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Showing posts from 2007

Why we do what we do (or why those new years resolutions wont make you a better person)

How can a young man keep his way pure? How can I overcome sin? How can conscience be cleansed? How can sin be got rid of? Can I make a fresh start? Can I be clean?

The Pharisees thought that they could be clean by external rules and Jesus rebuked that. The reality is that what drives our behaviour isn't our genetics, our upbringing or a million other external influences upon us. The real issue is our heart. What comes from the heart tells us who we are. And it tells us why we do the things we do. Putting in rules isn't going to change the heart. We need a fresh honesty about the state of our hearts and an answer that fits. Namely, God's gospel by which we gain new hearts and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - albeit sin remains for now.

Too easy to think that I'm not as bad as I am. Too easy to think that a few rules will fix things, or a few New Years Resolutions. They fail because they can't deal with the source, and they only make things worse - feeding my sinful…

Christian Hedonism questioned

That was 2007 : September - December


The month began for me at our national CU leaders conference which transformed from being a small conference years ago into a festival of student leaders, gathered to enjoy the gospel with burger vans. I was offline for much of the month waiting for phone companies and ISPs to get their act together. I decided to study Ecclesiastes with my staff team (not Dave Bish Ministries). SGM made their mp3s free to download and I spotted Sanctifying the ordinary. Tom got married and we were very happy about that. Lastly a little blogging from John's gospel about Jesus.


Probably a record month for blog quantity (56). I started studying Esther with Joe. The Forum audios went online. Remembered that the word does everything.
Study the word, change the world - almost a heroes tagline!
And probably the beginnings of the biggest thing God has been teaching me this autumn - a beefed up doctrine of scripture for life and ministry. I had the joy of going back to my alma mater to preac…

Seven Days

1. Fellowship with Grace Church Bristol. Happy times upon happy times as we visited the in-laws.
2. Reading The Divine Spiration of Scripture. Still not quite sure what I make of McGowan's argument against using language of inerrancy. But, I definitely love what he says about locating the doctrine of scripture firmly in our thinking about the Holy Spirit, and his material on Calvin's preaching. More to follow I suspect.
3. Musings in Galatians (again). I keep coming back to this gem of a letter as I think about the nature of discipleship.
4.Heroes. Best boxset of Christmas.
5. John Owen's Communion with the Triune God. Good books at Christmas. The experiential nature of reformed doctrine.
6. Pudding and games with new friends.
7. Christmas lunch on the beach.

That was 2007 : May - August


More on Velvet Elvis and 2 Chronicles. Then, Atonement for Dummies which caused a little offence (which really wasn't intended). Terry Virgo started blogging which was very welcome. Birthdays were celebrated at a Duke Special gig. I preached Hebrews 3. I played a little with Two Ways to Live and shared a friend's Gospel Circles. Chris Watson Lee blogged an Anglican Doctrinal Basis. I enjoyed the breathless and heart-breaking doctrine of election with Surrey CU before saying good-bye to them.

June -- "The Daily Mail of Blogs"

Do CU leaders fall away. I reflected on Relay's ongoing lessons in grace. Some Art. Pentateuch blogging. Study or evangelism. Penal Substitution. Saying good-bye to Reading CU I preached Hebrews 10-12 - though I'd get the priviledge of a surprise opportunity to teach them again in November. Why I love UCCF - cos we're a grace-movement. In June Em and I bought our first home, and celebrated five years of marriage.


It rained. But I …

Trophies of the Cross

"I could not endure existence, if the world were to go on trivializing Jesus. It would be hell to me, if the blasphemies obscuring the display of his glory were to succeed in my generation."Henry Martyn, cited by Ray Ortlund

Which I suppose is what was going through Paul's mind as he walked around Athens (Acts 17:16-17), observing people religiously bowing down to anything and everything except Jesus. His heart provoked, disturbed, distressed such that he was moved into action to go and reason and dialogue in the streets and synagogues about Jesus. As has been lyricised: worship is the fuel for missions flame. Since, mission exists because worship doesn't.

