Ecclesia Reformata Semper Reformanda

Four of our men, including myself, just returned last evening from the annual meetings of the Bible Fellowship Church. The theme of the 134th BFC Conference was, are you ready, “Ecclesia Reformata Semper Reformanda.”  For those of you who were like me and opted out of 8th grade Latin, this phrase literally means “the church being reformed [must] always be reforming.” 
 
 
Our focus for the two-and-a-half-day conference was to reflect upon, and renew our commitment to, the principles of the Protestant Reformation, particularly as we seek to live today as faithful witnesses both as individual believers and collectively as BFC churches in the spirit of the “Five Solas.”  (If you aren’t sure what the “Five Solas” refer to, then be sure to look them up!)
 
In typical form, we were admonished from God’s word throughout the conference as we heard addresses from several BFC pastors and two keynote addresses—one on Martin Luther and the other on John Calvin—from the president of Biblical Theological Seminary Dr. Frank James. My “takeaway” from each address was a humbling and timely reminder that God is and has always been faithful to accomplish His sovereign work through the faithful proclamation of His sufficient and trustworthy word.  Even as one of our pastors reminded us Tuesday evening at the ordination service for 8 of our ministering brethren, we are called simply to “Preach the word” (cf. 2 Tim. 4:2).  For the past 150+ years, the Bible—God’s holy and infallible word—has been the focal point for our denomination as we, in numerous ways, have sought continually to be “always reforming” our doctrine and connectional identity in accordance with the Scriptures.
 

A few personal highlights including getting to see my good friend and co-laborer in the gospel Pastor Tim Nessler ordained to the gospel ministry. Tim serves as pastor at my former church New Beginnings BFC in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey.  It was great to see Tim on stage responding to the ordination vows and seeing faithful men lay hands on him setting him apart to the serious work of serving Christ’s church.  Tim’s family, parents, and friends made the two-hour drive and it was really nice to get to see them, as well!
 

Another highlight was getting to spend time with my present colleagues—Pastor Jerry, Pastor John, and Elder Jim Fisher—at Pastor John’s mountain chateau TimberTops Retreat. It was very nice to sit together early in the morning and late at night discussing the day’s events and God’s continually blessings.

This was my twelfth annual conference with the BFC…(and certainly the shortest!). It never escapes me, however, as I am sitting in my seat listening to God’s word or some committee report, or standing there singing in full-throated praise with more than 150 other men from over 65 churches and church plants that I am greatly privileged to be a part of the Bible Fellowship Church.  In my estimation, while we are far from perfect, the BFC—in its doctrine, emphases, and connectional identity—beautifully and faithfully reflects God’s vision for the church of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible.  Each year, my days at BFC Conference result in a renewed sense of gratitude not only for God’s work of grace in my life individually, but for His sovereign guidance upon my life into the ministerial context of the Bible Fellowship Church.

By the way, you can learn more about the BFC by visiting www.mybfc.org.

 

Pastor Dan