Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Sheboygan, WI, hosted its third annual Reformation conference on October 29, 2011. Rev. Alan D. Strange, Associate Professor of Church History, spoke at the Saturday conference and preached at the church’s Sunday worship services.
“The conference went extremely well,” wrote Pastor Brian De Jong (Grace OPC). “On Saturday morning around 75 people enjoyed two presentations by our brother…. On Sunday we had a very full house for both morning and evening worship.”
Using 1 Corinthians 1:10 as a springboard for his first lecture, Rev. Strange focused on the nature and necessity of confessing our faith. He surveyed the historical development of doctrine up to the Reformation, noting that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was underdeveloped until the theology of John Calvin. He then examined the work of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, showing how it brought Calvin’s theology to its fullest confessional expression.
Beginning his second lecture with a look at 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Rev. Strange spoke about the life and legacy of J. Gresham Machen. He explained that Machen battled within himself during his time in Germany, eventually “coming to certainty by overcoming historicism” and “recognizing that the God who ruled the world could give us His infallible Word, a strong doctrine of providence forming the foundation of a strong doctrine of Scripture.”
Sunday morning’s sermon, “The Reformation of Josiah,” was based on 2 Kings 22:1-23:3. Rev. Strange highlighted how the recovery of the law led to repentance and reformation.
“We need, in our time,” he said, “to recover God’s Word so that we might repent of our sins and enjoy further reformation.”
The evening sermon, “This Is Our Need,” was based on Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1-19.
“Daniel saw the need of his people, gaining a sight of Israel’s sin and seeing the need of a savior, enjoying a season of renewal,” said Rev. Strange. “Our need is to see our sin, our Savior, and to be restored in Christ.”
Pastor Brian De Jong (Grace OPC) related that many people responded to the conference with “very enthusiastic” comments. One couple, in particular, were challenged about their Bible reading habits and committed to making changes in that area. He also noted a high volume of lecture downloads through the church website. Recordings of the conference lectures and sermons are available at www.sermonaudio.com/gracesheboygan.
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 31 of the December 29, 2011, issue of Christian Renewal.