John 3:16 Conference (All Kinds of Disappointment)


Timmy Brister has gathered together all of the live-blogs from the conference that I am aware of into one post along with his comments on the conference. Be sure to read the live-blog posts linked to Timmy’s post.  I would suggest listening to the audio but unfortunately you’ll have to drop $50 for the CD’s and $69 for the DVD’s.  Why not MP3’s for free or at least offered at a lesser rate than the CD’s?  There is one **bonus** as stated on the site.  Depending on which format you buy a bonus CD or DVD of the Q & A session will be offered free of charge (sarcastic tone).

I have posted a portion of his post below but be sure to check out the whole thing.

Timmy Brister:

10 Observations from a Distance

1.  The speakers apparently have real theological differences among each other.  One might expect this when having a conference when you are united around what you are against rather than what you are for.

2.  While most of the seminaries were represented as vendors, Southern Seminary was not.

3.  Earlier in May, I had requested for Founders Ministries to be a vendor.  The request was rejected without justification.

4.  The purpose of this conference was intended to be a “majoritarian response to the ‘Building Bridges’ and ‘Together for the Gospel’ conferences” (according to Lemke).

5.  If there ever was a place and time that Southern Baptists would have discovered a counter-resurgence of non-Calvinists among younger Southern Baptists, this conference would have been it.  However, live-blogging revealed that it was more comparable to the SBC Annual Meeting than Together for the Gospel.  In other words, Vines and Co. are without generational succession.

6.  Conference audio is $50 and video is $60 $69.  These incredibly steep prices for resources will discourage many from purchasing them.  This philosophy of marketing is quite contrary to the free resources provided at Reformed conferences.

7.  The closed door approach to the conference was also quite interesting.  In the day of live-blogging, live-streaming, immediate file-sharing (whether audio or PDF), this conference did not seem to adopt the whosoever will spirit of John 3:16.

8.  I am encouraged by the approach and disposition of now president Johnny Hunt regarding his Calvinist brethren.  However, he will have a lot on his hands when his fellow non-Calvinists are lobbing grenades and fostering a fight rather than seeking gospel consensus (after all, Calvinism is a move away from the gospel [Allen] and contrary to the Great Commission [Lemke]).

9.  Commentary from non-Southern Baptists, such as Justin Taylor, James Grant, Michael Spencer, and dozens of others commenting on the blogs, reveal that the John 3:16 conference is a disappointing if not embarrassing attempt to debunk the doctrines of grace and one-up the Building Bridges Conference.

10.  One has to wonder when Southern Seminary and the astute scholarship represented among the faculty will finally chime in.  Schreiner, Ware, Mohler, Nettles, and others are being thrown under the bus with no response from Lexington Road.  The absence of SBTS from Baptist life and issues is curious to say the least.

iMonk a self-proclaimed non-calvinist had this to say about the conference:

The fundamentalists who run the Southern Baptist Convention are after the Calvinists again. Obviously despairing that the “Building Bridges Conference” didn’t give the right preachers the opportunity to call Calvinists the right names, and faced with nagging possibility that out and out lies don’t go over as well when the guys you’re lying about are present in large numbers, the fundamentalists had a “John 3:16″ Conference at SBC President Johnny Hunt’s church. Speakers preached about the five points of Calvinism and straightened everyone out.

No recordings are posted, but Calvinistic live-bloggers were present (See their posts at My favorite part is the Caner Contention; the continual denial that Southern Baptists have any theological heritage at all except what the Bible says. We aren’t Arminians or Calvinists or anything else, they say. We’re just plain ‘ol Bible believing Baptists. Biblicists.

Bring up those crickets, Van Til. Thank you.

That’s a lie from anyone who says it. Not ignorance. Lying. They all know better.

I’m not a Calvinist, and some Calvinists ought to be put far, far away from the rest of us. But in general, the Calvinists in the SBC are more Gospel-centered and missionary than the rest of the convention. (Guess what seminary has sent the most IMB missionary candidates to the field the last decade? Yep, Southern. Where, of course, they can’t believe in missions. (jn)

The John 3:16 crowd is a sloppy bunch when it comes to scholarship, as Justin Taylor deftly and embarassingly demonstrates on his blog. Just about their every sentence at this kind of meeting makes an informed student of theology pause and wince. But they have Jerry Vines on their side, hawking his products and telling you what the greek really means.

Really, this is silly. Just silly. Calvinists in the SBC are doing far more good than harm, and the truth is that the fundamentalists need someone to blame for the fact that Jerry Falwell-style Evangelicalism is falling apart. One live-blogger said that 90% of the audience was middle-aged and over. That’s your problem old white guys: younger SBCers aren’t even listening to you anymore. You are talking to yourselves. Read Acts 29

For a humorous perspective on this check out TBNN

18 thoughts on “John 3:16 Conference (All Kinds of Disappointment)

  1. Just one note on the Internet Monk: he is a Southern Baptist. He grew up in a very conservative SBC church, and even though takes many issues with the Convention these days, has so far refused to bail out on it completly. He longs for the day SBC can pull itself together, and it’s members can see past their differences and problems in order to work together like a church family. Here’s hoping.

    I’m not a Calvinist myself, but many of the Calvinists I know are some of the most evangelizing people I’ve ever met. My own pastor preaches the 5 Points from the pulpit, then spends somewhere between 2 and 6 weeks a year in Haiti, usually helping to train local pastors who can’t afford seminary education. I am not a Calvinist personally; but they seem to have their act together better than the John 3:16 people I’m hearing about on the blogosphere. Many, many SBC’ers are Calvinists; why would the Convention divide against itself like that?

