The Church Society met for its annual conference at High Leigh Conference Centre from 17-19 May. The theme was ‘Preaching Christ – a conference for Christians eager to proclaim Christ in an age of apostasy and political correctness’.
John Cheeseman (Holy Trinity, Eastbourne) opened on ‘Preaching Christ: reaching unbelievers’. People become believers because the Father gives those predestined to Jesus Christ (John 6:37). Therefore we have confidence to preach the gospel, because God will save those he has chosen.
Afterwards Ian Hamilton (Cambridge Presbyterian) gave the first of three expositions on ‘Preaching Christ from the Bible’. Preaching Christ brings sinners in and builds saints up. In the evenings David Phillips (Church Society) led open sessions discussing possible courses of action for evangelicals in the Church of England if women are appointed as bishops.
The days started with united prayer. On day 2 Nigel Atkinson (Knutsford Parish Church) spoke on ‘Preaching Christ: the Christ we preach’, explaining from Acts that Christ’s death and resurrection are rooted in history. The gospel is doctrinal and specific not vague and uncertain, even though much of Anglicanism is uncertain about the truth.
Andrew Cornes (Crowborough Parish Church) spoke on ‘Preaching Christ in pastorally sensitive situations’. From John 4:1-42 we were encouraged to follow Jesus’ example in engaging with unbelievers, as well as with believers with relationship problems.
In the afternoon Ian Hamilton gave his second exposition, referring to Jesus’ words in Luke 24:27, ‘what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself’.
Ian Barter (Banner of Truth Trust) spoke about Charles Simeon, who began his ministry in Cambridge in 1782 amidst severe opposition. He preached Christ faithfully; and by the end of his ministry 54 years later, many Cambridge people had been converted.
On day 3 Gerald Bray (Anglican Professor of Divinity, Samford University) spoke on ‘Preaching Christ in an age of religious pluralism’, with reference to Acts 17:16. Unbelievers have no real purpose and no eternal hope, but Christians have purpose and meaning in their lives and can face death with confidence.
Ian Hamilton then concluded his studies on Christ in all the Scriptures. The whole Bible can be seen in the light of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15.
The conference was a great encouragement and help to all who attended. Next year it is from 22-25 May.