In June, the Banner of Truth held an online conference in place of its regular ministers’ conference, cancelled due to Covid-19.
The question mark at the end of the conference title was deliberate. It was to highlight the fact that, in times of trouble, believers can easily question Paul’s great assertion in Romans 8 (that all things do work together for good to them that love the Lord).
Using video messaging, three speakers addressed this topic of trusting the sovereign goodness of God amid suffering.
Dr Ian Hamilton (Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, South Carolina) began with an exposition of Romans 8. Focusing on verse 28, he unpacked the encouragement Paul gives to believers.
He stressed that we can know God has divine oversight of all things because he has a purpose in history which he is bringing about, not just for believers, but for his Son.
Worthwhile suffering may seem counter-intuitive, but Ian pointed to the cross of Christ as an example of how God can use all manner of events for good ends: ‘God was using the wicked deeds of men to accomplish unfathomable glory for his Son.’
He finished with a word of challenge. Such sovereign and benign oversight of all things is for those, says Paul, who love God. ‘Can that simple, heart-searching characteristic be said of us?’ Ian asked.
The second address was by Dr Hensworth Jonas, Presiding Elder of the East Caribbean Baptist Mission. He approached the conference theme using Psalm 27:13 – ‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’
David’s troubles were profound, Hensworth explained, including threats to his life and the animosity of others. But the psalmist had a strategy to ‘harness the negativity and end up with doxology’. How? In a stirring exposition, Hensworth proceeded to expand on three verbs David used: to dwell, to behold, and to enquire.
Alistair Begg (Parkside Church, Ohio) spoke finally on God’s sovereignty in the eventful life of Joseph. He surveyed how even the small details of the patriarch’s life were designed by God to bring about an ultimate good. Alistair also emphasised how it is often only in retrospect that we truly appreciate God’s providence.
The conference videos have attracted over a thousand views each and are available on the Banner of Truth YouTube channel.