RPCI:  On Wednesday 15th February the Shaftesbury Square RP church in Belfast (NI) hosted a one night reformed conference.

Shaftesbury Square is a congregation located in Belfast city centre, and each year the church runs a one evening Reformed Conference which anyone in the city can attend. To mark the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, the conference this year took the title ‘Reformation then and now’.levant to our day as they were in Luther’s 500 years ago, though our circumstances are now very different.

The first address was given by Rev. Gareth Burke of Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast, who spoke on ‘The life and work of Martin Luther’.  Mr Burke gave an overview of Luther’s life, highlighting important events including Luther becoming a monk, his struggles with the question of how man can be right with God, how through his studying of the scriptures, especially the book of Romans, God led him to the answer, and his nailing of the 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517. He also discussed some of Luther’s writings and his preaching, his trials and his married life. Mr Burke finished by showing us lessons we can learn from this great reformer for our own day, including Luther’s commitment to his family,
his awareness of Satan’s attacks, and his sense of dependence on God.

After a break for refreshments, Prof David McKay of Shaftesbury Square Reformed Presbyterian Church spoke on ‘Five truths that shook the world’, the five solas of the reformation. It was highlighted that these truths from God’s word are as re

  • Scripture alone: the Reformers gave the Bible a central position aware that it was the word of God.
  • Christ alone: the Reformers held Christ as the only saviour.
  • Grace alone: salvation is by grace alone, not grace plus anything else.
  • Faith alone: that is faith in Christ alone, which is a gift of God and follows on from grace.
  • For the glory of God alone: Ultimately salvation is not about us, we contribute nothing while God gets all the glory. This should lead us to live God centred lives in acknowledgment of this fact.

The conference was well attended and was a good opportunity to learn more about a man that was greatly used by God and the great Biblical truths that he stood for.

Scott McCollum

Glenmanus RPCI