Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology
Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia
April 30 - May 2, 2010
For many Christians, the last days refers to the short period of intense activity immediately prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But according to the apostles, the last days were inauguraged by the first coming of Christ and continue even today. The book of Hebrews thus begins by saying that while God formerly spoke by the prophets, "in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" (Heb. 1:2). Paul warned Timothy that "in the last days there will come times of difficulty," and then made plain that Timothy was living in these very last days (2 Tim. 3:1). According to Peter, the last days began with the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost. This fulfilled the ancient prophecy, which said, "In the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh" (Acts 2:17). Biblically, for us, the last days are these last days, as we are those, Paul said, "on whom the end of the ages has come" (1 Cor. 10:11).
How do we biblically understand our time as the final age of world history and what does it mean to our faith? This is the question that will be taken up by our 39th meeting of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. Reformed Christians have often shunned the field of eschatology, surrendering end times doctrine to more popular (but less biblical) schemes held by other believers. But eschatology is important! Paul describes the fulfillment of history as "our blessed hope" (Tit. 2:13), a hope made real ot us now through our faith. It was their Christian doctrine of history that thrilled the first Christian disciples: they realized that with the coming of the "last days" they had entered into the reign of the eschatological kingdom that dawned with the coming of Christ. Our faith will likewise be strengthened by a biblical view of eschatology and a right understanding of what it means to live in "this present evil age" (Gal. 1:4) by means of the "powers of the age to come" (Heb. 6:5).
We are excited to return with the PCRT to Sacramento, Grand Rapids, Greenville, and Philadelphia. Our plenary sessions will be offered by some of the most able preachers of our present moment in history: Sinclair Ferguson, Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, Joel Beeke, Michael Horton, Cornelis Venema, Ligon Duncan, and Philip Ryken. Our preconference seminar this year will be provided by Dr. Venema, author of "The Promise of the Future" and one of the leading Reformed writers on eschatology, on the topic "Interpreting Biblical Eschatology". Through the pre-conference and the conference sessions, our aim is not only to provide biblical clarity on controversial matters, but even more importantly to strengthen believers for life in these last days by our understanding of the Bible's teaching on God's plan for all of history. We look forward to renewing our fellowship with old fiends and beginning new fellowship with those who will join us for the first time. May God bless us as we gather before the Scriptures to study the biblical doctrine of history and last things, all to the glory of the Lord of history, Jesus Christ.