2007 Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference (US)
Final Conference Reflections
This year I’ve had the honor of attending two new conferences (new to me, anyway). One of these was the 2007 Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference in Grantham, PA. The Banner of Truth conference is different than other conferences in that it’s a publisher’s conference with a smaller audience and a traditional atmosphere (like singing from the Psalter and Hymnal to a piano). But there was also a sober reverence towards God in the atmosphere. One of the delights of a conference like this one, or in attending a traditional Reformed church, is a deep sense of affection and reverence towards God. This was certainly communicated throughout the music, prayers and teaching at the conference.
Here are some other reflections from the conference in no particular order.
… There was a large contingent of younger pastors and first-time attendees. The dorm housing in Grantham was nice and the cafeteria buffet was more reminiscent of a restaurant than a college mess hall. It’s a beautiful campus to hold retreats and conferences of this size.
… With all of the great foreign accents from the speakers and attendees I felt like I was in another country. It was great, especially the first time someone commented on the uniqueness of the American accent. Americans don’t have accents, right? (ethnocentric humor)
… I’m now aware that attempting to liveblog Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas (pictured) was simply a bad idea. I should have known better. The amount of content was almost impossible to keep up with and trying to get the message notes edited and posted at the conference was an overwhelming goal (I’ve never claimed to be Tim Challies). So I’ve decided to take my handwritten notes and type them and publish them on this blog next week beginning on Monday. This will give me more time to chase down some Hebrew nouns, scripture citations, and biblical allusions in the messages. In the wealth of content, we see the seriousness of preparation each speakers took in the crafting of their messages. It will be a joy to share these messages with you next week.
… The bookstore at the conference was well stocked with excellent books at excellent prices (40- to 65- percent off). The Sinclair Ferguson trip around the bookstore after the conference session Tuesday night brings fond memories (and chuckles). Sinclair began the tour of the bookstore with memories of his seminary days. He said the good Evangelical books in print that helped him would fit easily on two short bookshelves. In other words, it was not too long ago when good and helpful books were not readily accessible. Thankfulness for God’s abundant blessing upon the publishing world was the context for the rest of the evening. … He warned that a library of only Banner of Truth volumes is a bad choice. Building a library without a significant amount of Banner titles is equally bad. … I now regret not brining my audio recorder to capture the event.
… Of all the highlights and strengths of the Banner conference none compare to the encouragement I recieved. Flying from Cincinnati into Harrisburg I asked myself the question: In a conference on holiness, what expectations and anticipations do I bring? What am I looking for in the teaching? What would make for a successful conference? What came to mind was an expectation and anticipation of a preaching that exalted the Cross in the progress of sanctification. I am growing in my understanding of the depth of application to the Cross and deepening my understanding of what Christ accomplished at the Cross. But I am also sadly aware that in the pursuit of holiness, the Cross often takes second place to the practical pursuit of mortification (killing remaining sin). This is a misunderstanding of sanctification. So for me, my anticipation of the conference included this the hope – that the Cross would take center stage. And this is exactly what happened. All the messages, but especially the messages of Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas, broadened my understanding of the Cross as it applies to sanctification. In the coming days I’ll be digesting electronically the extensive notes I took at the conference. I can tell you the depth of content connecting sanctification, mortification, and the pursuit of holiness to the Cross was breathtaking and you will see for yourself how Ferguson (through Scripture) and Thomas (through Owen, Calvin and Scripture) developed this panorama of Cross-centered holiness. This focus makes a growth in godliness a joy-filled pursuit.
Overall, I come away with from the 2007 Banner of Truth Ministers Conference having been ministered to and encouraged. It was (and always will be) the Cross that truly encourages us towards holiness. The beautiful 21st century Puritanism on display — boasting only in the Cross — made for a wonderful conference!
Related: For more posts and pictures from the 2007 Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference check out the complete TSS conference index.