The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘Paul Helm

The Westminster Conference 2015: “The Power of God for Salvation”

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Brochure 2015The Westminster Conference will take place later this year, God willing, in central London at Regent Hall on Oxford Street. As usual, there are two days of lectures and discussion, Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th December. The outline for the two days is below, and the brochure can be downloaded to obtain the booking form. More information can be found at the conference website.

Sin and sanctification in John Owen (Sinclair Ferguson ~ Elder at St. Peter’s Free Church, Dundee). John Owen is one of the monumental figures of the seventeenth century. His profound scriptural sensitivity to sin and understanding of sanctification form some of the deepest currents of his work both as a theologian and as a pastor. This paper will explore these complementary and contradictory elements of Christian experience through the lens of Owen’s wrestling with the issues.

“On the side of God”: Andrew Fuller’s pastoral theology (Jeremy Walker ~ Pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley). Andrew Fuller is recognised as a theologian and for his friendship with and support of William Carey. However, these labours cannot be divorced from his principles and practices as a pastor and a preacher. This was his primary calling. It informed and was expressed in everything else in which he was involved. This paper will draw together some of the convictions recorded, conclusions reached and counsels expressed by Andrew Fuller in the realm of pastoral theology.

The atonement and evangelistic preaching in John Owen (David Pfeiffer ~ Minister of Cheltenham Evangelical Free Church). Apparent tensions between convictions about the definite extent of the atonement joined with commitments to the freeness of the gospel offer are perennial issues in Christ’s church. Few men have contended for the former more effectively than John Owen and his works breathe a lively and transparent concern that lost men should trust in the only Saviour of sinners. David Pfeiffer will help us to see these elements of Owen’s labour in healthy parallel.

Erasmus and the Greek New Testament (Peter Hallihan ~ retired from pastoral ministry; Editorial Consultant for TBS). Erasmus of Rotterdam (1469–1536) was the genius sometimes described as the prince of the humanists. Perhaps his most enduring contribution to learning and religion was his edition of the Greek New Testament of 1516, which became the basis of most vernacular translations of the Scriptures for the next three centuries. Peter Hallihan will give us insights into the man and his work, tracing some of his influences and influence.

Jonathan Edwards and the religious affections (Paul Helm ~ formerly Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion, King’s College, London). The name of Jonathan Edwards, together with select elements of his theology, have become more prominent in the thinking and practice of Reformed evangelicals in recent years. Ready reference is made to well-known but not always well-understood works such as Edwards’ study of the religious affections. Paul Helm will take a fresh look at this book, emphasising its setting and its sources, helping us grasp the substance and application of Edwards’ work.

Isaac Watts and the gift of prayer (Benedict Bird ~ ThM Student and Greek Teacher at London Theological Seminary). Best known for his hymnody, Isaac Watts was also an influential theologian. He considered prayer to be not only a duty but a precious privilege, and he wrote to assist the saints in learning to pray. He showed that prayer is a gift, but one that can be developed. Prayer is not always high on the agenda in the church of Christ, and not often developed to a high degree when it is. In his Guide to Prayer, Watts directs us still to cultivate “this holy skill of conversation with God.”

‘Calvinism’ – Latte? Cappucino? Americano?

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So which is yours to be, the ‘Calvinism’ of the 5 points, a ‘doctrinal Calvinism’, a ‘Calvinism’ which identifies it with Calvin’s children, who went their own way when the discussion went beyond Calvin himself, or the ‘full package Calvinism’, which is not a full package at all, since Calvin’s view of the magistrate’s role in upholding the Reformed faith has been excised from it? (And in this roll-call \’Neo-calvinism in its various guises has not even been mentioned. )

Whichever it is, no-one can stop you calling your choice ‘Calvinism’. You see, unlike ‘Cadbury’s’ or ‘Chevrolet’ or ‘Calvin Klein’ ’ there is no copyright or trademark that covers the use of the word ‘Calvinism’. Any more than with \’inerrancy\’ or \’justification\’ or any other central theological term.

