Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Reflections on a Recent Reformed Conference

Last weekend (11th and 12th November 2011) we had our fourth conference for men who want to explore reformed doctrines and practice. We set out in 2008 with around a dozen men and it was called 'A Defence of Calvinism'. Each year men have expressed that they have profited the time together so much, that they wanted another conference the following year. So far there have been attendees from England, Wales, Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. This year we decided to change the name to 'Reformation Christianity Today' because we want to anchor historic truths in todays world. In other words, looking backwards so that we can look forwards. While we are all so thankful for the work of Luther, Calvin, Bucer and others who have gone before us, the work of ongoing reformation continues in our own generation.

This year has been perhaps our best time so far. There were 18 men registered and there were some excellent sessions by Rev. Brian Norton, the minister of Durham Presbyterian Church on 'Reformed Worship' and a 'Reformed Understanding of the Lord's Supper'. I think that it will take me several months to work through the many helpful theological threads which were positively presented and we all have left with a larger and richer vision of biblical worship and the Lord's Supper. There were devotions given by Andrew Graham (minister of Bradley Road Evangelical Baptist Church, Wrexham) from the Book of Jude and Phil Baiden (minister of URC Church, Doncaster) on Psalm 27; 'The Psalms, an Anatomy of the Soul'. It was a delight to sing Psalms and solid hymns during each session and for some it was a new experience to discover that the Psalms can be sung as well as read.

Time does not permit me to expound further on the details of the sessions but my overall impression is one of thankfulness to our sovereign Lord. My perception is that our Lord is recovering ancient truths to these men, some of whom are under the age of 30 years old. Even though this little conference may appear small in the eyes of some, may we be thankful for men who want to serve the next generation, not with that latest church fads and church growth models, but with historic truths, as prophesied in Psalm 100:5.

For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

These are the words of Hugh Latimer to Nicholas Ridley as they were about to be martyred, burned alive, for their Protestant faith: “Be of good cheer, Ridley; and play the man. We shall this day, by God’s grace, light up such a candle in England, as, I trust, will never be put out.”

If you are interested in the conference for next year (November 2012, Lord willing and to be confirmed) then please email Andrew Graham: andrewmichaelgraham@gmail.com

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