In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
Theologian Don Carson spoke on the freedom offered by the gospel. Rising numbers of children and youth among the 4,000 conventioners visiting the English Lake District each week.
The theme of the convention was “Captivated: Hearing God’s Word”, which referred to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Read an interview with the Director of Keswick Ministries, James Robson.
Canadian theologian Don Carson spoke in the mornings, praching on the book of Galatians. He compared what the Bible says about “freedom”, “truth” and “identity”, and compared it to how Western secularised societies understand these concepts nowadays.
The Apostle Paul’s defence of the gospel, Carson said, had to do with his understanding that “it is the Gospel what saves us”, not the approval of people or a false sense of unity which may not be based on Christ’s work on the Cross.
Understanding Grace and Justification by faith alone is what frees people to trust in God and leave the slavery of legalism, Carson said.
In the evenings, speakers like Tim Chester, Roger Simpson and Peter Maiden, spoke on pictures that describe the Word of God, such as “rain”, “bread”, “light”, “mirror” and “seed”.
Several seminars were offered in other venues throughout the week, on topics like World Missions, the Protestant Reformation and its meaning for today, biblical theology, personal evangelism and preaching.
According to the organisers, there are “ever-increasing numbers of younger people attending the Convention”, with “a 50% increase in children and youth in the first week”.
In a press conference, the new Derwent Project and refurbishment of the old pencil factory site was introduced. The aim is to have “adults and youth celebrating the Convention together on one site from 2019 onward.”
Armed police patroled the convention this year, a change which did not cause alarm. “Conventioners have loved seeing the police presence and expressed their gratitude to them, including providing them with cakes and coffees, as a way of expressing their appreciation”, the organisers said.
Among the speakers for week 2 (22-28 July) and week 3 (29 July-4 august) of the convention are Alistair Begg and Ivor Poobalan.
About 650 volunteers are needed every year to help run the Convention, and it is estimated that the Keswick Convention already contributes approximately £2.5m each summer to the economy of the region.