Dr Robert Strivens on his feet (back to us) to ask a question following the paper by Dr Mark Jones (seated). Chairman Jeremy Walker stands pensive while Phil Arthur looks on (in profile). We can also see the backs of the heads of Gavin Beers and Dr Robert Oliver.
Yesterday was good but today was, if anything, even better. Numbers were perhaps slightly lower but 120 have attended, most of them on both days. The Oxford Street venue is proving ideal.
Today we had three excellent papers. Mark Jones kicked us off with his paper on the law, dealing with antinomianism (do see his book on the subject). Robert Strivens then gave an excellent overview paper on the enigmatic but godly Richard Baxter, author of 60 volumes. Both papers were followed by good discussion times well chaired by Jeremy Walker and Ken Brownell. In the Baxter session we discussed why we think N T Wright is much more dangerous than Richard Baxter, whose view of justification was defective. The final paper is traditionally a biography with no discussion and Andy Young of Cheltenham served us well in this respect with a well nuanced paper on the great John Knox concentrating on his international career. These papers would be well worth reading when published next year.
- Mark Jones (in his book page 114) “There is today a great deal of talk about ‘grace.’ It is described as scandalous, liberating, shocking, counterintuitive, unpredictable, dangerous, etc. But when an emphasis on grace eclipses a focus on Christ, as it sometimes does, then grace is not being preached; rather, a sort of cheerleading experience takes place, in which very little is actually said about grace because it is divorced from the riches of Christ’s person and work”.
- Richard Baxter (Christian Directory) Becasue God hath made the excellent, holy writings of servants, the singular blessing of this land and age; and many an one may have a good book, even any day or hour of the week, that cannot at all have a good preacher; I advise all God's servants to be thankful for so great a mercy, and to make use of it, and be much in reading; for reading with most doth more conduce to knowledge than hearing doth, because you may choose what subjects and the most excellent treatises you please; and maybe often at it, and may peruse again and again what you forget, and may take time as you go to fix it on your mind: and with very many it doth more Than hearing also to move the heart, though hearing of itself, in this hath the advantage ... lively books may be more easily had than lively preachers.
- John Knox - "Grant unto us, O Lord, that with such reverence we may remember thy benefits received, that, after this, in our default, we never enter into hostility against the realm and nation of England. Suffer us never, O Lord, to fall to that ingratitude and detestable unthankfulness, that we should seek the destruction and death of those whom thou hast made instruments to deliver us from the tyranny of merciless strangers. Dissipate thou the counsels of such as deceitfully travail to stir the hearts of the inhabitants of either realm against the other. Let their merciless practices be their own confusion; and grant thou, of thy mercy, that love, concord, and tranquillity, may continue and increase amongst the inhabitants of this isle, even to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose glorious gospel, thou, of thy mercy, dost call us both to unity, peace, and christian concord, the full perfection whereof we shall possess in the fulness of thy kingdom." (Old Scottish liturgy)
We are due to meet again December 1 and 2, 2015 when papers will be given, God willing, on Erasmus, Isaac Watts, John Owen (2), Andrew Fuller and Jonathan Edwards. The new website can be found here.