This weekend we kickoff the 2018 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, meeting April 13-15 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our theme this year is The Spirit of the Age: The Age of the Spirit. I am excited to welcome Conrad Mbewe and Danny Akin and looking forward to exploring the mighty work of the Holy Spirit in the age of the gospel. Especially exciting is our privilege to hear the teaching of Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., whose teaching on the resurrection Spirit literally changed my life when I sat under his seminary teaching. Friday will be a priceless opportunity to hear Dr. Gaffin lecture on Pentecost and the Work of the Spirit Today.
Now, for some book suggestions related to this important theme.
First, I can turn to no other than Dr. Gaffin himself. For a more academic version of his essential work, Perspectives on Pentecost, will open up his teaching on the difference that Christ's sending of the Spirit has really made.
For a less academic, but mind-expanding work on the gospel, Gaffin's By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation is an classic that I cannot recommend too highly.
Other books that will inform the topic of our time as the Age of the Spirit are Geerhardus Vos' classic, The Pauline Eschatology and Anthony Hoekema's The Bible and the Future. One of our previous PCRT conferences tackled this theme in book form, These Last Days, edited by me and Gabriel Fluhrer.
I have no doubt that conference attenders will be delighted to hear Conrad Mbewe, and readers will be blessed to consider his book, Pastoral Preaching: Building a People for God.
When we think of the work of the Spirit in our age, we inevitable turn to the Spirit's power in the inspired Word of God. If you have not read Kevin DeYoung's Taking God at His Word, you will be soundly instructed in this brief commendation of the Bible.
Kevin has also authored a meaty booklet on The Holy Spirit, that is an ideal introduction to this theme.
Finally, some years ago we held a memorable conference on The Promised Holy Spirit, the audio recordings of which are available in our Reformed Resources.
I look forward to seeing you in Grand Rapids, or in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on April 27-29!
"...But the Scriptures were what he most studied..."
"...more than all other books..."
Not a few of us can relate to Owen's confession. But it is no coincidence that some of the best theologians over church history were men of the Scriptures first and foremost, otherwise they would have, like Berkhof, merely regurgitated Reformed theology!"I know not a more deplorable mistake in the studies of the divines, both preachers and others, than their diversion from an immediate, direct study of the Scriptures themselves unto the studying of commentators, critics, scholiasts, annotators, and the like helps...Not that I condemn the use and study of them, which I wish men were more diligent in, but desire pardon if I mistake...by the experience of my own folly for many years, that many which seriously study the things of God do yet rather make it their business to inquire after the sense of other men from the Scriptures than to search studiously into them themselves" (Works, 4:213).
Barry (not his real name) is a basketweaver from Clapham. Having been reared by donkeys, when Barry married he was not prepared for Javelina's (not her real name, either) refusal to eat hay. The arrival of little Anthraxa (another made-up name, mercifully) only deepened the fissures in Barry's relationship with Javelina. When Barry first came to see me, with wild eyes and evidence of a recent hay-eating binge in his three-day growth of stubble, I could see that there was much work to do to get to the root of the matter.Am I the only reader who has begun to twitch when I read yet another such opening to a book? Am I alone in finding these introductions slightly twee and tiresome? They seem to be beloved of those who write books about counselling. Of course, by the end of the chapter, we find that the dazzling counsellor with his penetrating insights has - over a shorter or a longer period - turned Barry off the hay and brought him to sweeter pastures.
This past week I was up in
From the Fortress Press table (Go Lutherans!): Works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, volume 10, covering 1928-1931, and volume 13, covering 1933-9135 while DB was in
From the Westminster John Knox Press table: The Gospel according to Bruce Springsteen, which, as my good friend Sean has already pointed out, is written by a Unitarian Universalist. Hey, if you're gonna get somebody to write on the gospel who better? I also picked up: Preachers and Misfits, Prophets and Thieves: The Minister in Southern Fiction (speaking of fiction). I suspect there's got to be something in there about a transplanted preacher from
From IVP: Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ by
Our friends from Table Talk and Ligonier were also there and Burk Parsons was kind enough to give me a copy of his edited book John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology.
So what do you get when you cross Calvin and Bonhoeffer with Bruce Springsteen in the South all the while with a global theological awareness?
I don't know. Check back in a few weeks after I had a chance to read these.