Pepperdine Bible Lectures – a Review

1241662401595 This year’s Pepperdine Bible Lectures (PBL) have concluded. Never
in my life had I been as tired going into a PBL (not known for increasing sleep ratios), so the week had the chance to
become a recovery week for me. However, I manage to muster the energy to enjoy
a great spiritual feast. 

With all respect to Tulsa and ACU, Pepperdine remains the finest of the Church of Christ-affiliated lecture-style programs. ACU and Tulsa are terrific for other
reasons, and are well worth attending. However, on the whole, Pepperdine is just on another level. It is typically the spiritual highlight of my year.

I taught a 3-day class which I thought went fine…but you’d
have to ask the people who attended. I then spent some time attending several
classes once: Jeff Walling, Evert Huffard, Lowry/Cope, and a couple of others.
But, I also did something I hadn’t done other than the years I’ve been a
keynote/theme lecturer: I attended all of the keynote and theme lectures. I
usually attend all of the evening lectures and at least one or two of the
morning lectures. This year, I resolved to make all of them. I’m really glad I

All of the main lectures had wonderful qualities unto
themselves. I particularly loved the mature, sage, and doctrine-rich preaching of Monte Cox and Rick Atchley. They gave the whole week a “Jesus
is the only way” and “Jesus only is the way” feel. Rich Little brought his typical
exuberance; Brian Simmons helped us understand victory in Jesus better; Curt
Sparks brought a deeply personal sermon from his experience and credibility,
Josh Ross will be a wonderful preacher for years to come, and Mike Cope was…
Mike Cope.

What makes the Bible Lectures such a wonderful experience
for me is the people. It’s always good to run into old professors, fellow preachers, old
classmates, old friends, old coworkers, and get to meet people I’ve always
wanted to meet. I also love the praise emphasis of the PBL. At Pepperdine, you
usually get to hear acappella singing at its best…and sing yourself hoarse.
And, you usually get to hear some of the best preaching and teaching around –
in or outside of Churches of Christ.

I know that we all need vacations. Vacations are one of life’s
greatest blessings. But, I would encourage everyone to pick at least one event each
year to make a vacation for the soul—one in which you focus on rekindling your
fire for the Lord. Pepperdine is one of those each year for me. 

Do you have one of those places or times in your year? If
so, what is it?

I’m back at NCCC now, super tired but full, ready to roll, and rekindled.
Thanks to Jerry Rushford and Pepperdine University for another wonderful year.
See you next year.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

4 thoughts on “Pepperdine Bible Lectures – a Review

  1. Hey Rick – I noticed there was nothing specific to campus ministry on the program (with the exception of a luncheon for campus ministers).
    I wasn’t looking for it, but I didn’t notice any classes specific to youth or children’s ministry either.
    This year was my first lectureship, so my experience at Pepperdine is limited. I do believe different classes aimed at equipping ministers working in specific contexts would be helpful.

  2. Good for you, Rick. It’s really refreshing to hear (at least some of) the Lectureship leadership approaching things this way. As someone who has continually grown disenchanted with the PBL, I’m genuinely and deeply encouraged by what you’ve said. Thanks, again.

  3. Tim, I hope to make it out there for the PBL at least once in my lifetime. One of my spiritual highlights is the Harding Lectures while I was a student there. And the Sunset Lectures too. Yes, I plan on going to at least one Lectureship to attend every year once I’m out of school at Sunset. I hope to make it out to Pepperdine Lectureship at some point. Thank you Tim for this fantastic review of this past completed PBL. God bless! Grace and Peace.

  4. Thanks, Tim. The Bible Lectures continues to be a highlight of my year as well. (Sorry we couldn’t get together for a visit.)
    Some of us are very close to the Lectures and see only its strengths. While I’m not eager to invite criticism, I wonder what you and your readers think could be improved. As a member of the Lectures team, I would be interested in some logistical improvements, but at this point, I am more interested in your view of the vision and strategic direction of the Bible Lectures. Does it provide personal and spiritual refreshment to individuals of a particular demographic? Or, is it providing a framework for discussing the future for churches of Christ in particular and the Kingdom of God in general?
    Perhaps it is providing both, but I can’t help but feel a sense of concern over the aging crowd it attracts and the absence of youth. The messages I heard this year clearly targeted the 40-50 year old median age in attendance. (For example, I was personally moved by Curt Sparks’ message, but I wrestled with his subject 20 years ago.) While these lectures blessed those of us in attendance, I can’t help but wonder if they would have been less meaningful to a new generation.
    Let me pose the question this way: If Pepperdine seeks to provide a forum that will gather, inform, and inspire, our slice of the restoration movement to move forward in a positive way in our times, have we planned an event that will do that?
    I welcome your feedback.