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67th ‘School in Theology’ Conference

December 2019 | by Andrew Allan

Carronvale House in Falkirk was once again the venue for the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)’s four-day September conference. Each day began with prayer and morning devotions (led by Mark Fitzpatrick, Simon Green and Trevor Kirkland) and ended with worship.

Rev. John Keddie gave a well-researched paper on Thomas Chalmers. He covered his early life, conversion, growth in piety and ministry in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Mr Keddie described him as a ‘phenomenon’ for his time.

The Christian Institute’s Nigel Kenny gave a paper on gender ideology. Contemporary confusion over this matter was seen to stem from neglect of the biblical truth, particularly that God made us male and female — something surgery cannot change.

The third speaker was Rev. Roy Mohon, who spoke on the ‘Order of salvation’ (election, calling, justification, etc). It was a difficult subject but well handled.

Rev. Greg MacDonald provided an enlightening overview of Malachi, drawing out the contrast between God’s covenant love and the unfaithfulness of man.

Rev. James MacInnes gave an address entitled ‘The gospel and the sum of saving knowledge’. He directed us to the remedy provided by Jesus Christ through the covenant of grace. He also compared the covenant theology of Charles Hodge with Louis Berkhof.

‘Sacrifices of a sweet Savour’ was the title of an edifying paper given by Rev. James Gracie. He considered the significance of Old Testament sacrifices and the centrality of ‘Christ crucified’ for Paul.

Rev. Malcolm Watts gave a paper on the demise of the historical Protestant interpretation of Revelation 13-17 (which identifies the Antichrist as the Church of Rome).

The concluding paper, by Rev. Andrew Allan, was on sabbath keeping. He contended that the Third Commandment was first given to Adam, as God rested on the seventh day of creation and set an example for Adam to follow. And if  Adam — innocent and in paradise — needed a day of rest, how much more do we as fallen mankind.

It was encouraging to see several new faces at the conference, including delegates from England and Wales. The bookstall (provided by the Evangelical Bookshop, Belfast) was excellent and the fellowship was warm; discussions often went on late into the night.

Talks from the conference are available from (under ‘2019 School in Theology’). God-willing, the 68th conference will take place on 7th-10th September 2020 at the same venue.

Rev. Andrew Allan

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