Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

GES Conference Overview

The GES National Grace Conference was a great time of fellowship, teaching, meeting new friends, and book-buying.

The conference was held at the Southern Baptist Southwestern Seminary. What beautiful facilities met us at this venue. On the first two days the attendance was between 200-220. The last day it dropped off significantly due to crazy weather (freezing rain, sleet, and snow).

The first evening I got in at 9:30 pm to Dallas Love Field airport. Rene Lopez and his friend Lamont picked me up. We went by Denny's on the way to his house so I could pick up some food (I had a flight from San Diego at 2:40 that had an hour and a half layover in Albuquerque, and there was no food on either flight).

Right away Rene and I started talking theology and discussing various issues dealing with Free Grace Theology. Rene is very sharp. We had talked on the phone before my trip a few times, one being over 3 hours, discussing different doctrines. I had read Rene's commentary on Romans, Romans Unlocked: Power to Deliver for a second time in order that I might discuss items I had more questions on, or disagreed with him on. I highly recommend Rene's commentary, as it truly unlocks that book's theme.

The next morning we had to wake up very early, as the Southwest campus is about an hour away from Rene's home, and Rene had to set up a table for his new book on the Jesus Family Tomb (foreward by Darrel Bock). He had a couple of manuscripts there and a a sheet for pre-buying as the book was currently being published.

There were good displays there, but my favorites were the ICR table and the Schoettle Publishing table. ICR (Institute for Creation Research) used to be headquartererd in El Cajon (just 5 minutes from my house), where they were for over 30 years. I have had the pleasure of having much interaction with ICR material in the past, both in Bible College and in pleasure reading. I have also been able to take a few classes from ICR authors for Flood geology, Noah's Ark feasibility, and the book of Genesis. One of my friends became involved and employed with ICR and moved to Dallas, where they are now headquartered. It was good to see him manning the booth of ICR. Lewis Schoettle had many tables of new books and 3 huge moveable shelving units (with books on both sides) of used books. What a great time perusing all those books! I just love books. I bought books authored by G.H. Lang, A. Edwin Wilson, Robert Govett, and one by Nancy Missler (Chuck Missler's wife). I also got a free-bie from Lew Schoettle authored by Arlen Chitwood on the book of Jude.

The GES table was full of good deals that they reserved only for the conference. I was able to pick up 5 James Commentaries by Zane Hodges, 3 Grace in Eclipse by Zane Hodges, and another Absolutely Free! by Zane Hodges, so that I may give them out to friends. I also picked up a book called Setting the Stage for Eternity, a book on rewards and the judgment seat of Christ, by Dr. Harlan Betz. This book has a foreward by Howard Hendricks, and endorsements by Dr. Stanley Toussaint, Dr. Norman Geisler, Dr. Thomas Constable, Dr. Earl Radmacher, and Zane Hodges. The material so far in the book is highly encouraging and motivating for the Chistian life. As a side, the books written on rewards by reputable authors are very motivating to live for Christ. I would recommend buying an assortment. Please ask me to make some referrals for you if you don't know where to start.

The first day had 4 plenary sessions and 3 chances for workshops:

Plenary #1 was Bob Wilkin, "Searching the Scriptures to Find the Truth: Remember the Bereans (Acts 17:11)!" Talking about being diligent to study the Scriptures, finding our doctrines there and not holding them by mere tradition. A favorite line that Bob used in this session went something like this, "Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, for the most part, believe the same things. But the difference is that Evangelicals know why they believe what they do while Fundamentalists hold fast to their tradition."

Plenary #2 was Zane Hodges, "In the Upper Room with Jesus the Christ (John 13-17)" which described how the Last Discourse (AKA the Upper Room Discourse) fits within John's purpose for his gospel.

Plenary #3 was Nathan Holsteen, "A Topography of Grace" that distinguished two Reformer's views on "faith": Robert Rollock and John Calvin.

Plenary #4 was Ken Yates, "The Complexity of the Doctrine of the Deity of Christ" which showed all the confusion that thinkers and clergy had developing the doctrine of Christ's deity over the first 4 centuries A.D.

The workshops I attended on day 1 were, "Faith in the NT" by Fred Chay, "Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth" by Frank Sherwin, and "Perseverance in Perspective" by Jody Dillow.

