Have you ever taken a good look at the name of this conference? I would like you to take a moment to do so now. That name describes the conference so perfectly. It is British, but I am more interested in the Reformed and Fellowship aspect. As we gathered together at this conference we truly and deeply experienced that Reformed fellowship. We took sweet counsel together and grew in our Reformed understanding of the truth. We learned much about the end times, and also developed together in our knowledge of the glory of our sovereign God who has called his children out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
What a diversity of people came to this conference! People came from Hungary, USA, Northern Ireland, England, Republic of Ireland, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, and Wales. There were different races, nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. And yet what a striking and beautiful unity found was found. I am sure we all came with somewhat different ideas of what we would hear, see, and learn. I cannot speak for others, but for myself this conference has certainly surpassed any preconceived notions I had. How can one put into mere human words the glory of God revealed during the conference week? In Exodus 33:18, Moses requested of God, “shew me thy glory.” God’s response in verse 19 was, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee…”. God then proceeded to show Moses his goodness by proclaiming who he was, the “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty” (Ex 34:6b–7a). This is our Lord God who was proclaimed to us through the conference speeches and the sweet fellowship enjoyed at the BRF conference.
The conference was held this year from July 16-23, at Castlewellan Castle, a Christian Conference Center in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. The setting itself was beautiful. The castle was a regal structure set up on a hill overlooking a lake that shimmered often with all the sunshine God provided during the week there. In the distance beyond the lake, mountains arose, creating a majestic view from the castle. There was a beautiful garden filled with a striking variety of plants, and behind the castle were trails that led to higher, vaster views of the surrounding countryside and rolling green hills. To me the beautiful views that we experienced during this week were a bonus feature adding to an already incredible week.
The theme of the BRF Conference this year was “Behold I Come Quickly: The Reformed Biblical Truth of the End.” There were six main speeches, three by Rev. Andy Lanning and three by Prof. David Englesma. There were also a few interesting bonus speeches added as well. Many questions concerning the end times were answered. The following are just a few of them. What is the difference between premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism? Is the period of 1,000 years literal? What is the significance of 3 ½ years at the end? Why is the view of the rapture wrong? Why must there be a great apostasy at the end? Who is the beast from the land and who is the beast from the sea? How must we live in the end times? Who are the two witnesses of Revelation 11? Why must these witnesses be overcome at the end? What is our hope with regard to the end times? If you have the time, I’d advise you to listen to these speeches for yourself. They have been recorded and posted on the CPRC YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI), and are very spiritually profitable and nourishing.
All week long we were fed spiritually as we listened to and discussed these speeches with others, asked questions, and searched the scriptures together for answers. Discussion flowed freely and the time passed swiftly! We talked about our faith, listened to one another’s stories and upbringings, and were reminded of the remarkable work of our glorious God who calls his peculiar people out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). We saw the glory of our Lord God who is merciful and gracious, who is abundant in goodness and truth. We came from so many different lands and most of us were meeting each other for the first time, yet because of our shared love for God, no one was a stranger. It was truly a foretaste of heaven, where God’s people from all nations shall be gathered together, united forever in fellowship and worship of our Lord God.
I want to share with you a few personal highlights of mine. First, I loved the speeches and the discussions that stemmed from them. Many intriguing thoughts that I hadn’t considered were shared. A new experience for me was singing the psalms from the Scottish Psalter. During the conference we sang from this, and also had a few impromptu gatherings to sing from this and also from the 1912 Psalter that we use, which I really enjoyed. Another aspect of the conference that I really valued was mealtime. Of course, the food was good, but more importantly, I enjoyed sitting by different people during the mealtimes and learning tidbits of their lives: where they were from, their history, where they currently attended church, and how they came into contact with the BRF Conference. Another new experience for me was staying in an actual castle. How many people can say that they have stayed in a castle? We also took a few day trips to some of the historic sites of Northern Ireland. Probably my favorite trip though was an unplanned hike that we did up Mourne Mountains, where we climbed the highest peak in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard. The company during this week was amazing and the views were awe inspiring! These are only a few of the countless good memories I have of the time spent in Northern Ireland.
The BRF Conference was an amazing week, richly blessed by the word of God laid open to us in the speeches, with much godly discussion, and sweet fellowship that filled us. There was a word that a member of the CPRC in Northern Ireland used to describe the conference: feasted. I have decided to adopt it for my own as well to describe the time spent there. Together we feasted on good food, on beautiful scenery, on good fellowship, and most importantly on the word of God. We were filled and were strengthened by the feast that God set before us during this week. If God provides you with the opportunity to attend the BRF Conference, I encourage you to go. In this article I could only give you a small, grainy picture of the reality that is experienced when one goes to the BRF Conference. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to attend the next conference two years from now that is to be held at Hebron Hall in South Wales, for the dates of July 21–28, 2018. The theme of the conference will focus on the Family. Mark your calendars now. Go! Attend it, and see the glory of our Lord God who gathers his church from all tribes, nations, and tongues. Enjoy the sweetness of Reformed fellowship experienced at the BRF Conference.
* Monica is a member of the Beacon Lights Staff