The plain truth of the matter is that I don't believe this most of the time. But I want to. More often I'm like Jonah and I'd rather die than have people come to know the grace of God. Let me not cling to idols and so forfeit grace but rather see grace, savour it, enjoy it, believe it. This bountiful feas…


Jumped on board with the vicar's tradition, Christmas picnic and walk somewhere in Devon. Today - Budleigh Salterton beach, including that Christmas classic - how many parishoners and their vicar can you fit into an old-school phonebox.

Our picnic included Em's second Christmas cake:

They were God-centred and biblical in their mission

Adrian's Number 5

Adrian Warnock posts his top referrers. I managed to maintain fifth place from last year. He's a very encouraging man and this is what he wrote:

Holding stable is part of Dave Bish's character, so it’s perhaps appropriate that he is the only site in the top 5 which did not change rank! Dave Bish is another good friend of mine. He traveled out to the edge of London just to meet me for lunch. We have chatted many times online, and his blog is one of the most popular Christian blogs in the UK. He has devoted his life to helping students find Christ—a noble profession.Top of the list is bluefish designed Justin Taylor's blog.
Adrian's top 10 UK referrers were:

1. me.
2. Terry Virgo - leader of newfrontiers, family of reformed charismatic churches on a mission.
3. Colin Adams - scottish preaching blog, bringing us great links with great frequency.
4. Peter Kirk
5. Dan Hames - uccf worker for - one to watch in 2008!
6. Dave Warnock
7. Martin Downes (mo…

Film (2007)

1. Hot Fuzz - Hilarity and gore from Simon Pegg.
2. The Bourne Ultimatum - The only good three-squel this year.
3. Zodiac - Fincher on form, Seven from the angle of the investigators.
4. The last King of Scotland - quality Africa drama with James McAvoy and Forest Whitaker.
5. Babel - Like 21 Grams but not quite so good. Too clever and fragmented for it's own good.
6. Starter for Ten - university challenge with McAvoy. Released 2006.
7. Blood Diamond - big screen Africa with De Caprio.
8. Atonement - more McAvoy, and Ikea Knightly. Same qualities and weaknesses as the book. Like Enduring Love, a good film but the book is better.
9. Amazing Grace - Maybe not brilliantly made but the story is worth it.
10. Sunshine - wierd sci-fi. Sort of Solaris but better.

It's always the case that I'll have missed one or two of the best films through my own ignorance or their unavailability at local cinemas. What must I not miss on DVD early next year?

Films (2006)
Everything released in 2007
Matt Adc…

Make me a Christian?

Last week I caught a bit of 'Make me a Muslim' on TV, and this morning John-Paul Flintoff is trying 'Make me a Christian', some of which is discerning (when he realises going solo won't work) but most of which is saddening as he mistakes Christianity for being a do-good religion... which could be as much our fault for poor communiation as his for not seeing it.

Churches don't tend to run 'I want to be a Christian' courses, maybe we should. But then being a Christian isn't merely adopting a lifestyle (which it seems could be the appeal of Islam or Catholicism), it's about Jesus. And offering a moral code for people to follow isn't Christianity at all. Want to be a Christian? Jesus first. And then more Jesus.

We Three Kings

Rowan Williams was on the radio this week talking about some of the Christmas myths. Various people have reported this in various ways so it's probably worth downloading it from the beeb. More clearly, Martin Downes shows us the real three kings of the Christmas story: David, Herod and Jesus. Adrian Reynolds explores a similar angle.

Review: Signs of the Spirit

I wish I could say that I'd made it successfully through Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections. The truth is that I've tried a number of times. I want to say it's just because they're in microscopic fontsize in my Banner of Truth editions of Edwards' works, but it's also because it's hard stuff. Sam Storms knows this and that's why he's graciously given the church this book, Signs of the Spirit.

The book is Storms' (who has also written the excellent One Thing and Pleasures Evermores) interpretation of Religious Affections. The book majors on that, but also includes an interpretation of Personal Narrative which illustrates Edwards beliefs in action.

