Saturday 12 May marked the 29th Anniversary of the Scottish Reformed Conference held in Hamilton. This year the keynote speakers were Dr Steven Lawson and Rev. Kenneth Stewart. Around 400 people of all ages gathered to sit under the ministry of God’s Word and were greatly encouraged and blessed by thoughtful worship and uplifting preaching.
Dr Lawson is president and founder of One Passion Ministries, a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church, and hosts The Institute for Expository Preaching in cities around the world. He is also a teaching fellow for Ligonier Ministries. Dr. Lawson served as a pastor for 34 years in Arkansas and Alabama. Most recently, he was senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama.
The main focus of Dr. Lawson’s message was upon the holiness of God underlining the truth that high thoughts of God leads to high worship and high living. Dr Lawson maintained that the holiness of God is the starting place to begin to understand the nature and attributes of God; indeed, the holiness of God is the summation of all that he is; all the other attributes of God are an extension of, and flow from, his holiness. For revival and renewal to take place there must be a reawakening to the holiness of God.
Dr Lawson took the congregation through the Bible showing that the holiness of God is highlighted over and over again in both the Old and New Testaments: God is high and exalted, enthroned above, sovereign and distinct, pure and perfect. A knowledge of the holiness of God is not abstract theology, it affects the way every believer lives since Christians are to reflect the holiness of God in their lives — Christians are to be different from the world in which they live; they are not to blend in but rather be salt and light where God has placed them. ‘Be holy for I am holy’, says the Lord.
Kenneth Stewart is a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. From North Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, he drifted away from church in his teenage years but came to faith in Christ, through the witness of a Scripture Reader with the British army, at the age of 18. Persuaded that God was calling him to preach the gospel, which he does in gifted fashion, he was ordained in 1991 and, since then, has pastored several congregations in Scotland and Canada and has been minister of the Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church since it was planted in 2011.
Mr Stewart preached on 1 Kings 19 looking at the disappointment, discouragement and subsequent depression that Elijah experienced when things didn’t conform to the prophet’s own plans. Elijah forgot that God was in control and always works to fulfil his ultimate purpose. Due to self-pity, which caused Elijah to feel isolated and alone, the prophet moved from dereliction of duty to disobedience but was finally brought into God’s presence where God spoke not through the spectacular but through a quiet whisper — God spoke through his Word.
Elijah was reminded that he was not alone; in fact hundreds of God’s people had not bowed down to Baal and had remained faithful. Elijah was then commanded to get back to his duty and he would soon discover that his troubles would be resolved inside his calling not by running from them.
The conference ended in the same way it began: by praising our awesome, gracious, majestic and holy God. The warmth of fellowship was matched by the warmth of the weather with many people saying that the day was an encouragement and a blessing.