Faithful followers of this blog will have noticed that it has been quiet for a while and that there has been no mention of this year's Banner minister's conference in Leicester. My apologies for a lack of communication,. What happened is that I managed to arrange things so that I headed off to a wedding the Friday night of the conference and was giving a lecture (on F B Meyer) on the Monday after preaching here in Childs Hill on the Lord's Day 9reports to follow). This meant I was rather distracted with trying to get myself prepared for the preaching and the lecture. I'm sure that if I had been a bit more organised I could have done something.
Anyway, I arrived late owing to arrangements at home with my mother-in-law being looked after by my good wife and so missed the opening message from veteran Ted Donnelly. Ted very kindly joined a group mainly of Welshmen to share with us. He has been very ill in recent years and it is a joy to know he was able to preach as he did (standing in for Ian Hamilton who had a funeral).
I did catch the rest of the conference. David Campbell spoke for three evenings on the seven sayings of the cross. I thought this was handled very well and was one of the highlights of the conference. David is a Scotsman but has been in Carlisle, Pennsylvania the last 14 years. I enjoyed his preaching and a little chat during which I managed to insult him with my ignorance about his published works. See here.
We had a surprisingly large number of biographical slots this year (replacing the usual sharing and discussion I guess). We looked at three Johns in church history. Ian Hamilton took us to John Owen and his book of the glory of Christ; George Curry to John Charles Ryle and Iain Murray to John Elias and his experience of revival (see my Elias blog here). These were all excellent papers but George Curry seemed some how to make the whole thing come alive in a striking way.
We also heard good messages from David Vaughn of France (on Christ's Lordship and on mission), Phil and Graham Heaps (the former on Romans 1 and the latter giving us top quality exposition and illustrations). Mark Johnston closed the conference very helpfully, taking us to the end of the whole book and drawing out some of the points there in a very helpful manner.
Of course, Banner is more than the messages. The chance to chat at length with many different men was also a great joy, as ever.
The bombshell, of course, was that future conferences cannot be held in Leicester and so next year we will be in Yarnfield Park (see here).