The 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Crieff Fellowship was marked by an exceptional conference of preaching, reflection, fellowship, and prayer.
The January event is an annual gathering of ministers from across Scotland. This year the principal speaker was Dr Joel Beeke, pastor, professor, and prolific author from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He delivered incisive and heart-warming addresses to the 150 attendees.
Numbers were augmented by a group of American pastors who represented the American Crieff Fellowship, birthed by and modelled upon the original vision. Their unique contribution was greatly appreciated.
Dr Beeke gave three addresses from Romans 7 and 8, as well as a helpful lecture on applicatory preaching drawn from Puritan examples and theology.
Tracing lessons on inward delight, dilemma, and deliverance from Romans 7, Dr Beeke emphasised that the closer we draw to Jesus, the more conscious we are of indwelling sin and our need to be made holy.
In preaching that was both pastoral and applicatory, Dr Beeke majored on our assurance of faith through the irreversibility of our adoption as seen in Romans 8.
His final address — from Revelation 19 — addressed the ‘utopian marriage in Christ in Heaven’. Our hearts were moved as we rehearsed the truths of the wedding, the bridegroom, the bride, and the guests at the great wedding feast awaiting believers.
Revd Martin Allen, for 14 years chairman of the Fellowship, also spoke. In an address entitled ‘Returning to roots’, he traced the life of Revd William Still, Crieff’s founder. Surveying his legacy, Revd Allen drew five lessons for ministers of our day. For some it was revelatory: they had little idea of the founder of Crieff and his principles.
In the words of the present chairman, Revd Jeremy Middleton: ‘It was a clarion call, calling them back to their roots. For many it will be seen to be the launch-pad for a more focused and fervent future ministry.’
Warmth, unity, and prayer marked our fellowship throughout the conference and underlined our awareness of the Lord’s presence among us.
As folk returned to parishes and pulpits, they did so with gratitude for the blessings of God’s preached Word and a renewed sense of standing firm in a great legacy of biblical expository preaching which cultivates faith and transforms life.
The next conference of the Crieff Fellowship is planned for January 2021.