I only got three of the four sessions yesterday, having to leave early and so missing Mark Dever at the end of the day. I was there for the other sessions, though. Vaughan Roberts started the day again from 1 Peter on submission, service and a little bit again on suffering. Thoroughly prepared and eager to be a blessing Vaughan Roberts' expositions have been one of the best streams and I am sorry to be missing his final session this morning. I liked his retelling of how it is when you ask men and women how their marriages are doing. Men usually say "fine" but then you ask the wife she says "well ...". I'm sure that is true to life.
The second session was Rico Tice (vying with Dan Strange for the worst dressed speaker award). One can't help liking Rico's enthusiasm and passion for evangelism and his self-dismissiveness is attractive, though it can be overdone. It is especially good to hear an evangelist saying we must speak about the wrath of God. Also, last time I heard Rico he was emphasising the need for the Sunday morning preacher to advertise the small groups whereas this time he said preachers must preach Christ crucified. Most fun confession: I was so miffed I went and bought a Magnum. Silliest statement: Shepherds don't give birth to sheep, sheep do. What?!! Rico is well known for his enthusiasm for small group work. His latest craze is one to one work. Apparently Uncovered has gone down a storm in UCCF circles and among the cognoscenti is seen as the new way forward. It was a bit of a deja vu moment for me as I remember being told that small group work was the panacea for all ills. My fear is that unintentionally or not this just further demotes preaching as commonly understood. For that to happen at a conference organised by a group that says it is "unashamed to recall ministers to the work of Biblical preaching and teaching, believing that this alone will equip the saints for the work of ministry" may well be out of place.
In the afternoon we had our seminar stream. Jago Wynne, a former management consultant (no, nor me), who has written on the subject, spoke about Christianity in the work place. This was okay, although I was sorry to hear that old mistake repeated that work is worship. He may have been misled by a desire for alliteration (with work and witness) but one fears a deeper theological misunderstanding. On the whole it was fine though. The idea that pastors could spend a week "workshadowing" members did make me laugh a bit. It is amazing what ideas people can come up with. I think the problem is not beginning with the Bible, which never suggests to ministers to go to the work place of their flock (though it might well have happened anyway).