I returned home yesterday from the Banner of Truth Ministers' Conference
held in Leicester in the UK. This was the fiftieth anniversary of its founding, though not quite the fiftieth conference (they missed maybe one or two for various reasons over the years). We heard Ted Donnelly
(briefly but beautifully, as the after-effects of his recent illness made themselves known in the act of his preaching, though he still was enabled to establish a keynote for the conference); Maurice Roberts
on the holiness of God; Matthew Brennan
from Clonmel, Ireland, on John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ; Lewis Allen
chaired a discussion on preachers and preaching; Jonathan Watson
offered some deeply felt and plainly telt lessons from Old Princeton; Iain Murray gave an impromptu address on the benefits and dangers of controversy; and, Alistair Begg
opened up the book of Titus. The times of prayer were well-attended, the opportunities for fellowship sweet, the singing of psalms and hymns splendid, the games of football intense.
Next year's Ministers' Conference is due to be held in Leicester from Monday 15th through Thursday 18th April (the Youth Conference precedes it, being held over the previous weekend, Friday 12th through Sunday 14th April). I do not know too much about the Youth Conference at this time, but the big cheese at the Ministers' Conference will be Sinclair Ferguson, a man who probably needs no introduction to readers of this blog. Other speakers include a dear friend of mine, Warren Peel, pastor of Ballyclabber Reformed Presbyterian Church (just outside Coleraine in Northern Ireland), a man who combines brilliance of mind with warmth of heart; Mike Reeves, Head of Theology at UCCF and author of several helpful volumes of basic theology and history); and, Jonathan Watson, general editor at the Banner of Truth Trust, who usually offers some insightful introduction to a recent substantial addition to the Banner oeuvre
. It promises to be a good'un.
If you are a pastor, might I encourage you to think about attending (and perhaps pointing your young people toward the youth conference)? As Alistair Begg pointed out, there is a peculiar Britishness to the conference in some respects, a sort of determined, bloody-minded straightforwardness, in which the men usually surrounded by lackeys at other major conferences, with the plebs kept at pole's length, are at Leicester to be found sitting round tables late at night being plied with questions, while a bag of fruit pastilles (other late-night conversation sustaining confectionery is available) is passed around to help maintain the feast of reason and the flow of soul.