The 70th Free Church School in Theology saw the largest number of attendees from across the UK France and Spain, who were treated to a number of excellent papers generating stimulating conversation.
The venue playing host to the School was the historic Carronvale House now occupied by the BB.
Rev James MacInnes (Lochalsh & Strath) opened the School with an address on the massacre of the Huguenots which occurred on 24th August 1572. Essentially two matters were addressed namely ‘who’ and ‘why’, concluding with some lessons.
Tuesday began with prayer, breakfast, and morning worship led by Rev Thomas Buchanan (Brora) with focus upon the unchangeable Christ. This was followed by a report from the Presbytery of Navarre & Aragon. Rev Jorge Ruiz (Spain) and Rev Hugues Pierre (France) gave an outline history of their respective regions noting difficulties, encouragements, and matters for prayer. This missionary slot is designed to remind us of the wider work of the Church.
The Rev Aaron Lewis (Crosslanes) spoke on the necessary subject of ‘not despising the day of small things’. This is a danger that all can fall into far too easily, overlooking the salutary fact that the small things are also the work of God.
After lunch, the Rev Ian McNaughton (Wirral) spoke on the structure and themes of Ezra with a contemporary application. After high tea, the Rev Malcolm Watts (Salisbury) gave us a most stimulating and heartwarming address on the Blessedness of God. Such was the impact of it the customary question session was abandoned for sober reflection and conversation.
Wednesday likewise followed the same pattern of early morning prayer, breakfast, and worship led by Rev Murdo Macleod (Snizort) on Psalm 119:83 on the Psalmist’s trouble. The next session was taken up with book reviews (session 1) followed by the very solemn topic on the warning passages of Hebrews with particular reference to Hebrews 6. Rev Jeff Ballantine (Northern Ireland) gave an excellent and helpful exposition setting out the context and content which are essential features to understand any passage not least this.
The afternoon was a time for relaxation followed by the business session to prepare the programme for next year DV. The programme will be publicised in due course.
The day was finished off with a paper on the rarely studied topic of ‘the redemption of the body’ by Rev E Trevor Kirkland (Ballyclare & Doagh). The redemption of the body is overlooked for the resurrection which is but the means, not the goal.
Thursday saw the closing of the school and a paper by the Rev D Fraser (Stornoway) rtd on preaching Jesus Christ scattered throughout with reflections from his own ministry.
The chairman Rev Harry Woods closed the school with appreciation for papers, the staff, and the work of the Secretary Rev Andrew Allan, Partick, who plays a necessary rôle in ensuring the smooth running of the school. Sentiments that had previously been mentioned by the Rev Kenneth Macdonald.
Everyone left stimulated, energised and thankful for the existence of the School with a forward glance to the 71st School from 2nd to 5th September 2024.
Please note that a number of the papers given are available online and can be found HERE.