The 25th Annual Scottish Reformed Conference
The twenty-fifth annual Scottish Reformed Conference took place as usual on the second Saturday of May, in Hamilton College, Hamilton. It was a special day of ministry, fellowship and blessing, not least due to the fact that it was our 25th anniversary year and we were able to consider how the conference has grown and matured, by the grace of God, over the years.
Roughly 400 people attended the conference from across all denominations, making the SRC a major event in the Scottish Christian calendar. There was a good mix of ages, and even nationalities (some even travelling up from England!), with many young people, families and children.
Our guest speakers this year were the Rev Dr Sinclair B Ferguson, who has now returned to Scotland after retiring from First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina and our Chairman, the Rev David Carmichael. We prayed that the Lord would lead them in their preparation so that the most apt matter might be placed before us. The theme that emerged was of the Kingly glory of the Lord Jesus Christ who reigns by divine appointment. Both speakers were warmly received with attentive and appreciative listening.
In his first address Dr Ferguson considered Psalm 2 under the title “Christ Jesus: The Lord”. He began by reflecting on the way the psalms were arranged through words and ideas that link Psalms 1 and 2: Psalm 1 being about the man who reflects the heart and character of God and Psalm 2 about the King who holds dominion. In relation to creation, he pointed out that whereas God created all things good they were not all finished. In the light of the fall Psalm 1 is about the restoration of mankind and Psalm 2 about the restoration of dominion. Turning our attention to way Psalm 2 was written, he demonstrated how it is made up of 4 voices: verses 1 to 3 is the voice of restless man, (restlessness obvious from the strength of the verbs in them) verses 4 to 6 the voice of the sovereign Lord, verses 7 to 9 the voice of the enthroned Son and finally verses 10 to 12 the voice of the burdened evangelist. We were greatly encouraged as we were reminded that our present difficulties are put into perspective when viewed against the backdrop of the eternal dominion and ultimate victory of our Lord.
In his second address Dr Ferguson reflected on the way Paul speaks of his personal coming to faith in Christ and his confession of “Christ Jesus: My Lord” from Phil 3:7-11. We were guided through the different stages in Paul’s understanding of Christ. First, what he was without Christ from the circumstances of his birth, secondly, how he came to Christ from his encounter with Stephen to meeting Christ on the road to Damascus. Then, thirdly, what he was ‘in Christ’ and finally what he became for Christ, v8, knowing ‘holy dissatisfaction’, ‘single-minded simplicity’ and ‘genuine spiritual accountancy’. It was a great blessing to consider that the righteousness that Paul came to know is ours also, as believers, because we are united to Christ.
It was fitting that in our 25th anniversary year our second speaker should be the Rev David Carmichael, who is the Chairman and a founding member of the SRC. We are indebted to Mrv Carmichael for the major role he has played in establishing the SRC and his Chairmanship in recent years. He passionately preached from Mark 15:16-32 under the title “Christ Jesus: Our King”. We were reminded of how the Lord Jesus endured mockery, was brutalized and raised upon his throne (the cross). While on the cross he refused the drug infused drink of the soldiers (the world), intended to dull his senses and ease his suffering, unlike most people today who suppress their spirituality by drinking in the world. In so doing he ensured that he was in full control, able to fulfill Scripture and achieve his task and he will return as the King of Glory for his true Church. Paul wrote ‘…before whom the Lord was portrayed as crucified’: we were there, in Mr Carmichael’s preaching, at the cross. All we could do was gaze and wonder at the love, grace and mercy of God. Many were so absorbed into the preaching that spontaneous cries of amen and hallelujah were heard.
As a conference we are also grateful to the team of young people ably led by Cameron Shaw of Clarkston Baptist Church, whose work amongst the children was first class and deeply appreciated. Similarly, we are indebted to John Rawlinson and his team from Banner of Truth who provided the excellent bookstall.
We are thankful to God for a fine conference, exceptional ministry and genuinely warm fellowship that exists between those who attend year on year and we look forward to our next conference on the 9th May 2015, when our main speaker will be Kevin DeYoung from the United States. Audio and video are available at www.scottishreformedconference.org.