British Reformed Fellowship Conference 2016

Castlewellan

Held at Castlewellan Castle, Co. Down from July 16th to 23rd the speeches given covered all the major Biblical teaching on the end times. The messages can be viewed and heard here:

Click top left 1/19 to see playlist.

The food and fellowship were first class as were the informative trips to the battle of the Boyne site,  Trim castle and Hillsborough Castle. There were over 100 conferees from the UK, USA, Singapore, Philippines, Hungary and Australia.

A fun run round the lake had over a dozen entries and was a close competition for the inaugural shield.

13769497_1194405900598407_7767988296005030031_n 13782285_1044558955580673_3994682484760557055_nView from castle.

James 2:18-24.

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CPRC Mens’ B.S.

James 2:18-19

The Relation of Faith and Works

  1. The hypothetical man who objects to James insistence that we are justified by faith alone is either a legalist Jew or a modern Roman Catholic or Arminian who believes that man has a part in salvation, that works are an essential part in justification, indeed one whose “faith” like the R.C. “faith”, consists of a dead faith plus works righteousness. He is someone who thinks he is saved because he went forward, put his hand up or otherwise consented to “accept Christ.”
  2. The one who has faith is the one who works out his faith. The one who has works has to prove he has faith.
  3. The speaker in v 18 is a hypothetical objector.
  4. The double challenge of v 18 is firstly show me your faith without works (IMPOSSIBLE!) and the second show your faith by your works (AS YOU OUGHT TO).
  5. Faith, because it means a total reliance upon Christ for salvation wrought by the unbreakable bond between a man and Christ will undoubtedly be expressed in a life of good works (obedience) in the church and the world (Gal.5:6 and Belgic Confession Art.24).
  6. In v19 James is likely answering another professor, possibly an antinomian or just a nominal churchgoer who says he believes. See parable of sower and analogy of the vine (Matt.13 and James 15) where only the good soil and the branches grafted on to the true vine bear fruit.
  7. James’ point is that although devils say they believe they carry on defying God, hating him and never obey him or do any good works which show their faith is purely “historical” and not experiential and real. This being the case they already tremble knowing their inevitable fate in the lake of fire.

James 2:20-24

Justification and Faith

  1. James is addressing the vain man who says he has faith (v19). He is the “historical” believer e.g. Simon (Acts 8) and illustrated by the plants that grew up without root or were choked by weeds in the parable.
  2. Dead or useless faith (purely historical) is a profession or head knowledge that has no real root in Christ, no bond of faith wrought by regeneration. True faith is profession and possession, a living union with Christ by the Holy Spirit which issues in the fruit of engrafting namely godly character and action. (B.C. Art 24).
  3. Justification is a legal term meaning God pronounces a man not guilty and positively righteous.
  4. Paul and James do not contradict each other. Paul was showing that justification was by faith alone apart from the law. James is showing that justifying faith must be expressed and seen by good works countering nominal believers and Antinomians.
  5. Paul speaks of objective justification that is a pronouncement in God’s sight whereas James speaks of subjective justification and assurance in the heart of a believer plus objective justification by works seen by men.
  6. Abraham, in offering Isaac, proved he was a justified man and what he did was an expression of the obedience of faith (Rom.1:5).
  7. James shows that faith is not against works. Faith is shown to exist and be complete when it works and reaches its goal (Eph.2:10).
  8. Abraham is chosen because he lived before the law was given and is accepted as the father of all the faithful, both Jew and Gentile. He was the first man we hear of being justified by God and is also Paul’s prime example of justification (Rom.4).
  9. Abraham’s faith was the channel through which God imputed righteousness to him objectively and subjectively (H.C. Q/A 86).
  10. Only righteous people can be God’s friends. Love is the bond of perfection. Only those made perfectly righteous in Christ can be God’s covenant friends.
  11. There are three ways in which a man is justified by works born of faith:

First in the eyes of men (Titus 3:5-8, Matt.5:16), second in his own conscience (I John 3:19) and lastly on the day of judgment (Matt. 25).

To sum up. The necessity of good works:

  1. They are the proof we are believers living out of Christ.
  2. They were predestined by God (Eph.2:10) and merited by Christ’s sacrifice.
  3. They show our thankfulness.
  4. They grow our assurance.
  5. They ought to win others.
  6. They will prove our justification on the last day.

