Friday, April 19, 2013

Confessions of an Exiled Preacher at the Banner Ministers' Conference 2013: Book I

O Lord, you know that my life is but a breath, my years are but vanity and less than nothing before you. As a young man I aspired to preach your word. I yearned for your truth in all its depth and splendor. I longed to proclaim this good word to your people, to the lost, a barely glimpsed treasure, made mine by grace. I had learned of you from your Holy Book and the books of dead men opened my mind to its life-giving meaning. Good Spirit give me light. My youthful mind greedily devoured Owen and Sibbes, Edwards and Lloyd-Jones. A Banner of Truth unfurled. Lord, you shaped me and changed me through these good books and still I wanted more. 

I knew of a gathering of preachers, the Banner of Truth Ministers' Conference, where truth was loved and felt. Now as a student of the blessed theology I myself could go. The half was not told me. Al Martin portrayed the straight gate as never so narrow and yet inviting. Sinclair Ferguson made sanctification dazzle with a holy splendor. Edward Donnelley showed us our Jesus vanquishing the Foe. But it was you, Lord, who spoke by these heaven-sent speakers and I heard your voice. That was in 1989.

Since then, Eternal One, time has flown more swiftly than a weaver's shuttle and yet still Leicester beckons in the spring, promising light, warmth, and the blossoming of new life. This year the theme was 'The Gospel: What it is and Why it matters'. Sinclair Ferguson spoke on The Greatness of the Gospel's Power/Logic/Mystery. Your servant opened up Romans 1:16-17, 8:31-39 & 16:25-27. How great you are, triune God of the Gospel. Your power justifies the ungodly, propitiates eternal wrath and liberates poor slaves. None can condemn those whom you have justified, none can separate a saved sinner from your love in Christ. You strengthen us according to the gospel, according to the revelation of the mystery, according to your command, everlasting God. Lord, let me live to preach that Good News. May your Gospel be a Matter of Life and Death as Jonathan Watson showed it was for Paul in Acts 20:24.

But while the heart still burns, the memory of these things fades and my Andriod Tablet which contains all my notes won't reboot. How weak and frail are all created things compared to you, O Lord. You know all, you remember all, apart from our sin, which has been wiped from your memory by the never-to-be-forgotten death of your Son. This is why I make no report, but offer a confession of your goodness, with more to come. 

2 comments:

David Reimer said...

Amen.

(Hmm... Is "Guy" a nick-name for "Augustine"? Could be...)

Guy Davies said...

On the other hand...