For lunch I went to the Southwestern cafeteria and shared the meal with a friend, Charlie Bing, and a few of his friends that ministered in India with him. What great conversations about India, which I love.

In the evening I was able to go out to dinner with a friend of mine who went to India with me last October, Mr. Jon Case. We went to a great little Texan eatery where I had fried green tomatoes, lobster bisque, and porkchops with wood roasted vegetables. I ended with an oreo crusted key-lime pie.

Day two likewise had 4 plenary and 3 workshop times:

Plenary #5 was Jody Dillow, "Did Jesus Teach Salvation by Works?" which examined what he called "neo-nomianism" (aka Federal Vision, Auburn Ave Theology, and Norman Shepherdism), that unambiguosly states that works are necessary for final salvation.

Plenary #6 was Zane Hodges, "Miraculous Signs and Literary Structure in the Fourth Gospel", that beautifully interwove John chapters 13-19 into the consideration of the purpose statement (Jn 20:30-31) based on literary evidence.

Plenary #7 was William Dembsky, "Life on Earth is the Result of Intelligent Design", that used philosophy and empirical science to argue that the universe came to be by intelligent design.

Plenary #8 was Bob Wilkin, "Is the Evangelistic Message Jesus Preached a Sufficient Message for Today?" which argued that Jesus' words from the Gospel of John are the saving message for today, in other words, are the bullseye and call to everlasting life that we are to give the unsaved today.

I attended on day two these workshops, "Salvation of the Psyche" by Patillo, "Falls from Grace in Church History" by Sterling, and "Full Assurance?" by none other than
Bud Brown (Dr. L.E. Brown), remember him?

I ate lunch at What-a-Burger with Jon Case and yet another one of the friends I went to India with, Trent. What-a-burger is not even a shadow of our lovely In-and-Out Burger here in California. What-a-burger was lame.

This evening I was able to have face time with Zane Hodges, where we ate dinner at Steak and Ale. What a great time! We discussed his bio, Dallas Seminary, theology, soteriology, books, and my current studies. What a humble, gracious, and patient man of God! I had salad bar, lobster bisque, and a medium rare ribeye and baked potato with the works.

The last day, again, had 4 plenary and 3 workshops:

Plenary #9 was John Niemela, "Jesus Gives Believers Everlasting Life: Will Unbelievers Live Forever?" that discussed the idea that life is only for believers, and distinguished between existence and life as taught by the Apostle John.

Plenary #10 was Bob Wilkin, "The Gospel is Good News about the Lord Jesus" which argued that the words for "gospel", "preach the gospel" and "evangelist" never have an import of a technical expression denoting solely what one must believe to have everlasting life, never!

Plenary #11 was Bob Bryant, "The Search for the Saving Message Outside of the Gospel of John" that argued that there is not a single expression outside of the gospel of John that gives the saving message, not even one!

Plenary #12 was Dan Hauge, "Practical Implications of the High Priestly Ministry of Christ" which taught that studying who Christ is and what He has done has tremendous practical use.

The workshops I attended were, "Introducing FG theology to Resistant Friends" by Swihart, "The Person of Christ in the Prologue of Hebrews" by Yates, and "Holy, Blameless, Beyond Reproach" by Leach.

Today I had lunch at Chick-Filet, my first time. It was nothing really to write home about. A good chicken sandwich. The rain was freezing!!!!!

The weather was so harsh on this last day that all of the flights going out of Dallas/Fort Worth were cancelled. I had plans to go out with Jeremy Myers, his wife and family to go out to dinner, but decided against it because of the extra travel and weather conditions. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is huge. I ended up taking Rene Lopez and his wife out for dinner at a Cuban restaurant a few blocks from his house (Rene and his wife are Cuban). I had shrimp, crab, ceviche, and lightly fried plantain chips with a garlic oil spread on the top (so good!) for appetizers and a Cuban soda. Next I had a fried pork dinner with rice, black beans, yucca root, and plantains. For desert I had flan.

My plane got out of there on time yesterday (Friday), and here I am.

If ya'll have any questions about anything, please feel free to leave a comment. I will try to get to some of the sessions in the days following to give some assessments of the plenary sessions.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Antonio! Did you discuss that other FG view of 1 Cor 6:9-11 with Rene? ;)

March 08, 2008 10:58 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Sounds great.