Next BS (DV) Saturday August 20th on James 2:25-3:2.

Hope and deliverance.

What is our hope as Christians?

It is deliverance at the Second Coming of Christ, the end of this world and the birth of the New Creation.

Deliverance from what?

From all the miseries of this life-sickness, old age, conflict, sorrow. From sin which is the root cause of all the miseries. From persecution which God has built into creation in the antithesis of enmity between Satan and his seed (the reprobate) and Christ and his seed (the elect). From death itself, the dissolution of living things which is the results also of Adam’s sin.

These are the major reasons we ought to long for Christ’s coming and pray Lord come quickly!

Song of Solomon 2:8-9

8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice

images6B7Y09OD A hart

He comes swiftly in grace like a roe or hart. He overcomes all obstacles for our salvation and makes us hinds like himself (Psalm 18:33, Hab.3:19). Also worth noting that the marginal reference to Psalm 22 is “Aijelel Shahar” which means hind on the run, a picture of the evil hunters seeking Christ’s death in Jerusalem.

He stands behind the wall, ” the wall of our hearts, the hardness, infidelity, and carnal reasonings of it, which are so many walls of separation between Christ and his people; behind which he stands, showing his resentment of them, and in order to demolish them, and get admittance: he is represented here, as nearer than when she first saw him, even at her very home;” (Gill). Like the sharp-eyed deer he sees everything and even inside us. Perhaps the lattice alludes to the yet unclear revelation we have of him (I Cor.12:13).

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Father of premillennial dispensationalism.

BRF Special Lecture

John Nelson Darby (1880-1882) and Powerscourt-an expose of dispensationalism.

Rev. Angus Stewart

Sung Psalm 83:3-11

Reading Hosea 1:8-11, 2:19-23. Note these passages are interpreted in the NT as clearly prophetic of the gathering of the gentiles into God’s true Israel.

derJ.N.Darby

Dispensational theology, the theory that God has two peoples, Jew and Gentile and that he deals with his people differently over the ages, is very popular. It is based on a literalistic hermeneutic (interpretation) rather than allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

It teaches that Israel (the Jews) are heading towards earthly blessing while the church are for heavenly blessings.

Darby, reacting to the Church of Ireland’s establishment, allegiance to the crown and episcopal ordination founded the brethren assembly movement and an eschatology that sought to consolidate unfulfilled prophecy. Powerscourt, in Co. Wicklow, south of Dublin, the stately home of a sympathetic countess was the scene of three annual conferences to discuss this topic in 1831-1833.

untitled Powerscourt

Was the man a believer? Certainly he was deceived and dangerous in the light of II Tim.2:16-18 where Paul condemns another eschatological error.

Why is dispensational theology popular (Millions have bought books like “The left behind series” and “Late, great, planet earth”. My (JK) contention is that:

  • It suits people (to be raptured before the tribulation) so they do not suffer.
  • People choose a theology and church that suits them (if they are not sincerely seeking and teachable).
  • It appears to favour the Jews and this, they believe, is spiritually right and rewarded.

Derby

Premillenial dispensationalism is exposed as gross error in the other speeches of this conference (on this blogsite under BRF) and this book.

Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom

ANOINTING

What is the significance in Scripture of anointing? The simple answer is that when anointed people were set apart for service.

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The first mention in Scripture of a word is always significant and in this case it is in Exodus 28:41 and the following chapters viz. 29:2,36, 30:26, 40:15. Not only Aaron and his sons are anointed to the priesthood and service of the tabernacle but so also are the tabernacle and all its furniture.

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Three types of people were anointed in Old Testament times:

  • Prophets e.g. Elisha (I Kings 19:16)
  • Priests (Exodus as above)
  • Kings e.g. David (I Chron.11:3, Psalm 18:50).
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Since Christ is the fulfilment of the tabernacle, that is God dwelling with men we would expect him to be anointed by God and of course he is, par excellence THE ANOINTED one (I Chron.2:10, Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, Psalm 2:2, 105:15, Acts 4:27, 10:38). His anointing for service was signified by his baptism by John in Jordan where he was anointed by the Spirit without measure. Later he was specially anointed for the supreme sacrificial service of death by Mary and her costly spikenard (John 12:3). After his ascension he was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows (Heb.1:9).

