Our conference finished with papers from Matthew Bingham and Bill James. Matthew rounded out his previous historical paper with many quotations and three conclusions. 1. An affirmation of the truth of believers baptism 2. An encouragement to pursue meaningful church membership 3. A warning against becoming overly zealous in pursuit of congregational purity. These two papers were very good and helpful. The fact that most evangelical churches today do act as independent churches that require only believers to join ought notto be overlooked. My only fear was that one could feel rather smug and look down on Presbyterians and especially Congregationalists. No doubt we Baptists have our blind spots and inconsistencies too.
The final paper was given by Bill James, our conference convener, on salt and light. He took us through the material in Matthew 5, speaking first of the picture of salt and then light and rounding it out to present a vision of believers making an impact on the world today. He mentioned and quoted passages fom Rod Dreher's Benedict Option but felt this was not the way forward.
It has been good to be here. Next year's conference uis due to be January 8-10.