Previous British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) family conferences have had some wonderful themes, but “Union with Christ,” the subject in July 2020 in Northern Ireland, is perhaps the most appealing. The New Testament is replete with references to our being “in Christ” and His being “in” us. Explicitly combining both concepts, 1 John 4:13 states: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
Union with Christ in Reformed theology, according to Heinrich Heppe, is “a real, wholesale, spiritual and indissoluble union of the person of the elect with…the Redeemer…. The implanting of the elect into Christ is thus the beginning of all appropriation of salvation, of all fellowship in salvation and in glory.”
Our two main speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andrew Lanning, will open up and develop our glorious subject in six addresses. John William Perkins, an Englishman with degrees involving history, theology, and education, will give the special lecture on “Union with the Free Will of Christ in the English Puritans.” In a speech and a sermon, Revs. Martyn McGeown and Angus Stewart are to flesh out other aspects of our mystical union with the Lord Jesus.
Our first day trip will include an 800-year-old Norman Castle (complete with tour guide); a “magic hill,” which some reckon involves leprechauns; some beautiful scenery embracing lakes, mountains, and the coast; and an impressive monument to, and a wide-ranging presentation about, the man who burned down the White House!
The second day trip takes us to Dublin. Expanded greatly by the Vikings over a millennium ago, it was briefly the second most populous city in the British Empire, and is now the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland. Handel’s Messiah received its world premiere in Dublin, which also contains the world-famous Book of Kells.
Never have we had so many people book their places at a BRF conference so quickly! Already all the ensuite rooms (those with an adjoining toilet and shower) are gone. We expect this will be our largest and most international conference yet.
People are coming from California, Washington, Colorado, and more, among the western Protestant Reformed Churches. The Michigan congregations of Byron Center, First, Grace, Grandville, Hudsonville, Kalamazoo, Southeast, Southwest, Trinity, and others, will be represented, as will the Canadian and other PR churches, we hope.
As well as from North America and the various parts of the British Isles (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland), Lord willing, saints will be coming from Turin in Italy, Calcutta in India, Budapest in Hungary, Brisbane in Australia; western Germany, southern Brazil, and northern France; and the islands of Singapore and Sardinia, besides others. It all makes for very interesting fellowship over meals and through the week, as we enjoy our union with Christ and, therefore, with one another.
The conference runs from a Saturday afternoon/ evening to the morning of the next Saturday (July 11–18) and the venue is Castlewellan Castle, Co Down, Northern Ireland. The cost is very reasonable and includes three meals a day. For more about this beautiful Victorian castle, with its secret panel, forest, lake, arboretum, gardens, hedgerow maze, sporting activities, amenities, and more, go on-line (www.castlewellancastle.org).
These websites contain more information about the BRF (www.britishreformed.org) and this summer’s conference (http://brfconference.weebly.com), including the booking form and contact details for the appropriate booking secretaries: Kristin Crossett (UK), Briana Prins (U.S. and Canada) and Lisa Ong (Singapore). If you want to come, act quickly, for places are filling up fast.