Months ago when I began planning for a September vacation, I started nosing around the internets for news of one of my favorite pastimes: conferences featuring great Bible teaching. At the blog of a personal favorite pastor/speaker/author, Thabiti Anyabwile, I learned about a conference I had never before heard about, The Ocean City Bible Conference.
Turns out the reason I’d never heard of it is because last year was the first year. Anyway, their speaker line-up was a perfect fit for my tastes: Thabiti, Phil Johnson of Pyromaniac fame, Paul Tripp, whose books on Christian growth are some of my favorites, and Fred Zaspel, who’s writing on New Covenant Theology I greatly appreciated.
As soon as I could clear my schedule I signed up. If providence permits, I’ll try to blog a bit about the content. Meanwhile, below is the schedule and below that some biographical info. partly lifted from the conference site and augmented by some of my first hand experience of these men.
Pre-Conference Vernon Allen
Session 1 – Thabiti Anyabwile
Session 2 – Kevin O’Brien
Session 3 – Thabiti Anyabwile
Session 4 – Phil Johnson (open to the public)
Session 5 – Thabiti Anyabwile
Session 6 – Breakout Seminars
Session 7 – Paul Tripp (open to the public)
Session 8 – Fred Zaspel
Session 9 – Phil Johnson
Thabiti Anyabwile: Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. I first heard him speak at the 2008 Together For The Gospel and was deeply appreciative of his presentation, Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church. (This talk explored a concept I’d never before heard, and yet the truth of it. I call this effect Déjà New.) Thabiti previously served as an Assistant Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and is the author of several books, including The Faithful Preacher, The Decline of African-American Theology, What Is a Healthy Church Member?, and The Gospel for Muslims. Having spoken briefly with Thabiti a couple of times, I gleaned this deep insider info: he is quite tall, and affectionately calls his sweet wife, Shorty, though Kristie is quite normal in height when compared to most anyone else.
Phil Johnson: Not sure whether Phil is more well known as the Executive Director of Grace to You, (John MacArthur’s radio ministry), editor of MacArthur’s books, or as proprietor of Pyromaniacs. Years ago I first learned about Phil from his world class compendium of links to matters theological, Phil Johnson’s Bookmarks. Phil also maintains the premier internet collection of all things Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Archive. He used to maintain a web page describing peculiar foods he enjoys, but I can’t find a link. On top of all that he’s a trustee of the U.K.-based D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust. Phil and his wife, Darlene, have three sons, one of which has written the funniest single blog post I’ve ever read.
Paul Tripp: President of Paul Tripp Ministries, he is on the pastoral staff at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Professor of Pastoral Life and Care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, as well as the Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. He has written eleven books on Christian living including Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, How People Change, War of Words, and Age of Opportunity. He and his wife, Luella, have four grown children. I’ve used his book A Quest for More in two men’s groups so far, and it’s great, thought provoking material. Age Of Opportunity ought to be required reading for parents of adolescents.
Fred Zaspel: Pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, PA and an instructor in Bible and theology at To Every Tribe Ministries in Brownsville, TX. A second-generation pastor, he is a graduate of Bob Jones University and Biblical Theological Seminary and has a Ph.D. from The Free University of Amsterdam. He is the author of numerous articles and booklets and is the author of a new work on B.B. Warfield, which is due to be released in September. Fred and his wife, Kim, have two children. As I mentioned above, I mostly know about Fred from his writing on New Covenant Theology.
Kevin O'Brien: Senior Pastor of the host church, Ocean City Baptist, where he has served since 2002. He is a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute, Baptist Bible College (Penn.), and The Master's Seminary. Kevin and his wife, Beth, have two children. I don’t know much about Kevin, other than the fact he attended TMS with my good friend, Alex Crain, whom he asked to lead the worship singing at the conference.
Vernon Allen: Pastor of the Buff Bay Circuit of Independent Baptist Churches, a group of six churches in Portland, Jamaica. He has ministered there since graduating from Toronto Baptist Seminary in 1982. He also currently serves as the Vice-President of the Jamaica Fellowship of Independent Baptist Churches. Vernon and his wife, Cindy, have two sons. Vernon will be preaching Sunday morning at Ocean City Bible Church before the conference formally starts.
Lord willing, I’ll post some thoughts from these folks over the next few days.