Monday, October 13, 2008

The Protestant Reformation & the Means of Grace

I spent last week on study leave from my normal duties at church. Part of my time was spent studying in preparation for my sermon series on the book of Romans. I also spent time reading. Of note were two books: A Quest for Godliness - The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (IVP) by J.I. Packer and A Better Way - Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship (Baker Books) by Dr. Mike Horton.

Towards the end of the week I was able to slip out of town for a conference in Atlanta, Georgia on The Protestant Reformation & the Means of Grace. The conference was hosted by Grace
Presbyterian Church of Douglasville, a sister church in the PCA. Dr. Mike Horton was the featured speaker and he gave three messages:

* Casting New Characters: The Word as a Means of Grace

* A New Wardrobe: Baptism as a Means of Grace

* A Feast in a Fast-Food World: The Lord's Supper as a Means of Grace

Though I was only gone for one night I really enjoyed the time away to read, reflect and receive outstanding teaching.

On the left is Dr. Jon Payne, Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, PCA - with Dr. Mike Horton. This is the fifth year that this church has held a Reformation Heritage Conference. Previous speakers include Dr. Derek Thomas, Dr. Daryl Hart, Dr. Iain Murray, and Dr. Carl Trueman. Those lectures can be downloaded at no cost here. Dr. Horton's messages will also be available at no cost.

Here are some friends from our home church in Fayetteville, Georgia. I hadn't seen them in years but they haven't changed a bit. It was good to see them again hear what God has been doing. We are overdue for a visit to see the folks at Covenant Presbyterian Church -- they were gracious beyond words to my wife and I as we grappled with discerning God's call to pastoral ministry. The church stood with us every step of the way -- from asking dumb questions about theology, to coming under care of presbytery, to supporting us while in seminary, and sending their pastor, Dale Welden, to preach at my ordination. I don't have a picture of Dale but he is a wonderful pastor and friend. Covenant Presbyterian has only been in existence for about 25 years but it has been instrumental in sending people into the harvest (like me) but also in church-planting. In particular they were used of God to do what might be unthinkable in many parts of the country -- they helped plant an African-American PCA church (Redemption Fellowship) just a couple of miles up the road to reach the burgeoning black upper middle class.

Finally, here is a picture of yours truly and Dr. Horton. I enjoyed meeting him and telling him how much his ministry through Modern Reformation magazine and The White Horse Inn radio broadcast have meant to me. If you are unware of these ministries click on either link on the sidebar for more information.

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