Two Reformed conferences were held in May in Sri Lanka — a family and a pastors’ conference.
Both were organised by the Grace Evangelical Church (GEC) of Colombo and held at a conference hall near the city. GEC began in 1977, when believers meeting for Bible studies came together, united by their commitment to the centrality of preaching God’s Word and Reformation theology.
The family conference commenced with prayer and a DVD by John Piper. There were expositions of the pastoral epistles and two papers on John Owen’s teaching on ‘Fellowship with God’ and ‘The fellowship of saints’.
Each evening, there was the opportunity for discussion. These were stimulating times when those present asked practical questions about living in accordance with the Word of God.
Referencing the Sri Lankan civil war, in which many lost their lives and others encountered severe hardships, a paper was delivered by a brother, who was introduced as being first a Christian and then a politician. It was entitled ‘A reasonable political solution’.
It was remarkable that those present were representative of most of the ethnic groups in the country, yet worshipping and fellowshipping together.
Does this not proclaim that it is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that unites people? The gospel is good news of reconciliation between God and man first, and then between man and man.
The pastors’ conference brought together 31 pastors and elders, most of whom had some connection to GEC. The opening session was a sermon on ‘The call and the promise of God to his servants’. There were study papers on: biblical ethics in Christian ministry, by Jothi Hoole; paradigms of Reformed fraternals and passing the Reformed work to the next generation, by Benet Surendran; expositions from Ephesians on servanthood and leadership, by Brian Blacker; John Owen on schism, and social responsibility — a Reformed perspective, by Huthin Mano.
The main studies were given by Cecil Siriwardene, pastor of Sovereign Grace Bible Church, Redondo Beach, California. An important accomplishment was the decision to reconvene a Reformed fraternal for pastors and Christian leaders somewhat along the lines of the Westminster Fellowship in London, UK.
Those present recognised the importance of pastors getting together to share their experiences, pray together and encourage one another. It was indeed encouraging to witness the progress of the Reformed work in Sri Lanka, under the hand of God.