Report on the Spring 2009 Central Ohio Reformation Institute

            The Central Ohio Reformation Institute was held April 28-30 at Hotel Millersburg. Hotel management, Bill and Shirley Robinson, expressed how much they appreciated the men singing! The men attendees in turn were quite pleased with the meeting room, overnight accommodations, and the excellent meals and service. Kyle Robbins, Pastor-Elder at Providence Church, Mifflin, Ohio, led the hymn-singing! Seven presentations representing a lot of preparation time and labor engaged both heart and mind.

            Rev. Dennis Witt, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Pataskala, Ohio, and Dr. Mark Hamilton, Professor of Philosophy at Ashland University, set the tone on Tuesday evening by showing us how the confessional and "faith alone" aspects of the Reformation had their roots in Scripture and were evident from the early centuries of the church. They both had excellent hand-outs. On Wednesday morning Rev. Matt Timmons underscored Calvin’s view of the self-authenticating nature of Holy Scripture, as well as the Geneva Reformer’s emphasis on expository preaching and teaching, thereby providing an opportunity for the attendees to explore the cutting edge between classical and presuppositional apologetics. Matt is Pastor of Covenant Reformed Fellowship of Ashland, Ohio.

            Rev. Joe Puglia, Pastor of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, Ohio, presented Calvin's view of worship as a starting point for the round table. This was without a doubt the most controversial challenge for all, and Joe handled it with class setting forth Calvin's rationale and defending it. Mark Scholten, Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Akron, Ohio, moderated the round table. Barry Sheets, a member of Pliny Presbyterian Church in Pliny, West Virginia, provided the Institute with a political update addressing issues of special impact upon Christian churches.

            Wednesday evening, Rev. Jason Strong, Pastor of Zion Reformed Church in Winesburg, Ohio, spoke of the Lord's covenant faithfulness in raising up leadership for the church throughout seventeen generations of the Strong family, beginning with the first immigrant to America. Jason then related this to the Reformation rubric sola gratia, as well as to covenant baptism. Thursday morning Dr. Sacha Walicord called attendees to greater sacrifice in presenting "Christ alone" as the heart of the Gospel with an in-depth portrayal of 18th-century evangelist George Whitefield . He cautioned concerning the ultra-liberal and "knucklehead" versions of Reformed theology. Sacha is Associate Pastor of Christ Covenant Reformed Church in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Associate Professor of Economics at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

            Dave Brand, author of Profile of the Last Puritan, and Director of ADVOCATE Enterprise, gave the final presentation on the Reformation rubic soli deo gloria focusing on the twin dissertations of America’s first philosopher and Great Awakening figure Jonathan Edwards: The Nature of True Virtue and the The End for which God Created the World. This was an adaption and expansion of a lecture he had delivered at German Community College in Virginia in the fall of 2002.

            Dr. John Hood, Moderator of the Ohio Association of Conservative Congregational Christian Churches and Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma, Pastor of the Protestant Reformed Fellowship of Pittsburgh led in devotions on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. John also led us in the time of final recap and closing prayer.

            Behind the scenes, Richard W. “Rick” Daniels, was available for consultation. Rick was the main presenter for the Central Ohio Reformation in October 2008. His Ph.D. dissertation at Westminster Seminary was published by Reformation Heritage Books under the title The Christology of John Owen.

            Tim Prince recorded the seven CORI presentations, as well as some of the hymn-singing, and they are available on CD. The presentations from the Institute in October 2008 are available as well. Tim's cost (not counting his time) in reproducing and mailing the October series was $10.00. If you would like to order the CDs from either the Fall CORI or the Spring CORI, you may e-mail Tim at

Respectfully submitted,

Dave Brand, Director

ADVOCATE Enterprise

P.O. Box 1387

Mount Vernon, OH 43050

(740) 358-3057