We woke up Saturday morning and asked each other, “Can this really be the final day of the conference? It seems as if we’re just getting started!”
After a quick breakfast, we found our seats and again were transported back to the 16th century. Dr. Haykin opened with a lecture on Hugh Latimer, one of the greatest preachers of the Reformation. Sadly, only about 40 of his sermons remain with us. A bishop in the Church of England once heard him preach and afterwards confronted him saying, “You smell of the pen of Luther.” Latimer replied truthfully that he hadn’t read Luther, which points to how unified the reformers were in their teaching even when they didn’t compare notes.
Surprisingly, Henry VIII heard Latimer preach and took a liking to him. He even allowed the Tyndale Bible to circulate after Latimer wrote him and requested that this favor to England be granted. Later, Henry made him Bishop of Worester. Latimer wrote the town to inform them of his position and give them a heads up on his arrival date. However, when he came to the parish on Sunday morning, the building was completely empty. He walked about town and found its citizens celebrating Robin Hood Day, a matter that caused him to weep.
Following Henry VIII’s death, Mary came to power and jailed Protestant leaders that she believed had led the country astray. On October 16, 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley burned at the stake. Here Latimer voiced his famous last words, “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
Dr. Haykin contrasted the time in which we live with the time of the reformers. The Reformation attempted to bring people back from image to word, whereas we have gone from word to image, greatly impairing our ability to focus and concentrate. Churches flourish when the Word is central; they languish when that is not the case.
Ian Hamilton gave the final lecture, “Solus Christus: The Preaching that Defined the Reformation.” Dr. Hamilton reminded us that there are only two kinds of people in the world—those who need saving and those who need sanctifying. Here are some highlights from the final message.
1. The Gospel is a bottomless deep because God Himself is bottomlessly deep.
2. The Reformation recovered the centrality of preaching.
3. The world promotes an endless diet of false illusions. Calvin preached 6 times a week to shatter the false illusions of his day.
4. Sin is so powerfully seductive that nothing less than saturation in the Word is the great need of God’s people.
5. Add anything to Christ and you destroy the glory of God by making Christ defective.
6. Christ alone is the pulse beat of biblical religion.
7. The entire Bible is explication of Genesis 3:15.
The conference closed with the singing of “Blest Be the Tie that Binds,” a hymn that expressed the emotions we were all experiencing in our final minutes together.
When we are called to part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.