This morning I headed to the airport and made the brief hop to Harrisburg, PA. It was a short flight (just over an hour) on the tiniest plane I’ve flown on. You know it’s a small flight when the guy who takes your bags planeside (and who checks your seat belts and who explains the emergency exit procedures) pulls off his orange safety vest, jumps into the cockpit and flies the plane! The plane was hot and smelly and small enough that there was no snack service, but I was engrossed in a book and barely noticed. Incidentally, have you ever noticed how the smaller the plane, the more the pilot flies it like a fighter jet? I’m pretty accustomed to flying by now but there were a few times where my stomach fell to the floor! What a ride.
Anyways, I am here for the Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference. This is my last conference for the year (or for the spring at least). Though I am feeling a mite “conferenced out,” I really did want to experience Banner of Truth—the original Reformed ministry and Reformed conference. Before there was Together for the Gospel or The Basics or Ligonier or any of these, there was Banner of Truth. It has long stood firm and has brought us countless numbers of great books. We are gathered here on the campus of Messiah College and look forward to messages from Iain Murray, Rick Phillips, Ian Hamilton, David Troxel and David Campbell. A couple hundred men have gathered here to enjoy this event and to enjoy fellowship together. Though there are nine plenary sessions, it looks like the schedule allows for a fair bit of off-time, ideal for catching up with old friends (I’ve already met a couple of friends I didn’t know would be here). I’ll be bringing updates over the next couple of days before heading home Thursday afternoon.
The first sermon came courtesy of Iain Murray and he spoke on John 21:18-19—the last command of Jesus. He spoke to the pastors here of what it means to follow Christ and to live life in His presence and for His service.
After this message we broke for dinner and I observed that this conference is one that functions almost like a fellowship. Many men clearly come year after year and on the first day there are reunions all around. I ended up eating at a table filled with Canadians (and one American), some of whom went to the churches I did back in my younger days. It was good to meet them for the first time in many years and to catch up on all that has happened since. And then I hurried back to my dorm to guest on Moody Radio’s Prime Time America (you can probably find the archived audio on the site if you care to listen. You can likely guess what we were discussing. I was on 1.5 hours into the program if you want to fast forward).
And as I write this we are at the end of the conference’s second message, a sermon by Craig Troxel entitled “Fan the Flame” and expositing 2 Timothy 1:6. I’m in a hurry to post this because Iain Murray is going to lead a guided tour of the bookstore (a task that usually falls to Sinclair Ferguson who, unfortunately, was not able to be here this year). It will be interesting, I’m sure, to gain Murray’s perspective on these books (all of which are published by Banner of Truth).
I’ll check in again tomorrow…