The speakers include David Wells, Steven Lawson, Joel Beeke, Richard Phillips, Derek Thomas, and Al Martin.
From this year's program, Rev. Richard Phillips writes:
"If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?" John Owen Reformed Christians are thoroughly conversant with the language of justification and sanctification, but adoption seems to have fallen out of our vocabulary. This would be a shocking situation to Christians of prior generations. A lack of awareness of our adoption in Christ only paralyzes a Christian's experience of divine grace. As Paul saw it, our adoption is integral to the good news of the gospel: "You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God" (Gal. 4:7).
It is a Christian's adoption in Christ that holds together the categories of justification and sanctification. All who believe are made sons of God and partakers of the divine nature. No wonder John exclaimed: "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 Jn. 3:1). Adoption is what a Christian is saved to through faith in Christ, a personal, family bond of love, life, blessing, and calling. As children of God we have family privileges and family obligations: to know and embrace these is to enter into the fullness of vital Christian living. Indeed, so central is the idea of adoption to God's saving plan that the final glorification of the entire cosmos is bound up with our entering into the family inheritance: "the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). Given the awesome biblical teaching on adoption, we are not wrong in stating that at the very heart of Christianity is the gathering of the children of God into the Father's love though the saving achievement of God's Son. What great truths for us to know and embrace!
We studied the distinctive approaches of Paul and John in teaching divine sonship and plumb its significance for living as believers in Christ. How does our adoption change our attitude towards history and towards the Church? What does the Bible teach me to expect of God as my Father if I am now His beloved child? In our seminars, we expanded the focus to consider the place of children in the Church, the place of God as Father in our preaching of the gospel, and biblical distinctives on gender in the life of the Church.