Funny that Joe D Faust claimed that Schoettle had been banned from selling Govett's books at GES conferences. That does not seem to have been a very accurate claim.

God bless


March 09, 2008 7:43 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

It sounds like a very enriching time, Antonio. Thanks for posting your report.

BTW - it sounds like you really dig lobster bisque!

March 09, 2008 1:40 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Bro. Antonio,

Good thing I didn't go! There was no need! I feel like I was there anyway now due to that excellent report. God Bless.

March 09, 2008 3:49 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Antonio,

It was great getting to meet you personally at the GES Conference. Reading over your account of the conference was like being there all over again. Hope you come back next year.

It WAS a great conference!!! I would have loved to be there with you and Zane at dinner. I can only imagine how profitable that time was!!! I agree with you that Zane Hodges is a humble, gracious, and patient man of God! He has helped me to see how all the pieces of the Bible fit together! I thank God for him.

I stand in awe of what my Savior did for me to provide such a great salvation!!! I will bless HIS Name at all times!!!

Just wanted to say how nice it was to finally meet the person whose blog I've been reading for a long time. Thank you for your great contribution to the understanding of God's Word.

See you next year at the GES Conference Lord willing!


March 09, 2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger edcolley said...

Antonio, did Lewis Schoettle mention a timetable for when Govett's work on Colossians would be published?

Thanks in advance,


March 10, 2008 6:52 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Danny!

Nice to hear from you again. Yes we did spar on that topic. I have a much stronger conviction for my position after debating with Rene on this topic. I love him to death, but he is wrong on this subject, heh.

We discussed so many topics and doctrines, many we agreed on and a few we heartily disagreed on. But no matter, we are in the grace family together.

He is Cuban, and Cubans have a way with no so subtle argumentation ;)

Thanks for writing in!


March 11, 2008 4:13 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Lewis Schoettle is a great man. Totally awesome! Govett was on the table, but there were no Joey Faust books!

Joey Faust, from what I have heard about him from a few grace people at the conference, is a peculiar man. The men in his congregation all were beards that are not cut on the corners and the women will not wear pants. They are all very strict KJV Only (not merely TR guys, but are under the impression that God inspired every English word in the KJV).

Govett, along with Lang, are very scholorly, although you must take them with a grain of salt.

Thanks for sounding in!


March 11, 2008 4:15 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


Thanks for dropping by. It really was an inspiring time. I have come back with a dedication to finish the race strong. I do not wish to preach to others yet I myself be disqualified (unapproved) for the prize.

Thanks for your friendship over the past couple a years. You are the best!


March 11, 2008 4:17 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Oh, btw,

the first lobster bisque was too flour-y. I dare say you oughtn't to put flour in your bisque. It rather is better with loads of cream and butter.

The second bisque was light years better, and had chunks of lobster.


March 11, 2008 4:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Well, David, I hope to talk a little bit about the more impressive plenary sessions. So keep coming to see! Thanks for dropping in.


March 11, 2008 4:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


It was really lovely to meet you and your husband. You are charming and gracious. Keep up all the good work you are doing with your teaching and exhortations!


March 11, 2008 4:19 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...


thanks for dropping in.

You know, he didn't mention it. He will be publishing a friend of mine in the future, and I can't wait until he does.

Please drop by again.


March 11, 2008 4:21 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

I certainly will bro. Garfunk...uh, I mean bro. Antonio!!

Thanks for your graciousness. I intend to come back. I'm certainly with you on finishing the Race strong. Pray fer me bro! God Bless.

March 12, 2008 6:07 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Antonio, did you get a clearer idea where Rene Lopez stands on the content of saving faith?

You will recall I asked you about that.

March 12, 2008 6:48 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Matt,

I do not recall off hand talking to you about this. But Rene, is exactly where I am:

Preach the gospel, emphasize the target: faith in Jesus for everlasting life.

He is consistent in his soteriology.

We had some very interesting discussions on the terms "the Christ" and "Son of God". I will be writing on these things at some point. He has done some good study in these areas that I was impressed with that dovetailed nicely with my own study.

Bro. David,

love ya, man!


March 12, 2008 9:28 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

You are right my memory is playing tricks on me.

It was Dillow I asked you about.

Too many names.

God Bless


March 13, 2008 12:45 AM  

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