The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Selfies at Niagara

with 4 comments

IMG_3917There are some things that I could simply stand and stare at for hours. A natural fire. A storm-tossed sky. A coursing stream. Niagara Falls would drop into the category. It is an instantly and constantly fascinating sight, a stable flow of the endless variety, an infinitely interesting glory of God.

I had the opportunity to be there again recently, watching from the Canadian side where you get the most immediate views of the falls. I love the great tumble of rocks at the foot of the American falls that churns the waters as it falls. I love the power of the water that pours over and the swirl of the cloud that boils up from the Canadian falls. Give me a little space and a little peace, and I could gaze endlessly.

As I strolled among the tourists, I was struck by the number of people who were not actually looking at this wonder of creation. Of course, the vast majority were looking at it largely through a screen. What struck me particularly, though, were the number of people who were not looking at it at all. In some spots, about a third of the crowd had their backs to the water. With arms or sticks extended, they were trying to angle their bodies so as to get themselves front and centre in a photo or video of themselves with Niagara in the background. I will barely mention the gentleman who was standing on the path with a high end camera concentrating on a series of shots of … the Marriott hotel blocks towering alongside the river!

I know many love to complain at the way we view the wonders of this world through a lens or a screen. But this was something else. Given the opportunity to drink in something of the majesty of the Creator’s work, the concern of so many was to get themselves into the picture. As one friend asked, “Exactly how do they think that their face is going to make that picture better?”

We do much the same with the Creator himself. For most, he is not to be personally adored, but the imposing subject of a passing snapshot rather than the enduring object of deep engagement. For far too many, even Christians, our ideas of dealing with God are like the person at Niagara with the camera in hand, or attached to the end of that glowing wand of Narcissus. We are impressed by God, but he is in the background of a picture of me. We see him in the Bible, but we need to be the central character in the narrative. God is my backdrop. It is our presence in shot that makes him relevant. It is profoundly selfish, blindingly self-centred, genuinely tragic. We have not known him as we should.

There are all the infinite glories of his majesty by which to be entranced. There is the heaven-praised splendour of his glory instantly and constantly passing before us. There is an unchanging flow of endless depth, the infinitely interesting glory of God. And we, even if not taking pictures of the hotels, so often have our backs to God, angling to get ourselves front and centre.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 14 October 2017 at 11:04

Posted in General

Tagged with , ,

Reformation 500

leave a comment »

Knox, JohnTrading hard on the connections of John Knox with Newcastle is the Reformation 500 conference. It runs from 12-14 October this year, and includes addresses from such luminaries as Joel Beeke, Ian Hamilton and Geoff Thomas. More information is available on the website,  including registration details. Interestingly, the further through the website you travel, the more impressive the beards become, until Luther spoils the progression.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 15 September 2017 at 10:57

The Westminster Conference 2017: “God With Us and For Us”

leave a comment »

The Westminster Conference meets for two days each year, usually in December. During the conference, six papers are presented, three on each day, examining the history, doctrine and practice of people, events and churches associated with the Puritans, their forebears and successors. The perspective is that of evangelical and reformed Biblical Christianity, focusing on central gospel themes such as grace, faith, atonement and justification and the outworking of the gospel in the lives of believers.

The title of the conference this year is God With Us and For Us. If you are interested in attending, you can download the booking form or book online directly.

The speakers and their papers are as follows.

Tuesday 5th December

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE HUMAN HEART (STEPHEN CLARK)
To understand the work of the Spirit in the heart of man is to start to become a true physician of the soul. But the work of the Holy Spirit is intertwined with the ministry of the Word of God. How, then, does the Holy Spirit work in and through the Word? Is he bound to the Scriptures in some way? If so, how? Such questions, and their answers, provide us with both challenges and comforts as we seek to be ministers of the Word and Spirit.

A CHILD OF LIGHT WALKING IN DARKNESS: THE FELT PRESENCE OF GOD (GUY DAVIES)
What does it mean to know the presence of God with us? Should we expect it? Can we lose it? How can we regain it? Concentrating on key works of Thomas Goodwin and John Owen, this paper will look particularly at the loss and recovery of such a sense of divine sweetness, comparing and contrasting the convictions, explanations and applications of these two theologians of the Holy Spirit.

