Posted by: stpowen | August 21, 2015

Aberystwyth Conference 2015

Aberystwyth Conference, 2015

Ecclesiastes 12:11. ‘The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.’

I spent last week at the Aberystwyth Conference, organised by the Evangelical Movement of Wales. This is the fourth such conference that I have attended, and each one has been a blessing to me, but this was without doubt the best. I had booked the event with some trepidation since I had never heard of either of the two main speakers. In the event, I trusted the organizers to have chosen godly and able men and so it proved. David Meredith and Paul Tripp were both great blessings to me and to others.

I arrived at the conference on the Monday afternoon, well in time for the opening address, given by Phil Hill of WEST Theological Seminary. He spoke from John 21 on ‘Restoration from Failure.’ This was timely as in recent times two ‘celebrity Pastors’ have had to leave their ministries over different matters. Hill took our Lord’s restoration of Peter to show that such people are not necessarily barred forever from serving the Lord again. No doubt this is quite right; the Psalmist asks, ‘If you, O LORD, should keep a record of sins, who could stand?’ Nevertheless, I was reminded of the saying of John Angel James that an erring minister could only be reinstated when his repentance had become as notorious as his misdemeanour.

David Meredith is a minister in the Free Church of Scotland who is shortly to become Leader of Outreach within that denomination. His four morning talks were from the Book of Joshua, covering God’s word to Joshua in Chapter 1, the affair of the Gibeonites (chapter 9), the daughters of Zelophehad (chapter 17) and the coming together of the tribes in Chapter 18. From this seemingly unpromising material, Meredith found huge amounts of application for the churches of Christ, and many references to the Saviour. He also took a seminar on the Tuesday afternoon on the subject of contemporary evangelism.

Paul David Tripp is an internationally-known Pastor and author. It is my loss that I had not heard of him before. He is a very powerful speaker who ‘works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.’ This he did in three talks on God’s overcoming grace from Romans 8, the difference between amazement and faith from Mark 6:45ff, and a wonderful address from Psalm 27 on knowing oneself as a child of God when in trouble. The power of his addresses was all the more remarkable because he disclosed that he has been very unwell during the past year through renal failure. That he was still not fully recovered became evident towards the end of the conference when he was unable to attend the ‘after-meetings’ that were held later into the evenings. He did, however give an afternoon talk on marriage and relationships which was also very helpful.

However, the most wonderful part of the conference for me was the early-morning prayer meetings. These were led by the excellent Chris Rees, minister of Bethesda Baptist Church in Narberth West Wales, and were extraordinarily blessed. The sound of strong Welsh voices wrestling with God in prayer is very uplifting, and Rees gave us just enough direction to keep us on theme. At the final meeting, the felt presence of the Lord amongst us was, for me at least, almost overwhelming. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I came away from the conference wonderfully refreshed and with the strong impression that God may yet do something amazing in Britain in our time.

I believe that the addresses may be available for download from the E.M.W. website in due course.



  1. I am delighted that the conference was so helpful. Although it is at a time of the year aimed (I guess) at people on their summer holidays, and I tend to take mine differently, I should make an effort to see whether I can attend.

  2. Steve, did they mention who they anticipate to speak in next year’s conference?

  3. Stuart Olyott will be one speaker. I don’t know about the other.

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