Fun at the Free Church Assembly

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I'm travelling home on the train from Edinburgh having spent the last 2 days at the Free Church Assembly in Edinburgh. I enjoyed the Assembly; it is quaint and old fashioned but very friendly. I was expecting to have to wade through an army of angry Psalm singers throwing hymn books at me as I entered St Columba's but from the parts I saw there was good humour and a sense of unity about the proceedings.

David Meredith opened the Assembly with a masterful exposition on Acts 1, imploring us to look out and get the gospel out. James McIver the incoming moderator spoke very well indeed on the Glory of Christ, particularly on how this effects the unity of the church and our preaching. Their study panel has produced an excellent report on Divorce and Remarriage, Alex MacDonald's seconding of this report was terrific and is worth reading and thinking over. He drove us back to scripture, not that any of us had our bibles open. It was a shame there wasn't more engagement and questions on this report. It's a hugely relevant subject in church life and the 'no marriage after divorce' brigade are very vocal, this paper is a great riposte to their teaching. The committee should be commended on their hard work.

I was very encouraged by the two days and although there was lots of references to the weakness of the denomination the amount of excellent men sitting in that room is a great sign for the future. What denomination wouldn't want to have David Meredith, Iain D Campbell, Colin Dow, Donald Macleod, the mighty Neil DM and Iver Martin in their ranks. The future if they can hang together is bright for the Free Church.

There were some odd moments where you feel like you've entered the Matrix. It seemed at one point that taking school assemblies had become a great priority for ministers. I find it difficult to imagine that there aren't better people qualified in congregations to take school Assemblies than ministers.  Community Outreach is fantastic and is a by product of the gospel often under estimated by reformed churches, but our main business as ministers is the ministry of the word and sacrament and prayer. I was surprised there wasn't more talk of preaching but I was only there for 2 days so that may come up later on in the week.

I had to leave before the Psalms debate and many of the big beasts of the Free Church didn't get up to speak during my time there.

It was a delight to have time with good friends, the Assembly was welcoming and warm hearted. I felt the Free Church is in good heart and very good things are happening.

I can also confirm that Iain D Campbell is alive but looks a completely different man in the flesh than he does on the back of his books and from his photo on the Ref 21 website. Is it possible there are 2 Iain D Campbell's?

Posted May 25, 2011 @ 11:15 AM by Paul Levy

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