The purpose of the Formed Conference is to build on the Daniel Declaration: A Call to Mission, A Place to Stand. The Daniel Declaration brings clarity out of the confusion that we find in a North American culture that is closer now to Babylon than to Jerusalem. The culture challenges Christians to find new ways to present the transforming love of Jesus Christ at a time when humans in the West worship themselves as autonomous individuals untethered from any objective moral standards. Facing these challenges well requires faithfulness, resilience, and a strength of character shared by the prophet Daniel when he and his people were in exile.
All the Formed sessions focused on different aspects of culture that have devolved into a chaotic norm for many in the West, from sex to liberty to race and more. Professor Adam MacLeod addressed how the biblical story of God’s good creation, human rebellion (the fall), redemption, and the restoration of all things in and through Christ alone helps us answer the philosophical questions that are being asked, and are worth asking, by anyone in search of identity and purpose. Rich Baker addressed the roots of our fallenness today, the idolatry of the self, and how we can recover a more grounded identity outside of ourselves in Jesus Christ. Dr. Hans Boersma, in his first talk, spoke from the Great Tradition on how we can recover the ability to hear God personally and corporately in a culture of relentless noise and distraction through contemplative silence. In his second talk, he reminded us that we are in good company with the Great Tradition through eight theses on human sexuality despite what the prevailing culture says about sex and sexuality. Canon Phil Ashey then focused on the practical application of biblical principles to engage the culture as Daniel and his companions did. He asserted that we need to become a different kind of people willing not only to stand up but also to stand out for Jesus Christ.
Panel discussions followed each session, and audience members were able to ask additional questions to deepen understanding of each topic. Breakout workshops included presentations by the Rev. Cn. Georgette Forney of Anglicans for Life, Creation Care in the Anglican tradition by the Rev. Andrew Thebeau, and the Daniel Declaration by Canon Phil. The entire event was hosted by the Rev. Jacob Worley and the amazing ministry team from St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Ft. Worth. The Rt. Rev. Ryan Reed, bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Worth, also celebrated Holy Communion for all those in attendance.
Formed is a conference to foster discussion, teach new perspectives to age-old problems, and equip young lay and clergy leaders for mission in the context we now face. It presents the questions we need to address as we present the transforming love of Jesus to those around us, and it clarifies the answers we need to give to those asking the most important questions in life. Our hope is to hold annual, regional Formed conferences across North America where participants have the opportunity to read, mark, learn, inwardly digest, and share the Daniel Declaration to engage Western culture for the sake of mission.
If you are interested in having a Formed Conference in your area or would like more information, visit our webpage at www.americananglican.org/formed.