I’ve just got back from a thoroughly enjoyable week away at New Wine. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account of all 30 talks I heard, but I’ll briefly list the highlights.
During the morning sessions, Derek Morphew, of the Vineyard Bible Institute spoke on the kingdom. He started off explaining the kingdom hope of the Jewish people from Old Testament passages, and stressed the importance of understanding Jesus from this perspective. He talked about the “traditional evangelical” Jesus as being basically correct but incomplete because it lacked this view. He went on the relate this eschatalogical tension to our present experience of healing and our personal struggles with sin. I had already heard Derek speak on this very subject before thanks to a recommendation from Ger. It is a subject that lots of theologians are writing about at the moment, and it is interesting to see a serious effort to explain it to Christians en masse, rather than leaving it in the realm of the Bible college.
Probably the highlight of the week for me was a series of seminars given by Paul Harcourt of All Saint’s Woodford Wells. He taught chapter by chapter through the books of 2 Peter and Jude, which are quite difficult books in many ways. He spoke very sensitively on how to counter false teaching and the need to contend for the gospel. I also went to a seminar by him on preaching, and as he clearly is a gifted Bible teacher, I was eager to hear his advice.
I also attended two seminars by Charlie Cleverly. The first was on the topic of his new book “The Passion that Shapes Nations”, which is essentially a book about martyrs and a call to recover their passion for Jesus. The second was on the Song of Songs, and in particular its allegorical interpretation although he indicated that he also embraces a literal interpretation.