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Since we are united to Christ we too are anointed as prophets, priests and kings. Prophets to speak his word, priests to offer sacrifices of praise, giving of ourselves, all our resources and interceding for others and kings over ourselves and even in church office. Our anointing is clearly spoken of in I John 2:27, II Cor.1:21, Psalm 23:5, Isaiah 10:27 and Zechariah 4:14, alluded to in Revelation 11:4 where the two olive trees and candlesticks and the witnesses are the instituted church and its ministers.

Thus we can be encouraged that Christ’s anointing is ours by the Holy Spirit who anoints each of us. Let us serve him to the best of our ability in his church as prophets, priests and kings and aim for the gladness of hearing his well done in glory!

Unity and anointing oil.

Castlewellan BRF 2016.

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Psalm 133 says,” Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

What is the connection between unity and the anointing oil?

Here are my thoughts: The Holy Spirit symbolised in the anointing oil initiated Aaron into the privileged position of high priest and the service of his people. The same Spirit anoints us to be prophets, priests and kings. The oil was unique perfume and smelt wonderful as did the incense (prayers) he offered. We too and our prayers are a sweet savour to God. So the sweet anointing oil that confirmed Aaron in his office is a picture of the sweet Spirit who confirms the truth of salvation and covenant love between God and his people and his people with each other. This is what characterised Castelwellan BRF conference and indeed typifies all the fellowship of his people everywhere.

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See also

Our Calling to live in the expectation of the final judgment and hope of life eternal.

BRF Conference

6th message

Rev. Andrew Lanning

Sung Psalm 50 (a Psalm of Christ’s return).

Revelation 20:11-21:8

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Wheat and chaff separated.

Immediately prior to Christ’s return there will be absolute pitch blackness as all the luminaries in the heavens are turned off! This is the powers of heaven being shaken. There will be a general resurrection of all the dead and the final judgment according to works which will be to demonstrate God’s absolute justice. Time (for judgement) and distance are no object in eternity. There will be only two verdicts according to Matthew 25-guilty with hell to pay or not guilty because by faith the believer knows Christ paid. Then there will be the new creation.

The Two Witnesses

BRF Conference

5th message

Prof. David Engelsma

Revelation 11

The whole book is symbolic, the description of these two is clearly not to be taken literally. Revelation is repetitive.

Christ’s appointed witnesses speak God’s word as the two witnesses, the two olive trees and the two candlesticks.

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Zechariah’s vision.

Two witnesses is the number needed to testify to the truth (Deut.17:6, Matt.18:16 and II Cor.13:1).

Compare Zechariah 4.The two witnesses comprise the visible instituted true church composed of ministers and people who are all a wonder of grace. They as repentant people also call the godless to repentance, tormenting the wicked and the apostate church. The fire alludes to Jeremiah 5:14 which hardens and destroys the wicked. Their prayers also bring down divine judgment in the form of natural physical calamities as well as man-made violence and wars. Even though the antichristian kingdom appears to have been victorious it is actually the saints who win when Christ’s voice raises them from the  dead (v12) to meet those alive at the time in the air with him.

Pre and post-millennial heresy have in common the error of excluding the church from suffering.

After a period when the false church serves antichrist, the beast turns against the whore  and destroys her, tremendous natural calamities strike the antichristian kingdom which eventually destroys itself at Armageddon (c.f. II. Chron. 20).

 

Abounding Lawlessness and Christ coming as a Thief

BRF Conference

4th message

Rev. Andrew Lanning

Matthew 24:36-44

I Thess.5:1-11

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The return of Christ will be sudden and unexpected for the godless and people in false churches. Abounding lawlessness and apostasy will characterise the end time, lulling church people into spiritual sleep. Like the people in Noah’s day and the unprepared virgins who I believe were spiritually dead, they will perish being excluded from the Kingdom ark through their earthly-mindedness. Lawlessness (e.g. impurity) serves apostasy which is a falling away from the truth. Our calling is to watch and pray and be sober.

II Thess.2:10-12

For Jesus death, including our death, is no more an obstacle than awaking from sleep (Tabitha/Lazarus)-hallelujah!