Seventeen days of 2013 have gone by without a blog and over a week since the Carey conference (Swanwick, 8-10 January) ended, so it's high time I said something.
It was an excellent conference. Last year's was excellent too but in a different way. Sam Waldron then gave us a fine overview of covenant theology for Baptists. This year's was less theological, perhaps more devotional. Jonathan Bayes began with an attempt to ground prayer for revival in the New Testament. It was very stimulating even though apart from linking the two testaments through Matthew 1:1, reminding us that Jesus was the descendant of David, most of the talk revolved around Old Testament texts. There was reference at the end to the Lord's prayer ('your kingdom come') and the parable of the persistent friend at midnight and one or two other texts on prayer. Perhaps a paper on a biblical theology of revival (as opposed to basing it on one or other testament) might have been better.
Andy McIntosh gave us his presentation of the importance of Genesis 1, including insistence on the young earth and 24 hour days. David Skull of Guildford gave a good talk on holiness from 1 Peter but was slightly hampered by the failure of his power point presentation.
John Stevens of FIEC gave an excellent overview, though inevitably leaving many questions for discussion, on the church and the state. Steven Curry concluded with a heart-warming sermon on 2 Corinthians 11-12 - strength in weakness.
The main course of the conference however was without doubt Michael Reeves (Head of Theology for UCCF) who gave a masterclass in using biography to make theological points. From Athanasius he spoke about the Trinity and of the love of God the Father; from Richard Sibbes we were led to consider the love of Christ; we were all expecting something on the Holy Spirit from Jonathan Edwards but instead got something equally good - a consideration of the religious affections.
Reeves is a superb communicator and we were greatly uplifted by these addresses. 'Holiness' was the title of only one address but it was somehow the pervading atmosphere left by the conference as a whole.
A fine conference, and good fellowship.