There were giants in the land

Posted on 01 April 2008

Evangel 24:1, Spring 2006

There were giants in the land

Evangel 24:1, Spring 2006

As a young man, preparing for ministry, I became aware that there were giants in the land . . . or, at least, north of the border. Tales were recounted of great expository preachers who had challenged the shallowness of teaching in the Church of Scotland and were drawing crowds of young people to this apparently novel means of communicating Scripture . . . and as far away as Aberdeen. Scottish friends spoke in near hallowed terms of the Philip brothers, Willie Still and Eric Alexander. I recall meeting several of these men and listening to them speak. . . and of picking up the little booklets published by them by the Didasko Press. I remember the encouragement received from discovering that such were attempting and succeeding in the task that I was, in my small way, beginning to attempt.

Young Scottish friends spoke of the influence of these men and of the way in which they were labouring to reproduce themselves in the next generation of young preachers. Part of this labour was put into the Crieff Conferences: occasions in which the young and inexperienced could sit at the feet of the elders and learn from them and from a young Sin-lair Ferguson, who contributed a paper.

Time has aged and taken one of these giants to glory. Times too have changed in Scotland and elsewhere. Distance may make it easier to recognise the time-bound character of some of their observations and advice. Nevertheless, amid he fallible notes, the burden that the Spirit of God placed upon these men, is one that deserves to be heard again. For in our days, the word of the LORD is even more scarce than was then. . . and even more needed to be heard. Perhaps in meeting these giants again we may rediscover, in our different contexts, the vital need for men and women to have so dwelt with God in Scripture as to come forth with the word from God that our generation so much needs.

Thus, without wholesale editing and in a style that betrays he fact that they were firstly to be heard before being read…and benefiting from the intimacy and the immediacy that such brings, the present edition of Evangel sets four of the Crieff papers before its readers.

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