Storms first outlines the importance of Affections in Christian life. Then explaining a dozen signs that prove nothing about the reality of someones Christianity. They're mostly things that we'd expect to see in a real Christian but they don't prove the person is actually a Christian. …

Protestant or Catholic?

We had a great time doing a bit of doctrinal study into the meaning of the Lord's supper and the way we practice it... along the way we recalled the English Reformers who were martyred for the stand they took over the meaing of this part of church life - going to the stake to defend it, but more to defend the completeness of the cross of Christ, the one unrepeatable sacrifice for our sins. On Monday I was in Oxford not far from The Martyrs Memorial, though I didn't have time to go and read it's text again it's a solemn reminder of heroes who contended for the faith in generations past.

I was struck that communion recalls God's gift to us, it's not our gift to God. The direction of travel there is vitally important. He invites us to come and feast by faith, rather than us offering something to him. (MP3 here soon). I was gladened to see that my pastor has thought deeply about which liturgy to use and by his naming of martyr John Hooper as one of his heroes.


The Kind Teacher

ht: Hugh Bourne

This happened to me sometime around 2003/4 as I studied Forster & Marsden's God's Strategy in Human History and Piper's The Justification of God and Romans 9 came and devoured me. I'd already embraced much of Christian Hedonism concerning joy and missions between 1999-2003 but in the sacred courts of Romans 9 God graciously changed my heart. He is the kindest of teachers.


Andy Shudall is in the UK at the moment.

Recently preaching at Christ Church Liverpool:
Luke 4 - Jesus the prophet

More from Andy at

Subtle difference that makes all the difference

'Our task is not to tell people that they must believe in Jesus,
but so to tell them of Jesus that they must believe in Him.’

Steve Holmes (ht: Glen Scrivener)

The challenge with that is that it's much easier to tell people what they should do, or at least that's the way it seems in practice. My deceitful heart is quite happy to tell people to change their behaviour but talking about Jesus seems to be so easy to bottle. Yet, what better subject matter! Has to be our first interpretative key to any passage - yes find out what it says but then when it comes to what's the key meaning and message here it has got to be 'what does this part of the Spirit-breathed word say about the Lord Jesus?' -

As I reflect on studying the middle of Esther this week that's a challenging question. There is a passage that doesn't mention Jesus. It doesn't even mention any of the persons of the Trinity. But it does show us the people of God trusting in the promises of God to d…

Top Books (2007)

Not necessarily published this year, but read by me these are ten of the best I've read.

1. Signs of the Spirit - Sam Storms. Religious Affections made accessible. And what a book. REVIEWED.

2. God's Smuggler - Brother Andrew. Why I never read this before I don't know. Shook me up this summer before hearing and meeting Andrew at the Forum gospel festival in September.

3. Growing Leaders - James Lawrence. Recommended by my supervisor a great practical book on grace in leadership.

4. When sinners say I do - Dave Harvey. Marriage the gospel way. I confess my wife and I are still working our through this one.

5. Total Church - Tim Chester & Steve Timmis. Gospel and community!

6. Preaching the cross - Together for the Gospel. The best MP3s of 2006 in written form. Simple. Straightforward. Very helpful.

7. Radical Reformission - Mark Driscoll. Worth it for the chapter 'the sin of light beer' alone.

8. Pierced for our transgressions - Ovey, Sach & Jeffery. Possibly the mo…

Smashing idols (Tim Keller)

Three outstanding talks by Tim Keller.

1. Smashing idols - gospel realisation
2. Smashing idols - gospel communication
3. Smashing idols - gospel incarnation

Putting the gospel in, pound the side of your head with it until it drops into the heart and overflows in graciousness. (Coke machine illustration)

Which is what I think Ian Stackhouse is getting at when he calls preachers to keep re-evangelising the church. And what CJ Mahaney is getting at when he calls on us to keep the main thing the main thing. And when David Prior says, don't move on from the cross but get deeper into it.

