BRF conference 2018

British Reformed Fellowship conference, Hebron Hall, near Cardiff, Wales 21-28th July 2018

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Notes of speeches and devotions. Links to U tube messages.

Day 1

Devotions

Zech.3:1-8  Joshua, like us, is instituted into the holy priesthood by being given the robes of imputed righteousness. We are all priests to offer up spiritual sacrifices-first ourselves and also our praise, thanks, giving and intercessory prayers. Abraham, Joshua and Job led their families as priestly heads in devotion.

Day 2

Hating Family  Rev. McGeown

Luke 14:25-35  Believers must have a holy hatred of family as David spoke about in Psalm 139,which includes forsaking (rejecting) their influence and even their company if required, though it is not necessarily physical separation. We have no fellowship (spiritual) with those who hate the Lord when what they say, do or advise conflicts with devotion to Christ. They must not be allowed to lead us into sin. The cross mentioned in these verses is a painful self-denial for Christ’s sake-he may send a sword to sever ties. Our real family is the family of God, as was Jesus’.

All speeches plus Q/AS on U tube. Click on 1/18 top left to view them all.

Devotions

Ps.92:12-15 (Gen.17:6) Kings shall come from our families, indeed as believers we are all kings and priests (Rev.1:6).

Day 3

God of the Living      Rev.Andrew Lanning

Matthew 22:32         Jesus teaches that earthly marriage which is only a type will give place to the greater and more blessed heavenly marriage between Christ and his bride. The Sadducees’ unbelief made them materialistic political agitators. Today their like do not believe in a spiritual beginning of all things (by God) and a spiritual ending (to all human lives). God has an eye on all the dust that we will become to fashion it into resurrection bodies. Marriage must be dissolved to make way for the greater reality. What Christ describes is covenant life which is eternal as he is, the great I AM of the burning bush. Because HE IS, we are! We are already resurrected to new life in Christ, our souls will be resurrected into heaven at death and on the last day our souls will be reunited with resurrected body. The astonishment of the people was like a knock down blow. Remember Christ IS the resurrection.

Family and Education      Pete Adams

Deut. 6:7     School at home   We want to instill: respect for authority, work ethic, love for neighbour, manners and devotion(s). Formal school is supported in Scripture Gal.4:2  tutors appointed by fathers. Being in a true church vital to children (Ps.128:5)-blessed out of Zion.

The Blessed Eunuch      Rev. Angus Stewart

Isaiah 56   Resting in Christ (the real Sabbath keeping) the eunuch belonged to him and this ultimately is more important that having children. These eunuchs are believers who cannot have children. They are either born eunuchs, made eunuchs, make themselves eunuchs (either by divorce or being divorced and staying unmarried), remaining single, or being a barren man or woman. Deut. 23:1 is rescinded. They are forbidden to indulge in self-pity. God knows best. Think of Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8) likely the tool used to bring many of his countrymen into the catholic church. Eunuchs have a place and a name in God’s eternal kingdom.

 

Devotions    John 14:1-26  As disciples we have a place in God’s family-adopted as children by our Father with Jesus as our elder brother in the family love of the comforting Holy Spirit.

Day 4

Devotions– Romans 1:7-12 and Phil.1:3-10. Paul addresses two church families emphasising fellowship with them and the fact he prays regularly for them.

Trip to Raglan Castle and Gloucester

Divine Origin of the Family  Rev. Andrew Lanning

Origin determines authority and origin directs honour.

Gen.1:1-3, 26-28, 2:18-25

God makes the rules as the creator.

  • Family…In the divine being, the trinity is a family that is complete.
  • Regarding the church he is husband and the church his wife and the mother of his children (including Jesus)
  • Families are generally God’s will (society opposes this) as is being fruitful I Tim.5:14
  • God’s idea of sex-male and female and man needing a helper

Marriage is a civil ordinance-the state has a role.

Devotions-Isaiah 42-43:13. The gathering of the whole church family.

Day 5

Devotions Psalm 111

Note verse 9, God keeps his covenant (to save families in O.T. and N.T) for ever!

Defence of the Gospel (being about marriage and the family)    Prof. David Engelsma

Ephesians 5:22-6:4

Marriage and the family is gospel truth. Errors about the family are errors about the gospel (e.g. allowing divorce and remarriage)

The family promotes the gospel and is the means of extending the kingdom. The witness of loving husband and submissive wife promotes the gospel and covenant children brought up in nurture and admonition of the Lord extends the kingdom in families. The gospel saves families. The gospel proclaims family-marriage is at the heart of the gospel (Christ loving the church and giving himself for her). And marriage to Christ after being dead to the law (Rom.7:2,3). Conversely it is a scandal (stumbling block) when Christians divorce.

Defining marriage -one man, one woman for life plus or minus children (Matt.19:5, Eph.5:25).

