Banner of Truth Conference 2008
Describing the Banner conference is like trying to describe a chocolate muffin. It needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated!
The Holy Spirit overruled and drew the themes of the various conference addresses together. Perhaps the dominant emphasis was: ‘Ministering in the presence and power of God’. This tone was set by the opening sermon of Gwynn Williams, on ‘The gospel did not come to you in word only but also in power, in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance’.
Joel Beeke spoke three times, emphasising the need for preachers to be Christ-centred. There was solemnity as we explored the unfathomable mystery of Christ’s cry of dereliction on the cross – ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ No matter how deep our woe, Christ has plumbed greater depths. He has done this to deliver us and is able to comfort us in our darkness.
Our pastoral responsibilities were plainly and searchingly laid out by Stuart Olyott in his two addresses. A pastor must shepherd all the flock and he must be concerned to see others raised up as faithful preachers for the next generation.
Ian Hamilton spoke twice: Romans 11:33-36 shows how captivated Paul was by the gospel; Isaiah 42:1-4 shows the preacher’s character exemplified perfectly in Jesus Christ.
This year’s historical paper was given by John Aaron on ‘Lessons from the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists’. It was moving to hear of what God did and can do, as he came upon feeble men in reviving power.
The closing sermon, on Thursday morning, was given by Stuart Olyott. He reminded us from 1 John 1 of ‘The message we always need to hear’. It was a simple, heartwarming presentation of the gospel.
Words on a page cannot capture the conference’s atmosphere. The ministry was rich and helpful. Reports from overseas broadened our horizons; a discussion panel explored issues raised; and there were opportunities to pray and talk together.
There were books at discount prices, excellent food, walks in the botanical gardens and even football for those inclined! One event, not scheduled but very beneficial, was an evening discussion for the under 40s (and a few wishful thinkers) where Joel Beeke and Stuart Olyott spoke frankly about the work of the ministry.