In a new departure for a conference that has always met at Leicester, this year’s conference from 24-27 April took place at Yarnwood Park in Staffordshire.
Yarnwood is also used as a BT training centre. It is comfortable, with a high standard of catering and accommodation. There is plenty of related space for attendees to spread into for discussion and fellowship.
Around 250 men attended, from nearly 20 countries. Conference addresses were themed on ‘The living and enduring Word’ and dovetailed into each other well. The speakers were Stephen Clark, Bridgend; Ed Collier, Sheffield; Sinclair Ferguson, Dundee (replacing Iain D. Campbell); David Johnston, Bangor, Northern Ireland; Jeff Kingswood, Woodstock, Ontario; Garry Williams, John Owen Centre, London; and Andy Young, Cheltenham. The different sessions were chaired by Banner trustees.
The standard of ministry — centring on rightly handling the Word of God in order to set forth the Lord Jesus Christ from all the Scriptures — was of a high order. There was a palpable sense of the powerful, living Word of God throughout the addresses. There was also an encouraging unity in prayer and fellowship. Whatever challenges and discouragements the Reformed cause in Britain has experienced over the last 12 months, there is still much to be thankful to God for.
Reference was made at times to the Reformation, especially to Martin Luther’s wonderful quotation: ‘I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip of Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing; the Word did it all’. But on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 1517, it was perhaps surprising not to have a whole historical paper on the Reformation.
However, there is much good material on it in the Banner of Truth’s title list, and there was, as always, an abundant supply of excellent, discounted Banner literature at the conference bookstall.