  2. Clark,
    Thanks for dropping the note. I am encouraged to hear about your pastor’s involvement in evangelism. As far as iMonk I am aware of Michael Spencer’s background based off of his blog of which I am a relatively consistent reader and fan of.

    I did have high hopes for this conference in the sense that it would be a venue for a fair assessment of 5 point Calvinism but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed overall.

    You raise a fair question. I don’t know how concerned we should be with this squabble of differences and how it will affect the SBC in the future but it is definitely something to think about especially the up and coming “generation” of SBCer’s.

  3. In the boxing ring or in a debate? Well, with Mohler’s ability to read thoughts and move objects using only his mind I think Mohler has the upper hand either way.

  4. I agree with Brad, but would also add that the best response would most likely not be one intellectually fought, but practically. I mean, which seminary is sending out the most missionaries and where are they going? How, about Mohler’s first chapel message “The year of living dangerously.” How about a faculty that is actually doing missions, not that others are not, but Southern does have a faculty that goes!

  5. FYI, there was no notice that recording was prohibited so I actually have all of the messages from the conference (including the free Q&A session) available as MP3’s. Just email me at or comment on my blog at and I can get you copies. They’re not the high-quality $50 variety, but you can here what is said. Also, I am in the process of responding to the presenters myself. I have already posted up through David Allen’s message against Limited Atonement. Enjoy.

  6. It’s not really bootlegging. I checked with my church’s tech guy about the legality of it and he said that if no signs were posted or remarks made to the contrary then speeches are public domain and can be recorded and distributed by whomever. Plus, isn’t $50 for a CD extortion? Especially for people who had already paid $95 to be there in the first place(!)

  7. ToddonGod,

    i was making a joke … Thanks for making them available! 🙂 Yes. It’s highway robbery! Amrinian extortionist!! It’s all about filthy lucre! (another joke)


  8. It was an “interesting” conference that I was fortunate enough to live blog. Since it was in my backyard it was a very easy trip to make. 🙂


    P.S. Sorry to hear about iMonk.

  9. All,
    I just wanted to let you know that I woke up this morning to find that my blog had been deactivated because of copyright infringement, one would assume over the conference audio files. As you may have noticed I had already moved to take down these files and so this is a little irritating to me. I am disappointed that the powers that be behind the John 3.16 Conference would move to do such a thing without even having the integrity to contact me first. Please spread the word about this as you see fit. Thanks.

  10. All,
    It appears that I have regained my site, but I was right that it had come from someone accusing me of direct linking to the product being sold by Jerry Vines Ministries at $50 a piece. It’s unfortunate that personal gain and fear of accountability has taken us away from reaching out to contact our brothers before going to the authorities, which is the essence of 1 Corinthians 6. It appears that I am allowed to post these after all, but seeing what derision has proceeded from it already I am unsure if I will.

    Have a nice day.

  11. Pingback: John 3:16 Conference: Blogger Accused of Copyright Infringement « T h e o • p h i l o g u e

  12. I am the one who posted on Todd’s site that the audio recording being posted on his site was illegal, You have been misinformed if you believe that it is legal. No notice has to be given. The speakers are the legal owners of the material and they granted Jerry Vines Ministries the right to record and reproduce the material. It does not matter that the recordings were made by an individual. He has the right to record the material (unless notice is provided), but he does not have permission to distribute unless he has permission from the copyright owner.

    I am not the one that contacted the blog host and reported the activity. I did what was biblical and went to my brother in Christ and confronted him of his sin. He removed the material and in my mind the issue is/was settled. Although I do believe WordPress acted properly because I contacted Todd and all he did was password protect the material, Todd has not right to be mad at WordPress or Jerry Vines Ministry. He had the opportunity to remove the material and he failed to do so. He obviously had reservations on the legality of posting the messages because he consulted his “tech guy.” WordPress did do what was right because they are aware of the copyright statutes.

    Here is the US Statutes for you info:

    Copyright protections are defined within 17 U.S.C.A. § 101, et seq. Copyrights generally subsist “in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” 17 U.S.C.A. § 102. Copyright protection also encompasses compilations and derivative works. Thus, copyrights protect any of a variety of forms of expression that have been fixed in some tangible medium through which others may perceive the expression. A copyright generally endures for the life of the author plus an extended term of years; however, the duration of the copyright may be limited or otherwise modified depending upon the date of first creation or publication of the work, the category of the work, the statutory classification of the authors, and the completeness of the records relating to the death of the authors.

    Copyright ownership gives the owner the exclusive right, subject to certain statutory limitations, to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies of the work, to perform the work, and to publicly display the work. 17 U.S.C.A. § 106. Unlike a patent, a copyright may be claimed from the moment of reduction to tangible form. While there is no statutory mandate that the author comply with the extensive federal copyright registration procedures, the author is encouraged to expediently register his copyright with the United States Copyright Office and the Library of Congress. The Copyright Act provides certain extremely favorable legal rights and remedies that may not be exercised without prompt registration.

    You may also contact an intellectual property rights attorney to confirm this info.

    I would wonder why you would accuse Jerry Vines Ministry of having no integrity. What have they done…. Todd is the one that violated the law. And while he is the one that broke the law he has no been accused of having no integrity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s