Revisiting David Wells: Securing A Place for Truth
Posted On January 23, 2018
Last week, Reformation Bible College hosted its 2018 Winter Conference “A Place for Truth,” taking inspiration for its theme from Dr. David Wells’ book “No Place for Truth” and celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the book’s publication.
Dr. Wells recognized in his book that too many churches have abandoned the centrality of truth and are relying on passing fads and fashions to reach the culture instead of the only thing that can provide a firm foundation for faith and life—the truth of God found in His Word. The conference addressed the neglect of truth in the culture and the church and called Christians to be committed to God’s revelation and not to shy away from proclaiming truth.
We believe that there is a place for truth where leaders of the next generation can be trained to know
where the stream of truth lies. —Dr. Stephen Nichols
In the opening session, “Whatever Happened to Theology?”, Dr. Derek Thomas discussed how the church is called to speak prophetically to the culture—to proclaim the truth that alone can bring people out of the darkness of sin and into the light of God’s truth and love. Dr. Thomas spoke on how much of the modern church has lost its ability to do this, becoming a people that follows the lead of culture instead of resisting its errors and calling people to the truth. Dr. Thomas explained that the church fails to speak the truth because it is not well grounded in the theological truth proclaimed in Scripture and passed down through the centuries. Dr. Thomas’ session is available on our Youtube channel here.
We live in an era where truth is denied and truth is suspicious. —Dr. Derek Thomas
Next in Dr. Stephen Nichols’ “Valiant for Truth” session, he spoke on Romans 1:16–17, where Paul proclaims that he is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the very power of God unto salvation. Dr. Nichols explained how knowing the truth is essential, but it is not enough; it must be combined with courage to proclaim it boldly and winsomely, since truth cannot change the culture if it is not announced to the people around us. He closed his message considering the importance of being courageous and bold for the sake of the truth, reminding us that because all truth is God’s truth, we have every reason to be confident in and valiant for the truth of the gospel. Dr. Nichols’ session is available on our Youtube channel here.
To come to grips with the weightiness of God is to come to grips with God Himself. —Dr. Stephen Nichols
RBC faculty members then led respective breakout sessions on how theology and doctrine shape lives in terms of determining ethics and behavior, beliefs and ideas, and even what it true, good, and beautiful.
Academic Dean and Professor of Theology Dr. John Tweeddale spoke on “The Theological Life,” discussing Dr. R.C. Sproul’s famous quote that “everyone is a theologian,” as everyone has beliefs about God and what He has done that shape how they live their lives. The question is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians. Dr. Tweeddale exhorted attendees to consider what it means to live a theological life—to live in such a way that we are growing in our understanding of God and His ways no matter our vocation. Dr. Tweeddale’s session is available on our Youtube channel here.
Theology goes to the very heart of the Christian life, and a proper knowledge of theology is essential
for knowing God and for knowing ourselves. —Dr. John Tweeddale
Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Keith Mathison explored topics from Dr. Wells’ book “God in the Wasteland,” explaining that our view of God shapes everything that we do and believe, and a wrong view of God will lead inevitably to a wrong view of what is true, good, and beautiful. Dr. Mathison addressed the importance of a sound doctrine of God for affirming and believing the truth. A right view of God and His attributes, however, is a firm foundation for recognizing and defending the true, the good, and the beautiful in every era. Dr. Mathison’s session is available on our Youtube channel here.
If we are taking God too lightly, that will impact everything. There is nothing more central to theology
and the Christian life than the doctrine of God. —Dr. Keith Mathison
Professor of New Testament Dr. David Briones spoke on Dr. Wells’ book “Losing Our Virtue,” discussing how the truth of God revealed in nature and in Scripture gives us a distinctive moral vision that is the consequence of believing the truth and a necessary witness to the church. When this view of the good is lost and believers fail to live according to it, truth is not commended and people remain stuck in the darkness of relativistic morality. Dr. Briones explain that Christian ethics are the necessary consequence of truly embracing God’s revelation, and it will call believers to live according to the ethics of God’s Word. Dr. Briones’ session is available on our Youtube channel here.
Theology ought to shape the way we live. —Dr. David Briones
President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Albert Mohler presented a message, “The Pillar and Ground of Truth,” discussing how in 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul calls the church the “pillar and ground of the truth” (KJV). As individuals, we must affirm the truth, but the church corporate has a central and foundational role in proclaiming the truth and encouraging us to bear authentic witness to the truth. Dr. Mohler focused on the church’s role in discerning the truth, teaching the truth, and holding us accountable to the truth, reminding us that Scripture is God’s only infallible revelation, so we as the church must hold this Word high before the watching world. Dr. Mohler’s session is available on our Youtube channel here.
It used to be that the great depths of life were found in the cosmos and in God, now people think that the great depths of life are found in themselves. —Dr. David Wells
Author Dr. David Wells attended the conference and briefly spoke a few words about the lasting legacy of his books, and continued fight to keep truth forefront in the church. He discussed how the entire nature of the church must be focused on the centrality of truth, and that the church cannot exist without the truth. He talked about how sin disappears from our society because out culture does not measure itself against the standard of God. Dr. Wells also discussed how despite the changing nature of the church over the past few years, the character of God remains unchanged; through all times and in all places, true Christian faith has remained the same, defined and delivered to us through the unchanging word of God.
To conclude the conference, Drs. Albert Mohler, Stephen Nichols, and Derek Thomas answered questions submitted by attendees on communicating biblical truth and contending for truth in the church and culture. The session is available on our Youtube channel here.