I rolled out of bed this morning, slipped on my running shoes, and walked outside where cool air greeted me for the first time since last winter. How wonderful it is to be in Grand Rapids! We actually arrived yesterday and spent the afternoon hiking through the woods on the campus of Calvin College. The photos tell the story of hours spent exploring the paths and ponds and plants of the Ecosystem Preserve, a 40-acre forest full of trails and wildlife.
But our main purpose for being here is the Puritan Reformed Seminary conference commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The conference opened with Dr. Ian Hamilton speaking on why there was a Reformation. Most of us would probably argue that the Reformation came into being because the doctrine of justification by faith alone had been obscured by the medieval church. Dr. Hamilton made the case that the Reformation happened because God wasn’t being glorified (or worshipped) as He should be.
Dr. Carl Truman, who many of you are familiar with from his lectures posted on this blog, followed Dr. Hamilton and spoke on Augustine. Dr. Trueman always captures our full attention, but I must say that tonight proved to be one of his most interesting lectures. First, he spoke about Augustine’s Confessions and Augustine’s insights regarding sin and self-deception. In his discussion of why we sin, he made the point that when we break the law, we throw off the yoke of our creator and feel like a god.
Dr. Trueman also addressed the power of the visual to shape minds and thoughts, noting how much our visuals today are twisted and perverted (think pornography).
And finally, he addressed our culture’s obsession with sports and entertainment, arguing that we love what keeps us occupied because it prevents us from pondering our own mortality.
If you’re not familiar with the Puritan Reformed conference, here’s a short introductory video.