How Firm a Foundation: The Bible's Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity

Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology 2016

Plenary Speakers

Charles Hill
Michael Kruger
Philip Ryken
Derek Thomas

Workshop Speakers

Nick Batzig
Nathan Conant
David Garner
Jason Helopoulos
Evan Lowell
Richard Phillips
Jeff Stivason


Why These Books and No Others?
The Canonization of the New Testament

Speakers: Charles Hill (MI), Michael Kruger (PA)



April 15-17, 2016
First Christian Reformed Church (of Byron Center) 
8541 Byron Center Avenue SW
Byron Center, MI 49315 

April 29-May 1, 2016
Proclamation Presbyterian Church
278 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Advance registration is now closed. 
Walk-ins are still welcome. 


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About the Conference

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105

In a time when the foundations of society seem to be crumbling, Christians have no more urgent need than to rediscover the firm foundation that is God’s Word. In so many churches, the authority of God’s Word is under attack, especially as it contradicts prevailing cultural thought. Doubts about the clarity of Scripture lead many to question hard passages. Still other churches respect the Bible but consider it insufficient to do the work of God in the church. At times like these, Christians need strong convictions about the Bible that come from the Bible. With this in mind, the 2016 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology will take up the theme: How Firm a Foundation: The Bible’s Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity.

Over thirty years ago, James Montgomery Boice wrote one of his landmark books, Standing on the Rock, to defend the inerrancy of Scripture. But in his later years, Dr. Boice realized that while the battle of inerrancy had largely been won, other questions remained unanswered among the churches, especially its sufficiency for life and godliness. He warned, “It is possible to believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God… yet neglect it and effectually repudiate it just because we think that it is not great enough for today’s tasks.” Our desire is that those who attend the conference will leave with a strong view of Scripture that will not only persuade them to honor it as God’s truth but also to rely on its power for their own lives and the spiritual vitality of their church.

We are greatly blessed to have our pre-conference seminar on the topic of the canon of Scripture, presented by two preeminent New Testament scholars today, Dr. Michael Kruger, President of Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) and a leading authority in this field, and by Dr. Charles Hill, the John R. Richardson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. Attending these sessions is sure to bolster not only your faith that the Bible is God’s Word but also how it is God’s Word.

We are excited to return to Grand Rapids and Bryn Mawr. Our plenary sessions will feature the contributions of some of the most able preachers and scholars of our time, including Derek Thomas, Philip Ryken, and Drs. Kruger and Hill. We look forward to renewing many old friendships and to form new relationships as we sturdy God’s Word in a context of beautiful worship and fervent study of Scripture. I hope that you will be able to join us and that you will be built up in your faith through the teaching of God’s authoritative, sufficient, and clear Word.


Pre-conference: Why These Books and No Others? The Canonization of the New Testament
8:00 a.m. Registration and coffee
9:15 a.m. Opening Bible Study: The Word from My Mouth, Richard Phillips
9:45 a.m. The Origin of the Canon: Why Do We Have a New Testament Canon at All?
10:45 a.m. Coffee break
11:00 a.m. The Date of the Canon: When Were New Testament Books First Regarded as Scripture?
12:00 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. The Artifacts of Canon: Manuscripts as a Window into the Development of the New Testament
3:00 p.m. Question & Answer Session
3:45 p.m. End of Pre-Conference

Conference: How Firm a Foundation: The Bible’s Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity
6:00 p.m. Conference Registration
7:00 p.m. Opening of the 2016 PCRT
First Address: God Spoke, Derek Thomas

