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Free Church (Continuing) School in Theology

October 2011 | by Rev. Alasdair Macleod

Free Church (Continuing) School in Theology

The 59th Free Church School in Theology was held at Carronvale House, Larbert, from 5-8 September. The School is an annual conference in theology intended particularly for ministers and divinity students, though with much also to benefit the intelligent layman.
    Although it is organised mainly by ministers of the Free Church (Continuing) of Scotland, a number of brethren come each year from various denominational backgrounds, with some this time from England, Ireland, Korea and Singapore.
    This year, the 400th anniversary of the translation of the Authorised Version encouraged a close focus on the Word of God, and Rev. Trevor Kirkland (Templepatrick Reformed Church) gave an excellent paper on the ‘Development of the Authorised Version’.
    Mr Kirkland stressed the godliness and scholarship of many of those involved in the translation work, showing the care and diligence with which the work was done. He particularly highlighted the Puritan involvement in the project, refuting the accusation sometimes made that the AV is a ‘high church’ translation. He spoke of the enduring value of the AV in a world offering a multiplicity of alternative translations.
    A challenging address was given by Rev. Pooyan Mehrshahi of Providence Chapel, Cheltenham, who is working with the Trinitarian Bible Society on the revision of the Farsi Bible, originally translated by Scottish missionary Henry Martyn.

Persecution

Mr Mehrshahi spoke movingly of the sufferings of believers in his home country of Iran, the biblical Persia, who face unspeakable persecution including physical torture from a hostile state.
    The powerful picture he painted of believers continuing courageously to meet in secret for worship, despite constant threats of surveillance and infiltration, put the challenges to gospel work in the UK in perspective.
    Another highlight was a powerful address from Rev. Gavin Beers (Ayr FCC) on the ‘Collapse of a culture’, showing how the marks of cultural disintegration given in Romans 1 diagnose the deterioration in British society, especially since the 1960s.
    He showed how characteristics such as crime, drug abuse, rampant homosexuality and rioting as seen in London are all predictable signs of a civilisation in decline. He finished with a bold call for the preaching and proclamation of the gospel as the only effective antidote to the contagion of secularism.
    Other highlights included a warmly practical message on ‘How the caring church shows love’ by Rev. Richard Brooks (Dales Evangelical Church), and further papers from Revs Tim McGlynn, Sam Watson, William Macleod and Richard Ross, with stirring morning devotional messages from other brethren.
    Next year’s school will be held from 3-6 September. The secretary may be contacted at [email protected] or on 01445 731064. Talks may be obtained on CD from [email protected]
Alasdair Macleod

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