Emmanuel Church, Salisbury, played host to a two-day event on 16-17 September, when the 15th Salisbury Conference took place.
Dr Michael Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Seminary,Louisville,Kentucky, spoke on key times in Christian mission under the title ‘Proclaiming Christ to the world’. The four meetings were chaired by the pastor, Malcolm Watts.
The conference began on Friday, when we were shown how the book of Acts is an outworking of Psalm 2:8: ‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession’.
After a reminder of the importance of Christian history, we heard a masterly account of the life and work of Patrick, a missionary of the early church. Patrick was faithful and active, despite living in days of chaos and decline at the time of the fall of theRoman Empire.
On Saturday, the first talk was on ‘The Reformation and its rediscovery of missionary vision’. The allegation by Jesuit Cardinal Bellarmine that the Reformers were uninterested in mission was refuted, with reference to Calvin andGeneva.
We were shown Calvin had an optimistic view of thekingdomofChristand energetically used biblical means to advance it. The sending of nearly 2000 missionaries fromGeneva, particularly toFrance, where some were martyred, was ample evidence of this reformer’s missionary fervour.
Calvin’s missionary success was underlined by what took place inFranceduring his ministry — the number of believers rose from roughly 2000 to 2 million.
The third address covered ‘Missionary work from Calvin to Carey’. Despite the growing influence ofBritainas a nation, there was a belief just prior to Carey that the time for foreign mission had not arrived.
So Carey’s optimistic view of the expansion of thekingdomofGodled to him being rebuked by John Collett Ryland, at a meeting of the Northamptonshire Baptist Association.
Carey’s supportive friends, John Ryland, John Sutcliff and Andrew Fuller, with their Calvinistic theology and faithful prayers — and how these things helped Carey — were all clearly portrayed.
The fourth address, ‘William Carey: the father of modern missions’, continued the account of Carey’s mission to India, following the publication of his Enquiry.
Carey admired both the zeal and some of the means used by the Moravian Brethren, while retaining his clear Calvinistic theology.
His freedom from racism, and wisdom in discerning value in aspects of local culture, together with his zeal for training local converts, greatly helped this missionary endeavour.
Carey’s mission inIndiahad great success. Following the conversion of Krishna Pal, some 4000 Indians were converted to Christ.
Finally, we were reminded of the importance for Carey of solid doctrine, prayer and active endeavour, all summed up in his famous phrase: ‘Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God’.
On the Lord’s Day following the conference, Dr Haykin preached in the morning, from Romans 15, on Paul’s zeal for the glory of God. In the evening, he challenged hearers, from 2 Timothy 1, to labour for Christ.
The weekend concluded with an after-church meeting, where Dr Haykin recounted the Southern Baptist Seminary’s previous fall into liberalism and its wonderful restoration to biblical doctrine in recent years.
Finally, Stephane Gagné, pastor of the Evangelical Baptist Church of New Life, inJoliette,Quebec, gave us a valuable insight into the Lord’s workings in French-speakingCanada.
These addresses have been recorded and are available to buy in CD or tape format, at www.salisburyemmanuel.org.uk or can be downloaded free at www.sermonaudio.com/source_detail.asp?sourceid=salisbury