Profaning the Sacred

The Beauty and Holiness of the Bride of Christ

by Rick Phillips March 16, 2014

May 2–4, 2014
Proclamation Presbyterian Church

In the Old Testament, we often read of the sacred vessels of the temple being taken away for the service of idolatry. The profaning of God’s sacred things symbolized the turning of Israel to false gods. Even worse were those occasions when idols were brought into God’s house, showing that Israel had forgotten the holy obligations of Scripture. The New Testament sees God’s people going out into the world with the gospel, making holy those who were lost in sin. Yet the danger of secularizing the sacred remains. Often in the name of evangelism, worldly influences may corrupt the holy things of worship, ministry, and Christian living. When this happens, the church loses relevancy in the culture and, as the Bible so frequently shows, true spiritual power for the cause of salvation is lost, even when there may be great numbers of people and other worldly indicators of success.

With this in mind, the 2014 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology (PCRT) will consider the holiness of the Church, together with its worship, ministry, and life. There are several reasons for this topic. First is the perennial need of God’s people to protect God’s holy things from worldly corruption. This need is particularly great today when so many professing Christians and churches are adopting the ways of the world to do the work of God. God calls Christians, pastors, and churches to be holy, and this means that we must not allow his holy things to be profaned. This raises important questions for us to answer: how does a zeal for evangelism often mask the importing of worldly influences? What constitutes genuinely holy worship? Does zeal for holiness involve legalism or is it a true mark of God’s grace?

We are excited to reunite long-standing friends of the PCRT, together with some new speakers. Returning to the conference with us are Derek Thomas, Richard Phillips, and Michael Horton. Joining us for the first time is Phillip Johnson. You will especially want to join us for the Friday pre-conference assembly, where Phillip Johnson will speak on the vitally important topic, “The Holiness of the Office of the Pastor.”

We look forward to renewing our fellowship with old friends and beginning new fellowship with those who will join us for the first time. May God bless us as we gather together in the context of sacred worship for rich studies of God’s Word.