On Monday of this week, around 65 men gathered at the Eccentrics’ Conference to hear Stuart Olyott, Alec Motyer and Richard Bewes. They were disappointed; of that noble triumvirate, only Richard Bewes was present. Olyott and Motyer were prevented by ill health.
|The Ubiquitous Geoff Thomas|
So, on Monday and Tuesday of this week, around 65 men gathered at the Eccentrics’ Conference and heard Richard Bewes, Paul Mallard, Paul Blackham and Somebody Else. Most of the men were younger ministers and it was the first time I’d every attended a conference where I felt like an old man. Happily, though, the wonderful Geoff Thomas was present to make me feel better; while ever Geoff is in Aberystwyth, I know I’m a young man.
Paul B is well qualified to speak at such a conference; there is no-one quite like him. He’s full of mad-cap enthusiasm for the Bible (often seeing and pointing out things that are there but you’ve never noticed!), for church history, for doctrine, for the Lord Jesus. He has a unique way of getting a lot into his talks, too: he doesn’t finish about half his sentences, leaving you to fit in the rest while he goes on to the next thing he wants so say.
|I've got the end of my sentence...|
|Here it is....|
|I've dropped it|
|Anybody see where it went?|
Richard Bewes, by contrast, is quite a contrast. Quiet spoken, measured in tone and phrase, he spoke richly of the Rwandan Revival, of which he’d been an eye-witness. It is, I think, the first eye-witness account of revival that I’ve ever heard.
Paul Mallard is, I think, the best preacher that the FIEC has got at the moment. He’d been drafted in at very short notice, and preached with his characteristic warmth, clarity and enthusiasm first from Revelation 2:18ff (Thyatira) and then from the first psalm in the Bible (Exodus 15). He urged the men to be men; warned them that there were times when pastors just had to stand up and fight. Fine expositions, warmly delivered, gratefully received. We could have had more of him.
Gentle reader, you will be glad to know that no photos are available of Somebody Else. He managed, though, to be controversial while talking about the Church. Some loved what he had to say and were open with him about it; others didn’t, and muttered in dark corners (apparently). They were particularly annoyed, it seems, with the call to close all Bible Colleges – a call which he hadn’t made. (Paul Blackham, by contrast, lamented that he hadn’t made that call. Can’t win, eh?)
It was, however, a very good conference and Steve Levy (pictured here without his More Famous Brother Paul) is to be commended for the vision and for all the work he and his church put into it. Food was superb, hosts were great. Church could do with a bigger car park, though…
|The More Famous Brother|