The fifth annual Reformed Forum Conference will be held October 5–7, 2018 at Hope OPC in Grayslake, Illinois. Our theme will be, “Seeing God: The Deeper Protestant Conception.” We will address important theological challenges and controversies facing the contemporary Reformed church by exploring the theologies of Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, and Geerhardus Vos on the beatific vision and glorification of man.
The beatific vision captures the glorious reality believers will experience when Christ returns. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This presents an important theological question: How shall we be like him? Is it by participating in the divine essence? Is it by being identified with God in a revelatory Christ-event? Does God change his being in some manner to accommodate this new relationship?
Reformed orthodoxy demands a deeper conception.
Our conference theme may sound esoteric, but these are critically important matters facing the Church today as an age-old theological controversy is rising once again. We seek to present a clear thesis that Vos offers the biblical way forward between two forms of divine-human univocism. These are represented by consistent Thomism and modernist Barthianism. Ostensibly, these systems are diametrically opposed to one another, yet Vos’s insights will help demonstrate how Thomism and Barthianism eventually converge in what Cornelius Van Til termed the “Aristotle-Christ-Kant Synthesis.” Through the biblical doctrines of divine immutability, covenant, and the image of God, Vos demonstrates how God enters into a glorious communion bond with his people without deifying them or becoming a creature himself.
We plan to devote several episodes of Christ the Center to this subject leading up to the conference and develop a pre-conference reading list for those who want to get the most out of their experience. We look forward to seeing you in October.
James J. CassidySouth Austin Presbyterian Church
Lane G. TiptonWestminster Theological Seminary
Jeffrey C. WaddingtonKnox Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Camden M. BuceyHope Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Danny E. OlingerOrthodox Presbyterian Church
Glen ClaryProvidence Presbyterian Church
Our conference will start on Friday, October 5 and carry through Saturday, October 6 and into the morning worship service of Sunday, October 7, 2018 at Hope OPC in Grayslake, Illinois.
FridayOctober 5, 2018
- VIP Dinner & Lecture (additional ticket required)5:30–9:30 pm
Vos Lecture: The Nature and Destiny of Man: From Vos to Gaffin
Rev. Danny Olinger
Market House on the Square
655 Forest Ave.
Lake Forest, Illinois
Please note: Ticket holders for the VIP Dinner should meet the group at the restaurant. Ample parking is available on site. If you need a shuttle ride from the hotel to the restaurant, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance. Registration at the church does not open until Saturday morning at 8:00 am.
SaturdayOctober 6, 2018
- Registration8:00–9:00 am
- Welcome and Introduction9:00–9:30 am
The Hope of Glory: Why the Beatific Vision Matters for All Christians
- Plenary Address9:30–10:45 am
The Trinity, Creation, and Covenantal Condescension: The Deeper Protestant Conception
- Plenary Address11:00–12:15
On the Shoulders of a Pseudo-Giant: Thomas’s and Dionysius the Areopagite’s Use of the Great Chain of Being
- Plenary Address1:15–2:30 pm
Karl Barth’s Analogia
Thesis: Barth did not avoid the problems inherent to Rome and Liberalism. In other words, Barth’s dogmatic system has contained within it its own analogia entis, albeit it with significant qualification and adjustment for his modern milieu.
- Plenary Address2:45–4:00 pm
Participation in the Divine Life: Aquinas and Vos on the Lord’s Supper
Thesis: Thomas’s doctrine of God and his doctrine of man lead to his participationist soteriology as demonstrated in his Eucharistic theology.
- Summary and Conclusion4:00–4:30 pm
The Deeper “Catholic” Conception: Vatican II, Protestantism, and the Ecumenical Future
Thesis: Modern Roman Catholicism and mainline Presbyterianism are two species of the same genus predicated upon divine-human univocism.
Summary: Roman Catholicism and mainline Presbyterianism ran parallel courses through the twentieth century. The Catholic anti-modernist oath eventually yielded to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) whereas the five fundamentals were succeeded by the Confession of 1967 in American Presbyterianism. These parallel developments are not incidental but reflect a shared ontological commitment which arrives at a common terminus. Cornelius Van Til identified it as the “Aristotle-Christ-Kant Synthesis,” the last stronghold against the “followers of Dordt,” that is, keepers of the Reformed tradition and apologists of the Deeper Protestant Conception.
SundayOctober 7, 2018
- Morning Worship Service9:30–10:30 am
Sermon: Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit”
- Sunday School11:00 am–12:00 pm
Early Bird Rates (ends August 31, 2018)
Main conference — $55
Standard Rates (after August 31, 2018)
Main conference — $65
Student (seminary or college) — $40
Child (2–18) — $15
VIP Dinner — $135
This year's all-inclusive VIP dinner event will be held again at Market House on the Square in Lake Forest, Illinois. Attendees will have the opportunity to spend the evening with our speakers and Reformed Forum board members and contributors. The maximum number of attendees is 15. VIP Dinner tickets must be purchased in addition to the conference registration fee. Dinner tickets can be purchased on the registration page at the same time as conference tickets.
Conference registrations will be accepted at the door, provided that enough space is available. VIP Dinner reservations must be made by September 21st.
Hope Presbyterian Church (OPC)
18215 Belvidere Rd. (Rt. 120)
Grayslake, IL 60030
Group rate hotel rooms are available at Comfort Suites (Grayslake). Reservations can be made online with group code UB89X2, or by calling the hotel directly at 847–223–5050. The reservation cut-off date is Thursday, September 14th.
1775 E. Belvidere Rd
Grayslake, IL 60030
Group Name: Reformed Forum
Group Code: UB89X2