The annual Free Church School in Theology met in Larbert in September 2014. The sessions were marked by a prayerful spirit, especially with the Scottish independence referendum falling on the final day of the gathering.
The school heard a number of fine papers. Retired minister John J. Murray discussed the biblical teaching on heresy in the church and gave useful counsel on how this threat may be countered.
Trevor Kirkland, minister of Ballyclare and Doagh Free Church (Continuing) in Northern Ireland, gave an excellent exegetical discussion on the ‘Baptism of the Spirit’.
He showed how the relevant passages in Acts can be misused when some treat them as ‘prescriptive rather than descriptive’. He brought out that baptism is a shared experience of the New Testament people of God and mark of those regenerated by the Holy Spirit. He rejected any notion of salvation apart from the inner working of the Spirit.
James MacInnes addressed the themes of Hebrews, while David Silversides gave a robust paper on worship, expounding the importance of a strict application of the regulative principle.
Dr Donald John Maclean of Cambridge Presbyterian Church delivered a particularly striking address, comparing the ministries of Calvin and Knox and drawing out valuable lessons for Christian service. It is remarkable that both these men required external compulsion to commit themselves to Christian ministry and both had to go through severe trials before the Lord blessed their labours.
Free Church Seminary Old Testament lecturer Gavin Beers gave a detailed and thorough paper on ‘Christophanies in the Old Testament’. He showed that the Angel of the Lord must always be identified with the pre-incarnate Christ and that God’s revelation comes through the mediation of the Son.
The school concluded with a warm and challenging address on the minister as a man of God, delivered by Richard Brooks, recently retired from his pastorate in Matlock, Derbyshire. (Recordings from [email protected])