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The Westminster Conference

The Westminster Conference meets for two days each year, usually in December. During the conference, six papers are presented, three on each day, examining the history, doctrine and practice of people, events and churches associated with the Puritans, their forebears and successors. The perspective is that of evangelical and reformed Biblical Christianity, focusing on central gospel themes such as grace, faith, atonement and justification and the outworking of the gospel in the lives of believers.

Details for the 2019 conference are as follows. Further information about booking, both online and by post, is on the Booking page.

THE PURITAN EXPERIMENT

Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th December 2019
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WILLIAM PERKINS
JOSEPH PIPA ~ President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

William Perkins stands near the fountainhead of Puritanism proper. He was both a principled inheritor and a sober innovator. His ministry of preaching and writing had a seminal influence on a generation of men, several of whom are more prominent names that we still recognise among ‘the Puritans.’ But who was Perkins, and what was it in
his ministry that produced the impact that it did, both in his own time and – through his spiritual children and grandchildren – down to the present day?

THE PRINCIPLES OF PURITAN WORSHIP
JEREMY WALKER ~ Pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley

The question of worship lay at the heart of the Reformation. The issue continued to exercise the sons of the Reformation, not least the English Puritans. They contended earnestly, even fiercely, for the purity of the worship of the church. Today we
rarely even ask the same kind of questions as did our forefathers. Casual assumptions and thoughtless conclusions often produce crass and even carnal expressions of worship. We will go back to the Puritans to think about the questions that they asked and the answers that they found concerning worship.

THE PRACTICE OF PURITAN WORSHIP
ROBERT STRIVENS ~Pastor of Bradford on Avon Baptist Church

The principles of Puritan worship did not necessarily produce a uniform or monolithic mode of worship, but established certain parameters within which most Puritans operated. With evidence from the writings and the gatherings of various men and churches, Robert Strivens will consider how the principles of Puritan worship worked out in
practice. This will prompt us to consider ways in which we might still learn from the practical approach of the Puritans, and the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of their approach to God.

THE EMERGENCE OF INDEPENDENCY
MATTHEW BINGHAM ~ Lecturer in Systematic Theology & Church History
at Oak Hill College

The seventeenth century saw major discussions and massive developments with regard to the doctrine of the church. Among those elements was the emergence of Independency, in which issues of both soteriology and ecclesiology were at the fore. So where and how did Independency arise? What were its leading principles, who were its primary architects, what were its distinctive contributions? Matthew Bingham will help us to understand the origins of Independent churchmanship and to think carefully about our own convictions and practice.

THOMAS MANTON – NEGLECTED PURITAN
DOUGLAS MCCALLUM ~ Minister of Cambridge Presbyterian Church

The twenty-two volumes of Manton’s Works glower from many a library or study shelf. He was a prolific author, but perhaps best known now for his sermons on Psalm 119, and also his exposition of James. In his own day, he had a reputation to rival that of a man like John Owen. In ours, he is largely unknown, even to many pastors, despite being a favourite of
such men as Spurgeon and Ryle. This paper aims to redress that balance, introducing us to this neglected Puritan, providing insights into his life and times, and pointing us to his example for useful service.

THE PILGRIM FATHERS
PAUL SMITH ~ Full-time elder of Grace Baptist Church, Broadstairs

The phrase ‘the Pilgrim Fathers’ is often used quickly and carelessly. Some of what is confidently asserted is more mythical than factual. We do not always know who they were, why they set sail on the Mayflower as they did, and what they were setting out to achieve. Paul Smith will introduce these men (and their families) and their motives, showing us what lay behind their exodus to the New World. While they had the courage of their convictions, we also need to consider the various lessons we can learn for our own attitudes to life and liberty.