See also: Thomas Chalmers - the expulsive power of a new affection

Review: Salmon fishing in the Yemen

Maurice McCracken has made two book recommendations to me this year. One was to read some Jasper Fforde. Which I tried and didn't really get on with - good for a short story but a bit tiresome eventually. The second was Paul Torday's Salmon fishing in the Yemen. I never seem to read as much fiction as I intend to, so I'm sampling from a fairly short list but this is probably the best fiction book I've read this year. A great story and a very moving one. It's the tale of a crazy project that lands in the lap of a guy whose life isn't really going anywhere. It's told in the form of letters, emails, interviews and diaries - which initially put me off but the insight into the life of Fred Jones pays dividends and draws you along as events unfold towards their conclusion. I don't really want to say any more because it's a wonderful story and it's probably better not to know where it's going. It's won the BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE FOR C…

Theology for all (Mark Dever)

I didn't make it to the TFA conference this year. In 2006 Carl Trueman spoke and I lived near London. This time it was Mark Dever but I was 150 miles further away. Ed went and blogged all four sessions... 1, 2, 3, 4.

Here are the MP3s...

1. 1 Timothy 1:12-17
2. What lessons can today’s Church learn from the past, particularly the Puritans?
3. How can we build biblically faithful churches today?
4. Given the new issues now facing Christians in the West which may put pressure on Churches not to stand against the tide – how can good theology help us?

ht: The Theologian

Review: His Dark Materials

Over the last week I've spend 26 hours on the train. That's been great for work thinking and reading. From which some reflections on Esther, Lamentations, Sam Storm's Signs of the Spirit to follow in coming days. But also for some fiction reading. That began with Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy, and then Salmon fishing in the Yemen.

Pullman is notorious. Partly because part 1 of the Trilogy is currently on screen as The Golden Compass. And partly because he's the opposite of CS Lewis, that is he writes atheistic-ish childrens fiction that we can all appreciate. Initial comments. The books are very reabable and I enjoyed the story. I felt like part 2 rambled a bit in classic second part of Trilogy fashion and that probably the first book was the strongest. It's a good & evil story but things are all a bit different to normal... God is the enemy and has to be got rid of, salvation is needed - even a new start, but the details look kind of different…

Trinity for everyone

Mike Reeves - Trinity.

A 30minute evangelistic talk given at Reading University.

Biblical theology asks, “What does the Bible itself say it is interested in, what does it say about that and in what terms does it like to say it?”

“Have you heard the story of salvation presented by means of a study of ‘sweat’ or ‘hospitality’ or ‘the Beast and the Man’ or ‘war and peace’ or ‘marriage’ or ‘mountains’ in the Bible? If not, then please ask your Bible teacher ‘Why?’ since these are themes and categories which God himself has used in history and in Scripture to unfold and explain his great work of redemption. Biblical theology is the discipline which takes that unfolding revelation on its own terms and in its own words and themes and proceeds to study God’s truth by means of storylines and multiple perspectives. There are no definitions of Biblical theology which do not make it sound either esoteric or dull but biblical theology at its best - combined with exegetical carefulness and systematic rigour - is a truly exhilarating way into the Bible.”
David Field - Biblical Theology & Revelation (part 8)

Applied Preaching!

Application ought to be the pointed driving home of the gospel. It is the lively and repeated application of the Word to the heart of the congregation to the end that it might be believed. It is not the derivation of principles which can then be turned into moral instruction. Application is the Spirit’s work of awakening faith in the Christ who we proclaim.Applied Preaching from Glen ScrivenerHaving studied a particularly non-three point chunk of exciting engaging narrative from Esther 4-7 today with one of my Staff that's a helpful thought.

