The annual conference was held at The Hayes, Swanwick, on 18-20 November 2002. Those
who attended did so with great expectations, and were not disappointed, for the Lord
poured out a rich blessing.
Geoff Thomas gave biographical sketches of John Wesley and A. W. Pink, emphasising
Wesley’s zeal and Pink’s faithfulness through a life of much discouragement.
Who could have imagined how the Lord would use Pink’s works, little known as they
were in his day? But the Lord has and is using his writings all over the world to
much spiritual benefit.
Paul Cook, stepping in at short notice, spoke on William Grimshaw of Haworth. Many
used mightily by God in the history of the church have been unusual characters —
and Grimshaw was, without doubt, one such.
Converted at the age of 35 as an Anglican curate, Grimshaw’s fearless and sometimes
humorous way of dealing with those in need of Christ was quite remarkable.
Mr Cook drew four lessons: (1) the need for preachers openly to rebuke the people’s
sins and make the gospel an issue; (2) the need to maintain zeal in God’s work; (3)
the wonderful way in which God raises up men with preaching gifts in revival times;
and (4) the supreme importance of preaching in gospel work.
Mr Cook also gave two studies on revival in Syrian Antioch from Acts 8:1-4 and 11:19-26.
The book of Acts, he suggested, gives a picture of what normative church life should
be, whereas many of the NT letters addressed churches that had departed it.
Under God’s sovereign hand, persecution scattered the church — and the gospel was
preached at Antioch as a consequence! A great number believed and Barnabas was sent
to minister to them.
He ‘saw’ the grace of God — people showing evidence of the new birth, liberated from
sin’s power and with a love for God and holiness. They became known as ‘Christians’.
David Carmichael from Glasgow preached powerfully from Habakkuk 1 and 2 on ‘The perplexity
of the worried Prophet’, ‘The position of the watching Prophet’, and ‘The prize of
the waiting Prophet’.
He drew attention to today’s evils and errors, but concluded with Psalm 46:10 and
Habakkuk 2:20: ‘Be still ... He is God ... He will be exalted’.
We returned home challenged, humbled and encouraged.