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When the Bible confronts the culture we find out what we really believe, says Begg

November 2019 | by Mike Judge

Alistair Begg
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Over 1,000 people attended the first ever London conference of Ligonier Ministries, held at the end of September in Central Hall, Westminster. The speakers were Alistair Begg, Albert Mohler, Sinclair Ferguson, Michael Reeves, Mark Johnston, and Burk Parsons.

Ligonier Ministries is the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. It broadcasts, publishes, and teaches reformed truth worldwide.

Mark Johnson opened the conference speaking on ‘The Light of Christ’ and said the exclusivity of salvation in Christ confronts and challenges the culture of our day. Alistair Begg spoke next, setting out what Jesus believed about the Bible, what the apostles believed about the Bible, and then asked: ‘What do you and I believe about the Bible?’

You can watch the whole conference again online, but the last 15 minutes of Alistair Begg’s address is well worth your time.

He quotes John Murray, saying it is possible to believe the Bible without being struck by the awesomeness of the one to whom the Bible points us. Begg then says, when we read the Bible, it’s not so much that we should be trying to understand the Bible. Rather, we ought to realise, the Bible understands me.

He said, in asking ‘What do we believe about the Bible?’, we ask that question in a collapsing culture. He quoted from Douglas Murray’s latest book in which he says all our grand narratives have gone

Begg also quoted from Melanie Phillips, criticising the BBC for producing an educational film for school children saying there are over 100 gender identities.

Then Begg turned to another indication of our cultural collapse, Greta Thunberg, who he called the ‘new virgin Mary’. He said she is travelling the world on behalf of the ‘church of climatology’.

He said, ‘Irrespective of whether you like plastic straws or not, this is increasingly the world’s version of a secular religion’. He called it ‘a theology’.

‘It is one thing to say I believe the Bible,’ Begg said, ‘It is another thing to say I believe it when it intersects – radically – against the cultural milieu in which we live’.

Al Mohler gave a sweeping overview of western culture’s journey through modernism to post-modernism, and called for Christians to proclaim absolute truth.

Sinclair Ferguson spoke warmly about the peace that comes in Christ. Michael Reeves spoke helpfully on suffering. Burk Parsons rounded off the conference on the vital subject of discipleship.

There was also a panel discussion on the church in the UK featuring Mez McConnell, Paul Levy, and Jeremy Walker.

Mike Judge