Category Archives: Symposium

Paul’s Address to the Ephesian Elders: A Review

Thomas Marberry

Danny Dwyer has been an important part of Free Will Baptist work for many years. He has served as senior pastor for churches in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and North Carolina, and taught Pastoral Theology and Biblical Studies at Southeastern Free Will Baptist College for 14 years.

This essay is a theological and pastoral analysis of one of the most well-known passages in the book of Acts, Paul’s address to the elders of the Ephesian church (20:17-38). Dwyer’s objective in his presentation was two-fold. First, he sought to analyze the content of this famous sermon to ensure that it is correctly interpreted. Second, he examined the lessons that modern pastors can learn from this important passage. The balance between interpretation and application which Dwyer maintains in this article is important. Biblical passages must be correctly interpreted; they must also be properly used in preaching and teaching. Preachers and teachers may correctly interpret a Scripture passage and still commit serious errors in applying the teachings of the passage to contemporary situations.

Dwyer argues that modern Christians should give serious attention to the sermons in Acts because they present essential Christian truths and make an important contribution to the progress of thought in the New Testament. He notes that speeches in ancient writings were often used to “embellish the character’s abilities and person.” Such was not the case with the sermons in Acts. The sermons in Acts were much briefer than those found in secular literature. They were also not designed to enhance the reputation of the speaker, but to convey a message.

Paul’s address to the Ephesian elders is one of ten sermons or sermon summaries recorded in Acts.  Dwyer notes that all of the sermons in Acts are brief and should probably be understood as summaries rather than as transcripts. Of these ten sermons, the address to the Ephesian elders is the only one that is addressed to an exclusively Christian audience. It contains none of the missionary or apologetic emphases that are found in the others sermons. Rather, it focuses the hearers’ attention on the responsibilities of pastors and other leaders in Christian communities.

In this sermon, Paul uses himself as an example which the Ephesian elders are to follow. He reminds these leaders that his ministry has been characterized by selflessness and sacrifice. He has not been concerned with the accumulation of wealth, power, or influence. His only concern has been to advance the cause of Christ. As Dwyer explained, “it is clear that Paul took his responsibility to proclaim the Gospel very seriously.” After this examination of his own ministry, Paul then gives a direct and personal challenge to the Ephesian elders. They must first take heed unto themselves and their ministries. They must exercise constant spiritual care and oversight over their flocks. Paul reminds these Christian leaders that they must faithfully preach the Word of God. As they preach the Word, they must be careful to interpret and apply it correctly. Dwyer reminds modern preachers and teachers that they are responsible beings. They are responsible to be the kind of leaders that can bring glory to God here on earth.

Symposium Livestream

Jackson Watts

The Commission for Theological Integrity is pleased to partner with Welch College to make this year’s symposium available through live streaming. Simply visit the Commission’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/commisionfortheologicalintegrity/) at the scheduled times and you’ll be able to view the event.

Thanks to our friends at Welch College for making this possible.

Updated: Symposium Program

by Jackson Watts

 

Monday Evening

 6:00 – 6:15       Welcome & Prayer: Matthew Pinson, W. Jackson Watts

6:15 – 7:05        Danny Dwyer: Paul’s Address to the Ephesian Elders: The Ministry Ethos of the Apostle Paul as a Model for Pastoral Leadership

 7:05 – 7:25       Refreshments and Discussion

7:30 – 8:20       Thomas Marberry: The Eschatology of Luke

Tuesday Morning

 9:00 – 9:05      Welcome and Prayer

9:05 – 9:55      Jeff Cockrell: Showing the Good God to Pagans: A Contextual Understanding of Paul’s Apologia in Acts 17

10:05 – 10:55       Eddie Moody: Denominations and Denominationalism: Is there a Future in a Changing Culture?       (presented in Welch College Chapel)

10:55 – 11:10       Refreshments and Discussion

11:15 – 12:05      W. Jackson Watts: Cultural Analysis and the Dynamics of Leading Change in the Church