Baptists offend the little ones. Paedobaptism is believers bringing their infants to Christ as in gospel (Matt.19:3,4). Nurture and admonition only possible if children are regenerate (spiritually alive). Promise of salvation still is to believers and their seed (Acts 2:38-39).

Malformed marriages as in polygamy in O.T. do not promote gospel.

Our real, lasting spiritual family is the church.

Basis for all this is the fact God is family

All attacks on the family are attacks on God and these are destructive of society, reason for gangs etc. (80% families in Chicago one parent).

God blesses the Christian family Psalm 128.

The God-fearing man and his virtuous wife  Rev. Andrew lanning

Psalm 128/Proverbs 31:10-31

The calling of the Christian husband-to fear the Lord (a reverential awe and love for eternal, unchangeable, self-sufficient Jehovah Jesus), in all paths of obedience, be the loving head of his wife with sacrificial love, understanding her, honouring and protecting her especially against the threat of being deceived-so needs to know the truth, lead her to a true church and have daily Bible-based devotions with her.

The calling of the Christian wife-to fear the Lord, not seek favour of others or external beauty(wrong aims) but rather seek God’s favour, submission (hence not ruling over men in church or family), because she sees Christ working through him. She is the unique helper who complements him (therefore need to communicate freely), this all applies even to the wife of an unbeleiving spouse.

All in all this relationship reflects Christ’s relationship with his church.

Other insights: evolutionism, the feminist movement and the false gospel of Arminianism (free-willism in which Christ is impotent) have all contributed to the erosion of all authority (no absolute standard) and the emasculation of men in society and church.

Devotions 

Isaiah 55:5 The calling of the catholic (universal) church.

Day 6

Devotions:

Psalm 116   Communion with God including Christ on the cross (vv3,15) and the hope of resurrection (v9). Importance of communication in the family and prayer for individual children.

Trip to St. Fagan’s castle and museum of Welsh Life.

Spousal Abuse    Prof. Engelsma

Psalm 56.

Song of Solomon 1:15-2:15

Fact is it is happening in Reformed churches.

Nature: deliberate relentless pattern of destructive behaviour towards wife soul and body. Often cyclical. Physical or emotional/verbal. Note sex is a debt to please the other. Abuser characterised by claiming entitlement, threats and control. Abuse must be dealt with in the churches. Abuse is murder (Heidelberg LD40) I Cor.5 and 6 speaks of reviling and railing. It violates marriage oath.

Church’s calling: preach truth on marriage, confront abuser, wife’s submission should be response to love. Family visitation should examine spiritual condition of family and help. Pastor needs to be involved. Separation may be necessary.

Deliverance: prevention best-women check out future spouse, parents ditto. Men-determine to love. Consistory involvement and counselling. If guilty must be genuine repentance. Abuser may be a hypocrite.

Free booklet available from CPRC bookshop.

Devotions: Psalm 45 (marriage psalm). Ephesians 4 note especially “forgiving one another” (v32).

Day 7

Devotions     Psalm 133   Ed Bos noted how he has seen unity in the conference grow over the years.

Psalm 124  God delivers his people from the persecution or through it.

 

BRF Meeting

Decisions: Next conference July 11-18th 2018  Castlewellan Castle, County Down, Northern Ireland

Speakers  Prof. Engelsma and Rev Lanning

Topic: Union with Christ

 

Parents and Children    Prof. Engelsma

Psalm 89:27-37

Malachi 2:11-16

The destruction of the family is the cause of much of the ills of society and governments actively contribute to this. The family is not only fundamental to society but also the kingdom of God.  God is angry against all attacks on the family. E.g.

Marriage with unbelievers

Divorce

Provoking children to wrath by favouritism, unfair discipline etc

Neglect by husband

Fellowship is sharing one life.

 

Devotions 

Eph.1:1-12 note adoption by Father God.

Day 8

Devotions

Psalm 110 The ascended Christ, David’s son takes his power to reign, triumphing by his Spirit to save his church and destroy his enemies. Quoted in Acts 2:23-39.

It’s good to be single    Rev. Lanning

1 Cor.7:1-9, 17-24

  • it may mean virginity (like Paul
  • you may be divorced or a widow(er)
  • it is good/even better than marrying (in some ways)
  • famous OT singles e.g.Miriam
  • NT single John the Baptist
  1. It is a covenant calling for some and a gift (they are able to contain sexual urges)
  2. It promotes covenant service with undistracted devotion e.g. Anna in Luke 2
  3. It is covenant satisfaction and contentment

Unbiblical divorce and adulterous remarriage     Prof. Engelsma

Matt.19:1-5, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18.

The cause of the Reformed faith and Biblical marriage is God’s and his the power to promote it.