Ed Goode @ RUCU

That was 2007 : January-April


First preach of the year on the authority of scripture followed by applying the Bible. That was a start to a year that has in many ways been about the deepening of my convictions about scripture. Next up I preached the opening chapters of Esther at Surrey, which turned out to be my final preach for them. More posting about all scripture. Highlighted the first of many a Mike Reeves mp3s. And this was the moment that will forever stick in the memory of the 60 people who witnessed it. Yes, 2007 was the year the Spice Girls went back on tour - and it began in Ledbury:


Reading CU weekend on Jonah. On February 8th I highlighted John Piper's biography of Andrew Fuller and received a phonecall that changed the shape of my year significantly. Mo McCracken talked about serving the local church while I pondered Ecclesiastes, life on the hamster wheel. Soon after which my laptop died. I also came across two old school friends, including Mercury Nominated James Chapman. I read R…

Driscoll's 9 Questions

So Mark Driscoll is going to take on all of these questions... A church couldn't really survive doing this normally (healthy food is surely expository - which is what Driscoll normally does), but once in a while it's not a bad idea to hit the ones that every is wanting to work through...
#1Do you believe that the Scripture not only regulates our theology but also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree? If not, why not?
#2 What can traditional/established churches learn from "emerging" churches?
#3 How does a Christian date righteously; and what are the physical, emotional, and mentally connecting boundaries a Christian must set while developing an intimate relationship prior to marriage?
#4 If salvation is by faith alone (Romans 3:28), then why are there so many verses that say or imply the opposite, namely that salvation is by works (James 2:24, Matthew 6:15 & 7:21, Ga…

Grace-leaders overflow

Today I went to a pub in Oxford and met with Krish Kandiah, Marcus Honeysett, Ant Adams, Jonathan Green, Michael Jensen and some other people to talk about the future of leadership in the church. A very provoking day. Felt a bit like media reflections on the state of English football and the way everyone presumes they can keep bringing in players from outside... likewise churches simply aren't developing new leaders. What encourages me is that there were around 30 younger leaders at the consultation, I spoke at a newfrontiers leaders school in October where a quarter of the church were there, and wherever I look in the South West I see very gifted student leaders taking their first steps in the work of equipping the saints for ministry... The scene is dark but not hopeless. Jesus will build his church and we need to get doing our part. 2 Timothy 2v2 is key - leaders passing on grace to new leaders who will pass on grace. Having the Krish and Marcus playing a leading role is the co…

South West CUs Update

My kind of press release:

What happens when Christians students gather around the Bible week by week? What happens as they see the glory of God in the cross of Christ, delight in it and boast in it? God takes hold of them and transforms them. Transforming them for mission. Transformed to live and speak for Jesus. That's my dream for us as Christian Unions across the South West. Mission teams who gather around the word of God to be empowered and equipped to take that same word to those who don't know Jesus. That's what I call Transformission.

It's been great to see that happening as I've travelled around the region in my first few months as Team Leader. I've enjoyed leaving the house to board a train to Falmouth one day, Bristol another. Being part of CU meetings that have been shaped by your CU leaders to be team training. Sitting in on a Lunchbar in freshers week in Bath, and giving one at Plymouth a few weeks later on 'Do you have to bin your brain to be a …

Jonah's fish

Sam Allberry on Jonah and the fish.. not so much a rescuing fish as judgement on the rebel-prophet. The sea goes calm to save the sailors but Jonah continues to die. And then later is saved when vomitted out onto the land. I think this makes more sense of the scene and helps sort out my general confusion about act 2 of this cracking OT grace-drama.

And for the benefit of Jim Walford, codeword: All-berry.

Zechariah's Song - all about Jesus!

We were up visiting friends for the weekend and dropped in on our old church where we ran into more friends and this was the preach:

Steve Abery at Arborfield - on Zechariah's song - Luke 1.
Really very good.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;

See also: Adrian Reynolds - on Luke 1 at Arborfield, 2 weeks ago. The one in between may also be great, but I've just not gotten round to listening to it yet.

Some Real Christian blogging

Real Christian Blogging, from Steffy B. Just read it.

Ecclesiastes and Lamentations have become two of my fave books in 2007. The former because it's real and says to hell with all our faking that life is always alright. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's boring. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it's confusing. Going through house-buying this summer was very hard. If God was trying to teach me to trust him by delaying our move by a month where we could have had a holiday, then my stressyness at my wife, my sleepless anxious nights would suggest I failed the test. I'm not proud of that but it happened. Four months later I cannot wait to have a break, I'm very tired. Thankful to be here, but tired.

