BRANSON – Many – including too many in the church – see the first 39 books of the Bible as irrelevant and outdated, supplanted by the Good News of the New Testament. First Baptist Church of Branson is looking to disprove that notion.
The Church is hosting a conference October 6-7 entitled “Christianity and the Death of the Old Testament.” The aim of this conference is to provide teaching and tools to ensure that believers take seriously all of God’s Word and are better prepared to read the Old Testament.
“For many in the church today, the Old Testament is completely foreign to us, except for perhaps a few disconnected stories about Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samson, and David,” said Neil Franks, FBC’s senior pastor. “The reality is that fewer American Christians each year are reading their Bibles, and even fewer still read the Old Testament. When we don’t preach it regularly, don’t read it often, and rarely take pains to put the stories into a coherent whole, it is not long before the Old Testament will become unintelligible at all. To put it simply, the Old Testament is dying, and we need to find a cure.”
This conference will include five main sessions and two different breakout sessions of three talks each. Among these sessions are talks on Old Testament theology, the Old Testament as Christian Scripture, the Old Testament and the mission of God, and several sessions devoted to how to read and preach various genres of the Old Testament. These talks will appeal to pastors and laypeople alike and will be given by an excellent lineup including Steve Dempster, Danny Hays, Steve Andrews, Jay Todd, Rusty Osborne, and Kyle Rapinchuk.
“As pastors, do we know how to preach the Old Testament through Christian eyes while still remaining faithful to the meaning of the inspired author?” Franks asked. “Do we know how to teach our laypeople to do the same, or are they forcing Jesus into the text or avoiding it altogether? As pastors, do we know how to read and preach the Old Testament as a coherent story, as one Text that our congregation can grab hold of as their own story? As laypeople, do we know how to open our Bible to the Old Testament and read it in light of God’s grand story of redemption though the offspring of Abraham, and know that by faith we, too, are children of Abraham.”
The Ozarks BSU will also join with First Baptist to host a Saturday evening session (7-9pm) for high school and college students and leaders on “Christianity and the University” in which Danny Hays will discuss and take questions on some of the challenges Christians face on university campuses with respect to the Old Testament, specifically violence, genocide, and slavery.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and can be purchased at fbcbranson.com or by calling the church office at (417) 334-7437.