Irritating, isn’t it?

via Helm’s Deep.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 30 November 2013 at 22:28

Posted in While wandering . . .

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A very English assembly

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Paul Helm provides a careful and interesting review of an excellent book, Robert Letham’s The Westminster Assembly: Reading its Theology in Historical Context (P&R, 2009). He concludes:

You may already have gathered from all of this that Dr Letham’s new book is a most welcome addition to the literature on the Confession, and on Reformed theology more generally, being both instructive and thought-provoking.

Anyone interested in the Westminster Confession or its daughter documents, the Savoy Declaration or the 1689 Confession, seeking to appreciate the issues addressed and the nuances intended, will find this a helpful volume.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 14 August 2010 at 09:14

Helm reviews the Packer Festschrift

Paul Helm (who has previously surveyed the Trueman-Murray debate over Packer and Lloyd-Jones on his own blog) has a fascinatingly British take on the recent J. I. Packer and the Evangelical Future.  One is left wondering if the absence of any really British voice or assessment of Packer’s early years is not just a reflection of his own departure from these shores, but also of the fact that the baton of fairly vigorous evangelicalism seems to have passed across the ocean as well.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 20 April 2010 at 21:34

Warfield’s insights on inerrancy

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 12 February 2010 at 22:14

Posted in Revelation

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The end of the conference

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Gary Brady – among others – has been blogging the Affinity conference on The end of the law? It sounds like an interesting if not entirely encouraging environment.  Here are Gary’s reports on the various sessions (with some alternative views), and his summary:

  1. Robert Letham
  2. Iain D Campbell (who also comments here)
  3. Douglas Moo (who is very tall)
  4. Paul Helm (see here also)
  5. Chris Bennett (a variant view here)
  6. Michael Horton
  7. Summary

According to Adrian Reynolds (who also blogged the conference, more sympathetic to NCT than Gary, and who would like to see the moniker Bovinian applied to adherents of NCT), a straw poll taken over the meal tables suggests that the conference was split about 50-50 between NCT and more orthodox perspectives.  Whether or not that also reflects a generational gap I am not sure is clear, but it does seem de rigeur among many younger pastors.  If this is so, I do think it is a potentially devastating problem.  Adrian also quotes the staggeringly unhelpful comment from Chris Bennett when someone forthrightly suggested that without the law people will not know how to live: “We just need to trust the Spirit and chill out a bit.”

Unrelatedly, I think, Kim Riddlebarger gives us the Canons of Dort on the inadequacy of the law, and comments upon it, with some helpful insights from Professor John Murray as to what the law can and cannot do.  He also does jokes (Riddlebarger, that is, although I am sure that Professor Murray also did the funnies at times).

Also floating around are some comparisons between the Heidelberg Catechism and the Larger Westminster Catechism on the Lord’s day, with the implication that the Heidelberg is to be preferred:

Heidelberg Catechism

Question 103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?

Answer: First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear his word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the poor. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath.

Westminster Larger Catechism

Question 115: Which is the fourth commandment?

Answer: The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Question 116: What is required in the fourth commandment?

Answer: The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in the New Testament called the Lord’s day.

Question 117: How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?

Answer: The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to betaken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God’s worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.

Question 118: Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?

Answer: The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.

Question 119: What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.

Question 120: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?

Answer: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it;Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Question 121: Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?

Answer: The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restrains our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it comes but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.

Heavenly instructions and mutations

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Paul Helm blogs about “the domestication of heaven” and the propounding of what he calls “a geo-heaven” – there are some stimulating and suggestive comments here, but it’s more a survey and critique of issues arising than a positive discussion.

For an outstanding survey of the Biblical data on both heaven and hell – simple, non-histrionic, warmly applied – I strongly recommend Ted Donnelly’s Heaven and Hell.  Reading it, you will be instructed, moved, exalted, humbled, challenged and directed.

On a slightly different tack, David Anderson has a good survey of the scriptural teaching on rewards at the final judgement.  There are some helpful principles enunciated here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 20 January 2009 at 09:19

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