Friday, January 25, 2002

This year I want to tackle head-on, with no holds barred, the historical and theological connections between historic Reformed theology and the African-American experience.

Thus begins John Piper's special invitation to the 2002 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors (Feb. 4-6 in Minneapolis). The theme this year is The Sovereignty of God & the 'Soul Dynamic'. Carl Ellis, Jr. (who spoke in St. Louis last night -- unfortunately I was unable to attend) is the keynote speaker and Piper will be giving a biographical sketch of William Wilberforce.

I'm glad someone of Piper's stature in the Reformed world is giving this kind of priority & visibility to racial issues. Usually African-Americans only find this kind of intentional welcoming of dialogue and sharing of the platform with folks who are in the Sojourners, Evangelicals for Social Action, and Prism magazine camps. I'm not completely boo-hooing all of those organizations, I've profited from some of the things they've caused me to think about, but Piper's conference is seeking to demonstrate that we Calvinist folk see this issue as significant and are ready and willing to grapple with it. In other words, race is a conservative, Reformed issue, too. It's somewhat analagous to the Compassionate Conservative stance that Bush has so strenously put forward, communicating that political conservatives care too.

I wonder if Jim could report on this conference for us, since it's in his neck of the woods. Whaddya say JH3K?

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