The line-up of speakers for this year’s BoT Conference was excellent. All the speakers were enjoyable, but the two that seemed to stand out with thier messages were Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson. Begg and Ferguson grew up on the streets of Glasgow, Scotland together. This was Begg’s first time preaching at this conference.
Alistair Begg is the pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. On Tuesday evening, Begg was originaly scheduled to speak on Job, but he determined there was something else he was led was to share. Begg had a noticable head cold for which he apologized in advance, but it did not impede his ability to bring the Word. Begg’s passage was from 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. (I found it ironic that this was from the passsage I had preached the previous Sunday).
Begg’s title was “Persuasive Preaching.” He noted that Paul faced human opposition and divine compulsion. Begg went on to address personal challenges, cultural challenges and theological challenges that we all face in our preaching. Begg’s main focus was that we as preachers should aim to persuade men and women to respond to our message with clarity and urgency. This was a convicting message that had an impact on many. Several men stated to me that this challenged the way they were doing things in their messages. Begg spoke again Wednesday night on the same topic.
Sinclair Ferguson is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. His Wednesday morning message on “Union with Christ: Gospel Foundations” was taken from Colossians 3:1-17. (Again, ironic that the passage that I was to preach the following Sunday). Ferguson quoted from Calvin who said, “Everything that he has done for us is of no value to us outside of Christ.” The key verse upon which he focused was Col.3:3: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” The Gospel implications of this verse were applied to the basic shape of Paul’s message. There is a : (1) Basic grammar to this union (2) Chronology to this union (3) Geography to this union (Paul says, “I’m a citizen of Heaven”) (4) Rhythm to this union. He went on to ask the question, “How rich is your exposition of Christ?” “How much do you read of Him in your study?”
A panel discussion took place on the third day, but Begg was not present. It was nice to meet Iain Murray (founder of the Banner of Truth Trust) and hear him in the pannel discusion, but it would have been nice to hear him deliver a message at the conference. That is my only regret.