With Christmas coming this is classic blogger-reflective time and frankly it's been a great year though I never expected it to end living where we are, doing the jobs we're doing in the church we're in.... and whilst that's included the joy of finally being…

Debunking Christmas

Amidst reports of widespread ignorance of Christianity and boycotting of Nativity plays... Adrian can't resist getting rid of some myths... hard enough to get the trutuh across without having to navigate the lies. I heard of a carol service recently where the message of Christmas was said to be 'love your mum'... Similiarly missing the point we went to a couple of services a couple of years ago where we were told it was all about Mary, and then all about Joseph the next weekend (at a different church)! There's an elephant in the room.... Thankfully at the Exeter student carol service at the football ground it was all about Who is Jesus / Why did he come... a bit more like it!! Mythbusting from Reynolds:

1. Introduction
2. Singing Angels?
3. Three kings
4. Silent Baby
5. Cold Night

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impa…

The Mystery Tent

Today I went to London. I stood outside of All Souls and then had much conversation with Clive Parnell at the Borders Starbucks over a Grande Fresh Coffee and a Gingerbread Latte (Clive). Mostly we were brainstorming exciting resources for the upcoming UCCF gospel project but also some really encouraging thinking about the humanity of human beings... and the way people should be treated as people. E.g. When speakers (or bands) come to CU meetings it's common that offering them expenses/gifts is an occasional after thought rather than a pro-active concern to be generous, thankful, valuing of what they've come to do. But we only get there when we think bigger than mere intellectual assent to God's gospel, and start seeing that people are image-bearers, thinking-feeling-eating people. I was reminded of a recent sermon at our new church, from Hebrews 13, reminding of how it's meant to be a joy for leaders to lead - yet how rare any encouragment can be. Easy for us to criti…

Eyeballing sin

Andy and I finished reading Galatians yesterday.

What do you do when sin is staring you in the face?Whatever your poison how to you face it? Pornography, facebook addiction, religiosity, anger, impatience. Whatever the fruit it's all anti-gospelness, it's all Christ-denial and cross-emptying. It persists in us all but how do we live with it? That's one of the key questions in Galatians. More specifically what do you do in that situation when you're a Christian. The one who isn't a Christian is pictured going with the flow of sin, or being religious. Both are slavery. And equated to one another. But, the Christian is free. Set free at the cross of Christ. Set free to be free.

Consequently when sin is eyeballing the Christian slavery is out of the question. Capitulating to sin isn't necessary, and to impose a rule would be the same as just sinning. (My logic on this is the way that Paul connects and then appears to interchangeably talk about sin and law as slavery,…

Side-stepping the word of God

Can you bore people with the gospel?

Wise-Mo replied: Surely there is a sense in which the Gospel is never boring and if people find a true presentation of it boring it is their darkened minds? (I'm not sure I totally believe this, but it's a commonly held view amongst Calvinists).

And I said: It occurs to this calvinist that sometimes we use the reality of darkened hearts as an excuse for our poor efforts... just as it's easy for me to slate a sermon for being poor, but it's also entirely possible that the problem wasn't with the sermon but with my heart.

Maybe it's just me but I'm great at diverting God's word away from myself. I can do it by assuming it applies to others more than me. I can do it by figuring out how I would teach it to others rather than me. Likewise I'm more than able to side-step God's word with a whole host of excuses... But, a dull talk is no excuse for me not listening (nor an excuse for a preacher to be dull). And a poor …

Christmas Update @

Sinner IN THE hands of an angry God

Martin Downes is thinking about Hell, and how it's not so separate from God..

On hell:
"...the unshielded experience of the presence of God in his holiness and just wrath, and the absence of his mercy and grace."This is a gem in the comments (again by Martin):
"It is no coincidence that the way to the tree of life is blocked by the cherubim, and that the cherubim feature on the temple curtain torn in two at the cross."

