions of old, to stand up to the heresies of modern times. Just my two cents.

    • I don’t believe this is what Rick was referring to. Running to one conference after another has been a pass time for many Christians for as long as i’ve been saved (33 years)…its something they seek out and will travel from one coast to another to attend. I had a close friend who participated in these type of gatherings for as long as i knew her (she’s now gone) and was always trying to drag me off to one or another every month. Like i said in another comment (elsewhere) recently, all she ever gained from them was a bookshelf filled with dusty tapes and books which were purchased at these meetings. As soon as she’d return from one it would be quickly forgotten as soon as she’d hear about another one coming up. I use to think it was sad.

  2. I don’t get these events either. Christian music concerts, okay. The medical missions conference where different groups come to one place so you can see how to apply and get involved, definitely helpful. But this conference? It seems like a reason to stand around and formulate a plan to form a committee to think about how to reach the world for Christ instead of just going like Jesus says we should. It makes the folks sitting in their safe Christian bubble feel like they’re doing something when they’re really doing nothing and some other guy’s wallet just gets fatter. What’s up with that?

    • It makes the folks sitting in their safe Christian bubble feel like they’re doing something when they’re really doing nothing…

      Micey, that’s exactly how i’ve always seen these conferences: Giving those attending the sense “something” is being accomplished for the spreading of the Gospel, when in fact its not.

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