The faith once delivered to the saints

2021 Autumn Lectures

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Jude 1 v 3 (ESV)

As we celebrate thirty years of faithful witness of the Christian Institute we are reminded by the epistle of Jude to contend for the faith. The faith of the gospel is not simply a private matter but deeply relevant for our society. Jude reminds us to contend. Our first lecture will be an exposition of Jude. We will reflect, in our second lecture, on the work of the Christian Institute itself in defending Christian moral law and religious liberty. Our final lecture will place all of this in historical context by looking at the theological work of the Westminster Assembly and the practical work of William Wilberforce.

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1. Exposition of Jude: the faith we have received

Jude is a largely unloved and unread book, plundered for its doxology and little preached as a whole. It is often seen as obscure, strange and opaque. But it is a combative, passionate and urgent wake up call to God’s people to take seriously the spiritual battle and the advances of Satan against and within churches.

2. The Christian Institute: Thirty Years of Gospel Witness

From its beginnings to the present day, the first concern of the Institute is that the Church must not accommodate to the world. Only in this way can believers be an influence on the nation which is so vitally needed. We have sought to promote Christian truth particularly as it applies to the nation, the world of work, education and the local community. Christians equipped by the work of the Institute have urged our nation’s leaders to do what is right. We look at how the work of the Institute has developed over the years including, among other things, the work of the Legal Defence Fund.

3. Contending for the faith in history

The Westminster Assembly (1643-1653) provides us with theological and practical resources for the continuing place in society of God’s moral law. The Assembly is a crucial historical building block for the work of defending Christian truth in society. There are, of course, many historical examples of the practical application of these truths to society. As well as establishing the theological basis in the writings of the Assembly we will also consider the example of William Wilberforce (1759- 1833) as he contended in the public square both for Christian truth and for the Christian moral law. What lessons can we learn for today and the future work of the Christian Institute from these foundations? How can we equip the saints with the same confidence to contend as William Wilberforce?