Saturday, 1 May 2010
Baptist Assembly Day 1
This is my first Baptist Assembly for a few years – apart from an occasional flying visit. These are my impressions after day one.
Encouraging signs from the mainstage – great spirit of cooperation between BUGB and BMSWM; professional presentational polish and high production values retained; good gender and racial mix; encouraging signs of the reintroduction of a more participative element, (response walls, commissioned listeners, some audience interaction) limited, but encouraging.
Found Amy Orr-Ewing's talk a bit disappointing. For someone who takes a classic evangelical approach to apologetics which values reasoned argument based on the evidence what she had to say was full of non sequiturs. Also a less than careful handling of the biblical text. Eph 1:7 does not say that redemption is ONLY to be found in Christ. That might be true but adding in the word ONLY is not justified on the basis of the text. I've heard she can be really good and I seem to remember her making a good fist of things at Spring Harvest a few years back. Maybe it was an off day. Maybe I'll be way less than my best in my seminars. It happens, but it was disappointing.
Delegates (and this is very impressionistic) – nearly all rather elderly, middle aged, middle England, conventional, dated, Isle of Wight, Daily Mail/Telegraph. Not that all of those things are in themselves bad but they are certainly not representative of the wider population – overall really rather dull in comparison. On the way down I read Cole Moreton’s "Is God Still An Englishman". Moreton paints a now largely familiar picture of the last fifty years and the changes in English society and in particular how we do God. This certainly feels much more like the old England, and not in a good way.