Redeemer Seminary Community Lecture: Sinclair Ferguson
“True repentance is firm and constant, and makes us war with the evil that is in us, not for a day or a week, but without end and without intermission.” -John Calvin
Last Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of attending Dr. Sinclair Ferguson’s lecture on The Holy Spirit in the Theology of John Calvin hosted by Redeemer Seminary. I had pretty high expectations coming in to this lecture. The lilting Scottish accent of Dr. Ferguson was well known and his words highly regarded in my home when I was growing up. I’m happy to say I was not disappointed.
The lecture began with a brief biography of John Calvin’s life to set the stage for the kind of background from which Calvin was speaking and the culture into which he was teaching- a culture unfamiliar to us, in which being persecuted and even killed for your faith was not just possible but probable. It was into this world that Calvin, along with a group of faithful men God surrounded him with, wrote and taught in defense of the gospel they found in the Bible.
After laying this foundation, Dr. Ferguson addressed Calvin’s teachings on the Holy Spirit. In the reformed tradition, the Holy Spirit often sits quietly on the bench and is pulled out when we need a pinch hitter- when there’s a question that can’t be answered without him. But the 16th century reformers didn’t see the work of the Spirit this way. Dr. Ferguson showed that in the writings and teachings of both Calvin and Luther the saving work of Christ is always tied to the regenerative work of the Spirit.
This is the fifth week of Lent- a season that we have said is marked by repentance and turning toward Christ, seeking to be conformed to his image. There could not have been a more appropriate time for Dr. Ferguson’s lecture reminding us that the Holy Spirit has a full time job. He is at work through the whole of a Christian’s life- leading us in true repentance and toward lives that are conformed to the image of Christ “not for a day or a week but without end.”
You can find more information on Dr. Ferguson as well as a list of his works here.