Monday 16-18 November saw almost 80 Christians gathered at The Hayes in Swanwick, Derbyshire, for the annual conference of the Reformation and Revival Fellowship – formerly known as the Fellowship for Revival.
The first of the two speakers to address the conference was Rev. John Marshall a congregational minister from Hemel Hempstead. His three addresses were on the theme of ‘Divine Judgement’. Our nation and the church are under God’s judgement. The lack of divine restraint on the nation’s sins, and the manifest absence of God from the life of the church, reveal his severe displeasure. Yet the church at large is indifferent to this and, in spite of the fact that God’s name is being dishonoured, there is generally no weeping over her condition.
Our reaction can be one of despair or of presumption, but the Lord’s people should be weeping and calling to the God of all mercies.
The other speaker was Jim Elliff from the USA, president of Christian Communicators Worldwide. His four addresses concentrated on the life of the individual believer and were on the theme, ‘The Fear of the Lord’. He defined this as ‘the painful but motivating awareness that God sees and judges every thought, word and action of my life, without partiality’.
Much emphasis was placed on the future judgement of both believers and unbelievers (though these two judgements are of different kinds and have different outcomes). Frequent mention was made of those who profess to be, and think they are, true believers when their lives indicate otherwise. Matthew 10:28 was spoken to the twelve apostles! God sometimes judges, or chastens, believers in this life, disciplining those whom he loves.
Finally ‘the fear of the Lord in worship’ was dealt with. Because he is God, he must be worshipped with fear. He has revealed how he wishes to be worshipped. The question was asked: ‘Do you fear God in your worship?’ and Isaiah 66: 1-2 was quoted.
In addition to these seven addresses, a video relating to the 1952 Hebrides revival was shown, which greatly moved and encouraged everyone.
As usual, the meals and the staff left nothing to be desired and the fellowship was wonderful! Truly, parting is such sweet sorrow, but there is always next time, God willing, and many have already paid their deposit for the next conference. This is arranged for 15-17 November 1999, when pastors Mostyn Roberts (Welwyn) and Geoffrey Thomas (Aberystwyth) are due to be the speakers.
This year’s attendance was an increase on last year’s.