On Thursday, March 1st, Cairn University held its annual Church Leaders Conference, a one day, cross-denominational conference. The year’s theme was “Justification by Faith Alone: The Glorious Gospel for Our Contemporary World,” focusing on one of the timeless, essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Over 140 leaders, pastors, and attendees gathered together on campus for a time of edification and encouragement.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Thomas Schreiner, who is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
This year’s conference included two main sessions, three parallel sessions, and time devoted to fellowship and connection. The first session took place in Chatlos Chapel, where Dr. Schreiner gave an exposition of Romans 3:21-31 to highlight how Christ’s death, on behalf of those who trust in Him, secured their right standing with God. An excerpt from this passage reads:
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” (Romans 3:22-25)
Afterward, three parallel sessions were held: “Meeting at Center: Gospel and Church Planting” by Bruce Finn, “Toward Gospel-Centered Contemporary Worship” by Dr. Benjamin Harding, and “The God We Worship” by Dr. James Dolezal. Attendees were able to enjoy more intimate, smaller group settings during these plenary sessions and over lunch break.
Dr. Schreiner then continued his second session. He further discussed the ways in which justification should reform the lives and ministries of those who place their faith in Christ. “Gratefulness comes when we’re conscious of the gift we’ve been given,” Dr. Schreiner stated.
Throughout the conference, warm fellowship and fraternal ambiance were evident. Attendees were reminded of the familiar, yet powerful doctrine of justification and how their lives have been radically changed by Christ’s work on their behalf.