It was brilliant to be at a live conference this last week. Yes, we still had to wear masks and socially distance and there was no bookstall but there were live speakers and coffee and lollipops and people to talk to. Brilliant! I love being with Presbyterians as despite the few differences we pretty much agree and they have some excellent men who can be so helpful. One can feel an outsider a little but I am well used to that in all the circles I inhabit. The Catalyst conference is organised by IPC (International Presbyterian Church not to be confused with EPCUW or any other bunch) and was at their church in Ealing. Ealing is on our doorstop and my wife works in nearby Hanwell so I was able to get a lift in and out with a little walk between. Perfect. It was also a joy to be there with both my father-in-law and one of my sons. Three generations!
The conference was organised so that all three days replicated themselves which has advantages and disadvantages. The overall title was Apolgetics and there was plenty on that. Mostly I loved it but being out of practice I got rather tired. The heatwave added to that. Each day we began with James Torrans from Inverness gave us Bible readings from John 11, Mark 2, etc. He was followed by James Eglinton, seniot lecturer at Edinburgh University. He introduced us to Gisbertiurs Voetius, Herman Bavinck and J H Bavinck in order to explore our subject. The first paper on categorising sin was most interesting but all good and stimulating stuff.
After lunch Dan Strange, until recently at Oak Hill and now moving to the north east, is a good speaker for the graveyard slot and he kept us awake with his extrapolations from. J H Bavinck on magnetic points. Each day ended with wonderful expositions from Romans by Sinclair Ferguson. Good days.
The conference is planned for the same time next year. Meanwhile look out for this year's conference on video. See here.