Conferences – Westminster Conference 2016
It was a great privilege and pleasure to attend the Westminster Conference, held in December at Regents’ Hall, Oxford Street, London. This year’s theme was ‘Contending for the truth’, where six papers of great quality were given.
With the 500-year anniversary of Luther’s 95-theses just around the corner, the organisers decided to get in early with two Martin Luther papers.
The first was delivered by Ken Brownell on ‘Luther and the 95 theses’. He summarised the key points from the theses under ‘9.5 theses’, and from them explained what the Reformed church should believe and how we must change.
After lunch, Peter Beale spoke on ‘From Wittenberg to Worms: Luther after the 95 theses’, bringing out features from four of Luther’s works, with especial attention on his views of good works from the Ten Commandments.
The last paper of the day came from James Mildred entitled, ‘The Puritan doctrine of repentance’ and brought out that our whole life should be one of constant repentance.
Dr Ian Hamilton started the next day with an excellent paper on ‘The impassibility of God and the Princeton men’. He anchored his position in the Scriptures, demonstrating that our God is a loving and caring God. He then drew teaching from the two Hodges and R. L. Dabney.
Next, Geoff Thomas presented an overview of evangelicalism in England and Wales since 1945. He stated there had been: three influential movements, ecumenical, Charismatic and Reformed; three key personalities, Billy Graham, John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones; six challenges to face: the ‘new perspective’ on Paul, Karl Barth, rejection of the atonement, open theism, feminism and dumbing down of worship.
There were two delusions: a wrong dependence on para-church organisations and that we can only get expertise from America! He finished with ten encouragements, providing encouragement and hope.
The conference ended with an engaging message from Iain Murray on J. C. Ryle’s abiding relevance. Justification by faith alone was the firm rock on which Ryle stood and he was not at odds with John Owen over the free offer of the gospel. Ryle’s message governed his ministry keeping him as an evangelist.
I left feeling stretched, excited and encouraged. Put in your diaries 5-6 December 2017, for what should prove to be another feast of good things.