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School in Theology 2012

School In Theology 2012 Group

School In Theology 2012 Group

The 60th Free Church School in Theology met from 3 to 6 September 2012 at Carronvale House in Larbert, bringing together ministers, divinity students and laymen from churches throughout the United Kingdom for discussion and fellowship.

The conference was opened by Rev John J Murray, who spoke on the Monday evening on ‘The Great Ejection of 1662’, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the ejection of the Covenanters from the Church of Scotland.  Mr Murray set the Ejection in its historical context as one part of the campaign by the Stewart kings to roll back the achievements of the Reformation in the Churches of England and Scotland, achievements that would largely be secured in the Revolution Settlement of 1690.  However, he did not neglect the human story of the Ejection: the courage required by the ministers to stand firmly behind their Biblical principles, and the suffering experienced in being turned out from their homes and livelihoods in the middle of winter.

Another highlight came the following morning from experienced missionary Tony Lambert of OMF, who spoke encouragingly and knowledgeably of the wonderful advance of the Gospel in China since 1980.  Dr Lambert stressed that there is no need to exaggerate the work of God in China, as the real story is quite marvellous enough without reliance on wild statistics.  He was able to speak from extensive personal experience of the general orthodoxy and solidity of the Chinese Church.

The other addresses included a fine paper on Justification by Rev Derek Petrie (RPC, Larne), focussing on its significance.  Rev David Silversides (RPC, Loughbrickland) had a sadder subject in challenging the ‘Contemporary Wresting of Scripture’, especially the attempts by modern exegetes to undermine the Bible’s condemnation of sexual deviancy, and the use in modern translations of gender neutrality, sometimes with serious sacrifices of clarity in translation.

Many agreed that the highlight of the School was a striking paper by Rev Malcolm Watts (Emmanuel, Salisbury) on ‘The Destiny of Creation’, an exposition of Romans 8:18-23, in which Mr Watts built a robust case for considering the new earth anticipated in Scripture to be a renovation of the present world on the basis of Christ’s finished work.  The warm and encouraging application of this theme was stimulating and helpful for all.

Further papers were given by Rev Allan Murray (FCC, Brora) and Rev James Gracie (FCC, Edinburgh), with the conclusion of the conference being a warm and practical address on ‘Fighting the Good Fight’ by Rev Maurice Roberts.  This conference celebrated the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the annual School in Theology by R. A. Finlayson and others in 1953, and the occasion was marked by the presentation of a ‘birthday’ cake from the staff at Carronvale House.  The 2013 School will be held from 2 to 5 September Lord willing.  Audio recordings of addresses are available from Bill McQueer, email bill@mcqueer.com for details.

The School is a residential one and is a wonderful opportunity for teaching and fellowship. It is open to Christian pastors and other workers and elders and is aimed at encouraging a clear understanding of the Reformed faith.

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