The Freed-Hardeman Lectureships continued Wednesday in Henderson, Tennessee despite the cold and windy weather. However it has been dry which is also appreciated. Last year the lectures were assaulted by a tornado that struck Union University just north of Jackson, Tennessee. Aside from the cold, this has been a week of great weather so far.
Jason Hart of the Sycamore church of Christ in Cookeville, Tennessee was the speaker Wednesday morning at chapel services. His assigned topic was a continuation of the study of Psalm 23. Specifically he addressed verses 4 and 5. Jason used an approach called an expository sermon to deliver this message which is perhaps the most difficult style of sermon to adequately prepare. The message was perfectly honed to give a great sense of security and protection in our God.
During chapel we were blessed to sing a song that many of you know, “I Love the Lord.” The great blessing came in that the author of the lyrics and the music, Tommy Webster, led us in singing it. When the man who wrote the song leads it, you know you are getting just what he intended.
Among the afternoon sessions at the Freed-Hardeman Lectureship was Alan Highers and Robert Taylor Jr. Highers answered the question, “Must we choose between Christ and the Church?” He gave a vigorous defense of the intricate relationship between the two. He reminded us of those within our own ranks who have sought to discount the church and he warned of the need for sound preaching to properly teach and remind Christians of the central role of the church in salvation.
Robert Taylor presented a deep and thoughtful discussion of “Christ, a Priest Forever.” Moving easily between new and old covenants, Taylor discussed the unique role of Jesus Christ as our High Priest.
The Open Forum, led by Ralph Gilmore has been rather quiet this year. Gilmore’s thoughts and ideas, although demanding and challenging, have been been generally accepted. Some discussion did follow his assertion that so-called “contemporary Christian music” may be acceptable edification for the private, non-worship entertainment of the Christian. He did firmly assert the absolute necessity that worship music be acapella but differentiated between those times of deliberate, intentional worship and times of entertainment or edification. Some discussions also center on choosing a reliable Bible translation with Giilmore giving a broad lesson on the history of ancient Greek texts. He did stop short however of actually endorsing a given translation.
One of the key reasons for Open Forum is to cause brethren to stop and think about their beliefs and understanding. There is no power in the forum to compel belief in a given statement. But it does cause the listerner to pause and reconsider things which he has always believed. To this end the Forum is always a huge sucess. Truely, a faith not worth struggling with and constantly thinking about is really no faith at all!