In recent days I spoke with Anthony Mathenia about a new conference he is organizing in Virginia for the local churches in his area. If you live in the area or surrounding regions—you should check it out.
How long have you been a pastor of a local church?
After serving for several years as a missionary in Ethiopia, then for a couple of years as an elder at a church in Mississippi, I became the Pastor of Christ Church-Radford, where I have been for seven years.
As a pastor, what is one of the main concerns that you see across the board within evangelicalism?
In our day, there seems to be an increasing disinterest in doctrine, its importance, and its effect on our lives and an increasing tendency to cater to the cultural voices around us. We are at a point, not unlike every other point in church history, where we must give more time and effort to seeing what God has said in His Word.
In recent months, you have organized a conference in your community. Describe the overall goal and vision for the event.
As fellow Christians, our goal is to unite and strive together for the expansion of Christ’s kingdom. Our desire is to promote God’s glory throughout our region, while recognizing His work in and among other local expressions of the body of Christ. We have organized the conference to serve as the kickoff for the Valley Gospel Alliance. We do not intend for it to be only a single day affair, but a long term effort for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom.
As you look to this year’s anniversary of the historic Protestant Reformation, what is the bedrock foundation of the 5 solas of the Reformation?
Without question, the foundation of the Reformation and the wonderful emphasis that flowed from it was the sufficiency of God’s Word for all of life. Our hope is to emphasize the Scriptures by looking at the wonderful truths that have marked Christianity for centuries.
Why should local churches today be concerned with the Reformation that happened 500 years ago?
If we as modern Christians are not sufficiently aware of our history, we are very likely to repeat some of the same mistakes of previous generations. In order to prevent this, today’s churches must realize and respect the importance of the Bible, and they must perceive and proclaim that salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ, and for the glory of God.
This conference has a specific design to strengthen the local church as opposed to point people to an event. Can you explain why the local church should be the center of our spiritual development, worship, and service to the Lord?
The Church should be central in these aspects because it is the only institution that God has ordained in His Word for the advance of His kingdom. Our desire with this conference is to recognize the differences that land us in different local churches while also giving attention to the doctrinal specifics that unite us together in Christ. As the Church throughout our region, we want to be more intentional within the communities and university campuses in proclaiming the Good News that Christ came to save sinners.
How can people attend the conference? Explain the cost and how people can get registered.
Anyone interested in attending the conference can simply go the website (bit.ly/vgospela) to register. We established a registration to give us an idea of the number planning to attend and to enable us to secure food trucks for lunch. The cost is $10 per person with a max cost of $25 per family. The proceeds from the conference will be donated to our local Pregnancy Resource Center. (http://valleywomensclinic.org)