The Pastors’ Academy at London Seminary held its annual two-day conference in September. It was good to catch up with old friends and make new ones as we considered the subject, ‘Putting theology back into practice: the sons of Jacob’. My initial fears that the focus was too narrow were soon dispelled.
Garry Williams (Director of the Pastors’ Academy) and Mark Garcia (of the Greystone Institute) opened with two papers apiece, expertly examining the subject of typology. They demonstrated links between apparently disparate sections of the Old Testament and expounded principles for identifying and exegeting them. We were truly stimulated to study the matter and the Scriptures further.
The remaining two sessions were on the problem of evil (by Yannick Imbert from the Faculté Jean Calvin, Aix-en-Provence) and lessons for the church from the patriarchs in Egypt (by David Green, Vice Principal at the Seminary).
The first lucidly addressed a question often raised by a Calvinistic view of providence: in what sense should we understand Joseph’s assertion to his brothers that ‘you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good’ (Genesis 50:20)? How does this help us in the rough and tumble of everyday life?
David Green’s closing session examined how Egypt was not universally portrayed in a negative light in the Old Testament, and the significance of this for the patriarchs and for us. It was a provocative and persuasive tour de force.