On Friday 18 and Saturday 19 March 2016, Christians from across the UK met for the seventh annual Birmingham Conference, at Ebenezer Chapel, Old Hill.
The preachers were David Silversides (Loughbrickland), John Thackway (Holywell, Flintshire) and John Saunders (Chichester).
The conference was exceptionally good. The Word of God was faithfully declared and the meetings characterised by reverent worship, Scripture reading, preaching and prayer.
Pastor David Silversides gave two stimulating addresses on the theme of ‘Election and adoption — their comforts and blessings’. These doctrines were traced out in their effect on our sanctification, final glorification and perfection in the world to come.
His second address showed why the decree of God in election and the realisation of our adoption in time must be kept separate. He explained how a correct understanding of them is vital to safeguard against the errors of mysticism and presumption, which have caused widespread confusion.
Pastor John Thackway preached two fine pastoral messages on the doctrine of divine chastisement. Drawing from Job 5 and Hebrews 12:6, he showed how every Christian sometimes experiences their heavenly Father’s chastisement. We were reminded that this is not punitive, but corrective and done out of love for the everlasting good of God’s children.
In his second address he spoke on the ‘Blessings of divine chastisement’. We were reminded how, if humbly submitted to, such chastisements yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). God our Father is conforming us to the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On the Friday afternoon, a discussion forum was led by Dewi Higham on ‘Reformed principles of evangelism’. The ladies were addressed by Mairi Higham on ‘Maintaining a constant warfare against sin’.
On the Friday evening, John Saunders preached at the gospel rally on ‘Behold the man’ (John 19:5). A good congregation was present, including many young people.
The conference would not be possible without the kindness and warmth of church members of Ebenezer Baptist Chapel. Next year, it is planned for 24-25 March, with preachers William Macleod (Scotland), Dr Michael Haykin (USA) and Malcolm Watts (Salisbury).