Posted by: stpowen | July 26, 2013

Summer Conference at the Tabernacle.

Ezra 8:2. ‘So Ezra the priest bought the law before the assembly of men an women and all who could hear with understanding.’

On Tuesday, I was privileged to the Tabernacle, Cardiff to hear Joel Beeke speaking at the Summer Conference. The Tabernacle is the church pastored by Dewi Higham and founded about ten years ago. More recently, God has provided a fine, large church building in Pen-y-Wain Road. Previously belonging to a United Reformed Church whose congregation had dwindled to nothing, it is wonderful to see the building being used once more to the glory of God rather than becoming a discotheque, supermarket or mosque. Details of the Tabernacle and of the Summer Conference may be found at I had intended to be present on Monday evening to hear Jonathan Stobbs of Penzance Baptist Church, but was unable to do so. MP3 recordings of all the talks will be posted on the website.

The nature of the church is indicated on the website where it states:-

The form of worship aims to give reverence to God, whilst at the same time giving expression to profound Christian joy. The preaching is centred around Christ, and in particular His saving death on the cross, where the thrust of the message is forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. The church Confession of Faith is based on the 1823 Confession of Faith of the Calvinistic Methodists. An additional clause has been added to allow for believers baptism.

Those who have never attended worship at a conservative Reformed church should visit the Tabernacle. There is indeed a great reverence there on which many modern services miss out. God is not like us and should not be addressed as if He were our ‘mate in the sky.’ The Tuesday meeting was led by John Thackway, Minister of Holywell Evangelical Church, and two other brothers led us in prayer. The prayers were rich yet humble. We sang one metrical psalm and two hymns, each chosen for their God-exalting qualities. It is possible for this sort of meeting to be spiritually dead- a mere cranking-out of a formula- but Rev’d. Thackway knows his Lord and this was evident in the joyful, uplifting and God-honouring nature of the preliminaries.

Joel Beeke, from Grand Rapids, USA, is one of my favourite Christian speakers. His subject was ‘The Puritans on Prayer.’ He started by asking rhetorically why although much Reformed preaching today is of a high standard, its influence and effect upon the nation is so much less than in the days of the Puritans. His answer is that it is because our prayer lives are so much weaker than those of our forebears. Using some of the writings of the Puritans, Beeke gave us excellent practical advice on how to improve our prayer life. Among these were:
Not allowing our busyness to restrict our prayer times.
Not only praying once or twice a day and then forgetting God, but cultivating the habit of ‘prayer without ceasing;’ sending up brief ‘arrow’ prayers to Him throughout the day and cultivating his presence.
Pleading the promises of God. It is legitimate to remind God of the promises contained in His word (eg. Neh. 1:8-9) and to plead for their fulfilment.

Beeke reminded us of the remarkable prayer lives of some of the Puritans; there was one fellow who used to pray for seven hours a day! He did not encourage us to emulate such feats, but instead he challenged us to extend our prayer times by just five minutes a day and then to increase that to ten. I went away convicted of my prayerlessness compared with the great men of old, but also encouraged to do something about it. I would urge my readers to listen to the recording of this and Dr. Beeke’s two other addresses on the Tabernacle website.

Summer Conferences are already planned for next year and 2015. I shall certainly be planning to attend next year.



  1. […] Summer Conference at the Tabernacle. @ Martin Marprelate […]

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