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News – EP Russian conference

January 2011 | by John Norris

EP Russian conference

The 11th Evangelical Press Russian-language pastoral conference was held on 4-5 November 2010 near Moscow.

     It was encouraging to see nearly 90 delegates from several countries within the former Soviet Union. Some even travelled for 50 hours to get to the conference; such was their appetite for the Word of God and for fellowship.

     Many of those attending came from isolated and challenging situations. For them, the opportunity to hear the doctrines of grace expounded and to share their concerns and pray was a particular blessing.

     The key note speakers were EP authors Derek Thomas of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, and Philip Eveson, former principal of the London Theological Seminary.

     John Rubens welcomed the delegates on behalf of EP and we were again privileged to have Pastor Georgi Viazovski of Minsk bring the opening address, challenging us regarding our true spiritual state, based on the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector in Luke 18.

     Mr Thomas brought two messages from Isaiah and a final address regarding marriage. From Isaiah 6 we were given a vision of the holiness, judgement and grace of God, underpinning our motivation to undertake God’s mission, however hard the task.

     In Isaiah 53, we considered the depth of suffering endured by the Father’s servant – our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his triumph, humiliation, profound suffering and perfect submission, which brought us justification and a share in the spoils of his conquest.

    

Marriage

Mr Thomas’ realistic and practical address on marriage, based primarily on Genesis 1-2 and 1 Corinthians 11, highlighted many principles applicable to our society.

     He tenderly challenged us to apply the principles and enjoy the companionship, completeness and blessings that Christian marriage can afford.

     Mr Eveson’s three addresses on justification by faith alone complemented Mr Thomas’ messages from Isaiah. He showed God’s sovereignty in salvation, Abraham as the key example of being justified by a faith that works.

     Mr Eveson also showed that it is the object of our faith (Christ), rather than faith itself, which saves. He demonstrated the basis for our justification; what it presupposes regarding God; the seriousness of man’s guilt and helplessness before God; and the blessings that flow from justification.

     His final address looked at the deviations from the truths of justification underlying Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic doctrine. He also dealt with the ‘new perspective’, showing how it deviates from biblical truth and might be attractive to the Orthodox and Roman churches. It creates significant dangers for evangelical witness.

     After each session, the speakers took detailed questions on their papers, which stimulated debate and helped reinforce understanding of the truths. The concluding time of prayer was a blessing and many of us will already be looking forward to next year’s conference, Lord willing.

John Norris

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