Dick France came to church today and took four sessions on how the Old & New Testaments work together. He was great!
We have never before done a day like this here - a day's Bible conference. And we certainly have never brought in anyone of Dick's standing to take such a day! The whole thing came about because Kirsty & Rhian have read a couple of Dick's commentaries and loved his work, and when we started to look at Hebrews in one of our groups, they recommended Dick's book. I said I'd organise for them to have tea with him if they were so keen, half as a joke - Dick was my principal at theological college, and is now retired in North Wales, and so I had his email somewhere. They replied - "Could we?" And I began to wonder if we could do a bit better than that...
I go to various conferences, and often hope that I'll be taught the Bible by someone who does a better job than I could. I often end up inspired & disappointed all at the same time - I hear great preachers who actually aren't great Bible teachers. But today I heard a great Bible teacher giving great Bible teaching.
(It's both the scope, the knowledge, the ease & the throwaway lines - Hebrews 11 verse 1 can be summed up as "look forwards & look up!")
I was hoping we'd get at least a dozen of our folk to give up a Saturday. Saturdays are precious, and I didn't know how exactly it would work. Two dozen came. Fantastic. And they loved it - at least, the ones who have emailed me so far!
Everyone pitched in - our catering team did a great job in keeping us well fed & watered through the day, and spiritually I feel totally energised.
It was quite high powered; Dick holds no prisoners & makes no apologies for presuming his listeners are intelligent. His clarity and openness to questions, and the way he took us through an amazing amount of stuff - in a totally different way to how I would have done - were all fantastic.
We'll do it again. If you missed it - watch out, we'll hold more of these. This was a first try. Next time, we'll open our doors a little wider!