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A Reformed Conference in Spain

Category Articles
Date July 1, 2000

I just returned from a Reformed pastors conference here in Spain. It was refreshing to take four days out of the usual routine to meet with other workers-pastors and missionaries-of like convictions. I preached the opening message at the conference, on Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28:10-22. The two main speakers were a Reformed pastor from Holland named Peter De Vries and a Spaniard from Madrid named Julian Mellado.

Peter De Vries has just published a doctoral thesis on the work of John Owen, and his three messages dealt with Owen’s teaching on each Person of the Trinity. Julian Mellado spoke three times on the subject of “Jesus in His Historical Context,” a biblical reply to the so-called “Search for the Historical Jesus” that dominates the religion departments at secular universities. His main thesis was that the New Testament does not present either a “christology from below,” stripping Jesus of His divine attributes, nor a Docetic “theology from above,” negating the true humanity of our Lord, but rather a truly “incarnational theology,” enunciated clearly by Chalcedon, and never surpassed by that historical council. One fact that he pointed out, which I found particularly interesting in light of the current debate, is that in some of the very oldest papyri fragments that have been discovered in the Middle East (dating from the first century) , the name of Christ appears in an abbreviated form which the Jews only used when writing the name of God.

The messages by De Vries on Owen’s theology were particularly rich and enlightening. He emphasized the pastoral concern and zeal for God’s glory that lay behind many of Owen’s polemical writings-in his battles against Arminianism, for example-as well as his desire to be a truly catholic theologian, drawing insights not only from the Reformers, but from medieval thinkers such as Anselm and Bernard of Clairveaux.

Martin Rizley

 

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