By Elizabeth Prata
The Truth In Love conference is organized by Richard Caldwell of Founders Baptist Church of Houston TX. It was held on January 22-24, 2021. The theme this year is “Discernment, Faith, and Fidelity to the Truth,” a topic which I find exciting.
The schedule of speakers included many solid men and though I am unfamiliar with some, several are my favorites. Paul Washer, Phil Johnson, and John MacArthur (via livestream) were all slated to speak.
Phil Johnson’s opening address was excellent. It’s titled Discernment in Days of Defection and can be viewed here. John MacArthur’s livestream was titled “What is Discernment and How do I Get It? which I noted early on and eagerly set my timer t watch is on Friday night. Sadly, MacArthur was unable to speak, and Owen Strachan (already scheduled for Saturday) took over in his spot. His talk was Wokeness and Discernment. Strachan is pronounced – stran rhymes with ran. The videos were uploaded to Youtube, and I’m so grateful for that!
However, as I tuned in to watch Dr. MacArthur’s video the morning after, instead of JMac, I saw Dr. Richard Caldwell introducing this second lecture by saying the following: (slide to 1:18:46). “There are some changes in schedule, regretfully. It will disappoint you. Dr MacArthur will not be able to livestream tonight. They are being very careful about managing his health and getting back to full strength. … Nothing additional is being added to his plate right now. He is 81 years old, and he is such a treasure, to all of us. We want him to be healthy and well.” Caldwell said a bit more. Tune in to the video at 11:18:46 to hear.
That makes sense. We want to keep John MacArthur with is as long as possible. And his first duty is to his own flock at Santa Clarita.
Also, Paul Washer was supposed to speak, but also did not appear. He had tested positive for Covid a week ago, Caldwell said, but Washer didn’t want anyone to know at that time. His cough is gone by now and his fever had broken. He is, however, COVID-fatigued. As we know by this point, the virus known as COVID-19 leaves its victims extremely tired.
Washer has a heart condition, as his father before him had, who died suddenly in young Paul’s arms. Washer himself had suffered a major heart attack in 2017. I’m conjecturing here, Caldwell didn’t say as much, but I’m sure that Washer wants to be careful in his recovery from COVID and not stress his heart. He had said previously in his testimony about the heart attack in 2017 that he knows he is in danger with his health due to the heart issue and always tries to maintain the rest of it as best he can, so…
Caldwell explained to the disappointed audience, that he had asked Washer “Will you come to us next year?” and Washer said, “Yes, so long we’re not all in prison.” They all laughed heartily. That is sooo Washer!
Washer is referring to the new regime in America where Christians are not only increasingly marginalized, but the vultures if illegality are hovering and circling us. The audience laughter died to a knowing chuckle. Yes, it is troubling times and discernment is more important than ever. You can view all the conference videos at this link from Founders Baptist.
Owen Strachan was funny also. He stood in MacArthur’s place, saying with a grin, “I feel like Leah, when you all wanted Rachel…”
Caldwell soothed the audience’s disappointment with wise and good words. I’d suggest going to the link and slide to 1:18:46 to hear his few moments of telling about the changes, because they are good to hear. I’ll summarize:
“I remind us of two things, James cautions not to make plans in an evil way, evil as in we’re certain of them, but only as the Lord wills. Ultimately we come not to hear men but to hear men used as His instruments. We don’t want to underestimate or be ungrateful the men He has supplied to us this weekend.”
There’s more and it’s good. It IS a good reminder not to idolize men and also to trust God with all the things of life, including a conference schedule.
We do love the men we have come to follow and listen to. This process involves trust, in giving our minds to their words and trusting they are true as we look back to the word for verification. We trust their ministries, which are without blot from them. And as they age, become ill, and will sometime pass into glory, we will miss them. I praise the Lord for always raising up good men, even in troubling times, to serve Him and bring forth His word. I am blessed with four wonderful elders at my church and good men being raised up within it for the future. Pray for your pastors, elders, deacons, and teachers. They need it.
If the Lord tarries and Washer and JMac pass in my lifetime, (and Johnson and Lawson and Begg) it will be exciting to see the Lord’s work in raising up new men. I enjoy Owen Strachan, who spoke at the conference, and Mike Riccardi at Grace Community Church and the Maser’s Seminary, and Gabe Hughes, plus many others.
But Lord, please come soon.