8:00 a.m. Late Registration
9:00 a.m. Second Address: How Do We Know the Bible is God's Word: Recovering the Doctrine of a Self-Authenticating Scripture, Charles Hill (MI), Michael Kruger (PA)
10:30 a.m. Third Address: Perfect, Sure, Right, and True, Derek Thomas (MI), Richard Phillips (PA)
11:30 a.m. Question & Answer Session (All Speakers)
12:30 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. Fourth Address: Hidden Gospels: Our Culture's Quest to Rewrite the Story of Jesus, Charles Hill (MI), Michael Kruger (PA)
3:15–4:30 p.m. Workshops
-Today, If You Hear His Voice, Nick Batzig (PA)
-Exploring the Bible's Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity with Logos Bible Software, Evan Lowell (MI), Nathan Conant (PA)
-Wholly Unembarrassed: The Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible, David Garner (PA)
-The Bible's Authority in the Home, Jason Helopoulos (MI)
-The Word in Worship, Richard Phillips (MI)
-A Battle of Words, Jeff Stivason (PA)
4:30 p.m. Dinner (at local restaurants)
6:30 p.m. Sacred Concert (MI)
7:00 p.m. Fifth Address: Every Last Word, Every Good Work, Philip Ryken

Sunday PCRT joins host church worship for final address.
Sixth Address: The Last Sermon of Jesus Christ, Philip Ryken
9:00 a.m. & 10:45 a.m. PCRT worships with First Christian Reformed Church of Byron Center, Grand Rapids
11:00 a.m. PCRT worships with Proclamation Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr

Speaker Biographies

Charles Hill is John R. Richardson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, where he has taught since 1994. He is an ordained teaching elder in the PCA. Prior to joining the faculty of RTS, he taught at Northwestern College in Iowa. His undergraduate training was in Fine Art (University of Nebraska) and he holds theological degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary in California (M.Div; M.A.R. 1985) and the University of Cambridge (Ph.D. 1988). He has been a Lilly Theological Research Grants Faculty Fellow (2000-2001) and a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology (2012). His research interests include Johannine Studies, the canon of the New Testament, the New Testament manuscript tradition, and early Christian eschatology. His most recent books are: Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy, and The Early Text of the New Testament, co-edited with Michael J. Kruger. Dr. Hill and his wife, Marcy, have three adult children.

Michael Kruger (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is President and the Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. He is one of the leading scholars today in the study of the origins of the New Testament, particularly the development of the New Testament canon and the transmission of the New Testament text. He is the author of numerous books including The Gospel of the Savior (Brill, 2005), The Heresy of Orthodoxy (Crossway, 2010, with Andreas Köstenberger), Canon Revisited (Crossway, 2012), and The Question of Canon (IVP, 2013). He is also the co-editor of The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford, 2012), and Gospel Fragments (Oxford, 2009). Dr. Kruger is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America and also serves (part-time) as Pastor of Teaching at Uptown PCA in downtown Charlotte. You can follow his blog at or on Twitter@michaeljkruger.

Philip Ryken is the Bible teacher on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals' weekly radio broadcast, Every Last Word. Dr. Ryken also serves as president of Wheaton College. He was educated at Wheaton College (IL), Westminster Theological Seminary (PA), and the University of Oxford (UK), from which he received his doctorate in historical theology. He and his wife Lisa have five children, Josh, Kirsten, Jack, Kathryn, and Karoline. He is the author or editor of more than 30 books, including Art for God's Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts and expository commentaries on Exodus, Jeremiah, Luke, and other books of the Bible.
Derek Thomas is the senior minister at historic First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC as well as a professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary teaching in both Atlanta, GA and Jackson, MS. After pastoring in Ireland for 17 years, Dr. Thomas served on the staff of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS for 15 years. He has written or edited 15 books, including How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home and Acts Reformed Expository Commentary.

Hotel Information

Please call the hotel directly and mention "The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals" to receive the special rate

Grand Rapids
Hyatt Place Grand Rapids South
2150 Metro Lane
Wyoming, MI 49519
Call 616-724-1234 by March 17th
3.6 miles from the church

Courtyard Philadelphia Valley Forge/King of Prussia
1100 Drummers Lane 
Wayne, PA 19087
Call 610-687-6700 by April 7th and mention rate code "ACES" to receive the special rate
9.0 miles from the church

The Radnor Hotel
591 E Lancaster Ave
Wayne, PA 19087
Call 610-688-5800 by March 28th
$132 / night
3.9 miles from the church