Have I got news for you. Faithfulness Today was good. I got to meet people that I had only read about during my last paper and have read on your site.
I finally got to meet the Truemans and Graham Scott. Dr Scott has such a gentle wit - and David Fisher is so filled with the Holy Spirit it is amazing. The others on the platform really know how to pray!!!!
David Fisher, Dave Snihur, Graham Scott and the speaker Jim Headinger were all on the platform together with me.
Vic Shepherd was great - but to me he's always amazing. And Andrew Stirling was excellent and FUNNY. I met him after the seminar - and apologized that I could not take his Dietrich Bonhoeffer class he's teaching in a few weeks here at Tyndale. He was also supportive of my going further in church history, and was one of the few people (who didn't know of me previously) that did NOT ask, 'so when are you being ordained in the UCC?' This question was beginning to confuse me, because I am charismatic and believe that God can speak through any believer - so I was saying to myself, "should I be?" Yet I know that I am a counsellor-missionary-teacher and not a pastor (unless it is a missions pastor or pastoral care pastor -but this means I would be an associate at a BIG church - Not likely)
So Andrew Stirling was actually interested in my own ministry as it is and hopefully will be, bless him. I really wish I COULD take his class but I am taking Isaiah, Missionary Methods in History and a course on Dreams.
I also met a whole bunch of young pastors - I sat with them at their table - including David McKenzie, Brian Wilkie and David Morton. On the theological education panel were Peter Wyatt, the two Davids, Allan Hayes (church hist prof of Wycliffe), Phyllis Airhardt (Emmanuel church history prof/director of advanced degrees) and others. I was so impressed with Phyllis that I may go to Emmanuel instead of Wycliffe - since I would like to do my M.A. thesis on UCC history. She said that 15% of the students of that college are not UCC - mostly in the MA or ThM programme. But we will see how GOD provides first as a matter of faith.
I did not get to meet Alan Churchill, but I guess you can't meet everyone in one fell swoop. I did get to meet Wayne Wilson who is the webmaster of the COC page. He wants to link the paper too - which is fine with me - there is a lot of COC stuff in it.
Graham Scott, David McKenzie and Dave Snihur are real prayer warriors! They are red hot for God! And who said I have to go to the Vineyard only to experience the Holy Spirit??
Jim Heideiger also delivered a powerful message on the first night - and he said that there are those who believe that the gospel doesn't need defending (one my profs believes that) I would like to put a copy of this tape in his mailbox.
Edith Humphrey was also excellent. Yet I am glad of seminary theology classes and a religious studies background. Her lecture was not for a lay person that has less than university. But she made some powerfully profound comments, which also challenged me - esp. concerning the fate of those who have never ever heard the gospel through no fault of their own. Karl Rahner believes that the Holy Spirit reaches out to them (dreams and the like, and some become anonymous Christians- I have a paper on this). Clark Pinnock believes in post mortem encounter. Well, just a few weeks ago, Jim Beverley says that we should leave this kind of judgement to God - and that he will be merciful according to the atonement. And then Edith Humphrey says much the same thing. In some way I was leaning toward Karl Rahner - because I have heard so many stories on the mission field of preparation that the Holy Spirit does in people's hearts before meeting certain missionaries. Its a touchy subject, but I really believe that there are people who are seekers with a capital S - read CS Lewis. So this speaker surprised me. But God is God - he has the final say - I do not.
And after the dinner, during the entertainment (a black gospel choir who sang Hallelujah Chorus with a beat) we all did a 'love train' that went all around the tables and room. I thought that stuff was gone with the 70's, but I guess I was wrong. David Morton was such a character through it all - he is a very funny man.
Most of all at my table, many of these young UCC pastors were discouraged and shared their hearts. One older pastor at the table was saying that he was finally fed up and was taking his congregation to the PCC. I wanted to tell him that PCC wasn't too far behind in its liberalism. I should know. But I am fortunate that my congregation is cutting edge with worship/preaching/healing etc because it was dying before my pastor came to it. It was either change or die. Since then it has grown in two years from 25 to 200 - including me.
Another thing of note. When I was in Victor's seminar, an older man (about 70's) asked Vic if he has heard of the two resurrections of Jesus. Everyone was astounded - and he started to explain, but it wasn't the place. So he is going to send Victor his writing on it. Very strange indeed.
Is Peter Wyatt open to renewal stuff? At Faithfulness, he was talking about the importance of seminary students learning the essentials of Christian doctrine - esp. all the historical creeds. He almost sounded like I do when I keep saying that you have to know who you are in your faith as a real grounding. I don't think HE is confused about his faith at all - he is much clearer.
I still can't get over how Peter Wyatt was telling the other panelists about the Emmanuel course on understanding the 20 Articles of the Basis of Union in your own paraphrase (theoretically I agree with the contextualization -but it only works when you understand the Christocentric worldview behind it - otherwise the reader is blind). The class was called something about creeds, and David Morton, bold as brass, tells Peter Wyatt that he and his classmates called the class ...something about CONFUSION. The whole auditorium roared with laughter. And I was reminded of a comment in UCRF's Small Voice back in the mid-80's about the UCC becoming the United Church of Confusion.
Do you remember the question I asked Bill Phipps about what he thought about the Jesus Seminar? According to Don Faris (North Vancouver) - he is all for encouraging people to study their 'findings'. I noticed that in the latest Theological Digest and Outlook that Graham Scott gave me at the conference. It says that we can ask for a copy of Dr Faris' sermon. I briefly saw him at Vic Shepherd's seminar, and tried to reach him, but he took off really quickly (I will call for it and send you a copy).
Well, I've rambled on enough. So you've now heard some of the scoop on Faithfulness V. It could have been bigger - but it was still of a very high quality.