Review of the Hirtenkonferenz 2014
< back to articles

Review of the Hirtenkonferenz 2014

HK 2014, Wittenberg

A review by Benedikt Peters

The Hirtenkonferenz (German Shepherds’ Conference) took place the 15th through 17th of May 2014 in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, with more than 200 in attendance. The theme of the conference was “The Cross and the Gospel”, with speakers, Steven Lawson, pastor in Mobile, Alabama, and Wolfgang Nestvogel, pastor of the Professing Evangelical Church of Hannover.

Great teachers are great teachers of Christ, and great teachers of Christ are always great teachers of the cross

Steve Lawson took us through 1 Corinthians 1, how the message of the cross separates the whole world: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”. This message annuls any human merit by exposing any human wisdom as folly and any human strength as helplessness. That is why the natural person denies this message. And still, there are believers who are saved by this message. How is it possible? God works through the preaching of the Word and overcomes the natural resistance of the sinner and awakens his dead heart to saving faith. Because the message of the cross is the only saving power of God, we must preach this truth without additions, without subtractions. And because it is God’s power, it is enough. We are not allowed to change the message to fit the taste of the audience. If we do, then it is no longer acting in God’s power. The following statement sum up what Steve Lawson wanted to bring across in his message: “Great teachers are great teachers of Christ, and great teachers of Christ are always great teachers of the cross”.

It was conceived by the Father, accomplished by the Son, and made ours through the Holy Spirit

Wolfgang Nestvogel showed us how the meaning of the cross was changed throughout the centuries by the time of the Middle Ages. And how Martin Luther recognized by reading the Word of God, specifically the book of Romans, what the cross— where our Lord suffered and died—meant for salvation. It was the preaching of the cross that brought about the tremendous revolution that we call the Reformation. Nestvogel demonstrated through the so-called “New Paul Perspective” how the message of the cross was changed among evangelicals even in the earliest years, where fellowship among believers and not the salvation of the sinner is prerogative. Nestvogel gave the listeners the following summary of the great Salvation completed on the cross: “It was conceived by the Father, accomplished by the Son, and made ours through the Holy Spirit”.

Those in attendance were able to learn from various seminars on doctrine, exegesis, counseling, and practical church related issues.

Most went home with the intent of returning to Wittenberg for next year’s Hirtenkonferenz!

~ Benedikt Peters