CALVIN – WORSHIP AND PREACHING (ANDREW YOUNG)
The way or ways in which we worship the Lord so as to honour and glorify him remains a topic of vigorous and often heated debate. This is no new thing. Andrew Young will consider Calvin’s approach to this topic, including his doctrine of worship, his approach to liturgy, and his preaching and teaching ministry. Such assessments should assist us to ask the right questions in the right spirit as we move toward answers grounded in something more than preference.

Wednesday 6th December

JACOB ARMINIUS (1560-1609) (PHIL ARTHUR)
Theological labels are quick to apply, and provide us with easy targets. Particular theologians are relatively easy to demonise. Jacob Arminius has given his name to a theological system that is defended by supporters and assaulted by opponents with equal ardour. It is profitable for us to understand who Arminius was, what he believed, and how his name became connected to this system. Phil Arthur will introduce us to this man, and guide us through his life and thought.

THE SYNOD OF DORT (1618-1619) (BENEDICT BIRD)
In November 1618 the Dutch Reformed Church convened a synod at Dordrecht in the Netherlands. With representatives of Reformed churches from around Europe, the synod debated the tenets of the Remonstrants, who disputed the Calvinistic understanding of the plan of redemption. Politics and theology intertwined as they wrestled to address the controversy over Arminianism. This paper will help us understand this critical event and its relevance today.

WILLIAM WILLIAMS, PANTYCELYN (1717-1791) (MARK THOMAS)
William Williams is best known among evangelicals as ‘the sweet singer of Wales’ on account of his hymnody, combining a rigorous commitment to truth and a profound experimental sense. However, he is also recognised as a towering figure in the literary and spiritual spheres of his native Wales. Mark Thomas will help us to understand the character and context of this man, and how the Lord used him during and after his lifetime.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 31 August 2017 at 22:10

The social means of grace

leave a comment »

John Ashworth on the blessing of the various gatherings of the saints of God, not least the midweek meetings:

In all churches a love for the social means of grace is one sign of spiritual health in either rich or poor; and those that are the most anxious to increase their spiritual strength will esteem these most highly. When we try to find arguments against class meetings, church meetings, prayer meetings, &c., it is an indication that we are not very fast growing in grace: we need these helps by the way. The world daily rolls in uponus, and we need a strong arm to roll it back, to keep it in its proper place. Means are required, and the week-day means are often a powerful check.

So, will you make a happy priority of church attendance tomorrow?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 12 August 2017 at 18:31

Posted in Christian living

Tagged with ,

William Perkins Conference media

leave a comment »

A few weeks ago I mentioned the William Perkins Conference on 19 and 20 May at the Round Church in Cambridge. Said conference went ahead as planned. The first address by Sinclair Ferguson on Perkins as “a plain preacher” is online, and the others are due to follow shortly:

The first four volumes of Perkins’ collected works (the exegetical works) are available for a substantial discount at heritagebooks.org.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 8 June 2017 at 14:58

Family Conference 2017 in Louisville

leave a comment »

For those who are or can get within striking distance of Louisville this summer, you might be interested in the Reformed Baptist Family Conference 2017. It is hosted on the campus of Southern Seminary and runs from Tuesday 4th through Friday 7th July. There are a good number registered, with a few weeks still to go until the general registration deadline of 26th May. In addition, there are at time of writing still rooms remaining at the Legacy Hotel on the SBTS campus.

There will be preaching and teaching from Savastio, Hueni, Grevious, Hughes and Walker. If that doesn’t put you off, and you have an appetite for some sweet fellowship with God’s people, resting and being refreshed, please have a look at their website for more information.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 5 May 2017 at 08:43

Posted in General

Perkins the Magnificent

with 3 comments

Actually, that’s not what they called him, but it should not stop you learning more about him. On the evening of Friday 19th May, and then for most of the day on Saturday 20th May, there is a William Perkins Conference taking place at the Round Church in Cambridge. The lecturers are Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, Geoff Thomas, Stephen Yuille, and Greg Salazar. It is open to all and free of charge. If you are within striking distance, it should be worth your while.

william-perkins-conference

 

 

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 22 February 2017 at 07:45

Posted in General

%d bloggers like this: