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Conference – Scottish Reformed Conference 2017

August 2017 | by Ian Shaw

An Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman walked into a conference … no punchline given, just first-class Bible teaching at the 28th Scottish Reformed Conference!

Held at Hamilton College in May, several hundred people gathered to worship and hear the Word of God preached in an uplifting and challenging way.

The first speaker was Rupert Bentley-Taylor. Mr Bentley-Taylor was born into a missionary family and lived as a child in the Far East. He taught history for six years and then went on to serve as a pastor for 30 years, firstly in Bournemouth and then in Bath.

He also served for three years as president of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. Mr Bentley-Taylor, with his wife Margie, are currently involved in Emmanuel Church in Bath, though he now speaks widely across the country.

Turning to Isaiah 55, Mr Bentley-Taylor reminded those present of the power and sufficiency of God’s Word. This is not simply an issue of religious theology, but rather a matter of urgent contemporary necessity.

The prophet Isaiah spoke to an indifferent nation, reminding the people of the power, promises and pleading of God’s Word; highlighting, in particular, the grandeur and eternal purposes of the Word of God.

God’s Word is epic, and one of the great privileges of the Christian is being part of its progress. Christians throughout the world are part of something immense.

Prayer

The second teaching session was led by Warren Peel, who spoke on the importance of cultivating a prayer life that honours God. Mr Peel read classics at Oxford University, before returning to Northern Ireland to study theology at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast and at Queen’s University Belfast.

He was ordained to the ministry in 2001 and served in Ballyclabber Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPC) in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, until 2012, when he was called to Trinity RPC in Newtownabbey.

He also teaches New Testament language and literature at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast. He is married to Ruth and they have four daughters.

Mr Peel highlighted the importance of developing good habits in prayer, taking us to Colossians 1 and noting how the apostle Paul prayed and what he prayed for.

Thanksgiving is at the heart of Paul’s prayers, particularly thanksgiving for the gospel and thanksgiving for the evidence of the gospel in the lives of believers; namely, faith, love and hope.

Concerning our supplication in prayer, he suggested that we could do no better than follow Paul’s example, by praying we will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and grow in holiness, maturity and thankfulness.

Legacy

David Meredith, mission director for the Free Church of Scotland, led the final session of the day. He is involved in supporting evangelism, church planting and revitalisation, both internationally and in Scotland.

Mr Meredith was previously senior minister at Smithton Free Church in Inverness, Scotland, where during his 30-year ministry the church grew from a church plant to one of Scotland’s largest congregations. It has been his privilege to speak at conferences in the UK, mainland Europe and USA. He is married to Nina and they have a grown-up family.

This final session began with a pointed question: Are we living our legacy? Turning to Joshua 23, Mr Meredith pointed out the dangers of an impending apostasy if the present church does not pass on the legacy God has entrusted to us.

We are to remember what God has done and hold fast to God and the truth he has entrusted to us. We are also to remember that God is in control and we must not live independently of him. Joshua was God-obsessed; his focus was on God, his life was about God, and God was his hero.

Ian Shaw