It was a crisis that prompted Westminster Presbyterian Seminary, Newcastle, to host a conference on evangelism this October. Conference speaker Andy Young summed up that crisis: ‘Europe is the only continent in the world where the church is receding.’
With mortality standing at 100%, the challenge remains for Christians to help others spiritually prepare for this one certainty in their lives.
Welcoming delegates, director Jonathan Winch said, ‘Westminster’s motto is head-heart-hands: knowledge should set our hearts aflame with love for Christ and make us live differently.’
Who better than Geoff Thomas – veteran pastor of fifty years – to open the conference? Speaking of the disciples’ miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5, Geoff reminded delegates that Christ challenged seasoned fishermen who had caught nothing all night to ‘launch out into the deep’. To be successful fishers of men, nothing more is needed than to take Christ at his word.
Later sessions emphasised prayerful dependence on God, preaching, personal evangelism, and youth work.
David Strain led an insightful session on ‘Today’s false gospels: therapeutic, reactionary, and social’, leaving delegates thankful for Christ’s work on the cross, which alone deals with the heart of the problem: the human heart.
Jonathan Winch concluded, ‘It’s great that hundreds joined us, online and in-person, from across four continents. The challenge now is to ‘launch out into the deep’ with this good news. The cross of Christ is the only answer to the crisis of our time.’
Conference addresses are available from the seminary’s YouTube channel.