Have yourself a Puritan 2008

The LORD is righteous.

With thanks to Kenny for an hour considering the importance of Old Testament narrative, a little chiasmic observation in 2 Chronicles 2v1-12:
1 When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.
2 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt— Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. 4And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, "Thus says the LORD, 'You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'" 6Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, "The LORD is righteous."7When the LORD saw that they humbled …

Exeter University Christian Union win crucial vote at Students’ meeting

As the UCCF Team Leader for the South West I have a vested interest in this story. This is very encouraging news for which I'm very thankful both to the Christian Union and Students Guild officers who have worked to see this happen:

EXETER University’s Christian Union won a crucial vote in their highly-publicised human rights battle with the campus Students’ Guild and University authorities. On December 7, their prolonged battle with the University took a substantial step forward when the CU won a democratic student vote at an Emergency General Meeting of the Students’ Guild at which the CU were invited by the Guild to present a motion allowing them to require all officers and members of the CU to sign to a statement of belief.

On January 5, Ben Martin, a member of the Christian Union filed papers at the High Court following the suspension of the 50-year-old Christian Union (CU) from the official list of student societies on campus, and after its Student Union bank account was froze…

Because ALL scripture is God-breathed

I ♥ Five Festal Garments (by Barry Webb) because it gets me off the beaten track and into some very cool books of the Bible. This morning I sat in Exeter station studying Lamentations and nearly missed my train cos I was so immersed in it (bloggage to follow).

When I'm through that I'm desperate to go back through Ruth (reading Judges recently I'm seeing a few things more clearly), and I want to get a bit further with Ecclesiastes... and perhaps spend more time in Song of Songs.

This afternoon I sat on campus in Bath studying Esther 1-3 with Dan - the power of genealogy to unlock a text! Studying Esther with the lads is great... Song of Songs might be a bit too edgy, but it is all scripture, so why not!!

Driscoll on a mission

Terry Virgo reports that Mark Driscoll will be at Together on a Mission in 2008. As does Adrian Warnock. I heard a rumour about that two days ago... ooo. "Mark Driscoll whose emphasis on the Word of God will do us enormous good". With Don Carson, Terry Virgo and John Piper at New Word Alive (with Piper also at Cheltenham Bible Festival and at UCCF Forum), it should be a good year for Bible teaching at conferences in the UK. I ponder who might be at NWA in 2009? CJ Mahaney? Wayne Grudem? Mark Dever? Tim Keller? Liam Goligher? Mark Driscoll? Greg Haslam?

Conferences aren't everything but they can be a good service to the church. I'm looking forward to being at New Word Alive (where I'll be teaching some theology of speech), Together for the Gospel, Forum and maybe Together on a Mission during 2008. What's more vital is good Bible teaching week-by-week in our churches. Hopefully good Biblical conferences serve to equip the church and equip it's teachers for i…

Going places

Call yourself a Christian?

Mark Dever in What is a healthy church:

Sometimes college campus ministries will ask me to speak to their students. I’ve been known, on several occasions, to begin my remarks this way: “If you call yourself a Christian but you are not a member of the church you regularly attend, I worry that you might be going to hell.”

You could say that it gets their attention. Now, am I just going for shock value? I don’t think so. Am I trying to scare them into church membership? Not really. Am I saying that joining a church makes someone a Christian? Certainly not! Throw any book (or speaker) out the window that says as much.

So why would I begin with this kind of warning? It’s because I want them to see something of the urgency of the need for a healthy local church in the Christian’s life and to begin sharing the passion for the church that characterizes both Christ and his followers.... More here
Jonathan Edwards would of course note that being a church member is no proof of being a Christian... t…


"It will one day appear that Christ abhors the janglings of men about the place of their own works and obedience, in the business of their acceptation with God"

p263 Communion with the Triune God
(John Owen, eds Justin Taylor & Kelly Kapic).
HT Sean Michael Lucas.
Looking forward to reading this book!

2 Timothy