Our authority in this as in all matters of faith and practice is Scripture. Genesis and Jesus’ interpretation of it teaches one man and one woman for life and no divorce. Only God by the power of death divides. Divorce destroys families. The call to the married is be faithful. “Commits” adultery is on-going present tense!

Devotions

Ephesians 3-speaks of the mystery of the catholicity (universality) of the church and Paul’s faithful prayers for the Ephesians. May we continue to faithfully to pray for each other.

Roll on BRF 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRF Fun Run (5K) Results

  1. Emily Feenstra         F25    19m 28s     75.85%
  2. Carleen Dykstra       F31     21m 33s    68.53%
  3. Bruce Feenstra        M22    19m 08s    67.85%
  4. Joshua Harris          M18    19m 11s    67.70%
  5. Brian Buiter             M25    19m 45s    65.23%
  6. Dr Julian Kennedy   M65    26m 52s    61.98%
  7. Patrick Duerr           M9      26m 23s    61.65%
  8. David Smit              M28    26m 20s    49.31%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      well done all who took part.

Witness (1)

Witnessing or testifying of Christ

In our part in the great commission to extend Christ’s kingdom to the ends of the earth we witness of what we know to believers and unbelievers. Our witness echoes the official preaching.

The Scriptures need to form an integral and powerful part of our efforts to win the elect and see them established in true churches, it will also serve to harden the reprobate.

We are to teach all Christ commanded. We need courage. Our holy lives are vital. We witness at every opportunity and we are vital to the growth of the church. Significant occasions are when we are asked and this seems to be the NT emphasis rather than by our aggressive instigation.

We witness to persecutors, to unbelieving family, neighbours and other acquaintances and to advocates of false religions or false doctrines.  We condemn error. Our witness comforts, encourages, edifies, instructs and rebukes fellow believers.

Suffering for Christ’s sake is powerful witness.

A word about “friendship evangelism.” We love our neighbour by befriending him and seeking his good. The unbeliever who manifests enmity to God we are to hate. Any friendship that encourages worldliness e.g. listening to ungodly advice, condoning or taking part in sinful behaviour, scorning truth has to be avoided (Psalm 1). Friendship is usually based on a common interest e.g. sport, but stops well short of fellowship which is the meeting of Christian minds and speaking about the things of God!

Mainly adapted from “Ye are my witnesses” speeches by David Engelsma and Herman Hanko at British Reformed fellowship conference 2012.

Available here.

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.

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

Unity and anointing oil.

Castlewellan BRF 2016.

moses_aaron imagesZVMQ60BR

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.

imagesJ5WRX9KQ

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

imagesVITUQAAF

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.

imagesQME88Y7I

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

ARK

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!

 

World Conquest of the Beast from the Sea

BRF Conference

3rd message

Prof. David Engelsma

Revelation 13, Daniel 7.untitled

He mentioned the privilege of being saints in the last and worst battle of he ages.

We must remain steadfast.

Daniel’s fourth beast and his kingdom are a worldwide political power and empire. The king and his kingdom constitute Antichrist. He speaks evil of God and rules by totalitarian law. He apes Christ’s divinity (number 666)by doing miracles. He is physically victorious over the church and utterly destroys it as an institution. His reign is limited (time, times and half a time). Just as Christ laid down his life and took it again so his body of people dies but is resurrected. Why is this decreed?

  • To manifest man’s utter and total depravity
  • To allow the wicked world to fill up its cup of iniquity
  • To manifest how repulsive the beastly kingdom is, ruling by force, whereas the kingdom of God rules by grace , love and truth.

The beast from the sea, the false prophet, head of the false church who also does miracles including making the image of the beast speak, will eventually feel the force of her master who used her as a whore, who then turns against her and destroys her at Armaggedon.

Rapture and Antichrist

BRF conference

2nd address

Rev. Andrew Lanning

Readings: Matthew 24:40, I Thess.4:13-18, I Cor,15:50-52

untitled

Premillenialism teaches a secret rapture, 7 years under Antichrist where at first he is good to the Jews then persecutes them. This is followed by Christ’s public second coming to set up an earthly kingdom, based in Jerusalem under Old Testament ceremonial law for 1000 years which after a growing rebellion leads to Christ’s victory at Armaggedon and the eternal state.

So the church is out of the way (conveniently), the Jews are God’s main emphasis (dispensationalism) and men are saved by choice (free-willism).

  • ERRORS: The people of God in all ages are ONE. There is one covenant, one covenant people (the church of all ages) and one way of salvation (by grace, through faith, in Christ). Belgic Confession Art.27
  • The Kingdom (now) is spiritual NOT physical.
  • Ceremonial law has been abolished for good.
  • Scripture teaches one, public, noisy coming of Christ with the resurrection of all men, final judgment and eternal state.