2023 Conference

What is the Bolton Conference?

The New England Reformed Fellowship (NERF) began the annual Bolton Conference in 1985 to stimulate spiritual growth among God's people and to deepen vital understanding of historic Christian doctrine through the exposition of the Word of God. Every year on the last weekend of October, this conference has hosted two notable reformed men who have spoken in six sessions on matters of biblical and theological interest and importance to those who hold convictions of historic, confessional, reformed theology.

Where is the Bolton Conference?

Please join us on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28 for the Bolton Conference at:

Pleasant Street Christian Reformed Church
25 Cross St.
Whitinsville, MA 01588

Precious Fruits that Abide; Evangelism and Discipleship in New England

Here we are, roughly entering into about the 200-year mark of the Second Great Awakening; or at least, the beginning of much controversy between Asahel Nettleton and the “New Measures” of C. G. Finney. In light of this, the emphasis of this year's Bolton Conference will be on the Second Great Awakening in America (a. 1790-1840). Special attention will be given to Asahel Nettleton, his fruitful ministry of evangelism and discipleship, and its relevance for ministry today. Nettleton's ministry, stemming from his Calvinism, corrected Finney's errors and contrasted “mere” conversionism with an emphasis on discipleship. With “burned-over districts” in view, the endurance of souls brought to the Lord under Nettleton's ministry was of note even many decades after the flames of revival had passed. Writing of this fact, Nettleton remarked,

“It is said many who are zealous for a season, turn back, and become worse than before. True, and so it was in the time of Christ. “Many turned back and no longer walked with him.” (John 6:66). Does this prove that Christ had no true disciples? It was so likewise in the days of the apostles. John says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us.” (1 John 2:19). That this objection may be valid, it must be shown that all who profess to be the subjects of revivals, apostatize. But this cannot be shown. There are precious fruits that abide.”

Our Speakers

Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. Among his many books is Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation.

Stephen Nichols will present his subject in three sessions that address the following:

(1) Overview of the 1st and 2nd Great Awakenings
(2) An introduction to Asahel Nettleton's life and ministry
(3) Nettleton's "old paths" vs. Charles Finney's "New Measures"
Jeremy Walker serves as a pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, UK, and is married to Alissa, with whom he enjoys the blessing of three children. He has authored several books including The Brokenhearted Evangelist and is grateful to preach, teach, and write as opportunity provides. You can follow him on Twitter.
Jeremy Walker will conduct the following sessions:

(1) Becoming disciples of Jesus Christ
(2) Living as disciples of Jesus Christ
(3) Making disciples of Jesus Christ

Book Table

We are grateful to have secured a book vender for our conference from Reformation Heritage Books. The book table will be open at 1:00 PM on Friday.