Tuesday Afternoon

 12:05 – 1:45      Lunch at Area Restaurants

1:50 – 2:40       Matthew Steven Bracey: Conservatism and the Church

 2:40 – 2:55       Refreshments and Discussion

3:00 – 3:50       Robert Picirilli: The Infinite, Immutable God, Creation, and the Real, Changing World

3:50 – 3:55        Break

4:00 – 4:50      Christopher Talbot: Toward a Confessional-Practical Theology

4:50 – 6:20       Dinner at Area Restaurants

Tuesday Evening

 6:30 – 7:20       Ron Davis: The Church as Embassy: An Ecclesiology for the Modern World

7:20 – 7:35       Refreshments and Discussion

7:40 – 8:30       Matthew Pinson: Do We Need to Keep Having Associations?

 8:30 – 8:35       Closing Remarks & Announcements

For more information, please submit any questions to fwbtheology@gmail.com.

2019 Theological Symposium – Program Reveal

Jackson Watts

The Commission for Theological Integrity is pleased to unveil its 2019 Symposium Program. This year’s program has a great mix of younger, middle-aged, and senior scholars alike. And while most papers do deal somehow with our theme (The Doctrine of the Church), there are some other unique papers which will be shared at this year’s program. Take advantage of this free event on the campus of Welch College, October 28-29.

Monday Evening

 6:00 – 6:15       Welcome & Prayer: Matthew Pinson, W. Jackson Watts

6:15 – 7:05        Danny Dwyer: Paul’s Address to the Ephesian Elders: The Ministry Ethos of the Apostle Paul as a Model for Pastoral Leadership

 7:05 – 7:25       Refreshments and Discussion

7:30 – 8:20       Thomas Marberry: The Eschatology of Luke

Tuesday Morning

 9:00 – 9:05      Welcome and Prayer

9:05 – 9:55       Eddie Moody: Denominations and Denominationalism: Is there a Future in a Changing Culture?

 9:55 – 10:10      Refreshments and Discussion

10:15 – 11:05      Jeff Cockrell: Showing the Good God to Pagans: A Contextual Understanding of Paul’s Apologia in Acts 17

11:05 – 11:15       Refreshments and Discussion

11:15 – 12:05      W. Jackson Watts: Cultural Analysis and the Dynamics of Leading Change in the Church

Tuesday Afternoon

 12:05 – 1:45      Lunch at Area Restaurants

1:50 – 2:40       Matthew Steven Bracey: Conservatism and the Church

 2:40 – 2:55       Refreshments and Discussion

3:00 – 3:50       Robert Picirilli: The Infinite, Immutable God, Creation, and the Real, Changing World

3:50 – 3:55        Break

4:00 – 4:50      Christopher Talbot: Toward a Confessional-Practical Theology

4:50 – 6:20       Dinner at Area Restaurants

Tuesday Evening

 6:30 – 7:20       Ron Davis: The Church as Embassy: An Ecclesiology for the Modern World

7:20 – 7:35       Refreshments and Discussion

7:40 – 8:30       Matthew Pinson: Do We Need to Keep Having Associations?

 8:30 – 8:35       Closing Remarks & Announcements

For more information, please submit any questions to fwbtheology@gmail.com.

Symposium Deadline Reminder

W. Jackson Watts

Plans are underway for our 2019 Theological Symposium. In our previous post, we shared some general and specific information about this event, and specifically this year’s program. We’re thankful for our partnerships with Welch College and Randall University, who make it possible for us to always have a Free Will Baptist academic setting in which to hold this important event. This year we’ll meet in Gallatin, Tennessee on October 28-29.

This post serves as a reminder to all prospective presenters that paper proposals should be submitted no later than Monday, July 15. We suggest that if you have questions to contact fwbtheology@gmail.com by July 1, though we’ll be happy to answer any other questions after then as well. This year’s theme is the Doctrine of the Church. Papers related to ecclesiology in some way will be given preference in the selection process, though we will consider papers on other subjects as well.

Thanks for your interest in this year’s program!