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Live the Word

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 26 Nov 2018

Bookings are now open for the 2019 Fellowship of Word and Spirit Conference

The authoritative truth of the Word of God is one of the ‘givens’ for an evangelical faith, and yet is in danger of being taken for granted! 

In public worship, a concern to have Scriptures read and shape liturgy beyond preaching is often second to discussions of music or style. In discipleship, with a growing dependence on off-the-shelf courses or notes, personal engagement with God’s Word can be neglected. In engaging with the wider world, Scripture’s challenges to prevailing culture can risk being muted or evaded. In theology, the Bible’s clarity and authority is often questioned and diminished.

Two questions about Scripture which the church has always grappled with refuse to go away:  how should we describe what the Bible is, and what does that mean for the ways in which we should go about interpreting it?  In Reformed circles those questions are often now being asked with regard to something that’s come to be called the ‘theological interpretation of Scripture’.  evangelical belief about and practice with Scripture has been too strongly influenced by Enlightenment thought and should be corrected by recovering some pre-Reformation approaches to Scripture.  In our main sessions, Revd Dr Tim Ward will be helping us to dig into some of this thought and consider its implications for ministry in the here and now.

The 2019 Fellowship of Word and Spirit conference will seek to encourage and equip our confidence to live God’s Word, revisiting and renewing our dependence on its truth and authority in its application to the whole of life. Our main speaker is Revd Dr Tim Ward, a lecturer in homiletics at Oak Hill Theological College who previously taught on the Cornhill Training Course and was in pastoral ministry for 14 years. He is the author of a book on the doctrine of scripture, Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God.  Tim will be speaking on the Reformed doctrine of scripture in the three main conference sessions. The daily Bible readings will be given by Revd Dick Farr, the Associate Vicar at St John’s Church, Tunbridge Wells. Dick is also chair of the Church Society Trust patronage board, a member of Church Society Council and on the planning group for the ReNew conference. Dick will be refreshing us from God’s word in Revelation 2-3.

The distinctive of this conference is that we actually “confer”! That is, we foster a forum for debate, sharing ideas and encouraging one another in ministry. Each session is rooted in good teaching, but has substantial time for interaction, application and deepening our appreciation of it. We are committed to reformed theology and its application to the whole of life, but are ready to encourage and help each other wrestle with its challenges. We are a genuine fellowship, with plenty of time given for spiritual encouragement and prayer, for cultivating friendships old and new, and for resting from the usual frantic pace of ministry. We hope it will be a time of genuine spiritual and physical refreshment for both clergy and lay people.

The conference runs from 18th to 20th February, at The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick. For details of fees and booking, please download the conference brochure here.

The brochure can be found here.

The printable booking form can be found here.

Ros Clarke is Associate Director of Church Society and Course Leader of the Priscilla Programme

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